Shindo vs the world

Shindo keeps coming up as a highly responded brand with incredible products that have great sound quality. My question only to prior owners is do you still have your shindo amp or preamp? If not why did you sell and also did you find something else you liked better? What about something cheaper that you liked more.


I owned one of the very first Shindo Monbrison preamps in the U.S., serial #2 (I sent serial #1, which I had been auditioning, back to J Halpern, in 2005). And I owned a Cortese amp. Plus Shindo interconnects and Auditorium 23 speaker cables. That was actually my first high end system, along with Devore Super 8s and an Avid Volvere TT, SME 309 tonearm, Cardas tonearm cable, and van den Hul cart. 

The Shindo sound is addictive, seductive, dense, colorful, and full of life. The phono stage in the Monbrison preamp (and the preamp itself) was wonderful, but decidedly better with analog. That is one big reason I sold the gear -- I discovered that other amplification was better with digital, and a good portion of my listening is digital. The other reason, apart from just wanting a change of pace, is that the Shindo sound is colored -- more beautiful than life, IMO. There's nothing wrong with liking this sound and I still miss the sound of Shindo and vinyl. I would also say that Shindo tends to editorialize a bit in its presentation of the music. For example, a saxophone solo may be highlighted (in a beautiful, musical way) but other instruments can recede to the background and overall balance and soundstaging is going to be different. And while overall noise was pretty good for a heavily tube-based system, there are certainly quieter options.

Like I said, I still miss the sound of Shindo and vinyl but I don't regret selling the gear (and I was swamped with buyers). I consider the whole experience a fun and valuable education in my hifi journey. If your interest is piqued, give Shindo gear a try.  



I have had several Shindo pieces in my system over the years, and still own the Giscours Western Electric preamp. 

Like some of us have found with the Duelund tinned copper cables, the Shindo components portray the real “tone” of the instruments and performance.

For me that differentiates Shindo from other tube components.

I auditioned Shindo amps at a shop in NoHo in NYC.

They are the only amps that I felt competed with my Futterman OTL3s.

That said, let’s talk about the so-called Altec Shindos.

I was walking home from work one day some 10 or 15 (?, Steve Guttenberg did a review in CNET in August 2014) years ago, I regularly walked past this NoHo store in those days. One evening, I saw through the window a pair of speakers that got my attention, as the cabinet scale looked suspiciously like mine. I went in for a closer look.

The salesman sees my interest and comes over to offer to help. I ask him to tell me about the speakers. He carries on about Shindo the brand, the company, the design and the engineering philosophy, etc. After about 7 minutes I stop him and ask to listen. He has Miles Davis Kind of Blue, a record I am very familiar with, so we listen to one track. Then I say "These drivers look like Altec 604C drivers". For some reason, even though they were branded as "Laboratory 604", the salesman denied that they were Altec 604Cs and started to explain why. After another minute I stop him and say "I absolutely KNOW that these are Altec 604Cs, because I have a pair. So tell me, why should I "upgrade" them to the Shindo Laboratory 604? Without losing a step, he started to talk about the proprietary crossover design, how the stock Altec crossover was the Achilles heel of the system, and after a couple more minutes I asked "It wouldn’t be modeled after the Mastering Lab crossover by Doug Sax perchance, would it?" Is it possible to see the crossover? Could we possibly pop the back off?" Of course it wasn’t possible and I ask "You want $33,000 for these speakers. I paid $1,500 for my pair, another $1,500 for the crossovers and refurbishing them with new caps, for a total of $3,000. I just auditioned the "Laboratory 604", they sounded different but not better than mine, yet you want $30,000 more. So what am I paying for, nice new cabinets?" By now, I’ve attracted a crowd of other customers. Not wanting to make things any more difficult for the store as I do think the owner is a nice guy (who wasn’t there that day), I give the salesman my contact info and ask him if he could have Shindo reach out to me and answer my questions about what exactly it was that he did to improve the 604C from what I had.

I left the the store, thinking that some poor sucker from Wall Street who doesn’t know what to do with his money will snap them up in a week.

A week later, I walk past the store. The speakers were gone, they were sold. A month later, I had yet to hear from Shindo. I asked the salesman again. As of this writing, I have not heard from him.

I was happy, however, that the Altecs evidently had made a comeback, so much so that someone would overpay for them by a factor of 10. For decades, any audiophile who took himself seriously sneered at the Altecs as being crap. And in fact, the drivers now go on eBay for up to $6,000 a pair and more (still not $30,000 though...)

End of story.