Author Archives: admin

Vacation! Closed July 6-17

Whetstone Audio, my cell phone and I, will be CLOSED / TURNED OFF from July 6-17. Reaching me will be futile! I will reopen on Saturday July 18th. I'll be refreshed, invigorated and probably have a much better attitude and disposition at that time.
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THÖ is on the FLÖ!!!

My long awaited Thöress 845 mono blocks have finally arrived to round out the rest of the system. I have, without a doubt, one of the finest systems in the great state of Texas! This is a whole new level!
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onward and upward!

Pretty soon there will be a new website and blog at this address.  It may be a mess for a bit until it's tweaked. Please be patient!

In addition to providing Hi-Fi gear, Whetstone will have Fine Art Photography (from Modern Rocks Gallery) and very cool lighting from Microphonics (pictured) for sale. Don't worry! I'll still have some "low-brow" links and "hump day honies"! There will be lots of cool events coming up to celebrate the face lift.  Stay Tuned!

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Grado. The “e” series

Brooklyn's Grado family has introduced their third generation of headphones. Known as the "e" series, they have made significant improvements throughout. Price Increase? HELL NO! Grado likes keeping it real without yearly 5% price increases. Go Grado! Want a deal? Come snag my remaining "i" series Grados for 20% off!!!

The Gang’s All Here!

The Line Magnetic 219ia single ended triode integrated amp is on the floor! 24 watts of seductive sweetness. I personally love the cold war era design. 120+ pounds of iron! I've named her "Beast". Come hear her purrrrrrrr.

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BOX IT UP!

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I just got in a few racks from BOX Furniture! The shop is getting tight! Literally!

I have ON SALE some nice, gently used, Quadraspire racks! 25% off Retail!

Line Magnetic Gold Series 515CD with tube output!

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The Line Magnetic 515CD provides a choice between a CD player / transport and USB input. It's XMOS asynchronous USB utilizes a chip with a sampling rate of 32bit. 44.1KHz, 48KHz, 88.2KHz, 96KHz, 176.4KHz and 192KHz.

Output includes AES/EBU, BNC, OPTICAL and COAXIAL. A Sony transport has been used and two 6ZK8 tubes are used for output circuitry. $2350.

Guru Junior in the house!!

I just received the first pair in the US for review. WOW!! A teeny tiny speaker (7"x9"x11") with enormous bass! These go deeeeeep! Obviously a transmission line design done right. Playing some Bunny Wailer through them is pretty fun. The bass is tight, low and tuneful. Check out this What Hi-Fi Review They're currently playing nicely with the Heed Obelisk SI integrated and matching Obelisk X2 power supply... another blog entry for later. Condo dweller / small room people listen up! I have your speaker! $1250

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More New Naim… NAIT!

The Evolution of NAIT
The NAIT amplifier, first launched in 1983, is one of Naim’s most iconic products. Early models are still much sought after by music enthusiasts. In celebration of Naim’s 40th anniversary, three new and improved integrated amplifiers are superseding the existing NAIT 5si, NAIT XS 2 and SUPERNAIT. The new products will be put into production in mid-July.

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In true Naim tradition all three amplifiers feature larger mains transformers and improved power supplies. Power supply is key to the performance of any hi-fi product and arguably more so in the performance of an amplifier. An improvement to a power supply can often be seen on the test bench, but much more significant is the performance increase it brings to the real world of music playing.

The existing amplifiers have gained a solid reputation for delivering a musical performance at the top of their respective classes. These new and improved models will only enhance this reputation.

Naim are especially proud of the consistency of ‘voice’ or character of the three new NAITs. Upgrading from a NAIT 5si to an NAIT XS 2 or from a NAIT XS 2 to a SUPERNAIT 2 brings more power, a wider dynamic range, more slam, lower noise, a more defined more powerful low end but intrinsically the character remains the same.

NEW NAIM NOW IN!!

The new Naim DAC V1 and NAP100 power amp are now on the floor! If you are looking for a desktop system with huge huevos or a simple digital only system, look no further! This DAC is a serious contender! I've already posted a lot about them... just come listen! Your eyes are deaf. (excuse the horrible iphone pic, I can't find my camera!)
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Your Hump Day Honey!

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I'm back from a whirlwind weekend! I played a gig in San Antonio Saturday night with The Eastside Blues Alliance and then drove to Dallas on Sunday morning. Partied with a friend and then met with The Sound Organisation on Monday morning to check out some Naim goodies! The DAC V-1 and NAP-100 amp are simply the best desk top audio system available. I should have some here to demo in... "two weeks mate"..

Happy 40th Naim!

Wow! I've been a dealer for nearly half of Naim's legacy! Since the "olive" years! I personally run some recapped "chrome bumper" kit at home. Keep your eyes peeled for lots of new Naim at the shop in the coming months! I'm going to Sound Org. on Monday for some Naim training / braining! CHECK THIS OUT!
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WWNYD?

Entertaining clip of Neil Young getting mad about a bootleg pressing of a CSN&Y concert he finds in a funky little record store. Welcome to 1971.

time to escape..

..the heat, phones, facebook, iThings, computers, crap on TV, annoying hipsters and did I mention heat? Our annual family road trip to Colorado is upon us. The shop will be closed from June 25th through July 4th. I will be checking my email from time to time. My phone will be OFF because I'll be doing a lot of this..

3 is a magic number.

I remember thinking that the Electric Company was so much more sophisticated than Sesame Street. If it weren't for BOB DOROUGH, the World would be a lot more dense (hard to fathom, right?). He was the man behind Schoolhouse Rock! I grew up on this stuff. He's coming to do two shows this weekend! Don't miss it!

The Bevis Frond!


Every time I go to my local record shop I look in anticipation for a new Bevis Frond release. To my delight I ran across a new one today (happy dad day to me!). It was released over a year ago, but it's news to me. The Leaving of London is full of melodic hooks, you'll find yourself humming all day long. "The Frond" are a psychedelic band from London led by guitarist Nick Saloman. Another excellent band that has sadly been under the radar for the past 26 years. Order it HERE.

girls rock camp


I will be running out of the shop on Saturday from 12:30-2:00. My daughter Lily is going to be playing her first gig. I must brag and tell you she is a natural drummer, keeps way better time than her old man and thinks most current pop music sucks.

What a Combo!!

The Naim UnitiQute paired with the Guru QM10 are a stunning combo. Where's the sub?
Come hear it! Also in the shop, the new 2TB UnitiServe!!

Gillian Welch @ Stubbs


My wife,"Precious" and I had a date and saw Gillian Welch last night. We hopped on the new train for a buck each and ended up in the middle of the ROT Ralley...motorcycle mayhem! Lots of dudes who looked like Dog the Bounty Hunter and their "old ladies". We grabbed a slice at Hoek's Death Metal Pizza wondering how someone could work a 12 hour shift listening to Slayer non-stop. We made a quick escape to Lovejoys for a even quicker pint and then off to Stubbs. Gillian did two sets that were nothing short of a spiritual experience. She touched upon all of her records and many off her new release, The Harrow & The Harvest. Ms. Welch and Dave Rawlings tore it up for two hours and saved her epic song Miss Ohio and Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit for the encore. If they come to your town, don't miss them!

Rega Shipment

I Just got a pallet of Rega goodies for my patient customers. Rega are kicking arse and doing their best to keep up with demand. What's a few weeks wait for a lifetime of enjoyment?

Heed in Tejas!


Today I had the pleasure of finally meeting Alpar Huszti from Heed Audio. Heed are a small Hi-Fi company from Budapest Hungary. I've had a few things in from Heed over the years. The Quasar phono pre and CanAmp are currently in the shop. Coming out soon are the new Enigma speakers which are a omni directional design similar to Shahinians. Heed simply make excellent, affordable gear for people who love music. I enjoyed throwing a few beers back at the pub and talking audio with these gentlemen. It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon!

Pictured is Bob Clarke of Profundo and Alpar Huszti of Heed.

El Gusano

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El Gusano's “Fantasia del Barrio” is the missing link between the Psychedelic sounds of Texas and the Chicano Soul and Funk of the late 1960′s and early 70′s. Recorded soon after Eugenio Jaimez returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam, “Fantasia del Barrio” is his musical meditation on life at war and the Chicano experience at home. Skillfully performed in one marathon recording session, Jaimez and El Gusano embraced the Soul, Funk and psychedelic sounds of their day to craft this lost instrumental concept album. Long sought-after by break hunters and psych collectors, Heavy Light Records is proud to bring Eugenio Jaimez, Jr’s masterpiece to light. Again, only 1000 copies were pressed. I have a couple left at the shop. Get 'em while you can!
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The Rega “Fat Bastard” Counterweight

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I have fully figured out the heavy counterweight issues and now have many great fixes. The good chaps at Rega UK received my whining email that their heavy weight was a lightweight. It's like 2 grams heavier than the standard. My Dynavector and Zu carts are heavy beasts! So they kindly custom machined me the only 150 gram tungsten Rega counterweight in existence!! You can now special order them if needed for $295.
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Turbo Charge Your Rega Turntable!!

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Do you have a older Rega turntable that doesn't have the capability to use their turntable power supply (TTPSU) ?

This kit includes the low noise, low vibration 24v motor designed and
developed for our range of multi award winning 24v turntables.

Designed with a simple fixing solution to fit all previous Rega
turntables that do not already use 24v technology.

Main Features

Individually hand tuned PCB to minimise vibration.

Rega designed 24v low vibration, low noise synchronous AC motor assembly.

Rigidly mounted to improve start up speed over previous suspended Planar models.

Guaranteed to improve drive, speed stability and sonic performance.

Optional upgrade path

Compatible with the Rega TT-PSU external power supply, which incorporates an advanced anti vibration circuit and offers even greater stability. The TT-PSU also has the added convenience of electronic speed change. Optimise performance with the Rega upgrade drive belt.

Fits : RP1 / P1 / P2 / P2 2000 / PLANET / PLANAR 2 / PLANAR 3 / P3 2000 and PLANAR 25 turntable. $250

Get yer feet wet!

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In my never ending quest for the best of the affordable, I've gotten in the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 bookshelf speakers. They're only $349 a pair and sound well above their price point. Pair these with a Rega Brio-R and you are well on your way to Hi-Fi heaven! Bring 'em back to trade up in a year or so. These are a great way to bring good sound into your life without robbing your savings!

Hunting & Stalking the Mail Carrier!

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I got to the shop this morning excited because I knew the new Tri 300b integrated was showing up. As I approached the door I saw the dreaded yellow slip informing me that I had just missed my beloved package. BUMMER! I'm not waiting until tomorrow plus I don't want it bouncing around on a truck any more than it already has. I hop into my truck determined to find the mail truck. I knew he couldn't be far. So I tear off down the street slowing at every intersection... nada! I make a few turns and... There's the mail truck, but is it the right one!? Where's the mailman? I pull up and walk up to peek through the window. Yep! There it is, the unmistakable blue shipping label from Japan! OK, cool. I found my amp but it's locked up inside the truck. The thought briefly swept through my coffee addled mind to try the door. Then I realized jail would put a real damper on my most excellent Summer! I doubt they would allow me to have a hi-fi in my cell, unless it was a Federal prison, which it very well could be, but still. Where's my favorite mail carrier??? I hang out for about 10 minutes and then decide to just write a note pleading to return. I stuck it under his wiper blade and headed back to the shop. As I make the first turn, there he is!! I do a U turn and park. I'm clutching my "yellow slip of undefeat" as we lock eyes and both laugh. I yell across the street that I was hunting and stalking him. I sign my yellow slip and grab my box... off to the shop!! Hopefully it hasn't been dropped from a conveyor belt!

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Nope, all is good. The box isn't trashed and no glass shards from broken tubes fall out as I lift the amp out of it's cozy bed. In no time I have it hooked up to the 98 db Zu Def's and a Naim CD5i. Let's hear this thing! Mind you, I have never heard a 300B tube amp. Just a few years ago I would've scoffed, "An 8 watt tube amp? Please! I wanna RAWK! Low watt amps and high efficiency speakers are for weirdos who are over 40 and still live with mama." I'm a FLAT EARTHER! How could I possibly turn my back on fine UK made solid state gear? Well, it turns out I didn't have to. I can enjoy apples AND oranges. Hell, I can make a fruit salad! Who cares as long as it sounds good? Well, as I write this, the amp has been on for about an hour now and I can tell you this... It sounds good. Really good! Guess what? You can even throw down at a house party because 8 watts is plenty of juice to smack around 98db speakers to ear bleeding levels! Looks like I'm getting more open minded as I grow grayer... go figure. Maybe it's that I have found some really cool gear in the tube / efficient speaker World that I could afford... I'm still not going to bid on the pair of NOS 300B Western Electric tubes on eBay... They're at $1700 and haven't hit the reserve yet! As far as that solid state gear from the UK? I still love them too! I have a great big heart for anything that makes my foot tap.

Demoing some new stuff!

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Yesterday afternoon Tom McGehee and Lee Sosby from Tempo (they distribute Musical Fidelity, dCS and Verity) came by with the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC and V-Link. We hooked up Tom's Mac to the M1 DAC without the V-Link into the Tri integrated and Zu Defs. Tom was using Apple Lossless files as well as Hi-Res files that were downloaded from HD Tracks. Everything sounded like you would expect, just fine. The real surprise was when Tom hooked up the V-Link between his Mac and the DAC. It wasn't a little bit better, it was phenomenally better! Something you can hear after about two seconds into the music. It was like cleaning my filthy glasses the morning after an evening of debauchery. As I write this my glasses are filthy and I'm nursing a minor hangover...hoorah! You know they're dirty but you blow it off and then when you finally get off your butt and do it (just did it) aahh smudge free! The main jist of this "windex-box" is that it converts the Asynchronous USB into a S/PDIF and reclocks the signal instead of your computer. So when the DAC gets it there is virtually zero jitter. Evidently it works with all DACs. Confused yet? I know, all these digi terms spin in my head. The bottom line is that it really does sound better! For $169 bucks, it's a tweak that actually makes a huge difference. So if you are thinking of wasting your money on cable lifters, get this instead!

Affordable Hi-End Audio… Mate!

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In my never ending quest for high quality audio without the high end price tag, I'm getting in the AktiMate Mini (Maxi soon after). The AktiMate series was designed by Mike Creek, owner of Creek Audio and Epos Loudspeakers.

What you get is a Creek amplified Epos speaker with an embedded iPod dock and two additional inputs for listening to a source other than your iPod. When the iPod isn’t in use, there’s a hinged cover built right into the speaker that folds down flat to conceal the dock. They even come with a cute little remote control. The Maxi has even more features like wireless streaming and internet radio. See more HERE

Awarded “Best Desktop Speaker of 2009,” by UK’s What Hi-Fi.
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Mini Features
• 40 watt/ch amp nestled into one of the speakers
• iPod/iPhone dock concealed in the top
• 2 additional inputs
• Video output
• 1 pr. of stereo outputs
• Remote control
• Solid MDF construction
• Voltage switchable
• Fully shielded for placement near monitor
• Speaker cable is supplied
• High gloss red, black, or white finish
• 27 lbs (12 x 7.5 x 8.5 in)

Maxi Features
• 60 watt/ch amp
• iPod/iPhone dock in the top
• Reciva internet radio
• FM radio
• UPnP/windows wireless streaming
• 3 additional inputs
• Illuminated LCD screen
• Alarm clock
• Video output
• 1 pr. of stereo outputs
• Remote control
• Solid MDF construction
• Voltage switchable
• Fully shielded
• Speaker cable is supplied
• High gloss red, black, or walnut veneer
• 36 lbs (12.75 x 8.25 x 10.25 in)

Mini $699 Maxi $1099

I’m Baaaack!!! SUMMER SALE!!

I've made it back home unscathed! The trip was fantastic! Here's a few highlights. I will be adding Factory Tours in the next few weeks. Lots of gear on sale. New goodies on the way. Stay Tuned!
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Here's a deal goin' down and a hooker in the window.
...Now that I have your attention...

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Chord Company, Salisbury
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Eddie Spruit of Quadraspire
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Sir Elton in Bristol
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Roy Gandy welcomes us to Rega
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As you walk into Rega, you'll encounter staff playing Foosball and Billiards on their break.
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Breakfast at Roy's
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Dinner at Roy's
OK! Stay tuned! More in depth adventures coming soon!

LEBEN, WELL TEMPERED, DYNAVECTOR DRT XV-1S !!!

The stunning Leben CS-600 integrated tube amp from Japan / Tone Imports is HERE!  mmmmmm new amp smell !!!  So I've spent the last few days listening to the Leben.  The first day with the 6L6 tubes and then I switched them out with some EL-34.  I have some C logo EL-34 coming which John Halpern of Tone Imports recommended. This amp can take loads of different tubes and is SELF BIASING!  Fit and Finish is impeccable.  Built like a tank but "smoove like butta..." If you want to buy a really great integrated and NEVER want or need to upgrade, come by.  I've had great success pairing it with DeVore speakers and the Rega R5.  

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Mr Hyodo

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The new $2850 Well Tempered Amadeus is really well thought out and unlike ANYTHING I've seen or heard before. The golf ball bathing in a cup of silicone gel acts somewhat like a uni pivot and works really well.  It's quite difficult to explain, but the crane like thing-a-ma-jig holds a thin fish line string which is adjustable. Being a Rega freak, I was a bit scared of turning into a complete "tweak geek",  Rega is so user friendly which I like, but the set up is quite easy and intuitive on the Amadeus.  I'm looking forward to seeing threads with OCD buyers testing out Titleist vs. Wilson balls on the table.  Listening to golf balls is more pathetic than listening to multi thousand dollar cables! Remember, it's all about the tunage!  If you're looking for a table that is exotic, tweak free and sounds like it should be three times as much, bring some records by and give it a spin!  For a limited time I have, on loan, the Dynavector DRT XV-1S!!!!!   If you've never heard a $4500 cartridge, now is your chance! 

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