As with many audiophiles of my age a lot of kit has passed through these hands in an attempt to get what are usually small improvements in sound quality – often no improvement at all just a different presentation.

In my youth I lusted after Sonus Faber speakers and when a pair of Guarneri Mementos came my way I knew to get the best out of them I needed watts and lots of them. Well to cut a long story short I tracked down a mint Tri-Vista 300 Amplifier and prepared myself for the hoped for revelation in sound quality. Trouble was the amplifier had developed a fault on the right channel and needed to be repaired. Now the Tri-Vista is no shrinking violet in the size and weight stakes so shipping it anywhere takes a leap of faith. The Internet is a wonderful tool when you need to find a solution quickly and it wasn’t very long before I had tracked down JS Audio and exchanged emails and a quick call to John convinced me that if I had to take that leap of faith then John was the man to do it with – period. Spending quite a lot of money on something that you haven’t seen or heard again isn’t for the faint hearted but I decided that in for a penny might as well be in for a pound and had John do a full upgrade to the amplifier, the higher capacity transformers for the power supply and the improved wbt speaker terminals.
The turnaround time from John was also very good and when the carriers did not deliver on the day they were supposed to John made sure he followed up with phone calls until it did – there’s service for you.
Whilst the Tri-Vista was away for the upgrade I substituted one of my other amplifiers to drive the Guarneri Memento’s – an Avi Laboratory Integrated which rated at about 200 watts per channel had the grunt to keep the music flowing. Really enjoyed the little Avi but I was having problems with bass bloom in the listening room – so much so I had to bung up the rear firing bass ports with a pair of socks (clean ones I can assure you – honestly) to tame the SF’s.
Enter the returned Tri-Vista and the difference was immediate – so much more control of the low bass notes with power on tap as and when needed. Out came the socks and guess what – nearly all of the bloom had gone just the mere remnants on very bass heavy pieces and hey ho I can live with that to have a clean pair of socks back in my drawer.

To be fair I’ve only had the amplifier back for a short while but John assures me it will just get better and better over the coming weeks. John also gave me a short list of some of his favourite tracks to listen to on the new improved Tri-Vista but I’ll be keeping them to myself for the time being otherwise all you guys and girls will be driving up the prices 🙂

Oh and just to finish with, John having upgraded the phono input on the Tri-Vista, changed the internal switch to MC for me and although it’s early days I have an AT OC9 cartridge on a Thorens TD125 playing into it and when I switch to my standalone Heed Questar phono stage these old ears can’t tell the difference – a bit of a bonus!

George Crawshaw