New Soprano Full Set review – Alun Rains

Alun Rains got a chance to listen to a recent customers full Soprano set in action and was kind enough to write us a review about what he thought of it;


“A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of listening to a full Stack Audio Soprano LP12 turntable belonging to a likeminded Linn LP12 owner in Sussex. Richard and I spent 4 hours listening to a wide variety of music from different genres on his extremely capable Hi-Fi system. We played various tracks on vinyl from a Mofi version of Dire Straits “Dire Straits” plus another great pressing of “Brothers In Arms”, Paul Simon’s “Paul Simon” and “There Goes Rhymin Simon”. Allo Darlin’s “Allo Darlin”, Eagles “Greatest Hits” (HQ Pressing), Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” (2 x 45rpm), Norah Jones “ Come Away With Me”, Bruce Springsteen’s “Western Stars”, Cat Steven’s “Tea For The Tillerman”, Sutherland Brother’s and Quiver “Reach For The Sky”, Jennifer Warne’s “Famous Blue Raincoat”, Sade “Diamond Life” plus several others.

Richard’s system is comprised of a Stack Audio Soprano LP12 turntable, which features an all in one CNC machined aluminium plinth and top-plate, a one-piece Soprano sub-chassis & arm-board, cross brace and baseboard. All these Soprano parts are CNC machined aluminium with AVDC damping material added to minimise vibration. The build quality of this complete deck is just superb and it sounds just wonderful. It is currently fitted with a Supatrac Blackbird tonearm and a Dynavector DV XX2 cartridge. It also sports a Linn Karousel bearing and a Linn Lingo 4 power supply.

The rest of the system comprises of a Ryan Labs MC phono-stage, Rega Osiris integrated amplifier, Shahinian Obelisk (Omni-directional) speakers, Yanis Silvercord arm-cable, RFC Venus RCA IC, EWA L80 speaker cable, Atlas Power leads, Copper Heretic main block and Quadraspire X – Ref Rack.

So “how did it all sound”? Quite simply it sounded superb. It handled every genre that we threw at it just brilliantly. The bass was very deep but beautifully controlled. The mid-range and highs were really rich, accurate and detailed too. The Rega Osiris amplifier had tons of power and drove the speakers very well indeed. The Supatrac Blackbird tonearm was a very interesting and unique design and combined with the DV XX2 cartridge, tracked the music beautifully and dug out loads of detail from the record grooves. This tonearm has a real Star Wars “ Stealth” look about it and the build quality seems very good. The one thing that it lacks is an arm lift device. It is hand-cued by means of a small piece of stiff cord attached to the headshell, although I understand that a cueing lever is an optional alternative.

The Shahinian Obelisk speakers were a revelation in many ways. They sounded wonderful in their ability to portray a realistic soundstage, it really did sound as if the band was right there in front of you. I did feel that they really needed a wider room to locate them further apart and as they were omni-directional, they did unfortunately lack a degree of stereo imagery. That aside, this was indeed one of the best sounding systems that I have ever heard in a domestic environment.

Richard also has a high-quality streamer however since he purchased the Soprano LP12 he has only been playing vinyl records and said that he cannot stop smiling when he does so. I must say that I too was guilty of a lot of smiling and toe tapping during the 4 hours that we spent together. With a high quality turntable such as his Soprano LP12, it is rather difficult to resist.

In conclusion, the Soprano on this occasion partnered by the Blackbird really did perform the most beautiful duet together. It is just so natural / organic, keeps time like a metronome. Almost hypnotic.

My sincere thanks to Richard for the opportunity to listen to his wonderful system.


My own system: Linn LP12 with Stack Audio Alto sub-chassis, arm-board, cross-brace and Ultimate baseboard. Karousel bearing, Audio Origami PU7 tonearm, Dynavector XX2 Mk2 cartridge and External Zeus power supply. Rothwell MCL S.U.T, Leema Acoustics Essentials phono-stage, Roksan Caspian M2 amplifier, Celef Monitor speakers. Audio Origami tonearm cable, Linn K20 speaker cable, Rothwell River RCA Interconnects.” – A.R. Kent



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