In Living Stereo Celebrates Mono
On the evening of July 24, the passing of EMT's classic OFD series of pickup heads was noted in singular style: In Living Stereo, the hi-fi and record store that represents EMT in New York City, invited their customers to drop by for drinks, snacks, and the opportunity to hear their favorite mono LPs played with OFD 15 and OFD 25 pickups on an otherwise all-Shindo system: 301 turntable/tonearm ($30,000), Aurieges Phono EQ phono preamplifier, which includes a dedicated mono input transformer ($7895), Vosne-Romanee preamplifier ($19,900), Lafon GM 70 mono amplifiers ($21,995/pair), and a one-of-a-kind pair of Shindo Vitavox loudspeakers ($80,000/pair, pictured below), with Shindo silver interconnects, Auditorium 23 speaker cable, a Shindo Mr. T power distributor ($2000), and a Ligno Lab isolation rack.
The precise reason for the event: In response to dealer demand and under the direction of CEO Jules Limon, EMT scoured their factory and came up with enough parts to make one final run of 55 OFD pickups: a fitting number, given that the OFD design was introduced 55 years ago, in 1959. (The line is being phased out because the tooling for one component parta small, seemingly insignificant nub of clear polycarbonatewas irreparably damaged, and the cost of replacing it is unlikely to be offset by future demand.) Of those 55 pickups, 18 are destined for the US, and while some are already spoken for, there now exists a chance to get hold of a brand new OFD 25i (with a 25µm spherical stylus tip that's suited for monophonic microgroove records) or OFD 65i (the 65µm stylus for 78rpm discs), both of whose output pins are aligned for the average SME-standard ("international") tonearm. A few samples of the same pickups with output pins aligned for old-style EMT tonearms are also being made. As the pickups are still in production, EMT and US importer Tone Imports have yet the establish the exact price, but it is estimated to be $2250 each.
For the ILS party, not all of the two dozen or so guests brought their own mono vinylbut those who did shared some especially great records. Highlights included one of three volumes of Johanna Martzy's recordings of the Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin, reissued by the Electric Recording Company, a lovely mono copy of Nat "King" Cole's Love is the Thing, and the very rare mono version of a title that most of us have heard only in stereo, Sonny Rollins's Way Out West. The latter's superior body, color, and impactespecially evident in Ray Brown's impeccable bass playingwas nothing short of stunning through the EMT/Shindo system.