Enjoy the Music.com Letters

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January 2007

Dear Clive,

I read you excellent review of the "Prometheus" speakers! Mine "Prometheus" has about 250 hours and they are starting sound better and better. I saw in your review that the listening were done with Welborne DRD, Diyhifisupply Ladyday '91 and Ladyday original. I'm on the way to order a kit from Welborne or Diyhifisupply but cannot decide which one.

So I'm asking you which one you preferred!

Thank you and best regards,

Michael Torneus

 

Hi Michael,

It's good to hear you are enjoying your Prometheus. Have you seen my Ladyday review (click here)? This should help you decide between the '91 and original. The DRD vs. the Ladyday is in some ways a different type of choice. Bear in mind that both Ladyday and DRD have gone through developments since I built them. The DRD is for sure very good indeed and the Terraplane is no doubt even better. In pure sonic terms it a hard choice, I've not had the DRD's for a while now but I remember them as being a fraction more relaxed than the Ladydays.

You should think about the looks of the amps as well, the DRD and Ladyday look very different and the DRD does take up a little less space. I did find that the DRD needed a powerful source or an active preamp to really show its best. The input sensitivity seemed lower than the Ladyday, this meant that it wasn't the best match for my passive pre. The Ladyday manages very well with passives.

So, I suggest you consider looks and system matching and well as sound. I hope I've helped, feel free to ask more questions.

Best regards,

Clive

 

January 2007

Jeff,

I recently read your review of the Axiom EP-500, which is your subwoofer product of the year 2006. At the same time I read your 2005 subwoofer product of the year, the ACI Titian, reviewed by Colin Flood. Both of these are about the same price. My room is just under 6000  cubic feet (21 x 21 with a cathedral ceiling). If you would be kind enough to give an extra opinion...which of these two subs would be better for me. My L/R and center channel speaker are the Gallo Reference AV's. My A/V receiver is Denon 4306. Depending on your opinion (please) if you say the Axiom sub then I would go with the Axiom Qs8 for the surrounds. If not your suggestions.

Your response would be greatly appreciated

David M. Dale

 

Hi David,

I am not sure what to say. I found Axiom's EP-500 to be a great subwoofer. Colin Flood found the ACI Titan to be a great sub., but I have never had the opportunity to listen to an ACI Titan myself. The EP-500 served me well and I have no doubt that it would fill your rather good sized room with all the bass that one could need as would the Titan.

As subs handle a rather specific frequency range, unlike centres, fronts and rears which ought all to be voiced similarly, your choice of rears should be more dependant on your choice of fronts and centre than that of the sub, I think, provided your mains reach down far enough and your sub comes up high enough to meet.

As my grandfather used to say, should I have such a problem. I doubt you would go far wrong with either.

All the best,

Jeff

 

January 2007

Hello Steven,

I'm a frequent reader of your magazine and a good friend of one of your reviewers. I'm also a child of the digital age -- a generation that does not seem to be appropriately represented among your cast of reviewers -- so i felt obliged to defend a format that's close to the same age as I am. While i do agree with you that we audiophiles should insist on higher resolution downloads and that the future music storage medium is the hard drive (I've been saying this for years!) I'm not so sure the former is ever going to happen. Let me explain.

You claim that the audio on CDs is lossy compressed, which is true, but by that same argument so is the audio on DVD-Audio, SACD, etc. because any digital format by its very nature is lossy compressed -- they're all approximations of the original analog signal. The DVD Video format codes 6 channels of music in a bandwidth less than that of two channel Redbook CDs and sounds fine to most people. The question we should be asking is how many bits are enough?

Back in the 80s, due mainly to technological limitations and psychoacoustic studies, it was decided that 44.1k/16bit (~1.4Mbs) was enough. In the 90s the new high resolution formats surfaced and in theory they were leaps and bounds better than Redbook CD but they failed to catch on. It seems rather obvious as to why people didn't flock to DVD-A and SACD.

The human auditory system cannot hear with much greater resolution than that of 16 bit quantized audio (~96dB of dynamic range) and the upper limit of the range of hearing is at best 20000 Hertz so way back in the 80s they seemed to be onto something. Granted it did take them a bit (pun not intended) of time to actually get all of the kinks worked out they ended up doing a pretty decent job. So now the argument becomes about all of that information above 22050Hz that gets lost in the encoding process. The exclusion of said frequencies is further justified because most instruments don't have many audible overtones greater than the Nyquist frequency of Redbook CDs; however, there have been studies showing that the human body does respond to the energy in those overtones even though they aren't necessarily audible.

This is where the advantages of DVD-Audio, SACD (and vinyl, obviously) come in -- they enhance the experience by allowing for these frequencies to be reproduced and felt by the body (assuming everything else in the chain of electronics allows for the reproduction of these frequencies). To me this truly is an enhanced experience, even if it is very subtle, but most people don't really care. To them mp3s and other lossy CODECs sound fine. This is why high resolution files may never be available to download. Only a small majority of people claim to appreciate the subtleties that they would offer.

You mention that master tapes sound far better than CDs but part of that problem lies in the process that occurs in getting the sound from the master tapes onto optical discs. It can be done in many ways all of which will result in the CD sounding different. If close attention is paid to this process CDs are a decent format. I've been in studios and I've heard live acoustic music (not as much as I'd like though because sadly it's a dying art form but that's another story for another day) but the average person hasn't had this privilege thus they have no means of comparison so to them mp3 sounds good and with contemporary pop music they are more than acceptable. It's like now knowing how slow and crappy your old Ford Taurus was until you drive your new Ferrari out of the lot. If you've never been in the Ferrari the Taurus will be sufficient. For most people mp3s are their Ford Tauruses. I think it's also safe to conclude that there have been many more sales of Taurues than there have been sales of Ferraris.

It does seem like with the current technology it would be relatively easy to offer high resolution downloads to the audiophile community but if you were a company and you could either store one very large high resolution audio file that a handful of people would purchase for download or, in that same amount of space, you could store the new Britney Spears album in a very lossy AAC or mp3 format which would you choose? That's right, you'd keep the Tauruses on the lot.

For now I'm sticking with ripped retail CDs burned onto black optical CDRs and SACDs to enjoy my music when at home. (Currently Miles Davis' Kind of Blue on SACD)

.... no lyrics to quote on that one ...

Happy Listening,

Rich Juszkiewicz

 

Rich,

You make many excellent points and i fully agree most consumers seem content with low resolution downloads, as perhaps they have no idea how much better the sound quality could be. As you say, it seems we live in a world of Ford Taurus drivers. Fortunately i actually do drive a Ferrari... and just acquired a Formula Continental for proper track use.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

January 2007

Hi Bill,

I've enjoyed your series on power conditioning immensely...I have the 
same affliction. I bought the Environmental Potentials EP-2050 unit on your  recommendation, and I love it! EP has even called me to make sure I was satisfied - great customer service. (I suppose it helps that I work for ABC Radio Networks.)

Today I went to CompUSA and bought the APC H10, and yes, it was $130  plus tax. Amazing! This unit looks like it's worth at least $300 to 
$400 if not more.

I'm using Shunyata Hydras for my line level power conditioning now 
(along with the EP-2050) with the power amp straight into the wall. The 
Hydras have made a positive difference. Have you used these, and if 
so, what has been your experience? I'm wondering if I should use the 
Hydras and the H10 together, or...?

Thanks again for the great articles, and thanks for your time!

Dave Allison

 

Dave,

Thank you for the kind comments and the interesting information on the H10 unit. I've heard nothing but good things about the Shunyata products but have not had the pleasure of trying them in my system. Let me know what you find in your evaluation of the products and I'll try to publish it. As in all things electrical how different products interact will be dependant on the junk that needs to be filtered from your AC. Noise on the line may occur from 0 Hz to the MHz range and each piece of equipment will be susceptible to various frequency bands at different levels.

Bill

 

January 2007

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the review of the APC line conditioners. I've been looking for a good line conditioner that didn't hurt the sound quality and was affordable. Sounds like the H10 would be good for me. I would only be plugging a SACD player, preamp, and a six watt tube amp into it. One of the main complaints I've read on power conditioners is that they rob the system of dynamics. Can I assume from your enthusiasm of these products that you didn't hear a loss of dynamics in your system? Also, do you feel the H10 would be sufficient, current wise, for my use?

Thanks again,

Sincerely,

Edward Stryker

 

Edward,

Should be fine as it supposedly passes 15 amps easily. Only way of knowing is to try it, and as with the following letter it can be purchased for less that $200, it shouldn't be a problem. Let me know how you like it. i'm using one of mine on two 50 watt 5 channel amps, a 250 watt 2 channel amp and 2 active crossovers without problems.

Bill

 

January 2007

Hi Steven,

I am new to Enjoy the Music.com® and will be spending some time in the future looking over the site and seeing what it has to offer. As a past subscriber to Stereo Review Magazine (Now Sound & Vision) and Audio Magazine (which is also not published anymore), I can already see I will enjoy the equipment reviews which I have missed for quite some time now. (Keep them coming!)

I guess you could look at me as a "Mobile Home Audiophile". That is, I am an Audiophile on a very limited budget. My existing system, although old by today's standards was considered quite good for it's day, and still holds it's own while giving me much enjoyment. My arsenal includes a Yamaha PX-2 linear track table which I am using now. (I also have a Yamaha PF-800 belt drive & a Pioneer SL-1600mkII direct drive as back-up tables - all in excellent condition). The table feeds into a PSAudio PhonoLink pre-amp which in turn is connected to a ModSquad Line Drive passive pre-amp. The power is accomplished by an Adcom GFA-555 II that drives a pair of ADS L1590 4-driver 3-way towers.

All of my equipment is in very good to excellent condition, and for an "Antique System" it still sounds quite good. I also have a "Pro" sound card in my computer which allows me good quality 24-bit/96kHz record/playback ability (analog, digital coax, digital optical ins/outs) of my rare and/or audiophile LP's, which is connected to the ModSquad's tape out jacks. I use the digital optical ins/outs of the sound card with an old (and needs to be replaced...) Sony TA-E1000ESD surround pre amp for home theater use. The main speaker analog outs of the Sony are connected to an aux. input on the ModSquad. To save money, I built my own 380 watt amplified sub (1.5" thick 3 cu. ft. throughout - 3/4" MDF with a 3/4" solid oak shell).

The surround and center channels are handled by a pair of Proton AA-1150 DMC power amps that I purchased new back in the 80's. (I could use some better surround speakers...) The only purchase I have done in the past 6 months, was to replace my Ortofon Super OM-20 cartridge (yuch!) which I never liked very well. I was looking at a V15-Vxmr until Shure dropped the bomb shell by dis-continuing it's production, which raised the cost of the ones still available. So instead, I went with an Audio-Technica AT-OC9ML II moving coil which was on sale, and should be a good match to my PSAudio PhonoLink pre-amp.

Sorry for being so winded - I just felt you needed to know what I was working with... What I would like to know is, other than the obvious need for a newer Home Theater pre-amp (which I may turn to eBay for...) to handle true Multi-Track DVD's, what "tweaks" and/or improvements/changes should I make to my system that would improve my listening experience, while staying within my limited budget?

Thanks 4 your time!

Donald Bohn

 

Donald,

Wow, i remember virtually all that gear! Those are excellent value for the $$ items. The biggest change is speakers and room acoustics. A free change would be to play around with loudspeaker positioning and toe-in. The ADS speakers are nice, though perhaps listen to various speakers and seek out the secondary (used) market. Good full-range speakers by Axiom Audio and Aperion Audio are excellent values and they are sold direct (saving retailer markup) and offer in-home audition. Remember, new speakers take about 100 hours of medium to loud(ish) music to break in. Hope this helps and in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

January 2007

Steven,

Just as Internet shopping has opened up a world of variety beyond the chain stores at the mall, internet music shopping may open up a world of variety for audiophiles. If we transfer to a PC-based system, then our playback options may increase dramatically.

For example, instead of a dedicated SACD player, we may download SACD files (very big admittedly) from a DVD-ROM onto a hard drive and then play them back via a USB-based system. Or, perhaps the 24/192 format, which is what most pop music is recorded and mastered in, will become popular.

In short, the fact that the format may become divorced from the carrying media (a DVD-ROM can carry MP3, 16/44, 24/192, DSD, or a mix of files) may allow people to buy music in whatever format they like. Although it seems a while before huge DSD files will be able to be downloaded directly, perhaps we will soon see a time when a small audiophile "label" will be able to burn DVD-Rs on demand according to customer orders and put them in the mail for uploading to a PC hard drive.

The recording industry also may license music in a multitude of formats, from supercompressed "radio" mixes to the original 24/192 artists masters.

Nathan Lewis

 

Nathan,

Thanks for your e-mail and that follows my idea with the recent editorials. Now we just need to get the recording labels on board to offer higher resolution downloads.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

January 2007

Steven,

I have a bass hump at about 60Hz to 80Hz. It is most noticed when a recording is heavy on the kick drum. My speakers are Totem Forest but I've had this problem with other speakers in my room. My room is 13 ft x 13.5 ft x 7.5 ft ceiling height. To fix the problem I'm considering a sub woofer with it's amplifier connected between my pre-amp and power amplifier, as is possible with the HSU, Sunfire & Velodyne.

A small subwoofer, 8" to 10" woofer size, should do it for me. I'd set the sub to receive bass from about 75 HZ on down and send the remaining frequencies to the Totems. This will allow me to place the sub in a spot that does not emphasize the trouble range and also adjust bass volume. What do you think about this? And, can you suggest anything else?

Jim Romanello

 

Jim,

Thanks for your e-mail. If you have had this same problem with other speakers, perhaps it is your room's acoustics. There are various acoustic panel devices options available from many manufacturers. i would first try something in the front corner of the room, then the 'first reflection' point on the side walls... and the rear corners. Hope this helps and as always...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

January 2007

Scott,

I enjoyed reading your review of Christmas parties past while tweaking the Sophia & JoLida. I always thought Boutique Manufacturers should offer more options especially when the market has answered.
What I can't understand is how a high end design can be marketed as a pinnacle of achievement and then offer three or four alternative accessories at a additional charge. IE Tone-arm wiring, head-shell materials and wand composition.

My question for you Scott is, at a third the ca$h how does the Modified JoLida amp compare to the Manley Labs Stingray sound wise? So far that is what I have been thinking about getting to replace my 22 year old Carver Receiver (brought Back To specs twice). I do not have a collection of tubes to roll with so out of the box sound is critical. I did hear rumors of a Manley Labs Integrated Manta Ray 100w version of the Snapper. but I won't wait for that , too much ca$h for me. I only listen to vinyl at home on a vintage JVC DD QL Y66F turntable with a pair of JBL 240 Ti's. That's the whole system.

So Scott, wadayathink?

Joseph

 

Hi Joseph,

While I love the little Jolida 102, your JBLs might require a bit more power if you intend on 'rocking out'. If not, the 20 (or so) watts of the 102 should do fine as long as you keep the sound to moderate levels. If you regularly crank it, your 89db efficient JBLs will likely want some more wattage. I've listened to both the 40 watt Jolida 202A and the 60 watt 502B. Again, if you want the "factory modded" version, Mike Allen will be happy to swap the caps and resistors for a nominal fee. I'm not sure how much the costs of the base units are but I don't think either of them are much more than $1000 which makes them extremely competitively priced (if not plain old cheap).

Hope that helped.

Regards,

Scott Faller

 

January 2007

Scott,

I am in the pipeline for one of the Mhdt Paradisea DAC's and have been busy rounding up some valves/tubes for the project. And I said tubes, as I have 3 different types ordered and or received; WE396a (71/71), some CRYO'd Russian Military 6N3P-DR with Ferrite Ring Dampers, and some Bendix 6385's (1956). But I can't seem to locate the one you seemed to prefer... the Bendix blackplate 2C51. Any leads on where at least a single in NOS condition can be found? I have multiples of everything else.

Thanks,

W. Gordon Ray 

PS: Enjoyed your review of the Mhdt Paradisea

 

Hi Gordon,

Unfortunately I don't have a source for the Bendix tube. I found a single one locally and that was the last of them.... eBay maybe?

Happy hunting!

Scott Faller

 

January 2007

Bill,

Thanks for the great review of the APC H-series in the December Enjoy the Music.com®. I did a quick search of CompUSA for this item, and the  H-series does seem to be offered for $130. Unfortunately, there are none in stock at the moment.

Regards,

Ed Gronenthal

 

Ed,

Thank you for the kind words. I'm sure our other readers will appreciate the heads up.

Bill

 

January 2007

Todd,

I am trying to piece together a great stereo that will work with movies (not surround sound for now). I would really appreciate your thoughts on how the Super 8s compare to the Gallo reference 3.1 speakers.

Thanks for the great review on the super 8s!

Tom Hollinger

 

Hi Tom,

First, thanks for the comments - I'm glad you enjoyed the review of the Devore Super 8s, I know I sure enjoyed writing it. As for how they stack up against the Gallo Ref 3.1 loudspeakers, I have to first say that I have not had the Gallos in my system at home so I am working off of show impressions here. With that caveat, if I were spending my own money I'd buy the Devores in a heartbeat. Why? Well, they make my heart beat. They dig into not just the sonics of a recording, but the emotions as well. To my ear, nothing under about 6 to 8k comes close to the overall correctness of the Super 8. Linear, extended, natural and easy to drive, they are well worth building a system around.

Peace,

Todd

 

January 2007

Dear Mr. Gold,

I very much enjoyed your detailed comparison of the Shure E4c and the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro. You did a great job of communicating the differences between these two products.

As an extension of that review, I was wondering if there's any chance you might apply your discerning ear to a comparison of portable music sources... Thus I'd really enjoying seeing a comparison of these players by either you or one of your colleagues.

Sincerely,

Aron Yoffe

 

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for your comments. I'm not planning any reviews of portable music sources in the near future, but you can expect a review of the Gini iTube 2+1 system, which you may find interesting.

Cheers,

Phil

 

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