View Full Version : Nickfest

Ali Tait
27-07-2008, 12:51
First of all,I'd like to say a big thanks to Nick for hosting Mo and myself,for what turned out to be a very enjoyable, interesting,informative and educational day.

The Slatedecked SP10 was a revelation.No other word for it.It's easily the best source of any description I've ever heard.I found it connected me to the music in a way I've never experienced before.As Nick commented,it just seems to "plug" the music into your head.The air and space was almost frightening,with this incredible void between the instruments.I also now know what the term panoramic soundstage really means,with some transients etc seeming to come from behind your left or right ear.We heard it initially with the original cartridge,but in the time it took me to drive Mo to the local shop,Nick replaced it with his new 103r.This obviously needed running in,but it was immediately apparent how much the noise floor had dropped,and we could hear the sound improving when we had a final listen before we left.I want one!

Next we tried Nick's dac.This sounded very nice indeed,though nowhere near the SP10.We were chatting about the dac and digital in general,and Nick commented that there is an element of not being able to polish a turd as far as digital music is concerned,and after hearing the SP10,I know what he means.The dac sounded great,but to me you were back to a wall of sound rather than the huge staging of the SP10,and it didn't connect me to the music in the way the vinyl did.We'd had my Audio-note dac warming up for a while,so we tried that next.It sounded very nice to my ears,but with a more midband-oriented sound than Nick's,and not quite the frequency extension top and bottom.Nick's was better in this respect,and allowed a little more detail through.Didn't suffer too badly by comparison though,so I was quite chuffed given what I paid for it.

We then tried changing output transformers on the liang.This was an interesting exercise.Tried James first on 7k.Stonking bass,but nothing above about 10k.Next was some AE amorph at 10k.Not quite the bass extension of the James,but all the air and space was back along with the highs.These are very nice transformers.The most interesting part was putting the amp back to stock form for a listen.It turns out the stock trannies are actually pretty good,and noticeably superior to the James which was quite a suprise given this is a Chinese amp.Sounds like AE is the way to go for me.

The liang sounded very nice in Nick's system,but there was no comparison to his 211.It's one thing being impressed at Owstfest,but given a chance to have an extended listen in his own system,this is one very special amp,better than anything else I've had a chance to have a long listen to,and I think exactly what I need to drive the statics properly!.I want one of these too!

Bored you all long enough,so I'll just say thanks again to Nick,and see some of you at Chester.


pure sound
28-07-2008, 10:50
Sounds like a fun day. I'm encouraged to hear that the slate is doing the business with the SP10. I hope to get my slate plinth running this week. The fun part will be deciding what to stand it on and what manner of isolation/support suits it best.

Is Nick's still using the stock rubber mat?

28-07-2008, 10:59
Is Nick's still using the stock rubber mat?

Yes, I still haven't experimented with that area.

28-07-2008, 13:57
Great write-up, Ali. Sounds like you guys had some fun :)

I look forward to hearing the Slatedeck-modified SP10 at Chester. If my KAB 1210 can get anywhere near it I will be delighted.

I'm also thinking of having a slate or granite plinth made for the 1210 so having heard Nick's SP10 in his own plinth at his place it will be interesting to find out what Darren's renowned expertise brings to the party.

Nick, we can try different mats on your SP10 if you want at Chester. I'll have three with me - an SPS Isoplatmat, a Herbie's, and an Achromat. On the 1210, any of those are superior to the stock rubber mat, so it'll be interesting to hear if the effect is the same on the SP10.


28-07-2008, 14:09
That would be a interesting comparision if we have time Marco.

28-07-2008, 15:10
I'm sure we can fit it in :)

The other thing is I've just won this on Ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Denon-HA-500-MC-Head-Amplifier_W0QQitemZ160262658467QQcmdZViewItem?hash =item160262658467&_trksid=p3286.m14.l1308

I've always fancied trying Denon's own active head amp for the 103. It's obviously been designed for the purpose so I'm hopeful the results will be good. I'm going to compare it to the Auditorium A23 passive device I have.

Both, however, will be coming to Chester so if you're interested we can try them with your 103R. So much to do, so little time! :eyebrows:


28-07-2008, 19:19
Hi Marco,

A little tip. Granite/Marble is a crystaline stone whereas Slate has a grain. Layer upon layer of fine silt/mud laid down in water over hundreds of years and later, dried out, compressed and subjected to heat. Crytaline stone and Slate sound different and from my experience (and Darren's) Slate sounds best :)

Best wishes,


28-07-2008, 19:50
Interesting factoid there, Greg - cheers.

The only reason I mentioned granite is because I like the look of it when Darren's finished and polished it.

But of course, sound quality comes first so slate it is :)


pure sound
28-07-2008, 21:41
It'll be interesting to see whether the business parts of a 1210 can be detached from the chassis it comes in and attached to a slate plinth. That might require some fancy machining. I'm not sure that simply lobbing a 1210 (existing chassis 'n all) into a piece of slate will be such a good idea. the advantage of the SP's (10, 15, 20 or 25) is that they are complete units intended for consoles & plinths whereas the 1200/1210's component parts are scattered amongst but integral elements of the overall chassis.

I'm monitoring some 1210 parts on ebay at the mo' but it does look as though fitting them all into an entirely new plinth might, to some degree, be like re-inventing the wheel

28-07-2008, 21:54
Hi Guy,

I spoke to Darren about this before and he seems to think it could be a go-er, however he needs to have a look at what's involved first :)

Pity you can't make it to Chester to hear the KAB 1210/SP10 comparison. It should be a good one.

I also know there's going to be quite a few bits of sexy kit there. Not all the action happens down south you know ;)


pure sound
28-07-2008, 22:15
Indeed, if the cartridges are the same and you are familiar with what the Hadcock does it could be interesting. I'll get a 1200 myself at some point. For the moment I'm interested to see what 60 odd Kg of Slate can do with an SP10 as opposed to the Stirling plinth.

I'm also interested to hear how the Croft shapes up against some of the home made Pre's that might be there.

Not all the action happens down south! You got that bit right!

28-07-2008, 22:25
Guy, they'll both have 103Rs fitted. I also have a Pro but it'll be a more evenly balanced comparison if the cartridges are the same.

I know the Hadcock well because I've used a GH242 Integra before. Nick's fitted extra mass to the headshell and it seems to work pretty well.

The Croft should be interesting. I would like to try it with as many alternative power amps as I can. But its combination with Steve's AOS/TD amp is something else.

Good luck with the slate plinth. I'm sure, like with Nick's, it'll make a big difference. It'll be 'interesting' lugging your SP10 to shows in future I'm sure ;)