Stereodesk had several rooms/displays at Capital Audiofest this year. In this one, I found a new-to-me Siggwan 12 tonearm (a true floating unipivot) on a vintage Garrard 301 refurb, married to a Dave Slagle-designed front end. This front end included a silver Slagle step up transformer, an Emia phono ($4500) which fed into a silver Emia remote autoformer VC (based on Chapman designs), here finished with a pair of Emia 3.5 wpc Type 50 mono bloc amps, sporting some permalloy output trannies. Kaplan Cables were used throughout. Oh, the speakers? Teresonic Magus DX-65 stand mounts.
I got to hear a tremendous, if terribly recorded, cut of my favorite Nina Simone tune, “Sinnerman”. Ladysmith Black Mazambo Shaka Zulu followed. Ye gods.
I love the dragged-through-the-Hudson look of some of Dave’s designs, but that’s not even the half of it. This is some eerily transparent gear — if you’re into music, it’s really hard to get closer. Shockingly good.