Saturday, December 3, 2011

Setting up for the Hootenanny

Here are some quick pre-pics of the Hootenanny we held at Whetstone Audio last night. I'll blog about the whole event in a bit, but I thought I'd give you a little insight into what goes into the planning of these events.

Here's a pic of the system as it started to take place. We decided on the Unison Research Giro turntable ($3995) with the matching Unison Research UN1 cartridge ($550), as well as the Unison Research CDE CD player ($3995) as sources. We used the Unison Research Simply Phono phono stage ($1600) and its outboard power supply ($800). It was powered by the incredible Unison Research S6 integrated amplifier ($4895), which is a single-ended (parallel) pure Class A design that creates 30 wpc with EL34s from Tung-Sol. Everything was hooked up to the flagship Opera Callas Grand loudspeakers ($9995 per pair) with Cardas Audio Clear Light cable throughout.

Here's Bob Clarke of Profundo helping out by attaching the feet to the Opera Grand Callas loudspeakers. Bob and Whetstone Audio's Brian Di Frank helped out enormously during setup. Bob had come in earlier in the week and set up his system which included the brand new Trenner & Friedl Pharoah speakers, Heed Audio amplification and a Well-Tempered Amadeus with Dynavector 20X cartridge that was supplied by Brian.

Here's another view of the Callas Grands as they were being prepared. Note that beautiful mahogany veneer on the sides...I think this is the most beautiful wood I've ever seen on a pair of speakers, although the wood grain patterns on the Pharoahs were equally intriguing with their almost Asian appearance.

Even as we were working, Brian still had customers coming in. Here Brian is installing an Ortofon OM-5e cartridge on a customer's old Pioneer turntable. The customer came over and glanced at all the Rega turntables Brian had on display, and I think he talked himself into getting an RP1 turntable down the road. He stopped and admired our Giro turntable and probably said to himself, "One day, one day..."

And here's the system set up and ready to go. I have to admit that I loved hearing the Callas Grands in a much bigger room than mine (which is only about 12' by 14' with 11' ceilings). The rear-firing tweeters on the Operas need plenty of space around them to achieve a truly giant and extended soundstage. By 2pm I had the turntable assembled and the cartridge aligned (the arm on the Giro is exceptionally easy to work with and I had everything dialed in within 20 minutes or so). The system had a full four hours to warm up and play before the first guests started arriving at 6pm.

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