Enjoy the Music.com

Letters To Us

08/01/03

Hi Steve,

I enjoyed very much your reviews of the portables of the past. I agree with you that the older models sound better. I have an old Panasonic SL-NP12 from June 1990 and this sounds so much better than the Panasonic I bought for my wife dated 1998. I wasn't sure if it was because I had gotten use to the sound of my player but your points on anti-skip, extra bass, ect. made me realize why the old player probably sounded better. My old player has only XBS (Xtra Bass System) which can be turned off and 4 times oversampling whereas my wife's has a number of more 'features'. One other thing I noticed too was that to get the same approximate volume, the setting on mine would be around '3' where on my wife's you had to set it to around '7' using my Grado SR-60.

I don't know if you have noticed but on some players now the line out has been eliminated. I don't think too many audiophiles would use a portable as their main player but I think not having this option is a drawback for the new players. One way to cut cost I guess.

Anyway, I always enjoy reading Enjoy the Music.com™ and look forward to your next reviews.

Jerome Sigua

 

 

Jerome,

Thanks for your e-mail and you are correct in that the newer players have many more "features", yet seem lacking in basic sound quality. As for the volume output, the newer units use different amplification and some say this is also part of the reason the old players are better than the new ones. This is due to the old players using a more robust amplifier while the new ones use a very inexpensive, basic solution. After all, have to keep the price point at $49 or so, eh? Keep those old portable CD players alive and well, they may be our only hope for enjoying music on the go!

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

08/01/03

Hi Everyone,

With reference to Dick Olsher's recent "Zero Autoformer" review. I have a corollary comment. Using Swans Allures loudspeakers, which happen to derive from an Olsher design (Poly Natalia), and with Welborne Laurel II 300B mono's, I set up the above device to provide 3x the loudspeaker impedance, and voila, (after suitable break-in) all categories of Audio nirvana moved up closer! I use the Laurel's 16 ohm tap, and the Olsher/Swans are nominally 4 ohm. Anyone with a lower impedance loudspeaker and SET amplifiers would be a bit mad not to try out this delightful application of an old standard technology!!!

Thank you,

Ed Weinstein

 

08/01/03

Hi Wayne,

I just read your wonderful reviews of the Charles Munch BSO recordings selected by you. Congratulations! I had the pleasure of meeting Charles Munch in the Green Room in Symphony Hall, Boston through the kind invitation of Berj Zamkochian [soloist on Munch's "Organ" Symphony recording--wd]. At the time , I was a regular BSO subscriber. I miss the sound and musicianship he brought to each performance. I have all of the recordings you reviewed in my own collection. I am not happy that the present BCO management seems to have deep sixed these great recordings in their discography. I have attended concerts by several great conductors including Koussevitzky, Monteux, Szell, Von Karajan,Stokowski, Andrew Davis, Dorati, Ormandy, Fricsay. Each with their own style which I was privileged to enjoy. None exceeded the electricity of a Munch Concert. I appreciate reading your great reviews of his works with the BSO and share your enthusiasm for them.

Sincerely,

Fred Brigham

 

Hi Fred, 

It is an all too rare treat to hear from a reader who is passionate about music. Thank you! I envy you for having seen Koussevitzky, Monteux and Dorati, whom I know only from recordings. I see you omitted Maestro Ozawa. Perhaps you, like me, are not a fan. 

If you don't already have them, I urge you to check out the Reiner/Chicago recordings as well. They are sonically magnificent, and in their own style interpretively as sui generis as Munch/BSO. 

Best wishes,

Wayne

 

08/01/03

Hello Karl,

I enjoyed your 9/02/02 review of Musical Fidelity's A3.2 CD player. I was wondering what other players you had compared this to? In your article you mention, "There is one or two tubed CD players that are very strong competition at a slightly lower price point", and i was curious what these CD players are. Since I am definitely in the market for a new CD player in the $1,000 to $1,500 range, the Musical Fidelity is a serious contender. I just heard it last night and it sound great. As I have a lot of older, pre-SACD, HDCD format CD's, it seems like this might be the player for me. Just curious about the competition though.

Thanks!

Michael Hall

 

Hi Michael,

The tubed CD players included the latest Heart Model which I believe is almost completely sold out and possibly even out of production. It needed the best of some of the famous old tubes to give its best though. I've had a couple of outstanding new players here at home; unfortunately the latest one is the new Cary at $5,000. The top Sony DVD/CD/SACD player at $1,200 is an interesting possibility if you can simply compare it's CD performance against the Musical Fidelity - its DVD (Video) performance is truly outstanding and it will play SACDs. Hope that is of some help.

Sincerely,

Karl

 

08/01/03

Dear Neil,

Could you give your opinion on two amplifiers: the Blue Circle BC 22 and the McCormack DNA -125. In fact, which is your preference?

Thanks,

Don

 

Don,

Thanks for your request.

While I have listened to the BC-22 in the past, I have not given it a through evaluation. As for the McCormack amplifier, I have not had the good fortune to evaluate it, either. I apologize for my lack of helpfulness.

In any event, my advice would be to listen for yourself. If you have not already done so, take some of your favorite CDs to the dealership and give the amplifier a good listen -- at least a half hour, or longer -- take at least enough time to form a general impression of the amplifier as well as noting salient features of the sound. Then repeat the process with the second amplifier.

Then, ask the dealer if you may take each amplifier home for a listen. Most dealers will go with all of the preceding activities. However, if the dealer will not allow an in-home tryout, repeat the entire previous process on a second day. I find that with a little time, I get a distinct idea about each amplifier's abilities and musicality.

Good luck with your search,

Neil

 

08/01/03

Hi,

I really enjoyed your review of the old Sony D-25 discman. I myself am rocking a Sony D-321 from 1993 that I think is better than the current stuff out there. Aluminum case, analog pot, 3 sec ESP that you can turn off... After reading your article, I got scared thinking about the mortality of my own player and I might have to look into getting another as backup. Thanks for the article.

Jason Feldt

 

Jason,

Thanks for your e-mail and yes indeed, get a backup soon as these jewels appear to be leagues ahead of the units on the market today. As always...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

08/01/03


Dear Steve, 

I enjoyed your review of the reference 3a de capoi loudspeakers. I’m considering getting new speakers in the next few months. My living room is medium size 18x18x9 and not completely inclosed (it opens into the dining room and the right side is partially open to the foyer entrance. My present equipment consists of a Bryston 4bst amplifier, a Bryston BP2p preamplifer, and a Meridian 508.24 CD player. I’m presently using Transparent Cabling. Would the de capos be a good fit with what I presently have. You input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for you time and keep up the great reviews.

Sincerely,

Jeff Braecklein

 

Jeff,

Thanks for your e-mail and a very nice selection of gear. The Bryston amplifier is very powerful, maybe a bit too much for the very sensitive 3a, yet should easily allow you to reach good volume levels. Only way to know about system synergy and room integration for sure is to try them. This advice goes for everyone who is curious about will "X" work with "Y" in a listening room. Of course in the end what
really matters is that you....

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

08/01/03

Hi Steve:

Just wanted to tell you how much i have enjoyed reading the articles (reviews included) in this website. although i don't really have the budget to actually make a purchase of the recommended components in the site, it is definitely a good place to start if i ever have the means - my "cheap" personal system consists of NAD C320 amp, NAD C520 CD player into Mission m71 speakers. oh ya, a big part of my budget went into purchasing guitars, basses and effects...never a good thing to have 2 expensive hobbies at the same time ;-)

by the way, there is one piece of equipment that i think would make a good item for review which somehow is missing in the Enjoy the Music.com list. i'm not sure what the actual name is (different companies name it differently) but it is placed between the CD player and the pre-amp via interconnects (you can consider this a tweak for those who are unwilling to upgrade their CD player). i have been wondering about how effective this piece of equipment is and i thought it would be nice if you can provide comments or better yet, a review on any one of these...

a) Octave Electronics DAE-1 and DAE-2
b) Musical Fidelity X10-D
c) Soundstage Vacuum One buffer processor

have a great week!

Wei Kwan

 

Wei Kwan,

A most humble thanks for your compliments and suggestions. We will soon be at the Brazil, then the Milan show and hope to preview these pieces and secure more equipment for review. Thanks again and as always...


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

08/01/03

Hi Bill,

I was reading your review of the Electrprint DRD amplifier, and the system hum problems. A mate of mine has a hum that occurs from time to time as well. We discovered it was caused by the electric hot water service heater. When it turned on the hum occurred. Maybe yours could be a similar problem, but maybe not confined to a hot water service.

Regards,

Wayne Kernich

 

Wayne,

Thanks for your letter. Interestingly you almost hit my problem on the nose with the water heater. It turned out that the noise was from RFI given off by my well pump which is 60 feet east and 600 feet lower than my media room. Electrical noise, either RF or EMI induced, will travel over the house wiring even easier than the noise coming from outside sources. Unhappily I can't just shut off the water pump while listening as it is now producing the heat source for my house through a ground water heat pump. I wouldn't mind freezing my double protrusions off during the winter, but it might effect my marriage so I guess I'll have to live with it.

Bill

 

08/01/03

Hi Wayne,

A quick question for you regarding the meadowlark Keistrel Hotrod. A friend of mine just purchased a pair[2nd hand] and asked me what biwires would work on it best without breaking the bank. He is using the arcamfj23cd, SF-sl-1 tube pre and simaudio4070. Interconnects are van den hul carbons. He has a large basement rec room. His old speakers were apogee minors with sumo cable. I was unsure of what to advise him, he was wondering about dh labs? Have you found any wire that really works "best". He would like to biwire. I'm running newform research r8-2's in my own system [using Acousitc Zen Satori and Accuphase with Maplesahde jumpers] so I don't know what his loudspeakers are like.

Cheers and thanks for any advice,

Lloyd




Hi Lloyd, 

There are so many cable choices available that recommending brands is pretty daunting. So I'll just comment on the DH Labs offerings. I have their Q-10 biwire in my upstairs system, formerly driving Kestrel HRs, now Swifts (the latter single-wired). I am very pleased with the sound of that wire. My daughter and a friend both use the less-expensive T-14 biwire on their Kestrel HRs with excellent results. BTW, the T-14 is also used internally in the Kestrel HRs. I wish you and your friend good listening! 

Wayne Donnelly

 

08/01/03

Steven,

You missed the boat on this one! The Headfi folks were talking about the D25 years ago. There was a surplus shop in California that had them by the hundreds, NOS/NIB without batteries, $20 each if I recall. Dug mine out, and have it connected to the old Pioneer SA-9100. As you say, mighty sweet. Ahh, the good old days. Digital was pretty good back in the dark days, before recording engineers and equipment designers started screwing around!

Thanks,

Matthew Trom

 

Matthew,

Wow, $20 each!!! i did miss the boat :-(   Still, even at $50 she is an
amazingly good unit! Sad no other reviewer ever said a word on it. Oh well, better late than never.

Steven R. Rochlin

 

08/01/03

Dear Colin,

I recently bought some Klipsch Cornwalls. I am now considering a Yamaha RX-V1 for an Amp. What do you think of the pairing. Of course, I want the convenience of 6.1 and ect... I've never heard Cornwalls powered by tubes...but I'm a guitar player of 30 years that only uses tube amps for my guitars...but it's sort of different application because I'm overdriving the tubes for the distorted sound. I want a good amp that can power my Klipsch clean and provide me all the modern cool movie effects (DTS, Dolby ect...) Also, have you heard of Home Theater Direct speakers?


-Bob Sacco

 

Bob, 

I know nothing about the Home Theater Direct loudspeakers, but I do know about the Klipsch. I owned a pair for almost two decades. They are one of the most enduring low cost brands of loudspeakers available in the United States. The Klipsch line is unique for its use of mid-range horns instead of the more typical cones. With its 15" cone woofer, the old Cornwalls are one of the largest commercially-built 2 ˝ way loudspeakers. Though much too large, at 3’ high and 2’ wide, to score high WAF points, they are particularly well suited to reproducing the movie theater sound. Cornwalls however, are relentless sensitive. 

The big old horns are rated at 100-101 dB/watt/meter! This ultra-high sensitivity is key. It changes everything about the power requirements of the loudspeakers. It means that most of the time, average music passages at normal listening volume require only fractions of a watt. Even loud volumes and split-second musical peaks, in typical living rooms, require less watts than you have fingers…on just one hand. The quality of the first watt (sometimes even the second) is more important than the sheer output of the amplifier. 

Therefore, on the Klipsch forums (where I sneak in daily like a mouse in a larder to see if there is anything new), the debate over tubes versus solid state still rages as if it was still the ‘70s – and solid-state is just coming out. I am firmly in the old fashioned school that believes that horns love tubes. I think subwoofers, with their powerful Class D amplifiers, provide the low impedance support that tubes need with big old horns. In fact, I think subs breath new life into the classic combination. Without modern subs, few tube amplifiers can perform their sweet magic in the mid-range and punch out the drum whacks in the bottom end at the same time. I have yet to hear a low cost solid-state receiver do, with ultra-sensitive big old horns, what a tube amplifier can do (with subwoofer support). 

As a guitar player who appreciates tubes, I think you will love them on your big old horns. However, for HT situations, there are no low powered multi-channel tube receivers…yet. Of the name-brand, multi-channel solid state receivers, that can power your big old Klipsch horns clean and provide you with all the cool movie effects, by far the most popularly recommended name on the Klipsch site is Denon. Recently, the most popularly recommended vintage brand of stereo solid state receivers has been refurbished Harmon-Kardons. The other enduring solid-state recommendation is for the classic Macintosh amplifiers, with their low distortion and enticing blue output dials. Check them out. 

Yours in listening,

Colin

 

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