Werner Ogiers'
Date of "Visit":
18 January 2004

the system




part of the collection


e-mail to:
Werner Ogiers
(remove anti-spam spaces)

I live in Antwerp, Belgium. Married to Christa, who loves music and used to play the clarinet. In daily life I am a digital chip designer at a semiconductor company I cofounded in 1999 with 10 colleagues: photography buffs may know us. In my rare spare time I am webmaster for English turntable manufacturer Michell Engineering, and audio DIYer.

Music is important, but if that was all I could happily live with a boombox, although Peter Qvortrup's saying that a good system offers easier access to new and previously non-liked music is of course valid too.

Despite being born in 1968 I still have a firm committment to analogue and vinyl, see my work for Michell. Nevertheless, as a field of study and future progress digital audio seems much more interesting and stimulating. It is then with a deep sadness that I have to witness ill-advised developments such as SACD.

My interest in DIY design is backed by my profession and fueled by a certain dislike for the present state of the quality audio industry, especially the way things are marketed.

Throughout the years I went through various system configurations, including components from Cyrus, Marantz, Linn, ... as well as Magnepan and Quad ESL-57 speakers. In the past there have been frequent changes, but the system I have now is pleasing enough to stay for a while.

I listen mostly to pop music and and a little bit of classical and jazz. Insofar such labels apply, as I prefer to name all just 'music'. I have no interest whatsoever in 'audiophile' recordings.

A random collection of favourites:
Alice - Il Sole Nella Pioggia
Peter Gabriel - Plays Live, Us
Monteverdi - Vespro Della Beata Vergine (Gardiner, recorded in San Marco)
U2 - Achtung Baby
Dead Can Dance - Toward The Within
The Nits - Urk
Luka Bloom - all
David Sylvian - Secrets Of The Beehive
John Williams - The Seville Concert
Marianne Faithfull - Blazing Away
Lais - Dorothea

System's Components


Michell GyroDec MkV with Orbe platter and VC power supply.


SME IV/FDIV, bearing cover removed. Leadout cable soon to be replaced with something more flexible.


Benz Micro MC Scheu 1.6mV. (Note: pictured is a Shelter 501 review sample.)


Rega Planet, with small modifications (1).


Trichord Dino+, small modifications (2).


DIY. Loosely based on Walt Jung's classic AD744/LM6181 duo. Housed in the box of an LS0 I could buy empty from LFD.

Power Amp:



Quad ESL-63 on stands, also ESL-57s.


Yes. Don't like discussing cables, though.

(1) Planet mods:

I replaced all elcaps around the DAC and output stage with equal-value Rubycon ZAs. The output coupling caps are Silmic 100uFs. The ceramic caps in the output RF filter were replaced with 1nF Evox PFRs. This enhances the Planet's clarity much, without touching its warm and musical nature.

(2) Dino+ mods:

The long trace leading from the output of the front-end opamp was cut close to the actual opamp, and a 100R SMD resistor was inserted there, to isolate the opamp from stray capacitance. The resistor used as class A biasing load was replaced with a JFET current source set at 2mA. The JFET output amplifier opamp got an impedance-balancing resistor, also SMD, in its feedback path, to lower distortion.

Werner's comments about his system:

AA: "Werner, how would you describe your system's sound?"

GDL: "It can't go loud, it isn't very dynamic, but it sounds quite natural. That's what is important to me."

AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"

GDL: "Of course there is. But does that really matter? We are not in a race, there are no laurels for the eventual winner. Only personal happiness with the resultant sound and music matters and yes, I'm quite satisfied now."  

AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"

GDL: "I won't play the classical upgrading game anymore. Granted, a Jan Allaerts MC1b cartridge is still on my wish list, but apart from that I only ever hope to augment the system with components of my own design. There are four things in the pipeline: a phonostage, a DAC, a revised preamp, and active dipole subs. But we'll see if any of these will ever work out. I'm not in a hurry. "

new system

modified GyroDec

DIY turntable motor controller

DC drive



DIY phonostage



"Re-Visit" Notes (13 February 2011)

Things don't always go as planned.

In August 2004 I ordered a Jan Allaerts cartridge (I had something to celebrate). Shortly after that I was very happy to find the gorgeous Tabula Rasa furniture to replace, finally, the ugly Target racks I had been using for almost twenty years. And that should have been it. If anything, I wanted to reduce the number of components and clutter.

But sneaky things happen. Having adopted a side-hobby in converting LPs to digital I purchased a Tascam DV-RA1000 recorder. And then, in order to be able to replay CD-RWs and homemade 96kHz/24bit music DVD-Vs in the main system I replaced the Planet with a Denon DVD-2930, employed as an audio source only.

I chose the latter because I had my sights on a nice Pioneer 50" plasma display and the Denon promised some of the best video quality reasonable money could buy at that time. Compared to the Planet the fallback in sound quality wasn't too bad.

In the end the plasma TV never materialised (and now Pioneer even stopped making them - bummer), but the Denon DVD got a companion: a rather nice sounding Apogee MiniDAC I had been using before for monitoring on my computer. The MiniDAC got a central place in the living room system, concentrating the signals from the Denon (coax), Tascam (AES/EBU), a Panasonic DVD recorder and a media box (10 meters of Toslink!). This way all my digital sources got fine audio quality and, despite some complex wiring and long cables, ground loops were entirely avoided.

In the meanwhile I converted a very old GyroDec MkII into something fresher-looking and added to that an AQVOX phonostage (I reviewed one before on TNT). I retained the subchassis, bearing, and platter, added parts of the Gert Pedersen Gyro SE modification kit, and mounted a drive system of my own design onto the subchassis. So I ended up with two high-end turntables sitting side by side.

That should have been it, again, but then I encountered a used Michell Orca / Alecto Stereo combo in pristine condition. As the Orca is one of my all-time favourite preamps and since I'm somewhat of a Michell Engineering collector anyway I had to buy them. And a good thing this was indeed, as the Michells completely blew away my combination of homemade preamp and LFD poweramp.

Continuing in the same vein the beginning of 2009 then saw the replacement of my main turntable with the latest version of the Michell Orbe: an improvement so large that I see now I should have done this four years ago. At around the same time I added an XTZ digitally-controlled subwoofer, and early in 2010 my best-effort DIY phonostage full-time replaced the Dino+. And then by the end of that year I added a new Lyra Delos, and a heavily discounted Dorian (I reviewed and liked one years ago).

The resulting system sounds much better than its earlier incarnation, looks entirely at home in the lounge now, and is more versatile to boot. But there is still more to come. We bought a nice villa, just around the corner, and after renovation it will have a dedicated 4 x 7 m music room!

New System's Components:


Michell Orbe NC2 with SME IV and Allaerts MC1b or Lyra Delos

DIY based on Michell GyroDec MkII with Incognito Rega RB300 and Benz MC Scheu, Lyra Dorian, Denon DL-103, DL-301


Denon DVD-2930 with Apogee MiniDAC


DIY (2SK369 folded cascode into inverting OPA637)

AQVOX Phono2Ci


Michell Orca NC

Power amp:

Michell Alecto Stereo MkII


Quad ESL-63

XTZ 99SW12DSP subwoofer