Common Wave, Ojas, QLN, Audio Hungary, Varla, Merason, Nagra, Technics, Kuzma | THE Show 2022

Wes Katzir of Common Wave HiFi runs a shop which can only be described as radical. In a repurposed industrial loft in Downtown Los Angeles—my old haunt—Common Wave has more brands than you can shark a stick at, curated alongside vintage handheld game consoles, japanese art pieces, rare jazz records and furniture representing a who’s-who of midcentury designers. Sort of the West Coast, dress-down cousin of North Carolina’s Ember Audio.

Words and Photos by Grover Neville

What Wes and Common Wave also has in common with Ember Audio is a focus on beautiful pieces with great sound. Common Wave was showing three rooms: QLN and Nagra, Ojas, and Devore, among others. The sound in the QLN and Nagra room, where I found familiar face Mark Sossa of Well Pleased AV, was as I’ve come to expect from QLN. Warm, rich but perhaps even a bit flatter than I’m used to. These were, Sossa told me, a new model with some slight tweaks from previous versions. Whatever they were doing with the Nagra was producing extremely refined sound, and it struck me as a seriously competent system.

Moving on to the Ojas Audio room, Devon Turnbull’s retro-industrial speakers have caught-on in the high fashion world, but were surprisingly lively and flatter than I was expecting. I can see having a pair of these in a particularly old school setup, as they let you focus on dynamics and tone, rather than the modern fashion of laser-beam-like phantom imaging and slightly overdamped low end alignments. All the systems Wes brought were very nicely setup, and he and his team were excellently organized—a testament to how much fun and attention to detail Common Wave always brings to the game.

System Components and Prices

System One

  • Ojas Arthook Shell Speakers with Horn Mod – $5,500/pair
  • CW Matching Floor Stands – $1,000/pair
  • Audio Hungary Qualiton A50i Deluxe Tube Integrated Amplifier – $9,250
  • Varla Instruments RDM40 Rotary Mixer – $3,800
  • Merason Frerot DAC – $1,475
  • Merason Pow1 PSU – $950
  • Technics 1210 mk2 Turntable – $995

System Two

  • QLN Signature SE Monitors – $17,995/pair in standard finish—$23,995/pair as shown
  • Innuos Statement Server – $15,750
  • Kuzma Stabi R Custom Finish belt-driven turntable – $10,900
  • Kuzma 4Point 11″ VTA jeweled bearing tonearm – $9240
  • Dynavector DRT XV-1s MC cartridge – $5650
  • Solidsteel HY-3 three-shelf audio rack – $1999

Nagra Stack

  • Nagra Classic Vacuum Tube Preamp – $18,900
  • Nagra Classic Tube DAC 11.2MHz 72-bit with tube output stage -$47,500
  • Nagra Classic PSU with 3× output $16,500
  • Nagra Classic Amp with 100Wpc – $35,900
  • Nagra VPS valve phono stage – $9500
  • Nagra VGS Vibration Free Support Classic Series VPS, MPS Series – $2295