Author Archives: admin
I'm expanding my offerings from Sugden. They match very well with DeVore and Harbeth speakers. Come hear for yourself!
The Bardo has a magnetic direct drive motor that was developed by Helmut Brinkmann. There is only one bearing for the motor and the platter, a circular magnet is mounted into the bearing of the platter and is concentrically driven into rotation via coils on the circuit board under the magnet. An electronic circuit drives the coils via two magnetic sensitive resistors that react to the magnetic fields into a highly constant and slow circular movement.
I just got back from AXPONA in Chicago where I was helping out my friend Paul Manos of High Fidelity Services. He brings in Neat Acoustics from England. The Iota Alphas were a BIG hit! The show was a blast and I got to reconnect with a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time.
The very first time I set foot in Chicago was at The Green Mill! An amazing cocktail bar that Al Capone used to frequent. I went with my friends "Super T", "Ho" and "Chuckles" to see the B3 maestro Chris Forman! The organ was on a small stage behind the bar!
After that it was back to the show! Here's the Neat room!
One of the highlights of the show was watching AJ Van den Hul build a cartridge from start to finish! It really takes a steady hand and years of perfection to get it right. AJ is 80!
A new mixed use building is going up across the street. I'm thrilled the neighborhood is growing but the next year is going to be rough. Parking is now scarce and noise is at an all time high.
This Summer I'll be around, but I highly recommend making an appointment. By doing so, I can assure you I'll be here and have a parking spot for you. If later in the day, relative silence.
PLEASE CALL & LEAVE A MESSAGE!! Yes, I'm screening my calls because "Bots" are calling me 15+ times a day. If you are an actual human being with a pulse and Hi-Fi needs, I will call you back ASAP!
Completely erases digital glare and artifacts! Provides "passion and emotion" to your favorite music! Re-clocks your brain chemistry! Only around $8 for a supply of SIX! At home with your system? I recommend using all six applications for best effect. This tweak is fully endorsed by Whetstone Audio. Don't forget to listen responsibly!
The ICP Orchestra are performing Thursday May 14th at the North Door in Austin!!
In 1967 saxophonist Willem Breuker, pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink founded the ICP label in Amsterdam. Mengelberg and Bennink had been playing together since 1961 and found success as members of Eric Dolphy's quartet in 1964, as documented on his live album Last Date. Mengelberg had also been involved in the Fluxus art movement and was developing a composition style that involved musical games. As European free jazz musicians, they were butting up against disinterest in their music from contemporary jazz labels, so they formed a cooperative as a means to release their own recordings. Mengelberg coined the label's name as a testament to improvisation being composition at the instant that the music is played.
Don't miss this one!
Whetstone Audio will soon be a satellite spot for Steven Walker's Modern Rocks Gallery. In the next few weeks you will see some amazing photography on the walls here! All of them will be for sale except this one... it's mine! This is a picture of The Ramones at The Roundhouse in London, 1976! This is the show that spawned UK punk. It was taken by Jill Furmanovsky.
Keep your eyes open for an open house! Whetstone Audio is celebrating 20 years!
Here's a well known Austin band listening to their new record on acetate. The system comprised of a Rega RP6 turntable with SoundSmith Zephyr mk2 cartridge. Rega Aria phono pre using Chord Cadenza Ref. interconnects to the Line Magnetic 501ia integrated amp and A23 cables to Harbeth HL5 loudspeakers. I can't tell you who they are but they pair up nicely with a knife and fork...
Looking for the best of the best? It's official... Whetstone Audio will be one of four US dealers for Thöress electronics from Germany! I will be posting a lot about "THÖ" in the coming months. On the shop's "FLÖ" will be the newly designed Preamplifier, 845 mono blocks, F2A11 integrated amp and the Phono Equalizer. Hand built by Reinhard Thöress, these will all pair up quite nicely with DeVore's Orangutans (THÖ also makes the 2CD12 mk2, a 100db loudspeaker seen below). June is going to be a very long month... I will have them to Demo in July.
You never know who's gonna pop into the shop! Kevin Pearce was in checking things out before he viewed his documentary, The Crash Reel down the street at The Lance Armstrong Foundation. Kevin was seriously injured practicing for the 2010 Winter Olympics. His story is incredible and inspiring. It was a real honor to meet him.
Someone brought this by today looking for a replacement cartridge. It's a miniature turntable from Japan that plays it's own tiny records. I'm sure it sounds terrible, but it's a pretty cool toy! I had something similar as a kid called "The Mighty Tiny". The only thing I could find about them is HERE
stopped by the shop and got his turntable back on track. While he was here we played his new record, Way Down Deep, on the DeVore O/93's and Line Magnetic 218ia. Let's just say we were BOTH impressed! Check out David's site HERE. Austinites can catch him every Tuesday at Saxon Pub. 6pm for Happy Hour! FREE! (tip people!) Stick around for Bruce Hughes too!
Rega's "cost no object" Naiad. Check out this excellent factory tour from Hi-Fi+ HERE
looking for a great speaker on a beer budget? The Wharfedale Diamond 10.5 are only $995 a pair! Come hear 'em! They offer a lot of bang for the buck!
Among the numerous launches at the Bristol Show was the new Guru Junior standmount speaker from the Swedish speaker specialist, Guru.
It sits below the company's QM10 monitor loudspeaker, and has a smaller cabinet and price tag ($1195) than its bigger brother. Guru claims the Junior can deliver deep bass and maintain a 'neutral sound' from 34Hz up to 30kHz.
Designed for placement close to the wall behind it, either on speaker stands or mounted on wall brackets, the Guru Junior will be available in piano black, white or walnut veneer finishes.
Sensitivity is 87db/w/m, impedance is 6 ohms and the MDF/aluminium cabinet houses a 20.5mm soft-dome tweeter and 10.2cm coated paper mid/bass driver.
A sensible speaker for Naim's UnitiQute or Rega's Brio-R!
Door's keyboardist, Ray Manzarek has broke on through to the other side.
Waylon Jennings & Buddy Holly in a photo booth at Grand Central Station, NYC
check this out
Thanks to Mr. Fred Baldwin for this link! Proof that Naim goes that extra step to ensure excellent quality! It's not unusual for Naim to fully replace a faulty unit with a brand new one... who does that?
If you're from Houston and you know this place, you are a "bro". One of the first places I played music in a band and got wasted (underage, of course) It was run by an old hippie named Ralph. It's now a parking lot! Across the street Rudyards still remains, but only a shell of it's former, edgy self. The Urban Animals would hang there. They were a "skate gang" that would tank up at "Rudz" and then tackle downtown parking garages! Pre internet kids! Down the street was a Half Price Books where I scored hundreds of killer records, cheap ($3 for a tasty import!) because CD's were so "superior"... Houston Rules!
They come in threes...
and thanks Joey for fixing my site after it was hacked!!!
I just got back a silver bumper Naim 42 pre / 110 amp from AV options. Chris recapped, cleaned and tweaked them out to near NOS (new old stock) status. Seeing as I just got in some Guru QM102 to play with, I decided to throw 'em on. Hell Yeah! Classic Julian Vereker Naim! Guru claim the small QM102 are 30hz to 30khz. It sounds like it. The bass is big, deep, tuneful and controlled. Along with the old school Naim it just hooks you in and grooves!
Having a forest of loudspeakers at the shop that are all the same would be pointless and boring. I'm constantly looking for cutting edge products that are good value and don't have 500 dealers. I've been reading about Guru for a few years now and have always been intrigued. A small lightweight speaker that sits against the back wall with insanely deep bass? A speaker that pairs extremely well with Naim? Cool, I'll give 'em a go! Coming in next week are the two speakers currently offered by Sweden's Guru Pro Audio. The QM10TWO and the larger QM60 will be here taking a review spin on the shop floor. I'll keep you posted..
On 4/20, Willie Nelson was presented with a statue and a street in his honor.
Here's a review of the Rega Brio-R integrated amp from Tone Audio. I've already taken a few orders. If you don't want to wait a long time for one... Pre-Order NOW! This is the best little amp for the money! For $895 you get $3,000 in performance. Remote and MM phono pre on board.
I just signed up with J.A. Michell to take care of the heavier counterweight issue I have run into. Who knows, maybe some of their turntables will show up at the shop someday...
Looks like someone is a bit confused as to where her ears are located, but it's all good! Who am I to judge? I used to do that to my wife's prego belly. Maybe she has twins?
I suppose this is a swell time to mention that I carry Grado headphones! If you own any kind of device that has a headphone jack, getcha some! Improve your quality of life! It's always the little thing that make the biggest difference! Those iBuds suuuuuck.
The LFD Phonostage LE is in this month's issue of Stereophile. Art Dudley, one of the few reviewers who isn't deaf, liked it quite a bit! There are only 10 dealers in the US. So if you live in Austin, come hear what all the fuss is about!
Got the Zu DL-103 a few days ago and have been having a blast putting it through it's paces on the P5. No VTA spacer needed. Set up is easy! With the cart all the way forward on the RB700 you hit Baerwald perfectly. Tilt it in about 1mm. You could probably set it up on your own without a wally-tracter or any other alignment device. The only glitch is it's a heavy little bugger, so you'll need a heavier counterweight. I had to add some "audiophile duct tape" (Blu-Tack) to add some mass until I get a heavier weight from Michell or Groovetracer (the 150 gram). Right out of the gate I was pleased. I've never heard a Denon DL-103 before, Now I know why they call it one of the best products in the history of Hi-Fi. The thing sings! The Auditorium 23 step-up tranny was designed for the 103! Zu have done a great job machining and damping the body. It's an extra $200 over a plain Denon version, but worth it! It doesn't sound like a $439 cartridge. More like a $2K cartridge! So what's a couple Franklins?
I stumbled across Randy Newman's record "Good Old Boys" back in college. It's a great concept record about the South. Solid prolific songwriting indeed. I remember taking a road trip to DC for a wedding and driving through the landmarks in these songs as they were playing through my car's cassette deck. You'll learn more American history in 35 minutes than you ever did in skewl. ; )
An excellent performance from one of the best bands of the 70's. This is how it's done. There aren't any laptops, stupid props (like pointy cheekbones) or lip synching. Just pure funk.
"It's in the mail"! Zu's improved upon Denon DL-103 cartridge will be here soon! Looking forward to hooking it up to the A23 step up and letting it rip!
Primare system consisting of the I21 integrated amp and CD21 cd player. Retail is $1495 each. I'll take $995 each. These are LIKE NEW. Check out the Deal$ & $teal$ page for more sweet goodness!
and Joey Ramone would be 60 today...
My daughter Lily, AKA "BruiseHer", got to open for The Texas Rollergirls bout at the Austin Convention Center Sunday. She's the little riot grrrl third from left. Heck yeah I'm proud! The Austin Derby Brats is a roller derby team for girls eight and up. It's run by The Texas Rollergirls and is a heck of a lot more fun than Soccer! If you have a daughter and live in Austin you should check it out!
My Triode TRV-35SE integrated amp just showed up direct from Japan. It was a boring, rainy day until it did! I made room for it next to the Naim CD5i, plugged everything in and hooked it all up to the Zu Omens (which, BTW, are breaking in quite nicely!). I powered everything up and inserted Bryan Ferry's Mamouna CD...
Ya know, sometimes I just really nail it! Hit it squarely, right on the head! For all the times I have made idiotic decisions on gear, I can honestly say I have made up for it these past few months. This combo is reeeeeeaaaaally freakin' good. In fact, it even matches. The sangria finish on the Omens are a near perfect match with the red finish on the Tri. The fit and finish is A+. Nice wooden sides just like the Lebens. Japanese attention to quality and detail is apparent. I know the Omens have been breaking in but after hooking up the Tri's EL34 tubes they really took on a whole different persona. Zu really shine with tubes. I like the third input being on the front next to the headphone socket. A very nice touch indeed.
I'm definitely getting more Tri amps in. The TRV-A300SE 300B integrated looks sweet as does the TRX-PM84. A unique Integrated Amp with USB DAC for computer audio, USB memory input, headphone and MM Phono Stage. Covers pretty much all the bases right? If you are looking for a esoteric hi-fi without the snotty price, you have to come hear this combination. I have a really big grin on my face. Tri + Zu = music. It's kind of neat thinking that a few decades ago we were killing each other. Now a Japanese / American system is making sweet music together.
read it HERE Come by the shop to hear 'em!
these speakers are the bomb! I've been breaking in the Zu Omen loudspeakers and Mission cables through a variety of different systems. The Omen simply express exactly what's going on in every system I've paired them with. Leben, Naim, Rega, LFD, basically everything I have at the shop I've thrown at them. I haven't done an A/B with other speakers yet. I want to break them in really good and let my ears get completely used to their sound. I already know they'll be vastly different just from their design and use of full range drivers. My first impressions of the Omens were they had that classic USA sound of the 70's, ala Klipsch, but after they've been breaking in they are morphing into a whole different beast. I've been playing with placement a bit, but they don't seem to be insanely fussy. The Mission cables were an eye opener. I knew Sean Casey, Zu's CEO, used to work for Kimber Kable, so I had the Hero interconnects hooked up to the Dynavector P-75 phono pre. I switched them out with the Missions and immediately heard tons more focus and a clearer presentation. They aren't even broken in yet! The Mission speaker cables are very well made and use (if ordered) a locking banana plug I have never encountered before. You unscrew the end and stick it into the speaker. You're left with a long pin that you then insert and screw down, locking the connector into the speaker. I'm looking forward to getting a Zu cartridge in (orders been placed) and eventually the Soul Superfly which are evidently a match made in heaven for tube rigs. The best part of the Zu experience for me is dealing with the guys from Utah. Zu need to be commended for making quality gear at a reasonable price 100% in America. Remember the days when we made stuff and had jobs? Zu are proof that it's not too late or impossible for a US manufacturing renaissance. They just have the balls to do it. They are American after all! Don't be a pinko commie! Come demo some Zu!
I got to see Bill Hicks perform at the Comedy Workshop in Houston. My parents were big fans of comedy clubs in the early 80's. I wish I had known what and who I was witnessing at the time but I was only a tweenager and Bill was a unknown, local comic. I can't help but think he planted a seed in my soft, impressionable brain that night.
Folkie Pete Seeger is 92 today! His career
spans over 70 years (take that Mr. Jagger).
Mark Phillips, AKA "The Vinyl Anachronist" came by the shop a few weeks ago and spent the day listening to music and talking shop. Here's his write up in PERFECT SOUND FOREVER
Now that I've got your attention...
Some cool in-store events are coming up next week!
Tuesday, June 8th @ 7pm The Austinist will be here spinning some new releases.
Saturday, June 12th @ 5pm Unseen Worlds Records will be here playing Elodie Lauten Piano Works
On May 16 at 7:45 am Ronnie James Dio passed away from stomach cancer at age 67. Dio was a great entertainer, amazing singer and all around nice guy. Heavy Metal has lost an icon!
CHECK THIS OUT! Doo Wop Dio!
WOW! For a whopping $449 you can have some pretty darn good sounding towers! I have some more B15 book shelf speakers coming in ($249 see below). These are amazingly good for the money! Come hear 'em!
Once upon a time there was a street in Austin called The Drag. Located across the street from University of Texas, The Drag was a street loaded with record shops, book stores, coffee shops, arcades and cheap eats. Then the 90's came to a close and everything died there along with the Dot Com bust. Even The Gap and Tower Records closed. This was where my first shop was located. It's now a Tattoo / Piercing studio called Diablo Rojo. Belly button piercings are better biz than hi-fi.... whatever. There was a record shop there called Inner Sanctum. The owner has opened up his home for the past few weeks to unload the remainder of his record stash. This is a pic from Friday morning. A bunch of dudes waiting for him to open up. The funny thing is that there was a sign on the door saying "I have a cold, closed until next week" Even so, people were waiting hoping he would show up. I felt like I was "waiting for my man" ie. Lou Reed. After 15 minutes someone mentioned the sign and I left... Jonesing for black gold.
An excellent example of a gacked out Audiophool. Loves his cables more than women? Lives in his mom's basement doing meth? Probably giving out "great" advice on various audio forums. So Scary!! Watch with the lights on!
It doesn't happen often, but I just set up a Rega P78 turntable. It's really surprising how good an old 78 can sound! This one is going to NOLA! I know for a fact that it will be playing some great music you won't find on iTunes!
I've been waiting a few months to get these back in. I stupidly sold my demos not knowing they were back ordered. DeVore are doing their best to keep up with the high demand. A great problem to have! John says he's all caught up, so No Fear! They will be here in a few days. How 'bout that Wild Cherry finish!! and NO, you can't buy my dems.
The "Couture" apparel is coming. Original art from Gary Panter! NFS. It will only be available if you purchase something over $300, then it's free...
UPS came today with the new V series from Musical Fidelity. The line includes the V-DAC DAC, V-CAN Headphone amp, V-LPS mm / mc phono pre amp and V-PSU optional power supply upgrade that powers all three components. Naturally the first one I hooked up was the $299 DAC. I've been jonesing for a good inexpensive DAC. I plugged my MacBook up and was impressed. An easy way to turn your computer into a decent source. As I write this, I'm listening to The Stones, Sucking In the 70's on the V-LPS. For the small fee of $149 you can unlock those grooves. I have the budget Rega P1 with stock Ortofon playing through it. Treble isn't harsh and scratchy, warm mids and tight bass. Up against the similarly priced Rega Fono mini, I think I prefer the V-LPS by a tad. It's cutting hairs though. MC? Well hold on.. Ima be hookin' up the P5 / DV 20X-L...... When the Whip Comes Doooowwwwn!!! Nice! Not a Dynavector P-75 in Dr. T mode, but not shabby! V-CAN? I'll get around to it. I'm sure it's along the same quality as the rest so I won't waste your time. I'm really glad I got this stuff in. Come by for a listen!
GO BUY HIS NEW RECORD!!!
Summer is here! My kids are out of school on June 3rd. While we do have them in a few day camps, they will either be with my wife or me. So you don't make a trip here only to find me M.I.A......
PLEASE SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT!!!
I will be extremely happy to meet with you. I live quite close to the shop so most times I can be called at a moments notice. Just call. 512-784-8282 I'll be holding loose shop hours (nothing unusual, eh?) so calling is key. I'll be there as much as humanly possible.
Whetstone Audio will be closed June 10th until June 22nd. I'm making a pilgrimage to England (and Amsterdam!)! I'll be visiting Quadraspire Racks in Bath, Chord Cables in Salisbury and Rega Research in Essex. Oh.. and ELTON JOHN at a cricket field in Bristol. Sweeeeeeet! Stay tuned for some factory pics and virtual tours here.
I have lots of good $5 and under records here... my trip's beer fund. Please help me drink multiple pints at the pubs.
NEW WHETSTONE AUDIO T-SHIRTS!
Vinyl is "trendy" now, TRUE hipsters go 8-Track!!!
I finally bit the bullet and ordered up the best record cleaning machine available! Ã‚Â Have some records that need cleaning? Ã‚Â Bring them by! Ã‚Â $2 per LP will include a newÃ‚Â poly / paperÃ‚Â inner sleeve and poly outer sleeve. The cool thing about this machine is that it DEEP cleans. Once it's been "Loricleaned", you'll probably never have to clean it again. Ã‚Â Even new records benefit as the stampers leave residue (think Pam, the cooking spray) on them to prevent the vinyl from sticking to the press.