Sunday, November 30, 2014

New gear arriving

The upshot of my last 'Zine review on the Purist and Furutech phono cables was to push me further here to tweak every last bit of performance out of my tonearm. Scot, the rep who submitted the Furutech cable offered to send a set of their  La Source 101 headshell leads to complement the SME V arm and I accepted with some trepidation given the rather finicky nature of swapping such leads in and out -- this is no mere cable swap but a task that involves removing the cartridge, at least partly, if only to gain room for one’s fingers and tweezers. Still, enquiring minds want to know what, if any, benefits one can obtain from this so stay tuned.

Dave Thomson, the chief driver behind Raven Audio here in Texas followed up with me post-RMAF to offer his Nighthawk integrated tube amp for review. This was not what we’d originally discussed as he has some great new designs coming but it was available and who am I to refuse such a generous offer. It’s been a few years since I had a tube amp in for review and right now, the surprisingly portable Nighthawk is warming up in one of my secondary rigs (should I have a tertiary rig since I have three different set ups in various rooms?) and reminding me of just what so many people cannot give up on tubes. This is Raven’s lowest price amp (circa $1250 for 20w) but I am really keen to hear how it handles my upper end speakers.

Finally, I have a sample Essence of Sound CD treatment in house. This is a spray treatment that promises wonderful improvement in standard CD sonics -- am usually suspicious of such claims but Robert from Essence is pretty detailed on how his treatment works. Right now I have treated the one CD pair I have to hand (and I’ve another pair on order) so I can keep a couple of  direct A/B comparisons on hand for any visitors. From there, I’m going to give a few of my old favorites the treatment to see if this has the claimed effect. Not sure if my use of the PS Audio PWT memory transport hinders the effect so I’ll try this in a secondary rig too. Who knew that hoarding gear all these years would become such a benefit --- someone tell that to my wife!

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