Well Tempered Labs

Filling up the silicone bath on the spectacular Well Tempered Labs Amadeus tonearm. There is absolutely no other turntable like it. Designed by rocket scientist William Firebaugh, the WTA sets a new standard in analog playback at an affordable price. Yes, it uses a golf ball as a bearing and four squash balls for feet. Hearing is believing! Come hear the Amadeus mk2 and Simplex turntables! You'll hear your records like never before.

Aaron Franklin digs analog. It just tastes better!

When he's not smoking the World's best BBQ, Aaron likes to rock out on a SET (single ended triode) tube amp. He only had to wait 30 minutes to get into the shop yesterday! The lines outside of Whetstone are getting unruly. I suggest getting here at least two hours before I open and bring a cooler full of beer.


Ian McLagan 1945-2014

Ian McLagan, best known as the keyboardist for legendary English rock bands Small Faces and Faces, has passed away at the age of 69. The musician, who also has collaborated with The Rolling Stones and led his own band for decades, died in Austin at 2:39 p.m. CST after suffering a stroke.


Thanks to everyone who's stopped by the shop or spent time on this blog. I really enjoy meeting those of you who seek me out on your vacations to experience the shop in person. I especially want to thank those of you who have spent your hard earned money here. Whetstone Audio started 18 years ago and has grown every day because of YOU! It doesn't go unappreciated. Here's to a music filled 2014. May all your upgrade dreams come true!


Brian DiFrank

ps. and your travels be safe and trouble free!

F O R E !!!!!

Now on the floor! The Well Tempered Labs Simplex turntable with Dynavector 20X2-L cartridge! Using the same "golf ball" technology as it's big brother, Amadeus, but with a smaller plinth. A seriously good turntable capable of blowing away fully upgraded Linn LP12's ($40K). Here's a REVIEW. $1995

I threw an impromptu jam sesh at the house last night and someone rode over on a Brompton folding bike. I had to get a pic of it beside my chrome bumper Naim 42 / hiCap / 250. Both were designed by the late, great Julian Vereker.


Closing Early Today! 2pm

I will be closing early today at 2pm and return next Thursday on the 27th. I hope you all have a safe and happy Holiday. I'm ready for a little break! Every muscle in me is sore from lifting record crates... don't get me wrong, it's a good sore!! I hope Santa brings me a massage and an assistant...

Another fun filled day at the shop!

The "Wall Of Sound" is up and getting organized for easier digging. There are lots of gems mixed within the $5-$10 records. Keeps digging fun!!

Whetstone has become the official test pressing audition center in Austin! Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis stopped by to hear a few cuts off their new record, "Cheater's Game". They even gave me a copy! Sweet!

Austin Children’s Shelter

I want to thank those of you who came out to the sidewalk sale this past Saturday. I gave 10% of sales to a good cause. I hope we made someone's Holiday Season a happier one.

Double Trouble

Chris Layton, drummer for Stevie Ray Vaughan and one half of Double Trouble, came by the shop. He had some very tasty sounding test pressings of the new box set coming out.

A 26 ft. truckload of records is BIG!

I just got back from Houston with about 10,000 Records! LP's 12" 78's 45's, Soul, Funk, R&B, Jazz, Rock, Disco, Metal, Prog, Psych, Punk, C&W... Everything! Come out to the BIG Sidewalk Sale this coming Saturday. Most records are $3 - $10. Records make great, inexpensive gifts!

Dave is gonna Take Five..

I was saddened with the news of Dave Brubeck's passing yesterday. Brubeck was one of the guiding forces behind the West Coast jazz scene of the early 60s'. If you have the chance to see some of the old school jazz musicians, do it!!

Harbeth “Super Duper” HL5! Now on the floor!


Now in it's sixth generation, The Harbeth HL5 was one of the first speakers Harbeth produced in 1977.

The success I've had with Harbeth is nothing short of amazing. Nearly every single person I have demoed the Harbeths to has bought a pair! The sound is so seductive and "right on", it's hard to shake the experience. Most people fall in love after one song. System matching? The Harbeths sound great with literally everything. Yeah, they're expensive, but you'll never want or need to buy another pair of speakers.

Happy Holidays!

A giant "Thank-You" to all of you who have supported Whetstone Audio for the past 17 years. It's been a blast! Also, to those of you I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet. Keep your hi-fi's warm and the libations flowing.

Enjoy Yourselves and have a Happy New Year!

Brian DiFrank


Rega FP-1 “Franken Planar”

Rega FP-1

My rebuild is complete! I got the finishing touch today on Christmas Eve. A friendly USPS elf stopped by with my eBay win. A Rega Audio Retroflex LT-76 turntable. I snatched the cool platter off it and dropped it into the souped up Planar 2 I rebuilt. A Rega rat rod! It sounds great!! Coolest gift to myself ever!

Rega RS 10 loudspeaker coming in 2012!!

rega RS10

There are lots of awesome new products coming in 2012! Some I can share with you, some I can't because then I would have to kill you. The Rega RS 10 are serious speakers that will fill out Rega's "cost no object" range.

New Well Tempered Labs Versalex turntable & LTD tone arm!!


Madman Bill Firebaugh's newest additions, the Versalex turntable and LTD tone arm are coming out soon! The LTD tone arm will be available separately in the standard 10" and a shorter 9" version. Expected retail for the complete Versalex w/ tonearm: $4450.00 LTD tonearm by itself: $1500.00. They will make their N. American debut at CES in the DeVore Fidelity room.


NEW Rega Apollo-R CD player!

New Wolfson WM8742 DAC
Enhanced Output amplifier circuit.
Enhanced Digital power supplies.
Improved User interface.
Redeveloped Analogue & Digital outputs.
Compact custom case design.
CD remote with amplifier functionality.
Available in Black or Satin Silver.

my my my…


this system sings man! I finally got time to hook up the Zu Soul Superfly 101db full range driver loudspeakers. In front I have the Kuzma Stogi / Stabi with a Zu DL-103 cart going into the Auditorium 23 103 step into the Leben RS30-EQ phono pre amp into the 15 watt Leben CS-300xs integrated amp. Wired with Auditorium 23 interconnects and Zu Mission cables. Y'all gotta come hear this rig!

New Naim XP5 XS Power Supply!

Naim has announced the addition of a new multi-rail, slimline power supply in its XS Series: the XP5 XS. The XP5 XS, which comes complete with Naim's Burndy interconnect, is the ideal partner for extracting even greater performance from the ND5 XS network player and Naim DAC. This versatile product is also compatible with the NDX network player, CDX2 (models with and without S/PDIF), CDX, CDS2 and CDS3 CD players as well as the HDX hard disk player / server.
Power supplies have always been a significant part of the Naim product catalogue. Almost from the beginning of the brand it was recognised that adding a better power supply could increase the performance of a Naim preamplifier. This philosophy has been extended over time to include CD players, DACs and now network players.

XP5 XS sits below the XPS and 555 PS supplies in the performance hierarchy but still delivers superb value for money. The XP5 XS contains a custom-designed toroidal transformer, multiple-regulated outputs via its Burndy sockets and new low-capacitance, ceramic heat-sinks. $2795

Am I a scrooge for hating X-mas music?

Freaking earworms! This time of year is the worst. One quick stop into a store and I have Jingle Bell Rock stuck in my head all damn day! I'm humming it over and over! Who wrote this crap? OK, I can take some Burl Ives ON CHRISTMAS MORNING. That's it. A couple of hours as the kids rip into their yearly haul as I pour coffee down my face feeling giddy because the Holidays are OVER! I survived another December. New Years is just a good excuse to get hammered. No preparation needed there. I do have a collection of "cool" X-mas records. I have a reggae one, a bluegrass one, even disco! They suck because they are still annoying songs. You can't polish a turd. I'm convinced if you listen to them backwards they will say "have a merry little beat down at Walmart" . BAH!

Rega RP6 Pix

glass platter
sub platter
I'm waiting with baited breath! My gloss green RP6 should be arriving soon! The new RP6 turntable is a complete reworking from Rega CEO Phil Freeman. When I visited the factory a couple of years ago, I heard the prototype table that has been the inspiration for the new RP3 & RP6. It's nice the same technologies have trickled down into tables that the 99% can afford. Here are some sweet pics I found on Rega USA's Facebook page.
$1495 includes TT PSU and your choice of basic gloss color. $1695 for pink, orange and blue Now Taking Orders!

Hootenanny Numero Uno!

We had a blast last night at the Hootenanny! The highlight of the evening for me was the "Stereo Wars" Profundo vs. Cardas. Good Times. Each company played one song each and "battled it out" back and forth. It was actually a great way to demonstrate the differences between systems and tube vs. solid state. Both systems sounded great, just different. I ordered two Gigantor pizzas and drank some killer beer provided by Jester King Brewery.

Don't forget about the next one on January 18th with Sean Casey of Zu Audio. It's gonna be a hoot!


I met Nick Lowe!!!

I took a long "lunch hour" to see the KLRU taping of Overheard with Evan Smith interviewing Nick Lowe. He's in town tonight opening for Wilco. He'll be back this Spring with his whole band. His new record, The Old Magic, is one to put on your short list. I got the 45 RPM version and it's killer!

This Friday! December 2nd, 6-9pm. It’s a Hootenanny!!

hoot·en·an·ny /ˈho͞otnˌanē/
n. pl. hoot·en·an·nies
1. An informal performance, typically with participation by the audience.
2. An unidentified or unidentifiable gadget.

Recently, two well respected two channel Hi-Fi distributors have moved to Austin, Colleen Cardas Imports and Bob Clarke's Profundo. I'm stoked because "The Live Music Capital Of The World" needs them. People here love good music. One thing we want to make sure of is that it sounds good.

TN-PHAROAH-glossy2Here's the deal. Many folks are buying turntables now and really don't know much about them. There is also a big interest in computer based audio and I'll admit, it's daunting with all the geek speak.. What I want to do is start having these evenings once a month to educate and raise awareness. That $99 USB turntable you picked up at Waterloo Records was a great first step. If you want to see what the next step is, come to these events. Don't be afraid! This isn't going to be your average Audiophile nerd fest. We want to collectively educate music lovers about hi-fi, spin good music and have a great time.

This first event on Friday, December 2nd from 6-9pm, will feature a couple of systems you may have never heard of. Colleen is bringing Unison Research and Opera loudspeakers, both by the Nasta family from Italy. Bob is bringing some gear from Hungary's Heed Audio and the excellent Trenner & Friedl loudspeakers from Austria. See Y'all soon!

Coming January 18th, A Hootenanny with Sean Casey of Zu Audio!!

Too bad we have to Imagine…

30 years ago I woke up to the headlines of John Lennon's murder. It was a long walk to school that day. I was only 13 but I knew the World had lost a prophet. Imagine if we could all get along and not be murderous religious fanatics and greedy corporate entities. Every child has a full belly when they're tucked into bed. Worldwide love and respect for others. Too bad Humanity isn't capable.... Imagine if we were.

Okey Dokey!

The $499 Okki Nokki RCM is an exceptionally well-designed device created specifically for cleaning all vinyl recordings. The Okki Nokki is a quality product made in Germany and consists of a heavy-duty motor/turntable and vacuum system encased in a compact aluminum chassis. The motor function provides for ultra-quiet forward and reverse operation. When used with the supplied goat hair cleaning brush, the forward/reverse turntable motion allows for extremely effective groove scrubbing. Once cleaned, the record can be vacuumed using the aluminum suction arm. The residual dirt and fluid is then removed by suction and transferred into the internal liquid reservoir, which has a sensor that will shut off the machine when full. Dedicated suction arms for use with 7” and 10” records are available as an option. Accessories supplied with the machine include a standard 12” LP suction arm, goat hair cleaning brush, record clamp, grounded detachable AC cord and a small bottle of cleaning fluid concentrate that requires mixing with a liter of purified water. An acrylic dustcover is available at time of purchase or as an optional accessory.

Eli Reed came by today

The coolest part of my "job" is meeting interesting people. You never know who may pop in. Today I met Eli Reed. Not Eli "Paperboy" Reed, but Eli Reed the famous photojournalist. We talked about Robert Altman, Jazz, his friend guitarist Jimmy Stewart and how it's great to hear music reproduced well. I happened to have The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album spinning at the time. Check out some of his amazing work HERE

Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 / LFD Phono Pre are in!

UPS finally showed up with the Compact 7's!! My custom made stands are nearly finished so for the meantime I have them on some 24" Kudos. Out of the box stunning! The LFD phono pre amp came yesterday and is warming up nicely. What cartridge to use with it? I highly recommend the Dynavector 10X5 or the new 20X2-H (see below). It's made for high output moving coil carts, but can easily take moving magnet as well. You just have to move a jumper on the board to change the gain. Also burning in are the LFD Spiroflex speaker cables. The Spiroflex cables are solid core copper twisted in a black mesh jacket with high quality banana Z connectors.
Compact 7
Dig the Orange "UT Longhorns" Rega P3-24! Go Texas!

Rega’s CD “Ca$h for Clunkers” deal extended!!

Starting Jan. 1, we'll be extending the program through the first quarter of 2010! The new ending date is now March 31, 2010. So those customers that have been trying to save up in time to beat the Dec. 31st deadline now can take a deep breath and know they have enough time to get that Rega CD player they have wanted so much.

For those not familiar, bring in ANY CD or DVD player, working or not and get $150 off the Apollo or $600 off the Saturn CD players!! Go hit a Goodwill or Pawnshop and turn that beater into sonic GOLD!



Grado SR60i headphones $79
Ortofon 2M cartridge! Red $99 / Blue $199 installed!
Roth MC4 integrated tube amp $395. Perfect desktop stereo. iPod dock, Aux. input and mini jack in for your computer. Just add a pair of small speakers.
Milty Zerostat! Combat the static. $99

P1 web pic
Rega P1 turntable. $395. A great first turntable for that budding Audiophile. Bump up to the P2 for another $150

igi_product Lose the iPod ear buds! The Grado iGi are $89

Ear web
Rega Ear. $295 Can't afford a whole stereo system? Get this and some Grado SR60i headphones $79, hook up an iPod or CD player. Done!

Fono mini 2
Rega Fono Mini. Need a MM phono pre amp that packs a lot of punch? $145
Hunt carbon fiber record brush $35
Kontak cleaning fluid $39

HAPPY HOLIDAYS or should I say DAZE…


Whetstone Audio will be closed December 19 through the 25th.  I will be helping Santa at his secret hideout in Utah.  I may be reached at 512-784-8282 to answer questions and place orders. Please don't hesitate to call and leave a message.  I will return your call ASAP!  Have a safe and happy holiday season!


I will include FREE CABLES with any speaker or electronics purchase until the new year!