For the last several years, Greg has been selling an analog tape machine he calls the UHA-HQ Phase Series. These decks, kitted out with distinctive Celtic knot work, have redefined what’s possible for tape, and Greg has been tweaking and modifying his heart out taking the platform as far as he can go. Prices start at $8,900 and the current flagship model, the Phase 11s-OPS, is an exercise in meticulousness. This $23k system includes an outboard dual-mono power supply (for the motor, and for the preamplifier section), upgraded parts, a direct-coupled output (no caps!), WBT RCA and Cardas XLR connectors, custom transformers, a custom umbilical, internal dampening, and Shun Mook footers. Say that ten times fast.
Greg is mum about where he gets his master tapes from, but the fact is that does have a source that’s supplying him with one-offs of some of the most incredible audio ever laid down — and he makes it a point to showcase them in his after-hours “Master Tape Listening Party”. These sessions can last until the wee hours, which is saying something — audiophiles aren’t particularly known for staying up all night. Maybe at some point in their youth, but … yeah. Still, these demos are crowded and musical explorations range from Classic Rock, to Classical, with quite a few steps in between. Metallica, for example, is in current rotation. Let’s just say that Greg’s tastes are wide-ranging, and his demos show that.
Here at CAF, Greg was pairing his MBL 116F loudspeakers ($32,500/pair) with a Jolida Luxor VT tube preamplifier ($7k, featuring a pair of 12AX7 tubes) and two pairs of Luxor VTM-100 mono amplifiers ($7,500 each). These amps were fitted with the new KT150 vacuum tubes (instead of the standard EL34 tubes), in a dual-chassis/external PSU arrangement.
With the lighting moody and low, attendees could be forgiven for getting lost inside the 3-D sound field that floated around them. Magical stuff and a must-see stop on the tour.