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AUDIOPHILE : Bob’s Devices, VPI Industries | T.H.E. SHOW 2019

LOS ANGELES (PTA) — Bob’s Devices was showing off their universally acclaimed Sky Cinemag Step-Up-Transformer (SUT) on a VPI Industries Prime turntable, for which Bob’s Devices is also a dealer of VPI turntables.

The Story

The SUT in Bob’s Devices demonstration system is connected to the rear output of the gimbaled VPI Industries JWM “Fatboy” 3-D printed tonearm, that sits atop the VPI Prime turntable. The system is assembled at Bob’s booth is actually world-class in it’s build and ability, but not in it’s price. The components selected, from the Hana ML cartridge, to the Don Sachs (of Canada) tube phono-stage, on to the VK Music Elekit headphone amplifier — all supercede their price points far-and-away when it comes to performance.

Also on display were the “long-time-best-phono-cable-ever” from Bob’s Devices, for it eliminates unwanted hum often mistakenly attributed to SUT’s by handling the grounding issues with phono cables properly. Each cable displayed is a two-conductor type (+ and -) and uses a braided shield with foil lining connected to the negative conductor at the source-end only. Meaning these cables are directional. The shield nor foil lining is not connected to the conductor anywhere else but at the source end, which is key to its superior noise performance with turntables. If you’re using a SUT and getting a lot of hum, it’s the cables — not the SUT causing it.

The two cables on demo at Bob’s Devices booth vary in their sonic character by two factors. One cable (the blue pair) uses silver-clad-copper conductors, and the other (white pair) uses solid silver conductors.

The Sound

Switching from the Sennheiser HD800s I first listened to was a relief, as I’ve heard them before on a Bob’s Devices demonstration system and the LCD-3’s from Audeze did the trick. Not as bright but still stunningly detailed and extremely listenable. I wouldn’t recount the experience with the Audeze headphones as mellow, but in comparison to the HD800s, things definitely calmed down.

The System

Bob’s Devices

– Sky Cinemag Step-Up-Transformer (SUT) – $1,375 USD

VPI Industries

– Prime Turntable with JWM “Fatboy” Tonearm

Excel Sound Corporation

– Hana ML Phono Cartridge

Don Sachs

– Custom Tube Phono Stage

VK Music

– Elekit Headphone Amplifier


– LCD-3 Headphones

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