RMAF 2015: Well Tempered Labs, Sony and Kimber Kable

In the eye of this beholder... beauty
In the eye of this beholder… beauty

rmaf-2015-200x200Simplicity is beauty to this humble audiophile. And the Well Tempered Labs Amadeus GTA is nothing if not simplicity.

I’m an aesthetic snob, I make no apologies for having a certain taste and being turned on if those taste buttons are being lustily pushed by piece of gear, that piece of gear in this case is the Well Tempered Labs Amadeus GTA turntable ($5,000 USD with tonearm). This ‘table makes me positively smitten with it’s clean, simple design, a design that belies much of the truly advanced technology it is imbued with.

860x300 PTA NOBLE RMAF-01
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A steady hand comes into play with the WTL tonearm
A steady hand comes into play with the WTL tonearm

The GTA is just one of those of turntables that gets the hell out of the way and lets the music play; naturally, easily, musically… with real flow and an impeccable sense of timing. Wow and flutter on this deck are also always quoted in many various reviews as being nearly non-existent and for good reason, the pitch is dead-on to my ears, no easy feat, but one the GTA pulls off effortlessly, and this ‘table really does bass. I’ve heard it now with two very different cartridges (previously with the EMT JSD-6). This time the GTA was fitted with the Dynavector XX-2, which is a punchy, juicy cart with a big rubber band bassline-capable bottom end that usually delights.

Dynavector XX-2 for that meaty, beaty bounce
Dynavector XX-2 for that meaty, beaty bounce
Kimber Kable unites Sony and Well Tempered
Kimber Kable unites Sony and Well Tempered

Kimber Kable was showing off about $12,000 USD worth of speaker cables, interconnects, AC Mains and balanced XLR cables from their Summit Series and had wired up the Well Tempered GTA and it’s Dynavector XX-2 MC cartridge ($1,950 USD) to a Sony 1TB HAP-Z1ES ($2,000 USD) high-res HD music player , a Sony A1-ES integrated amplifier ($2,000), a Russ Andrews X8 Power Block ($1,878 USD), a pair of Sony SS-NA2ES loudspeakers ($9,998 USD) and some honking Martin Logan Balanced Force 210 subs ($5,998 USD).

Sony 1TB HDD player
Sony 1TB HDD player
Integrated with guts
80 watt, Class-A integrated amp with one balanced and four RCA inputs
Martin Logan 210 subs
Martin Logan 210 sub and Sony NA2ES speakers rated 45 Hz – 45 kHz at 90 dB
Not the deepest speakers without a sub
The Sony NA2ES get a hand from Martin Logan

Mated to the Sony ES gear through the Danish-built Densen DP-Drive DP-04 MM/MC phono stage (approx. $1,350 USD) the sound out of this system was quite enjoyable for the most part. I will say, that I know the GTA does bass, and does bass with speed. I also know the Dyna XX-2 is very good at deep, tight bass as well, and while the Sony gear might not be the last word (IMO) in translating lightning transients, PRAT or be the go-to solid state amp and speakers for the ultimate in highs and lows (the Martin Logan subs helped), there was definitely something enjpyable with this combo. The midrange was close to what I’d expect for this level of kit, but I have to say it seemed to achieve any tonal richness at the cost of clean, articulate highs and satisfying bottom end. The GTA definitely kept up its end of the bargain, and I can once again gush that Bill Firebaugh’s aluminum-sandwich plinth and bearing-less tonearm produces a sound worth investigating if you’ve got the vinyl collection that warrants the investment. And to be honest, at its price it competes with turntables costing thousands more.

–Rafe Arnott

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream