What others are saying
We certainly value comments from the professional reviewers, but more important to us is the feedback we receive you: our customers.
After all, we design these products for you, and your comments represent long-term listening satisfaction, pride of ownership, and how Galibier takes care of you!
Click this link to jump down to industry reviews.
Despite its lower noise floor [Clearaudio Master Innovation], I still prefer your table for better tone and better deep bass extension.
Your table also has better dynamics The difference in noise floor is not significant with .5mV cartridge but noticeable with 0.2mV. I think your thoughtful platter construction has better resonance control on all frequencies.
GL - San Francisco, CA
First I want to thank Thom Mackris owner of Galibier Design for his excellent support.
I bought a Stelvio II from him back in November 2017 after numerous phone conversations to familiarize myself and him with my musical reproduction goals.
It was built and arrived last week with the Durand Kairos tone arm that I acquired after considering numerous other options. I’m so glad I went this route. I had the Lyra Kleos so this was part of the reasoning. They match beautifully.
Buying a Stelvio includes a setup support visit from Thom himself. This by itself is well worth the price of admission.
He arrived Monday for a two day support visit and we wasted no time going over the setup. I had already assembled the turntable and had my Abis 1.2 with Benz cartridge playing as the secondary arm.
My tuning sounded good to me but after working with Thom I realized I was only on the putting green, a good five yards from the hole.
Move forward to the support and expertise of Mr. Mackris and I am now in the hole and WHAT A DIFFERENCE that makes.
I bought my first turntable around 1976 (a Technics) and evolved through the years to where I am now. Never stopped listening to vinyl and holding up to my records from way back. ( Not all of them due to loss or some actually got stolen but thats a different story).
What I have now is the best by far.
Renditions are detailed, full, airy and most of all fun and enjoyable to listen to.
He got the Durand Kairos – Lyra Kleos combo sounding at its best.
By Tuesday we had the Benz Abis also fine tuned and
I’m listening to some Miles Davis as I write this and can’t stop tapping my foot and swinging to the beat.
I highly recommend Thom Mackris service. He will help you set up any brand system so you don’t necessarily need to buy one of his awesome turntables to benefit from his expertise.
Just wanted to share my experience with the community and (DISCLAIMER) I am not being compensated in any way except with the satisfaction of an enjoyable music system making it the best I’ve had in 40 years of evolution.
Luis D. Paret
Luis Paret - Keller, TX (Audiogon user eldonparet, from this thread
Thank you for hosting us in your lovely home last weekend. My thoughts:
1. The original conception of the platter, base and bearing have been re-validated. This part of the design ranks with the best available. The long term viability of the design is a wonderful testament to your initial engineering conception.
2. The rim drive is a revolutionary (as opposed to evolutionary) development. I have heard just about every contender for “best turntable in the world”. What I heard on Saturday night is the best vinyl I have ever heard…and second place isn’t that close.
Based on what I heard Saturday evening, the new drive system fulfills the promise of Galibier and what compelled me (and many other customers) to purchase Galibier turntables. I feel you absolutely owe it to your loyal customers to complete the rim drive and make it available as an upgrade sooner rather than later.
As a loyal customer and public advocate of your products, I have waited for this level of upgrade and am looking forward to getting delivery of either a prototype or finished drive system soon. I expect you will want input and validation from current owners, please let me know when a test unit will be available.
MZ - Bellevue, WA (Audiogon user jazzdoc)
When I got back into analog after a long digital, er, detour, I honestly didn’t know much (OK, hardly anything) about how to “properly” set up a high-quality turntable, arm, and cartridge.
My little VPI Scout and its basic 9″ arm I could sorta manage on my own. But the Gavia 1.5, and later the Stelvio II, needed an entirely different level of expertise.
It isn’t so much that it takes many hours — it’s more that a whole series of small individual steps must each be performed with great precision, or else the end result simply won’t sound as good as it should.
Having watched Thom set up my Gavia 1.5, and then heard what it sounded like (so long, VPI Scout!), I knew that I wanted him to install my Stelvio II as well.
We spent half a day on the Stelvio II, sharing a bit of the grunt work (hefting the base) and then Thom doing the real “heavy lifting” by assembling the ‘table, mounting the arm, and aligning the cartridge, each with a ridiculously high level of precision.
The sound quality immediately revealed what a huge upgrade the Stelvio II is from the Gavia 1.5 — wow!
Even if I were strong enough, coordinated enough, and confident enough to attempt doing this by myself, there’s no way in the world I would have extracted the maximum sound quality on my own.
Why invest in a great turntable and then reap only “some” of the benefit?
M. Steinberg - Bethesda, MD
My philosophy in developing my audio system is to find exceptional sounding components from boutique audio designers.
One of the most passionate people pushing the envelope is Thom Mackris of Galibier Design. I have owned a Galibier Gavia since 2007 and Thom has been very involved with me to this day.
The Gavia took my analog playback to new heights and I have updated my cartridge (ZYX Universe Premium) and arm (Durand Talea) to take further advantage of its stellar sound. The turntable performs flawlessly and is very engaging. All the nuances in the music come through with very natural tonality, dynamics and resolution.
Thom is truly devoted to eking out that last level of refinement to the sound. He is constantly striving to expand on his designs but the focus is not on compiling these into new turntable models just so he can sell the latest version but rather on refinements in the existing analog rig that enhance and provide a clear upgrade. Everything is built around an excellent rock solid table design.
Over 10 years I have upgraded my motor pod, sliding arm mount, and power supply.
Each modification made a tangible difference which was more than worth the investment. Thom’s extensive knowledge of audio systems and particularly cartridge / tonearm synergy was invaluable when I was looking to upgrade.
There have been very few audiophile dealers that go so far beyond and are such a pleasure to work with. Thom and his Galibier turntables are top notch in my book.
Audiotomb on audiogon
Tom Bergeon - New Orleans, LA (Audiogon user Audiotomb)
I’m using the shortest 4-foot pair in my family room system.
They run from a custom 45-tube integrated by Don Allen, to custom Eminence 15″ coaxial speakers, also designed by Don.
I believe the sound is equivalent, or better than the Auditorium 23 cables that I sold last year. I am extremely pleased!
The midbass and vocals are musical, and the sense of “ease” is back in the system. When there was not that sense of ease, some music would get irritating, and I would have to turn down the volume slightly.
You are probably shaking your head, laughing, reading this. I find it difficult to describe cables.
SO - Chandler, AZ
Thom is one of the few manufacturers/dealers that I have met that is more concerned with helping you improve your system than he is with making a sale. He is also one of the few people I have met that will spend as much time as you want to help you make the right decision.
He came down for two whole days, at my convenience, to help me set up the tonearm and dial it in. It would not have taken nearly as long, but I had a lot of questions and was interested in learning as much as I could and Thom was happy to spend the time teaching me and showing me everything about the tonearm I had purchased. the first day was spent getting the tonearm onto the table, connecting the cartridage, using a microscope to set the SAR, adjusting the azimuth, the tracking force and the VTA. We got the table up and playing that first day and it sounded good.
The second day we spent an entire day just making adjustments and testing different things, until the VTA, SAR, azimuth, and tracking force were all perfect and my system was sounding better than it ever had. Thom was an amazing teacher and showed me so many things.
I have all Nordost Frey 2 and Heimdall 2 cables. My speaker cables are Frey 2, my power cords are Frey 2, and my interconnects are Heimdall 2 cables. While I have found big differences in speaker cables in my system, I initially did not find big differences between power cords and interconnects. That is before I met Thom Mackris, the owner of Galibier Designs.
… Then we tried the tonearm cable, which again made a nice difference, although not nearly as large of a difference as the power cable and speaker cables made.
Lastly, we compared Thom’s speaker cables to the Nordost Frey 2 speaker cables i have. I have always been very happy with my Nordost cables, but Thom’s speaker cables were so much better than the Nordost Frey 2 speaker cables. Like the power cable, everything was so much better — better air, better sound stage, clearer presentation and more musical.
I want to comment on the motor upgrade and the power supply, neither of which go with the below links. So please take the following and post it anywhere you would like. If I said anything inaccurate, let me know and I’ll correct it.
I have been the happy owner of an early iteration of the Galibier Stelvio for many years now. I use it with a Durand Talea tonearm and Lyra Atlas cartridge. The rest of my system is in the same league. I’ve heard many turntables at higher (and lower) prices but I’ve never been tempted to replace the Stelvio. I have upgraded arms and cartridges over the years and the Stelvio has been more than worthy of the upgrades. But I have, from time to time, felt that the drive and/or power supply could be causing some small timing errors that were holding the table back particularly in terms of bass slam and image focus. No more.
Thom’s latest drive upgrade and an upgrade to the Teddy Pardo power supply (which Thom now specifies for his new tables), have not only fixed those issues, but have also brought the turntable to a truly world class level of performance. It was night and day on a table that I didn’t think could get that much better.
It speaks to the engineering of the table itself that these inexpensive upgrades (about $200 for the drive upgrade and $400 for the power supply) yielded such great returns which were immediately recognizable. It speaks to Thom’s integrity and incredible level of customer service, that he spent a bunch of time researching and working on upgrades which yielded tremendous results and then offered them to his customers without it being a profit center for him (he makes nothing on the power supply and I’ve got to think the drive upgrade is pretty close to nothing).
But that’s how Thom is; he builds one hell of a table, charges a fair price for what it is, supports it 100%, and continues to look for ways to make it better. That’s a rare combination in audio world where overcharging and lateral upgrades are the norm. Check out one of Thom’s tables. You won’t be disappointed.
Chris Hoffman - Denver, CO
I’m the unnamed customer who bought the table/arm combination from the unnamed manufacturer *, to whom I paid a very large and unnamed sum of money. Once I realized there was a problem, I took my table and arm to Thom. He spent hours designing and tweaking a new armboard for my rig. Now, it sounds like it should have sounded from the beginning and a whole lot better than it ever has.
Is there a big lesson in this? Maybe just “I should have kept my Galibier”.
Thanks a million Thom! You’re one of the most honorable and true people I’ve ever encountered in this audio thing of ours.
*If anyone wants to know particulars in strong language, drop me a line…
Jeff Blackburn - Taos, NM (a reply to this blog post)
I was finally able to implement both upgrades and am extremely happy with both of them…
The armboard brought more weight and solidity to the whole presentation but especially noticeable on the low end. Soundstage imaging also more defined.
The motor/PS upgrade, however was even better, wow! The whole presentation got clearer. Incredibly, I could swear there is both, more liquidity and better resolution at the same time… and the big kicker is the refined, relaxed and natural way the music flows…
I mean, that was all there before, but it all got noticeably expanded… As I said very happy; I think this was more significant than the original controller change of a couple of years back…
Thanks very much Thom for your continued and relentless effort to improve an already outstanding media…
A very grateful and satisfied customer and friend …
Very best regards,
jmr (San Juan, PR)
JMR - San Juan, PR
Thanks for doing the new upgrade on my motor controller. At first listen I immediately noticed an increase in liquidity and an ease to the music.
As I listened to more music it became more evident how significant this upgrade is. There is an aggressive edge to the music that has disappeared. All instruments and vocals have a more natural and relaxed sound. Especially noticeable with instruments that have more of an attack such as guitar, piano, harp etc.
Overall I now find listening less fatiguing and just keep wanting to pull another album out. It will be interesting to hear how the Teddy Pardo power supply may compare with my Astron but regardless of how that turns out this motor controller update is well worth it.
LK - Denver, CO (Audiogon user dmailer)
When I buy any expensive audio product, I consider first, and maybe foremost, the person from whom I am buying, both the character and the skill of the guy who runs the company. That’s what you’re paying for in the end. In this case, you made a great choice all around. Tom gets the highest marks in all categories.
LM - Bethesda, MD (Audiogon user lewm)
Thom is always striving to refine things. what a great guy.
Thom built a new arm board mount also this last year. He wanted me to take each upgrade separately to see what it was contributing sonically. The new board made the sound more focused and cut the noise floor on the tone arm down dramatically. wow. Each of the original three have done some great things and I thank this forum for leading me to the Galibier 7 years ago.
Tom Bergeon - New Orleans, LA (Audiogon user Audiotomb from this thread)
They say confession is good for the soul; so forgive me father for I have sinned. For the past few months, I’ve been using a Sperling motor controller . This was a definite improvement over the ‘base’ Galibier controller but it doesn’t hold a candle to the beta [Galibier].
If the base Galibier is a ‘0’ and the beta Galibier a ’10’; the Sperling is a ‘3’. The sound of the Sperling is much closer to the base Galibier than the beta [Galibier].
When I went back to the Sperling, my system sounded broken. It took about 10′ [minutes] to put the beta Galibier back in ahhhh.
Will dive into the belt comparison over the next few days. I feel very comfortable that the beta controller allows the table to fulfill its enormous potential and believe that in the current form, it is competitive with any table irrespective of price. The improvement is significantly greater than the difference between the Stelvio I & II. Well done!
Adding the resistor doesn’t change the ‘sound’ but takes things to a different level of refinement and further lowers the noise floor.
With the resistor, you seem to have a finished product that is ready to roll out. IMO, the motor controller upgrade is a significantly greater leap than from version I to version II of the Stelvio and almost begs for a public product re-launch
MZ - Bellevue, WA (Audiogon user jazzdoc)
This customer helped us in our pre-release beta test, and the resistor change was a final tweak before releasing the controller into the wild.
Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2015
We weren’t at the show, but these events are also about meeting, greeting and hosting customers and industry friends traveling from out of town. Lynn Olson is one of those industry friends (although he is a neigbor). His impressions of the show were posted to the October issue of Positive-Feedback Online. Some excerpts:
“I’m not an expert on turntables, but three of the out-of-town guests came right out and said the new turntable was the best they’d ever heard … at any price. I haven’t heard the crazy $80,000 “reference” turntables they were talking about, but I’ll say the EMT and (modified) Garrard 301’s have met their match. My desire to one day own a fully restored EMT has been extinguished. This thing is better, and it’s made right here in the USA. “
“One of Thom’s guests nearly walked out with the prototype; Thom and his guest split the difference, and settled on the first production model off the line. Coming fresh from the show, Thom’s system made quite a sensation. There was never any audible distortion or harshness; the tonal balance just-right; incredibly vivid-sounding, and never sounded “hi-fi” at all, no matter what record we played. It effortlessly did things that I didn’t hear anywhere at the show. “
“My quick impression of Thom’s prototype turntable is that it combines the propulsion and drive of the EMT and modified Garrard 301’s with the air, spaciousness, and clear bass line of a modern high-tech-platter turntable. And I’ve yet to hear digital really do justice to the sense of rhythm that a classic 50’s or 60’s LP has. Maybe it’s an artifact of LP playback, but I dunno … digital usually sounds a little flatter than the real thing. It was especially thrilling what the whole system did with $2 thrift-store finds. Clicks and pops, sure, along with a share of record wear, but it played more music than all of the RMAF put together, and kept doing so, record after record, all evening long. And it did the same thing the second evening, just as good, without breaking a sweat. “
Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2011
6moons.com - Voted Best Vinyl Sound: Galibier Design Stelvio II turntable (scroll to the bottom of the page).
“Galibier Design, Kaplan, Serious Stereo, Daedalus Audio: Thom Mackris, ever the gentleman host, explained how this year he decided to use more of his own system’s equipment. Rather than the Atma-Sphere MP-1 preamp and MP-60 amps of last year, Thom was using a Herron phono stage through a Serious Stereo custom passive attenuator into the Serious Stereo 2A3 amp. As last year the speakers were the Daedalus Audio Ulysses. Of course the featured component was Thom’s Stelvio II turntable with the Durand Talea II tonearm fitted with a Dynavector XV1s. While I think that the room gained some portrayal of nuance and texture with the 2A3 amps, I think there was also a tradeoff in the projection of the soundstage out in front of and outside the speakers. Still the case could be made for the Serious Stereo amps in terms of sheer naturalness and refinement. Despite their flea power I did not hear clipping or collapse on dynamic peaks.”
"Upon Thom’s invitation I went back to his room for a very interesting Saturday night session in which we compared three phono stages:a modified Ayre, a Herron with and without Lundahl stepup transformers and a new K&K Premium Maxxed-Out ($2.799 assembled). There was great academic discussion after each change and everyone was given time to offer their opinions with Thom summing things up. I’m used to a bit less formal of a listening session but I respect the way Thom presided. Personally I favored the modified Ayre and many agreed. However the K&K made a good case for itself too. Thanks Thom!"
“Well, here is something a bit different. This year Thom Mackris with his awe inspiring turntables partnered with Lou Hinkley of Daedalus Audio and Serious Stereo to provide tunes via an extremely low wattage pair of monoblocks.”
“By extremely low wattage, I mean [right at] one watt. I know Lou’s speakers reasonably well, though they are efficient, I would never consider driving them with a 1 watt SET. Know what? It worked fairly well, far better than I would have imagined.”
“The bottom line was it was resolute enough to show off Thom’s great sounding turntable. I’ll be interested to see what Thom comes up with next year for pairings.”
Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2010
Roger Gordon – Positive-Feedback Online (opens in new window – 4th paragraph from the top):
“Every time I entered the room, which was quite a few times, I really enjoyed what I heard regardless of the LP being played.”
“One of the last times I visited the room I was able to play my copy of the recently released 45rpm reissue of the soundtrack to Gladiator. We played all four sides straight through. The recording is superb and the way it was reproduced in that room was magical.”
“After the end of the fourth side a woman who had been sitting at the back of the room exclaimed ‘that was a religious experience’. I agree.”
I don’t think I have heard any other system convey the emotional content of music that well.”
“In the Galibier Design room, their Stelvio-II turntable ($27,500) was mated with Durand Talea tonearm, a Dynavector XV1-S cartridge, Atmasphere MP-1 preamp and M-60 amplifiers powering the Daedalus Ulysses loudspeakers (substituted for the listed Green Mountain Audio speakers which did not show up).
A Holly Cole LP was playing when we entered. I noted great bass and a dead quiet background. Bill pulled out his Pete Townsend record and we played Pinball Wizard. We both felt that this room did the best job on this record of any room. The energy and speed of Townsend’s guitar virtuosity was well reproduced and conveyed much of the excitement of this live performance. Other selections played were equally impressive.”
Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2009
"Next up was the Galibier room. One of my favorite things in life, are valves, vinyl and big fickin' horns. Walking into Thom's room I was extremely pleased not to see a digital anything in the system. Then again, what would you expect from a master turntable designer."
Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2006 – Show Coverage
John Atwood’s Clarisonus Blog (blog is no longer active):
“Vinyl is doing quite well – many rooms relying on LPs as their high-definition source. There were lots of big turntables around. Thom Mackris’s company, Galibier Audio, had a good set-up with his turntable, the Artemis Labs preamp, Lynn Olson’s latest version of his push-pull power amp, and the Azzolina speakers. The sound of Thom’s room varied over the course of the show as the speakers and equipment were tweaked, but at the peak, was quite good, if a bit lean. Here is Thom giving the spiel in his room:”
Roger Gordon – Positive Feedback Online (opens in new window):
“Located in one of the big corner rooms was a system composed of a Galibier Design Stelvio ($12,500) turntable with Triplanar arm and Dynavector XV-1s. The phono stage and preamp were one-off designs, amplification from Karna Push Pull 300B amps from nutshellhifi.com.”
“The speakers were Azzolina Audio Grand Sfera. Cables by Chimera Labs. I played my audiophile approved Sara K., then the Pete Townshend track. Since no one else had any other vinyl to play, I played the Nirvana cut.”
“All the other attendees present left the room, but several more people came into the room and sat down with big smiles on their faces.”
“After Nirvana I played The Eurythmics and Judas Priest to more smiles. So what did I hear from these five LPs. The Sara K. is a true audiophile recording – superbly recorded and pressed. What I heard was like her sitting and singing right there in the room with me. Very nice.”
“On the Pete Townshend track I heard every detail, every movement of his fingers. Quite a toe tapping performance. Kurt Cobain’s voice on the Nirvana cut was not quite as realistic as in the Walker room, but still very nice. The Eurythmics track is heavily mixed. On a high resolution system you can hear each separate track of the mix. I heard all of the tracks. Turbo Lover is actually fairly well recorded and pressed, but I played it just for fun. Judas Priest sure beats hearing Jazz at the Pawnshop for the thousandth time.”
“A very nice sounding room to which I returned several times.”
“Thom Mackris of turntable manufacturer Galibier Design (whose Stelvio costs $12,500) had me smiling when he played a hilarious track by Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers. Although a little raucous on top, the system (SchrÃ¶der Reference SQ tonearm, perversely entitled ZYX Universe cartridge, Artemis Labs PH-1 phono stage, preproduction Karna push-pull 300B 15W amp from Nutshell Hi Fidelity, and Gran Sfera Horns by Azzolina Audio) offered a compellingly huge, all-enveloping, elevated soundstage coupled to a beautiful midrange.”
“One room over from Galibier, and again sporting imposing Azzolina Audio speakers, Hagerman Audio was showing another all-analog system. With no time to tune the system due to emergency equipment repairs necessitated by shipping damage, the system offered wonderful size and considerable midrange beauty, nonetheless.”
“In a large suite Azzolina Audio was showing their $15,000 horn-loaded full-range Gran Sfera. Using the exquisite Galibier Stelvio turntable as a source, I was impressed by how delicate and detailed the sound was, and yet by the power as well. Superb stuff if you have the room (and budget) for it.”
Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2004 – Show Coverage
6moons.com had this to say about our main room which we shared with Exemplar Audio (as well as placing a turntable in Jim Hagerman's room):
“Thom Mackris of Galibier Design turntable fame shared this room in person and with his table and Jim Hagerman’s Hawaiian Trumpet phono stage can be seen tucked between the massive legs of the table’s support.
John and Thom had another one of those really good-sounding rooms that made it essentially impossible to pick any unequivocal “Best of” exhibits.”
October, 2003 Coverage of VSAC, 2003 in Silverdale, WA
David Robinson – Positive-Feedback Online (opens in new window)
Earlier Customer Comments
08/12/2005 – Bob Mahony on the Motor Controller and Anvil upgrade to his Simon Yorke turntable.
“Well I can attest to the fact that I am now hearing more air and expansive sound, using your motor pod. One gets the illusion of the tape guiding the platter very quietly as opposed to the York rubber belt “pulling” at the platter. With the Yorke belts, up close, you could always hear a friction sound of the rubber gripping the platter. With the Mylar belt, only silence.”
“The soundstage background also seems “blacker” and tends to disappear. Must be your motor not “exciting” the platter like the rubber belts did. I am no expert in the science of this, of course, but I can hear the (beneficial) difference.”
“I have only tried the Anvil so far without the O-ring, but I can tell you that the bass response with Anvil in place is quite astounding. Take it away and it becomes a bit sloppy again (although I never realized this before).”
[Note: We never know what to expect, or what to attribute improvements to when we apply either a motor controller or Anvil to another design. There is too much design synergy in order to predict this. While our Anvils have had a 75% success rate, our motor controller upgrades have been at 100% to date.]
We don’t quite know what to make about Bob’s comments about belt noise. Belt noise is perhaps the last thing we would have expected him to comment on. Our Mylar belts are not quite dead-silent – at least to our ears. In spite of this, they are the best drive material we’ve tried to date. Certainly we don’t know what all of the hoopla about silk thread and ribbon is all about. Everyone of our customers who has tried them (along with our own listening sessions here in Colorado) has commented on the blurred presentation.
03/25/2005 – Kevin Brooks of Brooks Audio on his Stelvio.
“I have never listened to so many records non stop since I bought your table. Honestly I have probably listened to a total of 5 or 6 CD’s since you delivered the table to me. I have between 2500 and 3000 records, and all I do is pull out new ones to enjoy, they never sounded so good.”
“I’m using the SPU on the old 16 inch Ortofon RMG-309 arm, it is a little richer sounding top to bottom. Anyway it matches beautifully with the table. The Micro and Denon are also still mounted, [Micro Seiki Mx 282 tonearm / Denon DL 103R Cartridge] but it seems like I mainly listen to the Ortofon combination, but it is nice to have a table that I can mount both arms on at the same time!!”
Thanks so much,
In November, 2005 he wrote us:
“It’s been a while since I talked to you. I have been enjoying the Supreme [note: the Supreme was rechristened to the Stelvio] table very very much to say the least! You know how some products really turn you on at first, and then it begins to wear off. Well it is just the opposite with your table, it never lets me down. I have never experienced this with a product before except with the Ale speakers. I absolutely love it!!”
[Note: We consider Kevin to be a particularly discerning customer. He previously owned a Platine Verdier for 3 years. The switch to the Stelvio (renamed from Supreme) was a revelation to him as he indicates above. Kevin distributes the extremely rare Ales compression driver based speaker systems. To say that his electronics and speakers are world-class is an understatment.]
08/02/2004 – Bill McCormack on his Gavia
[Bill waxes on about his Gavia which replaced trusty Linn LP12. Bill kept his Hadcock tonearm and the same cartridge when he made the switch.]
Bill recently wrote us an e-mail which said about as well as you can say it, what this is all about. I was so struck by it that (with his permission) I added it to our forum. Click here to read it (opens in new window).
“The Galibier has even convinced my missus, and believe me that is saying something! Anyway a brief prÃ©cis of my experiences over the weekend.
My main amp (the AN 300B SET) is still giving some problems and was not in service, so I initially used the AN Kit4, which has upgraded coupling caps and cathode bypass caps, but is essentially a pretty cheap amp.
Everything I played just stunned me – one way or another. Of special interest were two charity shop bargains, (1) Caballe doing Lucrezia Borgia on EMI (I think), and (2) a recording of Janacek’s Sinfonieta. I had played both of these (after cleaning of course) and was definitely underwhelmed. [hearing it through his LP12]
The opera was not by one of my favourite composers and in fact is not one of his (Donnizetti) most proclaimed works, so I was prepared to be disappointed.
The Janacek was a real bummer though, this is one of my all time favourites and when played with the Linn just left me thinking “Well perhaps its not such a great piece after all” – but I know it is. [after hearing it through the Galibier]
Right, so first off what did the Galibier sound like with female singing?
First on was an Elisabeth Scharzkopf recording of R. Strauss “Four Last Songs”, this sounded great on the Linn and even better on the Galibier – no surprises here.
Now being lazy and the only piece of Italian opera actually in the listening room being the Lucreazia Borgia I mentioned above, I decided to give it a spin. Well, from something that made no impression at all the first time I listened to it, we are all of a sudden in spine tingling areas – it was truly awesome. Next on was the Janacek, now I knew why I love this piece so much, it was absolutely towering!
The interesting thing about the Janacek is that the first version I bought and that I really have enjoyed in the past, is by Simon Rattle (with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra but now with the Berlin Philharmonic I think and not really my favourite conductor) and not only that it is also on CD!
Now going back to what Art [Dudley – from his Stereophile review in October, 2004)] said to you about dynamics. I reckon my CD player has greater dynamics than my old Linn (everything else is worse) and the Sinfonieta without dynamics in the replay system just ain’t gonna work. With this work on the Galibier you get the best of both worlds – dynamics and the high frequency response that only vinyl gives you.
The more I listen then the more I am rediscovering things, for example, I was playing some Leonard Cohen and was completely bowled over by “Sisters of Mercy” and you can hear stuff in it that I had never heard before.
But to call this holographic or anything like this is wrong. I have heard such systems and quite often they sound sterile and unnatural – this now sounds so natural, I have never been closer to the live sound than I am now.
I have just bought my last record deck!”
[the following is from a subsequent e-mail …]
“I am still amazed at your deck, I am hearing things in a different light. One of my favourite bands of the mid/late 60s was Canned Heat, I loved the Bear and the Sunflower and I recently cleaned my copy of “Boogie With Canned Heat”. Now, this is a mono recording that has been battered around, you know duff equipment, taking LPs to parties (this was common in the 60s!!!) etc. Compared to a CD “Best Of Canned Heat” I have, the tracks common to both were so much better on vinyl – not a little bit!
Who said that rock don’t work on Vinyl and SETs?
You can tell I am working through my collection because every e-mail from me mentions different conductor/orchestra combinations or rock bands!”
[Note: even if you’re not an opera fan, listen to a talented, well recorded soprano. This is one of the cruelest tests you can put a vinyl playback system through. With a good tracking arm and cartridge, a Galibier turntable may just convert you into being an opera lover.
06/19/2004 – Dave Vorhis on his Gavia
“My new Gavia is everything I had hoped it would be. I knew it would look great—I could tell that from the photos—but the sound quality has exceeded even my high expectations. There is subtle detailing and little shifts in dynamics that I simply never heard on my VPI 19 Mk. III or Thorens TD-124. I was concerned that I might lose some of the Thorens’ rhythmic involvement, the PRAT factor, but your table has that in spades!
I also had some doubts about buying a table without first seeing it or hearing it. However, your consultations by phone and email made the process easy and convenient, and they gave me the confidence to place the order. The table arrived safe and sound in three double-boxed cartons. Setup was easy. I was listening to Miles Davis two hours after opening the first box.
[Note: to date, we’ve gone head to head against numerous “modern” turntables. Dave’s reaction when comparing his Gavia with the humble PVC platter against one of the well regarded classics of yesteryear is particularly gratifying to us. When your appeal spans widely divergent tastes, you know that you’re approaching the musical truth.]