Enjoy the Music.com


Your Letters To Us


 

03/01/04

Steven,

This is my first time to see your site and I must say it is very informative and I had quite a time reading over your reviews on music and equipment. I would like to pose a question, and hope to get some feedback from you.

A few months back I purchased a CD of Dave Grusin's Discovered Again album - the Sheffield Lab release 20-bit remastered. The recording is very good, but not up to the original direct to disc vinyl. When I learned there was an xrcd out, I bought one too. 

With no intention of comparing the two discs (I assumed the xrcd would sound better - it cost twice more), I listened to the xrcd and, although the recording is first rate, there was something missing. That's when I compared it to the Sheffield recording and lo and behold, Sheffields sounded better - brighter, more live and realistic; the xrcd sounded less bright. Especially on Cripple Creek Breakdown (my favorite track), where you could hear Harvey Mason roll the snare drum, the Sheffield recording delivered a better recording. On Barretas Theme, the Sheffield was attacking the listener more, as compared to the xrcd which was more or less just playing the music.

About the only improvement of the xrcd was in the packaging, which is truly audiophile material. I wonder why Sheffield chose to package theirs in an ordinary way, seeing that they are an audiophile targeted company.

So does the Sheffield really sound better than the xrcd. I hope you can compare and give me some feedback - it could be my system, or my ears must be failing me.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks and keep up the great site.

Bobby Arroyo

 

Bobby,

While making comparisons may difficult because it also depends on your digital front end. Personally, i would stay with vinyl and avoid CD if at all possible.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


 

03/01/04

Dear Steve,

I enjoyed reading your review, especially as I'm looking to upgrade my current lo-fi NAD/B&W New York City apartment system- I just listen to rock, electronic, and whatever. Can you recommend any integrated amps, whether tubes or solid state? The Manley is the maximum price range I'd pay; frankly, the more research I do , the more i just want to give up and buy a receiver...

Thanks.

MT in Manhattan

 

Hi MT,

Since you directly mentioned rock and electronica, the Manley should indeed do the trick. it sounds great and MAN it ROCKS!   :)


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


 

03/01/04

Colin,

I've enjoyed reading your reviews as I look to buy a new set of speakers. I'm keen on buying the Axioms that you (among others) recommend highly, but am on the horns of a dilemma: do I buy the M3ti and a good subwoofer (SVS?) or the m80ti and no sub? I very much like my music, but also would use the same system for home theater. Any thoughts and recommendations.

Thanks,

Robert Silberstein

 

Robert, 

I think that my evolving music, equipment and listening room are as germane to my subjective reviews as a witness in a courtroom. You can’t have a fair trial without reviewing the context of my reviews. Therefore, I keep my bio updated with changes to my home movie and music reproduction system. 

If you read my bio, you will see that I am a subwoofer-man. I believe the addition of a powerful subwoofer is as important to the enjoyment of well-recorded music as milk is to chocolate cookies. Especially with movies, and less than full-range loudspeakers. You can’t enjoy one without the other. Dipping the charming Axiom M3Tis in the same milk as the larger M80s, back in November 2002, I said “allowing for larger size, a lot more drivers and higher price, I still like the smaller Axiom brother just as much as the larger one.” Therefore, stretch the credit cards, order both sizes, decide what you like, plan on three or four more for surround sound, send the loser back…and still double your budget for a powerful sub.

Yours in listening,

Colin


 

03/01/04

To the Editor,

I am very enthusiastic reader of your online journal, thank you for offering it. I am writing though to suggest a re-interpretation of your 0-100 scale in your reviews. Your reviewers keep trying to convince us that it's a full range scale and that "60 is an excellent score". Ok, well, you can keep trying if you want to but most of us grew up with the following scale:

90 to 100 = A
80 to 89 = B
70 to 79 = C
65-69 = D
64 and below is a failure.

No matter how much you beg and plead, your readers are going to view 95 as great, 85 as OK, 75 as crummy, 65 as barely listenable.

And you know what? They are right! There is nothing wrong with this old scale that starts at 65 being a barely passing grade. The point is that this scale very clearly communicates the level of quality, and that's the important thing.

I urge you to "cave in" to the scale that we are all used to, rather than trying to redefine our pre-existing sensibilities.

Thanks,

Art Altman

 

Art,

Thanks for your e-mail and you make a very good point! In fact have been gripping with the ever higher rating numbers we have been publishing and wonder if we will soon see 110 ratings on a scale of 0-100! This is a perplexing situation as my hopes were to basically have a scale where many variables were rated so music lovers could see both the stronger and weaker points of a product's music reproduction abilities. The simple two rating system of just "Sound Quality" and "Value For The Money" was too limiting for my tastes.

Now that the
Enjoy the Music.com™ Review Magazine is in it's fourth year, we have a set precedence and as such whatever change is made needs to be properly defined accordingly. We have now changed to a five "Blue Note" system where zero Blue Notes are bad and five Blue Notes are the best. So far this idea appears to be the best alternative, yet am fully open to other suggestions.

Thanks again for your e-mail and patience with us. We are trying our best and hope we are of service to music lovers all around the world. Of course in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

Hi Steve, 

Thanks for the response. There was a huge omission in my previous note: I think it's fantastic that you rate the different aspects of the sound of the component. That a piece of gear has superb mids, nice highs but mediocre bass or soundstage - this is useful stuff! I do hope that you will continue with this part of your rating. 

And yes grade inflation may be a problem as competition and new technology drives components to get better and better... or is it? What if extreme competition resulted in most gear that you bother to review getting high 90's in most respects? As long as your really ARE listening to the gear, that should be ok, even great news. We still need to turn to the text to learn about the character of the piece in any case.

Most important of course is that I find your reviews well thought out and well written and helpful and insightful. I think you should be very proud of the quality of your review work.

Thanks,

Art

 

Art,

(Blushing) A most humble thanks. We can all strive for perfection, yet getting 51% correct is better than 49%. (Humor) Of course 50% of the people feel the other 50% are wrong :)


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


 

03/01/04

First I want to say you have a very "kool" web site. I did see your note about the "scams" on the person sending a check for more money then the amount agreed on. Just want to let you know that in December of 2003 I placed for sale ads on free classifieds web sites for the purpose of selling some audio gear and percussion equipment that I no longer need due to my getting out of the "live" music business. Anyway it is just amazing how often since the first of the year I have been contacted by people wanting to buy items (the larger priced ones that i have for sale) and asking if it is ok to send double the amount then having me forward the rest to a third party, so this "problem" is not just an isolated incident you have on your web site. It seems to be happening a lot and thought you might like to know....

Greg in Michigan


 

03/01/04

Colin,

Enjoyed your review of the Axiom M3s and bought a pair on recommendations from yourself and other online reviewers. They're great. I currently play them thru an NAD A/V receiver, but was intrigued by your review of the little ASL Wave 8s. I know nothing about tube music (except its reputation for a warmer sound vs. solid state) and was wondering what I need to get started. The Wave 8s of course. Then what? A preamp? Could I still play my vinyl and CDs thru such a setup? And do I need a tuner for radio?

Thanks in advance,

Kevin

 

Kevin,

Glad you like them. The $99 ASL Wave 8s tube amplifiers I reviewed for EnjoyTheMusic.com back on March 2002 are no longer available. This is surprising considering the splash they made amongst tweaking audiophiles. Instead ASL, through Divertech.com, offers the Wave AV-20, with 20-watts, at $249. It looks just like the previous Wave 8s. If your receiver has pre-amplifier outputs, you can use it as a pre-amplifier for the Waves. This will let you play your 12” black analogue discs, silver CDs, tuner and movie channel through the receiver. Many tweaking audiophiles think the tube pre-amplifier makes a better difference than a tube amplifier. There are several fine recommendations in vintage pre-amplifiers, which you can find if you troll the audio forums. The old stuff however, pretty much relegates you to two channel sound.

Yours in listening,

Colin


 

03/01/04

D


 

03/01/04

Steven, 

Thanks for sending us your newsletter... The last seven years I've spent most of my time in the studios, with private clients, and in the university's working on tunable research. So now that I'm back in this world I see that I need to acclimate myself. Which has been pretty cool. It's like a big reunion. Anyway I really enjoyed your show report. Reading your site helps keep many people including me in the loop.

Thanks,

Michael Green
www.michaelgreenaudio.com


 

03/01/04

Bill,

I had a chance to hear the Allen Wright DPA 300 power amplifiers briefly at VSAC (driving Terry Cain's Abby Fostex TQWP) - I think we can agree that Allen will enjoy more that just "15 min" of fame. I also had the pleasure of a couple of conversations and a beer or two with the old boy at the show, and a few days later on a short visit of his to Victoria.

While you made reference in your review to his fastidious attention to detail ( your amps are a visual as well as sonic work of art ) you failed to mention his personable nature and wonderful story telling ( seems to kick in about the 3rd pint!)

These were with out a doubt the most musical, dynamic, extended and open power amps I heard at the show. Close second was Ron Welborne's DRD's ( I think he was running the '45s in his display room on the Oris with SS powered subs) I'd love to hear what Allen uses ( or could do) with loudspeakers. You've likely had numerous conversations with him during the development of your system, perhaps you could shed some light on that?

As much as I admire the unbridled enthusiasm, outside of the box vision and sculptural artistry of Josh Stippich; his designs are unaffordable, totally unpractical, if not dangerous to life, limb and musculoskeletal structure of anyone trying to move them, and after hearing 2 different systems of his at successive VSAC (2001 / 2003) too much larger than life for my musical taste.

Chris Bobiak

 

Chris,

Thanks Chris for the affirmation on Allen's amplifiers. They truly are a design breakthrough. He is building me a second pair with 300B's to use on my main speakers and I'll report on them soon I hope. He is indeed a great story teller as one can see just by reading his Preamp and Wire cookbooks. If I remember right from my visit to his place three years ago, he has modified some old Altec pro loudspeakers with his wire and crossovers, and uses a pre-production model of these amps and the sound is very good.

Bill


 

03/01/04

Hi Dick,

I see they have done a flashback on your review on the Kuzma Reference. I purchased one of these tables for use with my Audio Note arm and Audio Note IO Ltd cartridge. This table was unlistenable! I had it in my system for a brief time only. It was quiet but absolutely dead sounding. Smaller platters are more dynamic. Most people never really hear what vinyl is capable of. I went back to my DPS table with the same arm and cartridge and am quite happy. Just had to see what all the fuss was about with these large platters.

Regards,

Robert Lighton

 

Hi Robert,

A little voice inside my head keeps insisting that you're pulling my leg. After all, when you refer to the Kuzma reference table as absolutely dead sounding, that in my book is as high a complement as one can pay a turntable. What that means is that it isn't being excited by environmental vibrations, that it is isolating the cartridge from mechanical vibration in the motor assembly, and that the platter is sinking energy punched into the vinyl by the cartridge. In other words: it is doing its job! In my sphere of experience, an acoustically dead turntable is a beautiful turntable.

Apparently you are compensating for poor cartridge/arm sonic performance by feeding resonant energy back into the signal. This highlights the practice, so common in audiophile review magazines, of shooting down a component because it doesn't neatly fit into one's system. 

Obviously the Kuzma didn't work for you, but please don't shoot the messenger.

Enjoy the music,

Dick Olsher
Senior Editor


 

03/01/04

Dear Steve,

Thanks for a wonderful and informative website. I have a quick question that has me very concerned. I recently switched from a modest 50 watt solid-state amplifier to a 80 watt KT88 tube amp. The problem is, the music through the tube amp is "slow", the beat or the tempo is noticeably slower than my solid-state amplifier. It's very disconcerting. The speakers are 98dB sensitive and 8ohm nominal. I've heard of this, but only with cheap, poorly designed components, which is not my case. Any advise on how to troubleshoot this situation would be greatly appreciated. I'm at my wits end. Thank you for your time and consideration.

All the Best,

Sam


Sam,

Thanks for your e-mail. The apparent slowness may be due to the quality of the KT88 amplifier you are using and/or circuit design. Like
any product, solid-state or tube based, not all products are created equal. As it seems you are not happy with the KT88 unit, hopefully you can get a refund and try something that better meets your desires. In the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


 

03/01/04

Wayne, 

Well done! I own the VR-2's and enjoy them very much. Thanks for getting the word out.. I listened to some 5K speakers that couldn't compete with the VR-2's. You're right, nobody can touch them in the 2.5K price range. I'm teaming mine up with the Spectron Musician III. It should be here next week.. Albert uses the Musician III to "Voice" his speakers. He also used the Musician III at the CES show. When are you guys going to review the Musician III??

Gary

 

Hi Gary, 

Thanks for writing, and for the kind words. Spectron head man John Ulrich has promised me a Musician III for review from an early production run, so I expect to have it in March or April. I'm sure you are going to enjoy the music with your rig. 

Wayne Donnelly


 

03/01/04

Wayne,


My system consists of the Denon PMA 2000ivr integrated amplifier, Philips SACD 1000, paradigm studio 60 v2, Zu Julian loudspeaker cables (two sets to biwire), and Zu Oxyfuel interconnects. I am thinking about replacing the studio 60's with the Von Schweikert VR2 but have to drive four hours to hear them. How do you think they will fit in my system. my room is 12 x 15.

Thanks,

Marvin

 

Hi Marvin,

I'm not familiar with your Paradigm loudspeakers, but I don't see any reason why the VR 2s shouldn't sound splendid in your room and with your equipment. 

Enjoy the music,

Wayne Donnelly 


 

03/01/04

Hi Steven,

I've been reading your review of the DACT and found it to be very interesting and informative. That being the case, I am hoping you can help me to answer a few questions.

One, I would like to add a stereo DACT to a CD player. Why impedance would you recommend?? 10K? 20K?? 50K??

And two, I would also like to use a DACT for a midrange horn LPAD. Would this work??? The midrange driver is 16 ohm.

Anyway, thank you in advance for your response. I very much appreciate it!!!

Sincerely,

John Ellis

 

John,

Thanks for your e-mail. While the DACT is not suited as an Lpad, it would be fine with the CD player. Odds are you are using it as a passive preamplifier, so choose 10kOhms (see this link for explanation). Always glad to be of service.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


 

03/01/04

Hi Wayne,

I read your review on the Osprey from Meadowlark. You mention about the use of solid wood in these speakers. The baffle is the only solid part and the rest-the important part- is made from MDF covered in veneer. I'm a big believer in Baltic birch and solid wood but these speakers don't benefit from that.

Regards,

Robert Lighton

 

Hello Robert, 

Thanks for writing. I read through my review again, and here is what I said about wood: 

"Meadowlark has for years offered an unusual breadth of choice in wood finishes, including stunning tropical hardwood veneers. But since moving into his roomy factory in Watertown, New York, McGinty and company have plunged headlong into woodworking, offering a dizzying variety of hardwoods and veneers, with many custom options, at what strike me as quite reasonable upcharges."

I don't believe this paragraph suggests that the loudspeakers are made entirely of hardwood, and I have never thought they are--I refer to veneers twice. But I agree that I should have been more specific about where solid hardwoods vs. veneers are employed. I will add a sentence to the review to clarify that. I would take issue, however, with your assertion that the rest of the cabinet walls (all but the baffle) are "the important part" of the cabinet. I (and I'm confident Pat McGinty) believe a solid resonance-resisting baffle is very important indeed to the clarity of the loudspeaker. BTW, the veneered MDF cabinet walls of the Osprey are well braced and impressively free of ringing. 

Best wishes,

Wayne


 

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