05.2015

Bryston Mini T Speakers, $2880pr (Laminate) or $3200pr (Real Wood)

Bryston MiniT

Bryston’s Mini T speakers are trending up in a big way these days. The Mini T fills a much overlooked category. That is, a large “bookshelf” speaker.
For many years the large bookshelf speaker dominated our industry. That changed in the 80s when everyone and his brother came out with dinky satellites and a subwoofer that was pretty much just a boom box.
The mass marketers pitched our wives on aesthetics. You should replace your old Advents or JBLs with our three little trinkets. We have to say, they were convincing to such an extent that the full sized bookshelf speaker almost became extinct. Almost.
In 2012 Bryston introduced the Mini T. Mini T is a full figured three way, incorporating an 8” woofer that dwarfs what is used in most expensive towers! The value of the Mini T is remarkable.
What most high end companies want to sell you for $5k per pair is a 6” two way made in China. Like all Bryston speakers, Mini T is made in Canada and comes with a 20 year warranty!
The sound of Mini T is very full, and true. The timbre accuracy is right there with the best speakers you can buy, regardless of price. The bass is more than ample, it’s downright impressive. This allows placement on stands, or even shelves within a wall unit to be less conspicuous than towers, while providing high octane sound.
Stereophile has been measuring speakers for many years. While the best test of which speaker you’ll enjoy most sits between your ears, it is reassuring to know that Stereophile states that the Mini T is the most flat speaker it has ever measured! Think about that for a minute. Among 400 speakers or so, of which about 90% are more expensive than the Mini T, Mini T measures the most neutral.

Rega RP-6 Turntable $1500, Exact 2 Cartridge $600: Package $2k

img-gallery-rp6-black-b-hero

Analog is enjoying a fun resurgence. The good thing is, it’s never been better! The quality of sound we can provide today for the popular price point of $2k, blows away what we could have offered even ten years ago. Vinyl keeps marching on. You still have your records, right? If not, don’t worry, we have new ones to sell you. They sound a lot better than the ones you paid five bucks for.
First of all, Rega makes its own products in its own factory in the UK. It doesn’t buy parts from vendors around the world and assemble them into finished works. In fact, Rega is so well respected in the industry, numerous competitors buy Rega tonearms to put on their tables! Why not get the Real McCoy from a company that actually makes the product?
Rega is smart in that they know you might buy a turntable like RP-1 or RP-3, and want to upgrade. They give you upgrade paths to do that. You can upgrade the belt, mat or power supply in stages. But please consider RP-6.
With RP-6, you have the upgrades! You have the better bearings, power supply (outboard on RP-6), arm, platter, brace technology- the whole she-bang at $1500, a very fair price. Numerous other turntable vendors make a table and put Rega’s RB-303 arm ($600) on it- and market it for $4k! It’s a free market but… why not get RP-6 for $2k?
Just a word about bearings… Being a mechanical medium, it’s important that as the table spins, the friction is minimal at the bottom of the well. You need exquisite machining of the bearing to achieve this. Rega machines its own bearings- both for the drive bearing and in the tonearms. As you go up the line, the precision improves- with RP-6 being the happy point of diminishing returns. With competitors, they vendor out the bearing production.
Here’s a story for you. Back in 1980 we offered the Oracle Delphi turntable for $1000 without a tonearm. Oracle bragged that its bearings were machined within so many ten thousandths of a gnat’s fanny in tolerance. One of our regular customers was a machinist. He read the claim in a review and said, I don’t believe it. He said, “Knowing what I do about machining- that’s unrealistic. They aren’t NASA.” I called Oracle to ask. They said ABSOLUTELY we meet those claims. I respected our customer and really didn’t know that much about machining or Oracle’s claims. To make a long story short, we unearthed a bearing from a demo table and the customer MEASURED IT. And he was right. It wasn’t even close. I took it up with Oracle who said they were surprised that their vendor would provide a bearing well below the tolerance spec’d. Oracle said it ended up spending over $20k to find a new vendor who could do the work as spec’d.
Cartridges are just as important as tables/arms. We’re always looking for a synergy. When you get a Rega table, with Rega arm, and Rega cartridge, you have that synergy. It is actually possible to buy an expensive table, arm and cartridge- and yet have that package not even be compatible! When you go with Rega table/arm/cart- your synergy is guaranteed.
Rega’s Exact 2 cartridge has a Line Contact stylus design. It gets DEEP into the grooves to pick up more information than an elliptical stylus. Rega carts produce 7.0 mV of output- which is about double most anyone else. That’s advantageous because higher gain in the cartridge reveals less noise and flaws in a less than state of the art phono section. If you own the Rega Aria phono preamp for $1500, this advantage is moot but… how many of you have world class phono stages? Rega carts also use a one piece cantilever design. All two piece designs are massive compromises in transferring energy from the stylus to the generating elements of the cartridge.
Check out the Rega RP-6 with Exact 2 in our shop!

Saved!

Shostakovich and Rostropovich

Shostakovich L, Rostropovich R

The great Russian cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich, was a world class humanitarian. He donated time and money to numerous causes around the world.
He was, however, a notorious task master as a teacher of the cello. His daughter Olga, at the ripe old age of six, was often in his sights. Lore has it that father caught Olga reading instead of practicing- the chase was on! She raced out the door as he chased after her- in full Buggs Bunny mode- with child sized cello in hand being brandished as a sword. As the master was hollering threats and about to overtake his daughter, her bacon was saved by a family friend who just happened to be stopping in for a visit. Yep, good old Dmitri Shostakovich put himself in front of Olga until his friend Slava settled down.