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A Visit From Nick Doshi

The high-end consists of manufacturers large and small. Nick Doshi, who lives in Virginia, belongs to the latter category. A former recording engineer, he now works at radio and television stations located in Washington, DC. But on the side he has earned a not insubstantial reputation as a gifted designer of audio equipment, which he builds out of his home, which isn’t located too far from where I live.

For several years I had been curious to audition his gear. A few weeks ago a Mercedes station wagon stopped in front of my home and out popped Doshi, ready to deliver his new 160 watt V3.0 KT-120 based amplifier, V3.0 phono stage and VV3.0 line stage. Then, after another few weeks, he returned, substituting new KT-150 tubes in his monoblocks. Throughout, the sound had been quite enticing—warm, perhaps a pinch on the dark side, but always musically enchanting. The KT-150, though, took it up another notch. The presentation seemed to become even more transparent and supple—combining (as Doshi put it) the strength of a 6550 tube with the blissfulness of an EL34.

I was particularly taken with the phono stage, which I would like to listen to again. It had excellent bass control and beautifully delineated various musical lines. Doshi and I ended up spending a good part of an afternoon running through my LP collection of classical trumpeters, ranging from Maurice Andre to Gerard Schwarz. “Celestial,” was the way he described hearing Andre. It’s a quality that his equipment helped bring out effectively and persuasively. Anyone searching for reasonably priced gear that offers superb performance would do well to consider Doshi’s line.

By Jacob Heilbrunn

The trumpet has influenced my approach to high-end audio. Like not a few audiophiles, I want it all—coherence, definition, transparency, dynamics, and fine detail.

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