I’ve Reenlisted In The Neat Army!

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narmy

It is my pleasure to announce the return of Neat Acoustics to the shop! I sold Neat years ago and have always loved them. They were one of the very first speaker brands I proudly carried. I stupidly dropped them due to distribution woes and the sharp learning curve of running a Hi-Fi shop. It was like breaking up with your first love! I was crushed! I may have wept.

Neat are just that. They aren't tacky behemoths. They are simply tasteful, easy to place in a room and have a very small footprint. The sound is huge compared to their small enclosures. They sound excellent with solid state as well as beefier tube amps (25+ watts)!

I now have the affordable Motive SX1 and SX2. The teeny tiny Iotas and one of my all-time favorites, the Elite SX! Look for offerings from the Momentum and Ultimatum lines in the future.

Beatles Mono Box Hootenanny Saturday, September 20th at 7pm!!

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Ortofon is releasing the 2M se mono cartridge to coincide with The Beatles mono box set. So, I've decided to put together an event and special! Let's call it "The Beatles Bundle"! Buy a Rega RP6 turntable fitted with the 2M Mono and the Box set is HALF PRICE! Hear it all together at the HOOTENANNY on September 20th. I have two box sets available for purchase.

I'll be playing other mono records, not just Beatles. wink wink..

Mooo Mat!

Anyone who calls himself a Texan and listens to records, you need this! The Mooo Mat is made from Brazilian cow hide with a cork bedding. Naturally reduces static! Horrify your Vegan friends!! $75

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eenie meenie miney mo

I'm breaking in the Naim XS 2 integrated today through the DeVore Gibbon 88's.. Nice combo! So many great speakers on hand, so little time!
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“the british are coming, the british are coming!”

Rega are pleased to introduce a fantastic new Union flag finish for three of their most popular turntable models the RP1, RP3 and RP6.

All supplied as standard with the appropriate Rega cartridge factory fitted, this new finish is available to order now.

Bollocks!

The British really are coming!

Don't you dare miss the Rega Hootenanny on OCTOBER 26th, 6pm with Rega UK's Paul Darwin and Sound Organisation legend Steve Daniels. Come see, feel and hear some new Rega goodies. Drink fresh beer from Live Oak, brewed just down the street and meet new friends! What a great way to begin (and possibly end) a Friday night!

This could be the last hi-fi speaker you’ll buy

by: Steve Guttenberg / The Audiophiliac


Nothing gets older faster than high-tech, but the Harbeth P3ESR sounds so good you may never want to replace it with another speaker. That's no hype; I know audiophiles still using similar speakers originally manufactured in the 1970s.

That's when American audiophiles first fell in love with small British monitor speakers engineered and designed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and manufactured by a number of companies, including KEF, Goodmans, Rogers, Spendor, and Harbeth. Though the speakers were all built around the same design, known as the LS3/5A, not all LS3/5As sounded exactly the same. Back in those days those British companies built all of their speakers in the home country, but that's no longer true for current British brands like Bowers & Wilkins, KEF, Linn, Monitor Audio, Quad, or Wharfedale. Harbeth is one of the few bucking the outsourcing trend; it still designs and builds all of its speakers in house.

I owned a pair of Rogers LS3/5As back in the day, and truth be told, I never understood the monitor moniker. The speakers didn't sound particularly accurate or revealing of recordings' flaws, which is what you would expect from a studio monitor. The speakers made most recordings sound nicer than they really were, which is why 30-year-old LS3/5As are still sought after.

Harbeth's terrific P3ESR is a contemporary equivalent of the LS3/5A. The 12-inch-high speaker feels remarkably solid, and the lovely (real) wood veneer is impeccable. The front baffle hosts a Harbeth-made 5-inch woofer and a 0.75-inch tweeter. Like the LS3/5A, the P3ESR doesn't have a bass port; it's a sealed box design.

Little speakers can sound small and restrict dynamic range compared with what you get from tower speakers, so it came as no surprise that the P3ESR can't rock out, or fill a big room with lease-breaking volume. If that's what you want, the P3ESR won't satisfy. Taken down to a more moderate volume with acoustic music, the P3ESR is a very credible performer. There's a freewheeling quality to the P3ESR's sound that I find irresistible. Voices and instruments sound more completely present and full-bodied than they do with many speakers, even bigger and more expensive ones. Rocking out to ZZ Top is definitely doable, but not to the point that your hearing will be in danger. Deep bass isn't part of the deal, but the P3ESR can dish out satisfying bass without the assistance of a subwoofer. This might be the ideal audiophile speaker for small apartments, and office or bedroom hi-fis. It also sounded spectacular on my desktop, powered by my 30-year-old NAD 3020 integrated amplifier. I didn't have a LS3/5A on hand to do a direct comparison, but I think the P3ESR is a better, more dynamic, higher-resolution device than a LS3/5A.

The P3ESR, in real cherry wood, is expensive ($2,095 a pair), but it's the sort of speaker that you might enjoy for many decades to come. I wrote an in-depth P3ESR review for Inner Fidelity in May. Decades-old LS3/5A speakers on eBay aren't more affordable than brand-new Harbeth P3ESRs, which perfectly demonstrates the fact that some great speakers are terrific long-term investments.

good times

Brought the family out on the town last night. DEVO & Blondie at Stubbs with an after show performance with Residual Kid. Devo and Blondie brought the goods and put on a great show. They've had 35 years of practice. Residual Kid are a local act that proves Rock and Roll is not completely dead. They're not a "novelty act", these kids actually rock and have chops!

Naim UnitiLite.

The UnitiLite offers a simple one-box solution for the listener who is looking for high performance streaming audio, but who also still enjoys spinning a CD or two. With its slimline case, multiple digital inputs, powerful 50W amplifier, and low price point in the UnitiSystem lineup, the UnitiLite will appeal to those who are drawn to the UnitiQute but perhaps want a more traditional design with front panel buttons and a CD tray. $2995 ($3395 w/ FM module)

#1 Record

Some people celebrate with wine. In 5 years from this coming Saturday, I will crack open my sealed copy of Big Star's #1 record and celebrate a half century of life. The countdown continues!

The strange and tragic story of the Garrott Brothers

Hi-fi Legends Lived For Love
Sydney Morning Herald
Sunday May 12, 1991

David Frith

THIS house runs on love," said a sign on one of the walls. It certainly did.

Love of the work that was being done there. Love of music. And family love: deep, passionate, fiercely held and proudly proclaimed.

The world of the Garrott brothers, hi-fi heroes extraordinaire, which came to an abrupt and tragic end the other day, exhibited it all in a way that could be unsettling to the casual visitor.

Handwritten notes, apparently scrawled and pinned up daily, plastered the walls of the houses that John and Brian Garrott shared with their Filipina wives, Teresita and Normita.

"Darling, I love you," read one in the hallway. "I love you, too," answered another in the kitchen. There were more in the workrooms.

And while Brian Garrott quietly set up microscopes and John Garrott began passionately explaining their work, Teresita, in hotpants and singlet, would drape herself across her husband's shoulders, embracing him with a fierceness that belied her tiny size.

"Darling, show Mr Frith what a real diamond tip looks like," she would whisper in his ear.

"Darling, I will," John would say, gently disentangling himself.

Though they were little known in their own country, the brothers Garrott were respected round the globe as the undoubted top experts on diamond styli: the fragile tips that ride through the grooves of LP records.

Audiophiles from all over the world sent their phono cartridges to the Garrotts to be upgraded. Working with stereo microscopes and precision tools, they painstakingly removed the diamond tip and replaced it with one of their own specifications.

"We're not technicians here, we're micro-surgeons," John Garrott told the rare visitors to their house. "We're doing hundreds of transplants a year."

At a cost of up to $400, they guaranteed they could make any cartridge, no matter what the cost, sound better.

If you didn't agree it sounded better after Garrott microsurgery, the brothers offered your money back.

Part of the secret was in the diamond itself. Seen under the microscope set up by the passionate Teresita, the diamond tips of even the most expensive cartridges showed up as lumpy dull grey products with pitted moonscape surfaces.

A Garrott diamond by contrast was everything you ever expected a diamond to be. Sharply cut and faceted by precision lasers in Japan and Germany to the Garrott Brothers' specifications, its mirror-polished surfaces reflected light with dazzling brilliance. No wonder they sounded so good.

Patiently Brian Garrott - the quiet one - would align the new diamond and fine tune each cartridge. The tiny cantilevers on which the diamonds were mounted would be replaced, rewired and realigned: micro-surgery indeed for minute items.

The close-knit brothers knew they were the best in the world at what they did, and they could be arrogant about it.

They never advertised; they were disdainful, contemptuous even, about marketing. Clients had to find them, which could be difficult indeed as they moved from Tasmania to Avalon, to Little Hartley in the Blue Mountains, and finally to the South Coast.

But somehow the word spread. Every day little packages arrived from all over the world - the US, Japan, Britain, Germany, South America, Yugoslavia -as audiophiles entrusted their phono cartridges to the mail and the Garrotts'loving care.

The brothers had begun fiddling with cartridges as a hobby while working in Britain in the mid-1960s and found to their astonishment their products out-performed some of the best-known equipment in the world.

They returned to Australia in the early 1970s ("It's still the best place to live despite the national disease of lack of confidence in Australian products," said John) and in 1974 began their diamond replacement service.

Later they also developed their own cartridge, the Garrott P77, which sold for about $200, but outperformed many imports costing more than $1,000.

They always lived together and worked together at the same home - an arrangement that continued after they met and married Teresita and Normita.

The marriage came relatively late in life, but it was a genuine love match, in doubles. The notes on the wall were evidence of that.

Diamonds, they say, are forever. But human life and health and happiness are built of more fragile stuff. Sometime last year the music began to wind down for the Garrott family.

By February this year John Garrott knew he was dying of a heart condition and unable to work. The business closed. They returned parcels unopened.

For a while Brian thought of continuing to work alone, but then rejected this; everyone had always done everything together or not all.

About two weeks ago they reached the final decision. Soon afterward, at the lonely farmhouse near Bega where they had finished up, one of the four connected a hose to the exhaust of the family car. One of them turned the switch.

And that was that: terminal silence in the house that ran on love.

All four died as they had lived: together. You can only guess at the anguish and torment that must have surrounded the wives' decision to accompany their husbands in this final tragic journey.

At first Brian and John would have tried to argue them out of it. But the women were fiery little ladies, intensely loyal and deep in their convictions. They would have been insistent.

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Buddy Holly would've been 76. In my opinion, he is the real father of Rock & Roll. The quality of work he left behind is amazing. He was only 22 when he died. If you ever find yourself in Lubbock, Texas, do yourself a favor and check out the Buddy Holly Center.

The Q Up is Back!

Remember these from the 80's? I was pretty stoked to run across this today on the net. Every time I wake up from a night of debauchery and I see my Dynavector going round and round at the end of a record, I cringe. You know you've done it too! Passed out on the couch and waking up to tha-thunk, tha-thunk. Over and over. Is your cartridge ruined? Probably not, but you slept through some of it's life because you spaced. I actually went out of town once... that's another terrible "no-no" story in itself.

I have some ordered and on the way so you don't have to join a 12 step program to save your cartridge! $60
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Rick Perry proclaims October “Texas Music Month”

Texas is world-renowned for its eclectic music scene. Marked by the contributions of musical legends such as Buddy Holly, "Blind" Lemon Jefferson, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top and Selena, Texans have made an incalculable contribution to music. That is why we say, "You can't hear American music without hearing Texas."

The Lone Star State has long enjoyed a wealth of great musical artists. With its phenomenal growth during the last two decades, Texas' music industry competes internationally to attract songwriters, performers and industry professionals. With nearly 8,000 regularly performing Texas bands and ensembles, the music business is a vibrant and important sector of our economy, providing jobs as well as entertainment for this great state. Our music industry also sparks tourism, as visitors from across the country travel to Texas for festivals such as South by Southwest.

To highlight the importance of the Texas music industry and recognize the accomplishments of our many great musicians, an appreciation campaign is being conducted during the month of October.

At this time, I encourage all Texans to recognize the many contributions of the music industry and those who create great music in our state.

Therefore, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim October 2011 to be
Texas Music Month

in Texas, and urge the appropriate
recognition whereof.

In official recognition whereof,
I hereby affix my signature this the
11th day of September, 2011.

Governor of Texasrick perry

Kuzma Stogi + Stabi = sweetness!

I just got the Kuzma table set up. Very nice table! I'm digging the uni-pivot. Set up was a learning curve, but pretty easy overall. Put a Dynavector 10x5 on it for now. Come hear it! Big time WOW factor.
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opposites attract!

I bumped into Hayes in the free booze line at ACL! It was difficult shaking his hand with three cups of Vodka /soda in my hands... helluva nice guy. Now go buy KMAG YOYO!

Chord Cable USB

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Responding to demand from computer audiophiles requesting a Chord quality USB cable, the USB SilverPlus launches with no pretensions to technical supremacy through advanced materials or unique construction techniques. It does however benefit from twenty years’ experience in designing cables that make a real difference.

ACL Recap

Had a great time!! Here are a few pics! You'll have to come by the shop for the juicy stories.
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gillian welch

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new records in the shop!

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I just got a pretty big shipment in of some new records. I cracked open The Wheedle's Groove record called Kearney Barton. Mr. Barton runs Audio Recording in Seattle. He recorded The Sonics and The Wailers back in the early 60's. This is one of the best sounding records I've heard in a long time. All new funk music recorded on vintage gear with a true master.

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Mark Macek just dropped off the chisel table from Macek Solid Arts. It makes one excellent turntable stand! Mark and I are collaborating on a stereo credenza. Remember those old, all-in one, stereos your parents had with the built in turntable, amp and speakers? Well, we're doing one that's more up to date. On board will be a Naim UnitiQute, Rega RP3 turntable and Rega RS-1 speakers. It will make it's debut at The Guild Of Austin Artisans Exhibit on October 7th.

ACL, this weekend!

Normally I shy away from big festivals and events where there are too many people. I went to ACL about six years ago and said to myself, "never again". Waiting in line, on the verge of heatstroke, to get money from a robbing ATM only to stand in another line to purchase $5 bottles of water is not my idea of fun. Well, I told this to the right person and he granted me my wish... two all access passes to the fest!! Now, instead of buying water, I'll be hanging out backstage drinking free booze in the artist's lounge!! Sweet! Not a bad way to celebrate my birthday!

This means I'll be bugging out of the shop a bit early on Friday and Saturday. Call before you head over to make sure I'm there.
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Indeed, some Heed!

Bob Clarke of Profundo Imports recently moved to Austin. He dropped by the other day with some new offerings from Heed. He said he needed my help breaking in some new gear... it's a hard job but someones got to do it! Here are the new Heed DT transport and DA DAC. I'll be getting the Obelisk integrated in the near future.
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Cavity Club Reunion

The Cavity Club was a punk rock venue in Austin. There is going to be a reunion with lots of old school bands. I was one of many drummers in Jesus Christ Superfly (who spontaneously combusted). It should be a good time to remember how great Austin used to be back in the Reagan / Bush I era. Rent was cheap, beer was cheap and Austin had a vibrant music scene. Pre iPhone, Facebook and needless texting. We still had Liberty Lunch, The Electric Lounge, Steamboat and The Black Cat. Hipsters weren't born yet or were in diapers. Y'know, "the good old days"!
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New Grado Headphone! PS500

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Introducing the new PS500

It is a masterful hand that crafts the heart and soul of every Grado product.

That hand has the benefit of close to 60 years of knowledge in designing and manufacturing truly the world's finest audio products.

The PS 500 is a compact monitoring headphone that will put a smile on the face of the most demanding music professional and demanding audiophiles.

Experience the heart and soul of music.

John Grado

The Vinyl Countdown!!

Join me this coming Thursday, September 8th, at The Dive Bar for the second monthly installment of The Vinyl Countdown. You bring some records and I'll play them on a different system each month. This week I'll bring the Rega RP3, Triode TRV 35se integrated tube amp and possibly the Zu Omens (or Rega RS5 speakers... depends on my back that day!) This month's theme is "Soul Motion". R&B, Soul and Funk! Bonus Points for the weird and rare! Here's a super great example:
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Well Tempered Amadeus and vintage Planar 2

Just got the Amadeus back in! Set up is easy. Not Rega easy, but not too bad. I slapped the Zu DL-103 cartridge on it into the A23 step up / cables, Leben phono pre and CS-600 to Harbeth C7's. How can it NOT sound freakin' great?

I also just finished my Rega Planar 2 rebuild. Everything is new except the plinth, platter and dustcover. New 24v motor upgrade, hub / bearing and RB700 arm. I was going to sell it, but I think it may have to come home with me. I have one at home that I rebuilt with the RB301... $895, any takers?
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Naim Uniti Series & DAC. Now Showing!!!

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It's been a long wait, but the UnitiQute & UnitiServe are finally on the floor. Set-up was a breeze. Plug and play. Your mom can work this thing! I hooked them up to the Rega RS-3 speakers with excellent results. The entire Uniti line is now available to demo! iPhone app is out as well!

The awesome Naim DAC is finally here too. Come hear the best DAC in the World. It's so good that technology hasn't caught up with it's abilities yet!

Remember! October 21st there will be a Naim Night at Whetstone Audio. 6-9pm. Come meet Naim UK's Doug Graham, Naim USA's Dave Dever and Tone Audio's Jeff Dorgay. Drink beer, eat pizza, drool on a Naim equipped Bentley and discover the exciting direction that home entertainment is heading.
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Auditorium 23 LP mat

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I just got in the new A23 LP mat to see how it stacked up against the stock felt mat on the Rega P9. I heard a improvement immediately. Highs were more crystalline and the bass tightened up. It's made of a thin yet dense rubber / textile material and has small hash marks on one side that the record sits on. Mine is staying on the platter! The A23 LP mat is $95

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CONSTRUCTION ZONE ! ! ! 3 more weeks!

For the next few weeks, this is what my shop will look like! It's noisy so PLEASE SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT if you want a proper demo. I'll be happy to meet you in the evenings. The stucco was put up incorrectly, so it's getting redone. "it's dangerous" going to Whetstone Audio has taken on a literal meaning! You can always reach me at 512-784-8282. Thank You for your patience and patronage!

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I now have a feng shui inspired courtyard for your enjoyment!

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LOOK WHAT JUST CAME IN!!!
DeVore Fidelity The Gibbon Nines

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Read about them HERE

PRIMARE I30 integrated and CD31 are in the house.
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Read about Primare HERE

They just arrived and I'm breaking them in! Using the balanced connections the 30 series is capable of.

Just got in the IsoTek EVO3 Sirius power strip.
Read about it HERE

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GOT AN OLD REGA PLANAR 3 ?

It's weird. These P3 motor updates come in waves. I won't do any for a year and then, BAM! I'll do like four in a week. If you have an old P3 or P2 you can get it back up to current spec with a new fixed motor ($175). Not sure you need one? Check your motor. If it's suspended on a rubber band and knocks when you turn it on, you do. Brought your table over from Europe? You'll need a new 110v motor. While it's here, I'll check and re-oil your bearing, tighten, calibrate and clean your deck. If you haven't changed your belt ($39) in the past 3 years, do it! You'll be amazed at how much better it will sound.

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KUDOS C-30!

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Just unveiled this past weekend at Heathrow. I hope to have some in by Late Fall. Around $10K
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GOLDMEMBER! Rega RB1000 24K plated. BLING BLING!!
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More Rega Bling! The "Union Jack" R9
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NEW AVI ADM9 ACTIVE SPEAKER SYSTEM!!!!

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This new interactive web site RAWKS! It's great to be able to keep Y'all up to speed. I'm getting ready to get in AVI's new powered speakers, the ADM9. More on this later...
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I'm embracing the iPod and it's "mumsie", the Mac as a serious Hi-Fi source. I see them as a great and flexible way to store and retrieve your music and movies. The other night I had some friends over and we had the best time watching bands on YouTube through a good system. We were taking turns seeing who could pick the coolest video from our youth. I think Alice Cooper was the winner that night. Times are changing. TV is horrible, but the web is full of whatever you want anytime you want. Want to see the future of TV? Check out Joost. On demand TV!
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Not everyone cares about having a super slick Hi-Fi system, nor can everyone afford one. That doesn't mean you have to settle for something that sounds bad. Maybe you want a good sounding system, but the "significant other" or even worse, the dreadful Interior Designer ( I've met sooo many ), refuses to hand over any real estate to "a bunch of ugly boxes". No Worries! Freak them out and say, "Fine, do whatever you want as long as I can have a couple of (remember to say small) speakers". This is where the AVI ADM9 comes in. Powered speakers with extra inputs and a DAC built in. Here's some info. from the web site! click here to see the site AVI ADM9
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Our new ADM9 active speakers do away completely with the need for DACs, preamplifiers and power amplifiers because everything is built into one box; the loudspeaker.
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You can plug ADMs into the USB port of your computer to make it the best sounding music libarary you've heard, or use the analogue input to connect them to our preamp and CD player if you prefer a traditional system. Or you can do both. Input selection, volume control and muting is by IR handset.
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The most expensive parts of Amplifiers, preamplifiers and (where they are still used) CD players are the enclosures. AVI has done away with them and put everything into the loudspeaker. Sound quality is improved and cost substantially reduced. They are big space savings too and all this matters a great deal to modern households.
AVI’s passive loudspeakers are a textbook 8 ohm load and therefore very easy to drive. Also our passive crossovers are designed to mimic the behaviour of competing active designs. To be sure of a big improvement in our new, fully active ADM9 Speakers, we’ve taken things a stage further and refined the design to improve performance beyond what is possible with any passive and most if not all active two-way competitors.
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Whetstone Audio Blog

Welcome To the Whetstone BLOG! Expect up to date information about new products, interesting stories, reviews and other "cool stuff" I find entertaining. Check back often!
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NAIM SUPERNAIT. Everything you've ever wanted and didn't know you needed... until now!
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Launched at the 2007 Bristol Show, SUPERNAIT - Naim's reference integrated amplifier - proves there is still room for innovation in two-channel audio. The latest addition to Naim's reference series, SUPERNAIT produces a stunningly realistic performance from its compact case and delivering 80 watts per channel, it drives difficult loads with ease.

SUPERNAIT offers its user flexibility and convenience too. Want to add a power supply to upgrade the performance? You can. Want to add a subwoofer? You can. Want to quickly connect an analogue or digital source via the front panel? You can.

Sporting 11 different inputs (6 analogue, 5 digital) SUPERNAIT is bristling with connectivity features and upgrade options and with its on-board DAC, this is the most flexible Naim product to date. Put a Mac Mini in front of it, some Kudos speakers behind it and your choice of TV and be done!
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