In honor of Ken Shindo’s first visit to the United States, on November 15th, 2005, Jonathan Halpern, the Shindo importer (http://www.toneimports.com), hosted a get-together for owners and fans of Shindo gear. Accompanying Shindo-San were his wife Harumi, his sister Yumi and her husband, John. Yumi – now a resident of Boston – -served as translator. The guests -including yours truly – were predominantly from New York City and the vicinity, though two intrepid souls flew in from California. Never let it be said that audiophiles aren’t dedicated.
Jonathan Halpern & Ken Shindo
While Shindo-san was the honored guest, the centerpiece of the evening was the all-Shindo system. Ken Shindo is one of a small group of designers whose products are more than just electronic gear; rather, they are expressions of the man and his vision. To listen to a Shindo system is not just to listen to a superb stereo system – – and make no mistake, it is nothing short of superb – – but also to get a glimpse into the soul of the man behind the gear. It was especially awe-inspiring to enjoy the system in the presence of its creator.
Enough background, let me tell you about the system! It comprised Latour field-coil speakers, Giscours preamp and WE 618 step-up transformer, WE 300B Limited single ended triode monoblocks, and a Shindo-modified Garrard 301 turntable with an Shindo Mersault RF-773 tonearm and modified Ortofon SPU cartidge. Speaker cables were from Auditorium 23, interconnects were Shindo silver, and the gear sat on Lignolab racks. With the exception of the Latours, I have heard each of these products numerous times before, but never as they were meant to be heard – – in the context of an all-Shindo system.
The sound was outstanding by most every measure. It was at once dynamic and detailed, yet never harsh. Though the Latours are a multi-driver system, they sounded wonderfully coherent and despite their size, didn’t call attention to themselves. Moreover, the amps displayed none of the syrupy midrange and limited extension so often associated with a 300B power tube. On album after album we were simply immersed in glorious music, a wonderful reminder of what high-end audio is supposed to be about.
I would like to express my thanks to Shindo-San for his inspired designs and for visiting the States, and to Jonathan Halpern for hosting this thoroughly enjoyable event.
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