July 1, 2022 § Leave a comment
Most of all, though, the Stealth gave me confidence that whatever LP I put on the platter would sound as good as it was going to at the sub-$2000 price point. A cartridge upgrade, perhaps to a high-output moving coil, raises that performance to a higher level still. Both value hunters and music lovers will be impressed with the Stealth turntable because it offers performance well beyond the threshold for high-end audio. For those who get their music from the grooves of vinyl records, the purchase of a Stealth turntable could be an endpoint. It will open the door to the high-end without breaking the bank. In the right system, it can deliver 85% of the magic found in systems costing much, much more. I view it as the foundation upon which a fine system is built. Music Hall Audio and Roy Hall have hit it out of the park with this one.
June 15, 2022 § Leave a comment
I can’t recall that listening with the Kronos Sparta was any more fun than listening with the Musiko, but then, my entire rig has come a long way since those days. Just switching from the complex ritual of cueing up a record on my hot-rodded LP12 with its mandatory periphery ring and heavy record weight to the simplicity of the Musiko (which didn’t get significantly better with a periphery ring), was value-added not just in dollars, but in serenity. No more Zen, no more mantra. The honor of the “biggest pain” is now bestowed upon getting the LP back in the sleeve.
If you’re stepping up from a Rega P3 or a Project Debut Pro you will have no idea of what I’m talking about here. You’ll just feel like the richest kid on the block with your new Musiko.
I had asked Bernard not to tell me the price of the table to give my mind free rein on assessing its value. I strongly suspected when listening to the first song with the Musiko that I would buy it. It was that dramatic of an improvement over what I was using. As I spent more time with it, I came to the conclusion, based on its sonic performance that the turntable alone would cost about $8000 to $8500 with a package deal with the Musiko tonearm coming in at just under $10,000. When I learned he was offering the turntable (without an arm) for $2995, I felt secretly embarrassed. But embarrassment is just a feeling, so I share it with you willingly because it conveys the value. It is a very fair price, if not an outright steal!
Acoustical Systems Aquilar Anniversary Tonearm & Palladian Moving Coil Phono Cartridge $22,995 Review
June 14, 2022 § Leave a comment
A striking characteristic of Aquilar / Palladian combination is that when listening it is easy to shift between unfocussed and focused listening, from listening to a group of musicians playing a piece of music to honing in on particular aspects, a single instrument, or how different musicians are interacting with one another. For instance, when listening to jazz groups, it became possible to focus on interactions of the rhythm section – how the drummer and pianist, for instance, are supporting each other rhythmically, or how the bass and piano are harmonically interacting, and then how as a whole they are supporting the lead horn. This ability to listen deeply into the music remained intact with very complex music, and this is one of the most striking aspects of this arm and cartridge. There is no fuss with large-scale music; it remains completely coherent over all sorts of music, from solo guitar to hard-bop jazz group to symphony orchestra.
The exceptional ability to follow subtle musical detail with the Aquilar/Palladian is nevertheless not something that is overtly highlighted; rather, it is seamlessly integrated into the sonic picture. The overall sense of musical integration is striking, giving a palpable sense of musical balance. As with detail, so too with the rendering of dynamics, which are fast and natural, yet fully integrated into the musical presentation.
The Aquilar / Palladian throws a large, open, yet fully occupied soundstage. Spatial relations in depth and width among musicians are precisely and quite dramatically portrayed. It is a highly coherent soundstage, in which images are properly sized and spaced without losing in any way their harmonic integration. This provides for a dramatic portrayal of musicians playing music in a natural space.
June 11, 2022 § Leave a comment
June 10, 2022 § Leave a comment
Have I heard better-sounding turntables? Yes, starting at four to five times the cost, without a cartridge or in many cases even a tonearm. For its modest asking price, the Stealth performed well above what’s expected in terms of sound, convenience and build. With it, you get a well-made, plug‘n’play turntable complete with an above-average moving-magnet cartridge, the choice of three speeds and several convenience features. In the final analysis, what counts for me is the degree of satisfaction one gets from hi-fi — the satisfaction that comes from the emotional relationship the listener has to the music. Also, the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve made a good investment and spent wisely, without suffering buyer’s remorse. Music Hall’s Stealth turntable has fulfilled all of those requirements.
Most of all, though, the Stealth gave me confidence that whatever LP I put on the platter would sound as good as it was going to at the sub-$2000 price point. A cartridge upgrade, perhaps to a high-output moving coil, raises that performance to a higher level still. Both value hunters and music lovers will be impressed with the Stealth turntable because it offers performance well beyond the threshold for high-end audio. For those who get their music from the grooves of vinyl records, the purchase of a Stealth turntable could be an endpoint. It will open the door to the high-end without breaking the bank. In the right system, it can deliver 85% of the magic found in systems costing much, much more. I view it as the foundation upon which a fine system is built. Music Hall Audio and Roy Hall have hit it out of the park with this one
May 31, 2022 § Leave a comment
Both album versions of this overture (different orchestras, conductors, locations, and recording equipment) had nearly identical overall timing, yet provided appropriately unique sound signatures when played back with the Tornado Neo and TA-2000 Neo. The Witches’ Brew LP had a more forward presentation with additional upper-midrange emphasis (think strings, woodwind, brass, and non-bass percussion), while maintaining excellent clarity and dynamic agility. Timing and pacing, as presented by the combo, were as good as expected and proved to be a conduit for a bundle of energy when called upon. The Mephisto & Co. version of “Tam o’ Shanter” presented additional fullness and power in the lower registers of all instruments (especially in the bass region), while maintaining the rhythmic pacing of the performance. Energy was excellent, tilting a good bit towards the lower register of any instrument used during reproduction. This contrast is normal for these recordings and consistent on any of the playback systems I have in-house. The Tornado Neo and TA-2000 Neo combo reproduced the expected differences in these performances with relative ease.
With an already solid construction supported by the Neo advancements that Acoustic Signature has implemented across the board on all products, the Tornado Neo and TA-2000 Neo provided near-exceptional performance in its price class along with countless hours of musical enjoyment.