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Reviewer's Bio

Rufus Smith
Lover of Fine Craftsmanship


Rufus Smith And Wife Julie


  Of all the things instilled in me by my Father as I grew up in LA (Lower Alabama) was a love of music. In our home, it was rare not to have some form of music playing. While I was exposed to all types of music, I always seemed to spend most of my time listening to classical, opera and jazz. While my Father created the spark that grew into my love of classical music, a family friend was the one who fanned the flames into a roaring fire. Father Kelly was the Assistant Pastor at the Catholic Church that my family attended. Father Kelly was an audiophile whose passion for audio was insignificant compared to his love of music. His record collection was and still is the most impressive I have ever seen. The collection was started in the 1950's and had grown to exceed 12,000 albums by the time I met him in the early 1970's. The collection contained all of the audiophile greats such as Mercury Living Presence, RCA Living Stereo and Lyrita to name a few. You name it Father Kelly had it. I spent many hours at the church rectory listening for hours on end to all these great albums.

My knowledge of high-end audio started under Father Kelly but was expanded when I was in college at the University of Alabama. It all started when I dropped by the local audio store to buy some speakers to go with a receiver and turntable given to me by Father Kelly. During the course of my visits, the owner, John Curry and I developed a friendship. Mr. Curry had another passion besides audio and that was deer hunting. During deer season, the store would be closed on Saturday's, as Mr. Curry would be hunting. I worked out a deal where I would come in and run the store on Saturday's so he could hunt. Being located in a college town, Saturdays were usually quiet at the store so I tended to spend the time studying (yeah right). Actually, what I spent most of my time doing was reading his collection of back issues of the The Abso!ute Sound and Stereophile.

After graduating from Alabama in 1982, I worked for a couple of years in Louisiana before returning to Dothan in 1986 to begin my banking career at SouthTrust Bank. Soon after returning to Dothan, I began building my first "high-end" system, which ended up consisting of a Seta Star Turntable, Premier FT-3 tonearm, Grado Signature 8 cartridge, conrad-johnson PV-2a preamplifier, conrad-johnson MV-45 amplifier and Thiel CS-1.2 loudspeakers. I have been in an upgrade mode ever since.

I have been reviewing audio equipment since 1994. I began my "career" under Tom Miiller at The Audio Adventure. After TAA folded, I joined the staff at Ultimate Audio where I continue to write. 

I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina with my wife Julie, our two dogs and two birds. I am employed at First Union National Bank where I manage a commercial loan portfolio.


Room Dimensions
26x14 with vaulted ceiling rising from 8 feet over the front wall to 20 plus feet over the listening position.


Wilson Watt/Puppy 5.1


Front End - Analog
VPI TNT HR-X/JMW 12.5 (Custom) tonearm/Miyabi 47 Labs Moving Coil Cartridge.


Front End - Digital
Audio Alchemy 1.1 Transport/Pass Laboratories D-1 DAC
Pioneer Elite DV-45a (for SACD and DVD-A)


Phono Stage - Pass Laboratories X-Ono
Line Stage - Pass Laboratories X0.2
Power Amplifiers - Pass Labs X-600 Monoblocks


Digital - Kimber Kable KS 2120 (AES/EBU)
Harmonic Technology Cyber-Link Platinum (AES/EBU)

Interconnects -  Kimber Kable KS 1130 
Harmonic Technology Pro-Silway Mk. II 
Harmonic Technology Truth Link 
Analysis Plus Silver Oval In

Loudspeaker Cable - Kimber Kable Monocle
Harmonic Technology Pro-9 Plus
Analysis Plus Oval 9
Analysis Plus Oval 12 (bi-wire)

Power Cords - Harmonic Technology Pro AC11

Note - I have complete sets of each interconnect listed.


Michael Green Deluxe Justaracks, Monster Power HTS-5000 Power Line Conditioner, VPI HWI-17F Record Cleaning Machine, Bedini Clarifier, Black Diamond Racing Cones, DH Cones, DH Squares, various stylus cleaning products and 02 Blocker Contact Cleaner.























































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