Letters To Us
I wanted to ask for some advice regarding the ASL Wave 8s that you reviewed for
Enjoy the Music.comô. I have been intrigued with the idea of tubes for a while, but chickened out when I set up a listening room in my back office. Right now I am using a Cambridge Audio A500, Yamaha 575 CD Player, and Energy e:XL16 (according to Energy they the sensitivity is 91db) speakers. The Cambridge has pre-outs and I was considering using the Wave 8s as an
upgrade for quiet tube listening. What do you think about this combination? I didn't get the greatest feeling from the dealer when I asked. Unfortunately, they are sold out of the Wave 8s so I could ask him to try it in the store.
Some extra info: the listening room I use is small, 10 feet by 11 feet. Seating position is about 5 feet from the speakers.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
I think it is a very good idea. Thank you for providing the information that you did, that was most helpful. I didnít know the ASL products were available retail, but I would not be one bit afraid of the punchy little $99 ASL Wave 8 tube monoblock amplifiers. They are very much a plug ní play proposition, simple enough for blondes like me, and certainly worth a try. The Wave 8s are one of the easiest ways to get into tubes. They do not need major expense, upgrading, adjusting, cleaning up or biasing. I had to do some digging to find out which loudspeakers you have, seems like they might be similar to the XL-150 Bookshelf that they sell now, so here are my insights:
Christian, although the small Energy loudspeakers have above average rated sensitivity at 90db, it is still hard to know what their impedance curve is and how they may react to any amplifier, especially a tube one. If I havenít said it plainly before, let me state this clearly now.
Loudspeaker manufactures are selling an electro-mechanical product whose actual performance varies with the amplifier used to drive it. Therefore, in my opinion, not only should all loudspeaker manufacturers provide a frequency response chart for all of their products, they should also provide an impedance chart as well. Looking at the charts would give us some idea of how even small loudspeakers might react to tube amplifiers. Having said that though, the Energy e:XL16 probably does not have much frequency response in the impedance challenging areas below 60-Hz. This means that they probably are not too challenging for a tube amplifier.
In fact, I really liked what the Wave 8s did with the charming little Axiom Audio M3Ti. Together, they made music quite enjoyable. In a bedroom-size den/office, the combination of the low cost, low-power Wave 8s and Energy loudspeakers is definitely worth a shot.
Position them as far away from the side and front walls as practical, about ear level. If the difference is not immediately noticeable, my feeling is you will find them quite appealing in the long run. I donít know about your retailer, but if you order them from ASL and donít like them, you can easily return them. Yours in listening,
Read your review on the Jolida SJ 202 Integrated Amplifier and had a question that you might be able to answer? It concerns the bias trim adjustments. I had owned one last year, which I ended up trading in for something else because of a few niggling problems that I didn't desire to live with. For one, at extreme low volumes my sample skewed most of the information to the right channel, (switching out the signal tubes and changing them around did nothing to alleviate the problem), also, the bias trim adjustments were "reversed" from what the owners manual had stated. The two adjustment pots for the left channel were "counterclockwise for minimum, and clockwise for maximum" as they were supposed to be, (according to the manual) but the right channel was just the opposite, i.e., clockwise for a minimum setting, counterclockwise for a maximum! Is your SJ 202 the same?
Also, turning the entire amp on it's head to get at the access inputs to insert my digital meter's probes was less then desirable, (why didn't they just put that thing on top the amp? Would have made life a whole bunch easier!) But alas, you ask yourself in contemplation, why is this woman writing to me if she owned one of these little amps and has since discarded it? Because Wayne, I miss the little fellow. In spite of it's flaws, I think I may need to own another one. What it did render was some very sweet EL34 sounds that inexpensive solid state electronics simply cannot begin to approach. Just wondering if Mr. Allen and company have addressed any of these shortcomings?
The next step up would have to be the new Nelson EL34 based integrated at $1,200 USD, or perhaps the Antique Sounds Labs EL34 amp at $800 + dollars, but why spend that kind of green cash when the pretty little Jolida can be had for several dollars less? Have a lovely day Wayne. I await your response.
Dear Miss Brenda,
It is an all too rare pleasure to receive correspondence from a member of the superior sex, especially one as knowledgeable as you.
The channel dropout at very low volume is most likely due to a lack of linearity in the volume pot, so I'm not surprised that switching around the tubes had no effect. As to your comments on the bias procedure, let me first confess that I have not yet felt the need to
re-bias my 202, and when the need arises I will be seeking help from a friend because my impaired vision makes such tasks difficult at best. I have spoken to a friend who is a Jolida dealer, and he had not encountered the irregularity in the bias adjustment. I have also forwarded your letter to Mike Allen, and have asked him to reply to both of us.
About the inconvenient location of the bias trim, I can only say amen sister. I suspect there was a manufacturing cost consideration here, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. At the moment I am reviewing an excellent sounding power amplifier that requires removing the top cover to switch from balanced to single ended inputs. Talk about annoying....
I am curious about whether you contacted your dealer or the factory about your problems before deciding to trade in the 202. I have not needed any service from this company, but their reputation for customer service is very good. I think you might well have been offered repair or replacement of your amplifier.
I have not heard either of the alternative choices you mention, so I can't be much help there. I believe the ASL integrated amplifier uses KT-88 output tubes, which can of course sound excellent but which might not convey quite the sweetness of the EL-34, which you seem to value greatly. But your letter suggests that you are more than capable of making the choice that will satisfy you best. I would like to see what you finally choose.
I went to SOUNDEX in Willow Grove, PA the end of last June, I had thought I'd be buying C4's but after listening to both C4's and C2's I purchased the Confidence C2's. I felt the C4's were to large for my room. Four years earlier I purchased Confidence 3's after listening to a lot of speakers, because I thought they were the best under $20,000. I am very happy with my C2's. I enjoyed your review.
Thanks for the note. I did not of course have the chance to hear the C4s in my room. I had only heard them at HE 2002 in a large room and they sounded quite good (hence my interest in reviewing them or the C2s). Intuitively, it just seems as though the C4s would want a lot of space, and not just because they are large, but also because they can really fill a room easily. They might have been great in the living room I had in Paris, which was 21x28, with 11 ft. ceilings.
Glad you like your C2s so much. I have very much enjoyed my time with them.
After an exhaustive web-search, I have been unable to purchase the
A.S.S.-H.O.L.E. from your review. My wife asked just this morning if I could be any more of an asshole, so this seems like the perfect solution.
Happy April Fools Day and thanks for helping us enjoy the music!
Alas, just as i posted the review I.M.A. was sent to fight the recent battle. Hopefully he will come back and make more. And ALWAYS glad to bring a :-) to a music lover's face :-)
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
(Commenting on our April Fools
Good one.... A.S.S.H.O.L.E
Happy April Fools day....
As a side note, I have been in audio stores where this product is used extensively....
Many thanks and it is good to see there are folks with a good
sense of humor. Some people appear to take this hobby all too seriously, all
too often. (Humor) For those who are anal retentive, maybe I.M.A. will make
something to relieve their woes :-)
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
After listening and comparing the HV-1 to the Headroom little more power/Premium, I sent back the little. Your review of the HV-1 was right on exactly. I am really enjoying the
headphone amplifier. Like you, though, I do prefer a little more lush, and I was wondering if you have tried rolling the tubes on your amp yet. I can't seem to find anything out there except for GE, RCA, and Phillips.
Thanks for your e-mail and glad you enjoy this wonderful headphone amplifier. Alas, have not had time to tube roll. So many tubes, so little time :-(
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
I just noted, with interest, that you are positive on the Pioneer DV-47A (apart from the mysterious SACD hiss). I own the same player and have not experienced this problem-yet. It's interesting the amount of bashing this player has received. I also was initially disappointed. However, after almost a year of break-in it's started to bloom. Am I deluding myself? Actually - who cares. If the music sounds good to me, isn't that what counts? I do enjoy your writing. I've been an audio freak for 40 years and still get great joy out of the hobby. Grazie.
Best Regards - David Gilbert
PS: any tweaky tips for the Pioneer?
Yes it does seem to have a very long break-in time. It is also very sensitive
to AC line noise. Try to isolate it with a good AC isolator such as the Sound Application or Walker unit. Unhappily each will cost three time the price of the 47A. It
turns out the hiss was from having turned down the main channel volume controls in the 47A. With DVD-A you just get volume decrease. With SACD the lower you turn down
the volume control, the more hiss is produced. I have no idea why. So that problem is solved for me.
Well, the WT-100 surely did improve with breakin. Soundstaging now almost matches the VK-60s. Bass is just fine, actually clearer and better defined. Tube selection is quite critical IMO. The only 6SN7 that gets my juices really flowing in the Aria is the
Tung-Sol Round. The Ken Rad VT-231 is nice also, if a bit laid back. I have a pair of CBS Hytron 5692s on the way. We'll see/hear how they will compare to the Rounds. Despite the improvement in the Aria, there are still a couple of things that bother me about it. I find that the degree of 3D, palpable presence I was accustomed to with the BATs is missing. I also find the Aria a bit laid back overall. Kick drum for instance lacks the in the gut punch it had with the BATs in my system. I've spoken to Mike Elliot and he assures me he can improve greatly on these two qualities. To that end, it will be going back for a
re-voicing March 10. If the mission is accomplished, I could very well have my dream amp. Well, actually, my dream amp would be a pair of these for monoblock bridging. File that one under the "gotta be dreaming" category.
It sounds like you are taking a very methodical path to making your final decision, so I imagine you should be pretty satisfied at the end of all this with whatever amplifier you choose. Let me know.
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