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Levi's Quickies - Townshend, EAT, and Stax

02-05-2018 | By Robert H. Levi | Issue 95

Townshend, EAT, Stax

F1 Fractal™ Interconnect by Townshend Audio

On the heels of the ridiculously superb (passive) Allegri+ preamplifier (HERE), with its secret sauce…fractal wire…comes the introduction to America of Townshend F1 Fractal Interconnects. (There are speaker cables also, but I did not have them for review.) The interconnects are extremely exotic looking and terminated in excellent shielded push-on connectors. Featuring air dielectric, they are even cryo'ed! They are neutral, open, and superbly detailed. Without a doubt, if you own an Allegri+, you’ll want these, at the very least, connecting it to your amplifier for the purest clarity possible.

I broke them in on a Cable Cooker for 48 hours, and tried them in various locations in two systems. They were immediately sonically perfect in and around the Allegri+. Otherwise, the F1 may need a bit of tube rolling or cable swapping to perfectly match their unmatched lack of colorations in your particular system. I heard no lumps or bumps from lowest lows to airiest highs with the F1. What I do hear is definition to die for, with extraordinary in-the-room realism. 

These will have audiophiles going nuts for years as they grasp the earth shaking engineering and near perfection of these interconnects. All I know is that connectivity is truly the final frontier. 

You must try these if you can afford $1300-$1500 for RCA/XLR for the first meter. I hope to have more to say about this obvious break-through in interconnects...and very possibly speaker cables...soon. This F1 interconnect is a superstar!

E.A.R. USA, Dan Meinwald

1087 East Ridgewood Street 

Long Beach, CA  90807

562.422.4747 (Pacific Time)


[email protected]


EAT Massive Record Weight

Recently I reported on a turntable combo challenging the state of the art in phono reproduction at under $10,000, all in. Time to add one more item to the combo which brings it a full 10% closer to the best of the best. So close in fact, I could live with this set-up until the audio cows come home. 

Add the EAT Massive Record Weight, 900 grams!, 50% heavier with a smaller footprint than the very nice provided weight. The Massive, at about $195, still keeps you under $10,000 and brings you better and clearer imaging, less chance of the cartridge striking it, and more clarity at all frequencies. It yielded about 50% of the improvement of the interconnect swap. No kidding!

It is much more sophisticated than the supplied weight, which outside of its lovely style is very old think:  all metal, pretty heavy, and felt at the record label. The Massive is made of exotic non-ringing alloy with three rings of polymer compound like those used to support the sub-chassis so effectively. It also features polymer on the part striking the record label. At 900 grams, it does not bother the motor speed of the C Sharp, but is the heaviest record weight I have ever used.

The improvement with the Massive is immediate and major, so I consider this a must-own. Use the old one on another turntable or as an elegant paperweight. I tried it on a Pro-Ject Table and it improved its performance. 

So this is my Reference System Recommendation:

  • EAT C Sharp Turntable and 10 inch arm
  • EAT Massive Record Weight
  • WyWires Diamond DIN Tone Arm Cable
  • Kiseki Purple Heart MC Cartridge
  • All for a total of under $10,000 MSRP!

Now take it home to mother, my friends! More soon if I can figure out any more improvements, though it is extremely close in overall performance to my $68,000 reference system right now!

EAT US Distribution

VANA, Ltd.

2845 Middle Country Road

Lake Grove, NY  11755 



[email protected]


Stax SR-009 Headphones

I finally decided I need these electrostats for headphone comparisons as my Lambda Signatures are now 20 years old, but working flawlessly. At $3800, 009 cost less than when introduced at $5000, but are hardly a bargain. I would project the increase in overall definition to the Lambda's at 30-40%. Though the Lambda's give you most of the outline of the instruments with solid imaging, the 009 filled in the colors in quite a dramatic fashion. The bass on the 009 is clearly deeper and more layered. The cans are equally comfortable...I have never owned uncomfortable Stax. 

The elegant smoothness of the 009 is addictive if your ancillaries are also excellent, of course, but recordings with digital edge or LPs with surface distortions will be reproduced with equally disturbing clarity. Great software sounded great as did my collection of classic FM tuners tweaked to the ultimate. 

Tidal played through my E.A.R. DAC 4 was superb. Their Master service is a bargain! 

I compared them to a friend's five-year-old 009...the older cans were a touch smoother and a bit warmer, probably due to use. Otherwise, identical overall, in case you were wondering. They must have built them right the first time. How refreshing!

Is this the best of the best? Well, it is the best STAX can for sure. Many other brands of conventional exotic models are mighty great and cost even more! Frankly, I felt compelled to own it as a reviewer. Your call my friends.