Enjoy the Music.com Letters

Letters To Us

 

01/01/04

Colin,

I recently read your November 2002 review of the Axiom M80Ti loudspeakers. Although I am, primarily, a music listener I would like to expand my system to home theater. I am considering the the following systems (all Canadian): Axiom M80Ti; Paradigm Reference Studio 100; and Energy Veritas 2.4v (rough cost estimates of $2,400, $3,600 and $4,800, in USD respectively). Have you had the opportunity to hear/compare these three systems? I would greatly appreciate your comments and recommendations.

Thank you,

David Esper

 

David,

Thanks for digging a path through the Michigan snow to mail a Christmas letter to us. You do not say what you have now, or what problems you are trying to fix, so I can comment only on those items which I seriously auditioned, in my home, with the same equipment and the same music, for Enjoy the Music.com™. I have not heard the Paradigm or Energy loudspeakers.

Buying used often saves you a lot of money, David. Unless they are abused, by a spiked-haired teenager with nickels for ear drums, most audio equipment is never driven much past its resting state. A quick once-over restores it to a “better-built than chintzy modern-day stuff” status. Buying across the border with stronger US dollars and sometimes lower Canadian labor rates can also save you money.

If your credit card can not hold all three loudspeakers, I would read a review with a system that closely resembles yours and what you want, then order that pair, or two, to try out at home. Nothing is more informative than playing tweaking audiophile in your home!

My guess is that the differences in sound quality are not as large as the differences in price. In my opinion, many of the loudspeakers at $1K and above do a very good job of giving you a slice of the audio nirvana pie.

Happy New year, yours in sunny Florida listening,

Colin

 

01/01/04

Honorable Neil Walker,

This is a very delayed mail to you. I esteem you as a reliable critic. I experienced every word of your comment on the Prelude Reference including the inadequate quality of the speaker terminals: unfortunately one of the metal nuts is broken though I did not force. Anyway it is a wonderful amplifier with just one minor defect and will remain as my first love by Audiomat. Though it is too early to comment on my ''second-love-by-the-Audiomat'' Opera, my first impression is that it is a double-ended amplifier exposing schizophrenic performance with striking depth usually associated with the single-ended amps. I have to add that I was expecting to find a different power cord than the one enclosed with the Prelude Reference. 

Finally, though I have not yet listened to the L-4.2 (but L-4), I ordered one after reading your comment on the Internet and receive it within a few days. Thank you for guiding my preferences through your reliable critics.

Best regards,

Karahan Koray

 

01/01/04

This is weird. Try tapping on your electronics when playing music through them. Hear any difference? Didn't think so. Promoting all these isolation equipment devices is a scam and you know it. Preying on the insecure audiophile is shameless. Have a good day.

Bill Irvin

 

01/01/04

Dear Steven,

Thank you for a wonderful website. I've spent many hours reading the info on your website. I appreciate how reviews and viewpoints are presented. Some sites seem to have personal vendettas against some manufactures. I have heard many pieces of equipment and while I haven't found something I want to spend thousands of $'s for I have not heard a bad piece of equipment from the many reputable companies.

I'll try to make this short. I realize your a busy man. I have a modest budget system (NAD 320BEE, NAD C541i CD player, my trusty ol' Klipsch Forte speakers). I seem to have stumbled onto a certain synergy with these components and my room (22x20x10.5 cathedral ceiling). I have very good soundstaging and imaging (if its on the recording the music goes beyond, behind and in front of the speakers), and very good dynamics. The 12" woofer w/12" passive radiator in back gives great if not the tightest bass. The only thing I don't care for is its a bit bright in the highs. I assume from the mid horn and horn tweeter. So IMHO I'm getting a lot of HiFi qualities in this system. So much so that, again I haven't found something in my budget (8k for the system) that I would feel comfortable buying. I believe this is more a testament to how good the NAD products and my Klipsch speakers are than to my golden ear :) lol.

I recently attended the local philharmonic's performance. We were sitting in the balcony to the left. Within the first few notes I looked at my wife and said "That's the sound I'm looking for". I listen to all types of music (rock, pop, country, orchestral, chamber etc.). But if I can achieve a reasonable facsimile of that sound and it translates to the rest of my music without losing to much of the detail I enjoy that would be great.

So here's my big question. Is the VAC Avatar you reviewed a good choice to audition. I've read many great things about Kevin Hayes and his equipment. My concern is filling my room with the music and SPL's I am accustom to. Even at low (around 70db) late night listening levels. I will be upgrading my speakers either now or in the near future. On the shortlist are Von Schweikert VR2 or 4's. I'm going to audition the Avatar super in January. If you have experience with the super, Is it worth the extra $'s. I have to travel 2.5 hrs to do this. Even though I know your opinion would be somewhat subjective, you have the experience and knowledge to tell me if it might be worth the trip. Btw I will be auditioning the VR2's w/the Avatar Super. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If you can't, I understand and I'll continue to enjoy and learn from your wonderful site. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Scott McIntosh

P.S. "the sound I'm looking for" would be warm and real with detail.

 

Scott,

>>....warm and real with detail.<<<

That describes the VAC :-) The Avatar should fit the bill nicely :-) As you know, Klipsch loudspeaker are very efficient. As for how the VAC will work with the VS loudspeakers, should be fine as Albert designs sane loads and good sensitivity. Another good thing is that it is changeable from 27 watts to 60 watts. Naturally i prefer the 27 watt setting for purity, yet the 60 watt setting is VERY good. Also, going with a tube amp will lead you down the trail, perhaps, of tube swapping :-)

Let the fun begin :-)


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

01/01/04

Dear Wayne,

with great interest I have read your excellent review on the Wavac EC-300B amplifier. As I am currently considering to buy a single ended amp I want to ask you, if you had the chance to compare and listen to the different Wavac amps especially their bigger ones such as the HE 805 or HE 833. I want to use the Wavac with my new ProAc Response D100 speakers (successor of the Response 4), which according to Stuart Tyler should work with any good amps from 10 Watts on. As the EC 300 B is specified with just 10 Watt I might just working right, but not optimal and if the bigger Wavac amps might be a better match for my speakers.

Any suggestions from your side are very welcome.

Thanks for your response.

Best regards,

Bernd

 

Hi Bernd, 

As superb-sounding as the EC-300B is, I would not recommend it for your ProAc loudspeakers. You would be seriously limited in listening volume and dynamic headroom. I have not lived with the larger Wavac amplifiers, but I have heard them and I think they are terrific. I hardly think you could go wrong with either the 805 or 833. 

Best wishes,

Wayne Donnelly

 

01/01/04

Hi Steve,

I like the new white background! Very easy on the eyes. Way cool dude!

Jeff

 

01/01/04

Hi Rick,

How would you compare the Confidence C2 with the Confidence 5 ? I had been considering the 5's but have been told they need a lot of very good equipment ahead of them. I plan on using a McCormack DNA-500 amplifier.

Regards, 

Richard Oster

 

Richard,

I haven't had the opportunity to hear the Confidence 5 and so regrettably can't help you on that question. I have heard the C4, which is the larger brother of the C2 and they have a very similar sound, although the C4 appears to have deeper and even more solid bass, and presents a much larger soundstage. I would think that you would want a pretty large room for the C4s - they would seem to fit a large living room (e. g. 20'x25') nicely.

My impression -- and it is no more than that, as I have heard only a half-dozen of their products from the Audience line up to the Masters and Temptations -- is that the sound of Dynaudio speakers is consistent through their product lines, which may reflect the generally 'serious' engineering-based nature of the company.

Rick Jensen

 

01/01/04

Hello Steve,

First I would just like to say how much I enjoy reading your reviews; always very informative and entertaining!
I have a question for you: in your review of the Final Labs system you seem pretty convinced about the advantages of battery power. Therefore, would every system benefit from being "unplugged"? In other words, what if, theoretically, I had a giant battery that put out 110v with multiple outlets that could last for hours and was rechargeable? Stupid or genius?

Thanks for your time.

Andrew Byer

 

Andrew,

Thanks for your e-mail and the compliments. It would be hard to give ANY blanket statement when it comes to music reproduction. Naturally it is best when a unit is specifically designed for battery power. Some components may simply need vast power and amperage that a battery system may not handle properly. Wish life was as simply as saying "everything is better with batteries", yet there are various factors like power consumption and what a battery supply can output to consider. As always, in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

01/01/04

Dear Sirs,

I want to warn all CD buyers visiting your great site: Before you buy any CD branded with "Copy Controlled" system, try to play it in your CD-player. The other day I bought B.R.M.C album "Take them on on your own", released by Virgin/EMI and branded with "Copy Controlled" system, and it doesn't play properly in my Sony D-EJ725 CD walkman. CD skips after 9 seconds played, in one and every song on CD, sometimes continue playing, but sometimes going back to the beginning of the played song, and some songs are unplayable because of constant returning to the beginning after 9 seconds played. This is very annoying. I've tried to get CD replaced, but store clerk refuse to replace it due to explanation, that in their CD-player it plays fine! They even try to persuade me that my CD-player is broken! Yeah sure, but how it plays all other CD's (more than 1000) from my collection? Virgin/EMI and other record companies are trying to sell us some silver discs which look a like CD's and suppose to play in CD-players, but they are not CD's for sure, otherwise they'll play properly in ordinary CD-player. Major record companies are pushing us towards piracy!? I thought they are supposed to attract more customers, obviously I'm wrong. Pity; imagine how many artists/performers will be denied their income, due to their record companies' experimentation with copy protection systems, thus distracting us, long-time album buyers, and their best customers. Be warned again; closely examine every CD for any kind of "Copy Protection" logo/sign/brand before final purchase. In the store where I bought B.R.M.C album the front cover containing "Copy Controlled" logo was turned inside so one couldn't have a clue about it. I didn't investigate who turned covers in all B.R.M.C. CD's inside out (I've checked all of them on the store shelf), somebody from the shop, whole retailer, CD pressing plant, or maybe record company! And if somebody did it on purpose?

I'm occasional visitor on your site since 1998, and I like it a lot, particularly DIY cables stuff.

Keep up the good work!

Igor

 

01/01/04

Hey Steven,

Great website - keep up the good work!

I had a question about the new SACD and DVD-A formats and super-tweeters. Here’s my understanding of the new formats and the benefits they offer:

Both formats offer significantly higher bandwidth. DVD-A does this by using a higher sampling rate (96/192kHz) as well as larger word size (24 bit) that the CD format (44.1kHz and 16 bit). Though SACD uses a different concept, both these formats should translate into a “smoother” (more analog like) sound.

Also, the limit on the highest frequency that can be coded is raised. Shannon’s Sampling Theorem says that the highest frequency that can be correctly reconstructed is half the sampling rate (and given that the highest frequency that we can hear is 20kHz, the CD’s sampling rate was chosen as 44.1kHz)

While I completely agree with the first, my question revolves around this second purported benefit and the use of super-tweeters to make the most of it. If I can’t hear beyond 20kHz, what’s the point in having a super-tweeter to go beyond? When I tried to research this on the net, this is the kind of stuff I found:

“What the STs reveal is complementing harmonics in all program material, not to be mistaken for ultrasonic information which isn’t audible to the human ear”

Sounds pretty dodgy to me. What do you think?

Thanks!

Punit

 

Punit,

Thanks for your e-mail. There are debates regarding how high in frequency a human can hear, or at least perceive. In my opinion the true benefit of the newer formats is a higher sampling rate (more resolution) versus the higher frequency response.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

01/01/04

Steven,

For $179 this universal DVD-A/DVD-V/SACD/CD player is surprisingly good sounding on a pretty revealing 2 channel system -- especially on DVD-A and SACD. Have you heard it?

It is worth hearing! Cheap digital is really getting good.

It is not quite as good sounding as my Rega Planet and outboard Musical Fidelity X-DAC on HDCD CDs and good sounding regular CDs. However, the typical crappy sounding older CDs sound pretty much the same on both.

However, on SACDs and DVD-Audio/Video the DV-563A really shines. A really fine LP front end is indeed slightly better -- I have two to compare: a Goldmund/Lyra rig and an Oracle/Fidelity Research/Koetsu rig. But it just doesn't seem fair to compare such expensive and involved rigs to a $179 silver disc box.

Kind Regards,

Chris Fagas

 

Chris,

Thanks for your e-mail. Alas, have not heard the unit yet. Sounds like a very value-priced unit with many good capabilities :-)

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

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