A Visit to High Water Sound and Oswalds Mill Audio
I've been looking for a new phono preamp and line stage. Based on listening sessions at shows, I arranged to audition products with Oswalds Mill Audio (OMA) and High Water Sound (HWS) while visiting NYC.
On Friday I stopped by Oswalds Mill at their new showroom in Greenwich Village. Jonathan Weiss is the proprietor and a great host. The listening room is small, but excellent; designed by Frank Manzella. I auditioned the OMA phono stage (which can also be used for line level sources) with a OMA slate plinthed Lenco, Schick arm, modified Denon 103 cartridge, 2 watt(!) OMA amps and the new OMA "Mini" speaker. All of the equipment can be referenced on the Oswalds Mill site: Oswaldsmillaudio.com.
We listened to a wide variety of vinyl chosen by Jonathan. The sound was uniformly spectacular and I was extremely impressed by the quality of the phono stage. I was surprised how the Minis' huge sound belies their small size. I also happen to love the looks of the equipment which I bet has huge WAF.
On Saturday, I auditioned the Tron Syren preamp and Seven Mono phono stage at High Water Sound, located at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Jeff Catalano is the owner and he designed the loft's acoustics which are excellent.
I immediately had "vinyl envy" when I saw Jeff's LP collection...size does matter! As good as Jeff's equipment has sounded at RMAF, the sound in the loft was several notches higher...similar sonics but more of everything. We listened to the TW Acustic Black Night table & arm with Dynavector XV-1S stereo and mono cartridges, through Tron amplification. The music ranged from divine to sublime and surprisingly, I enjoyed the mono recordings the best. Jeff also has great taste in music and is a consummate music lover.
There was no better, only 'different' and I could be happy with either. For the record, I have no relationship to either company, although I am seriously considering purchasing their products. If you ever have the chance to listen when you're in NYC, stop by to hear what is possible in high end audio...