Simon Yorke Sings at Tone of Audio

The Simon Yorke S10 Record Player ($19,950), now imported into the US by Tim Nguyen's Tone of Audio in San Francisco, is the replacement for the former Simon Yorke S7. That's the table Michael Fremer used as his reference for 10 years until the far, far more expensive Continuum Labs Caliburn entered his life in 2006. The new S10 is completely hand-machined on a lathe by Simon and his son Spencer from solid raw blocks of aluminum and non-magnetic iron.

Beautifully matched with the Convergent Audio preamp ($9950) and Jl2 signature amp ($19,950), and heard through Quad ESL-2805 loudspeakers ($9950) and Synergistic Research cabling, the sound was wonderfully clear and warm, with a most pleasing euphonic tint. On a very left-speaker/right-speaker Blue Note LP of Hank Mobley, the sax was to die for.

Proprietor Tim Nguyen also sells Einstein, Luxman, and Harbeth components. Am I going to find the time to take him up on his dinner invitation, so I can hear the 1000 LPs I wish I could have stayed for? You betcha.

Stephen Scharf's picture

Jason's comments here are spot on, IMO. This was probably my favorite room.....Tim was knowledgeable, friendly, and oriented towards vinyl! And the Quads sounded, well....sublime. Still amongst the very best speakers I've ever heard.

Bill Bailey's picture

I work at a very well established high end dealer, one who is lucky enough to stock (and have on permanent dem) the Simon Yorke SY10, as well as many other pieces of exceptional equipment....Problem is no one is coming to in to hear this kind of stuff anymore. We all have to face up to the fact that the argument to convince people (even 'music lovers') that a good (yes, usually expensive) playback system is a wonderful investment is well on the way to being lost.Personally I think it's a tragedy. I'm very lucky to have been able to listen to gear like this for the last ten years, but it truly saddens me that the next generation seems detemined to miss out.I think we're all responsible (media, dealers, manufacturers): yes, a lot of the stuff is overpriced + over-hyped etc) but when one of these systems really sings... my god, it's a life changing experience.I would love to think that the horse hasn't bolted, and I still work very hard (no, I don't make a lot of money either!), but it is a crying shame.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

As I will note in my final write-up, there was a significant number of under 50, under 40, and even under 30 attendees at this show. While your frustration is justified, I believe that all is far from lost.

Tim Nguyen's picture

Jason, thank you for your kind words and more than anything I am happy all the hard work we put forth to put on a good show for all attendees paid off. It is really most rewarding to know that we were able to make your visit to the Tone Of Music Audio room enjoyable. I am going to drag you over here for some listening fun and munch.

Tim Nguyen's picture

Stephen, Thank for your kind words and visiting my room. I am glad you were digging our sound.

Stephen Scharf's picture

No worries, Tim. Your room sounded wonderful....and it was a pleasure to hear some vinyl instead of the all the CDs almost everyone else were playing (ugh...)

Dave's picture

Bill Bailey,what you said is very true.A lot of hifi especially the up market products is over priced and over-hyped etc.All is because of marketing and good review.Yes,in some way it does cost.But to over price it,is CRAZY.That is why,Airasia airline which is cheap and good is doing so well compare to most international airline companies(some even going bankrupt).Why?also over priced and over-hyped.We are in the 21st century where there are going to be lots of competitions on products and services."Value for money" as the saying goes-like what China products are selling.Bill Bailey,I salute you for speaking up as a retailer.As the saying goes,"the truth hurts".

Howard Simon's picture

As a customer of Tim's who volunteered to help staff the room, I truly believe that his room was--and by a fair measure--the most *musical* place at the show. A good many of the systems were digital source into exceptionally precise solid-state electronics heard through very well-honed dynamic speakers. Although these systems reproduced music with enormous *accuracy*, I personally found them largely clinical-sounding, soulless and emotionally uninvolving. The rooms seemed to be far more about the *equipment* than the *music*, which to me is the thing that most bedevils this wonderful hobby/obsession of ours. Tim's room really was different. The Yorke sounded fast and precise but with a lot of warmth. (And to me at least, nine times out of ten, well-done analog just sounds more like *music* than does even excellent digital, which was well represented at the show.) The CAT electronics had depth and musicality and the Quads (I own 2905s so I'm biased) sounded great. Hats off to Tim for putting the music first!

Tim Nguyen's picture

I too wish we could present these pieces at the prices of stuff made in china but Simon Yorke Record Players are not mass produced in some factory nor are made from materials that can be had cheaply in quantity. These hand sculpted works of art are created with love and dedication (each one takeing over a month to build) for the sole purpose of delivering an out of the ordinary musical experience and to quote Bill"when one of these systems really sings... my god, it's a life changing experience"

Rick's picture

Its obvious that the posters commenting on the Yorke finish dont know much about machining. The end result is a good as the operator whether its cnc or manual period. As far as the sound I was a bit disappointed. Ive heard this equipment before and owned some of it mabey the quads arent a good match for that amp or Tim just didnt have the room dialed in but Ive heard those speakers sound much better in vinyl systems costing much less.

Tim Nguyen's picture

Rick have you owned an S10? With the Quads being a dipole and having the rear waves firing against a big 8x10 window is certainly not ideal...the room is what it is... however in despite of this, several attendees repeatedly told me we got the best sound at the show...

Jumbojim's picture

This talk about price and comparative manufacturing process is pointless... like comparing MacDonald's and an upscale restaurant whats the point? I went back to this room several times, they played all types of music, and I have never heard the Quads sound so good. Volume level was a bit on the high side in the small room but man the sound had a reach out and touch quality that I really liked... I can't afford the Yorke or the Cat stuff but I really enjoyed it.

Tim Nguyen's picture

Boy,I guess we should all settle for mediocrity and call it a day.... For the pursuit of art or perfection is all bs.