Shindo advice

I'm looking to upgrade from my long-time pre reference, a Joule LA200/ops-1, and have settled on a Shindo - either a Monbrison or Masseto. My question has to do with a lot of people I see on audiogon moving from the Monbrison to the Masseto, and fairly quickly. The obvious answer would be that they love their Monbrison and just want more. I know one can not go wrong with either, but we all know that there are sweet spots in every designer's line and I'm just wondering if its also because the Masseto is a big jump rather than an incremental one. Just curious.

Would also like to hear some more opinions on differences between Monbrison and Masseto.

Last,any opinions about me digging around for an older Catherine?

To get an idea of who I am, I run an all SET/nos tubed system with a TNT4/Graham/Cardas Heart analog rig. I sold my main speakers and am looking around, using my backup Spendor LS3/5As for now. Past speakers have been Quad US63s and ESP Concert Grands.

Thanks for the help.
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I think what you are describing is the phenomenon of people thinking if something is really great, the more expensive one must be really amazing... I just bought a lower level Shindo system, the Auriges L and Montille 6L6 amplifier, moving from an ARC Ref3/Ref 110 combo, and am thrilled with it. Any yes, I am eyeing a Masseto myself, ironically because I AM so thrilled with the current system. A big reason for these "move ups" in Shindo is because most dealers have a very generous trade up program, basically, I believe, giving full credit if the move up the line is done within a year. That said, I have heard that the Masseto offers a large slice of the top of the line Shindo preamps. Being a lower level Auriges owner, I will state I think you will be thrilled with ANY of the Shino preamps, based on my Auriges experience.
Thanks, gentlemen. The upgrade program explains a lot. Not something you think about with Shindo/Kondo et al, but a good business move. On the "large slice," that's what I sensed. I watched Dudley skip right to the Masseto when he knew he wanted to buy for the long haul. My gut was telling me to sell some Bordeaux and get the Masseto!

OK, decision made.

Time to wade back in and sell my old friend, the Joule...ah, the vagaries of the bazaar.

I'm still interested, though, on peoples' opinions on the Monbrison v. Masseto. I hear "great tone" and "just more of that," but it seems that ears that hear Shindo could say something, um, deeper.

Anyone care to wade into that?

Thanks again for the advice.
Asa, good questions. I personally have not heard all the Shindo preamps so its hard to say where the "sweet spot" is in the Shindo lineup. The same is true for a Catherine, if you are able to find one. I can tell you Matt Rotunda at Pitch Perfect Audio is a very good guy and will not lead you astray when it comes to questions such as these and is one of the few, besides Jonathan, who can give you an informed answer. He has definately helped me with my system so I try to buy from him when ever I can.
Asa, You really can't go wrong with Shindo. I have heard the Monbrison and it is a winner. BTW, if you have enjoyed the Joule preamp have you had a chance to hear the Joule LA300 ME? I have owned this preamp for about 5 months and can't imagine a preamp better then the LA300ME.
My first Shindo preamp was the Masseto and it sounded better to me than any of my previous preamps (Lamm L2 and LL2, Wytech Opal, Hovland HP100). All of which are very good preamps. I did trade up to the Vosne-Romanee and was suprised how much better it is than the Masseto. Same basic sound but more. I expect that there is a similar difference from Monbrison to Masseto. BTW, I agree with Sbayne regarding Matt at Pitch Perfect.
Thanks again everyone. On the Joule LA300, I saw that Jud was running a special $7100 price and it is enticing. I just became enamored with a Shindo before he came out with it. I'm also attracted to the one box solution on line/phono. On the other hand, my phono runs off the tube rectified power supply in the Joule linestage and I could then keep my phono, which is the most recent MkV and sounds heavenly. My experience with Joule pre's is that they have always been a tad rolled on top and plummy on the bottom end (and resist rolling...)and which is why I am looking for my next pre. Bobheinatz, if you would, do you have any general opinons on the LA300 versus the Monbrison, just in their types of sound, even if its only a cursory opinion?

On Matt at Pitch Perfect, I have only heard very good comments on him. Alas, I am a spoiled former TAS/Ultimate Audio reviewer who now always buys used, so I'm sure that his time would be better spent with paying customers, which is the way it should be. When my book gets published and I'm on Oprah, then...Petrus retail, fedex'd overnight, here I come!!

I heard the Monbrison in a system that I was not familiar with but the system was very musical. In comparing the LA300 vs. Monbrison since it was two completely different systems I am not sure my opinion would be worth much. Shindo now has a great following in the US, go for it and if you don't like it just sell it. BTW if you are still looking for speakers take a look at KCS Loudspeakers the value is outstanding.
Thanks Bobh, I understand about the opinion.

Then, what do you think of the LA100Mk3's versus the LA300? I haven't heard any comments on the LA300 and would be interested.

KCS? Hmm, new to me. Is this Kelonik Cinema? If so, website looks like they are geared towards HT applications. On the WAF, I don't listen to my wife much on these things, but I don't want to torture her either!

I've been thinking about Audio note speakers, the ones Art Dudley runs, or maybe some Devore 8's or 9's. Just haven't settled on an idea yet. I will be running an 8-10W SET, so there is that. And I'm very, very demanding about spatial decay and expansiveness, harmonics, voice and involvement. Others like accurate; I like gorgeous. It must be a beauty-machine...

Any ideas/comments?

Thanks again.
I'll bet you'll miss the remote :-).

I have the Joule LA150/ops-1 and I too am looking to replace them with the Monbrison. Unfortunately, and I may have misunderstood Matt, only the Masseto and above have a tape loop. That's probably not a big deal for most people, but at this time I own Merlins and the BAM sounds best connected to the tape out.

By the way all these people who have traded up, you can find their previous Shindo preamps listed on the Perfect Pitch Website. I've only seen Auriges listed. Please don't beat me to the first used Monbrison to be listed on this site ;-).

If you're interested in the Audio Note AN-E/SPe HE speakers (which I love as well, but my rack is situated in the center of a 20ft long wall with entry doors on either side so corner placement is impossible) and you're considering the DeVore Gibbons or Nines, maybe you should wait until the DeVore Orangutans are released.

KCS website is listed under manufacturers index. Believe me my KCS speakers just seem to be getting better and better each week. They are not geared toward TH applications. I have heard the Devores 8's & 9's and a couple of Audio Note speakers I don't remember the models but my KCS speakers at least in my system and tastes are the best I have heard under 20 grand. Check them out and give John a call. The cabinet and drivers are world class.
BTW I am also using a Air Tight 300b amp and the KCS speakers sound real sweet.
Bobh, I got the wrong KCS...they look very purist. Not much resale, I assume, but then again I'm looking for speakers for the long haul. I only see one model, the Seas Exotic, is that what you have?

The model I had built is not showned on KCS website..My monitor is larger than the Seas Exotic shown on his site and also includes a Raal ribbon tweeter. After inital breakin (400 - 600 hrs) it would be very hard for me to live without the Raal ribbon tweeter. These speakers put the performers in my room, they are fast, dynamic & have a organic sound to them. When I upgraded to the LA300ME the speakers improved to another level. Very addicting! I live in Oregon if you wanted to have a listen. Still it would worth your while to contact John at KCS and see if he had something you might like. IMO the KCS monitors I have are a real gem in this crazy hobby we enjoy. Resale value is proably very low due to lack of exposure but these speakers are simular to the Supratek preamps that were brought to light by another audiogon member.
BTW I owned one of these suprateks and it was a great preamp.
Thanks, Bobh. We have a lot in common. Incidentally, I was one of those Supratek guys; I had one of the first ones in the States and wrote a review for Ultimate Audio mag (that went under before it was published) and that Mick had on his web site.

So, now you have me intrigued...whats more I live in N. IL, not too far from KCS I assume. We'll see.

Right now I need to get a preamp!

Do a search on "6moons audio reviews: Reality Check with John Kalinowksi" to get an idea on what John does.

Forgive me if you've already found this link.

I would like to hear Bobheinatz's setup. I'm always intrigued by custom stuff at a reasonable price.
I wanted to put my two cents in on Matt Rotunda at Pitch Perfect in San Fran, CA. I've been in touch with him and he's been very helpful. A real gentleman. I would encourage anyone looking at a Shindo to give him a call.