I’ve been doing the arm-twisting song and dance about PTE’s speakers since before I even started the show-report gig. After getting hooked on their Statement speaker back in 2012, I changed my show addiction to their smaller, stand-mounted speakers. 2013’s Phoenix SG ($9500) remains unchanged this year, and the show performance was as consistently ear-popping as ever. The problem for show-reporting is that “consistent” usually translates to “boring.”
Fortunately for us, Mark Thoke, PTE’s front man, just plain sucks at “boring.”
Anyone who’s been to a PTE room knows that Mark is going to drop a cinderblock on the gas pedal if things get boring, such as when he pulls out an unmastered, mini-disc bootleg of one of his favorite bar bands (“We just hung the recorder behind the drummer,” explains Mark) and cranks the volume to 115db at the listening chair. For some folks, this is the equivalent of chasing them out of the room with an air horn. Other folks stand up and cheer.
This room didn’t need too much in the way of Mark’s fetish for the volume knob to be exciting, though. Look at that perfectly maintained Studer R2R in the pictures. The sound of Tom Waits’ “Singapore” coming off that deck was nothing short of a religious visitation. It spoiled my vinyl for me — possibly forever.
If it’s possible to be even more exciting, though, the turntable managed it. It only looks like a Micro Seiki. In reality, it’s the creation of Classic Turntables‘ Mirko Djordjevic, another crazy man from the LA Basin. He took the basic Micro aesthetic, built a better bearing, milled out the massive plinth and forty-pound platter, and then developed his own, geared, drive system for the belt. This being a PTE room, a Soundsmith Hyperion cartridge ($7,500) got to be an old-school rocker for the weekend. Nothing Mark played could phase this table’s timing accuracy. It was solid. It rocked.
The expected price is $10,000. As for a name, Mirko’s leaning toward using “Mirko Seiki” until someone sues him into the stone age. This is one of the most lust-worthy decks I’ve seen in years. If it’s in your budget, you contact PTE for the details immediately.
Other electronics were PTE’s usual show-collection. An Antelope Gold crunched the bits, an old Philips player spun the silver discs, PTE’s own phono preamp managed the RIAA correction, and a T+A preamp was wasted as a volume control. This is the kind of room where they twist the knob to the right until it breaks off. Room treatments were provided by a bunch of empty boxes and throw pillows that finally found a practical use besides smothering an unwlecome houseguest.
You gotta love it.