My "All Out Assault" on two channel reproduction started back in 2009 with the acquisition of Wilson Audio W/P 8's. Prior to getting those speakers my system remained pretty much static from 1994-2009. It was a Mark Levinson system consisting of No.27.5, No.36, No.380s. Speakers were Aerial Acoustic 10t's. It was a digital only system. After the W/P's came the PS Audio Perfect Wav DAC/Trans. This was my first time being exposed to hi-rez playback. It only took a few hi-rez needle drops for me determine that analog was the way to go for best sounding audio. 

System tour on YouTube.


Components Toggle details

    • American Sound AS-2000 Turntable
    Belt driven (Pabst Capstan) super high mass turtable. It is the absolute state of the art in vinyl spinners. Using NOS SME 3012R’s as primary arms. Knife edge bearing from the early1970’s. Original NOS cables for the arms too. Total weight...approximately 500lbs. Air platter, no bearing.
    • TechDAS Air Force One
    Ripple free air bearing, air suspension and vacuum hold down. Running 12" Graham Supreme rear slot and Phantom Elite (Not here yet) with Nordost Odin wiring and tone arm cable. (DIN->RCA)
    • Clearaudio Master Innovation
    Belt-driven magnetic drive. Ceramic Magnetic bearing.
    • Technics RS 1500
    Nortronics Pro 1/2 tack, head wired out to external tape preamp (King/Cello NAB/IEC, 15 ips). All inferior Technics electronics are bypassed.
    • Otari MTR-10 RTR Tape Deck
    2 Channel, 1/4" tape, head wired out for use with King/Cello tape preamp.
    • King/Cello Tape Pre IEC/NAB
    adjustible Hi Freq. EQ
    • Studer A810
    2 fully stock, the other with a JRF Magnetics repro head upgrade.
    • Otari MX 5050 Bll-2
    1/4" two track RTR player/recorder
    • Lamm Industries LP-1 Signature Phono
    The LP1 Signature is a vacuum tube preamplifier that employs a high current pure class A operation from input to output.  No loop feedback is employed.  Other features include:
    • Audibly neutral power supplies (one for each channel) featuring full-wave vacuum rectifiers, choke contained filters, vacuum tube high-voltage regulators, and solid-state low-voltage analogue non-switching regulators used as the heater supplies
    • Three separate inputs for MM and MC (two inputs) cartridges
    • All amplification stages utilize high transconductance super low noise high-current vacuum triodes
    • Very accurate RIAA EQ network

    Each preamplifier is carefully handcrafted of the finest materials and hand selected top quality parts like military-grade DALE metal-film resistors, RCD wire-wound resistors, BOURNS multi-turn potentiometers; ELECTROCUBE, CORNELL DUBILIER and ROEDERSTEIN film capacitors; high frequency switching grade CORNELL DUBILIER electrolytic capacitors; HAMMOND chokes; gold-plated NEUTRIC connectors; and military-grade low-noise long-life vacuum tubes.

    A custom-designed massive damping panel installed in the preamplifier unit significantly reduces all types of mechanical vibrations which, in turn, leads to a more extended, coherent and natural bass reproduction.
    The LP1 Signature features a custom-designed super-low noise power transformer.

    • Allnic H-5000 DHT Phono
    LCR. Adjustable EQ, direct heated triode phono stage. 1950-1960 RCA Miltary spec 5U4G tubes used for rectification. Voltage regulation via Takatsuki 300B tubes.
    • Allnic HA-3000 Head Amp
    Nuvistor tube based moving coil head amp.
    • SME 3012R Phono pick up arm
    1970’s NOS with knife edge bearing...not the shit gimbal bearing design that came out later.
    • Graham Engineering Phantom Elite 10 inch
    Grahams new reference arm with improved bearing, wiring, bearing house, arm tube
    • Graham Engineering Phantom II Supreme
    Fluid damped, uni-pivot design. 10 & 12 inch arm wand x 2.
    • Clearaudio Universal Tone Arm with VTA Lifter
    • Nordost Odin Supreme Reference Cabling
    2-1.25 meter DIN to RCA phono cables. 1-1.5 meter XLR for phono stage to main pre. 1-5 meter XLR for main pre to amps. 1.5 meter RCA, 4-2.5 meter Power Cords. 4 meter speaker cable.
    • Nordost Valhalla Reference DIN phono
    Used with Graham arm.
    • Koetsu Coralstone Platinum
    understated beauty of the petrified coral bodes…so rare is the material that cartridges in this guise will only be available in the US, priced at $15000 with production unlikely to exceed a couple of dozen…stunning naturalness and presence…a sense of substance and stability to the image…big and rich and vibrant…There's a rightness, an immediately convincing quality to its presentation that draws you into the music. Specifications: Body: Coral Stone Type: Moving Coil Coil Wiring: Silverplated Copper Magnet: Platinum Magnet Cantilever: Boron Cantilever Output Volts: 0.3mV Frequency Range: 20Hz to 100kHz Channel Seperation: 25db/1kHz Inner Impedance: 5 Ohm Channel Balance: 0.5db/1kHz Recommended Impednace: 30 Ohm Weight: 12g Compliance: 5 x 10-6 cm/dyne at 100 hz
    • Koetsu Tiger Eye Platinum
    Koetsu Tigereye Technical Data •Body: Tigereye •Type: moving coil •Coil wiring: silver-plated copper •Magnet: platinum •Cantilever: boron •Output: .3mV •Frequency range: 20Hz-100kHz •Channel separation: 25dB/1kHz •Inner impedance: 5 ohms •Channel balance: .5dB/1kHz •Recommended impedance: 30 ohms •Weight: 12.5 •Compliance: 5x10-6cm/dyne at 100Hz
    • Dynavector DRT XV-1t
    Urushi bamboo body. Dynavectors statement cartridge.
    • Ortofon MC A90
    Two units...One still Sealed for the future.
    • Shelter Harmony
    Shelter Phono Cartridge
    Output Voltage: 0.5 mV at 1Khz 5 cm/sec.
    Weight: 8.5 grams
    Channel Balance: within 0.8 dB at 1Khz
    Tracking Force: 1.4 to 2.2 grams
    Stylus Tip: 1.6 X 0.3 mil Line Contact Nude Diamond
    DC Resistance: 15 Ohm
    Recommended Load Impedance:
    Step Up Transformer - 10 to 30 Ohms
    Head Amplifier - within 100 Ohms
    High Gain EQ-amp - within 47K Ohms
    Compliance - 9 ìm/mN
    • Benz Micro Gullwing SLR
    • Lyra Olympos - Mono Phono Cartridge

    One of 4 mono versions ever made. SL single coil design. Output: .15mV

    Truly the Holy Grail for mono record playback.

    • Ikeda 9TT - Mono
    • PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC

    Stereophile Recommended Component 2015

    Class A+ Stereophile rated DirectStream DAC converts any digital input format, such as PCM or DSD to a pure DSD stream and outputs near-perfect analog directly to your power amplifier or preamplifier. Whatever the format, whatever the sample rate, DirectStream is a pure DSD based solution that fulfills the promise of a high-resolution analog performance standard the originators of CDs promised over 30 years ago. Hear what’s been missing in your music for all these years. If you know the sound of music and instruments, and want to hear what’s been missing on your discs, then this DAC is right for you.

    • PS Audio PerfectWave PWT
    Buffered Memory player. 24/192 capable
    • Pass Labs XS Preamp - Dual Chassis
    It is a large two chassis preamp built in a true dual mono arrangement. The circuit board materials are optimized for performance in each area, a power supply circuit board has different requirements
    • Pass Labs XS-150 Dual Chassis Monoblocks
    Class A solid state dual chassis mono-blocks Xs These are Pass Laboratories ultimate expression of Power Amplifiers the perfect blend of science and visceral emotion. The successor to our already lavishly praised and well regarded Supersymmetry patent. Every technical effort has been made to assure exceptional specifications, among these: Separate chassis for lower electromagnetic noise Power supplies with greatly enhanced storage capacitance Banks of redundantly parallel high speed / soft recovery rectifiers Improved high frequency noise filters Larger / quieter transformers Improved passive decoupling Lower power standby Input impedances of 200 k-ohm balanced with negligible capacitance These amplifiers will drive any load, while being driven from any source. If there’s a more emotionally satisfying amplifier anywhere, we’re not aware of it. Xs 150 / Specifications Gain (db)26 Power Output /ch (8 ohm)150 Power Output /ch (4 ohm)300 Maximum Output (Amps)30 Input Impedance,(Kohms)200k Balanced, 100k single-ended Power Consumption (W)500 Number of Chassis2 Dimensions (W x H x D)19 x 11.5 x 21.5 (each) Unit Weight (LBS)130 + 100
    • Wilson Audio Alexandria X2.2
    almandine black metallic with Black Grills
    • Table Stable TS-140
    Active Isolation table
    • Millennia Media NSEQ-4
    Profesional Level Parametric Utilized via tape loop on main pre when needed. EQ World’s first all-discrete, true differential Class-A input buffer/amplifier Selectable balanced or unbalanced input Greatly improved 3rd generation FSA-03 all-discrete EQ amplifier Improved output stage, no muting required (as with Twin Topology) True hard-wire bypass when EQ not selected Upgraded power supply leading to improved sonic performance
    • PS Audio P5 Power Plant
    Clean AC power Regenerator for source components only. Amps plugged directly into wall.
    • Stillpoints Ultra 5
    Used under Pass XS 150 amps, Wilson X-2.2 speakers and Clearaudio Master Innovation turntable.
    • Stillpoints LP1
    Used on top of all music chain components and as record weights for both turntables.
    • Stillpoints Ultra SS
    Isolation/Vibration control component footers
    • KL Audio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
    The best ultrasonic record cleaner. Uses only distilled water.
    • Entreq Silver Tellus
    Signal grounding box. I use dedicated to main preamp and the other dedicated to the phono preamp.
    • Entreq Atlantis Grounding Cables
    Two pairs for main preamp, one pair for phono stage
    • Clearaudio ACCUDRIVE
    Battery power supply for Clearaudio Master Innovation turntable.
    • Western Electric 422A Rectifiers
    Purchased NOS (1960 MFG Date)Used for rectification in the Allnic H5000 DHT phono preamp
    • Takatsuki 300B Tubes
    Hi-End 300B tube made in Japan. Used for voltage regulation in the Allnic H5000 DHT Phono preamp. These make a big difference on the performance of the tubes in the gain stage.
    • Torus Power RM-15 Plus Isolation Transformer
    2 for each power amp channel.

Comments 277

I'm in for a pair, if they are as good as you guys say I'll search for more.

What are users of this phono stage using...XLR or RCA outs ?

I prefer the XLR, more dynamic, slightly quieter and more gain. Tonal balance and resolution are the same and typically XLR cable is not much more money than RCA termination.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

03-06-14: Rockitman
These may be a game changer. First listening session very positive. The bass & midrange seem much stronger, more slam, bolder than any GZ34 I have tried. It almost sounds like I added a well integrated sub. Get them while there hot.
I ordered 2 from your comments and I have to agree with your experience including transparency, extension ... TS NOS 5U4GB WAS my favorite but Tele is amazing. I ordered 4 more plus Thorsten is a great guy to deal with.


Allnic H5000 DHT phono output connection. What are users of this phono stage using...XLR or RCA outs ? I think XLR is transformer coupled since there is a switch that must be turned on for XLR as the unit is single ended design. I have been using XLR in the past and just tried singled ended rca outs. I think I like the sound better. Arnie, Albert...what do you guys use ?


Simply outstanding and impressive system and room!

Ag insider logo xs@2xzephyr24069

Hard to explain in words, but it does everything the xp30 does but better.....of course diminishing returns kick in at this level. I am happy with the upgrade and it was worth the higher price of me anyway. I think there are added synergies using the xs pre with xs amps. Think more refined and extended over the xp30 which is still a fantastic preamp.


Now that you had enough time with the Pass Xs preamp, how does it compare with the XP-30?



Now that you had enough time with the Pass Xs preamp, how does it compare with the XP-30?



Rockit, you have cobbled together a beautiful system particularly the front end. Let us know your findings with the grounding games. Can you stratify the degree of response in your different components? My own experiments with far cheesier gear has shown grounding to impart a more "analog" presentation. Amazing for what most philes view as ancillary and woo-woo pseudo-technology.

Does the tape deck respond at all? What is your source of choice?


Knghifi... I think you will be very pleased. If you like large orchestral stuff from RCA Living Stereo or Mercury, you will be blown away. That genre really shines with this grounding stuff.


Rockitman, I'm going to contact my dealer and get a Silver Tellus with different cables to demo in my system.



Don't think of it as a waste. During my short 5 hour demo I used two Apollo cables and two Atlantis "silver cables". In my system, the Atlantis sounded considerably better for reasons I don't understand. The Apollo cables are also silver. The Atlantis cables have two spade cable branches vs only one for the Apollo. I suspect 2 branches has more capacity to drain away ground plane grunge.


Rockitman, did you get the copper or silver Atlantis eartha cables? Done with system changes so grounding is probably next area to waste more $$.


So I finally drank the "Clean up your ground" kool-aid. I am glad I did. Here are some obsevations I posted in another forum.

72 Hour Entreq Observations:
1) dramatically reduced system noise floor.
2) Music erupts from the absolute black abyss...very noticeable and welcome.
3) Challenging leading edge transients never go over the edge... sibilance and any remnants of glare from aggressive, large orchestral passages seemingly disappear.
4) Music is clearer, less distorted and I didn't think I had any distortion. It just sounds more real and less recorded.
5) Perceived depth and width of the sound field is also significantly enhanced. Music blooms w/o borders/restrictions and each instrumental, percussive and vocal element space is better defined.
6) Recorded ambience and note decay is more realistic.

The setup as mentioned before are two Silver Tellus boxes and 6 Atlantis eartha rca to spade cables. Two cables (L&R) for phono input, two cables (L&R) for main preamp input and two cables with separate Tellus box for power amp inputs..rca. I also have noticed that any other source device plugged into the main pre benefits...along with digital sources. That is it for now. I would like to thank again Bill Demars from Beauty of Sound for getting this stuff in to try.


I still have it. My Pass XP-30 sounds better though. I did really like the 380's volume control.


11-14-14: Maplegrovemusic
How much improvement do you hear with the skyline diffusors ? I am thinking about adding diffusion to my room . And what is the fire extinguisher for ?

They add dramatically to the perceived depth and width of the sound stage with minimal absorption. They made a big difference in my room. The fire extinguisher is there in case something wanted to start on fire. Not really worried too much about


11-14-14: Boonetrc
Really nice looking set up! On your UHA Tascam, does it have record heads, or just playback? Thinking of sending my BR-20T to them for some UHA upgrades. Cheers.

My record and erase heads are disconnected and only used as tape guides. If you go for the hot-rodded playback model only, performance is enhanced according to Greg Beron at UHA


How much improvement do you hear with the skyline diffusors ? I am thinking about adding diffusion to my room . And what is the fire extinguisher for ?


Regarding your UHA Tascam, do you have any further comments about the sound in comparison to your other RTRs?


Do you ever miss the 380S ?


Really nice looking set up! On your UHA Tascam, does it have record heads, or just playback? Thinking of sending my BR-20T to them for some UHA upgrades. Cheers.


Unbelievable really glad you posted. Enjoy


I think the bias level is fixed, regardless of where the needle lies on the meter. All the meter does is indicate if and when the amp goes out of Class A, i.e.. if the needle moves at all while music is playing, then you are switching out of Class A.

It just looks better if the needle is in the center at idle.


Yes, the M is for meter centring, the L is lumination. The background white LED can be dimmed to your preference. You just need a small flat screwdriver to adjust them. The blue LED is not affected.

So you adjust the meter anytime. This makes me doubt the usefulness of the meter in showing the real brias level.


That is interesting, you can adjust meter zero point and illumination ? Are the screw access holes labeled M and L ? The blue led and meter white light can be dimmed ? thanks in advance.


Thanks Christian,

I have sent an email with some photos taken on both meters to Passlabs, Mr Kent English from worldwide technical support said it would be due to difference in cooling in different part of the room. He asked me to adjust the meter centering using a small screwdrawer through a opening at the rear. The left opening adjusts the centering and the right opening adjusts the meter lumination. Now both needles are right at the center and the LED is dimmed. Let's run they for a while to see anything happens.


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