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Designed by a guy called Steve Sells. I hired Steve straight from University back in around 1990 when I was running Engineering at Wharfedale. We were planning to re-launch Leak, and I said to Steve "

1977 Nakamitchi System-One.

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It's been a slow upgrade process, from starting with a Nait XS2 and Naim Dac in 2011. 552 pre, 500 power amp, ND555 streamer/player, and Rega RP8/Apheta2/Aria.

Started with Devore Nines in 2011, and only traded them off in 2019 towards these Magico A3.

We LOVE what we hear at home. The system is sounding really fabulous, and I've become a Magico fan; tremendous bass without the 'bass bump' sound of most ports, and total coherence among the drivers. 

 

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So I recently made a few big changes to my system. The biggest upgrade was my turntable. I upgraded to a VPI Prime Signature Rosewood, with a Hana ML cartridge. The previous table was a Pro-Ject 2Xperience SB DC with an Ortofon 2M Black cart. The other change was to my racks. I was using audio racks from Pangea Audio. They were pretty inexpensive, and used 1/2" thick MDF for the shelves. I wanted something a little nicer, so with the help of my Father, we built some solid 1.5" thick maple shelves, and reused the legs from the Pangea racks. I'm biased, but I think they look amazing. Super happy with how they turned out.

The sound differences between the two turntables are not subtle. I'll apologize upfront, because I am terrible at describing sounds, but I'll do my best! There is so much more detail and subtle tones. Going from a high output moving magnet cart to a low output moving coil plays a big part in that. The bass goes so much deeper and tighter than before. The mids are just great. Voices seem much more natural. The highs are incredible now. The Ortofon had a tendency to be a bit harsh on the treble, and much more prone to sibilance. I've played a few records that I new I had problems with before, and they are so much better. Very clear and smooth up top.

Physically, it's a huge step up from the Pro-Ject, and not just in sheer size. The build quality is off the charts. The plinth is made of an 1/2" thick aluminum plate sandwiched between two 1/2" thick MDF layers. The MDF is veneered in real rosewood, with a gorgeous high gloss finish. The platter is 20lbs of solid aluminum. The tonearm is VPI's 3D Printed JMW-10-3DR unipivot design. It's mounted on a nice and solid aluminum base with VTA on the fly adjustability. The motor is a high torque AC motor, and I have it driven by VPI's Analog Drive System, which gives it amazing speed accuracy and control. Plus it has the added benefit of changing speeds with the push of a button. The feet do a much better job of isolating the table from vibrations.

Room treatment is next on the list for upgrades. It's tricky, since I live in a rented apartment in Japan, so I can't mount anything permanently. I have recently gotten a line on some standalone room treatment options that I can buy in Japan, so I'm looking into those.
Honestly, even though it's a small room, it works surprisingly well. The floor is carpet laid over tatami mats, so no worries about reflections there. The wall of LPs on the left wall do a decent job of breaking up reflections on that side, and the right wall is sliding panels that open up into another room.

 

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