One spring day years ago I wondered into a music store looking for the latest and greatest album at the time. Instead, I was treated to a demonstration of Klipsch K Horns powered by a pair of Mcintosh tube amps playing a piano conerto followed by a musician playing the same piece live. That, my friends is where the journey began.

The latest...

This has been a pretty large project getting to what you see here. I built my house around the sound room! I also did all the finish work in the sound room myself. The next one will be much easier! It's cost a fair amount of money and gray hair too but I feel it's cheaper than the professional therapy that I would have needed without the vast improvements the sound room has contributed.

If you ever come past Boise, stop by and we'll have a Koolaid and listen to the latest Marcel Marceau record.

Room Details

Dimensions: 26’ × 16’  Large
Ceiling: 10’

Components Toggle details

    • The Beat SE from KODO Audio
    My new Magdrive® table. A long time coming but worth it!
    • Rockport Technologies Lyra
    3.5 way speakers
    • CH Precision M1.1 monoblocks
    • Nordost Odin 2 wires
    Full loom
    • Schröder LT
    Pivoted Linear Tracking arm. Does what other linear tracking arms attempt to do, namely removing lateral loads on the stylus/cantilever!
    • Lyra Etna SL
    MC cartridge
    • CH Precision P1 phonostage and X1 power supply
    • CH Precision L1 linestage
    Used in the monoblock configuration, one box per side
    • Commonwealth Electronics 12A and 12D idler drive tables
    A VERY turntable
    • Garrard 301 Oil bearing Schedule 2
    Shown is one of my new platters for the 301. This table shows me just how much we have NOT advanced as far as turntables are concerned. Much like British sports cars, it has soul as well as a few quirks. A keeper to be sure.
    • Lyra Olympos
    This is one special cart. A legend.
    • ReQuest THE BEAST
    Full meal deal server
    • CH Precision C1 DAC
    • Equi=Tech Balanced power unit
    • Berning ZH1250's
    250 watt tubed mono block amps. I commissioned David Berning to work his magic into a high powered set of amps that could do it all. In short, he succeded.
    • Schröder Reference SQ 10
    A piece of art
    • Technics SP-10 MK 3
    Mounted in one of my custom plinths. Wish I would found this unit 25 years ago. Would have saved a lot of searching.
    • EMT 930st, 938, 948 and a 950
    German engineering that makes most tables look like Tinker Toys. I have replaced the original tonearms with the Ref and Tri-Planars. These tables are special indeed.
    • Fidelity Research FR-66s
    Tonearm & a work of art
    • DS Audio DS Master 1
    • Custom Stands
    Custom built. Solid as a rock. Dead quiet!

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Thanks for that response Vetterone. In that case it might be simplest to go for the Soundsmith SG-510 full function preamp with remote and route any auxiliary sources (DAC, tuner, other MC phono stages) through this. I am certainly in favour of reducing box count in a system and since I listen to analog 99% of the time this should not represent a real compromise.

All of the positive things that have been said about the Strain Gauge appeal very strongly, especially the super low groove noise. I have a ZYX/Sonic Purity Ayame (kind of like a nude Universe built exclusively for the Australian and New Zealand market) which is already very good indeed and very quiet in the groove but if the Strain Gauge exceeds the ZYX Universe, Lyra Olympus, top Allaerts, top Koetsu and Dynavector XV-1s then it sounds like something worthy of serious consideration.

Best Regards,


Hi Vetterone,

Do you run the Soundsmith Strain Guage phono preamp into your preferred active preamp or do you find better results driving your power amps directly? Do you feel that there is enough voltage gain from the Strain Guage phono preamps fixed outputs to use with a zero-gain volume control (the buffered Placette Active for example) and amps with high input sensitivity (less than 1 volt for rated output)? My own system uses an active line level crossover so presumably some voltage gain is present in this device already.

Thanks for any insight into this interesting device.