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Jeff's West Coast Audiophile Journey

Jeff Kalina | Published on 4/30/2023

This article covers some of my recent travels to Audiophiles homes throughout the west.
My wife and I are recently retired and moved back to the NW after 25 years in Arizona.  Our first grandchild is due this month and that event was a move motivator.
I enjoy visiting like-minded audio people in different clubs, shows, manufacturers, and as many retail stores as possible in my quest for maximum audio exposure. 
I am a member of audio groups in three cities; Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle. This helps me keep a pulse on different attitudes and ways of "Audiophiling" as well as meeting members who are open to sharing their time with fellow enthusiasts.

I will describe two of the homes I visited in the last month:

First up is the home of Steve Schaffer, Alameda CA.  SFAF member.
Steve is a regular on the Friday Happy Hour Zoom visits.  He is also a coffee connoisseur who buys green beans and roasts them to his own preference.  This tells you a little about how far he might go to achieve nirvana when passionate about something.  I had the good fortune to spend a couple hours at Steve's home last month.  
Steve recently had installed the new Wilson Alexia V speakers, which are fronted by a Spectral preamp and Spectral monoblocks.  Two Paradigm subwoofers fill out the sound.
Steve 1
Feeding into the system is a dCS Vivaldi stack of three pieces-DAC, Upsampler, and Clock. 
The source equipment list includes a Roon Nucleus Streamer, Cybershaft Master clock, and an Uptone Audio Etherregen. 
Multiple linear power supplies and Shunyata's Everest Conditioner + the new Altaira Chassis Grounding System supply the juice.
Steve 2
Steve's system exhibits some of the best gear available. Very well thought out. Dedication pays!  The sound is highly detailed, smooth with great realism!

The second visit on this trip was to Leslie and Grant’s home near Medford, Oregon.
Their home is a little slice of heaven overlooking the Medford valley.  Goats, deer, and wild turkey are all part of the scenery.  As wine lovers, they offered me some locally grown and bottled red wine that was very fine.  Later, we visited the Tap and Vine restaurant and had a peek at the period decor in the Speakeasy Bar, Papillon that was opening next door.

Leslie and Grant are amazing hosts!  So attentive to their guests!  So many activities going on in their lives.  What they have achieved with the SFAF is nothing short of fantastic.  The SFAF club is the pre-eminent audio group in the US.  The leadership group is to be congratulated!

On to their system.

Grant and Leslie have a large listening room with high vaulted ceilings.  The MBL speakers are powered by a pair of John Curl designed Parasound JC1+ amplifiers and a prototype Merrill Christina Preamp. The Turntable is an "ACOUSTIC SIGNATURE MKII WITH ACOUSTIC SIGNATURE TA 2000 NEO ARM; streamer IFI ZEN STREAMER WITH THE SCHITT YGGDRASIL OG DAC; IC’S ARE MOSTLY HIGH FIDELITY and some Iconoclast.

The MBL sound is very special.  Never too harsh on the highs.  Adding a surround sound quality that box speakers cannot emulate.  Fun to look at!!  Designed by one of the most respected engineers in audio today.  Really nothing quite like them!

Other audiophile's homes I could write about in the future include those of:  Larry Deniston, Stephen Scharf, Hugh Fountain, Dave Hjortland, Curt Dragonovich, Anthony Chipelo, Josh Graham, Roger Sanders, and Naveen Chaundray.  Assuming they agree to it.  And, FYI, when I visit, I try to host a dinner out somewhere of their choice.  This has resulted in some memorable meals!

I am also very open to other audiophiles visiting me for a listening session here in Poulsbo, Washington.  I find that; besides hearing equipment one may be unfamiliar with, one of the best side benefits of these visits is the chance to acquire knowledge of new music!  And on that subject, I have recent playlists I enjoy swapping for other people's lists.  If anyone knows the best method of sharing lists, please let me know. Roon has CSV lists.  This requires cutting and pasting.

Here is a taste of music I’ve lately enjoyed: Track du jour- I heard this at Axpona in the Borresen room- Labrinth (spelled as it appears), Euphoria Season 2, Dracula (Nate sees Cassie).

Until next time!