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T.H.E. Show 2022: Kuzma & Cake Audio

High-end audiophile turntables were in no short supply at T.H.E. Show 2022. The Kuzma Stabi R certainly got our attention.

Kuzma Stabi R Turntable

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 Stabi R Turntable Top View at T.H.E. Show 2022
Kuzma Stabi R Turntable with Stogi Reference 313 CE Tonearm / VTA Tower Mounting at T.H.E. Show 2022

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.

Cake Audio Room at T.H.E. Show 2022
Cake Audio Room at T.H.E. Show 2022

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.

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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.

Equipment List:

  • 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

For more information: Kuzma Audio & Cake Audio

Related reading: Show Reports from T.H.E. Show 2022

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. ORT

    June 15, 2022 at 1:48 am

    Gorgeous. Stunning. Beautiful. Damn…Now that is a semi-traditional table o’ turning. Well do I know that I am not alone in being able to afford a ‘table that alone costs $12,139.

    If it is going to cost that much then it should pay homage to the past with a nod to the present and flat out ignore the future. This turntable is that homage, that musical benediction for the masses not the asses. A turntable that every man can admire and desire.

    And as far as I can see, that is its raison d’être’. To stir the soul of man and woman alike, to not just want more but to be eager to work for more.

    The Marantz CD60 and 40n are two other pieces of the pie that would make up a system of beauty that have this trait, this feature that fascinates – If I may? Call it…

    …Looks to Buy For.

    Thank you Sir Ian of White.

    ORT

    • Ian White

      June 15, 2022 at 2:19 am

      ORT,

      I would go out on a limb and say it’s the best turntable I’ve ever heard and I’ve heard some of the six figure ones.

      Kuzma just makes superb tables but it’s the tonearms that separate them from the pack. Their arms are just that much better than the rest.

      I’ll never own it but I feel happy that I’ve been lucky enough to listen to it. It is art. In every way.

      Best,

      Ian

      • ORT

        June 15, 2022 at 2:32 am

        Ian, if I may paraphrase?

        “A turntable such as this is not made simply to be the admiration of all (as it should be), but the happiness of fortunate few.”

        I really can not afford one but neither can I lie.

        This turntable is stunning and that being just in photographs. I do not recall seeing it and I am reasonably certain that had I, it would have stuck in my mind like an iron rod in Phineas Gage.

        I saw a few fUgly ones. One supposes that if the price tag is uFurious, if you will, so too are the looks. Those thigns resembled more a 3-D Checkerboard for intelligent chimps to idle away the hours.

        F U G L Y.

        This one is for the ages and the Gods and Goddesses, to give them reason to endure we mortals. I am sooooo seriously struck by this ‘table. Thanks again.

        I know. I am having difficulty writing. Sorry about the many errors. I am trying to correct my self and losing.

        ORT

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