MAF 2024: Hearken Audio / Trafomatic Audio, Reed, Etsuro Urushi, Yeti

MAF 2024: Hearken Audio / Trafomatic Audio, Reed, Etsuro Urushi, Yeti


Prices listed in CA$.

So many people! I screamed inside. The Hearken Audio room was packed all the way to the main corridor, with people bustling to get inside. The room was also narrow, with only a few seats. I waited my turn and got inside to see what all the fuss was about. The first thing that caught my eye were the Stein Music Bobby Ultimate M speakers ($34000), which looked like pieces of art. The rest of the gear looked understatedly refined. It included a 100Wpc, KT120-tube-based Trafomatic EOS+ power amp ($14,500), a Trafomatic Lara preamp ($15200), and a vinyl front-end composed of a Reed 1C friction-drive turntable in Karelian birch ($22,600), a Reed 3P Macassar 10.5” tonearm ($7210), and a Etsuro Urushi Gold MC cartridge ($17,500), while cabling and line conditioning were by Yeti.

Based on the track I heard, “Man in the Long Black Coat” by Bob Dylan on vinyl, the sound matched the refined look of the gear. It was suave and natural-sounding. The depth, warmth, texture, and image of Dylan’s voice felt embracing, but I could still easily identify where the different tracks in the mix were located, with Dylan’s vocals and guitar appearing distinct, in their own separate spaces.

It was with great reluctance that I left the room after listening to only one song, but the line was still long with new visitors and I wanted each of them to have the opportunity to hear the great sound I’d just heard.

Hearken Audio’s Matt Thomas

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