Letters To Us
Come on, get the reviews out before the holidays!!!!
Steve sez: Here you go, two days early :-)
First, I thoroughly enjoy all your efforts for our Hi-Fi community. Your associates are appreciated too....
Steve sez: A most humble thanks. Glad you enjoy our website!...
Chris Replies: I hate to say it, but my enjoyment of a magazine seems to be the "kiss of
death"! I hope Positive Feedback is hanging in there.
P.S. Your selection of equipment to review is superlative. I am so fed up
with the dumbing down of former review sources once held in high regard. You
guys and folks like Listener make the hobby fun
again. It reminds me of years ago when I first got involved in Hi-Fi.
Hey Mr. Flood,
I just read your review of the Antique Sound Labs Wave 8 Monoblocks. I'm very interested in trying a tubed system, because of my slight
disappointment with solid state sound. I currently have some Nohr Ceramic 4.0s hooked into a so-so Kenwood
Receiver. My source is a Toshiba 6200 DVD/CD player. As you can see, not the greatest setup for recreating music.
What I'd really like to do is play around with the Nohrs and the Wave 8s. I've read that the Nohrs are not the most efficient speakers in the world, would the Wave 8s be sufficient to drive them? I'm also interested in the AH! Njoe Tjoeb 4000, though I've read that the Heart 6000 is a better unit; of course it's a couple hundred bucks more. How big is the sound difference would you say,
honestly? Because my receiver has no pre-amplifier outputs, I'd like to totally eliminate it from the equation. How is the AH!'s built in volume control? Currently this would be a bed room setup so loudness is not a big deal. I just want to be able to drift to sleep to sounds of liquid tubes. Sorry, I'm rather new to the audiophile thing, but I do know what good sound is. Any help is appreciated.
Hey, some good questions, Matt. I will try to give you as much help as I can. I think you are on the right track, but I am not the one to get you to the station.
Based on the reviews, I think the nOrh speakers are an exciting idea for sound reproduction and I doubt that they would be the "weakest link" in your audio system. I would try for more efficient speakers for a bedroom system, such as the Audio Axioms that I review this month.
On the other hand, what several hundred dollars buys in off-the-shelf receivers is a tired old joke. I think the Kenwood would be a good place to start upgrading. I have heard the Wave 8s. I would strongly encourage you to play around with them, or other Antique Sound Lab integrated tube amplifiers which fit your budget. Even on the cheap bookshelf speakers that I tried the Waves with, they never failed to capture some of the easy listening enjoyment of music, if not the sonic accuracy. If this amp improvement does not jump right out at you when you first try them - don't worry - it will grow on you.
You might also play around with better dampening for your CD player. Try surfing the stereo forums for tweaks that dampen the player itself (plates, feet and caulking) or look up my article on building your own isolation platform
(click here). These tweaks will get the most out of the player that you have right now. You will quickly know if the player is good enough for you.
I have not heard the Ah! Tjoeb players, so I can't answer your question about the gain or the sonic difference in price and value. Therefore, I can not deliver you to where you want to go; I have heard nothing but good things about them and do recommend them myself. I can tell you that when I upgraded, from a very old off-the-shelf Sony player to a more refined and subtle Rotel, it was all the difference in the world. Not startling, as so many reviewers like to describe the equipment, but crucial nonetheless. One wore my ears out; the other was enjoyable. That was worth several hundred, right there.
I can also tell you this: I would rather listen to a ASL and Ah! Tjoeb front-end over a Kenwood and Toshiba one any day. And, please, call me Colin.
Yours, in listening,
I currently have a pair of Triangle Titus 202s. I am now considering moving up to a floor-standing speaker and was wondering if you could provide any comments on either the Epos M15 versus the Triangle
Zerius. These two speakers would seem to fit my budget and tastes so I would be very interested in any information you could provide about their relative strengths and weaknesses, and any recommendations for an integrated amplifier that would mate well with either or both. I find that many (most) speakers only sound good at moderate to loud levels. Since I often listen at low volumes I would also be interested in how these speakers sound at low volumes (I find that the Titus excel in this area).
Srajan sez: Hi Kevin,
I haven't done the comparison you're interested in. What I can tell you is
that if you enjoy the Titus 202, a bigger Triangle will give you very
much the same sound, except with more bass and an ability to play louder. Triangle has been very successful at maintaining their "house sound" across the entire line. This has to do with their proprietary drivers and how they use the same ones for all models, the difference primarily being how many woofers are paralleled, and whether a 5.25" or 6.5" driver is used for midrange duty.
That latter item will be the primary difference between the Titus and Zerius if I'm not mistaken - the minor sonic differential between a 5 or 6-inch driver covering the vocal range. Even regardless of that, adding bass always shifts apparent tonal balance - the sound gets fuller, weightier, perhaps a bit warmer, and perhaps, by comparison, also a mite less transparent, with less "sheen" or "sparkle". For one, that's a perception issue and has to do with how our ear/brain mechanism works - adding bass shifts the tonal center downwards.
From experience, I can tell you that the Lyrr and Ventis both excel at reduced level listening, something I also noticed with the li'l Titus when I reviewed it for GoodSound!. It seems fair to assume that this trait would extend to the Zerius as well. A good integrated to match the Triangles? Consider Audio Analogue, Cairn or Audio Refinement. Incidentally, the Cairn engineer used to work for Triangle and his factory is now a 2-minute foot walk removed from the Triangle plant. Both design houses share a common aural vision about speed, dynamics and communicativeness - so while I haven't heard the Cairn with the Triangles except at tradeshows, it's probably a really uncanny match. It certainly seemed that way at the CES, and the importer for Triangle handles Cairn as well (probably no coincidence).
Lastly, I assume that the Zerius, compared to the Epos, has a distinctly different voicing - since you're already "hooked" on the Triangle sound from owning the Titus, you might find the Epos a tad - ahem, uninvolving. Again, that's just an assumption and no underhanded swipe at the Epos. It's just a different sonic flavor, with the Epos more in the tradition of the classic British sound.
Sorry if I couldn't help any more.
I read your recent review of the Audio Magic Stealth with great interest and enthusiasm. I really enjoy your writing. I was wondering if you had any experience with the Custom Power Cord Co. Top Gun Super Power Block Plus (quite a mouthful), and how it compares with the Stealth. The former is made by David Blair at Luxor and retails at $800 so it is even less expensive than the Stealth. I understand it is a power distribution center, which I am not sure what that means, and it does not provide surge protection like the Stealth. I know The Absolute Sound has been consistently raved about the CPCC unit, so wondering if you had a chance to compare it to the Stealth. Your expertise and advice would be greatly appreciated.
I'm aware of the Custom Power Cord products only from hearsay, albeit really
good one. Generally, "power distribution center" is a fancy way of saying power strip, a repeater that turns a single wall outlet into multiple
outlets, the cheapest version thereof the Waber Strips your local hardware store would sell. Of course, seeing that CPCC is known for after-market
power cords, I assume they probably do some fancy noise filtering which would turn their unit into a power conditioner. What kind of filtering
(parallel, series, capacitive, transformer coupled, other) might be stated on their website?
All I can suggest is that you contact both David Blair and Jerry Ramsey to see whether they could make short-term loaners available, with you covering
two-way shipping on the unit you didn't want to keep. This would allow you a
home audition to settle this matter for your own benefit and would of course
be contingent on the manufacturers' willingness to accommodate you.
Glad you enjoy the writing - there'll be more of it.
Thanks for publishing my comment on the non-review of the Benz L2 phono cartridge (and for spelling my name correctly). A review of a piece of audio equipment should impart information useful to those who read it (or is this simply my opinion?). I assert that said "review" did not meet this (minimum) qualification. Thus, my concise assessment of its (lack of) value.
Doak M. Wattigney
After a few e-mails between us... In the future we will have more
details concerning how VTA/VTF differences alter the music reproduction and
how it pertains to the cartridge under test. Thanks for your comments and constructive
criticisms as they are truly appreciated.
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
Thanks for the info. LOVE THE E-MAG!!!!
Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your Spendor and Harbeth reviews in this month's
Enjoy the Music.com™.
Can't wait for the Compact 7 review next month!
I know nothing can take the place of actually listening to the speakers myself (I'll finally get to hear the Harbeth's at the Montreal show later this month) but your wonderful prose made me feel as if I was listening through your ears!
I should be getting my Blue Circle BC3 Despina and BC22 by the end of the month, then I'll start saving for Harbeth's after that... unless I come away disappointed from my audition. Although I highly doubt it from what I've read and knowing my own listening preferences.
P.S. it was also partially due to your reviews of Blue Circle gear that led me to Gilbert's stuff!
Many thanks for your generous praise. There won't be a separate Compact 7 review. You'll have to take your sense of that speaker from the Monitor 30 review and, if you care to look it up, a review I did a year or so ago on audioasylum.com. Go to that site and click on reviews, then on speakers, then on Harbeth Compact 7's, and finally on my name! We decided that running a separate review on the 7's after I'd done the AA review would be unnecessary. And I really hadn't all that much new to say that I didn't work into the Monitor 30 review.
Blue Circle single-ended preamps are wonderful. And with the Despina you can always trade up to the Galatea (larger power supply) getting a full trade in on your Despina power supply. The extra bass control you get with the Galatea is definitely worth it if you're driving Harbeths.
Thanks for writing,
Bob and Steve,
The Harbeth and Spendor reviews in you new issue were BRILLIANTLY written!!! Any chance we can get you to tackle (in an appropriately small room) some Harbeth, Spendor,
ProAc and other British minimonitors (throw in an LS3/5a if you can) at some time in the future?
A fabulous issue. Just keeps getting better.
My goodness! Thanks for the pat on the back. I have no idea who and who does not read these reviews, so it's nice to hear from a reader. I've been waiting for someone to scream "false" about the Spendor review, some Spendor lover who disagrees with me about the charm vs. accuracy issue, but nothing yet.
I agree that someone should do the smaller speakers. My small room is far from ideal, though. Maybe someday when I set up another one for a study. At that point self-interest, a decent room, and this important audition will all line up!
All the best,
i believe we have more British monitor reviews coming in a few months. Stay tuned!
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
This is Mike Masztal, Ex-Soundstage reviewer and Audiomat dealer in Atlanta. You may recall speaking with me several months ago about the Harbeth speakers. I had spoken with Garnet a few times, but he never got back with me on bringing the line into my shop. I guess either Harbeth doesn't have the production capacity to enter the US market or Garnet isn't interested in getting a network going.
I'd just like to congratulate you for what is, in my opinion, one of the best reviews I seen in my 25+ years of reading audio mags. Steve must be a great editor in allowing you as much space as you used.
I'm speaking, of course of the Harbeth & Spendor review. Most readers doesn't
realize the concept of synergy and too many reviewers rate a product simply based on it's performance in their reference system, whether the speakers synergize or not. You really did a nice job in comparing the 2 models and using different amps brought a lot of insight into the character of the Harbeth and Spendor.
I totally agree with your assessment of the Solfege on the Spendors. I used to have the 1/2 ('89-'93--- sold them for Mirage M3si-- major mistake) The Solfege is way too heavy handed for the SP1/2. It's too bad you didn't have the Prelude Ref handy. That could make the SP 1/2 really sing, but it may not have the cajones for the Harbeths 30s. As I would have expected, the Solfege worked better with the Harbeth.
Anyway, nice work and I look forward to your assessment of the Solfege and how it did with the Monitor 40s.
Hello Doctor Gaw,
Just read your review of the little ASL AQ~2004 tube pre-amplifier. I am in a bit of a quandary ok? Comes down to "choices"
actually... I was originally thinking of perhaps the purchase of a Jolida SJ~202A integrated, but the biasing situation, (Via Jolida's scheme), sort of has me in a dither. Then? I seen in Stereophile, (later at ASL's WEB site), the introduction of them really cool little WAVE Mono Amps. Anyway, sort of got this girl thinking.. follow me
Kimosabay? Let's say I do a AQ2004 pre-amp, with a pair of WAVE 10 watt mono amps, (covered Sweetie, NOT "Nude," 'sides a girl gets an IEC Cord and better binding posts for the extra 20 bucks)! So? What ya think Daddy-O? ECL82's
-vs- the sound of EL84's? Auto bias of the ASL's -vs- Jolida's "Do it yerself Honey, and good luck!" gig? Oh yeah, my speakers are KEF Cresta
II's, 91dba efficiency so 10 watts a toob ain't gonna be a problem... set-up is in my 10' x 10'
Please advise Doc.. Later Alligator.. Be good, stay well :)
Miss Brenda Petrykowski
Medical Operations Coordinator
Department of Radiology
(underpaid/overworked audio geek girl)
Still use the ASL as my rear channel preamp and it has stood up as a good little mid high end tube preamp. Jolida also makes equal equipment. Both would be great. With your set-up I
would suggest an integrated tube amp as that would be the least expensive way to go. Both companies make very good
integrated for the price. Plus you don't need a set of interconnects. Later, you can use the unit as a rear channel amp for surround sound.
Just read your review of the ASL Waves ok? So? What's an underpaid/overworked audio geek girl like myself supposed to do eh? Suffer through life with my Sony Receiver and lust after that gorgeous tube gear, (and sound)! that I keep reading about in the audiophile rags? Or.. do a pair of WAVES? Ok here's the gig I been thinking about, ASL AQ2004 Pre-amp, and a pair of WAVE's to power up my KEF Cresta
II's, (dba rating of 91 so they are pretty efficient), and, since I don't play stuff load enough to make my ears bleed, 10 watts per channel would be just fine for my 10' X 10'
bedroom/compute rroom/etc. My current audio set-up sits
on top my dresser with the KEF's on 30" stands on each side. My bed sits against the other wall and everything is like in a nice equal triangle if I sit directly in the center of my bed for some really surprising nice stereo imaging and sound staging (even via my lowly Sony receiver). But I w! an tubes! I want lush smooth sound! I wanna hear Diana Krall and Pat Barbara like standing right "there" in full 3 dimensional glory! Not to mention Tony Bennett, Bill Evans and other jazz and blues artists. With the Sony It sounds good ok? But it sounds artificial. Also I might add, I have been seriously considering the Jolida SJ-202A integrated, but then I have to start messing with stuff like "bias" and I have no talents in that area, so if I do tube audio gear, I would rather stay with an auto bias rig,
(Tash at ASL told me I don't have to mess with bias on the AQ2004 pre-amp, so that's cool). So now, I do have a few questions ok? You bought the NUDE version ok? That's the way I wan tot get them too, but Isn't the covered version better? Heard from a guy on the net that the extra $20 bucks would get me not only the (ugly) cover, but an IEC type cord, (which is better?) and he said they used heavier speaker terminals on the covered one also? And, that the build quality was ! better on the (ugly) covered one? That true Steve? Anyway, drop me an e-mail ok? Thanks.
Miss Brenda Petrykowski
Medical Operations Coordinator
(pathetically underpaid/overworked audio geek princess)
(Humor... and truth below)
Dear Pathetically Underpaid/Overworked Audio Geek Princess,
No need to suffer. As you are the Medical Operations Coordinator, just prescribe yourself to take two tube amplifiers and call me in the morning. Continuing reading audio rags is a personal choice. If they bring you deep satisfaction, that's great. If not, then please find another outlet that deeply satisfies your most intimate needs. As your system is in the bedroom, this may be the best advice. As for the debate between the covered versus nude version, i prefer to sleep nude and so do my amplifiers. Hope this answers all your questions and wish you all the pleasures life has to offer.
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
Nice review of the Wave 8 amps!! Aren't they great! I have owned a pair for about 3 months now and love them. I happen to use mine with the Axiom M3Ti as well. I also use a Wheatfield HA-1 tube preamp. I echo all that you said in your review in spades. However, I thought you were hard on them in the rating you gave them on soundscape and bass!! :)
Couple things. Apparently swapping out the Ei tubes for Svetlana makes a nice improvement. I have a quad set coming this next
week. Apparently there is improvements in refinement, smoothness, linearity, and deep bass extension as well as some smoothing out of the mid bass. Also increases in detail and staging.
A few people have swapped out the two caps inside as well, with .47 uf Auricaps. Apparently this makes for one heck of an improvement too, in many areas. Apparently it reduces grain, refines the treble, makes the mids more liquid and natural, and the bass becomes thunderous. I hope to tweak mine in the next couple weeks.
Along with you I am loving the Axioms and the Wave
amps, what a bargain!!
Thanks for the input! I appreciate the effort it takes for even a small amount of feedback. Even with two speakers and two other amps to compare the ASL Wave 8s against, all other things remained constant. So a problem or a possible tweak, like that of swapping the interconnect or a tube, was not isolated enough to be properly identified, and therefore was out of the realm of this article. So it is especially nice to hear what tweaks you performed. Thank you.
I was enjoying some of your reviews today, particularly the "Walkerisms" piece in the latest EnjoyTheMusic.com. I think the incisiveness and style of your writing is terrific. I was reminded to write to you about my experiences with the Audio Magic Stealth.
After a lengthy (300 hrs+) burnin' with a 1500-watt space heater, everything sounds exactly to my liking. Maybe I can stop being an audiophile and just listen to music for awhile. :-)
I almost forgot that the Stealth was in the system until I lent it to a friend a few days ago. I can't bear to listen until the Stealth returns. Thank you so much for reviewing this component so accurately. There is nothing about the Shunyata Hydra that I miss.
I've never found a polite way to pass along the spelling of a word, so I'll just drop the word epitome here as a replacement for epidemy and hope I have not been too rude in doing so.
Hello Mr. Gil,
Good to hear from you. I had fun with those reviews, and I'm happy it comes across.
Your experience is an old trick many reviewers employ to verify findings - remove the component under review by going back to the prior status quo. Often the real contributions of the piece under consideration become even more apparent by subtraction. I've recommended the Stealth to a few folks who asked, and not one of them has emailed back to report they didn't like it. In fact, more than one did a rather extensive shoot-out session
against other contenders -- including some of the ones I used -- and described the differences in very similar terms to my own. Of course, whether that means you prefer the Stealth -- as you and I do -- or one of the competitors really is something very personal. Still, it is gratifying to hear that his subjective reviewing business is perhaps not as subjective as certain critics claim.
From epidemy to epitome to erudition - you did good, Mr. Gil!
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