The Wand Plus 10.3

Many of you have heard my story about breaking the cantilever on my cartridge and then being told by my wife to buy a replacement so that we could play our christmas records. She's a great woman, lol. Anyway, I ended up in the position where I was going to have 2 great and very different cartridges. I liked the idea of having them both set up so went on a quest to figure out how to get a second tonearm on by decidedly one tonearm Brinkmann Bardo. I fairly quickly realized I was likely going to need to do this with pedistal. I reached out to Thom at Galiber designs who was very helpful and was willing to custom build me something to mound either a Kuzma or Schroder arm. I was moving this direction when I saw the review of the Wand Turntable and arm in Sterophile. High praise from Mike Trei. It reminded me how much Fremer liked the Wand arm and then I saw him write on it on Tracking Angle. Went back and found Art Dudley's review too. Everyone seemed to think this arm was an absolute giant killer. Fremer mentioned that there were new directions and videos online to show how to install it. I watched the videos and thought to myself,  "I can do this!" This is after breaking a tonearm wire last time i tried to mount a cartridge but that's another story for another time. Anyway, I reached out to the American distributor, Profundo audio to get some more info.

Bob at Profundo is a great guy to work with. He happily sent me a price list and some materials about what separates the different models. After some discussion I decided on the 10.3 Wand Plus and bonus! The company that makes the wand also makes a pedistal for $100 or so. We closed the deal and he shipped the arm. I watched the installation videos on repeat while i waited for the arm to arrive.

The arm came well packaged from Bob and inside, the Wand comes in a lovely slide top wooden box. The materials are all there as are the tools and a custom acrylic jig that makes installation a breeze. I've never installed a tonearm from scratch or a cartridge, at least not successfully. It took me about 90 minutes or so to get it all set up but by following the directions and watching the videos a real novice like me was able to get the arm set up with my Ortofon Windfeld Ti in place. But how would it sound?

Almost to my surprise, music came out of both speakers, and oh my god, it sounded different than my brinkmann arm and in this case, markedly better. My other arm is a Brinkmann 10.5. My feeling is that its very true and detailed but maybe a bit cool, a bit unexciting. This arm was the opposite. The first think I played was the album Sad Hunk by Bahamas and on the first track, as soon as the vocals started, Afie was in my listening room with me. He was sitting in front of the stereo and his band was behind him. Soundstage width, depth, and detail were all better. I kept playing recods, blue note jazz, impluse, indie rock, funk, everything just popped in a way I'd never heard before. This arm makes me want to sit and listen to music. It calls to me. I've never spent so much time listening. I don't know that you can do better for $3250 (i think the price went up for this year)

This is my first attempt at a review. Hope its helpful. Please feel free if ask questions.

Brinkmann Bardo with Wand 10.3 and Ortofon Windfeld Ti->Bellari MT-502 mu->Rogers High Fidelity PA-2 with all NOS telefunken tubes->ModWright LS100->Atma-Sphere MA-1 mk2.3->Vandersteen Quatro Wood

See my virtual system for pics