Cake Audio are a San Clemente-based retailer with a very high-end mix of products from Kuzma Acoustics, Vitus Audio, Verity, and CAD. The larger suite across the hall was packed but my attention was highly focused on the smaller room and one of the best turntables I’ve ever heard.
I’ve listened to most of the Kuzma range over the years at dealers and trade shows but it was my first opportunity to listen to the Kuzma Stabi R Turntable which was outfitted with the Kuzma Stogi Reference 313 CE Tonearm with VTA Tower Mounting ($18,139 USD for the combination).
The turntable alone retails for $12,139 USD and while that is an exorbitant amount of money for any component, it might have been the biggest “deal” at the show when it came to tables.
There were far more expensive tables in use from Thrax, Triangle Art, V.P.I., Brinkman, and others — but none of them impressed as much as this Slovenian table that isn’t flashy or ringed with gaudy gold accents.
Kuzma makes a turntable for a lot more money that falls into the gaudy camp, but the Stabi R never falls into that weird place that makes you feel that the price is about the aesthetics and strange industrial design.
I want my turntable to play records. Better than other turntables.
The Kuzma Stabi R is relatively compact in comparison to other turntables in the same price range and the tonearm is a marvel of engineering and industrial design.
Cake Audio outfitted the table with the Dynavector XV-1T ($9,450 USD) and while I consider any cartridge over $1,500 extreme overkill, I’ve owned and used the $750 Dynavector 10×5 high output MC for almost 6 years and understand the enthusiasm for their cartridges.
The 10×5 doesn’t have the detail, clarity, or razor sharp imaging capabilities of its expensive sibling but it works for me.
Vitus Audio, Computer Audio Design (CAD) and Verity filled in the rest of this superb system; the Verity Otello Loudspeakers ($19,345 USD) were a bit lean for my tastes but the resolution, detail, and transparency were state-of-the-art.
The room was definitely too small for the loudspeakers which can clearly energize a much larger listening space and I’m sure the soundstage and imaging would have taken another leap in performance with more room.
The $39,600 Vitus Audio SP-103 Phono Pre-amplifier is clearly designed for state-of-the-art carts like the Dynavector — but that’s a lot of records. For many people, that’s more than the value of their record collection.
I know where I’d rather spend my money.
The Kuzma Stabi R, however, is a turntable I would love to hear again.
- Speakers: Verity Otello – $19,345
- Amplifier: Vitus RI-101 MkII Integrated Amplifier – $18,000
- Phono Pre-Amplifier: Vitus SP-103 – $39,600
- Music Server: Computer Audio Design CAT – $15,000
- DAC: Computer Audio Design 1543 DAC – $12,000
- Ground Control: Computer Audio Design GC1 – $1,995
- Turntable: Kuzma Stabi R w/Walnut Frame – $12,139
- Tonearm: Kuzma Stogi Reference 313 CE w VTA Tower – $6,005
- Phono Cartridge: Dynavector XV-1T – $9,450
- Cables: Purist Audio Design / Ansuz
Related reading: Show Reports from T.H.E. Show 2022