Thursday, November 6, 2008

Rega Introduces the Elicit Amplifier

In 1988 Rega conceived the Elicit. This was the first of two amplifiers to be launched & manufactured by Rega in 1990.

We have utilized the knowledge base and experience gained since the conception of the original Elicit to bring you, the listener, the astounding all new Elicit integrated amplifier.

The new Elicit features a circuit entirely designed by Rega, refined by extensive listening and computer based design procedures.

At Rega we are very proud of what we have achieved with the new Elicit amplifier, and hope that you, the listener, will appreciate and enjoy the amplifiers contemporary design and casework aesthetics.

In common with all Rega products, the Elicit amplifier has been designed without compromise. Our time, efforts & money have been spent on developing the circuit and construction, utilizing the highest specification of components throughout.

As part of the design we have included useful features to enable the Elicit amplifier to be used in a wide combination of systems.

The New Elicit Amplifier is a high performance audio amplifier using the Rega Alpha-Encoder control system, comprising of a digitally controlled analog switched resistor network volume control, with a class A discrete low noise FET line amplifier. The signal switching is routed by high quality loss-less relays. High quality Evox and ICEL film capacitors have been used in sonically critical signal path positions throughout.

The power amplifier is of a fully symmetrical design using advanced Sanken Darlington power transistors. The power supply uses a generously rated toridal transformer assembled using highest quality core material. Finally the Elicit is housed in the enhanced Rega custom-built extruded aluminum case incorporating three high thermal efficiency heat sinks. Rega has kept the same level of performance and synergy between stages as in the original Elicit amplifier but with a better level of functionality in the volume control and user interface.

The Elicit is an 80-Watt integrated amplifier, which can be the heart of a traditional two-channel system, or integrated into a multi channel system where no compromise two-channel performance is required. The Elicit has a direct input feeding the power amplifier, which for example, can be a signal from a multi channel processor etc; and a pre-amplifier output, which enables the amplifier to be expanded to drive Bi-amplifier(s) or active or multiple speaker systems, for example, subs bass etc. The gain of the power amplifier is 28dB for full output, which makes it compatible with a wide variety of other power amplifiers. The amplifier is fully short circuit and DC protected.

Volume control
The volume level is controlled via a microprocessor, which in turn takes its information from the volume digital encoder on the front panel or remote control handset.

The volume control has a resolution of 1dB per step, giving a total range of 80 steps over the available gain or volume range of 80dB.

There is a calibrated LED display comprising of 20 LED's, which indicates the gain level or relative position of the volume control; this is calibrated in 4dB steps, across the total gain of volume range. The left and right channels are matched and balanced within 0.2dB, ensuring a centrally placed soundstage no matter what the volume position or which gain level has been set.

The stepped resistive networks of the volume control are placed in the feedback and input circuits of a low noise class A discrete FET line amplifier, thereby optimizing the gain of the line amplifier for a good signal to noise ratio. Also, the stepped resistive network provides the amplifier input with constant input impedance, providing the source component (CD, tuner, tape etc) with a constant impedance load and eliminating the possible changes in sound quality with different volume control positions.


Discrete circuitry used in the signal path.

Polypropylene capacitors used in all sonically critical positions.

High specification Relay switching used throughout.

Symmetrical power amplifier utilizing state of the art Sanken Darlington output transistors with enhanced thermal stability.

Higher than normal Class A quiescent current.

Galvanically isolated power supplies for the pre amplifier, power amplifier & digital circuits.

Fast diodes used in the audio power supplies.
Nine individual power supplies.

High stability low noise voltage references used throughout.

Low noise servo controlled FET pre-amplifier with the minimum of coupling capacitors.

Wolfson digitally controlled stepped attenuator volume control.

Generous heat sinks for continuous use.

Plug in card for MM & MC input and future options.

Direct input for integration into multi channel systems.

Military specification wire used for speaker wiring.

Single PCB construction ensuring short signal paths.

Large toroidal transformer.

Our price on the Elicit, including shipping, is $2995.00, please contact immediately as there are only a limited number of Elicits available until the first of the year.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

WAA Presents: 33 1/3 The Art of Sound

Visit My Photos - 24 Pics

WAA Art Show

I haven't had time to post much as I've been working on a very special art installation for the Washington Art Association, entitled 33 1/3: The Art of Sound.

I didn't really know what to expect, as I've usually been asked to comment on music rather than art, but I'm very happy with the way it came out and the response has been absolutely overwhelming.

Jaime Ferris, from the Litchfield County Times and New Milford Times, did an excellent feature that perfectly distilled the essence of the show.

check out Jaime's article here.

The show is scheduled to continue through October 26, so if you have a chance stop in and check it out.

Hours and Directions

The public is always welcome to visit the Washington Art Association.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sundays 12 to 5. Closed
on Monday. For more infomation, please call WAA at 860-868-2878, or contact us by e-mail.

The Washington Art Association is located in Bryan Memorial Plaza in the
center of Washington Depot, CT across from the Washington Post Office.

>From New Milford take Rt. 202 north to Rt. 109. Continue on Rt. 109, turning
right at T intersection, into Washington Depot. Turn right into Bryan
Memorial Plaza. WAA is at the end of the Plaza on the right.

>From Southbury take exit 15 off of I-84, take Rt. 6 to Rt. 47 into
Washington Depot. Turn left into Bryan Memorial Plaza. WAA is at the end of
the plaza on the right.

>From Roxbury take Rt. 67 to Rt. 47 into Washington Depot. Turn left into
Bryan Memorial Plaza. WAA is at the end of the plaza on the right.

> From Woodbury take Rt. 47 at Canfield Corners to Washington Depot. Turn left
into Bryan Memorial Plaza. WAA is at the end of the plaza on the right.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rega R7 Speakers: State of the Art Soundsculpting

The selection of speakers is perhaps the most crucial element to any sound system, and should be carefully considered with a complimentary amplifier to maximize the sonics of both elements.

Too much speaker and not enough amplifier will leave a system sounding weak and brittle, with an inability to separate the dynamic range. Too little speaker will often lead to a system favoring a treble response, with accompanying shrillness threatening to drown what could often be otherwise sound choices.

We recommend the Rega R7 speakers ($2995) as a great match to tube amplifiers like the Cayin A-100T. These fabulous-looking speakers (shown here in the rosenut color option) compliment the Cayin's valve-powered dynamics in the quest for an accurate soundstage, both in timing and timbre, and ability to navigate the sometimes treacherous dynamic range between sweet, melodious highs and powerful seismic lows.

The R7 relies on Rega’s in-house built drivers that are built to a tolerance level that minimizes the need for crossover correction. Rega utilizes an ultra-efficient design that does not require a huge power amplifier, much less the overkill of trillion-watt monoblock pairs. The lower octaves are sing forth effortlessly when called upon, with the mid and upper ranges capable with an at times breathtaking naturalness. Space and depth create a dynamic dimensional soundstage that fills the room like a band playing in the corner.

Construction of the R7 is superb, with the design of a relatively narrow though stylish front face, with magnetically-mounted front screens to the side-mounted bass driver, earning good ergonomic points as well. Beautiful ridged contours on the upper cabinet contribute to an art deco aura, while the purposeful and rock solid base speak to the highly-engineered nature of the R7. Unlike some other modern speakers, the Regas don't look like escapees from the Lucasfilm prop room.

Also purposeful is a distinct lack of corpulence compared to other speakers in the same price range, at under 40 lbs. apiece, maneuvering and placement for maximum sonic effect is no longer a backbreaking and chiropractor inducing chore.

2005 - Hi Fi Choice Bronze award winner for best loudspeakers between £1000 - £2000 per pair

Height (without spikes)...972mm
Depth at plinth...............348mm
Width at plinth...............270mm


Nominal Impedance........6ohms
Sensitivity...........(Approx) 89dB

Power Handling................125w per channel.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stereophile Drools on Cayin A-50T


By Robert J. Reina • March, 2008

Late in 2006, I was watching John Atkinson set up a pair of DPA cardioid microphones in front of the stage of New York City's Otto's Shrunken Head to record a performance of my jazz quartet, Attention Screen (footnote 1). Before the first set, Wes Phillips approached me. "Bob, I found a piece of equipment you must review—the Cayin A-50T integrated amp. It's only 1300 bucks and you'll love it!"

In the two decades I've known Wes, I've learned to trust his hearing acuity and taste in equipment, but I've also learned that he rarely raves openly about a piece of gear, let alone an affordable one. So I gave Cayin importer Steve Leung, of VAS Industries, a call.

The Cayin A-50T ($1395) is an integrated amplifier with two push-pull pairs of Mullard EL34 tubes that can be operated in 35Wpc Ultralinear or 16Wpc Triode, the modes switchable via the included remote control. The A-50T features point-to-point wiring, a toroidal power transformer, and two EI audio output transformers, all specially manufactured for Cayin in an attempt to achieve low magnetic leakage, wide frequency response, and low impedance. The amp also has two 12AX7EH and two 12AU7EH tubes (the EH stands for Electro Harmonix), four line-level inputs, and 8 and 4 ohm output taps. Its snap-on tube cage is easily removable.

Normally, I wouldn't expect an affordable, Chinese-made integrated powered by tubes to be the last word in rugged construction or sexy cosmetics. The Cayin A-50T proved me wrong in both regards. The ruggedness of the Cayin's parts and construction is something I usually associate with multi-kilobuck electronics made in the US, and the amp is visually stunning. The curves of the chassis, faceplate, and removable tube cage suggest fine jewelry, not audio gear. Finally, the amp comes with generous warranties on parts and labor (three years), though only 90 days on the tubes.

I listened to the A-50T through Monitor Audio Silver RS6 loudspeakers, along with my usual analog and digital front ends, and did most of my listening in the amp's 35Wpc Ultralinear mode.

I was hoping to hear from the Cayin A-50T a richly holographic soundstage and an uncolored midrange, and it did not disappoint. Singer-songwriter Ashley Mounts' eponymous debut CD (private recording) revealed her angelic, holographically recorded soprano as she wove her elliptical melodies through an extensive vocal range against a somewhat minimal piano backdrop. On the male side, Tom Waits's voice, on his Mule Variations (LP, Anti- 8 65470 1), was appropriately rough, growly, and rich.

The Cayin's midrange reproduction was that of an amplifier able to resolve an extraordinary amount of inner detail for the price. On Tord Gustavsen's The Ground (CD, ECM 1892), every subtle low-level dynamic articulation and rich, resonant tone of Gustavsen's sparse, airy piano style was transparent and easy to follow, even in the softest passages of the recording. Fans of jazz woodwinds should be pleased with the Cayin's low coloration and linear and organic articulation of low-level midrange dynamics. I listened to Maria Schneider's big-band jazz recording, Allegresse (CD, Enja 9393-2), and noted: "Silky blend of saxophones with burnished blatty brass float on a bed of air."

review continues here

THE CAYIN A-50T is OUR BEST SELLING TUBE AMPLIFIER at Puretone Audio - ALWAYS IN STOCK and ready for auditions!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cayin iDAC Gets Rave Review

SG Baird reviews the Cayin iDAC-1
Wed, 03/26/2008 - 09:35 — sgbaird

from The Computer Audiophile

Wow, what a great sounding audio component! I could end this review here, and be satisfied that some readers might get the idea in their heads to give it a try, but for the majority of jaded audiophiles out there that adhere to the notion that something that costs more will always sound better, let me elaborate on why I think many seasoned audiophiles would find Cayin’s iDAC-1 a final purchase.

First off, though, let me tell you that after I had decided that I wanted to give the Cayin a try, I found only one dealer in the whole USA that had this DAC in stock at the time I was looking; all of the others that responded to my inquiry told me that they would have to order it from the importer and then ship it on to me. That would normally send up a red flag for me, but I recall that I had experienced similar situations back in 1999 when I decided that I wanted to try SACD. My local Marantz dealer said that there just wasn’t enough interest in the SACD format for him to carry their players, but that he would special order one for me.

If you are an avid audiophile, the Cayin name will be familiar to you, but if it’s not, Cayin is one of the few Chinese-made brands that have made it to prestige status among the cognoscenti, primarily for their well-made and beautiful range of amplifiers and preamps. In fact, two of my long-time audio buddies have had Cayin products in their systems at one time or another, and this kind of endorsement was just what I needed to settle it for me. I ordered my iDAC-1 from the dealer who had it in stock and it arrived in just two days.

READ the rest of the review here

Affectionately known here at Puretone Audio as "the washing machine", the Cayin iDac is in stock and available with FREE FEDEX GROUND SHIPPING for just $795.00

Monday, May 12, 2008

Litchfield Musical Entities Jammin'

By: Emily M. Olson

(from The Litchfield County Times)

Three music lovers who were running their businesses separately for years have joined forces on Route 202 in Litchfield, and their combined efforts are quickly becoming a destination in town.

Joe DiBlasi, owner of Litchfield Piano Works, Scott Johnson, owner of Big Johnsons Guitars and ABC Music School, and Phoenix Records owner Karl Uberbacher are all happily living under one roof. Mr. Johnson, whose business was formerly located in Torrington, moved into Mr. DiBlasi's building in February, followed by Mr. Uberbacher in early April. Phoenix Records, which was formerly located in the Litchfield Commons, has a sister store in Waterbury, a business Mr. Uberbacher has owned for a decade that features LP records, CDs and stereo systems, including turntables and speakers.

Mr. DiBlasi, who owns the building, started his career as a piano repairman and professional tuner in 2003. He moved into part of the building in 2004, starting with four pianos. Today, there are more than 80 pianos in the expanded showroom adjacent to Big Johnson Guitars and the ABC Music School. He is also the top piano dealer in Connecticut.

It was Mr. DiBlasi's dream to have a music center like this one, where people could come for tutoring, advice and instruments. "I started working on Scotty about five months ago, getting him to think about coming here," said the enthusiastic Mr. DiBlasi, leading visitors on a tour of the newly-renovated building with a huge smile on his face. "As soon as he came in here, he picked up so many students. A lot of the students who were [attending the Litchfield Music School, the previous tenant], came back when Scotty opened."

"I feel so proud now," he added. "When people come in and they want a guitar, or they have questions, I say, 'Go see my friend Scotty.' It's just a natural progression to have us all together here. They're doing a wonderful job in the music store and the school ... and the record store is doing great."

The successful piano salesman still tunes his favorite instrument-he's the tuner for the Warner Theatre in Torrington and the Palace Theater in Waterbury, preparing pianos for the likes of BB King, Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett and Bobby Vinton before they take the stage. At Litchfield Piano Works, he sells pianos ranging in price from $1,200 to $50,000, as well as digital keyboards for various levels of skill. Among the brands he sells are Young Chang, Bosendorfer, Weber, Albert Weber and Schimmel, a handmade collection from Germany. The showroom is filled with the magnificent pianos, their keyboards gleaming, the benches inviting customers to sit and play.

"Every time I sold a piano, I bought two more," Mr. DiBlasi said. "That's how I built the inventory."

"He sells about 180 pianos a year," noted Mr. Johnson. "He is the piano man."

Mr. Johnson, a longtime guitar player whose favorite instrument is a vintage Gibson, hired Andrew Jamieson of Harwinton to run the music school. Both businesses are growing in popularity by the day. "Almost as soon as we opened, a lot of the students came back," Mr. Jamieson said. "We've probably got about 70 now."
"It's a nice place. The building is great. We had to do a lot of work and a lot of cleaning," Mr. Johnson said. "When we were in Torrington, our biggest concern was that we wanted to have enough space to grow our business. We can do that here."

Once the store was set up with an impressive display of name-brand used and new acoustic and electric guitars, as well as supplies, amps and other equipment, the partners set to work gutting and renovating the rear of the building and installing soundproof lesson rooms for students. The area is clean and bright, offering spaces for piano and guitar, mandolin and banjo lessons, as well as drum and vocal lessons. Band instrument lessons will be offered starting this summer. Professional pianists teach keyboards, and several of Mr. DiBlasi's pianos are part of the music school's repertoire of instruments available to the students. "All the music teachers have bachelor's degrees in their field of study," Mr. DiBlasi said. "Students can play on grand pianos for their lessons."

"All our students get 10 percent off on their supplies, too," Mr. Johnson said. "I also deal in vintage, new and used guitars, and I carry about 12 brands, and we do repairs on site. Basically, anything anyone wants in the musical realm, I can get it or I have access to it."

"We're all about the customer," he added. "We're not pushy. It's a laid back, relaxed atmosphere here. Customers really like that."

If they walk down a short hallway to the rear of the building, customers will find Phoenix Records in its new home. "What you're looking at is a renovated garage. That's what it was, three weeks ago," Mr. Uberbacher said with a laugh. "It's got lots of space and there's plenty of light from the back. I'm getting used to not having an office, but there are lots of things I can do in here."

Most of his inventory is LP records, or "vinyl" as the old-fashioned discs are sometimes called by collectors. Mr. Uberbacher has witnessed a renaissance of the LP in recent years, as well as the reinvention of turntable stereo systems. He sells a high quality line of equipment, and some of the better turntables are on display inside the store. His LP collection is varied and fun to peruse, with a bit of everything-rock, jazz, punk and blues, and everything in between. Mr. Uberbacher's Web sites, and phoenixrecords on, are where customers can learn more about his sound systems, record trade-ins and donations. He is a longtime collector himself.

"I'd say the LP sales have increased by 40 percent in the past year or so. They're definitely making a comeback," Mr. Uberbacher said. "It's just better quality music. CDs were never meant to replace albums. They were made to replace tapes, and people don't realize the quality of the music they're missing by not hearing music on a record album."

He is also happy in his new home, and said the place is "energizing."
"Just being able to play music on a turntable, in a nice space with like-minded people like Scott and Joe, it's has made a real difference for me," Mr. Uberbacher said, adding that the last two years in the Litchfield Commons were "difficult."
"It's just a good feeling here," he added. "I feel like I'm finally starting to relax."

Litchfield Piano Works (860-567-5230,, Big Johnson Guitars and ABC Music School (860-618-2367,, and Phoenix Records (860-361-9495) are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Sunday hours are by appointment.

©Litchfield County Times 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cayin Audio New Arrivals!

Just a quick update, as equipment has been arriving fast and furious in the past two weeks.

We are now settled into our plush new custom-designed space on Route 202 in Litchfield behind Joe DiBlasi's Litchfield Piano Works and Big Johnsons Guitars.

Puretone Audio
is now an authorized Cayin USA dealer! Cayin features exquisitely designed classic tube amplification, with a gorgeous fit, finish and attention to detail. And of course, the soundstaging and dimensionality of the music presentation by Cayin's tube-fired beauties is simply stunning!

Currently we have the following Cayin designs in stock and ready to audition:

The Cayin A-50T EL-34 powered tube amplifier is 35 watts of valve power with fantastic presence. And at the entry-level price of just $1395, it's unlikely that there is a better value in tube amplification today.

A beautifully-crafted, hand-made tube piece manufactured to deliver the sound of the classic Marantz 8B, the Cayin Audio A-50T uses four EL-34s for Class A/B1 P.P amplification. The craftsmanship is absolutely first-rate, featuring point-to-point wiring, and each unit is hand-initialed by a quality-control inspector. The toroid power transformer and EI audio transformer are specially manufactured for the A-50T with low magnetic leakage, wide frequency response and low impedance. Two 12AX7EHs and two 12AU7s are used in the preamplifier. One very cool feature is the ability to switch between ultralinear and triode by remote control.

The Cayin A-50T is teaching the hi-fi world the mantra of many guitarists, there is no beating the sound and midrange response of EL-34 powered tube amp. Combining a classic design with the modern tolerances of the components and Cayin's attention to detail makes for an unrivaled combination of performance and design.

The A-50T was hand-built with extreme attention to detail, including point-to-point wiring. Point-to-point was the way that amps used to be wired back in the 1950s and '60s when cost was not the primary objective. Nowadays, most everything contains circuit boards instead of this point-to-point wiring, which is much more dependable and better performing. The bottom line is that point-to-point wiring sounds better. It's one of the main reasons why these Cayin pieces sound like the classic tube gear from Marantz and McIntosh.
These days, products that feature point-to-point wiring usually either cost a fortune, or they feature sub-par workmanship. But in this case, you simply are not going to find craftsmanship like with this Cayin gear for anywhere close to this price.

The Cayin A-70T ($2195) is also modeled on the venerable Marantz 8B, but upping the dose with extra power.

It uses four big bottle KT-88s tubes for Class A2 P.P amplification. The toroid power transformer and EI audio transformer are specially manufactured with low magnetic leakage, wide frequency response and low impedance. Two 12AX7EHs and two 12AU7EHs are used in the preamplifier. The A-70T is flexible; it also works with KT-88, 6550, EL34, 6CA7, 6L6 or KT66 tubes and also features a Preamp Bypass for using A-70T as a power amp. Like all Cayin amplifiers feature the ability to switch between Ultralinear and Triode modes with the included remote control.

The A-70T is hand-built with Cayin's now legendary attention to detail, including point-to-point wiring. Point-to-point was the way that amps used to be wired back in the 1950s and '60s when cost was not the primary objective. Nowadays, most everything contains simple circuit boards instead of the labor intensive point-to-point wiring, which is much more dependable and better performing. It's one of the main reasons why these Cayin pieces sound like the classic tube gear from Marantz and McIntosh.

There are speaker output taps for 4, 8 or 16 ohms. This allows you to fine-tune the sound that you desire. Switching is simple, and listening to the differences is a lot of fun. This amp is auto biased so there's no need to fuss with matched tubes and bias adjustments.

There is a snap-on removable cage, so that you can take it on and off with no problem. Keep it on if you're worried about protecting your tubes, or take it off to show what the real big-bottle KT-88 look like. Turn off the lights and watch 'em glow.

And the flagship of Cayin's tube amplification line, the Cayin A-100T *(pictured above). A battery of eight (8) KT-88 tubes provide ample power and get the air in any speaker system moving, while the compliment of (1) 12AX7, (2) 12AU7 and (2) 6CG7 tubes provide unprecedented clarity and depth with enough power to push even the strongest of speakers.

At 75 lbs. and with a $3295 list price the A-100T is no lightweight. Featuring 100W of power in the triode mode and 50W in ultralinear, there is plenty of juice to get the speakers moving air. Another gorgeous, hand-crafted tube piece from Cayin, this one designed to deliver the sound of the classic McIntosh 7c preamp married to a Marantz 9 amplifier. With Marantz 9/McIntosh 7C replicas selling for upwards of $7000 the Cayin represents a tremendous value along with factory backing and a 3-year warranty.

Feel free to stop in for an audition of any of Cayin's fantastic products...and BELIEVE YOUR EARS.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Rega Fono Mini - An Inexpensive Solution

Once again, Rega has done it all.

Price? check
Quality? check
Durability? check

The new Rega Fono Mini is a quality phono pre-amplifier at a most enjoyable price point. Retailing at an ultra-affordable $145.00, indestructible Rega aluminum construction meets top-notch sound engineering to provide a tremendous bang for a few bucks.

The new Fono Mini benefits from an all-new extruded aluminium case and easy-to-use front and back panels that make this phono pre-amplifier a snap to install and enjoy, even for those who are not technically inclined.

The Fono Mini simply connects via standard RCA interconnects to the line input on your amplifier. Or connect the Fono Mini to the sound card of your computer so that you can import your vinyl to the digital archiving format of your choice.

At just $145.00, the Fono Mini is a fantastic value-for-money phono pre-amp that will be a great addition to any Hi-fi set up, adding authentic Rega quality at a entry-level price. This is a cost-effective version of the Rega MM Fono and based on the phono amplifier circuitry utilized in the revolutionary Rega Mira 3 amplifier.

This uses the same close tolerance parts as found in its bigger Fono & IOS brothers, but packaged in a minimalist satin black aluminum case for an accurate RIAA low-noise vinyl playback solution.

Simply plug in, sit back and enjoy!


Input sensitivity = 2mV for 200mV output
Input loading = 47KW in parallel with 100pF
Maximum input level = 65mV@1KHz
Minimum output load impedance = 10k Ohm
Power requirements = 24VAC @ 27.5mA
Frequency response (50KW load) = 15Hz (-3dB) to 100KHz (-0.5dB)
RIAA accuracy (50KW load) = +/-0.5dB 40Hz to 100KHz

* For a limited time, Puretone Audio is offering free shipping on the Rega Fono Mini, so you can plug right into system and turn it up in just a few days! Email for info...