RMAF 2016: Whetstone Audio delivers Thöress, Sperling, and Fuuga for one hell of a ride

Fuuga LOMC cartridge (one of my faves).

Brian DiFrank of Whetstone Audio based out of Austin, Texas knows a thing or two about being a gracious, and generous host (Thanks again Donna for those BBQ sandwiches!), but he knows even more about what it takes to put together a kick-ass sound system. This was DiFank’s first time “riding the bull” at the rodeo as an exhibitor, and he stayed on for well past the required 8 seconds.

Funny, smart, and a crazy-deep selection of vinyl to mine for hits: Brian DiFrank.

DiFrank had put together a system that most likey many won’t have heard of, and that’s good in a way because hopefully I can introduce this stellar gear to y’all, and get you to pay Brian a visit at his brick-and-mortar store to hear his selection of Thöress, Sperling, Fuugu, Swisscables, and Box Furniture equipment. I’d never seen a Sperling ‘table in person before, so I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed by the fit, and finish of this meticulously-crafted artwork. More sculpture than mechanical analog playback device, I couldn’t take my eyes off it – which is also saying something because the Thöress amplification, and speakers were visual knockouts.

Sperling High-Mass L3 ‘table.
T-1 Tonearm with dual arm wands in 9″ and 13″ lengths.
Incredible depth, and bass response from the Fuugu thanks to the Sperling L-3 foundation.

The Thöress amplifiers, phono stage, mono blocks, and pre-amplifiers are just so chunky, and classic looking, you just want to keep turning their knobs, and feeling them, their craftsmanship is physically tangible, and the color scheme is so utilitarian that it would fit into any room. In a hifi world were some gear gets pretty flash, Thöress keeps its head down, and focuses on its classic German design roots.

“Phono-Entzerrer you fool!”

I’ve been going on about the looks, and feel of the gear, so now I’m going to talk about the sound. The 2CD12 loudspeakers had everything well in hand, taking on big dynamic swings in the music with ease, and with an obvious nod to true tone, and deep-color timbre in everything I heard spinning on the big Sperling, which seemed to add a gravitas, a deep, hidden mass to the bottom end that pulled you down with the bass. The synergy, and pedigree of this set-up cannot be understated, and I tip my hat to DiFrank for bringing such gear to Denver to share with those fortunate enough to hear it. Listening to it is a Fait accompli, as once heard, it cannot be unheard.

The total system.

Gear on hand was as follows:

Phono Equalizer-  $12,475 USD
Full Function Preamplifier-  $11,975 USD
F2A11 Integrated Amplifier-  $10,945 USD
845 Power Amplifiers-  $14,475 USD
300B Power Amplifiers-  $12,995 USD
2CD12 Speakers-   $19,450 USD
NEW!!! Single Ended Hybrid Triode Integrated Amp  $TBA

Sperling High Mass L-3 Turntable-  $23,790 USD
Sperling T1 arm with two arm wands- (9″ & 13″)  $12,450 USD
Fuuga Moving Coil Cartridge  $8,975 USD
Swisscables IC Reference Plus RCA Interconnects 1M  $2,300 USD
Swisscables LS Reference Plus Speaker Cables 2.5M  $3,875 USD
Swisscables Power Reference Plus Power Cable 1M  $975 USD
Swiss cables Power Bar $975 USD
Box Furniture Rack  $2,950 USD
Box Furniture Amp Stands $775 USD