Enjoy the Music.com Letters

Letters To Us

 

January 2006

Dear Mr Donnelly,

I have read your appraisal of the Zero Autoformer with great interest. Amazing that you and Mr.. Dick Olsher did not agree completely. I have purchased an Autoformer and use it between a pair of Fourier Pantheres 200 W OTL and Avalon Ascent Mk II. First I was very disappointed, but after 15 hours or so things changed. How many hours did you use the Autoformer before a final finding could be reported? Is there really not an trace of loss of the cherished OTL magic as other users report? Can your magazine be purchased here in Europe?

Best regards,

Schelte Hodel

 

Dear Schelte Hodel,

I wouldn't be too surprised to find two audiophiles expressing somewhat different opinions. I don't recall seeing Dick's remarks on this subject, but I would certainly take his opinions seriously.

To my best recollection I used the Zero Autoformers for about 60 hours before reaching the conclusions I expressed. I am somewhat cautious about whether there was "really not an trace of loss of the cherished OTL magic as other users report?" Audio "magic" is very much in the ear of the particular listener, especially when we are talking about a specialized technology such as OTL or SET. in the particular configuration I was reviewing, I felt that the Zeros gave the amplifiers the additional headroom to drive the loudspeakers comfortably to much more robust levels than was possible without them, and that the essential sonic characteristics of the amplifiers were maintained. Possibly another listener, perhaps more attuned to OTL "magic," might have reacted differently. I think that these are the sorts of nuances that should be judged by audition.

At least your last question is an easy one. You don't have to buy our magazine -- just type www.enjoythemusic.com into your browser, and we are at your service!

Best wishes,

Wayne Donnelly

 

January 2006

Hi Scott,

A few years ago I was very interested in getting the Classic AudioT-3s. I didn't get them, though, because I decided they were just too big. It wasn't the sound or money but the size.

At the time I'd conversed with John Wolff a bit [Mr. Classic Audio]. At one point, I mentioned a reviewer of a magazine had expressed interest in the Classic Audio speakers. [Long story how I knew this.] John told me he could get a pair of speakers to the guy. Who, eventually, declined. He decided he had too much stuff to review already, and decided the logistics would be too much...

You might just want to contact John and see if there would be any possibilities in reviewing one of his bigger models. I think Bill Gaw reviewed his smallest speakers a couple of years ago, and really liked them. Something as unique as these speakers would make for an interesting review.

By the way, I like the quality of writing you'd put into the Dynavector tonearm review, as well as the topic itself.

Thanks,

Kelly

 

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for the heads up about Johns speakers. I fell in love with their (the Hartsfields) sound a few years ago when I heard them a the original Midwest Audiofest. He had the DeHavilland amps driving them. I still can't get their sound of them out of my head. I've been trying for a while to get some big front loaded horns in for review. I just love the sound of vintage Altecs and KHorns mated to SETs. I'll give him a buzz and see if I can't get something set up for late spring. I do have a pair of the new Lowther Alerion's on their way in after the new year. They should be fun to play with.

Thanks for the kind words regarding the Dynavector review. I put a lot of work into that one. It's nice to know that it didn't go un-noticed.

Happy Holidays!

Scott Faller

 

January 2006

Phil,

I see from your bio that you have are using an LP12/Ittok/Clearaudio analogue front end and wondered if you are still happy with this. I have recently acquired an lp12/Ittok III/Valhalla with an ARKIV cartridge but my amp (an audionote silver Meishu ) has a built in MM stage. I have tried several step up transformers but none seem to me to be truly synergistic with this combo and there is a lot of hum. I am therefore thinking of switching to either a high out put mc design such as the Dynavector your reviewed or perhaps a Benz or Sumiko. However I have heard some very good Clearaudio MC designs and wondered about trying the virtuoso or even the maestro MM design from them. Have you found the Clearaudio to work well on the Ittock. Have you been tempted by something else?

Any views you may have would be appreciated.

Best regards,

David

 

Hi David,

The Ittok works well with medium mass cartridges, such as the Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood (6g), but may be less of a match for the heavier Virtuoso (10g). 

However, before you rush out to buy a new cartridge, let's examine the combination you have. The ARKIV is a superb cartridge, capable of better performance than the Virtuoso Wood, and designed to work with your turntable / arm combination. The hum problems you have experienced may be due to the dressing of the leads or perhaps an earthing problem with your amplifier, but are most likely due to the wiring within the headshell or the tonearm. I suggest you find a good Linn technician to give your Linn a tune up, paying special attention to the earthing.

Be careful where you position the step up transformer - it should be well away from the fields generated by the power supply of your amplifier and other devices. One way to be sure where the problem lies is to borrow another record player with a moving coil output and try that through the transformer and phono input. If you've still got hum, then that narrows it down.

I used to use a Linn / Ittok / Koetsu combination playing into the moving magnet input of a YBA Integré amplifier. I used a YBA step up transformer to great effect. So it is worth persevering to get rid of that nasty hum.

Enjoy the music,

Phil

 

January 2006

Hi,

I read your review on the Stereovox HDXV. I also use Kharma speakers (3.1) and have a few questions:

1. Did you compare the HDXV with the newer HDX2 ?
2. Did you compare your JPS speaker cable with other brands? I ordered Nirvana SX-Ltd, since I use SL now which pleases me a lot.

Greetings,

Renaat Mattheus

 

Renaat,

Thank you for the inquiry. It sounds like you are a little ahead of me on the product knowledge curve. I'm not aware of a newer HDX2 model, but I'm investigating it since you mentioned it. I recently did a review of the Stereovox Studio Line interconnects and speaker cables using the Manley Laboratories Skipjack as a comparator. The results were pretty incredible. In blind testing, it was extremely difficult to tell the differences between quality interconnects. After a certain price point--much lower than most audiophiles typically spend--the differences were so small that I would probably not know the difference if the cables were unknowingly switched around.

With regard to digital cables, I am working on a tweak that costs only a few dollars that far surpasses any differences I've heard in digital cables -- by an order of magnitude. The HDXV is about as much money as I could recommend spending on a digital cable in light of my new findings. I hope to report on this work within the next couple of months, but I want to be as thorough as possible in my testing. Stay tuned to Enjoy the Music.com®.

The JPS speaker cable had a much stronger bass than the Stereovox Studio line speaker cable, so that is what I am staying with for my large floorstanding loudspeakers. The Stereovox would be great for monitors, however. But here again, the tweak I am working on is more significant than spending big money on cables. I'm in conversation with a couple of other very knowledgeable people about this tweak, so I cannot share more with you at this time.

It sounds like you are really enjoying your music, Renaat. I'm curious what amplifier you are using with your Kharmas. There is currently a review of the KR 340 Integrated in the December issue of Superior Audio (a part of Enjoy the Music.com®). I found this amplifier to be outstanding with the Kharmas 2.2 in ways that no cables can address.

Does the "be" in your address indicate Belgium? --the land of Eddy Mercks, the great bicyclist! I also watched the Belgium Grand Prix in the rain in the summer of 1966. Jimmy Clark was the outstanding driver in those days.

Have a blessed holiday, Renaat.

Rick Becker

 

January 2006

Scott,

I am putting together a system of custom made 300B SET amps monoblocks and Lowther speakers. Speaker cabinets currently under construction. I need some advice on cabinet internal wiring, speaker wire and interconnects. What I am particularly interested in where to obtain small silver plated binding posts and spade terminals for 24 gauge silver wire.

Thanks,

Brad Siebler

 

Hi Brad,

When it comes to the silver plated copper wire, surf over to worldwidewire.com. Take a look at Teflon Stranded Hookup Wire tab. I've found that multiple runs of 22 gauge (equaling about 12 to 14 gauge) sounds the best. Use the 600 volt insulation rating. That will give you a thicker dielectric. The trick with the wire gauge is, the smaller the gauge, (usually) the higher the silver content.

When it comes to a decent binding post and spade connectors, this is where you run into problems. Sure, you can go the WBT (or some other manufacturer) route but these get expensive in a hurry. My best advice for decent binding posts on the cheap is to surf over to McMaster Carr. On their site you can buy threaded copper rod (what is termed "all thread rod"). I'd got for some 1/8" or 3/16" diameter. Order a couple of feet of it and cut it to length to fit through your speaker cabinets leaving enough extra to tighten down a nut and fender washer on both sides. On the inside of the cabinet, grind down the all thread thin enough to make it soldering iron friendly then solder your internal speaker wire directly to the all thread rod that has been ground flat. On the external connection, just use a nut and washer to clamp down your speaker wires. Obviously you will want to order copper nuts and copper washers along with the copper all thread rod.

Do not be afraid to use the cheap $0.05 tin plated copper ring terminals or fork terminals. These things are just tin plated copper and sound far better than those big honkin pieces of audio jewelry you see in the magazines. When it comes to SET's and full range drivers, less is best when it comes to connectors, honest.

After that, I'd use some of the SilClear on all of the connections. This will enhance the contact and protect the terminals from oxidations. You can get that from MapleShade or a few other vendors (I think).

Hope that helps.

Scott Faller

 

January 2006

Editor,

Can it be that there are ONLY FOUR classical CDs to recommend?

Best regards,

Carl Bogenholm

 

Carl,

Our Blue Note Award highlights only what we felt were the very best of titles we reviewed within 2005. Naturally we have reviewed many more classical recordings, but the Blue Note highlights the very best. Please see ALL our classical review over many years at this link.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

January 2006

Mr. Flood,

Thank you for your review on the Behringer 2496. i hope you don't mind if i ask you a few questions about this unit. 1. is there a level difference between this pro unit and consumer preamps? in other words, how will my volume control be effected? 2. i would like to use the unit between my amp and preamp so that all sources are equalized. i have heard that a digital connection is preferable. is an analog connection o.k? 3. i have an upsampling CD player which upsamples to 24/192. will i in effect be downsampling to 24/96? 4. are there any issues i need to be aware of in using XLR to RCA adapters? thank you so much for your help. i enjoy your articles as well as the whole website.

Paul Gossert

 

Paul,

Thanks for writing and thanks for calling me Mr. I don’t know of any level differences between the DEQ that affect a pre-amplifier volume control. I did not know any. An analog connection is OK. Yes, I think you are muddying the waters if you first up-sample then down-sample. Be sure the connection is good at the RCA end with XLR to RCA adapters.

Yours in Listening,

Colin

 

January 2006

Hi Colin,

Just to let you know you are not alone out there, referring to the use of the Behringer 24/96. I have been using the unit for -+ a year now, and whilst fairly complex once you get to grips with it, it provides a level of room and speaker correction you couldn't buy for 10 times the price. Used with my tri-amp'ed system (check voyeur site) this unit continues to put a huge smile on my face as i delve through my old vinyl, hearing for the first time what music sounds like through a system/room now essentially flat from 20 to 20k.the DACs whilst not audiophile grade are excellent in a unit of this price.

Regards,

Des Stanley

 

Hi Des,

I was a bit surprised to find out that you were using both digital equalization and tri-amplification. Tweaking audiophiles don’t often combine the two because a tri-amplifier system provides a lot of tone control. Active crossovers can shape the mountains of frequency response to create a flatter skyline. Redirecting energy at two crossover points (3-way) though, hardly compares to DEQ2496’s 31-band equalizer. With sub-traps, room treatments, flat impedance crossovers and tri-amplification, indeed it hard not to spend ten times the cost of the Behringer DEQ2496 in this hobby. And while each of the pieces contribute to audio nirvana, none of them actually do quite the same thing as EQ does.

Yours in Listening,

Colin

 

January 2006

Dick,

Just a quick note to let you know how much I've very much enjoyed your reviews. I've come to have little confidence in the reviews of the mainstream published media (i.e. Stereophile) and was glad to discover Enjoy the Music.com®. Last year I went to CES to judge for myself and found myself repeatedly returning to the de Havilland room. That room made music! And George and Kara are great people to boot. Thanks for the tip.

Rob Middleton

 

Hi Rob,

Many thanks for the kind feedback. Agreed. So many of the mainstream audio reviews tend to be biased - due to commercial pressures, writers need to conform to magazine policy, or simply because of obsession with audiophile values to the detriment of musical sound. Welcome to Enjoy the Music.com®! We're different because we care about the music and are unrestrained about the truth.

Happy Holidays!

Dick Olsher

 

January 2006

Hey Scott,

Enjoyed your review of the Squeezebox. Could you point me toward a source for one of those $7 power supplies? FYI, I use my Squeezebox2's digital out into the coax input of my Cary 303/200 CD player and it works great.

Thanks,

Bob Learner

 

Hi Bob,

Boy, I'm getting pummeled with requests for my sources :-) Tell you what, here's a link to a discussion of the cheap power supplies with some additional sources. I think in the next article, I'm going to give some links or at least generalities about the power supplies since there are so many questions about them, /www.audiocircle.com/circles/viewtopic.php?t=21353

Sounds like you've found a good solution for the SB2. I'm sure that sounds great :-)  Thanks for the kind words regarding the article.

Enjoy!

Scott Faller

 

January 2006

Bill,

I wonder if the cost effective answer to the static problem of VPI-16.5 cleaners, is to use a Zero stat after cleaning, to deal with the static problem? I've been using a $200 Record Doctor for years and am ready to upgrade, but the $1,800 price of the Loricraft is rich for my blood.

Wendell Goler

 

Wendell,

The Zerostat would certainly work to decrease the static build-up. One can also decrease it by only drying until the water is picked up and not any longer. It tends to occur when a dry brush rubs over the disc. Another product which decreases the static build-up is GruvGlide. Some people highly recommend it but I find that it clouds the sound somewhat.

Bill

 

January 2006

Hi Scott,

I' m a young reader and I' m moving my first steps in the DIY. Recently I've bought a couple of Fostex fe206, at the first time I was convinced to make a mltl enclosure but now I' ve decided for a back loaded horn, because I want to have 100% from my drivers. I've read you own a couple of Lowther drivers in a Medallion enclosure, I know the difference with my Fostex is really big, but do you think I can use this kind of enclosure with my drivers? If yes, could you please tell me where you've found the projects because I haven' t seen them on Lowther America website. Thanks a lot for your attention, I' m writing from Italy).
Best Regards,

Nick Pegoretti

Hi Nicola,

Taking a quick look at the Qts of the Fostex, it sure looks like it will work just fine in the Medallion cabinet. But don't take my word. There is an entire forum dedicated to single drivers. Jim Melhuish's Fullrange Driver Forum is THE place for all things horn related.

I'd suggest joining the forum and making a post over there. Those guys are extremely helpful and definitely know their stuff. See http://fullrangedriver.com.

Just guessing (and knowing the Fostex 208), you may still need a shallow notch filter to tame the mids a bit. The rear horn of the Medallions coupled with the Fostex's should produce significantly better bass than the Lowthers. You *may* need to play with the volume of the compression chamber to adjust the bass to your liking.

Have fun with your new drivers and welcome to the Single Driver world, you'll love it!

Regards,

Scott Faller

 

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