Current system evolved over the past 8 years. The real journey began while living in Italy. Had the opportunity to purchase the Franco Serblin Ktemas (#75) from Audio Plus in San Benedetto Italy in 2013. 

Moved to Hanford CA where I continued to expand my SimAudio equipment list from my original purchase of the 340i to the 600i and eventually settling with the 740p, 860a and 810lp. Along with upgrading my preamp and power amp I decided to focus on my front end. Purchased the VPI Classic TT with Lyra Delos cart. At the time, I was semi content with the current setup of the Simaudio and FS Ktema, but honestly the synergy was missing. The Ketemas did not shine until I moved to Tokyo and purchased my current Accuphase setup. 

Fast forward to 2015, living in Tokyo Japan and took upon myself to purchase the Accuphase 3850, A-70 and the DC-37 Dac. Followed with adding the Dela/Melco Audio streamer. Prior to departing Japan I purchased the Lyra Etna. Now, finally the Ktemas were happy with the synergy between Accuphase and FS Ktema. Truly a magical synergistic combination. 

While in San Diego, I decided to focus on personal audio with the purchase of the Blue Hawaii SE along with Stax 009. Great combo, but a little to bright for my liking, so decided to purchase the Audeze CRBN following an audition at Source in Torrance CA. Quickly realized I enjoyed this HP much better than the Stax. Sold the Stax 009 in 2023. My love for personal audio derived from the time I lived in Japan. 

Now, it is 2023 living in Washington DC and time to update. Last update was in 2018. Sold the Simaudio gear and replaced with a NAD MV10 for convenience. Purchased the Synthesis A40 Virtus to add tube sound to the system. Really enjoying the contrast of sound in comparison to the Accuphase amp. Decided to sell my Transparent Reference speaker cables for Audio Note lexus. Will need to update later following evaluation if this was a sound choice. 


Components Toggle details

    • Franco Serblin Ktemas
    Technical data (according to manufacturer): Frequency Response: 26Hz - 33Khz, in room Nominal Impedance: 4 ohm (minimum 3, 2 ohm at 70 Hz) Sensitivity: 92 dB/W/m Minimum power amplifier: 20W per channel Dimensions: 42,5 cm × 46 cm × 111 cm (unpacked) Weight: 110 kg/pair (unpacked) - 127 kg/pair (packed) Finishing: High gloss piano black, hand-polished aluminum top & bottom Satin Sycamore, hand-polished aluminum top & bottom
    • Accuphase A-70
    • Pure Class A operation delivers quality power: 60 watts x 2 into 8 ohms
    • Power MOS-FET output stage features 10-parallel push-pull configuration and delivers linear high power progression to ultra-low 1-ohm impedances
    • Ultra low-noise instrumentation amplifier principle used in input stage
    • Amplification stage implements further evolved MCS+ topology
    • Current feedback principle combines stable operation with outstanding sound quality
    • Bridged connection mode allows upgrading to monophonic amplifier
    • Two selectable meter types: digital power meters showing true power values and bar graph indicators
    • VPI Industries Classic 1
    The VPI “Classic Turntable” comes standard with the unipivot JMW-Classic 1 tonearm Special Edition in rigid mount mode. The “Classic Turntable” uses new VPI pure copper wire, a solid plinth with black oak or walnut finish (at no additional cost), a solid mounted AC synchronous motor, new cast aluminum platter, silent inverted bearing, and new isolator feet derived from the HR-X. . I cut and paste the VPI description to purposely contrast my unique model. As shown, my version included the piano black gloss and the Nordost Valhalla wiring. Simply, i got the upgraded classic 3 components for a Classic 1. In addition, the tonal wiring of choice is the Nordost Frey 2.
    • Transparent Reference Powerisolator
    Transparent Audio’s PowerIsolator Reference shares technologies developed for its flagship PowerIsolatorMM. The rack-mountable Reference is hand built in Maine and offers four high-current, grounded, noise-isolated outputs grouped in pairs. Transparent says the unit provides both surge protection and noise isolation, and the company offers cabling options with the unit to allow consumers to choose between its PowerLink and PowerLink MM2 to address specific system and budget considerations.
    • Sim Audio 810LP
    "For many years Simaudio has had a strong desire to offer the very finest phono preamplifier, based on available technologies. We envisioned a design with absolutely no restrictions; the ultimate goal being to transport all of the emotion from the artist, sound engineer and producer in the recording studio to your living room. With the MOON 810LP we have accomplished this and much more. Listen and feel for yourself how the power, the emotion and the soul of the music will reach you in ways like never before." Jean Poulin, CEO Simaudio Ltd.
    • Transparent Ultra IC
    Upgraded to 3 new Ultra IC. One is the phono
    • Lyra Etna
  • Type:Medium weight, medium compliance, low-impedance moving coil cartridge
  • Stylus: Lyra-designed long-footprint variable-radius line-contact nude diamond (3μm×70μm), slot-mounted
  • Cantilever system: Diamond-coated solid boron rod with short one-point wire suspension, directly mounted into cartridge body via high pressure knife-edge system
  • Coils: 2-layer deep, 6 N high-purity copper, chemically-purified high-purity iron cross-shaped former, 4.2 ohm self-impedance, 11μH inductance
  • Output voltage: 0.56 mV@5 cm/sec., zero to peak, 45 degrees (CBS test record, other test records may alter results)
  • Frequency range: 10 Hz~50 kHz
  • Channel separation: 35 dB or better at 1 kHz
  • Compliance: Approx. 12×10 cm/dyne at 100 Hz
  • Vertical tracking angle: 20 degrees
  • Cartridge mounting screws: 2.6 mm 0.45 pitch JIS standard
  • Cartridge weight (without stylus cover): 9.2 g
  • Distance from mounting holes to stylus tip: 9.5 mm
  • Recommended tracking force: 1.65~1.75 g (1.72 g recommended)
    • Transparent Reference
    12ft custom with spades-SOLD
    • Accuphase C-3850
    • Revolutionary low-noise "Balanced AAVA Volume Control" 
    • High-rigidity, high-accuracy volume knob sensor mechanism 
    • Separate high-efficiency toroidal power transformers for left and right channels 
    • Selectable preamp gain 
    • Fully modular construction with separate left/right units for each amplifier stage 
    • Logic-controlled relays for shortest signal paths 
    • Independent phase selection for each input position 
    • Printed circuit boards made from glass cloth fluorocarbon resin 
    • Massive wood cabinet with natural grain finish
    • Blue Hawaii Special Edition HeadAmp
    • Audeze Carbon
    Breakthrough Electrostatic Technology

    Featuring the most advanced electrostatic technology in decades, Audeze proudly introduces the CRBN electrostatic headphone (pronounced “carbon”), which features a new Patent-pending polymer film with suspended carbon nanotubes to eliminate problems commonly found in previous electrostatic designs. Originally developed for MRI medical applications, we've adapted those innovations for the audiophile version of CRBN, which top audio professionals have called the best sounding electrostatic headphone to-date.

    • Synthesis Art in Music A40
    The A40Virtus provides a minimum of 40 watts per channel, power output from a pair of KT66's in Ultra-Linear (UL) - push/pull operation.
  • Comments 20

    I added this system to the "Done for Now" thread in 2013. It is now 2023 and I still believe it to be appropriate. See you in 10 years.


    Plasmatech, yeah i love the speakers. It would be great to hear these speakers with variable setups. Very difficult having the option to try out different components where i live. Have found very places to loan out gear to try. These speakers will buried with me. Plus i have a great story in buying and receiving these speakers.

    Buconero, i hear yeah. I understand the reasoning with placing the gear elsewhere, but due to moving all the time for my job i needed a practical setup. With that said, the system sounds great as and i am happy with it. Perhaps in the future i will experiment with a different setup placement, but you are right i love the eye candy ;)


    Classic set up mistake, that being all the equipment between the speakers, especially the turntable. Seems people love 'eye candy' before sensible setup. Please, enjoy 'Better Sound', read Jim Smith's book.


    I just auditioned a pair at a friends house. Fantastic speakers what could be all one ever could want. So coherent and musical. Just magical. He had the Ypsilon preamp, Ali us monos, and a custom tube amp which was magic on the Francos...better than the Ypsilons....PT


    System edited: Broke stylus on Delos and replaced with Kleos. Better? Jury is still out.


    System edited: Finally done!!!! Upgraded the last piece of the system. I went with Transparent Reference SC and Ultra ICs. Wow!!! Everything got tight and warm. Yes, im speaking about my stereo system ;)


    Jfrech, thank you. Just ordered 3 Transparent IC along with Reference SC. Loved to make the full plunge, but cannot do it at this time. Hard to justify spending more money for cable than a piece of equipment in the system. We will see.


    You may find with Transparent...moving you're % up from 3-5% is a better investment. I have found their cabling to equate to equipment changes...and their upgrade program really helps you out as funds allow.

    I am pretty sure if you demo Ultra or won't be going back...that's been my experience . If you are demo'ing a brand new sure to give it a few weeks to break in...but I suspect even with Ultra brand new it'll beat a well worn in plus easily after about 1 hour of playing time.

    With a lot of "upgrades or equipment changes" I find I usually go 6 or 7 steps ahead and then 2 or 3 back in some area. With Transparent upgrades...everything advances...



    Thanks for the post and the suggestions. I do have Transparent power cords for all my devices. I was considering the jump to reference, but that may be a bit steep for me. I like to keep cable prices at 3% -5% of total cost of system. Ultra may be a better fit. I have a call out to a local dealer and i will see if he will allow me to listen to the ultra in my stem prior to the purchase. Thank you again.


    Hi I just posted on your Transparent thread. And I just now looked at your system. I bet it sounds fantastic !! Congrats !

    Are you running Transparent power cords off your Transparent Isolator? If not I might get their power cords before upgrading the interconnect/speaker cable.

    With your system, per the other thread, I'd really recommend the Transparent will be shocked at the improvement. Especially given your equipment you've already invested in.

    Best of luck !


    System edited: Finally replaced the 600i with the sim audio 740p. I felt a isolated preamp versus using the preouts of the 600i is a better way to go. This decision was not easy. I could justify keeping the integrated amp, but in the end I realized I would never use the 600i as an amp, so I moved onto the 740p. Second, the shop asked if I wanted to trade in the sim audio 310lp & 320lp for the sim audio reference 810lp phono stage. I asked, really? I cannot pay the 12,000. He said, no need. This is my demo and I'll give it to you for the trade in and $3000.00. I'm still waiting for the catch. Brand new 810lp for two year old equipment and $3000.00? This is > than 50% off the original price. So, I have it at home and testing it out. I'll keep you posted :)


    System edited: Added 860a, not 680a. Now, finally my FS have the current they need. Am I done? I'm using the 600i as a preamp. May give the 740 a try, but if not considerable than staying with the 600i as preamp. Thoughts?


    System edited: System Update: realized the SA 600i was not quite strong enough to push the FS Ketemas so went out and got me the 680a Amp. In addition, the Naim Fraim rack was not able to hold all the Sim gear so went out and got the Quadrasphire NLT2 rack. What a great addition. Fits all my gear like a glove. Most likely sale the Naim, but for right now I moved it over to house the TV.


    Thanks Glen, will be selling the Naim Fraim Rack and buying a new rack.


    Nice room and great gear. Enjoyed viewing the pictures, always liked the Sim gear, would like to really audition some one day. Happy listening.


    Gorgeous system! Could you please tell me your room dimensions?


    System edited: Added the Transparent Powerisolator. Recently experienced power surges here in the valley and not taking the chance. I do not hear a sonic difference.


    System edited: Update: Gik acoustic bass traps. Bass is coming along where it seemed to lack previously. Still looking for ideas.


    Taboo, yeah, not bad for an ikea chair. Yeah, recommend listening to them. Let me know what you think.


    Very very nice. The listening chair looks very comfy. I need to find some time to listen to the Serblin monitors.


    Showing all 20 posts