Variations on a Theme

Santa Fe Steve sauntered up the Shindo line to a Vosne-Romanée preamplifier and a pair of Lafon GM70 amplifiers.  His thoughts below, on this transition…


As my listening to this new system breaks in, I keep thinking of this way to characterize the difference between the VR and the Masseto.  The Masseto is like a brilliant new talent at the Van Cliburn Piano competition, exuberant and bold, a little over the top; the VR is like Mitsuko Uchida, supremely controlled yet completely compelling, a mature genius. Doesn’t leave me much room for the Giscour and the Petrus does it?  Maybe Shindo should have used musicians instead of wines…

Difference between the Cortese and the GM70’s?  Working on that……Anyway, enjoying the heck out it…”

5 thoughts on “Variations on a Theme

  1. This is fabulous. Good for you, Steve. I like your description of the difference. BTW, Ms. Vocatello is performing with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in December. She was a finalist at the most recent Van Cliburn Competition. After your comments about the Nines, Latours and now the pre amps, I, too, wonder what you will say about the next step(s). Keep on enjoying the glorious sounds and music!

    1. Douglas and Jack,

      Thanks for your emails and encouraging words.
      I am an inveterate reader of your reviews, Jack. You are one of three people in whose ears I trust–the other two being Art Dudley and, of course, Matt. In fact, the advice I’ve taken from your insights on Dagogo have all proven to be right on. Look forward to reading more of your discoveries.

      Just a note about the Lafon GM 70 amps–after living with them for several weeks. Our hobby/passion is to close the gap on hi fi’s approximation of live music. A key area of concern–and there are many–is scale. I always thought room size had a lot to do with the limitations of hi fi scale. The 70’s belie that having at least doubled the sense of scale in my room. Not just soundstage but presence and tonality and a “lifelikeness”. With certain recordings the walls disappear (and I have a pretty large room) and for grins I will stand in between my speakers on the same plane–it’s like being on stage. (My Petite Latours have a lot of synergy with the 70’s!)

      Matt, in his understated way, said the 70’s would be a different flavor from my beloved Cortese. More like a different cuisine, “a liquor never brewed” as ED might have put it.

  2. Congrats Steve, As I’ve always said the only thing better than a Shindo preamp is the next one up the line. It’s simply amazing each step up let’s you hear more of everything, especially music. I think you put it very well. I would love to hear those amps in my system by the way. Hope they all bring you years of musical happiness.

  3. Thanks for the comparison. You just provided me with the final nudge to make the move from the Masseto to the VR. Hope to be listening to those Siemen tubes for the Christmas Holidays.

  4. Just upgraded my Masseto to the Vosne-romanee and want to concur with the impressions of both Steve and Art Dudley in Stereophile. The VR is a shade darker in presentation than the Masseto but has even more clarity and control. It’s the most textured and nuanced preamp I’ve yet experienced. Can’t believe there are even higher mountains to scale in the Shindo lineup. Wonderous.

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