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Letters To Us

 

February 2006

Hi Todd,

i just read something you wrote about Alberta Canada, and I have a question or needing a suggestion of the Spendor s3/5. I have read allot of your reviews etc on the web but only now found your e-mail (and i promise this is a one time deal). My system is Cyrus 8vs with a PSX, Cyrus CD 8x with a PSX, and a Cyrus smart power for bi-amp'ing. Wireworld equinox speaker cables and Wireworld Polaris interconnects with a Electra power cord running all of my equipment. My current speakers are EPOS M12's. I am thinking that the epos are the weak link in my chain and since i have had them for a while, I'm looking for a change. My tastes are the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, lots of rock, but i do enjoy listening to Tori Amos as well. Any opinions on the Spendor s 3/5's? My listening room is small about 10 feet by ten feet like a box, with a dedicated line to the breaker box. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Mike Schmidt

 

Hi Mike,

I agree, the Epos are most likely the weak link, but with your musical tastes I'm not sure the Spendor S3/5 will get your where you want to go. They are great little speakers - but there are two key words here, great AND little. Though the room is on the smaller side, you still will not get down below 60 cycles much (if even that much) and so the harder rock stuff would most likely just sound annoying. In this price range I'd be tempted to look at the new Silverline Prelude (or the older Reference 12), a used Merlin TSM, a used Spendor SP 1/2, the Usher X-708 or a used Von Schweikert VR-2. All will give you better overall sound than the Epos, as well as going down to at least 45 cycles if not even lower.

BTW, I miss Alberta very much. Where I live in Colorado is much like Alberta, but as lovely as it is, it still is not Alberta. Who knows, I may be back sometime.

Peace,

Todd

 

February 2006

Steve,

First off, I love the online mag. Between a few audio forums and your website, I feel as though I've covered my bases in keeping up to date in audio. (Which can be difficult, as once you're happy with your system, you spend more time enjoying the system than keeping up to date with the latest. Anyhow... had one suggestion for a review/article that I'd like to see. Maybe it's already been done, and I just haven't found it yet. Here goes.

There's no escaping the fact that various forms of digital audio are here to stay. MP3, AAC, FLAC, you name it. The on-demand world of music has taken over the mainstream. For those of us who have embraced this technology, what's the best way to get a good sound out of these formats?

Along with my CDs, I would say that half of the music I'm playing these days is from high-quality MP3s. Not only do I like the convenience, but there are just some things that I've never found on CD, but that I have been able to download. (Rare live recordings, etc.) I pipe it into my system via a Slimdevices Squeezeox with Burr-Brown DAC, which I think is the best that I can do at this point for a source.

I think a tube amp solves some of the harshness/digital artifacts problem, but I know it's more complex than that, and that there are other parts of the system that could benefit from being optimized for playing digital music. I'd love to hear some suggestions on recommended components, systems, etc.

Thanks for listening!

Joe Morello

 

Joe,

You bring up a great point and this is exactly why we have reviewed such components as the Wavelength Audio Brick. As more and more audiophiles use iPod, MP3, WMA, etc devices, there needs to be an audiophile solution to decode the data and output it via analog to our system. Another interesting such device you have discovered is the Squeezebox we have reviewed. There are other such devices out there, but these two are the ones we have reviewed and both appear to be very well regarded. Of course in the end what really matters is that you... 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

February 2006

Hello Bill,

I have just re-read your review on Allen Wrights Vacuum State DPA Amplifier (Jan 2004). It was your review that first put me in touch with Allen's work which subsequently led to a visit to his workshop to demo the amps and I decided to go for the DIY version last April.

I would welcome your comments on how the amps are holding up and if you have any suggestions on tube types you have used etc. Hope you find time to reply and many thanks in anticipation.

Regards,

Brian Garforth

 

Brian,

The amps are working superbly. Alan builds them to German professional standards and I look forward to many happy years with them. I have had his preamps for about six years now and have only replaced tubes and one volume control, which he supplied for free.I am presently using some 300B Russian ER Audio tubes. I have also had good success with Electroharmonix Gold tubes, also of Russia. Western Electric new tubes were also good, but one of their filaments burned out only after about 100 hours, and they wouldn't replace the set.

Bill

 

February 2006

Steve,

My wife and I are getting ready to purchase a home theatre receiver. At this time, we have been researching the Yamaha HTR 5990 which just hit the market. It has pretty much all the features that we want (7-channel surround, HDTV compatible, digital inputs/outputs, etc). The speakers that we have picked out are the Bose Acoustimass 10 Series IIIs (rated at 10 -200 Watts per channel at 4 to 8 Ohms) for the surrounds & center channels. For the front channels, we will be using the Bose 301s, Series IIIs (bought back in 1992). The Bose 301s are rated from 10 to 150 watts @ 8 Ohms...hopefully this receiver will not blow all of these Bose...

We have looked at various websites to determine if these Bose speakers will work with this new receiver. Apparently Yamaha's website is NOT friendly for folks that don't understand electronic terminology. We would like to know what the output is on each channel using 8 ohm speakers? I used to know certain math formulas for figuring this out...but it has been over 15 years! Plus, I would like to know the Peak output power for each channel as well?

Basically, my wife and I want to know if this Yamaha is all what it is cracked up to be. Right now, we have used Pioneer and I'm not impressed with the overall quality of their products. We cannot find any "Raves or Reviews" on the Yamaha HTR 5990 on the internet. We need an expert opinion on what we are getting... is Yamaha worse than Pioneer? We have never owned Yamaha audio/video products before. If you can provide more assistance and perhaps explain the specifications to us that will help us out greatly!

Thanks for your assistance in this matter,

Marc & Annette

 

Marc & Annette,

Thanks for your e-mail and it is obvious you care about sound quality. There are times when it is hard for a reviewer such as myself with decades of experience to overcome those companies with large marketing dollars and what is seen by some as 'status symbol.'

If i may be so bold, and please accept my apologies... You care about sound quality. You had a Pioneer and it seems you desire something better. May i suggest you visit your local high-end dealer and look at products by Linn, Rotel, and NAD (as a few examples). These are very good value for the dollar electronics manufacturers. Of those three, Linn also manufacturers loudspeakers.

Speaking of loudspeakers, if you truly understand physics you will note that all the truly excellent loudspeakers have proper tweeter, midrange, and woofer. Dare i say it, size does matter. It is physics and there is no real way to cheat mother nature no matter what a company's marketing department may say. With that said, am sure many people enjoy hiding their loudspeakers and small cube-like devices may seem ok, but it is something i would prefer to avoid. Brands of high value for the dollar loudspeakers would include Axiom, Aperion, Polk, and quite a few others. Odds are for home theater you will desire a powered subwoofer too.

For me, writing these types of e-mail gets quite frequent. My hopes are that you move from mass market items of ok sound quality to what many people consider true entry-level high-end audio. Think of it as going from a Toyota to a Lexus, or from an off the shelf suit to one that you chose the fabric and has been altered for better fit. You get more quality and refinement. Remember, just because a unit has 50+ toys and gadgets does not make it better than one with 'only' 10. i have found that once i choose a setting, it generally stays there for years to come. In life, sometimes less = more because the money spent at manufacturing level can go into better parts versus more adjustment parameters. Of course in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

February 2006

Hello Scott,

I have purchased a Squeezebox 3 and also a +5V - 1.5A power supply from Hosfelt Electronics (Model 7202C-3) based on your review and others indicating that this would improve the overall sound. I know you did not mention this specific model however it is $7.00 and has been mentioned by other reviewers.

I have received the Hosfelt power supply today and the plug on the PS does not mach the circular PS port on the back of the Squeezebox unit. The Hosfelt PS has a rectangular plug with three evenly spaced holes in the end.

Do I need to buy an adapter to make the PS fit the Squeezebox port? I don't have the skill to open the Squeezebox and mess around inside. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated on this matter since I will have to return the PS soon to get a refund if there is no adapter available.

Thanks,

Phil Arndt

 

Hi Phil,

Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any adapters that will work with the Hosfelt end connector. The Squeezebox uses a round connector with center used as positive and the sleeve being ground. The connector is 2.5mm ID, 5.5mm OD, 11mm long that carries a minimum rating of 1000mA (1 amp). Radio Shack carries these at their retail stores.

I'm not sure if you know anybody that has a soldering iron but the exchange of the end connects would be very easy for them to do. Who knows, you might be able to talk one of the sales guys at Radio Shack to do it for you.

Hope that helps. Regards,

Scott Faller

 

February 2006

Mr. Flood,

Thank you for the ACI Titan sub review you published. Excellent. I am about to purchase a Titan sub from ACI but was wondering if two Force subs would be preferable to one Titan for strictly 2-channel music? I prefer sound quality over high SPLs. Which setup would you prefer?

Not sure if you need to know to respond, but just in case... Most of the music I prefer is jazz, blues, acoustic, and vocals. However, I do venture into classical and hard rock (Motorhead, Social Disorder, Rev. Horton Heat, etc.) at times, although I avoid playing at or higher than concert level.

Amp: Opera Audio Consonance a120 Hybrid Integrated (90 wpc)

Speakers: Eggleston Works Fontaine (monitors – conservatively rated to 55 Hz, though dual ported for superb roll-off)

Room: Dimensions and crude sketch attached.

Thank you,

Dan Liburdi

 

Dan,

Thank you for the compliment, system information and listening room drawing. Excellent. With a 55Hz bottom, you certainly need at least one subwoofer for your home movie and music reproduction system. Two subwoofers can give you better bass balance, if they are positioned at opposite ends of the room. With three open sides surrounding your listening area, this is going to be hard for you to accomplish. You could put them at either end of your entertainment center, but I don’t think that is what harmon kardon had in mind with their Subwoofers: Optimum Number and Locations white paper.

If you compare specs of ACI Force subwoofers to the Titan, it is hard to see what the difference between the two is, except for driver circumference, size, weight and price. I would ask ACI what the peak in the frequency response is for the two models. Two of the same subwoofers gives you more of that peak frequency. Although your room is large, my guess is that either one would be a great choice and that two won’t make that much of a difference.

Yours in Listening,

Colin

 

February 2006

Hello, Mr. Gaw:

I've read your review of the Clearaudio Insider Gold and its follow-up comparison with the Audio Note cartridge. Have you had a chance to audition the Clearaudio Goldfinger? Do you have any opinions about this particular Clearaudio cartridge?

Phil Starr

 

Phil,

Sorry, but I've never auditioned the Goldfinger. I have owned several of the Clearaudio cartridges over the years. They have a family flavor of being very analytical rather than lush but I have no idea whether this continues with the new cartridge or not. Steven R. Rochlin may be able to answer you and I'll forward this to him.

Bill

 

Phil,

You are in luck as we have an old review of the Insider Reference plus Clearaudio's new Stradivari cartridge in this month's Superior Audio! Click here and enjoy!

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

February 2006

Dear Mr. Rochlin,

I read your review and the follow up regarding these amps with great interest! I have never been fortunate enough to experience the magic of the Ongaku, but have been intrigued by it for a long time. As for most hifi-punters it's way out of my price league I'm afraid...

So when I read your review I almost jumped out of my seat. I currently own the Opera CD 2.2 Mk2 and the Reference 1.3 passive preamp, and I am most happy with these jewels. For amplification I use a pair of Audion Silver Night monoblocks. They are the older push-pull version rated at 24wpc. These drive a pair of Usher CP-6371:s. Cabling is Audience Maestro ICs and speaker cables. Power cables are Signal Cable Magic Power and Digital Reference.

The Ushers are indeed terrific speakers and seem to mate well with tubeamps, but i feel that the Audions don't supply enough power, especially in the midbass. I've tried the Audions with my friends Silverline LaFolias and did not experience this problem to the same extent. Other than that the Audions sound really great, even more so since i changed to Svetlana 300B tubes.

Do you have any experience using the Cyber amps with Usher speakers? My 6371:s are rated at 90db and 4 ohms. Would the Cyber 211 amps be able to drive them at all?

Keep up the good work!

Best regards,

Ola Hansson

 

Ola,

Thanks for your e-mail. Alas, have not reviewed/used the Usher speakers, though the Consonance has a 4 ohm tap so it should not a problem. Please try to find a dealer who can allow you to audition the amplifier and feel free to let me know how it goes. All the best and as always...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

February 2006

Todd,

Nice review of the Silverline Audio Panatella III. I’m thinking about a purchase but I wonder if you think the ATC SCM35’s are better. I’ve heard the ATC but not the Silverline. Hope you’d do a review of the ATC and compare it to the Silverline.

Keep up the good work!

Fred Olbrecht

 

Hi Fred,

Thank you. I am very fond of those loudspeakers and they remain a benchmark for me at their price point (indeed, few speakers at twice their price as good). As for the ATCs, they too are superb with outstanding detail retrieval, superb dynamics and a wonderful clarity. However, they need a fairly strong and linear amp to sound their best, and even with that they can be a bit threadbare and devoid of emotion. My preference is for the Silverlines, but I can understand where others would go for the ATCs. As for a review of the SCM35s, I'll be in Vegas for CES this week so I'll see what I can arrange. Again, thanks for the compliment and thanks, especially, for reading.

Peace,

Todd

 

February 2006

Hi Scott,

Fantastic detailed review of the squeezebox 3. I'm afraid a lot of the information is too technical for me, despite a very keen interest in all things hi-fi/AV. I have been reading eagerly the forums etc to ascertain whether this is the best way to spend my hard saved 200 GBP's rather than my initial intention of a good budget machine (in my money terms!) favorite NAD C521bee. I have a surround sound system based around a Denon 2803 receiver and Kef Q1 main speakers and KHT2005.2 surrounds/sub (7.1). I find 7 speaker stereo very good for my tastes via the Denon.

My conclusions based on far more expert opinions like from yourself, is that I will buy a squeezebox 3 and upgrade the power supply. Would you have time to send me an appropriate link(s) where I could buy a quality power supply (max 20 pounds probably) in the UK?

Finally if I connect using my quality IXOS (approx 30 pounds) digital co-axial cable to my Denon receiver will this force the use of the Denons SHARC DAC processor and produce a significant sound improvement (pending future outboard DAC) over the Squeezebox 3's onboard DAC? Best wishes and I look forward to future articles on this newly discovered website!

Jeremy

 

Hi Jeremy,

In the UK, I think I remember reading a thread on one of the boards where they recommended a power supply from either RS or Maplin. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I saw that. What you want to look for is a 5 volt, 1 amp (at 220 volts), linear power supply. As opposed to one that connects directly to the wall (or a wall wart), try one that has a larger case that sits on the floor. Granted, you may spend 20 or so pounds (about 30 USD) on this but it will do an even better job than the 5 pound version. If you can only find the wall wart, it should do just fine.

Plugging the SB directly into the DAC on your Denon should work great. Just make sure you keep your digital interconnect as short as possible. I'd like to suggest one our DIY digital interconnects cables. This will help your budget dollars go further. You should be able to pick up the wire and connectors at RS or Maplin also see our Max Rochlin Memorial Cable.

I really think you are going to like the Squeezebox. Everybody that has heard one (local to me) has bought one.

Have fun!

Scott Faller

 

February 2006

Leonard,

Have you seen a LP of Denzler performing Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony on London STS?

Robert,

 

Dear Robert,

I've never seen a LP of Denzler performance of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony on London STS. While this doesn't necessarily rule out the possibility, I would add that I have also never seen Richmonds duplicated on STS. This conductor is more or less nonexistent in the U.S.

It is interesting that you have come across a stereo test pressing of this. I assume this was done by Decca. I have a couple stereos in this format that cannot be found in commercial releases except in mono. It was nice of Decca to make such pressings available - or, at least, not hide them or throw them away. In the U.S., such things are not to be had, except in recent years for "audiophile" reissues.

Leonard

 

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