Pen to Paper

This wonderful system belongs to my long time customer, Roger, from Nevada.

Hoping to share with you his experience finding a music system that inspires him, Roger recently took the time to write me and express his thoughts:

“About five years ago, I came across a review by Jules Coleman of a Japanese tube preamplifier made by a company called Shindo Laboratories.  The review was intriguing, as was the reviewer:

‘Though relatively unknown among even the most avid American audiophiles, Shindo Laboratories has long enjoyed an exalted status among the European and Southeast Asian cognoscenti. Only recently imported into the United States by Jonathan Halpern, Shindo is one of the very few audio manufacturers whose products must be taken on their own, their value not to be determined entirely or even largely by a price/performance ratio nor by comparison with other products along a similar metric. This does not mean that considerations of cost should be banned when thinking about whether to purchase a Shindo product. Quite the contrary; given what they do, Shindo products are, in relative terms, bargains.’

From that point forward, I read every equipment review written by Jules that I could find.  His reviews are eloquent, thoughtful, inspirational, and hilarious.  He clearly is moved by Shindo electronics, and I longed for the opportunity to listen to this equipment.  Finally, I came across an article Jules wrote about a trip he made to Berkeley, California that included a visit to an audio dealer in San Francisco.  The name of the company is Pitch Perfect Audio, owned by Matt Rotunda.

I make regular visits to Berkeley mostly to attend concerts at the Freight and Salvage, a live music venue of the first order.  In advance of one of these trips, I contacted Matt and arranged to visit him in his shop.  This initial visit changed my audio life.  Matt played a variety of gear during this visit, and I liked all of it.  The pinnacle, however, was the all-Shindo system with Latour speakers.  Listening to this equipment was revelatory.

Matt’s approach to auditioning the equipment was perfect for me.  He answered all the questions that I had but mostly just played music.  The first visit must have lasted three hours, but seemed like three minutes.  Each subsequent visit was the same, with Matt never engaging in a hard sell and never losing patience.  I was impressed with him, but the Shindo gear entirely changed my concept of listening to recorded music.  I longed to own an all-Shindo system but felt that it was out of my reach.  Matt recommended that I consider a Shindo preamp as an initial investment in the sound that I was after.

Roger K 2And then the genius of Ken Shindo struck again.  He designed and started building a speaker that was an alternative to the Latour and far more appropriate to my budget and the scale of my listening room.  The Shindo Lafite, like the Latour, employs a technology known as the field coil driver.  This transducer delivers recorded music with a dynamism and presence that comes closer to live music than any other technology known to me.  So, I began to long for Shindo electronics coupled with Lafite speakers.  Another virtue of the Lafite from my perspective is that it is a single driver speaker with no crossover.  I prefer a highly integrated sound that eliminates any sense of the electronics moving the music around in space.  The Lafite delivers this with aplomb.

My preferred amp with the Lafites was the Shindo Lafon monoblocks that I heard in Matt’s shop in response to a question about the best Shindo amp to mate with the Lafite speakers.  This was a magical combination but outside my range.

Instead, Matt recommended the Shindo Cortese, a 10 watt SET that utilizes the Siemens F2a tube, a nearly perfect match for the Lafites.  Note that the sensitivity of the Lafite speakers is 96dB/W/m.  My goal was to optimize the system using Shindo electronics and speakers, requiring the addition of a Shindo Mr. T. power conditioner, Box Furniture rack, Shindo silver interconnects, and Auditorium 23 speaker cables.  Jules Coleman and others had written about all of this equipment, shedding further light on what I had experienced for myself at Pitch Perfect.

Roger K 1

Now – thanks to the insight and communication skills of Jules, the genius of Ken Shindo, and the outstanding business practices of Matt Rotunda – I have the House of Shindo installed in my listening room.  The experience is overwhelming:  matching the dynamism, presence, and resonance of this gear with my music collection in my own home.

So, a heartfelt thanks to Jules for his insight, enthusiasm, humor, and writing skills which introduced me to the possibility of an all-Shindo system; to Ken Shindo for a lifetime of commitment to making audio equipment that captures the essence of music; and to Matt Rotunda for his friendship, persistence, and flexibility in making this experience possible for me, my family, and friends.”

Roger, thank you for your thoughtful words, and as well, sharing photos of your cozy listening room.

I’m proud to add you to the growing list of customer music systems I have posted over the years.

ps.  Love your poster ! 🙂

Photos courtesy Roger K.

6 thoughts on “Pen to Paper

  1. Very nice write-up by Roger. I think that I can speak for many of us that his story matches ours – reading (Jules, Art D, et al.), fascination, obsession (to a degree) and deep/sincere appreciation of the craft/friendship of Matt, Jonathan, et al. As Matt has told me regarding the products that he represents – it a system approach – but I believe that Matt, Jonathan and the other associated dealers are a key and integral element of that system…

  2. Great system! The TT stands out a bit like a UFO! 😉 Cortese will hopefully be coming up next for me as well.

    I would loose patience with myself…Matt is has a good laid back vibe that is much appreciated when looking at these kind of purchases where you don’t want to make any costly mistakes.

  3. What is the veneer used for this pair of Lafite, it’s beautiful! Looks very different from the Shindo official website photo. Are they the same veneer just under different lighting?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s