Enjoy the Music.com

Letters To Us



I just found your website via an Avantgarde article- your site is among the best I've ever seen, very informative, lots of great info, very enjoyable. I am a music lover and audiophile (over 30 years in HiFi), and my appreciation for good music (jazz & classical, mainly) faithfully & accurately reproduced only continues to grow. My system is a custom-designed tri-amped system (custom-made speakers: titanium tweeter horns & ElectroVoice midrange horns) with conventional bass-reflex 15" woofers, custom electronic crossover, & dedicated music room treated with ASC tube traps & RPG diffusers. My appreciation for horns, thru my system & now available thru Avantgarde, is in my opinion the best way to go. IT REALLY IS ALL ABOUT ENJOYING THE MUSIC!! Your enthusiasm for good music faithfully reproduced really comes across in your equipment reviews.

Keep up the good work, and thank you for a great site!!!

Gary Herbst


06 / 01


I quite enjoyed your review of the Vecteur D-2 transport. Very few people however seem to have any experience with it. You observed that the Vecteur soundly trounced the Theta data basic II on all fronts. I was wondering if you'd had a chance to compare the Vecteur with any other units. I'm currently considering the purchase of a Meridian 500 transport, and would love to know how the Vecteur stacks up against it. Any further insight on the matter would be most welcome.


Bashir Ahmad


  Thanks for your interest. I cannot comment on how it stacks up against the transport you mention as I have not had any experience with it. All I can say with any confidence is that the Vecteur D-2 is an excellent transport. I suggest that you check out the Vecteur distributor's website (www.mutine.com) and find the dealer nearest you. Doing your own listening test is the best method when you get to the point of actually choosing a system. Good luck. Please let me know what you decide.

Neil Walker



(Referring to Clark Johnsen's Emap show report)

Clark, that was fucking brilliant. I hope you are making some money off your writing because it is among the best I've ever read (including columns of your own for some many years!!). I really enjoyed it and it has an almost uncanny blend of breezy, chummy dialogue but with technical precision that mirrors the subject in a way that borders on the religious. YOU GO GIRL!! Just Great!

John Devine

Clark sez: Thank you! [Blush!] You caught precisely what I was attempting to do. The writerly aspects you compliment, however, should not diminish the fact that it's the way I lead my life that puts me in situations that nearly report themselves!




Please tell Ms. Krop that I absolutely loved her interview piece. So informative, energetic, and pleasurable.

More, more, more!! I would love to read about musicians talking about their instruments....why these were chosen, the sonic qualities of one over another, their cost, etc. etc. Would give us a direct connection to the intent and personality of the player. Perhaps Gigi could be induced to give us more (of these interviews), and on an ongoing basis?

Alan Kafton


Steve sez: Ok, more more... with a Rebel yell, more more more.



Karl Lozier,

I enjoyed your article on dwindling world wide vacuum reserves. It reminded me of the situation in the 70s in which vast herds of African Polyester were completely decimated in order to supply the greedy demand for leisure suites. It was horrible. Where was PETA back then.




Hi Enjoy the Music,

The best record of the seventies, and the best Crosby. I buy the the original in Nov. '70 and later in the 80's the CD. In the 70's this record has the name for extreme quality for audiophiles. And now the 180gr. remaster. Fantastic! Is there a price? Is there a remastered CD coming?

Friendly Regards

Bert Fruitema
Zwolle, Netherlands

Steve sez: Alas, do not believe a CD is in the works. Could be a good time to buy a turntable ;-) 




I must say you were definitely on-the-ball with all your statements concerning Pro Piano Records, and those recordings you reviewed... I ordered Okashiro's transcription of Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, as well as J.Y. Song's Liszt & Busoni directly after reading your reviews...

Most excellent stuff!! I use pianos heavily to tune both my home and car audio system, and I can tell these as well as a growing number of others from Pro Audio are going to be used a LOT!

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!  =)

Klifton J.K.



...I LOVE your site, and I have benefited from it greatly.

David Levinson



Hi Steve,

I have been reading your reviews and been coming back to your site for some time. I think your reviews are some of the honest and best out there....

Pete Cortinas



I really like your website it let's me voice my opinion and it it it it it isisi sisisisisiis so coooooool





Hey Steve,

Just glanced through your review on the Sun Audio SV-2A3PE. COOL. It's about time somebody writes something that pretty much trashes a component that people like me consider expensive. I have not got a talented ear and rely on the "EXPERTS" on which components my low middle income wages can purchase. You and the rest of the gang "PLEASE" keep up the great work and help us novices Enjoy the Music.E specially us blue collar music lovers.

Jose P.



Hi Steve,

Congratulations on adding another high quality magazine to your site - well done!

Best Regards,

Jim Ricketts
tmh audio 
US Importer: WAVAC Audio, Köchel, Miyabi, Pure Silver Co.



Great mag and website...

Bernard D.




I think you guys are off to a great start with this site... It looks great! I really like the tube and speaker "Lust Pages". They let me see a bunch of awesome designs I would never know anything about. Keep it up... 

Incidentally, and mostly thanks to you for turning me on to the Uno's, I did purchase the Uno's in red and am now awaiting delivery. Steve, again I love your site and thank you very much in advance. I assure you that any feelings and thoughts you forward my way will be held in my strict confidence. 


Anthony Kob



Hi Steven

Being an analog fan I can't resist to be on this contest. You're doing a great job, Very good and interesting web sites.


Marc Légaré




Errmm, sorry to bother you at this time of night
(2AM, well, here at least) but I just had to :o)

I discovered "The Archive" section of 'EnjoyTheMusic' and
started reading, well, about 5 hours ago. I read 80% of your reviews and I must say I admire your writing. I just finished with the review of VAC Avartar, still few to go. You have a great sense of humor too, and you could use going out a bit more, as probably would I ;o)

Well anyway, my name is Dalibor, I live in Croatia (www.hr), that's right next too Italy (Fase, Sonus Faber, Diapason... Audio Analogue.. you know:) ). I have a 'kinda' cheap system: Musical Fidelity A2 amp (2x25W, Class A, SS), Marantz CD67-SE cd player (looking at Rotel RCD-971 perhaps) and Sonus Faber Concertino speakers.

I can see you like tube sound, well, same here, just can't afford it just yet. Oh, I'll be 19 y.old in few months.

Blah blah, etc, enough with the speech already, just promise me you'll keep up the good work, you write the best reviews I have ever seen !

P.S. I can't see any Sonus Faber loudspeakers in the reviews... fix that !, you won't be sorry (just do it with some tube gear). Models to try would be the cheapest of them all - Concertino ($1000 in US, $700here), skip the Concerto and Concerto Grand Piano, then try Signums or Electa Amator II's (pure high-end).

Well, off I go reading some more gear reviews while listening to Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins play the forever popular "Imagine"....

Dalibor Bauernfrajnd




Love your review but I have a question, what amps where you using to drive the DeCapo's ? Looking forward to a review of the SAP otl amp. I am thinking about using an OTL with the Reference 3a such as the Graaf GM20 or the SAP.

Happy Holiday's,

Mike Lee

Steve sez: Mike, i was using the Wavelength Audio Cardinal and Mercury line of amplifiers. i also tried the Nimis Fase and VAC Avatar for brief periods. The SAP OTL amplifier should be incredible with the Reference 3A loudspeakers.



Hi Steve,

...I just read his Blues report and i must say It was everything he said it was.

Greetings from the Netherlands!

Yes, even the Dutch like the blues and travel 5000 miles to enjoy the "blues" music. (Usually i visit the Stereophile show ,but the Salina Blues revue was the best show i saw so far).

Siep Veldstra



Dear Steve,

In your review of the Final set (ETM-November 2000) you've mentioned:
"Of course if you use a super tweaky resistor in the available slot on the Black Cube this could change matters, though i will stick with stock units as the same could be done to the MUSIC-4."

As a happy owner of a Black Cube I was wondering what "super tweaky resistor" you recommend.

Enjoy the music,

Bing Teng

Steve sez: Bing, inside the main square unit (not the power supply) of the Black Cube are a spaces for you to put in your own resistors. These are parallel silver colored holes where the resistor's leads are inserted. If you read the owner's manual you will see how to set the dip switches so that your custom resistors are in the circuit. 


Hi Steve,

I have just been reading your article on Record Research Labs cleaning fluids, and I was hoping you might be able to point me in the direction of someone who would be willing to supply me with some cleaner. As you can see I live in the UK ,and I don't recall seeing any Hi-Fi dealers over here who advertise it. Hope you can help, enjoy reading your sites on the web by the way .

Chris' Brunton



Just found your website today, it's quite nice. I haven't yet figured out the focus of it but will no doubt have fun doing so. I also promise to visit at least one advertiser each time I log on. By the way, my system is a pair of Proac Response 2.5s being bi-amped by a Transcendent Sound 25wt OTL stereo amp on the woofers and a pair of Cary Audio 2A3s on the tweeter. Still missing a bit of high frequency air but everything else is just right. The Transcendent Sound is one hell of an amp for $1,900.00. The guy who makes it has an inventive way of driving the speakers directly with the tubes. I am looking to be able to run everything with this amp but need a good tube pre-amp first. I have been using a Creek OBH12 passive remote volume control and I think the OTL would like to "see" a good pre-amp in the system. I have a Marantz CC4000SE 5 disc changer connected to a Perpetual Technologies P-3A DAC and I'm finished with the format wars for, I hope, quite a long time. I absolutely refuse to buy one more damn disc of Kind Of Blue or The Inner Mounting Flame as I've bought three different CD versions of both since 1985!! How dumb am I? Well, I won't get fooled again! Just say NO to SACD and DVD-A at this time! Don't do anything until the damn discs are $15.00 apiece (especially reissues and remasterings) and the universal (CD,SACD, & DVD-A) players are $1,000.00!!!

Tom Walthall


Great site. Will return often. Here is a cheap tweak. I have wood floors with tiling so I use granite tiles under my 70lb Newforms Research speakers. I have Vibrapods with a small marble in each cup sitting between the tile and the speakers. The improvement in opening up the soundstage was huge. I then did the Vibrapods with small marbles under the amp and preamp. Darn if everything seemed to snap into focus. The cd player and turntable float on inner tubes. This setup works the best in my room but something very special is happening with the marbles (smaller than cats eyes) riding in the Vibrapods. Oh, ya the auric illuminator is that good. But the Optrix should have the black felt pen treatment too. You can hear the improvement. All the best, eh?

Regards, Lloyd Smith



Your site is a Godsend to music lovers... I have built The Hammer Dynamics Super 12 ...once they break in they are a revelation... now the DACT... and several tweaks..... You ARE making me lose sleep for love of the music though.

Tim Adams



Cheers for the wonderful website! i've only just discovered it - i like your style.




Really appreciate the information and reading on your website. Keep up the good work!

Karl K.


Dear Steve:

Thank you very much for the cartridge protractor. It will certainly come in handy when I receive my new cartridge. Will look forward to reading about new items on your generous website.


GT Walker



You belong in a padded cell. Yes, indeed, you might once have denied it, but now the whole world knows the truth about you and your little eggcrates and all your late night listening sessions as you sit atop your number 4 Vibrapods. Is there no way to exorcise you from this ill-defined disorder?

Hi, my name is your name (the first, that is) and I have admired your writing for some time. I didn't realize you'd moved to "Enjoy the Music," and having been working too many hours, I got away from reading much audionut internet info. Thanks for all the great articles and the humor.

I've been using the Vibrapods in a less than ideal set-up, and definitely noticed a difference. The last shift was underneath a tube amplifier (the sound got tighter, the bass and drums more authoritative, "truer," yet without any negative side effects. I put them under my cats' litter box and they're much happier, too.

I'm sure you get lots of fan mail, but I hoped I might ask you a few questions. If you have the time, please write back---it's my girlfriend's e-mail address, but guess what, now she's becoming an audiophile after hearing some truth [music that sounds like music]...

Thanks for even taking the time to read this.



Hi Steve,

Kudos the pages still kicks!

Great stuff by Mr. Olsher.

I had stumbled upon upon the page (www.melhuish.org) before in my search for some clue on what the full range thing is about and in a quest to find sensitive speakers on a budget. This looks ok and I like the price too (at last. not again a $30k speaker with gold wiring and drivers made under zero gravity). With this high sensitivity even the really small amps (that do not cost a zillion bucks and look cute too) get a chance to sing.

More like this please!

Joost Riphagen
Music nut on low budget



 I am really interested in your web page and I just wanted to let you know that so keep up the good work!!

Sincerely Yours,

Jennifer Mari-lee Lacorde


Dear Steven:

I am not a website aficionado nor do I do a lot of surfing. I became interested in music as a child in the late 50's, early 60's through a Wurlitzer jukebox at my mothers restaurant in Anchorage, AK. My mother was a fan of the crooner era so she played all the vocalists of the 40's & 50's. My sister is ten years older than I, and she was completely immersed in the pop music of the fifties though did not venture much into R&B. I went from this exposure to having my own preferences (first Disney songs and TV themes) including a complete religious conversion to the British Invasion when I was nine.

The gold-spray painted Magnavox with the "flip-down" turntable and the "folding-ear" stereophonic speakers ( a sophisticated rig for a nine year old) was no longer cutting it. Besides, at eight I had taken up drums and the Mag wouldn't play loud enough to cover my own tumultuous accompaniment, even though taping my ring down on the tonearm kept it from bouncing out of the groove effectively. So at the age of ten I walked into the "hi-fi" store where I bought my albums (I worked in a family garden for spending money) and negotiated my first component system of Garrard, Wharfedale, and Marantz. My love of music was first, bit I became completely engrossed with how much difference the gear made in bringing the music to me. I continued a long relationship with that store and by the time I was 19 I was their best salesperson. My ears were legendary. Though I say this with humor it was true. I could turn my back to the speaker banks and consistently pick out which of 5-6 brands and 25-30 models were playing.

Without any special plan my other co-workers and I would turn the volume all the way down, switch the "source" receiver, and then with all else the same, we would discuss how The Harman-Kardon sounded different than the Marantz, and the Marantz different than the Pioneer, and the Pioneer different than...well you get the drift. All of this we did in open-minded innocence with no bias, or axes to grind, or personal philosophies on sound reproduction to protect. It was done in the spirit of adventure, and in love of the FUN we were having. We were delightfully ignorant of the often bitter and vitriolic controversies such experiences would be surrounded by in the future. As we grew in this practice, and lines like Audio Research, Dahlquist, Quad, Rogers and Magnepan came into our store we grew too. We found little Audionics amps and pre-amps that just sounded "better" to us in every way than our big Crown separates. That is just one of many examples.

We were mainly rock-and-rollers who never deserted our electric heritage but, because we HAD to sometimes demo other forms of music, grew to appreciate big-band, jazz, and classical because of their emotional qualities. We tried to be focused, analytical and precise as well as have fun. We put a great deal of stock in whether we could correctly identify the pieces without knowing which one was playing. A couple of us were rarely wrong. And these were not just A/B switching between two models. At any rate, with this as my M.O. I stayed in the field as a salesperson for close to 20 years (and for 15 years a manager, buyer, etc.) mainly specializing in "upper-mid-fi" to "high-end". About 8 years ago I left the profession (the retail side of which I am not a fan of, in its current state) as a profession and am now working in the mental health field, pursuing a doctorate in psychology.

I did not intend to write such a lengthy missive. This is the first correspondence I have ever sent in, after 30 years of reading audio mags so please excuse my verbosity. I wanted to give you some background from which to present my comments. I applaud your effort. I believe that while you are obviously intelligent to have considered the pitfalls of your proposed reviewing technique, and you may already be inundated with naysayers, I sincerely hope you are also receiving good wishes and support for trying to expand the quality of our beloved hobby. You are willing to be innovative, and are obviously engaged in a labor of love that will require, as you would know, perseverance. My primary purpose is the same as yours, Steve. But one of my great loves remains reading about the high-end industry and hi-fi in general. Today I am more about music than technology, but I still love the gear and when I get it right that music I love is made so much more there. I salute your effort and compliment you on your beautiful website. If you get overwhelmed by some of the more unpleasant character defects that often appear amongst those on the extremes of the issues we discuss, remember you can always take that little journey to 7-11. My best wishes and I will keep coming back. 

Dana P.


Dear Steve,

I have been gobbling up your _rag_ for the last couple of weeks. I happen to live in Sevastopol, Ukraine. Obviously, not a hi-end Mecca, but some things do get over here. To begin with, my set-up is pretty scarce: $200 in local market prices for a CD player, speakers and a DIY amplifier (total). This may sound scary but I do get some satisfactory sounds out of it. At least, my $50 Soviet-era CD player (tweaked a little) sounds much better than a $2000+ Japanese machine I've auditioned recently. And my $50 Soviet-era loudspeakers weigh 70lbs each and fit in well with the amplifier (this one is quite a different thing - copied after a British model; Super Class A, because plain Class A sounded somehow worse; feedforward, i.e. no negative feedback; copper RF shielding inside; 120000 mF power caps; a dual 35 WPC monoblock). More than enough for my 17 m2 room.

I think that you are doing a fine job in bringing closer the understanding of what should and what should not be expected from a recorded sound. There have to be some limiting factors: although one comes across occasionally over some decently produced music, more often than not records (CDs, LPs, whatever) sound lousy. And can anyone expect something better - with all these thousands of recording studios and hordes of engineers inside? I mean, by definition not all the people have absolute pitch or even an ear for music. The worst ones get into recording industry :-)

I would like to thank you personally for interviewing Stan Ricker. It was quite an insight. Although we don't have any hi-end vinyl here, it's sorry to hear that disc-cutting is bound to vanish because of the cutting heads' shortage.

Here are some nice tweaks for Clark Johnsen whose hi-end meditations I've enjoyed thoroughly.

Look out for the 'Pronto' tweak. It really works. And here's a tweak from our local lore. All you have to do is equip yourself with a copious amount of polyethylene sticky pads or tape (the ones that are covered with paper on both sides and are glued to walls in kitchen or bathroom for hooks). This stuff has to be thick enough, say, 1.5mm. Unscrew your CD player and glue the thing over all the chips inside: DAC, clock, etc. Just make sure they don't overheat and burn. Glue some of the stuff on the board around DAC and clock. Finally, prop up the board underneath with blobs of plain porous rubber. Don't forget to clean the lens, btw, preferably with ether or some other professional photo optical cleaner. This tweak works perfectly for not-so-hi-end machines. At least, it's a $200 improvement in sound (by Western yardstick).

And, Steve, having read your ecstatic reviews of the Audio Note DAC, I must admit, that the idea behind it was in the air some 10 years ago. A friend of mine here in Sevastopol (the one who built the amp for me - I'm not a techno guy, just have a couple of ears schooled by several years of violin playing) patented a device working on the same principle. He used to build it into regular cassette decks. A usual analog signal was fed into a deck, then digitized and recorded via a regular recording head on a regular tape. In this instance the ADC was the head itself. The sound was much clearer. In scientific terms, the system beat the shit out of all lousy IEC1 tapes, recording flat from 20Hz to 22kHz. For lack of interest, this this project was shelved five years later, but your article on the Audio Note DAC (in my interpretation) has made his hands scratch again for rosin, soldering iron and tin. In fact, he is going to install his system into my mega-buck CD player and see what happens. He doesn't have any schematics from Audio Note, so this will be a kind of one-man crusade. Just let me know if you are curious, and I'll send you back a report.

Once again, thanks for the informative writing




COOL site!

Jim Fetters



I bought a DAC 1.1 kit, had it professionally assembled by a tech. in Rochester, NY. I t is so amazing, I just cannot believe my ears. I heard the Sony SACD player in Rochester on unfamiliar equipment a few weeks ago (the $3500 unit), and I was very impressed. But having this Audio Note Dac to play ALL my cds, well, if I never hear another dsd recording over an SACD player, I won't care much. I just had to let you know. I use Spendor SP7/1 speakers, Wright Sound 2A3 mono amps, a Musical Designs CD2 Signature/Transport, Harmonic Tech. interconnects, Audioquest Video/digital cable (silver coated copper), Ocos speaker wire, an HRS unit between the Dac and the amps, and stepped attenuators into the amps. I also use the Stax Lambda Signature headphones with dedicated tube amp; played through these, the Dac 1.1 will make you think you're on meds!!!

If you discover any 'improvements' for the Dac 1.1 (can hardly imagine - it sounds SOOO damn unbelievable now!), I'd be interested to hear about it.


Stew Glick

Steve sez: Thanks for the compliments. Yes, the Audio Note DAC 1.1 kit review has caused quite a stir in the marketplace. Why spend thousands on those "new technology" players/DAC which will be outdated within a year or so. Since we all have CDs, why not enjoy them more now while waiting out the format wars?


Hello Steve,

I took your advice and had my daughter buy me a Dynaco QLD passive surround sound processor (from J& R Music World) for 1999 fathers day in anticipation of buying my now installed B&K 2500 five channel power amplifier. I didn't install it till last week after I got two Mission mini monitors for the rears. My system is now a B&K Pro 10 MC preamp, B&K AVR 2500 power amp, Vandersteen 1b,Mission 733 speakers, RCA 5220P DVD (killer), NAD 502D, Project 1.2 w Grado red cartridge and last but not least Cardas connects feeding Monster speaker wire. I hooked up the front channels in normal stereo on the amplifier and fed two more channels to the Dynaco and used only the surround speaker outputs. So in a word how does it sound, "great".

Alan Norberg



Thanks for the many fun visits over the last many months. You have a truly great site(s). I visit you and your advertisers regularly...

I'll be back.

Len Hendrix



The Audio Note DAC Kit 1.1 has definitely improved with break-in. I have actually listened to CDs late at night (unbelievable!)...

Jim Walker

Hello Steve,

...Because I was personally involved with making the recommendation to Bel Canto, I noted an oversight in the following "Best Sound of Show" paragraph of Glaskin's coverage. The Sound Application CF-X RF filter and power line conditioner was part of this Bel Canto / Von Schweikert / Analysis Plus set-up and caused Albert to observe that the prevailing AC grunge of the St. Tropez was utterly purged from those rooms that used this device - besides his own, the Diapason/EAR room, Soliloquy room and Art Audio/AAD room For completeness' sale, Mr. Glaskin might want to add this information. The manufacturer's contact is Jim Weil at sa@soundapplication.com or # 510-525-1065. Seeing that I just wrote a column for SoundStage! a few months back on this company and device, I feel a bit "protective" - smaller manufacturers of outstanding gear deserve and need all the coverage they can get.

Cheers. Srajan Ebaen
Contributing Writer to SoundStage!
Soliloquy Loudspeaker Co. Sales



Wow, just discovered this site and love it!!!! Next discovering Listener Magazine, this is nirvana. I am a tubie (cj mv55, and looking to buy a SET, but I always go against the crowd so I am looking for something other than one 300B or 2A3. Lab 47, Art Audio, Kora and looking good to me, but tooooo expensive. Do you have a classified section that I haven't found.

Please keep doing what you're doing, this is a wonderful discovery. I have already turned friends on to it. Thanks, and more.

Mike Horgan


Hi Steven,

Eh, I've been enjoying the joys of zero oversampling for some time now and, really, it kicks but (in musical sense, not the audiophile..)! Welcome to the club... People should be able to hear CD sound right for the first time in their lives! I even find myself enjoying it....really. Strange. Ok, not all the time, but sometimes... Like now, Ella's Complete Cole Porter Songbook...

Nice review. Bombastic, as usual, but I find it cool.



From: Todd R
Subject: Re: Review-O-Rama Products

I was wondering about the difference between Optrix and Auric Illuminator CD treatment. Do either of these work? Is there a difference between the two?

I decided to find out.

Since Optrix was so much cheaper, ($16.99) I bought that one first. I thought that it made an improvement in the midrange smoothness sometimes. I thought I might be imagining things so I called a buddy of mine and asked him to bring some disks that we both had copies of. We checked to make sure that they were the same catalog number, and proceeded to test an Optrix treated disk vs. an untreated disk.

On the first 3 disks we tried, the results ranged from "I think I hear an improvement" to "I didn't hear anything, did you?" Hearing the 4th disk was a surprise. It was really different.

"These must be different disks," I said. I got up and popped the disk out to check the numbers, but I found they were indeed the same disk. There was a large improvement in the sound of the treated disk, most noticeably a smoother midrange. But...this didn't happen all the time.
Optrix does work on some disks, but not all.

Optrix will treat 100-200 CDs for $16.99. The directions for using Optrix say to spray the disk 3 times, use TOILET TISSUE to spread around then wipe dry. Repeat with 3 more sprays, wipe dry, and then spray 1 on the label side and wipe dry.

7 full sprays of this stuff per disk? I was running out quick. Following the recommended procedure I doubted I would even get 100 disks treated before I ran out. I have about 500 disks to do.

Wipe with toilet tissue? The Wife (who wears glasses) says NEVER wipe plastic with toilet paper, it will scratch. No way I was going to scratch up my disks with butt wipe. I bought some CD wiping cloths that wouldn't cause scratches ($5 more, by the way).

I got thinking about the Auric Illuminator and realized that even though it cost more initially, it actually was a better deal than Optrix. They claim you can treat 200-400 disks (I'll get farther than that using 2 small drops). You get 2 bottles of liquid, and you only use 2-3 drops per disk. You get a nice big stack of polishing cloths (the Wife stole some for jewelry polishing use before I caught her). You also get a black marker for darkening the inner and outer edges of the CD.

HCM Audio has a deal where you get the Auric Illuminator PLUS the Aurex mat for $49, called the Dynamic Duo (separately would cost $64.90) so I bought kit...

The only bad thing is I think that HCM is gouging on shipping costs. They charged me $10 to ship a 2lb package from California to Michigan 2-day air. I asked if they could just send it ground UPS. They could, but the difference in price was just pennies. The Lady I talked to claimed it was some kind of standard flat fee. Using the UPS quick cost calculator I figured shipping to only cost $ 5.35. Whatever! In any case the package got here in 2 days as promised, and I began testing.

First I tried the Aurex mat all by it's self.

I haven't had good luck with mats. In the past I have tried the CD BlacklightŠyou know, the one that glows in the dark? I heard nothing at all with that one and sent it back.

The Aurex mat is a very thin mat made of something that looks like the inner material inside a floppy disk. It has a small effect in my system, making the sound very slightly warmer.

Next I polished the disks with the Auric goop, and blackened the edges with the marker, and put the Aurex mat on top.

Holy Shit! 

No doubting "I think I hear it" comments now, the improvement was very obvious. The most prominent thing was the soundstage grew much deeper with very distinct image placement. There is something else about this treatment that I can't really describe other than to say it makes the sound relaxed and natural. 

I tried it on a double-sided DVD as well. The sound improvement I recognized right away, deeper and smoother, the video took a couple of tries back and forth. I saw something but I couldn't quite nail it down, as I'm not a trained "Videophile". On the untreated side I noticed a guy in a striped suit that kind of "glowed" as if the sharpness control was turned up too high. On the treated side the suit had a well-defined image with no glowing fuzzy edges. 

This stuff works wonders on EVERY disk I've tried so far and I should be able to treat my entire collection with one kit. I'm very glad I bought this stuff. (Sold the remaining Optrix to my buddy).

Todd R


Dear Steven,

  Thank you very much for the Stan Rickers interview and It was a pleasure reading it. Is it possible to have an article on the record pressing process?

Thank you.

Warm regards,

Steve sez: Rajah, a most humbly thanks for your letter. i, too, am curious to the process. The interview was conducted a while ago and has been VERY popular on our Web site. We will try to add to it over time and, hopefully, also cover your desire to know more of the pressing process. Please stay tuned!


  Just downloaded your (browser) version of IE and it's great. Never been a fan of this browser, but your version is going to be very useful. My question is now IE has an updated version, 5.01. If I download this update will it do away w/ all the links and such of your IE version?

Thanks for your response.

David Lindblom


Steve sez: While our version actually does use many of the updated files, please feel free to upload the files from the IE Web site as they will not interfere with the wonderful usefulness of our browser. For those who have not downloded our browser, please click here to join in on the world's only internet Web site browser specifically made for audiophiles.



  What transport did you use this piece with what types of music did you listen to how was the bass response, etc. what was the associated equipment, etc probably need to add this stuff to the review don't ya think?

Jim w


Steve sez: Jim, you brought up many great questions. i used my own highly modified transport that is more like a top-flight Theta than a lower line unit. The other associated equipment was my fave 47 Labs Gaincard and my KEF 104/2 (and at time Avantgarde Acoustic Uno) loudspeakers. Some various other gear was also used from time to time though the above was generally the mainstay during the review. i believe your answer to bass response is answered in my ratings. Bass was VERY natural and impressive while the very last octave or so (40 Hz and below) seemed to be slightly behind. Of course very little acoustic music has much information below 40 Hz.

Please remember my friends that i plan on getting a bit more in-depth about the Audio Note DAC Kit 1.1 in our February issue.


  Thanks, Steve, for calling attention to the 47 Lab stuff. I never heard of them, but they are very interesting. I'll audition them.




  How about a review of the DACT phono stage? Best thing about this board is you can plug it into some batteries.

Does it compete with the Black Cube?

--Nate Lewis

Steve says -- Great suggestion Nate. Stay tuned!


Salutations Steve,

  Just finished browsing you zine for the first time and let me say that I am impressed. It's refreshing to see a music first attitude in an all to often equipment/prestige audio world. The articles are informative and most importantly, fun to read. "Keep the Faith" and keep on shaking the system up.

Rockin' to Metallica's S&M "For Whom The Bell Tolls"

Chuck Moe


Hi Steven,

  Only to say you than your page is better and better and better each time. By the way, I saw your photo on TNT. I hope you had a nice time in Italy and you have heard a lot of good electronics and speakers.

Enjoy the music!!!

Luis (the Nestorovic-man)

Luis, Italy was wonderful as always. i hope to live there one day.  Thanks for the well wishes and glad to hear you are enjoying the music :-{) . --Steve



  ...Please keep up your dedicated and informed work. BTW, I really like your new magazine. Besides the standard equipment reviews, your record/CD reviews are most helpful. In addition, the articles are thoughtful and worth reading.

Best regards,

The Gordins



  I just wanted to take a minute to commend you on a GREAT website!

Thanks, Alan


Dear All,

  I read with interest the article on passive attenuation;

I have been using a 10K CT1 for about a year now, and have to agree that the results are absolutely superb.

I have been lucky enough to try out a few quality preamps recently, including the Musical Fidelity Nuvista, and to be quite honest the CT1 blows them all out of the water.

I am currently using a Garrard 301 / RB300 / AT OC9 into a MF XLP head amp through the CT1 and into a 5881 PSE power amp (Hi-Fi World kit) the speakers are Lowther Fidelio's using the latest DX4M units (which are still running in) and to my mind the overall result is stunning ! Even using CD (wash my mouth out) the image has space around all components whilst giving lightning fast response when required.

Thanks for a great web site

Best Regards

Rob Heath 


Hi Steve

  We've read Des Stanley's system review and applaud his infinite wisdom and his beautifully hand crafted speakers, not to mention his good looks( not bad for 56 ). Although his review sounds quite erudite, coming from an educated jazz background, we are still trying to decipher what he has said!! (It went straight over our heads).

Thanx for the excellent site and have a scintillating day.

Scotty & Peter


Steve: You have a VERY NICE WEBSITE!!!
Keep up the great work!

Dave B.



  Prizes, it's Prizes! A nicely put together site, one of the best.

Cheers, Simon

Simon is referring to a HUGE giveaway coming soon. Stay tuned! -- Steve


  Great stuff with the magazine dude! I like the tone
of it. Very back to the basics of what all of this is
about! Mazel tov!

Ian White


  ...Nice job with the Woodstock '99 coverage - and the new look of the page. VERY IMPRESSIVE! Good luck with it, buddy. Take

Greg Weaver - the audio analyst


Dear Steve,

  Congratulation on your new audio web site, I wish you all the success.




  Good job, two complaints. first, all of the listening scored reviews is a good idea. however, as you note, the listening room interaction is such a dominate factor that one must insist that all reviews be done in the same room with the same speakers for any meaningful reviews results to be achieved. not to do so is to negate the reason, and possible useful results, for having such a scoring system.

second. why force users to provide all the personal info to sign up for the mailing list? do you also promise not to allow the use of user's addresses by others and that ads will not start showing up in one's email?

thank you,

dan dunfee

Steve sez: Dan, great questions! Even if all reviewers used the same room, we then also would have variations due to each reviewers personal preferences. Also, what if we had super huge speakers and also small minimonitors to review. Of course for optimum review they each would need to be in their appropriate-sized room. i humbly suggest you find a reviewer(s) whose opinion(s) you agree with and follow them. Your concerns about signing up to the mailing list is one of privacy. We ask very little (specifically, your age, country, browser, and frequency of web usage) so that we can get a better understanding of our audience. At no time do we ask for very personal information. Furthermore, unlike the list that many print magazines make and sell, ours is never sold nor used for any other purpose but for our own mailings. After each and every mailing there is always directions on how to unsubscribe. As the Monty Python skit goes "I DON'T LIKE SPAM!"



  I saw the posting on rahe. Congratulations on assembling your staff. I consider Dick Olsher one of the best reviewers in the world... 

Best of luck,

Robert Harley


29 July 1999

Congratulations, Steve-0!!!!

I wanted to be among the first to visit the new site. It is now 12:52 A.M. on July 29th.

I'll be in touch regarding London.

alan m. kafton
























































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