Enjoy the Music.com

Letters To Us

09/02


Dear Steven,

You do not know me but I consider myself one of the "lucky ones" who has had a chance to not only sample and buy Cody Michael's Creation Prayer CD but also to meet the artist at a friend's home in New Hampshire and get the CD autographed as well. To listen to this young man's music has truly been a delight. I am not a musician but have grown up with good music, and appreciate when someone comes along with a gift as Cody has. He is going to be performing at the First/Second Church in Boston, Ma. on September 22nd, 2002 at 5:30p.m. as part of a tribute to 9/11 and wouldn't miss it for the world. I guess it was by searching on the net that I came across your heartwarming words about Cody and appreciate very much what you had to say about him. I have introduced him and his weblink to many of my family, friends and business associates in the hope that they will read about his background and sample some of his music. I believe in my heart that he is destined for great things. 


Sincerely, 
Bob Golden


Bob,

Thanks for your e-mail. Cody is an amazing musical artist and i hope more people will read my review and purchase his disc. Reference quality music with outstanding musicianship. More like these please!

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

09/02

Wayne,

In reading your review of the Aria amps I noticed you tried them with a pair Von Schweikert 99dB, which I am curious about but have been unable to find any reviews. Will you be writing a review? Any short comments on the speakers for me? 

I'm going to be shifting to SET amps with high efficiency speakers and with respect to speakers I'm considering Silverline Sonatina II (93dB), Loth-X Troubador (104dB), and the 99dB by Von Schweikert. Unfortunately, I have not yet heard the Lothx or Von Schweikert.

I like the Silverline but not sure if 8-10 watts will drive them to the level I want in medium-large size, fairly damped room. Also, possibility of bass extension with the Von Schweikert would be of interest if performed properly.

Any of your thoughts would be appreciated.


Thanks,

Jeff Nichols


Hi Jeff,

I think you are right to be concerned about driving a 93dB loudspeaker with a 10 watt amplifier, especially in a larger room. The main reason you have not been able to hear the dB-99 is that I care for undergoing some re-engineering; according to latest word from von Schweikert, they should be turning out production models within a month or so. You might find it worthwhile to wait and audition them. I will be reviewing them in a couple of months, but in the meantime to get a baseline idea of their performance, I suggest you read my review of the dB-100 in the
Enjoy the Music.com™ archives. The 99s are very similar, and in some respects slightly more refined, than their predecessors. I think it is a safe bet that neither of the other candidates will even approach their bass performance.

Best wishes,

Wayne

 

09/02

Steve,

I think your editorial missed out on two important items in the high end field: honesty not to ones self but to others and reality to know that ones perception of perfection changes; the rapidity being determined by the circumstance. Sometimes when an industry dies it is replaced by something which is better and run by different people with different parameters again ruled by their
perceptions.

Jim Murata


Jim,

Thanks for your e-mail. Yes indeed as times change new "blood" is brought into an industry. Some of the old ways that high-end stores treated customers with rudeness and conceit will hopefully be replaced with truly helpful and knowledgeable staff. Of course there are other parts of our industry that could use improvement, though this could also be said about many other industries as well. No one is perfect. Thanks again for your comments and as always...


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

Hello,

In your report of the DVD-Audio Conference in NY you say "But, since the DVD-A signal is sent to your receiver in the analog domain...". But if that's so, why do they need to watermark the discs? I mean, we do not have access to the full resolution digital signal, so why watermarking and corrupting the sound?

Roberto

 

Hi Roberto,

Thanks for the note. It is currently true that the signal from a DVD-Audio player (or an SACD player for that matter) is sent to your receiver or preamp in the analog domain (6 analog channels), and that's precisely *why* the labels feel they need analog copy protection to protect their content. They want to ensure that the signal cannot be pirated from its analog outputs into a high-rez digital recorder. 

I don't say I agree with it, in fact I feel that any audible watermarking is bad in principle. But since I have not heard any artifacts of watermarking myself (in non-critical listening to date), I don't have a strong opinion right now on DVD-A's implementation of watermarking.

There is currently work in progress on developing a standard digital interface for DVD-A which will also be encrypted for content protection. Denon has one implementation on their 5803 receiver and DVD-Audio player, and a new Pioneer player is going to have a dual firewire (aka i.link, ieee1394) output that could conceivably carry the DVD-A signal to a digital processor with matching inputs. But it's going to take some time before the industry agrees on a standard and this makes it into consumer equipment. Until then, to get the full resolution DVD-Audio signal, multi-channel analog inputs/outputs are required. 

The watermarking issues is certainly sticky and probably won't ever be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Labels want to cut down on piracy while audiophiles want the best, most accurate sound reproduction. Finding something that everyone can live with is the real trick.

Regards,

Chris 

 

09/02

Hi Wayne,

Recently, after visiting Meadowlark's Web site, I read your review of the Blue Heron, which is my reference speaker. Since then (very recently) I have spoken to Mike Elliott of Aria, regarding his mono 350w hybrid amps. In my conversation, Enjoy the Music.com™ made its way into the conversation. I know this sounded familiar, as it jolted my memory of the Meadowlark review. Because of this, I am contacting you for an opinion.

I live in Syracuse, NY...ok ok, enough w/the (snow) jokes! We have virtually NOTHING in hi fidelity audio dealers that have showrooms for demo's...or take it home and try it w/your system demos. Most of my purchases (unfortunately) are based on word of mouth and reviews (this sometimes can be frightening-but not w/yours of course!)

I have...
Electrocompaniet's MK II CD player
Audio Research LS-16 tube pre
Meadowlark's BH
Krell FPB-350 mono's (SS)
DH Labs cables throughout

I am a Rock 'n Roll guy who is recently sliding into Jazz, just because a lot of it sounds so damn good. Considering this, I went w/tube pre-amplifier for "WARMTH" and SS power amps for the "SLAM."

Lately, I am finding that something... possibly the emotional thing is missing in my audio playback. Of course, my brain could be playing games, but I think that as my "listening skills?" are improving, I am finding my amplifiers to be very powerful, but possibly on the "cold" side.

My questions to you...


Are you familiar with the mono Krell FPB amps? 
If so-should I make the change to Aria's Basic 350w mono hybrids, what audible changes would you predict, considering the rest of my system? Being a "Rocker" who initially was concerned about "slam"... Do you feel the Aria "basic" 350 watt mono's would do the trick as far as low, tight and "punchy" bass?

Being that the Aria is a hybrid, would you recommend keeping my tube pre amp to match with the Aria basic 350w.. or could this become "too warm" for my musical taste??? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Though I have only known of Enjoy the Music.com™ for a short time, I very much appreciate and enjoy your equipment reviews.

Sincerely,

Michael Bronstein 


Hi Michael,

Your timing is perfect -- in a couple of days you can read my review of the Aria amplifiers on enjoythemusic.com. I think you'll find my comments helpful in determining whether those fine amplifiers will meet your criteria. I hesitate to recommend to anyone a change of equipment that can run into thousands of dollars -- but from the way you describe your reaction to the current sound of your system, I guess I should offer a few thoughts.

The resolution of the Blue Herons is so refined that they will not mask any attributes of the sonic chain. Were I choosing between the Krell and Aria amplifiers, I would definitely go with the latter. They may not quite match the Krells in sheer bass slam -- probably the signature Krell characteristic -- but they are certainly no slouch, and I think you would find the tonal reproduction of bass-- as well as the rest of the spectrum --more appealing. And, after you read my review, I think you'll see that there is no reason to change your preamplifier -- certainly not at the same time. You can always do that after you get used to the sound of your different system. In any case, I have always found the Audio Research preamplifiers leaning a bit toward the cool side of tube sound.

BTW, I served seven years just down the road from you in Rochester. I'm not sure which aspect of Northern California weather I like better, the mild shirtsleeve winters or the cool, breezy summers -- as I write this, it's a bright, sunny 72 degrees. (I know, this kind of gloating is what makes people hate Californians. Sorry.) Good luck with your system, and keep enjoying more music.

Wayne

 

09/02

Steve,

Thanks to the ETM site, I am enjoying music more than ever... First a Duetto, next the Galante Rhapsody, and now the Wavelength Cardinals. Any plans to review the Wavelength Sine pre-amplifier?

Just curious. I've been going back and forth between the TJ meshplates and WE 300B's. I like them both. Do you still prefer the JJ 300B's over them?

Regards,
Jim Dal

 

Jim,

A most humble thanks for your e-mail and glad you are enjoying the music :-) . Alas, have not had the opportunity to try the Sine pre-amplifier. As for the JJ Mesh versus the WE300B, they both have their advantages... This is why i love tube units as we can change the sound to our preferences in a matter of moments :-) . Of course in the end what really matters is that you...


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

09/02

Steve,

With Listener now fallen you maybe the last one standing. Keep up the good work... for all of us!

Mike Schneider

 

09/02

Dear Mr. Walker,

I enjoy your reviews immensely and thought you would be a good person to ask for some advice regarding amps. I like music, and enjoy fiddling with equipment, but don't have a huge budget and not into too much complication. I have a pair of Harbeth compact es7, a heart CD-6000, a great old technique turntable, and an old creek integrated amp (4140s2). I was thinking about upgrading my amp (for convenience an integrated amp, probably tube); and given your experience with the Harbeths, I was asking if you had some recommendations for me to consider. I was hoping to get away with under $2,000.

Any thoughts you might have I would greatly appreciate.

Best regards,

Philip Yun


Philip,

In my personal experience, I am inclined to recommend the Audiomat amplifiers for excellent performance at a reasonable price. However, their entry level amplifier, the Arpège Reference is now $2,490. Nonetheless, I think that it would be a good match with your Harbeths.

For a real bargain in tube gear, I would suggest that you investigate the Passion PAK i-10. While I have not reviewed this amplifier, I have heard it frequently in my favorite local shop and, like the Audiomat, it gives performance far beyond what its price suggests. It currently retails for about $685. The i-11 uses some higher quality components. Check it out at www.rotac.com....

Hope this helps for now.

Neil Walker

 

09/02

Karl Lozier,

I am French, and i read your review about the "DENON DVD 9000" and it seems that you like the performance in audio department...

Here is my problem: I have Klipsch Cornwall (with ALK crossover), a Denon PMA2000 (integrated amplifier) and the Rega Planet 2000 (CD player).

What i would like is to change my "REGA Planet 2000" with a the Denon DVD 9000 or 3800(?) but i don't want to sacrifice the audio department...

Is the Denon as good as the Ah! Tjoeb CD players?... 

Thank you in advance and have a good day!

Fred

Dear Fred,

You are asking me to compare items that are very, very different. The Denon DVD 9000 will play anything, and very well, except a pure (not hybrid) SACD recording. The Rega Planet basically plays just CDs; of course the Denon is five times as expensive. The Ah! Tjoeb player is roughly comparable to the Planet until you shell out another $100 or so for a pair of the genuine new, but old/unused original Amperex or Siemens 6DJ8 or 6922 or 7308 tubes to substitute for the stock tubes. Be advised to look in
Enjoy the Music.com™'s equipment archives for Dick Olsher's excellent review of the "Heart" CD player which is based on a slightly better player than the AH! Tjoeb. General consensus is that the Heart is better overall, for about $200 more though again you need to substitute NOS tubes, as above, and I personally did not find the need to use only the now rare and very expensive tubes mentioned in the article. The ones mentioned above work just fine for me in the Heart player. All these players, except the Denon, are basically CD only players. 

Karl Lozier

 

09/02

Wayne,

Which Meadowlark speakers offer the greatest value. I hesitate to ask which speakers are the best because most would choose the flagship speaker even I feel very often the most expensive speakers in a line are not the best. Have you heard their newest speaker which retails at $995. If so what is your opinion and would they mate well with my Tube Technology electronics.

Thank You,

Thomas Farrell


Thomas,

I imagine there might be differences of opinion concerning the value of different models. But in my opinion, the Meadowlark lineup matches performance to price very well, and the Blue Heron is fully competitive with anything I have heard near its price. As it happens, I have a pair of the $995 Swifts in-house right now. They are not yet fully broken in, but I can safely say that they are great fun to listen to, and a terrific value.

Best wishes,

Wayne Donnelly

 

09/02

Wayne,

Read with interest your review of the Meadowlark BH. I'm considering two speakers (1) Meadowlark BH, and (2) Aerial 10t. Since auditioning them is problematic with different electronics, cables, interconnects, sources, and listening environments in each establishment, I was wondering if you might make a comparison. I'll be driving them with Bryston 4 B SST amp and their 25 pre-amplifier. I have a Thule 150B Cd player, double run of Kimber 8TC cable, and Audioquest interconnects.

Thank you,

MJ Draper

 

MJ Draper,

I owned 10Ts a few years ago, and liked them very much. They were especially impressive in bass depth and dynamics, and had excellent midrange and high frequency resolution, with good imaging. They were extremely rugged, and could play easily at levels far beyond what is good for your ears. Construction and finish were first-rate.

All those qualities I just mentioned could be applied also to the Blue Herons. Since six or seven years elapsed between my experiences of those two loudspeakers, I can't really give you any definitive advice. But my impressions and memory suggest to me that the Aerial would probably go deeper and be slightly more robust at the lowest frequencies, while the BH would likely be faster, with somewhat better pitch definition. I believe the BH is also more resolving in the midrange, and somewhat sweeter and more open at the top. Of course, it may be that Aerial's Michael Kelly, a great designer and a prince among gentlemen, has further refined his speaker in the intervening years. If so, that would be a whole new ballgame. In any case, either of these superb loudspeakers would be a fine choice, and would guarantee that you will enjoy the music.

Best wishes,

Wayne Donnelly

 

09/02

A. Colin,

I was reading you review of the Klipsch Cornwall. I'm looking at buying speakers and an amp. I'm not an audiophile but a musician of over 20 years. I love the dynamic range that my friends Klipsch Choruses deliver. What combo of amp and speaker do you suggest for these prices ranges?

amp and speakers under $1000

amp and speakers under $2000

amp and speakers under $3000

Bob Sacco


Bob,

Thanks for waiting. I thought long and hard about your questions, for there are no easy answers. Integrating the individual sounds of loudspeaker and components can create a fruit salad mix of sounds sometimes extremely pleasant and sometimes quite annoying. If you like the horn sound of Klipsch loudspeakers, there are a few steps to explore your many options. Here is what I would do: 

1. Hang out at the excellent Klipsch bulletin board forum 2. ( http://216.... to learn the values of their models and the recommended set-ups 3. Check out the integrated tube amplifiers at Antique Sound Labs and ETM, including the tempting Blue Circle one reviewed here.

4. Read Dick Oshler’s article on The Y2K Audio System to get an idea of how simple and low cost a competent music system can be

5. Read George Cardas’ article on proper speaker placement. This can make a very big difference in the realism that a sound system achieves. I hope that this helps, more than it confuses,

Colin

 

09/02

Dear Sirs,

After owning a audiomat prelude reference for over a year, i wanted to congratulate your choice on it as Component of the Year as it is.

Regards,

Paul Colby

 

09/02

Dear Staff:

I have been a regular reader of Enjoy the Music.com™ for quite some time now... it has always seemed to be an up to date, no nonsense, and above all "fun" place to read about music and audio equipment, and it still is.

But I have one complaint... it seems that the focus of the reviews has been inching higher and higher into the audio stratosphere with every edition. I'm sure (in fact I'm positive) that these fine pieces of equipment deserve all the attention an merit they have garnered by the reviewers, however, practically speaking these are items (and I guess I speak only for myself here) that are extremely unlikely to be "enjoyed," never mind ever actually seen by your average readership. And with all due respect, there are plenty of high end publications and dealers (who remarkably sound suspiciously similar in so many ways) to push all the pros of 5, 10, and 20,000 dollar gear.

I don't mean to imply that the talents of the staff are limited to mid-fi gear (you seem to have collected a number of the most respected reviewers around) or that they should stick to that range only to appease us cheapo, or so appropriately named, budget-challenged audio-nuts (they should not)... but what I have found to be so unique about your website over the years has been the penchant for finding eclectic (high value) pieces of equipment that devastate their price points and beg the question, 'if its this good for this much how much more should anyone really spend.' The Ah Tjoeb being my favorite example. Now I have heard extreme high end gear and it is better, however, I must say that after following the advice in many of your articles I have found gear and followed tweaks good enough (and with substantially less money) that have eliminated (in my mind) the desire to push the audio/$$$ envelope any further.

All I'm saying is, I'd like to see a little more probing into the little guys of audio equipment... maybe there is another "Ah Tjoeb" out there amidst the plethora of space heaters, waiting to be noticed.

Regards,

Jordan Dourmashkin


Jordan,

A most humble thanks for the positive comments and constructive criticisms. In fact i fully agree with you to the point that a searching for under $500 components is being conducted by myself and our staff. Hope to have an under $1,000 system :-) . Many thanks again and please let me know if there is anything else you feel we need to cover. As always...


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

09/02

Just wanted to thank you folks for fanning the flames of modification in my heart. Your articles and reviews about zero times oversampling DACs hit the mark. The design simply does a better job than anything else I've heard. Coherent, transparent, detailed, dynamic, natural. At it's best, it lets you hear back into the microphone feed. Discussions at home now revolve around performance , not hardware.

Here's a description of my front end. A modified Luxman 105u with tweaked tube analog stage out a heavyweight zero times oversampling filter, all in one chassis. With its remote controlled, motorized pot, that analog stage is the preamp! Nothing between it and the amplifier. Many thanks! It's good to listen to music again.

Erik Wagenknecht

 

09/02

Colin,

I read, with great interest, your review of the Omega "2". I own a pair of "1"'s and I'm a self-professed Louis Chochos "groupie" so take this for what it is worth.

I've owned over 10 pair of speakers over the last 25, or so, years. Some were great (Omega 1, the old Linn "Sara") and some sucked ( the criminally over-appreciated Merlin TSM). 

I like systems which make "music", not hi-fi. I really am digging the TS1. By the way, the Loth-X "Amaze" is really good too.

I use a 1 watt per side integrated based around the "45" tube so let this become your frame of reference as to what kind of stuff I appreciate.

I can't argue with your overall rating of the TS2 as I have  not heard them. I certainly hope you'll find a place in your heart to rate the TS1 higher. It deserves it!

Lastly, being one of the most anal-retentive people on the face of the earth and having seen what exists out there, I believe you were way off base with your "fit and finish" line item. If this is not a beautifully put together product I do not know what is.

Best,

Glenn G. Wassermann


Glenn, 

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. You bring up an interesting point. Some systems do seem to make "music" more than they make "hi-fi." In fact, sometimes it seems as tweaking audiophiles are listening to very different aspects of the sound than the rest of the public. Most of my friends go "oh, that's nice" and go back to their charming little Bose cubes. 

I think some of the systems we prize the most have elusive qualities which, while they do not stand up to be noticed, do seem to grow on us over time. That is how it is with tubes. As nice as the specs on my Class A solid-state amplifier are, it does seem to be pressing the sound out at me. 

Solutions like the Omega and the Loth-X loudspeakers, in combination with reasonable cost tube front-end equipment, seems to be an ear-friendly combination that does not wear you out. 

I hope that you stay tuned for more on the Omega line. The TS1s are up for a review in about a month - plus, he has another, larger, model that he would like to me to review also. 

The fit and finish on the Omega is flawless. Clearly above average considering the price range and capabilities of the loudspeaker. 

On the
Enjoy the Music.com™ scale of 0 to 100, 50 is average. I hate to be the guy with the low numbers, but I also deplore smarmy reviews which make all components sound like the latest and greatest thing. This is why I love the Enjoy the Music.com™ rating system and write for Steven R. Rochlin - not the other people approaching me. Instead, I try awfully hard to describe how the sound might be on someone's system and how it might fit into what they like. 

A score of 75 is middle of the distance above the average mark. If you saw the smoothly compelling Arctic Blue marble finish, on the Omega TS1s that I have now, you would realize how much room there is for a 80, 90 or 100 score. In fact, I am thinking of leading the review off with just how high the Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) is for these loudspeakers (it is the highest of any I have reviewed so far).

Colin

 

09/02

Steve,

How do you do it!! Your site gets better and better. Thanks for providing a great all a round read!!

Jack

 

 

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