This morning I had the pleasure of seeing and listening to Mike’s new Stiletto. I deliberately say ‘seeing’ because in the flesh it looks fabulous. The black finish would be a perfect complement to Naim’s 500 series, it’s that good.
So what did I make of the performance?
We sampled a variety of stuff, all of which I’m familiar with. Playing Seal’s first album I was immediately struck by how much bigger the soundstage seemed. Both deeper and wider. The placement of vocalist, instruments was easier. Next impression was the low-end performance. I’ve always thought Mike’s set-up has excelled at the bottom end but it has now taken a big leap forward. Bass guitar and drums were palpable. The performance reaching down much deeper than before and yet with excellent control. This was very obvious on LZ’s Since I’ve Been Loving You.
But as well as the bottom end there was extra detail and subtlety coming through across-the-board.
Some AC/DC again showed these characteristics and at this stage in our session I also become aware of the significant reduce in surface noise. As a long-time CD convert, I’m particularly sensitised to vinyl’s inherent surface noise so the Stiletto’s benefit in this respect was particular striking for me.
For a conclusion to our listening session we listened to Floyd’s live performance on One Of These Days from Pulse. Did I say conclusion? Perhaps it would be better to describe it as ‘climax’ because, bl**dy hell, this performance was simply stunning!
Was I impressed? Just a bit. I’ve not hear better vinyl reproduction, ever. Ok, I’m not hugely experienced in the vinyl field but ……..I’ve previously heard Linn’s top LP12 set up in-store. It was good, as it should be for the price, but it didn’t touch me like Mike’s new Stiletto. So, you LP12 junkies out there beware: listen to a Stiletto at your peril!