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  Stereopal Visits:   Audiophile Club of Toronto  - Avenue Road Mid-town Meeting  Date:  May 11, 2011







  System Components:  
  Speakers: Lowther Single Driver Custom Cabinets
  Amps: Coincident 300B Frankensteins
  Preamp: Wyetech Labs Opal
  Turntable: JC Verdier La Platine, Jean Nantais' Uber Lenco
  Comments by Rick:

So, a few of us had the wonderful opportunity to spend a casual evening at Len's place yesterday evening. As usual, Len is a polite and gracious host, who not only provided us with a sumptuous dinner, he topped it off with 2 hours of great tunes + a very fine selection of Single Malt Scotch.  He even lets you have a take home gift when you depart.

Personally, I think a fine evening of music is a combination many factors, of which music reproduction represents only 50% of the entire experience.The remaining 50% are often times ignored (fortunately not by those in our group) by the majority of audiophiles out there. The listening environment, the decor of the room, the sincerity of the host, these are all indispensible elements of a memorable evening. The ACT has a reputation in town, we are known by many as a group who knows how to enjoy ourselves.

Unfortunately, not all comments I hear are positive. There is one individuals who saw the pictures of our meetings and said that we are a group of drunkards with mediocre systems. He said we are a group without substance, knowledge and audiophile spirit. I once asked him how so, he said it is because we do not spend enough time focusing on tweaking, and to squeeze the last bit of return on our investments. He said
meetings should be a demonstration of ability of the system to impress others.

I said to myself, HOW WRONG, and HOW NAIVE this individual is. I surely hope my audiophile path will not be like that, and pray that the ACT will not end up being like that as well.   Audio to me is only a means to an end.    It is the enjoyment of fine music with the company of great friends, this is the thing which I treasure the most.

Len, on the other hand, has excelled in all areas. What he offered was exactly what I was looking for.  Dr. Chung's description of Len's system is nothing short of being accurate."Len's system is my favourite in the group"..... deservedly so and with reasons best explained by David.
On the surface, Len's system appears to be an arbitrary arrangement of components, placements, and sitting position. But in David's words, Len may or may not not realize that everything is far from being arbitrary. EVERYTHING is well thought out, from the decor of the room, to the nice persian rug, to the placement of the speaker, they have been tweaked, moved around, and fiddled with extensively. The result is a system with the ability to deliver an almost live like jazz performance right in the living room.

The short version of my comments, is that Len's system puts me to utter shame when it comes to Jazz performance. This is not a first, because many of the systems in the group have repeatedly put me to shame already (Alek's, for instance, or Cosmo's). But Len's live jazz performance puts me to SHAME in capital letters. There are some things which Len's system can who which NONE of us can, especially me.

The long version is described accurately by David's comments:

(1) Len's system delivers a 1 to 1 instrument size ratio, this is a rare and a difficult thing to achieve.
(2) There is a lively "Upfrontness" to the sound which despite being in your face, is exactly how it should be for LIVE jazz performance.
(3) The performance is the best David has ever heard for Single Driver SET systems.
(4) The door panel is a magical sound tuning device which adds natural resonance and decay to the sound.

Precisely what puts me to shame ? It is the sound of the life size piano, the natural decay, and the forcefulness of the sound. It is the
uniquely coloured, yet euphonic character of the vocals which are probably not accurate, but seductive and liquid. There are qualities which are
often ridiculed by the scientist, and ignored by the high tech shrinks. They are qualities which the Voodoo crowd would like to achieve.

Now the system is not without it's short comings. Some will complain that it is nasalish, others will complain that it is rolled off at the
extreme, and probably not the best overall in terms of room treatment.  But...........who cares. I had the Scotch in my hand, I slouched on the
sofa, and I spend two hours listening to tunes non-stop. Not even a washroom break.

And at 40 yrs old, I have the right to repeat myself. I want to repeat that a fine evening of music is combination of good sound + the graciousness of the host, and I'd say Len scored very high marks on both counts.

Comments by David:

Good morning Len, thanks for your kind hospitality last night, I enjoyed every moment of the time I was at your beautiful home-- the food, the sound, the music and the company. The sound of your system/speakers really makes me wonder if it is really necessary to be so complicated to enjoy music. Not only does your system reveal the presence of the jazz ensembles so vividly, it also demonstrates the feel of sitting on row 8 inside a nice opera house.    Rick, I know you have been to Len's place before, but if you have not, you must next time ask Len to play the La Traviata and Carmen DGG recordings!  You'll know what I mean.

I look forward to our next listening session, your place or mine, or both!






Sitting idle, waiting to battle the Nantais Table.






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