I first visited Altronics Stereo 2000 a few months back on a whim. While the store is unassuming on the outside, when you get in, it is a hi-fi paradise. The store is a magical place filled with some of the finest components I’ve ever seen, shelved floor to ceiling. I’ve been shopping for hi-fi since I was a teenager and I’ve never experienced anything like Altronics. I only wish I had discovered them sooner.
Ron and Rob know their stuff and helped me downsize my large tube amp to a Bryston B60 integrated that is more suitable to the scale of our family room. It is the best sound I’ve heard in my home. Although the B60 is the entry level Bryston, it does exactly what it is suppose to do: switch sources and raise and lower the volume without adding any colour of its own. The built in phono stage is fabulous too - competing well against others costing much more.
I would have never thought of Bryston without the guidance of Ron and Rob. In this day and age were so much hi-fi is being sold on line by people who appear to know little about what they are selling, it is refreshing to work with a local dealer who has a passion for what they sell and a love of the community they serve.
Not only can Rob and Ron advise you on a whole system to fit your needs and tastes; they can also help you upgrade specific components, yielding much better sound at relatively modest cost.
I wanted to keep my mid-fi integrated amplifier and speakers and continue using the transport of my old CD player. I wanted to be able to listen to internet radio and downloaded music. They discussed pros and cons in detail and came up with these recommendations:
- A second-from-the-top Marantz media player
- Entry level Nordost interconnects and
- Entry level Nordost speaker cable.
They told me the media player would provide a better DAC for any digital music source, and the Nordost interconnects and speaker cables would improve the sound from every source. They did not try to sell me top of the line items that would have been overkill and disproportionally costly. Wow, were they right! I have a new set of favourite, European radio stations, and everything sounds so much better: clearer and cleaner; detailed, yet more relaxing.
Thanks, Rob and Ron. I join many other clients in saluting your deep knowledge and eagerness to ensure we get the best.
Hi Ron After about a year of listening to this charming moving coil cartridge for the better part of a year, I will attempt to describe my listening experience so that others considering this model can gain insight on the character and performance of the Dynavector 17D3.
I had purchased this cartridge and then proceeded to wait some three months before taking delivery. It was really not a long time considering the current backlog created by the Fukushima disaster Was it worth the wait? Read on.
The first time it was installed on was a Rega RB303 tone arm Yes it will work as it is considered a good match by certain sources but it's not the match made in heaven sort of thing. The arm while good is unable to fully control the energy released by this cartridge. I would consider the Rega arm as to the lighter side of medium mass as it was unable to cope with the energy put out by the extremely short diamond cantilever of the 17D3. It needed an arm that could bring control to the proceedings.
Enter the Origins Live Silver Mk III. This was another gem looking for a dance partner. The arm brought the performance to a different league. Transparency, tracking ability, transient speed, inner detailing and all the other stuff fellow audiophiles obsess about were there in ample basket fulls.
I was uncertain how much better it could be since not having experienced a Dynavector since the 10X2 I think back in the early 80's.
I own LP music from classical, jazz and many classic greats from that magical decade of the 70's. Playing those records again made me realize how good those recordings were-bad mastering and all. It didn't matter since I was enjoying how much more was getting extracted from those grooves thanks to the proprietary microridge stylus profile. Somehow I got transported to the moment when I first heard the song. Magical. Many albums from numerous sources find their way back to my home and then I'm tripping off on another musical journey.
How does it sound.If you are like me in my audio journey, a neutral frequency response is highly valued to treat all types of music without added or unexpected flavours and coloring. I want to be able to differentiate between a suprano sax and a clarinet or between a violin and a synthesized violin. Or how about hearing reverberation versus artificial reverberation.
The 17D3 is capable of making sense out of Al Demeola's lightening fast finger strokes to following a bass line hidden behind the kick drum rhythm. Or to make Kiri Te Kanewa's soprano voice charm you as she soars.
It's not about having all bass, mid or treble present but how it all seems to come together without sounding strained or over-emphasized. It can give you everything on the album without the feeling you have missed out on something better.
For the modest price though, it must be partnered with the best source components you can afford and it will continue to show more as you upgrade.
As as aside, the suggested loading should be taken as just that-a suggestion. Experience for what it is can always stand to learn something new.
And like the good guys at Altronics, they give you something useful to think about and put in practice. The fact is that this cartridge is sensitive to loading. Some experimenting here can yield good to great results and it's free to experiment.
Needless to say a top notch phono preamp is a given when attempting to get the best out of this cartridge.
Thanks for the opportunity to express my opinion on another great product available from Altronics.
Well... what an amazing adventure our trip from Peterborough to Toronto was on the weekend to see Ron and buy a new pair of PMC speakers.
We had talked earlier in the day, went out of a hike, came back and had a message waiting from Ron.
We had lunch and waited, as it turned out, just long enough to miss the traffic carnage on highway 401 near highway 115, which we were driving down. We knew we were going to be late and we don’t use cellphones but Ron god bless his heart waited for us, and somehow we got around the traffic mess and once further north used the 407 eventually making our way to the store, which of course if you have seen pictures online makes you go... hmmmm... now what’s this? And how on earth could this apparently small place have all this higher end gear?
Well were we in for a very pleasant and mind altering - in a good way - experience.We entered through the front door and met him, his brother Rob and his Mom and a ton of gorgeous audio/stereo equipment, stacked it seemed, from floor to ceiling in every conceivable space. It was not what we have come to expect in a high end stereo store and that IS a GooD thing - and nothing could prepare us for Ron and Rob, salt of the earth, sweetest men you will ever meet who live and breath audio gear - since, as you will find out from their youth.
This place is the real deal and these are the kind of people you want to do business with - they have likely forgotten more than you will ever know and they have an amazing product array - it simply will blow your mind.
Ron got us a couple of chairs and we plunked down and listened to our planned acquisition right there, in really the only available floor space but that didn’t matter.
Don’t let that put you off - because this is an experience of a lifetime!! At my age I know a few things about this stuff, the fancy stores and how they try sell gear. Nothing prepared us for what we discovered.
We were treated royally and with courtesy and sincerity - this is the place where you want to buy your audio gear - forget the fancy stores. Their store sits at the opposite end (the good end) of the spectrum to the freak show at the other end - say ------------ as one example - at the wrong end of the continuum. As well places like --------- actually have limited selection and almost no great gear like Ron's.
There are no airs or fancy setups - just great premium equipment stacked to the rafters it seems.
If I ever need another piece of gear I am making the trip to Ron and Rob’s. End of story.
Thanks Ron and Rob for waiting of run and a memorable experience. We just wish we had more time to actually stay and look around at the bounty stocked therein!!
Cheers and regards and as promised even though the lighting was all wrong are a before and after of the PMC speakers the new ones have a very high WAF!!!! Not unimportant in this field.
Ross & Pauline
Hello Ron/Rob - Cambridge Audio DAC100,
Well, I auditioned this DAC last night on assorted music styles and mp3 bitrates and this definitely makes a big difference in the sound quality. I enjoyed it so much, I couldn't stop listening to stuff. It was an extended listening session of 3 1/2 hours! MP3's just sound musically correct now. Soundstage, ambient infomation, rhythm, timing, clarity, perspective - it's all there.
All the music was taken from LP's and 45's. I have the Audio Technica AT1240 DD turntable (I bypass the built in DAC) and the superb Dynavector 10x5. I run it into a Pyle Pro PP-999 phono stage, into a '89 version Cyrus Two. It's a humble little unit, especially compared to the Moon 110 that you showed me, but, with the improved power supply that I use with it, it's actually surprisingly musical and dynamic. Hopefully, I'll be able to get the Moon unit same day.
Since the cartridge has about 40 hours on it, I recorded some music with it last week, because I had a DJ opportunity and I wanted to add some extra songs to the mix. This cartridge just rocks. My primary genre range to 50's to 80's, with some modern stuff thrown in.
If you like the Dave Clark 5, I recorded "Because" to MP3, which I have attached as a sample and "Try to Hard".
Anyways, this DAC really works well with MP3's. The difference is less noticeable on WAV files, but, it's still there for sure. Some music I could not buy unless it was on compilation LP's like K-tel records, which were highly compressed songs, with reduced dynamics, so that they could fit 11 songs on one side....... lol.
These kind songs that I converted to MP3's, benefited the most from this DAC. It restored all the music, as if I was listening to the record itself. And I don't agree with the on-line reviewers that say this DAC lacks dynamics.
The songs, like the ones I attached, and others that I listened to were so engaging and satisfying to hear with my AKG 240 Studio headphones from my '89 version Cyrus Two.
Remember Flip, Flop and Fly by the Downchild Blues Band, have a listen. This was from a K Tel album, called Sound Explosion. Also, Drift Away by Dobie Gray.
Thank you very much for recommending the Dynavector cartridge and Cambridge Audio DAC, they have been solid performers. I was trying find info on the Tannoy speakers that you showed me but, I must not have the correct model because I cannot find much on it from the web.
Thanks guys! You have the best audio shop in town period. Keep up the great work and hope to drop in again soon.
Sincere thanks again to you and Lawrence for driving all the way to Whitby from your Toronto store this past Tuesday evening to repair the connection issue inside my brand new Esoteric K-05X unit.
Watching you calmly, gently and efficiently probing inside the unit to diagnose and fix the problem was like watching a fine surgeon at work in the operating room. When you called Tuesday afternoon to say you were actually coming 30 miles to diagnose the problem at my home, rather than asking me to drive the unit back to your store, after I had just picked it up that morning, I was astounded! Astounded by your concern and care and unbelievable customer service. In all my years I have never experienced such a degree of service and attention! And so swiftly!
I would have been crushed had I had to send the unit away for repair and wait up to three weeks to have it returned, particularly since it was brand new and I had been like a kid at Christmas waiting over the past month for the unit to arrive. Your generosity and kindness saved me a load of disappointment.
In the meantime, I have used the unit and it performs flawlessly and already is revealing details in my music that I've never heard before. And this before it's even burned in properly. Moreover, it's built like a piece of military gear and exudes incredible quality. The only negative I've encountered so far is the remote control. It does not emit a very strong signal even with Duracell batteries instead of the OEM ones. By comparison, my Oppo remote allows me to make changes from anywhere in my room from any angle. The K-05X remote only works if you're standing directly in front of the unit about ten feet away. Not a big deal, but frustrating just the same. Who knows, maybe Esoteric will develop a stronger remote sometime in future that will work with my unit and be available to buy separately?
Anyway, Ron, my sincere thanks again and give my best to Lawrence.
Dick invited me along to visit your store. It was a pleasant surprise to meet someone with your expertise and experience. It is nice to meet people with years of experience in experimenting and listening to such a variety of high end equipment and maintaining that passion.
To give you some background I worked at UWO in Engineering Science for about 35 years designing and constructing 100's of electronic devices for researchers and industry. To acoustic levitation of solid particles in a chamber, to designing autonomous robots.
In my spare time I designed, constructed and/or modified 100's of pieces of audio electronics, having become familiar with the work of the many designers you mentioned. You are probably aware that my CD-94 player from Marantz was modified. This included conversion to Non-Oversampling of the TDA1541a philips DAC and the extensive treatment of all signal paths and particularly the power supplies.
Dick and I have been discussing MQA for many months. It was interesting to hear your thoughts on MQA and to hear an example of pulse code modulation in the DSD format. It was excellent.
Cheers and thanks again for your hospitality,
Dear Ron and Rob,
You guys are a legend in these parts and its not hard to see why,
your store is an institution and I cannot imagine Toronto without it.
First of all you have the knack of making your customers feel at ease in your world
regardless of their grasp of electronics and technical specifications.
Secondly you tactfully assist the right choice of equipment for the job and the budget.
Thirdly you are brilliant at installing all the gear in the space without a lot of drama.
Your knowledge and passion for excellence shines through and the results are very reassuring.
Finally you make every one feel that they are getting your full attention and best customer service
And you can see that from all the testimonials on your website.
To start, I was amazed when I opened the door to the store, as I was not Expecting to see the amount of equipment and the high quality of them. My mission was to replace my Yamaha receiver either with another Yamaha, a Pioneer or a Marantz.
Ron took the time to show me the charts he made himself comparing the products offered by his store, with all the details and performance from the units I was interested in.
His advice was that I shouldn't buy the most expensive one, even though this meant he would not be making as much money with the sale. Instead he adviced me to go with the unit that would best meet my needs as well as my budget. This shows his good character, honesty and concern for the customer.
I was leaning towards a Marantz unit as I had previously owned one in the 80's and was familiar with the quality of the product and after spending time with Ron and learning about the equipment he carried in his store, he made me see that indeed Marantz was the choice I should stand by.
And just like he said, even though this Marantz SR5010 unit was not the most expensive one he carried in the store, it performed just as well if not better than the higher priced receivers.
Once I installed the receiver at home, the improvement of sound was like going from night to day. I started playing George Harrison's "Here comes the sun" song in vynil and I could literally feel George in front of me singing. I then called my wife to listen to it and she said the exact same thing, the feeling of having the singer right with you in your room.
This receiver not only improved the sound of music but also the movie watching experience as well, as it has the Dolby Atmos system, making you feel immersed in the movie in the middle of all the action.
Marantz's customer service was excellent as well, as they assisted me with some doubts I had.
After my initial purchase at the store, I went back to the store the next day to see Ron and to thank him for the help, the patience, the knowledge he has. He takes the time to listen to you and does not rush you or pressure you into buying anything, as it happens at the big department stores.
The second time I came to see him was to share with him some of the music I listen to that improved thanks to his help.
When you are in his store taking to him, you feel you are having a good time with a friend, sharing anecdotes and experiences. It does not feel like the regular customer-seller relationships at other stores.
If you are interested in buying good quality equipment, in a variety of prices, with incredible knowledge of all available products, you definitely need to come see Ron and his brother Rob at their store.
Thank you again and see you again for sure!
Just a note to thank you, Ron, for ensuring I obtained an A/V solution to accommodate my special hearing needs but at the same time give my a great home theatre experience. My new equipment from Altronics is excellent. I especially liked your considerable patience and expertise in working with me to find the solution I required. I simply cannot imagine getting that service from any other store, especially the chains, and most certainly not on the Internet. Your offer to be available 24/7 was greatly appreciated, but fortunately not needed so far.
Thanks again and thanks Howard for connecting us. I would most certainly recommend Altronics to anyone.
Well, if you expected fancy cappuccino machines. Don't go.
Want to sit in a leather Italian designer chair. Don't go.
If you buy equipment according to Recommended Components. Don't go.
If you buy your components to just show off. Don't go.
If you are interested in just the thickness of the faceplate. Don't go.
If you constantly listen to 2 CDs and one is Jacintha. Don't go.
Do Go...If you want to hear technical hows of the equipment.
If you want an explanation of the circuitry design.
If you are a true music lover.
If you want to share years of HiFi experiences.
Seriously, I have been to all the HiFi stores in Ontario, and Ron and
Rob are the most enjoyable to talk to. They have so much gear worth
than any other stores. Not just 1 or 2 statement piece. Sure you need
heads up for a true audition. "Blue Collar" store....what's wrong with that.
If I have a Ferrari, does that make me a race car driver? Hell NO!
Most store salesperson don't know the difference between capacitance
and inductance. Ron and Rob lived electronics their whole lives.
Altronics is not a Boutique store. And might not be your cup of tea.
They present high end in a brutally and refreshingly honest manner.
It's just that the Truth hurts sometimes.
Refreshing to meet you Ron.
I can't say enough great things about the guys at Altronics Stereo 2000. I listened to a bunch of different equipment before settling on something. Then, I changed my mind a few times and exchanged components until it felt right. Throughout the process, Ron and Rob were patient and helpful. It's always a beautiful thing to deal with people who are so passionate about what they do. I'm loving my system.
Just upgraded to a Clearaudio Concept Wood turntable. If you're the type of person who appreciates quality craftsmanship and superior tonality, this German-made turntable is exquisite. My vinyl is delivered warmly and with rich depth. Just handling the carbon fiber arm tells you this is an exceptionally well-built machine. Read up on the company; you'll be impressed with everything you read. It's a gorgeous turntable at a step above the entry level tables of the audiophile world.
As I slowly recover from the quantum of the Monday purchases I can say I am absolutely thrilled with the beauty which is now filling our home.
The Krell 300i and 350a and PMC 24's are worth every nickel. Your advice and understanding of my wishes couldn't have been more exact.
It is of course impossible to know what you were missing because you simply didn't hear it but I now hear it all. If there is more I don't think I can afford to hear it.
Thank you for your amazing attention to my listening desires.
If you care deeply about home audio, and if quality, craftsmanship, and exceptional product knowledge are important to you, Altronics Stereo 2000 is the place for you. Ron and Rob are extremely well-informed and value customer satisfaction. They recently set me up with a Roksan K2 integrated amplifier, a Pionneer Elite cd player, and a pair of Quad 12L speakers.
Well-defined, crisper, more pronounced music now fills my room. In the past when I would turn up the volume on my 32-year-old Yamaha receiver, the increase seemed to attack; now it delivers with such smoothness and detail.
Even running a Sherwood ipod dock through this amp and speakers sounds better than cd's through my old Marantz cd player (which decided to commit suicide a few days ago). I feel taken care of by Ron and Rob and am extremely satisfied. It's a good investment! Thanks, guys!
Montreal Audio Show 2012
Just ck'ing in. Was great to see you in Montreal last weekend. Hope it was a good show for you guys.
I wanted to thank you again for the wonderful CD recommendations- you are spot on every year!
Just wanted to thank you guys for being there to take care of the minor cosmetic issue on the speaker.
Your professionalism and commitment to your customers is both recognized and much appreciated.
Ron and Rob, at Altronics Stereo 2000, have a lot of happy customers, and they’ve just added two more to their ever-expanding clientele. About a year ago, my wife and I visited this little gem of a store to replace an old SONY stereo receiver (I thought I had ‘fried’ it – it’s almost too embarrassing to admit all of this). Little did my wife and I know that we would end up meeting the two nicest and most knowledgeable audio experts in the entire country and, as well, end up acquiring magnificent new audio equipment.
Asking really dumb audio questions was – and apparently still is – my personal specialty. All of our questions were handled with amazing goodwill, knowledge, and enthusiasm and gradually, ever so gradually, a whole new world of audio experience was opened to us. Who could have guessed there were so many ways of creating glorious music for our eager ears? Our old SONY receiver is now only an embarrassing memory and in its place now sits a magnificent MasterSound 300B P.S.E. tube amp pushing its bright energy effortlessly through two spectacular JBL ARRAY 1000 speakers plus several new pairs of amazing TANNOY speakers. To say our home is ‘dancing with music’ is the understatement of the year.
All of this new equipment, together with Ron and Rob’s unbelievable passion and knowledge, has truly lifted our listening enjoyment straight through the stratosphere.
Best of all, Ron and Rob are ‘old school’ (a real rarity these days!) when it comes to customer service – they deliver the world’s finest audio equipment with an unbeatable combination of expertise and a true understanding of what’s important for the enjoyment of fine music, whatever that taste may be.
Altronics Stereo 2000 is a rare gem. If you are serious about improving your audio experience, this is the only place to be. My wife and I now have a joke – if you set foot in this store – and linger even for a few moments with Ron or Rob – it’s ‘game over’ !!
ADL GT 40 DAC Review
First of all, I would like to thank two dear to me people, Rob and Ron of Altronics Stereo 2000 who showed me true meaning of High Definition Sound. Since the first time (I think it was in 2008) when I first put stepped into their small, but beautiful store, I still continued being amazed with all majestically made speakers, amplifiers, CD players, and records which I found there. It is there, Altronics Stereo 2000, where I bought headphone amplifier, ADL GT 40 DAC, to which I decided to dedicate my review. So far, in 2011 it is one of the best amplifiers which I ever had. I was so amazed by the performance of this item that I decided to write the review about that headphone amplifier in the near future.
ADL GT 40 DAC (made in Japan) gives incredible improvisation of sound coming from good headphones and speakers. In the first time of using this device, I immediately noticed that the sound became much more airy than ever before. It felt like every piece of sound was well polished and represented. I could hear that the bass became more distinct, robust, and dynamic. The improvisation of delivering echoing effects makes the entire sound unbelievably natural and realistic. Also, the clarity of the sound drastically reduced the edginess and sharpness on the high notes. This contributed to the accuracy within the sound making each instrument and voice sound very close to the way how it should sound in reality. The sound of many instruments including violin and flute became milder and cleaner. The voice of many female singers such as Celine Dion became less nasal-edgy and clearer. ADL GT 40 DAC is quite revealing amplifier showing masses of imperfections from many average and poor records. It also serves as a wonderful external audio unit for PC making digital audio records sound surprisingly smooth, clean, and engaging.
Overall, sound coming through ADL GT 40 DAC is full of richness, clarity, and accuracy. I think I should also mention that ADL GT 40 DAC is small and surprisingly light for its great performance. And it is very elegant; in fact, it is one of the most beautiful amplifiers which I ever had.
Thanks again, even with my old phono pre-amp the Roksan Radius 5 sounds amazing. Now I can listen to my 1200 records again. I am sure it won't be too long before I'll be back for the Italian Mastersound Phono pre amp.
Your expertise is wonderful!
Thanks so much for fixing my Conrad Johnson and steering me in the direction of the Esoteric X-05. It all sounds amazing! I have never heard this from my system before! As I listen today everything is opening up so amazingly. It is as if I just bought a new CD collection.
We received warranty registration cards from Bruce for his purchase of KAV-280p and
KAV-2250. The words written regarding the Krell buying experience were so
impressive we want to share them with you.
“Ron and Rob who own this family business are the most knowledgeable stereo
people I have ever talked with. You couldn’t ask for better guys to represent and sell your
product’s. Eventually any people serious about good quality stereo components will
come to them here in Toronto”.
Krell Industries, L.L.C.
When I began my trek into high end audio, I was extremely surprised and disappointed by the less than professional attitudes that I encountered at many audio retailers. I experienced what seemed to be the entire gambit of poor consumer treatment which ranged from high pressure sales tactics and rude sales representatives to just been ignored. After telling a co-worker about some of these issues I had experienced, he immediately suggested that a trip to Altronics Stereo 2000 was in order. My first visit to Altronics 2000 was definitely a breath of fresh air where I met Ron and Rob for the first time. From the very beginning, I was treated with respect and all of my questions were honestly and eagerly answered - with no high pressure sales tactics. Definitely two very down to earth and highly knowledgeable individuals.
Another pleasant surprise was the large selection of audio equipment that was on the shelf and ready to demo such as Bryston, JBL, Krell and Esoteric. Looking back, they had almost every model of Bryston amplifiers from the B60 up to the Bryston 28B and all of the JBL series speakers. I remember pointing to a pair of JBLï¿½s and inquiring what they were. A smile from Rob and Ron ensued, then the demo begins.
I notice something very different about these JBL Arrays over the speakers that I have previously auditioned and I like it.
Ron and Rob put together so many combinations for me to audition, it was awesome and I truly believe that they were having as much fun as I was. Then came the demo of the Bryston 28B, BP26 and the Esoteric X-05 CD player with the JBLï¿½s. Another feature that I noticed right away was that Ron and Rob were brutally honest about the strengths and weaknesses of any audio components that they demonstrated for me and that they employed CDs that tested the audio limits of this equipment.
I remember standing there with my mouth open and thinking ï¿½sold.ï¿½
Needless to say, I purchased my entire audio system from Altronics 2000. When my JBLs arrived, my vehicle was not large enough to transport them home. I called Ron and informed him that I would have to get a friend to pick up the speakers for me the following week. "When would you like them," he inquired. Jokingly, I replied "how about tonight," Ron said he would deliver them - it was New Years Eve and his round trip was 160 Kilometres!
What is also very important to me is the ï¿½service after the sale.ï¿½ One of my components required service and Altronics 2000 handled this process flawlessly from the beginning to the end. Ron kept me regularly informed with progress reports and I believe that he was also instrumental in expediting the repair process.
I am deeply passionate about my music and I am immensely pleased with the performance of my audio system. It would also seem that my wife has developed an appreciation for refined audio equipment after listening to my system and I can predict that another trip to Altronics 2000 will be in the near future to purchase an audio system for her.
"Ron and Rob at Altronics are the two most knowledgeable guys in the GTA when it comes to home theatre and two channel stereo....with customer satisfaction being #1 on their list."
If you really want to hear the music you love, go to Ron and Rob at Altronics.
Their knowledge and understanding of audio/visual electronics and media will help you
avoid making the usual but unnecessary compromises associated with building a superior
2-Channel or Home Theatre system.
Their many years of experience and tireless research have given them the ability and
resources to assist you in building a system that will give you years of listening pleasure.
I know this because they did it for me. I was on the verge of making a decision that
would have been a mistake. They were able to show me a better way and for that I am extremely
Both Ron and Rob are passionate about what they do. They are dedicated to providing honest
information and diligent customer service. Their goal is to ensure that you will make the best
decision for you no matter what your budget.
I have never known two gentlemen with a greater passion and knowledge of stereo equipment ï¿½ full stop. My friends describe me as an audiophile. Now what does that really mean? According to the Oxford English Concise Dictionary an audiophile is a noun ï¿½ a hi-fi enthusiast. I like this unpretentious description. I love and appreciate music. Let me explain. I always seem to start things late. As a high school student, I took up my auntï¿½s generous offer to all her nieces and nephews of free piano lessons. She was quite the lady ï¿½ the church organist, a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music and a recognized master of Spirituals and Gospels.
The high school I attended had an absolutely outstanding vocal music programme, and I had the honour and privilege to be a student of Mr John Ford. I wouldnï¿½t by any stretch of the imagination call myself a musical expert. Simply put, I enjoyed music ï¿½ listening and creating ï¿½ and as a result, the authentic reproduction of music, for me, is paramount.
My real stereo purchasing experience started as I was leaving graduate school, again I got a late start. I did the best of could, on a student budget. Back then, my musical litmus test was of course vinyl and a particular piano concerto by Tchaikovsky.
I first heard about Altronics and Ron and Rob when I contacted a Canadian distributor. She said, ï¿½youï¿½ll really enjoy meeting those two guysï¿½. She was absolutely right. I went there to pick up some xlo cables. We got to talking and listening to music, and it all went ï¿½downhillï¿½ from there. Besides all the cables, weï¿½ve done some serious damage ï¿½ some outstanding HD CDs, and an amazing DAC. I am particularly pleased with the new JBL Array 1400s. The improvements were so outstanding that even my wife talks and the ï¿½new soundï¿½. Weï¿½ve taken to dancing in the living room, from time to time. One downside, I am losing control ï¿½ I now must entertain requests.
From a musical equipment perspective, talking to these two guys is like trying to drink from a fire hose. Their advice is solid. Each visit to the store is both a wonderful learning and listening experience. That is rare today. And since we share a similar passion, I unquestionable respect their opinion.
Thought it was about time I dropped you guys a line on my impressions of the system now that I have lived with it for a few months. Holy Fracking Crap!
A few weeks after the delivery of the Krell gear, my wife was away for the weekend, I started listening to the system at 4:00 pm and finished at 5:00 am. At about midnight, suddenly everything sounded better it was like a switch had been thrown, you could smell that new K2 odor again, guess thereï¿½re broken in.
The K2s allow the full impact of CAST to be realized, when I go back and read the reviews of the Krell equipment I smile, as everything the author is waxing poetically about is soo true and they havenï¿½t got them hooked up to K2s ?!
CAST pulls out every detail and nuance recorded by the artist and the K2 delivers it to your ears. Delivers is probably a poor choice of words to describe the effect, floats it out, silently appears in the ether, etc.
It is unbelievable the sound field that develops, the only thing that comes to mind is sorcery. You sit there thinking to yourself how can this be happening, as the goose bumps rise on your arms and a silly grin is pasted on your face. With CAST you feel like you have been enveloped by this liquid river of sound, youï¿½re totally submerged and drowning, but have no desire to be rescued.
Over the years many claims have been made about 3D sound, with home theatre, multiple speakers and the associated recording technology things have gotten close. The K2s with Krell CAST make it happen, on many occasions I have been listening to them and then this magical thing happens the K2s disappear the music is all around you, up, down, side to side, behind you. Try as you might to focus on each individual speaker you just canï¿½t distinguish one from the other. The stereo imaging of the K2s is extraordinary, never heard anything like it.
I have resurrected my HK HD7500 II CD player and placed it on top of the rack, I play a CD in it once and a while to remind me of what CAST is all about, never get more than 120 seconds into any song before I turn it off.
I much appreciate the help and advice you have given me I now own something that is truly special. One of my wifeï¿½s girlfriends summed it up nicely after listening to the system ï¿½My god itï¿½s live!ï¿½
Well, once again, everything is unfolding as foretold.
Right out of the box the Esoteric E-03 is wonderful.
The improvement in detail and overall performance is promising to elevate the whole system right to where I hoped it would go.
The music is whole and fully engaging. I can hardly wait for the rest of the trip.
Thanks again and I will see you soon.
Hi Ron and Rob
Things worked out very well-amazing really with the Pioneer Elite BDP-33FD. While I had purchased it to originally watch DVD and Blu Ray, I was so taken by its CD playback that I spent more time listening than watching. It was so good I ended up disconnecting the Integra. How so? The bass was deep and harmonically pleasant. Sound stage went wider than the speakers. The sound blooms when the volume rises. The background noise levels are low so complex sound passages are clearer even through the daytime power line hash. It is like listening to good analogue at an affordable price point.
I know this magic comes from careful design but even as short as three years ago, I would have expected this in $2000plus machines. How the heck do they do it.
Anyway thanks for steering me in the right direction again.
Thank you again for getting me the rCube before Christmas.
Some initial feedback/impressions of my rCube:
- Arcam's recommendation for corner placement is critical IMO. I could easily see this as being the difference between someone loving the rCube and not being impressed with it, i.e it sounds MUCH bigger in a corner. I have it at about 10" (less than recommended) from a wall and a credenza at a 45 degree angle, and it can produce a wide soundstage from that position with no distortion from sound reflection - even at this distance.
- The SQ is wonderful IMO throughout the frequency range, and it can actually produce a wide soundstage, depending on the recording. Recording example - Beethoven Violin Concerto - Perlman/Philharmonia. It can handle Rock too - example - Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon. It is even great with Opera!
- The only symphonic music I have found so far that it struggled with somewhat, was music with the full orchestra playing on certain recordings such as Beethoven's 3rd symphony, 1st movement - it gets a bit muddy IMO, although it may be the particular recording.
- Connectivity - I have tried it with iPod docked and the Aux. line out (3.5 mm) connected to an iPod or Zune player and find both very good. Note: the 'handshake' for line out may take some trial and error to become familiar with, although the manual's instructions are accurate. The issue is that the rCube doesn't recognize the device on its own and you have to go through a 2 step process to connect external devices.
In summary, I am very pleased with the rCube and would highly recommend it.
Just waiting for my rWave now!
Change Lightspeed Powerline Conditioner
Where do I begin. This unit is a keeper. It has now pushed past the 6th day in my system since I plugged it in and I have heard only sound improvements from day one. It has me re-listening to my favourite reference recordings all over again as well as not so favourite ones to see if they were now passable.
The obvious sonic improvements heard included:
Lower background noise
This effect is heard with and without sources of electrical noises being on or off meaning you now have clean sound through the peak power consumption hours. Any time of the day was a good time to listen. A big Hooray for that! I used to have to wait till after midnight to get clear sound.
Wider sound stages
This was noticed on any recording and speaker placement became less critical. Like Wow man!
Placement of items within the soundstage were more obvious. The recording engineer's intention is better appreciated
Clarity of all musical voices
There was more pleasure listening to choral music and complex "all hell breaking loose" recordings. Harmonies, background effects and textures were more enjoyable. Complex arrangements were better heard with less effort. This really enhanced the enjoyment on listening to massed voices where the individual voices can be better focused on. Muddling of the sound was no more!
Deeper and more effortless bass
This was noticed on both analogue and digital sources. This really enhanced movie sound tracks making the music more a part of the scene rather than just sound filler.
High frequency glare removed
Listening at higher volumes can be tolerated again from both analogue and digital sources. No more brightness. Just more detail. Some of my favourite rock records lost their brightness and displayed a clean and more dynamic treble range.
CD sound mimicking analogue
Digital music seemed to have more high frequency musical content than before and more dynamic range in the quiet and ending passages. There was more obvious sound blooming as the sound got louder. On the other hand, records played on my turntable were still better with all the detail enhancing the illusion of a live performance happening in the room.
My take is that this piece of equipment is like a power supply enhancer allowing audiophile level equipment to perform as they were intended as well as upgrading the power supply performance to a level where it sounds like you have a more expensive amp, preamp or source. I'm not saying, it will make your NAD amp sound like a Krell but it will definitely take the sound quality to the next level. It even helped improve my turntable in ways I can't figure out now. This highlights the fact that within city limits, you cannot over estimate the quality of incoming AC power and under estimate the effect of clean power for your home audio system. On a housing keeping issue, it really helped clean up my wiring since I no longer have to run five power cords to the wall socket. I was not a fan of power bars(these degrade the sound too much). Hum. How much is a tubed preamp......
Thanks again Guys.
Dear Ron and Rob,
I just wanted share my story with you and other potential customers to your store and to thank you for coming through when the chips were down.
When I first walked into my local "audio/visual" retail store, I frankly didn't expect to find the calibre of product that cluttered the shelves and floor of Altronics. Nor did I expect the "audiophiliac" knowledge that cluttered the brains of the two proprietors, Ron and Rob. Not only did they have quality products to suite virtually all budgets, but they had the ability to intelligently sell them too! A rare commodity in the field of audio retail in my experience.
I was in the market to replace my recently deceased AV receiver with, what I was hoping to be, a giant step forward in sound quality by returning to a two channel system. Rob, introduced me to a particular product (an integrated solid state amp) and walked me through all of the finer points of the unit with a passion and a true understanding of how to musically convey the message he declaimed. He enquired about the type of system I had and made every attempt to emulate it, using the closest equivalent merchandise they had in store. He in effect brought the demonstration closer to "home" in the literal sense. Something that other salespersons in this field would do well to take note of. The unit sounded good and after doing some due diligence, I made the decision to purchase it. Now all that was left to do was to wait for delivery and then let the music to begin.
Sadly, the day the unit arrived was the day the music died. The unit was plagued with problems and eventually, after some extremely frustrating dealings with the manufacturer, I returned the unit to Altronics.
Now, the story could have ended at this point. Quite unhappily. Fortunately, thanks to Ron, it did not! He took the unit back without hesitation and assured me that he could find me something else that would satisfy me and still maintain the parameters of my budget. Something that would be as good or better in terms of sound quality as the unit that had let me down previously. This was not any simple task as my budget seemed to place me smack between entry level hi-fi and the unlimited dollar world of the high-end "separates".
Enter the LSA Standard, hybrid integrated amplifier (tube preamp/solid state amp).
I had never heard of the brand before Ron mentioned it to me, and there were only a few reviews of the amp to be found on the internet. However, of those reviews there was not so much as a hint of negativity towards the LSA. It was referred to as the "integrated amp for grown ups". I was indeed intrigued by the hybrid technology and wanted to have a listen.
Unfortunately, Altronics did not have one in stock, so I had to wait for the unit to arrive. The day finally arrived and Ron called me in to audition the amp. Once again Altronics went the extra mile and hooked up the LSA to a CD player which was virtually identical to the unit I myself owned. I began the audition with some opera and listened to a couple of my favourite arias waiting for the chills to run up my spine. The amp more than passed the chill test as shivers thrilled my vertebrae when the Queen of the Night in Motzart's "Magic Flute" hit those high C's. Then in complete contrast I changed to the gospel sounds of the Blind Boys of Alabama singing Tom Waits's "Jesus Gonna Be Here". The bass thumped and the voices rumbled through with a clarity I had never before experienced. Both articulate and smooth. I then requested a comparison with a solid state integrated and found it woefully lacking after listening to the tubes in the LSA. As far as I was concerned the deal was done!
Now came the unbearably long wait for the new unit to arrive from California. Bear in mind I was in a state of musical withdrawal! When the unit did arrive - delivered directly to my door by Ron - there was yet another delay. The LSA weighs about 78lbs. and I could not pick it up by myself (God knows I tried!) so I was forced to wait until my wife got home to help me. (Do "real" men admit these things?) Once the amp was in it's place I read the incredibly small manual, hooked up the amp to my various sources and turned it on. No surprises! A good start. I put Diana Krall's "The Girl in the Other Room" and the whole house filled with music. My speakers never sounded better, nor did Ms. Krall. I must admit that this amp kept me up to the wee hours of the morn. Something the previous amp had never accomplished. I really hated to turn it off and go to bed. I just wanted to hear more and more. Thankfully the weekend was upon me. The hours passed and the sound just got better as the amp became warmer. Yes, I was in love!
Although there are many advantages the LSA integrated amp offers: tube preamp, class A design, built in phono preamp which is physically separated from the rest of the circuity and has a moving magnet input and a moving coil output (jumper pins included) and the remote control is also included there is however one advantage that stands out above the rest and makes it, for me anyway, an exceptional buy. My wife can actually tell the difference in sound quality over both my old deceased AV receiver and the buggy solid state integrated I had to return! Victory was mine!
Now that I have had the LSA for a few weeks I can honestly say that I have indeed discovered a few flaws.
1. The aforementioned weight hurt my self image as a man and could very well have strained my back if I didn't have a strong wife.
2. The LSA logo is a disgrace to graphic design. Please tell them to consider revising using professional help.
3. The remote only has four buttons which makes explaining to my wife how to use it quite unnecessary and she therefore no longer needs my assistance. I have become redundant due to technological simplification. Yet another blow to my manhood.
4. I find myself constantly wanting to listen to the brilliant sound of the LSA and therefore I am not getting nearly as much done around the house.
Thank you again Ron, for letting me in on one of the best kept secrets in home audio. I really must to go now, as I' still have several hundred recordings to listen to!
Hi Rob and Ron,
It's been quite a few weeks since I sourced the Iso bearing kit from you and have had enough time to reflect on the changes this had made in my four figure system.
They were placed under my integrated power amp and I forgot about them for a while. Then one day I was listening to 97.3fm and a tune came on that I had to crank the volume. I adjusted it from the remote so I wasn't sure how loud it was. Well after the piece had finished, I checked the volume pot setting and found it near the 11 o'clock point. My immediate reaction was-Holy sh*t that was clean! I flicked over to Q107. Same difference. Everything sounded bigger as opposed to louder. I was hooked. I played some CDs that I tolerated for being shouty sounding and bright and some got wider perceived frequency and dynamic range. Same went for LPs.
I can only say that audible effects from subtle chassis vibrations in the amp were
being effectively suppressed. It was like listening through good head phones.( My excuse to tinker is when the system didn't sound as clear and effortless as through headphones. It's painful to have expensive ears.)
The cumulative effect is to listen and feel that all the electronic and mechanical train is not there. It allows me to listen to unfamiliar music and understand the intent of the composition and appreciate it even if its not my flavour. It's you and the performance.
Thanks again for another excellent product.