Time for an Upgrade

I’ve always appreciated high fidelity and had a system when I was young (in the ’70s — Rectilinear 7 speakers under-powered by a Sansui AU-7700 integrated amp, and a Phillips 877 turntable which I still have) that was the envy of most 16 year olds in my very small town.  As life went on, my ability and/or interest didn’t keep up, and I went through a series of very average consumer grade components.
A couple years ago I visited the shop when it opened on North Ave, a few blocks from my home, and Jon was kind enough to tune up my Phillips turntable while I listened to the Vandersteen 7s, which definitely will rekindle anyone’s interest in hi-fi. About a year ago, it was time to retire the old (>18 yrs) consumer grade components for something better while working within the scale of my very small Tosa home, my equally small budget, and my questionable “ears”.  Jon was extremely helpful in assessing my needs and educating me about the subtle differences in sound between competing brands (my ears/knowledge are not that sharp), and I took home an Arcam A19 integrated amp and Vandersteen 1Ci speakers (Arcam was not on my radar when I went to the shop. A nice upgrade from the Cambridge I had my eye on).  Sure, these are entry level components by Ultra Fidelis’ standards, but the improvement over what I’d been listening to over the years was nothing short of stunning, and a number of my “consumer electronics” colleagues have been equally impressed.  A year in, I’m quite happy.  Except, I didn’t think my LPs were sounding quite up to snuff, sooo….

…While, for purely nostalgic reasons, I hated to part with my Phillips 877 that I had since my teen years, it was clearly the weak link, so Jon set me up with a Pro-ject Debut Carbon Espirit last weekend.  Again, nothing spectacular by Ultra Fidelis’ standards, but a palpable improvement over the Phillips.  The Pro-ject doesn’t make poor recordings better, but the good stuff is now very good.

Importantly, despite contributing minimally to the bottom line of the shop, each time I’ve made a purchase, Jon has treated me as though I was in the market for the Vandy 7s and a couple of AR power amps.

That’s high praise, folks.
-Mark M.

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