I ran into Bob Sattin of Bob’s Devices at RMAF as I was looking at new Chesky LP releases in the marketplace. Sattin was next door and said, “Hey, do you want to listen to the record?” Sure. Chesky had several great records available to purchase at the show but two really looked interesting: Macy Gray’s “Stripped” and Melissa Manago’s “Little Crimes.” Both sounded excellent on Sattin’s playback system.
Now the team at Chesky does sublime recordings but much of this also had to do with Sattin’s stellar analog and headphone-based playback system. Starting off with another gorgeous rosewood finished VPI Prime Signature table using a Cardas Heart or Ortofon Cadenza Bronze cartridge (he had the Cardas Heart on for my visit) that then fed one of Sattin’s famous step-up transformers (SUTs) into an LKV Research 2-SB phono stage. The analog outs were then connected via Sattin’s own interconnect brand to an Elekit headphone amplifier feeding Sennheiser’s full size (and then some) 800 headphones. The Elekit TU-8200DX amp itself is a 6L6 tube amp that goes for $775 USD but Sattin had put in KT-88 tubes. In any event, the sound was glorious. Macy’s voice was spectacular. Melissa Manago had a very cool rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow that was beautifully done. I noticed a gorgeous midrange coming through on both albums. Soundstage was clearly defined and it felt like the Senns were capturing everything. I really need to get both of these albums.
I should probably mention that these albums were part of Chesky’s binaural series too which is worth checking out if you have a good headphone rig. Recorded with a “dummy” human head with microphones literally in the ears, these recordings offer hi-rez digital playback with all the imaging you would hear if you were in front of the artists.