Shindo/Kronzilla combo for vinyl
I've been pretty content for the last few years running my Kronzilla SXI integrated amp with an Ayon CD-1 player into Duke's Audiokinesis Jazz Module speakers. I've always flirted with the idea of adding a nice tube preamp to my system (the Kronzilla allows bypassing its passive preamp) but wasn't sure what it would add and was reasonably satisfied with my set up.
But now I've gotten the itch to add vinyl to my rig and that necessitates a phono stage so why not think about a preamp with built in phono stage? I've always been intrigued by Shindo gear, based on a listen to a Shindo system a few years ago, plus lots of positive comments about the Shindo magic. I contacted Jonathon Halpern and he said each of the Shindo preamps would be a compatible impedance match for my Kronzilla, but the Masseto would like be a better match given the gain on the the Kronzilla.
I made a trip to In Living Stereo in NYC (I live in CT) while doing some work there last week and managed a quick listen to the Monbrison and Masseto hooked up to the Well-Tempered Amadeus, which I also have my eyes on. It all sounded wonderful, but I did hear a step up in performance with the Masseto vs Monbrison and will have a more extended listen to the two when time allows in the near future.
One concern is that home auditions are not an option, so I don't know what the step up in performance will be using a Shindo preamp compared to the Kronzilla's passive preamp (basically a volume control and input switch), at least when playing CDs. So before I shell out a tidy sum and jeopardize my marriage, I was hoping I might get some sage words of advice from the Agon community about whether this investment is a good way to go, although it is an easier decision given that I would need a good phonostage anyway but could do something like the Coincident phono preamp for less than half the price of a Monbrison or Masseto. At some point I might sell the Kronzilla and go for the Shindo Cortese, but not for a while.