VAS Nova Cart,

Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby Matthew-Levi » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:24 am

Matthew-Levi wrote:
Harry wrote:
After the holidays I will make angled shims of very low angle to adjust the rake angle of the cartridges in the headshell so you can get the SRA where you want it. Stay tuned.

HW


Harry, have you got those shims made yet. I seem to have the similar problem that even when the arm is raised fairly high at the back, the SRA is still on 86 degrees. So shims at the headshell may be in order.


Harry,
After almost a year, is the shim ready for order yet?
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby Harry » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:44 pm

I have to keep changing cartridges for business and to help customers but every time I drop the Nova back in I do a loud sigh and sit down to enjoy music. It really is so enjoyable to listen to changing it makes me always want it back.

A bit longer and i think I can get these shims made as we change from chassis to motor blocks. Have to squeeze it in between major parts.

HW
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby Drew769 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:36 pm

I somehow missed this entire discussion and never heard of this cartridge until I asked for some opinions on some other well-know cartridges and got a recommendation to look into one of there. Glad I did!

I emailed back and forth with Steve Leung a few times, and then met him at his shop (right next to VPI) last Friday. Steve makes quite an impression. He is a true music, and specifically vinyl, lover. He has thousands (literally) of records, each with carefully printed notes on his impressions of quality stuck on little white stickers on the plastic sleeves. These are his, too - they are not for sale. You walk in, and you are surrounded by stacks (literally) of some of the finest audio gear - past, present, and even future (prototypes). He is capable, quite literally, of manufacturing cartridges, turntables, amplifiers, speakers, or whatever else he sets his mind to - right in house.

My cartridge was built the day before I picked it up - made to order. It is a Nova Signature model, with the 0.4mV output. He chose this for me based upon my phono stage and the rest of my equipment. He actually winds the coils on these cartridges - it's not like some outworker overseas is building these to his specs. His cantilevers come from the finest suppliers in Switzerland (the aluminum ones in the 0.8 mV model) and Japan (0.4 Signature model). Ever wonder what the diamonds look like before they are attached to the cantilever? Steve was kind enough to show me...truly fascinating stuff.

He set up the cartridge for me (no charge) on my supplied VPI 3D 10" arm, and carefully aligned it on his test system, which includes a vintage Scoutmaster modified with the familiar adjustable VTA base. He sets everything by sight and by ear - no microscopes or Fozgometers in sight. I asked him if he recommended me buying one to check it once home, and he scoffed at the idea. "You use your ears," he answered.

When he dropped the needle, I actually could not believe what I heard. This is a mini-warehouse, keep in mind. Aside from the stacks of equipment and records, there is a lot of wide open area, and at least 20 foot ceilings with industrial HVAC overhead. This is not a tuned listening space by any means. The system is a combination of VAS Citation Monoblocks (his variation on the old design), a VAS MC-One SUT, a heavily modified Conrad Johnson preamp (basically only the name is stock), and a large pair of Focal full range speakers.

We moved from classic jazz, to some Analog Productions test pressings. Each record was more amazing than the next. The clarity, detail, and soundstage was met with equal parts of dead-quiet in-the-groove silence, and smoothness. "And the cartridge needs 20 hours to break in," cheerfully added Steve with pride. "This is as harsh as it will ever be, and it's still smooth." He was right. Color me impressed with the cartridge, his set-up skills, his amps, his SUT - everything.

I'm happy to say that the cartridge sounds equally as great on my home system. Steve was even nice enough to stop in while in the area on Monday night to tweak the setup and to get a good listen to my system and make suggestions.

My other cartridge is no slouch, either - it's an Ortofon Cadenza Black. The Cadenza has oodles of detail and clarity, but sometimes at the slight expense of musicality. To paraphrase a great Jack Nicholson phrase, "Sometimes you can't handle the truth." The VAS Nova Sig delivers the truth, for sure, but with a smoothness and musicality that seems almost contradictory. I have maybe 10 hours on it so far - maybe - and it sounds terrific. I just want to keep spinning records.

Bottom line - it's so much fun to meet great people like Steve that make this hobby so much fun. He takes enormous pride in his work, and while I haven't had any issues, I would say based on who he is that his customer service would be beyond reproach. He is willing to lend advice, and is a true engineer and master of audio equipment design and manufacturing. Next time I need a repair to one of my pieces, I will be visiting Steve for that as well.
VPI Aries 3D
Phoenix Eagle & Roadrunner
Vandersteen Treos
Vandersteen 2 WQ subs
Modwright LS100 Preamp
Rogue Audio Stereo 100
Rogue Audio Ares Phono Pre
VAS MC-ONE SUT
Ortofon Cadenza Black
VAS Nova Signature
Rega Planet 2000
Sony HAP Z1ES
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby mreeter » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:53 pm

Great story Drew, you have more than piqued my interest in the Nova, especially since we have some closely matched gear. N'joy!
VPI Classic Signature SE
VPI SDS
VPI 16.5
Modwright LS-100 Linestage Preamp
Rogue Audio Ares "Magnum" Phono Preamp
VAS Audio Citation II Monoblock Amps
Polk Audio SDA SRS 3.1TL
Dual Rythmik F8 Subs
MIT S1 Shotgun/Audio Sensibility Wires
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby Harry » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:56 pm

Let me add that Steve made me one of his .4 mV cartridges with an elliptical stylus and it is so good I have not put my Atlas back in the system since I got it!!

Steve is one of those tinkerers where you really don't expect this type of sound from such a humble guy. Highly recommended.

HW
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby Drew769 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:43 pm

I'm currently enjoying the Nova Sig with the VAS MC-One Mk. 2 step up transformer, and I never knew my system was capable of delivering this kind of sound. Wow. This guy is a mad scientist of the good variety!

Still less than 10 hours on the cartridge, and probably less than 4 on the SUT. Lots of break in to go for both of them, but they seem to get better with each album side.
VPI Aries 3D
Phoenix Eagle & Roadrunner
Vandersteen Treos
Vandersteen 2 WQ subs
Modwright LS100 Preamp
Rogue Audio Stereo 100
Rogue Audio Ares Phono Pre
VAS MC-ONE SUT
Ortofon Cadenza Black
VAS Nova Signature
Rega Planet 2000
Sony HAP Z1ES
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby vego99 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:28 pm

Drew,
Glad to see this post! I have had a few short conversations with Steve but have yet to follow though due to some current projects.

Seeing this prompts me to contact him again once i'm ready to pull the trigger on a cart.

Secondly, did you already have his SUT or did you get them together?

Thanks,
Erik
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MainRig: McIntosh C2300, VPI Aries 3D FE #28/30, Latino ST-120, Totem Forest, W4S DAC2, Sonos Connect, VPI 16.5
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby Drew769 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:30 am

vego99 wrote:Drew,
Glad to see this post! I have had a few short conversations with Steve but have yet to follow though due to some current projects.

Seeing this prompts me to contact him again once i'm ready to pull the trigger on a cart.

Secondly, did you already have his SUT or did you get them together?

Thanks,
Erik


It's a slippery slope...

:lol:

Once I tried the cartridge in my system, I wanted to hear what the SUT would add to the equation. Steve came to my house to set it up and to readjust the cartridge and my table a bit. I'm having some gain matching issues with my phono preamp (nothing major), but I have a pair of 12AT7 Mullards on the way that should do the trick.

BTW, the SUT is now the VAS MC-One Mk. 2. There is almost nothing written about it (yet). The older reviews are of the Mk. 1 version, which according to Steve is not as good as this latest version. He uses very high quality, vacuum-sealed permalloy transformers from Japan that are typically found in SUTs that cost $5,000 and up.
VPI Aries 3D
Phoenix Eagle & Roadrunner
Vandersteen Treos
Vandersteen 2 WQ subs
Modwright LS100 Preamp
Rogue Audio Stereo 100
Rogue Audio Ares Phono Pre
VAS MC-ONE SUT
Ortofon Cadenza Black
VAS Nova Signature
Rega Planet 2000
Sony HAP Z1ES
Drew769
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Posts: 178
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby Jumping jack » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:36 am

Alas, this wonder-cartridge everybody here is raving about is not available in Europe... I'm kinda curious what all the fuss is about :D .
Classic 1 Valhalla / Koetsu Black /Wilson Benesch vertex / AVM CS5.2 / Nagra BPS
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Re: VAS Nova Cart,

Postby Drew769 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:15 pm

I’m sure Steve would ship one to Europe....
VPI Aries 3D
Phoenix Eagle & Roadrunner
Vandersteen Treos
Vandersteen 2 WQ subs
Modwright LS100 Preamp
Rogue Audio Stereo 100
Rogue Audio Ares Phono Pre
VAS MC-ONE SUT
Ortofon Cadenza Black
VAS Nova Signature
Rega Planet 2000
Sony HAP Z1ES
Drew769
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Posts: 178
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