When the owners of record stores and hi-fi shop go home at the end of the day, what kinds of hi-fi systems are they going home to? And what kind of records are they playing? That’s exactly what we set out to find out. Doyle Davis is one of the co-owners of Grimey’s, a beloved record shop that’s been a Nashville staple for over 15 years. Here, he talks home hi-fi systems, his first turntable and his dream setup.
The Hi-Fi Setup
Integrated Amplifier: Marantz PM8005, $1,199
Speakers: Klipsch RP-5000F, $434
Turntable: Rega P2, $599
Phono Cartridge: Rega – Elys Mk2 Mm, $295
CD Player: Marantz CD6006, $499
What kind of hi-fi setup do you have at home?
I have a Marantz PM8005 integrated amplifier, a Rega P2 turntable with upgraded motor and Elys Mk2 Mm phono cartridge, Klipsch RP-5000F floorstanding speakers and a Marantz CD6006 CD/iDevices player. That’s my main rig in my finished basement music room. I have a system upstairs in the den as well with a vintage Marantz receiver (blue lights and horizontal tuning wheel) with vintage ’70s Kenwood speakers and a Music Hall MMF-2.3 turntable with Ferrari-red finish. I can’t recall the model of Marantz receiver or the speakers and I’m not at home to look. Both sound great with my main rig really pulling its weight as an audiophile experience.
How long have you had your current system and what do you love about it?
I bought all new gear for my main system when we bought our current house. We did so well on the sale of our previous home that we paid off all our debts, including the last of my wife’s student loans and our credit cards, and we still had enough to buy furniture and I decided to treat myself to the first new stereo equipment I had bought in about 20 years. It sounds so good. Good pressings on vinyl really sparkle. My Robert Ludwig cut of Led Zeppelin II is mind-blowing. And the louder you turn it up, the more detail enters the soundstage. It doesn’t just get louder. Records that have some wear and surface noise on other turntables often play quiet on my Rega. I also have a VPI and clean all used records that come into the house.
Can you tell me the story about your first turntable? What was it? When did you get it? And what happened to it?
My first turntable was an all in one type system that I had from the time I was 8. I was using my parents’ stereo to play all my records and they wanted some quiet I think. My first real turntable was a Garrard. I had a Technics SL-1300 for years and years. That was the last one before I bought my Rega which I’ve had for 20 years now, upgrading it over the years. I have [given] some of my old systems to my brother and later on to friends.
If price were no object, what would you upgrade to?
I really can’t say. I’m not really a gear nerd. I fell in love with the sound of Marantz amps a long time ago and their new ones really shine as well. I do love the look and sound of McIntosh equipment. I attended a music biz function in LA several years back with a top of the line McIntosh stereo set-up and pristine original pressings of the Doors LPs. DJ Jim Ladd led a panel discussion about The Doors recording sessions featuring Robbie Krieger, John Densmore, Bruce Botnick (who engineered the records) and Jac Holzman (founder of Elektra Records). The guys talked about how the records were recorded, how they got the sounds they got and for each song or album discussed, we would then hear a song on the McIntosh system from the original LP. It was an amazing experience and the records sounded so incredible. So yeah I would like that system at home.
The Who, Who’s Next
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon
Grant Green, Carryin’ On
Joni Mitchell, Hejira
Tom Petty, Wildflowers
Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
What are your favorite 5 records to listen to and why?
This is an impossible question and I often push back against ranking things and making lists but I’ll play. As of today my favorite records to listen to may be Who’s Next, Dark Side of the Moon, Grant Green’s Carryin’ On, Hejira by Joni Mitchell, Wildflowers by Tom Petty and Maggot Brain. Well, I gave you six and left off probably my favorite albums of all time, but I do really enjoy these and listen to them often even after all these years. And yes, I have Wildflowers on vinyl.