van den Hul Black Beauty MC phono cartridge Page 5
The Forsell Air Force One did most of the work, with brief but musical moments on Ms. Spotheim's La Luce turntable and SpJ arm. The Forsell and its Flywheel sit atop a pair of Signal Guard II anti-resonance platforms, which help greatly in isolating them both from the environment. Phono cable was exclusively XLO Signature. A good deal of time was logged on the Nagra PL-P preamplifier, using its hot-rod tape outs and with its internal MC transformers engaged, volume adjusted with the input potentiometers. Other preamps included the YBA Signature 6 Chassis with both its own MC transformer modules and the Expressive Technologies SU-1 step-up. (The dynamics were incredible.) I also had good luck with the Balanced Audio Technology VK-P10 phono stage on its own internal step-up transformers into both the BAT VK-5i and the new Classé Omega line-level preamp. I used a variety of amplifiers: VTL MB-1250 Wotans, a pair of Classé Omegas, Nagra VPA monoblocks, Pass X-1000 monoblocks, and the dual-mono Forsell Statement.
Speakers were our JMlab Utopias. Cable systems included Synergistic Research Designer's Reference, and upgraded DR with the Discrete Shielding option. Cardas Golden Reference, XLO The Limited, and TARA The One were also in the system. I wired up the RCA-to-XLR Canorus cable when running the Nagra PL-P into balanced amplifier inputs. Power cords were Synergistic's Designer's Reference Squared Master Couplers.
ASC Studio Traps and Argent RoomLenses rounded out the acoustic treatments, with plenty of Black Diamond Racing, DH Labs, and PolyCrystal cones used throughout the system. PolyCrystal racks and Cable Towers have become indispensable chez 10.
I used and highly recommend the following analog devices and unguents: The Winds Arm Load Meter, a decent level, LAST Stylus Cleaner and Treatment, Record Research LP #9 cleaning fluid, my old ZeroStat antistatic gun, Shun Mook and Harmonix record weights, and a fresh dental-floss drive belt!—Jonathan Scull