Tapani Lappi's 
Date of "Visit":
19 February 2000

the system

the electronics with Milo on top

covers off!

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Tapani Lappi

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My career as audiophile started in late 70's with a vacuum tube radio as an amplifier and a jukebox as an analogue source. My first high-end system in the early 80's was B&W 801's and a Luxman solid state amp. Mid/late 80's I became more involved to high-end. I started to assist my  friend who was running his own high-end audio business by importing and modifying Cello, Oracle, SME, Koetsu etc. For my personal use at that time, I had Infinity Betas, two Mark Levinson 23:s, one for each channel, ML no. 26 as an preamp and the Proceed CD.....I gradually achieved "incremental" improvements. I decided high-end shall become a bigger part of my life.

I decided to run my own shop in 1990 partnering with a major high-end distributor in Finland, HifiGuru, distributors of highest high end brands in the country. HifiGuru is still owned by my good friends Heikki Sikanen and Leo Tarvainen. Since the beginning I retailed Krell, Magnepan, Infinity, Mark Levinson, Cello etc.

1996 was a turning point in my business which was still pretty much a hobby. Leo and Heikki brought first pair of the raved Dunlavy's SC-III's to  to the country. Immediately we all realized what was the rave about. They  however, decided to focus their own retailing to the  electro- and magnetostatic speakers only. They asked me to take care of the dynamic speakers, especially this new promising brand - the DAL. So my own firm became major retailer of the DAL's. I was very happy for DAL's merits and even more happy to see how the local audiophile community started to embrace DAL's since the beginning. This boosted also demand of other quality components and have kept us very busy.

We are still having Krell, Audio Research, Clearaudio, Transparent, and more recently, Avalon and Spectron included in our repertoire.
At the end of 90's the public demand forced us to take home theater equipment, too - maybe it's a sign of the "convergence of the medias"...audiophiles have started to build their HT's, and at the same time many youngsters who have started with a home theater have found world of high-end audio. However, I feel it's a real challenge to combined these two in the same system.

At the TL-Audio, our demo room dimensions are 6,7 x 6 x 2,5 meters, having a proper acoustic treatment. Currently I'm using Dunlavy SC-VI's to the demo and personal use accompanied with the Krell FPB-350Mc monoblocks, Wadia 25/20 transport/ DAC and Transparent Reference cables for speakers and interconnects.

I have found sound of the current configuration utterly accurate and realistic in every aspect, but nature of the high-end is to find relentlessly constant improvement, and I'm afraid we have succeeded:

The improvement potential to appears to be found in three areas. Firstly, the digital source: We noticed a significant improvement in delicacy and in details with the Krell KPS-25 CD -combined player / preamplifier. Since Krell is not only a killer application with it's performance but also with it's price, I'm looking very much forward to the new high definition formats the SACD or DVD-A. Another question arises, what's the potential of the upsamplers such as Bel Canto DAC-1 or dCs Delius etc. to stretch CD's limitations beyond we have used to.
Secondly we have noted importance of a proper preamplifier. Compared to the current configuration (Wadia 25/20) Audio Research LS-16 and 25 revealed another significant improvement in transparency, dynamics and   accuracy.
Third area of a breakthrough improvement may be surprisingly the power amplifier. We have had chance to compare very briefly current Krell monoblocks to the Spectron Musician digital amp. We noticed an improvement, which may deserve to be called "a major improvement".  Difference lies in richness of the details, "airiness" in the sound, discreteness in the treble and a vast, effortless resource in the the  dynamics, when powered with the Spectron. I'm convinced - the future is digital!

Regarding musical taste, I prefer acoustic and electronic jazz and a very wide range of other genres, too. And we have a cat in the family, Milo, she used to warm up on top of my previous amp, AR VT-200. Krell is running too cold for the purpose.

System's Components
CD Transport: Wadia 20
D/A Converter: Wadia 25
Power Amp: Krell FPB 350 mc monoblocks
Speakers: Dunlavy SC 6
Interconnects: Transparent Ultra
Speaker Cables: Transparent Reference, Transparent Super for bass

Tapani's comments about his System:

AA: "Tapani, how would you describe your system's sound?"
TL: "Extremely accurate, transparent and effortless. Soundstage is very deep and wide. Overall impression, they say is lifelike, sometimes 'better than live'. "
AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"
TL: "Wadia is at it's best when used with a good preamp, such as Audio Research LS-16. I'm awaiting a new CD player, however, an upsampler may be better idea." 
AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"
TL: "I'm planning to purchase Audio Research LS-16 for my personal use.  Dunlavy's new digital power speakers, the SE-IV Digital is extremely interesting concept. So is the DAL Corinthian 2 perhaps. And if DAL would  release the SC-VII...we have still some room below the roof as the VI's are only 200 cm high..."