Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

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Red Chris
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Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by Red Chris » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:06 pm

We had a wonderful road trip to Cymbiosis last Saturday. Ray Davis and I travelled up from the deep South – we had the chance to say a quick hello to Simon Price. We then met up with some other LP12 owners at Cymbiosis. After the meet and greet, Peter Swain went off to fit an LP12 with an Ekos SE while the others got the opportunity to listen to a recently built Tiger Paw Stratos and a Tangerine Stiletto.

It was not exactly blind, although the overall look of the decks from above was fairly similar and they were not branded, the different finishes of the decks was clearly apparent and from the listening position at least the Skorpion base on the Stiletto was obvious. Anyway I knew which was which as I had assisted Peter in placing the "feet" for the Skorpion base and I was familiar with the look of the decks.

The decks both used Keel Ekos SE Urika (standard Linn silvers) and Kandid, and they were powered by Akurate Radikals. The Stratos had been running before we arrived. The system was Naim NAC 552/552PS DR Naim NAP300/300PS DR and Kudos Titan 808. I confess that I did not check the speaker cables, I think they were Naim Super Lumina.

I had not previously heard the Stiletto, but had heard a more Tiger Paw'd version of the Stratos (with Javelin and Akula) which had seriously outperformed a more conventional LP12/Aro.

I got the chance to be DJ, so first up on the Stratos was Keb Mo (self-titled debut) - Every Morning then Tell Everybody I Know. I played it probably slightly lower than my normal listening level at home. It was really really good. Classic Keb Mo country blues, beautifully recorded with great character and an almost effortless style. Thoroughly enjoyable, although different from the presentation of my deck.

A quick reprise of the start of track one, and swap to the Stiletto …….. wow. Cue big smile and incredulous expression. Where did all of that detail come from, the ambiance, the presence, the sense of being there - filling the room.

Change record, Style Council, Café Bleu – still on my volume settings, although up a tad. Tangerine Stiletto first this time – Mike's Blessings and The Point of No Return…….. excellent, vibrant, rhythmic, detailed, dynamic. Change to Stratos, and - well – less, I suppose. Still sounding good, articulate and incisive, but with a bit less.

We did listen to more but it was consistent throughout. So, if I was in the market for an aluminium plinth and on a straight choice just between these two, with money no object, it would definitely be the Tangerine Stiletto for me.
Currently Cymbiosis LP12 Woodsong Wenge, Klimax Radikal/Chord Sarum T, Keel/A, Khan, Tranquility, Urika/Chord SSA, Aro, sKale, Lyra Kleos SL - Sondek owner since 1982 - the rest is Naim, Chord and Kudos 8)

varyat
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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by varyat » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:17 am

Thanks for the review Chris :smt023 I wonder how much the impact of the Scorpion base had on your observations..Using the Scorpion base and platform on a wooden plinth may be an interesting demo as well 8) Glad you guys did the demo for us who are geographically challenged - much appreciated!
ATB,
Mark

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FangfossFlyer
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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by FangfossFlyer » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:56 am

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the first comparative review I have read.

Most informative.

All the best,

Richard
"When the music's over, Turn out the lights"
Linn LP12-Naim-B&W

Craig Lang
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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by Craig Lang » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:15 pm

Which deck had the best Kandid on it ?
Don't suppose any of you looked .

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Coyote Jim
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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by Coyote Jim » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:43 pm

image.jpeg
That's what the T is for :roll:
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that bling. :smt005
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"Cymbiosis"
Analogue Klimax LP12, Linn CD, Analogue Linn Amp, Kudos Speakers. 8) :smt023
Coyote Jim :wink:

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vincent
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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by vincent » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:47 pm

Red Chris wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:06 pm

So, if I was in the market for an aluminium plinth and on a straight choice just between these two, with money no object, it would definitely be the Tangerine Stiletto for me.


Great review Chris, very interesting indeed - but at 5k that's more than an Etna SL with trade in :smt018 On the other hand the plinth should last forever :smt020 With money no object, I'd take a punt on both :lol:

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evil_C
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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by evil_C » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:30 pm

It would be interesting to compare the Stiletto with a nice wood plinth fitted with a Tangerine Karmen. I still like the visual and aesthetic appeal of the wooden plinth, particularly where all the other boxes are black anodised aluminium.

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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by FangfossFlyer » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:39 pm

Wonder which the Javelin sounds better on...🤔
"When the music's over, Turn out the lights"
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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by varyat » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:19 pm

The Javelin top is playing quite nicely on my wooden plinth atm...breaking in a SL variant 8)
Early days but not premature to say that it is the best sound that I have attained to this point.

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Re: Tiger Paw Stratos and Tangerine Stiletto

Post by Red Chris » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:24 am

Well, as Javelin has been mentioned, I will add a little more ....... we started to listen to various albums exclusively on the Tangerine Stiletto plinth equipped LP12 and we started to turn the wick up … a lot.

I tend to find that I like music rather loud but there is a definite point for any given record that is my limit. My limit may be higher or lower than other people's, and the limit changes from system to system. On a couple of albums we were crossing the threshold of my limit.

When Peter had fitted the Ekos SE he saw that we had reached a clear Stiletto preference conclusion and suggested we try a comparison with a standard Linn Klimax LP12. The first comparison we did changing from the Stiletto to Klimax was bizarre. I thought the Klimax sounded awful, like someone had put a big sock over the speakers – but it might have been in need of some warm up time.

On the second comparison we went from (imho) slightly too loud (but not as loud as I play it at home) Japan's Canton on the Stiletto to a better volume level on the Klimax. The Klimax was nice, and seemed to work better at lower sound levels. I have noticed ("crass generalisation alert") that some people listen to Linn amplification at lower volume levels than Naim users.

I couple of people said that they preferred the Klimax to the Stratos. I hadn't specifically thought about it, although my initial reaction would have been that going to the Klimax was a bigger drop in quality from the Stiletto, and that the Stratos was better. I would be interested to hear a direct comparison though.

We then moved on to the Naim Aro v Tiger Paw Javelin comparison. This was not the full Javelin arm, but using a modified Javelin arm-top as a direct replacement for the Aro arm-top. It is modified as it does not use the Javelin magnetic bias mechanism but has an outrigger fitted to use the Aro's hanging bias weight. The Javelin uses a sKale as standard.

We first listened to an Aro (standard counterweight) with a Dynavector DV20X2L. We went back to Café Blue. It was rather lovely, musical textured and fluid. The little Dynavector is not a Kandid, it's not even a Krystal, but it is a solid, great value, performer.

We swapped to the Javelin arm-top and the whole performance was energised in a dynamic way. There was more detail, the bass was tighter faster, more textured and (whisper it) more tuneful. I love my Aro but the Javelin arm-top took the performance to another level. My initial reaction was simple - I wanted one. The discussion went to whether I wanted to continue to use the Aro arm top and keep the Aro pillar; or change to the Javelin pillar that allows overhang adjustment.

However, in the event I changed my mind. After I decided to change the pillar I started to think about whether or not it would be better to wait for the full Javelin for Aro Keel, that way if I was not going to use the Aro arm-top as a spare (with a reasonably priced cartridge) I could sell it or just keep on the off chance that I could put together a fully Naim'd LP12.

I do expect to change to a Javelin soonish, but for the time being I am planning to enjoy the improvement that the Lyra Kleos SL brings – one upgrade at a time.
Currently Cymbiosis LP12 Woodsong Wenge, Klimax Radikal/Chord Sarum T, Keel/A, Khan, Tranquility, Urika/Chord SSA, Aro, sKale, Lyra Kleos SL - Sondek owner since 1982 - the rest is Naim, Chord and Kudos 8)

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