Focal Grande Utopia EM in black finish

Analog music sources, Technics SP10 MK3 fitted with two new Kuzma 4 Point 14".   Studer A810 Archival half track IEC EQ tape machine.

Digital music source is Aurender W20  into Bricasti M1. 

Allnic H-8000 DHT Phono, and NEW Allnic L-10000 preamp feed Allnic M-5000 or M-3000 MK2 Mono Blocks.

Cable is 100% top tier Purist Audio design.  Mostly 25th Anniversary Luminist,  all ten AC cords are the new Purist 30th Anniversary AC.

My space is 18 X 31 and acoustically treated with RPG panels, tube traps and fiberglass acoustic treatment over triple reinforced walls and ceiling. The floor is lamination beams over steel plates to pier and beams.  Two sheets of 5/8 epoxy lamination sheets make up the floor with two inches of concrete topped with India multi color slate.

Whisper Wall rail system and fine textured acoustic cloth covers the work, making  everything appear as a normal room with painted sheet rock or decorative cloth covering.

The room acoustics were conceived by RBDG and the entire space was torn out to bare dirt under the foundation and bare studs in the walls about eleven years ago.

Room Details

Dimensions: 31’ × 18’  X large
Ceiling: 12’

Components Toggle details

    • My Photography
    Commercial + Advertising Photography, Dallas, TX.
    • Focal Grande Utopia EM
    The best offering from Focal, shown with Stillpoints Ultra 5. Amazing upgrade !
    • RPG Acoustics QRD 734 (variation)
    On front wall, now obscured by acoustically transparent cloth, is floor to ceiling RPG (similar to QRD® 734) in foam, so it's partially absorptive.
    • Studer Studer A820
    Found a near mint A820 at a production studio in Illinois.  I was so excited about it's condition I had it driven here in the back of an SUV, covered with moving blankets.

    Currently head block at John French and all cards at Soren Wittrup.
    • Studer A810
    4 speed version. Rebuilt by Steve Smith of Studer USA, Nashville, TN.
    • Technics SP10 MK3 Rosewood with Stillpoints Ultra 5
    Technics SP10 MK3 Panzerholz + Rosewood shown with Stillpoints Ultra 5
    • Technics SP10 MK3 Panzerholz + Ebony
    Technics SP10 MK3 Panzerholz with African Ebony lumber (no Veneer). This is the original design by John Semrad and myself, copied to death now.
    • TTM Stainless Mat and Oil Damp Weight
    Japan, TTM Stainless mat (6.61 pounds) plus TTM oil filled record weight.
    • TTM record stabilizer TTM three piece set
    Very hard to find, grateful I was able to purchase this last week.  Three piece TTM record stabilizer replaces my previous single piece unit.
    • Air Tight Opus
    Air Tight new top of the line phono cartridge
    • Mutech Hayabusa
    Excellent MC cartridge, retail about $4500.00
    • Koetsu Coralstone Platinum
    Top tier stone body Koetsu, perfect alternate to Air Tight Supreme
    • ORB-DF03 USA version DF03
    Excellent LP flattener, simple to use and so far perfect result
    • Aurender W20
    Aurender music server, model W20 with 12TB storage on board.
    • Bricasti M1 SE
    • Allnic Audio L-10000
    OTL ~ OCL preamp of highest performance.
    • Allnic L-7000 NEW preamp
    L-7000 is brand new preamp with many improvements cosmetically and performance wise.
    • Allnic Audio H-8000 DHT phono stage
    Allnic limit of the art two chassis DHT phono stage.
    • Allnic M3000 MK2 Monoblock
    KT-150 tube based monoblocks. 200 WPC
    • Allnic Audio M5000 Monoblock amps
    Brand new, I have the only pair in existence at the moment.   2.5 feet deep, 400~500 WPC using eight KT150 tubes.  Superb sound, I dearly love them.
    • Allnic 8000 DHT Phono
    Allnic new ultra high performance phono, image shows one of two chassis.
    • Vibraplane 2212-01
    I have two of these powered by Silentaire DR-150
    • Emission Labs Emission Labs WE version 300B
    I have 6 of these, four as output in Allnic L10000 and two in Allnic H8000 DHT phono stage.   Best tubes I've ever heard in these positions
    • Takatsuki TA-300B
    Replaced factory EH 300B with Takatsuki 300B and got a substantial, remarkable upgrade.
    • Degritter Degritter Ultrasonic LP cleaning machine
    New from Estonia, very powerful ultrasonic LP cleaning machine.
    • Degritter and ORB LP flattner Degritter and ORB LP flattner
    View of two important pieces to maintain LP collection
    • Milbank Transocket three phase 750 amp
    750 amp meter base. Pass through design, three phase power is a huge benefit in conjunction with our dedicated transformer.
    • Porter Port Cryo outlets 20 Amp
    14 of these in my system, each to a dedicated breaker in copper based electrical box
    • Furutech NCF Booster
    New NCF Booster added to majority of AC cords in system.  Easy to see against light colored wall, arrow points to NCF Booster at Allnic M-5000 amp.
    • Purist Audio Design Focal EM Supply cable
    New four conductor cord, replaces stock Focal supply cord from EM drive box to back of speaker. Amazing upgrade
    • Purist Audio Luminist 25th Anniversary XLR X 4
    (1) Allnic H5000 phono to Allic L3000 preamp (1) Audio Research REF 250 to Allnic L3000 (1) Allnic D5000 DAC to Allnic L3000 (1) Studer A810 to Allnic L3000
    • Purist Audio Luminist 25th Anniversary Bi-Wire
    1.5 meter Bi-Wire, Audio Research REF 250 to Focal Grande EM
    • Purist Audio Design 30th Anniversary AC Cables
    New STUNNING cable from Purist Audio, silver and seven stage network box.  This cable brought so much dynamics, resolution and transparency to my system it qualifies as a main component.
    • Leica Disto D2
    Super laser measuring tool. Indispensable for setting distance and alignment of your speakers
    • Koetsu Blue Lace Platinum
    Koetsu best offering

Comments 4702

I've been experimenting with the Studer A820 playback.  The on board electronics can be built up many different ways, I have heard two so far and have two more that will be added.

I previously tried the King-Cello and although it was good there were things about the Studer electronics I preferred.   I think the Trafoless cards are more transparent and resolved but somewhat less musical than the transformer versions.   I’m not picking one over the other at this time, just evaluating and experimenting.

I hope within the next few months to have four sets of boards I can plug and play in the A820, each built with different voice due to choice of caps, resistors and solid state devices chosen.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter


I think you have me  confused with another person.  I do not have any earthstone products and the VTL in the first image is VERY old, I use Allnic M5000 for several years now.

Last, in case you are confusing your product with the floor in my listening room, my floor is India slate.  Not an earthstone product.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Thanks a lot for your commitment, Auro. 

I thought the output tubes VTL has yet started but the output of the VTL tubes is rebuilt. I look at through many options for the wall but the stones of the products VTL are available in many colors. 

The quality of the earthstones is good for any of the building and the service is exceptional with a lot of the stone's product.

The quality of our service is wonderful. We use expert craftsman for work and install the stones. Our EOQ manager balance all of the product quality in the service.

Thank you again for your idea.


See new image of Studer A820

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Studer A820 arrived, it is near perfect and all 21 component boards are off being rebuilt and renewed to as good or better than when new.

Image of new Studer soon, it’s a beauty :-)

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Finally found a near perfect Studer A820, I bought it but due to Covid-19 crisis can’t pick up for a couple more weeks.

I love my Studer A810 but this is a mastering machine, should provide another level of performance.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Watch soon for ad here at Audiogon for my custom built Steve Smith Studer A810 Archival machine.  It plays quarter and half track,  quarter inch tape and is four speed version as well as NAB and CCIR EQ.

Possible I will sell my custom aluminum stand and Vibraplane designed for this Studer as well.   

I’ll post images of my new machine once it arrives.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Koetsu Blue Lace is mounted, currently less than ten hours toward break in.  This is an amazing cartridge, the first time I’ve owned a contender for number one spot since buying the Air Tight Opus.

Last week during our usual Tuesday night listening session there was spirited debate as to which was better.   A couple of members saying the Koetsu was best ever and a couple saying the Air Tight was more accurate and best choice.

Speaking of choice, it’s nice to have two excellent choices for whatever LP I choose to spin.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Ordered Koestu Blue Lace as alternative to my Air Tight Opus and Mutech.

The waitto build and deliver is 1.5 months, hope it meets my expectations.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

I recently purchased several  iFi AC mains purifiers, they are very effective at reducing noise in my system.

Best results were obtained when placed in line with digital power supplies such as those found in big screen TV, Amazon Fire box, router and LED lighting near my system.

Cost is low, $99.00 each.  I bought mine at Amazon and found that a total of four provided maximum performance.   Beyond four,  no further improvement and I went to maximum of seven to determine what was possible. 

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Very excited to have ended three year search for near perfect TTM three piece record stabilizer.  

The previous single piece model was my reference for years and this deluxe one takes performance even further.  Our group voted using multiple LPs, everyone agreed the new three piece damper was quieter with blacker background, tighter and deeper bass and a much better sense of the space the recording was done in.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Lots of changes and too busy to sit down and correct.   Today added component images and text:

Degritter Ultrasonic LP cleaning machine
Mutech Hayabusa MC cartridge
Emission Labs WE version 300B tubes (6 each)

Removed component images and text:

PS Audio Direct Stream DAC
Kiseki Purple Heart
KL Audio Ultra Sonic LP cleaning machine
Audio Desk Ultra Sonic LP cleaning machine

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Hello Mike,

Those devices on my AC cables are there to prevent loss of conductivity from vibration.   They are made by Furutech and called NCF booster.

NCF boosters are available in several versions and the ones you ask about are for AC, especially those with Furutech connectors.  Other NCF devices are a similar design but for interconnect and speaker cables.

I tested the interconnect and speaker cable versions without improvement to my system.  Then again, I am wired 100% with Purist Audio cables and they are quite resistant to those problems anyway.   With another cable design it might be a big deal.

The AC cables did get an improvement from the NCF, and I while would not put them at the top of my upgrade priority anyone with top tier AC cables,  upgraded wall outlets and other associated equipment should benefit from them.

Sound is much like the AC cable itself, but in miniature.  If you like your AC cable and want it to be more refined, solid and lower distortion this is what the NCF provides.   It’s not day and night but then again, it costs a fraction of what a good AC cable costs.

If you try them post back results, I would love to read about that.  I think too that the connection to the wall benefits more than at the IEC end but again, it is likely system dependent.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Albert. Wow. Amazing system. I was wondering what is that ( name of it ) that looks like it is holding up those 2 power cords on your out let. I have 3 Shunyata Research King Cobra and Sigma PCs and the weight makes them sag a bit. Is that what they are for ? Thanks. Mike in NJ

Ag insider logo xs@2xtattooedtrackman

I just ordered a match quad of Emission Labs 300B tubes to try in the Allnic L-10000 and if successful maybe put in the H-8000 phono stage.

Currently my reference is Takatsuki but hoping EM performance will be worthy of recommendation for Allnic users.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

That’s a super looking turntable and since it’s a Technics SP-10R motor it may well be the "best" out there.  

The only problem is price.  Based on what SAT charges for their tonearm the turntable will be hyper expensive.  Do you purchase a Technics SP-10R or pay $xx more for the same motor sitting in a SAT developed chassis?

I am certain I will never have the opportunity to compare all these versions against my SP10 MK3 in our plinth.  The Technics SP10R is still somewhat in short supply and the SAT rig will be even more rare.

All that said, I will eventually purchase a SP10R or SL-1000R (or both) and compare with my turntable and plinth.  

One thing for sure, it's great to see the Technics SP10 motor get the respect it deserves.  When I switched over to MK2 and then the MK3  from my $100,000.00 plus rig many years go I had one reviewer say,

"Albert has taken leave of his senses.”

Funny things is, the turntables that everyone was screaming over at that time are now recognized as less performance. 

For all of us, the SP10 MK3 is becoming more and more of a bargain as Technics releases new  SP10R and SL-1000. 

When I  switched to the Technics MK3 you could find one in almost new condition for $3,500.00 to $4,500.00.  Prices climbed over the years and until the release of the  SP10R the MK3 had climbed to as much as $14,000.00 without plinth or arm.  

I still wonder about the one specification that Technics does not disclose.  Torque, it’s what pushes the platter.   The SP10 MK3 produces 16KG/CM and uses a copper 22 pound platter.   The SP10R is 17 pound platter and no torque spec.

Will be interesting to find what that missing spec brings to the performance table.   In my system I have added a super heavy stainless steel platter mat and center weight and it provided a HUGE  improvement.  The MK3 motor still brings the platter to perfect speed in part of a single revolution, that’s what torque does and I wonder if that same torque might be the major contributor to super controlled crushing bass the MK3 provides.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter


Not sure if you've seen this, but it looks interesting. He's using the SP10R motor.


I've been experimenting with tubes, recently purchased triple mica silver plate Mazda 12AU7 and Sylvainia dark glass 6AN8, both of which are required in the Allnic L10000.

It's amazing how much change can be made by tube choices, currently enjoying Holland Bugle Boy 12AU7 and loving the layers and dynamics this provides.

Considering Emission Labs (WE equivelent) 300B to try against my current favorite the Takatsuki.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

I sold my demo pair of Allnic M5000 mono blocks to a customer who I now regard as a friend.

My new M5000 are completed, shipped and due to arrive this coming week.

My Studer is in the hands of a local tech who will replace the meter lamps, realign heads and do a general tune up.  I can hardly wait to hear what these changes bring.

I also plan on testing a few 12AU7 tubes, required in my Allnic L10000. 

On hand are:

(French) Mazda 5 star triple mica
Telefunken (1960s) smooth plate
Mullard 12AU7 square getter
Mullard military CV4003
Mullard 7316 (an ultra low noise version)

One of these should have the perfect personality  to push the Allnic L10000 into even higher performance.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

The web address I provided is Mockingbird Distributon,  Phillip is a friend and the guy that brings in MuTech.

You can contact me via any ad I have running at Audiogon or contact Phillip.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter


Mutech Hayabusa, and fairly reasonable price.   I prefer it to Kiseki Purple Heart which is a great cartridge.   Difference is primary in the high frequencies, Mutech Hayabusa is more open than the Kiseki but still warm.

Mike Fremer is supposed to do a review soon, I will have access to them for people that want to deal with me.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

Hi Albert.

Which cartridge is it? I'm looking for a great cartridge to use, right around this price point. 




A friend has become distributor for a very nice MC cartridge, I listened to it and bought one for my system.  No, it's not an Air Tight Opus but it does share some character of it and yet blends contrast and tonal balance more toward the Lyra ETNA.

I believe the price will be $4500.00, so a bit more money than the Kiseki Purple Heart but only about third of the Opus and Lyra ETNA.

In short I think there will be audiophiles that find it a perfect match for their system.  I'll post more when I get more hours on it and full correct data from manufacturer

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

I did not know about him.   A purchase at Amazon brought up his name and album and from there I listened, read about him and bought both of his LPs.

Turns out he's from Ft. Worth, TX.   I grew up there, only a short drive from Dallas where I live now.

Leon reminds me a bit of Al Green and Sam Cooke, both artists I admire.  Leon is a bit more Hip Hop but also a younger man.

I miss the posts at Audiogon where people discuss new music.   A few years ago I was very strong on the forums over Black Dub, the group with Daniel Lanois, Brian Blade and Trixie Whitley.   I still listen to them and grateful to have in my library.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter


I got to see Leon Bridges in concert last year. He put on an amazing show and the music was spectacular. 


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