Focal Grande Utopia EM in black finish

Analog music sources, Technics SP10 MK3 fitted with SME V-12 tonearm and new Kuzma 4 Point 14".   Studer A810 Archival half and quarter track IEC EQ tape machine.

Digital music source is Macintosh Mini, late 2015 version with solid state drive and maxed out  RAM. JRiver operating system for music.  Play mostly AIFF, plus DSD and HD Tracks Downloads and Image File SACD,

Allnic H-5000 DHT Phono, and NEW Allnic L-7000 preamp feed Allnic M-5000 or M3000 Mono Blocks.

Computer USB cable to Allnic D-5000 is new Purist Audio 30th Anniversary.  Computer cable from Mac to Data Tale 4 bay 16 TB drive is Audioquest Thunderbolt Coffee. 

All other cable is Purist Audio 25th Anniversary Luminist.  Six 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 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.
    • SME V-12 ( two each)
    Their best 12" tonearm
    • Air Tight Opus
    Air Tight new top of the line phono cartridge
    • Air Tight PC-1 Supreme
    Newest and best Air Tight, mounted on SME V12
    • Koetsu Coralstone Platinum
    Top tier stone body Koetsu, perfect alternate to Air Tight Supreme
    • Lyra Atlas
    Newest from Lyra
    • Allnic Puritas
    Allnic MC cartridge with unique design that mimics cutter head.
    • ORB-DF03 USA version DF03
    Excellent LP flattener, simple to use and so far perfect result
    • Macintosh Mac Mini (2015 model)
    OCZ solid state HD, Amarra Pro, Pure Music, JRiver and Play software.
    • Purist Audio Design Purist 30th Anniversary USB
    Never thought anything could displace the excellent Audioquest Diamond USB but Purist finally did it.   If not for this new 30th Anniversary AQ would still be in the system.
    • Atomic Audio Labs Mac Mini Platform
    Isolation platform.
    • KECES DC216
    Regulated 12A capacity linear power supply. I have two of these, one for Mac Mini and the other for DataTale 4 bay Thunderbolt drive.
    • KECES Cables
    I added this to show how KECES connects to Mac Mini via C7 AC jack (hole).
    • Allnic D5000 DHT DAC
    Direct Heated Triode, transformer coupled DAC.
    • Allnic L-7000 NEW preamp
    L-7000 is brand new preamp with many improvements cosmetically and performance wise.
    • 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 H5000 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
    • Bel Canto Design e.One Ref 600M
    Newest class D monoblock amplifiers from Bel Canto.  These are back up amps, expecting good things from them, new design with high impedance input and improved circuity.
    • Takatsuki TA-300B
    Replaced factory EH 300B with Takatsuki 300B and got a substantial, remarkable upgrade.
    • KLaudio Ultrasonic LP cleaning machine
    Ultrasonic LP cleaning machine made in S. Korea.
    • Audio Desk Automatic LP Cleaner
    KLAudio from Korea and Audio Desk from Germany shown together.
    • 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
    • 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 Phono X 2
    1.5M and 1.7M Purist 25th Anniversary phono cables. DIN to RCA
    • 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.
    • Purist Audio Luminist 25th Anniversary AC X 4
    Purist 10 gauge pure silver, triple filter AC cable. (1ea) Technics MK3 power supply (1ea) Studer A810 (2ea) Linear Supplies for Mac Mini and four bay Data Tale digital storage drive
    • Leica Disto D2
    Super laser measuring tool. Indispensable for setting distance and alignment of your speakers

Comments 4607


Yes, this next Tuesday is on for the group.  Contact me via Audiogon and I'll send you contact info.



My friend lives in Colleyville, I live in Lantana so we are both close.  Tuesday works for us, are you having one this tuesday?



Thanks for reply, I'll look for you to contact me.



I'm in DFW area  should you live near or travel through.   You are welcome to listen with us.   Tuesday evening is ideal as there are a room full of other music lovers and each has a system unique to their taste.


Hey, no worries, Albert. I will drop you a line, thanks.





I have been following your system for years.  One day I would like to be able to hear it, I will bring my friend with me.  My friend and I have similar level systems... approx 60-100K for a 2ch system... nothing like yours, but we have some experience so we're not just tire-kicking enthursiasts but bonafide audiophiles.  Would love to hear what those Grandes are capable of.   


Scott,  I’m sorry, I absolutely missed your post asking the question.  I saw the one from Jayctoy and thought that's all there was.

You're welcome to call me or send private message and I'll provide my email address.



I found your impressions of the Bel Canto e.One 600 monos on the previous page.





Thank you for the kind words.  You are welcome to come enjoy a night of music if you travel our way.


Albert I know if I will look at your system and Mike Lavigne I would learn and discover something new.I love those speakers..


Hello, Albert,

I hope all is well. Think of you and your system every time I plug my system into the Porter Ports I purchased from you back in '06. You were even gracious enough to take a phone call from a newer "audiophile". Thanks for taking the time to "talk shop" and the advice you gave me.

As usual your room and system looks fantastic. It's not just the gear but that the room looks so inviting and comfortable. Very well done.

I hope you don't mind a question( or two)? I noticed you have the Bel Canto e.One Ref 600m listed in your system page. In what capacity are you using them? How do you like them? I'm especially curious about the sound in the mids and highs.

I'm looking to put at least one hundred watts in my system with a budget of $3k and I'm looking at Bel Canto and Wyred 4 Sound on the class d front or an integrated from the Marantz Reference line. The system is on 14-16hrs a day so tubes cannot be considered.

I'm looking for big tone and a big sound. Ultimate detail and transparency is not a goal. 

Having said that I'm just curious about your thoughts on the Bel Canto amps and class d amplification.

Thanks for your time and your thoughts. TIA




Added image and brief description of the new Allnic L-7000 preamp.  I loved the L-3000 but this new L-7000 is better in every way.


The Kuzma 4 point 14" may turn out to be my all time favorite.  Great dynamics, almost zero tracking error due to length and tonal balance equal to SME V12 which is pretty perfect (in my opinion).

The Kuzma is one of the most expensive but other arms I've owned required after market tonearm cables.  Considering the cost savings using factory (unbroken run) of cable from cartridge clips to phono stage and the Kuzma is in line for great value as well as top tier performance.


I loaded several custom parameters in the data base.  I needed several for Allnic including 6AK6, E282F 8233 and 3A5.   I don't remember how many of those existed and how many were custom but Amplitrex built me three or four adapters that allow testing in existing sockets.

I love the tester, biggest thing beyond what we point out is, it tests power tubes and gives accurate results.   I've had three other testers and many will give passing grade on KT88, KT120 and KT150 tubes when they are shorted or have otherwise failed.

I'm a Mac computer guy but Win 10 is trying to make things easier.   I'm still learning and plan to eventually buy a Brother label printer so I can attach sticker to each tube box with test results and curve trace.


The Amplitrex AT 1000 is a great tube tester. I've had mine for 5 years or so. The curve tracing is pretty cool. It's a great heuristic device too as it helps you learn about the tube parameters in your components, but it takes some patience. You should know there is a separate tube data file that you can customize by loading data in for new tubes not already in the database (although it has all the common ones).

Glad to hear the machine works with Windows 10. I'm using an older OS and may want to upgrade it at some point!


After running signal through the Kuzma tonearm for 160 hours I got it set up on my custom MK3 Technics. I choose the Air Tight Opus rather than Koetsu Coralstone since I tend to play the Air Tight more often.

Initial sound is very good, will take several weeks to get everything sorted out and adjusted for best performance.


I just received the new Kuzma 4 Point 14" tonearm and I'm working to get a custom mount board made for my Technics MK3 in Panzerholz +Rosewood  plinth.

The Kuzma  has a special order, 1.7 meter silver tonearm wire that runs unbroken from cartridge clips to RCA connectors into the phono. 

I still  have two SME V12 tonearms and will eventually have an opinion about performance between these two.  The Kuzma will get the Air Tight Opus and the Koetsu Coralstone will remain in one of the SME V12 arms.

I started breaking in the Kuzma tonearm wire yesterday, running analog output from my DAC into it, and feeding the preamp.   I plan on at least 100 hours burn before disconnecting from DAC and installing the MC cartridge.


I just found a match pair of 1959 Western Electric 422A tubes.  Excited to try out in my Allnic H5000 and compare performance against 1943 RCA CRC 5R4GY



Is there more to your test method or full disclosure as posted?   I'm new to this  tester but impressed so far.   I had a KT150 power tube that was behaving in an odd way and the Hickok showed it was fine.

I tested via the Amplitrex and it showed short + partial gas problem.   Not much gets by this tester.

I bought a cheap refurbished HP Windows 10 laptop and installed the software  provided by Amplitrex.  Now I can type in the tube number and it loads.  No more scrolling through the electronic roll chart.

The HP is not yet set up to print data but it's  capable via WiFi. The Amplitrex folks suggest a Brother brand label maker for addresses.  That way you can print then peel and stick data to a "white" tube box.

That reads to be a great option, especially since there is an option for curve trace matching.  Once I'm caught up I want to test all the tubes I have hanging around here.   I have several hundred popular types, would be nice to know which are great and dispose of any that don't cut it.


Albert, I have the Amplitrex as well (about 3 years now). It's a great tester, but you have to interpret the figures. It's not just a simple reading like the other testers. I made a chart that may help you. I use the Fixed Bias setting. I use these figures Gm 90 to 100% Better than new, 80% Excellent, 70% Good (Average), 60% OK, and 50% Poor I believe the Gm which is like transconductance  is what most testers give you. The Amplitrex also does Current. Enjoy Albert watch out though because friends will be bringing tubes to you or you will be making house calls. The tube doctor has arrived.


I received the Amplitrex AT1000 I ordered from Chris Terraneau a few weeks ago.  I must say I am more than impressed by this state of the art tube tester as well as the customer service I received from Mr. Terraneau.

I needed to test common tubes found in high end audio but also the specialty tubes Allnic choose for their designs.

Some of the specialty tubes Allnic uses are:

Kron RS-242  in H5000 DHT phono.
HL2 in H5000 DHT phono. 
3A5 in D5000 DAC 
8233 / E55L Magnoval base (second stage driver) in new Allnic M5000 amps.

Mr. Terraneau not only supplied Zip file with proper test data, but also built three tube adapters that allow Amplitrex testing with and without (optional) Windows laptop interface !

I found some tube errors in my system that did not show with other testers.  Made a few changes and got a significant performance boost.

Of course the new Purist 30th Anniversary AC cables are the other side of this upgrade.  My digital is literally better now than my analog was a few years ago (before the SP10 MK3).

I have 30th Anniversary AC on Allnic M5000 amps, Focal EM power supplies, Allnic L3000 preamp Allnic D5000 DAC and Allnic H5000 phono.  

I moved my Purist 25th Praesto AC cables over to the two linear power supplies that feed Macintosh Mini and Data Tale 4 bay music storage.  Hard to believe how much AC cables effect this position in the system.  Wish I could afford 30th Anniversary here.

I did not think this much improvement was left in my system.   If nothing else it proves it’s best to keep an open mind and experiment.


Regarding:  Albert, thanks for hosting us again last night for a great evening of music. The new Allnic M5000 amps are fantastic, as is the Air Tight Opus I.

After years of setting up phono cartridges, I did not believe that we would hear a miniscule change in tracking force, but we could all easily hear a change of 2/100ths of a gram tracking force with the Air Tight!

Amazing, and this speaks to the overall resolution of your system.


Thank you for that !  We all work hard to try and achieve that magical level where the system gets out of the way and you're transported directly to the emotion of the music.

I agree on the new Allnic M5000.  They just keep getting better every week.  I think the huge custom transformers still have awhile to go to reach 100%.  That's normal for all transformers, improve with hours and these are easy to hear as they change.

Next meeting I want to move the tracking 1/100th of a gram heavier, hope to maintain the fragile perfection in the highs but improve the bass like we had earlier in the evening.   Maybe even back off the anti skate a tiny bit.

As I posted in reply to Jeff, I have two substantial changes coming for the digital, Allnic D5000 DAC.   If you return to hear what the Purist AC contribute I think you will be surprised.

I also want a  3 meter Purist 30th Anniversary AC for the MK3 motor controller.  I know it's a bit insane but every time I've upgraded there the improvement pay off, simply stunning what that cable does for the system.


Regarding:  Albert, I now have 100 hours on the Purist USB cable and it if f-- fantastic. So open, detailed, harmonically right and full in the mids. My system is transformed can you believe just this one cable?


I agree.  This last Tuesday night with friends in our audio group, my digital was working at a level beyond anything I've ever heard.  

My Purist USB is completely broken in now and I found a couple of marginal tubes (and replaced them) in my Allnic D5000 DAC.

Those two changes brought a huge improvement, we listened to several cuts while spinning LPs.    I ordered a Purist 30th Anniversary AC for the DAC and the 25th Anniversary that's there now will move to the linear power supply for computer and Data Tale drive bay.   I think these two changes will make a startling improvement.


Albert, thanks for hosting us again last night for a great evening of music. The new Allnic M5000 amps are fantastic, as is the Air Tight Opus I. After years of setting up phono cartridges, I did not believe that we would hear a miniscule change in tracking force, but we could all easily hear a change of 2/100ths of a gram tracking force with the Air Tight! Amazing, and this speaks to the overall resolution of your system.


Albert, I now have 100 hours on the Purist USB cable and it if f-- fantastic. So open, detailed, harmonically right and full in the mids. My system is transformed can you believe just this one cable? I will have to call Purist and let him know.  I don't know if you know him, but Andre Jennings of the Absolute Sound will be coming to my home for a listen in late September. The best Jeff


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