The best review i have ever read.
Could you please let me know what was your previous table/arm/cartridge?
Could you please let me know what was your previous table/arm/cartridge?
Thank you for sharing that Rush. I have heard Rush's Walker TT playing back jazz as well as classical music. Not one ounce of hyberbole in the above review. As a member of the listening group Rush is refering to I can only say that the Walker is the finest LP playback I have ever witnessed. Lloyd Walker is a genius and a craftsman. The execution of every one of his products is done with the highest quality of parts, fit and finish. I use Lloyd's Precision Motor Controller as part of my playback system, and it has taken the performance of my VPI to a new level as well. Lloyd is a gentleman and a lot of fun to talk to and work with. The first time my wife heard the Walker, as we were driving home from Rush and Anns house, She said: "that is the finest sounding recorded music I have ever heard". My wife is very tolerant of this insane hobby of ours but is not afflicted with Audiophilia Nervousa. She will freely admit that she has heard the be-all-and-end-all of vinyl reproduction (I hope enough so that a Walker TT will one day find a way into our listening room)
Thanks for your kind comments about the posting. Some of you have asked for additional information about the rest of my system, or previous turntable. For the next few days, I am replying to specific requests offline when requested, as I indicated I would do in the original posting.
Audio999 - I've sent you an email with the information your asked about.
Excellent review Rush. You are fortunate to have such an angel for a wife. Seldom is a man is lucky enough to marry a woman with which he can share love and a mutual passion for music. You appear to have it all.
Your review should help people understand why I've raved about my Walker Proscenium so many times and why digital is so difficult for me. I agree with everything you have put in print. It is the finest LP reproduction device I have ever heard and possibly (aside from master tape) the ultimate reproduction device for music available.
I've had mine for five years, returned the arm for upgrades but other than that, it has never seen service outside of regular maintenance.
How about your Walker motor controller? Did you buy the standard, Black Gate or point to point version? I ask because I did a test between the three in my system and they represent three distinct levels of performance.
Again, great review. Loyd is a wonderful person and this will make him proud!
I am delighted that you added your comments to this thread. I'd hoped you'd be able to corroborate my experience with your own.
For the motor controller, I purchased the version with the teflon board, nude resistors and Blackgate caps. Lloyd and I discussed the point-to-point wired version, but he convinced me it was something I could always explore later and trade-up to if it made sense at that time. So far, I've been very pleased with it, but have not compared it to either of the other versions.
Additionally, I had Lloyd build for me a Prologue top shelf and three-shelf Prologue rack. He'd done all of the design and development work with the turntable sitting on this platform, and since I needed an appropriate rack for the turntable in any event (250+ lbs doesn't just sit anywhere), it made sense to go this next step as well. Now I've got over 450lbs sitting in one place, and I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. Plus, my three chassis phonostage now sits neatly beneath the TT. (Descriptions and pictures at http://www.walkeraudio.com/proscenium_turntable.htm)
Thanks for adding your comments to this thread.
I own a idler wheel turntable and your right, it is EXCELLENT. However the Walker is excellent too. There are degrees of everything and Walker is at the top of the belt drive food chain.
You should listen to one. Much of the effortless that you hear with idler or direct drive is there, held to proper speed by a solid lead platter that weighs more than most tables with arm.
I would agree the Walker is an expensive way to obtain excellence and agree the Garrard and Lenco idler wheel designs are a better value, but for ABSOLUTE quality and those who's budgets permit, the Walker is among the best two or three turntables ever manufactured.
That's a very nice and thorough review of the Walker and I commend you for your good work in describing the Walker's virtues.
That said, there is one area where I feel you copped out for whatever reason. Is there some mysterious reason why you can't post your associated equipment as every reputable reviewer does? The phrase: "Complimentary to the quality of the Walker Proscenium turntable," doesn't really tell us anything.
You claim such incredible detail for the Walker and yet, with your preference for tube gear, my feeling is that you may not be hearing the detail you claim or that you paid for. And what about your cabling? Surely you could list that. You don't seem shy, so what gives???
In a way, I have to scoff at folks who praise ultra-expensive (unaffordable to 99% of those who would want to own it) gear; trying to justify their purchase price...
At a live concert, there is no way that one hears all this audiophile minutae that supposedly make the expensive products worth the purchase price. I think folks are mostly impressed by natural musical sound, wide dynamic range, and extension at the frequency extremes, and not so much "hyper-detail".
And at a live concert, the sound quality is often inferior, in some ways (expecially any electronic or amplified event) to an audiophile's home system experience. Yet, if given the choice, most folks would prefer to attend the live concert. People seem to overlook various types of distortions as long as the sound is engaging and musical. They don't appear to be suffering or cringing. In fact some concert goers seem to be enjoying the experience immensely.
What does this tell you about musical priorities? And what makes one musical sound "better" than another similar sound in the grand scheme of the ear-brain capsule?
So I could buy a relatively inexpensive VPI, for example, and realistically experience 98 percent of what you are hearing with the Walker (if you've spent a ton of time to set up your Walker to it's ultimate potential). And I could still enjoy my favorite recordings and not have to take out a second mortgage on my home to do it.
So is it worth a kid's college fund to hear a little extra detail from your records? Maybe for some, but probably not for many.
I admire craftamen like Walker for pushing the state-of-the-art. Yet in my heart I know there are still a lot of starving souls on this planet crying out for a scrap of bread.
Plato: If you read through many of Rushton's posts, you will learn the configuration of his system: the phono stage, the amps, the speakers, etc. He has his own reasons for not posting his system in one place which he recently explained to another member here.
As for the issue of how much we spend to achieve a level of performance in a product or the overall system, this is something we all must decide for ourselves. Many of us own one or more very expensive audio products because they stand out from the rest of the products we considered; this is immediately evident upon first audition.
I think many of us look for that last (or at least long-term purchase) that saves money in the long run and allows us to focus more on the music and not on the next "what needs to be upgraded now" issue. There are benchmark products that clearly are a cut above the rest. And from reading much about the Walker TT by a number of its owners, I have no doubt it is such a product.
Concerning the purchase of the less expensive VPI TT, yes, your comment makes sense. But you also do not have such a TT. I see that you run with a Michel Orbe which I heard a few times -I was mightily impressed with this. But I also felt that for dramatically less in cost, the Gyrodec was really the great value. Was the $2k cost increase of the Orbe worth it? Each of us would need to decide on that for ourself.
Your system is quite impressive as well. I have no doubt the sound quality is first rate. But even your system is unaffordable to 99% of the people out there....maybe not other audiophiles, but the population at large. We all have our priorities in what we enjoy. And if other members in our family enjoy the same, then we put even more of our resources into such interests.
I think we all enjoy attending live concerts if for no other reason than to see the performers whose music we have enjoyed for many years. Sometimes these performances are excellent and other times they are downright dreadful due to poor acoustics or because the artist(s) were just not "with it" that night. For these latter cases, I much prefer to go home and hear the recording because it was made at a time when all the participants were at their "best". And a highly resolving system allows me to appreciate these talents more than in systems previously owned. I suspect that Walker TT owners have purchased this product for much the same reasons.
Your final comment applies to virtually any craft or industry manufacturing homes, automobiles, boats, photographic gear, furniture, etc. It's a bit unfair to use the Walker TT as an examble to make an indirect statement of those who can afford and enjoy the finer things in life that their money could be better used elsewhere. This is true for virtually anyone not living in a third-world country. For those of us who regularly travel to such places, we do indeed know how fortunate we are. And many of us do indeed share much with the less fortunate.
Thanks for your comments on the review, and thanks for the taking the time to read it and then share your further thoughts.
As to posting a system description, I'm sorry it's not on Audiogon for everyone but there is a reason. Six or seven years ago I made a promise to my wife to ease her concerns after a friend's complete system was stolen: I'd continue participating in discussions on the Internet, but I would not post in any single place a complete listing of our system. I've honored that commitment, but I'm happy to share our system information in private emails and I do so whenever asked by folks who are Audiogon regulars, such as yourself. If you'd care to email me privately through Audiogon, I'd be happy to reply with details. Same is true for any other registered member who contributes regularly.
Many of your other comments track a theme I've seen you express before, and they are fair thoughts for each of us to consider. Jafox has offered some thoughts that largely mirror my own, and he has expressed them with greater clarity than could I, so I'll not belabor the issues.
I'll just comment that my wife's and my investment in our audio system reflects a life long love of music reproduction in our home, and I recognize that I'm very fortunate to be able to do what we've done. Our system hasn't always been close to this level of the audio art. For most of our lives, we maintained a relatively modest system which at various times still felt like more than we should be doing given our financial resources. For almost 20 years we lived with one of those VPI turntables you mention and we enjoyed it immensely (a friend is now getting similar enjoyment from it). And for 25+ years, we enjoyed a pair of classic Marantz 9 amps that we bought used on an impoverished graduate student's income and we finally (but reluctantly) sold in connection with our system upgrades.
Today, my wife and I are fortunate to enjoy both lots of live acoustic music (unamplified, please) and some of the best in-home audio reproduction we've ever had. The audio system still doesn't begin to match the reality of a live acoustic performance in a great acoustic environment, but it can be a pretty engaging substitute with an excellent recording. Is it substantially better than any earlier system we've lived with? Hmmm, yes. Even a bit more than the 2% you hypothesize.
Jafox and Rushton,
Your points are well-taken and I thank you both for sharing your opinions. We are fortunate to live in this great country and enjoy the many privileges and luxuries that characterize the American way of life. I'm stepping off the soapbox now so we can all get back to some serious listening, while counting our many blessings. Best regards, Frank :)
"Evolution of Source" is a history of my experience with (mostly) analog, but touches on digital.
My experience with the Walker is much like Rushton's. If you wish to read the PFO article, the link is below.
Sirspeedy, interesting question. All along I have wondered if Albert was really J. Gordon Holt! Remember back in the late 80s when JGH just loved the Sound-Labs and then a couple years later, the Versa Dynamics TT? Hmmmmmm, sure sounds fishy to me! 8-)
And I too am so eager to learn how the custom tube crossover works with the Megalines. For this to be THE musical nirvana that Albert has been seeking with these speakers would be wonderful to hear.
Hey guys, I'm not J. Gordon Holt, I promise :^).
The hold up is making sure the crossover is right before putting it into my system.
The guy building my crossover called Tuesday and told me the circuit needed a very high transconductance 9 pin miniature tube as a feed forward in the circuit, as a suppliment to the octals.
This caused some delay as he has to punch another hole in the chassis and rewire some circuitry. The crossover point was not the issue, but rather the EQ circuit that Dali had implemented into the crossover. Done with OP amps it was (I assume) easier than with tubes so we hit a small snag. Bottom line is my crossover WILL be able to exactly duplicate what the original Dali crossover does AND have adjustable volume and bass EQ.
I think the crossover will be worth the wait, sorry it's taking me so long. I don't want to be guilty of make comments, particularly in print, that are premature or incorrect. There is enough of that in reviews already :-).
Rushton: Thanks for the superbly crafted review!
As you may recall, via this forum, you helped me renew a record collection that was mothballed for over 20 years, by recommending the purchase of Stravinsky’s “Firebird”, and indeed it was a find.
My experiences after recently re-entering the wonderful world of vinyl have been the best since I began this crazy hobby in 1973. Beginning in the ‘80’s, I chased that elusive silver disc far too long. While my recent Galibier and Tri-Planar purchases weren't fiscally on a par with yours; sonically, I'm enjoying the best reproduction of my life.
Like you, I feel fortunate to be living in a country that enables me to feed this hobby, and I do so guilt free. This country provides the opportunities, but one has to be willing to obtain an education, or work hard, or both. As you and your wife, my wife and I didn't begin with what we have today. After we were married, I fondly recall going to Sears and purchasing the least expensive non-color TV they had. It was 9”. The upgraded 9” set had a built-in antenna. I opted for ours, because purchasing add-on rabbit ears was a few bucks less than the set with built-in’s. We watched that set for over a year. What a hoot when we had friends over. Here the four of us were, huddled around this 9” “behemoth” watching shows like Kung Foo. Never once did I begrudge those with 25” color consoles, the ability to buy a car less than 10 years old, or the funds to live in more than a ¼ of a double. We had the necessities, a 10-gallon aquarium, hand me down furniture, and each other. We were still better than lots of other folks in this world, but freedom to express, choose, and capitalism have a propensity of providing those results.
Until recently, we couldn't afford to spend what we recently have on audio. I'm thankful every day of that ability, but more importantly, I'm thankful that my Grandparents made the trek to this country, and of my Dad’s hard work, and dedication to family.
I’m sure many folks in this forum, have similar stories. Funny, I’ve never held any malice or hard feelings towards those who have had the ability to purchase whatever. I’m happy that they’re happy, and enjoyed sharing in your turntable acquisition, and life long audio adventure…..Cheers…..
Mrmb, I'm delighted you've found so much enjoyment in your rediscovery of vinyl. The Galibier and Tri-Planar are a wonderful turntable and arm, in my estimation.
Thank you for sharing some of the story of your journey. Sounds like we've been pursuing this crazy hobby of ours for very similar lengths of time over very similar periods of our lives.
Mrmb, Very well put. While many people may shake their heads in wonder, anger, jelousy, or bemusement in what some of us have invested in this hobby, most of us (myself included) have gotten where we are in our lives and our hobby by the very path you descibed above.
I echo Rushton's comments in your choice of arm and table...
Mrmb,my God,what a wonderfully expressed and thought provoking post.I'm truly humbled,and moved by your sentiments.Your grandparents not only did the right thing,coming to the U.S.,but did a more honorable thing,by infusing your family with such a wonderful sense of humility and character.This you seem to have inherited,in SPADES.Best of luck!
The Absolute Sound, March 2010: it's a pleasure to see the Walker Audio turntable gracing the front cover of the March 2010 issue of The Absolute Sound. Kudo's to Lloyd and Felicia Walker and to Fred Law for over decade and a half of brilliant engineering.
I have been fortunate enough to have a few sessions with this Walker turntable and the associated equipment. While I can not offer any further information regarding performance of this rig, as my friend Ruston has already provided an extremely detailed review, I would just share that this is by far the most resolving reproduction of vinyl I have ever had the opportunity to hear. I find the performers are often in the room with us. Timbre is spot on, dynamics are breathtaking and most importantly environmental cues of recording venues are audibly within reach.
Walker Audio turntable is recognized as one of the "Ten Most Significant Turntables of All Time" by The Absolute Sound in it's October 2011 issue.
And a well-deserved recognition in my opinion!
Congratulations to Walker Audio.
Rushton, I just read/enjoyed this review of yours this morning, before this last posting of yours. I would have to fully agree with AS tho I've not had the privilege to hear one. I had just searched for your mentioned article to find the PDF file is for download sale (!) ARRGHHH. I would close with an "enjoy", but it would go without saying:)
For those with an interest in this remarkable turntable... David Robinson, editor of Positive Feedback Online and owner of a Walker Audio Proscenium Turntable, commented on the most recent upgrade to the air suspension following a recent visit to his system by Lloyd Walker. His experience results in a 2011 Brutus Award:
The results have been nothing less than spectacular. The noise floor was further improved, transparency heightened, and detail retrieval enhanced. The dynamics are noticeably even better than before (and "before" was exceptional). I also note that the soundstaging was somewhat deeper than before, further out through the wall than before. I found the overall effect to be a unique combination of resolution and an organic harmonic structure. Sounds strange, but there it is. Apparently, the use of the radically different suspension pressure brings out more detail from the grooves, and yet does so without drifting over into an analytical sound..
Thank you for reading and following up. Both the SME 20 and SME 30 were on my short list of outstanding turntables to consider at the time I first heard the Walker. As is the case so many times, I was never able to hear the SME 30 in the same system as the Walker.
Nonetheless, my observations are that the SME 30 is an exceptionally neutral and refined turntable with a dead silent background. Yet, to my ear, music is simply more alive and dynamic with the Walker, which I have now heard in many different systems. Moreover, the Walker has an ability to resolve all the musical detail in complex symphonic passages without a hint of congestion; I have not heard any other turntable match this ability.
Hope this helps a bit.
As one who occasionally makes a contribution to the Audiogon forums via a review or by providing some information from my experiences, it’s interesting to see how many fellow members view a posting over time. The recent change in format prompted me to explore what is new or different and I stumbled across the listing of number of views for this equipment review I originally posted in April 2004.
While only 38 comments have been added, the data shows over 250,000 views!
Amazing. I hope this reflects some continuing interest in vinyl and pushing the envelope of what is possible with this medium.
By the way, the Walker Proscenium turntable continues at the heart of my music listening and continues to perform flawlessly over the 11 years since I wrote this review.
Your review is as pertinent today as it was in 2004. It still stands as one of the best reviews I’ve read and certainly a stand out achievement for an Audiogon post.
LP reproduction is equally important today. Many fine titles have been reissued and a surprising number of new artists have decided to release on LP and CD at the same time.
One thing that’s changed, my digital playback has finally achieved performance level where I can enjoy it. Back in 2004 it was only good for warming up the system before switching to LP.
I’ve also gone through an evolution with my LP playback gear but have zero regret for purchasing any of the twenty two turntables I can count since I was a teen.
Vinyl records still remain my most frequently enjoyed format with master dub open reel tape being the only format equal or better than LPs.