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Letters To Us

 

February 2007

Rick,

What an intelligent, articulate, observant and well-written review of the Sumiko Celebration, a review that played an important role in my purchase of the cartridge. Thank you. Coincidentally, I own several of the LPs that your article mentions, and thus a parallel listening through my own system - Celebration, Van den Hul wired Akito II, Valhalla LP12, and Linn on down the line to home-made speakers inspired by the thirty-year old Mission 770s - has been a fascinating experience. 

I have a question, Mr. Jensen, and if you have the time and the inclination to respond, this I would much appreciate. I bought my Celebration used, and it seems to have a slight nipple, a wee protrusion in the wood on the rear right corner (front view of the cartridge). This protrusion, combined with the Celebration's short cantilever and long flat bottom gives my rig no tolerance for warped records. Even a minor warp causes the vinyl to touch the bottom of the cartridge and lift the stylus out of the groove. Any suggestions? Does this mean that the compliance of the cartridge has been damaged? Would an e-mailed photograph assist your assessment?

Thanks!

Christopher Pereira

 

Christopher,

Thanks for the kind words. In regard to your problem, I am not sure that I can picture just what you are talking about. Hence, the photo might help me picture it, though I make no claims about my ability to diagnose the problem. Offhand, I am not sure what would impair the compliance of the cartridge short of some major and visible damage. I will say that my cartridge is a bit of a "low-rider" but I have never had any problem with the body bottoming out, and I do have a number of records that are warped.

I am copying Steve Rochlin on this reply and suggest that you copy him on your response because maybe he will know who else might be able to lend some assistance here. I hope that the occasional warped record is not impeding your enjoyment of the cartridge, which continues to perform very nicely for me -- enough so that I have not been overly tempted to get a new one. I remember the Mission 770s -- nice speakers.

Best regards,

Rick Jensen

 

February 2007

Scott,

I was reading a review scanning it for words on Altec Bolero speakers (you were reviewing some kind of tube amp). I know less the zero about fine audio things but you mentioned you had a pair of A7's. I have a pair of huge A7's (VOTT?) that I purchased in l969, they are totally finished wood with a complicated fret work covering the front, very nice looking but also very large. My question is, what do I have? Is it something very good or just a nice pair of speakers?
I appreciate your time.

Thanks,

Carl

 

Hi Carl,

I can't say that I've ever seen a pair of A-7's made for home use like yours. They sound pretty interesting since they have the intricate woodwork on them. Not sure if you are aware of the James B Lansing Heritage site at www.audioheritage.org. There is a wealth of information on it. They have all the plans, specs, driver and crossover specs for nearly the complete Altec line. I've downloaded tons of info from the site over the years.

When it comes to whether the A-7's are good, the big Altecs have a very dedicated following. There is nothing quite like them. I think most of the guys agree that the A-7 or the Model 19 are the top of the line when it comes to the big Altecs. Regardless, they are a tremendous speaker in my opinion. I'm just preparing to re-house my 511 horns and 416 woofers into something a wee bit smaller. Something more on the size of the Model 19 cabinet.

Not sure if you use them already but you owe it to yourself to give your A-7's with a good tube amp.

Regards,

Scott Faller

 

February 2007

Bill,

I have a very specific AC problem. My dedicated line, wall AC outlet puts out 126/127 volts. One of my favorite amps, the Loth-X JI 300b, has an auto shut off function when the incoming AC is plus or minus 5% of 118V. So, I need voltage that is stabilized at 120V. When you say, "they use autoformers to keep the voltage as close to 120 as possible," do you mean that if one's AC is at 120 it stays at 120? or do you mean that if one's voltage is 110V or 130V the APC unit corrects it to 120V? I need voltage correction, and am wondering if the APC will do the trick. I've tried the Exact Power units (first generation) but they produced a noticeable hum and perceived dulling of dynamics/a veil if you will. I've recently had the APS Audiophile unit, which had a capacitor blow up on me -- the manufacturer admitted it was a design flaw. I'm looking for something better.

Sincerely,

David Terry

 

David,

Sorry for the late reply but was on vacation. Yes, the APC units should correct your voltage elevation. Their autoformer should bring it down to the proper level without any noises.

Bill

 

February 2007

Colin,

Enjoyed your review on the Axiom m3ti's , i plan to use those as satellites on the back of my surround . do you have a recommendation for front towers to compliment these ? something maybe around 500.00 range ?

Thank you kindly,

Pete

 

Thank you Pete,

I would certainly consider matching front speakers from the Axiom line, even if nothing was close to your initial budget. Speakers are the only bargain in audio: you get the most bang for your buck. Buy the best you can afford and they will stretch your budget over years, possibly decades.

Yours in Listening,

Colin

 

February 2007

Keep up the good work.

Eric Hardy

 

February 2007

Phil,

I read your great review of the AKG 701 phones and I have been thinking about buying a pair of them and want to ask you a question. You used them with a Graham Slee Solo headamp, will they work with a Ray Samuels Hornet? Do you think that the Solo is better than the Hornet? I am a violinist, did you listen to any solo violin music with them and if so how did they reproduce the violin? Your comments are appreciated.

Thank you very much.,

Carter Asbill

 

Hi Carter,

I have no experience with the Hornet but the AKG 701 should not be a mismatch. At $350 the Hornet should not be expected to compete with the Solo which is around three times the price and still excellent value for money. When I audition I listen to a variety of music, with the emphasis on classical. No solo violin but string quartets were extremely well reproduced, as I reported.

Enjoy the music,

Phil

 

February 2007

Hello Dr. Gaw,

Are you still using the EP2050 whole house surge protection and do you still recommend it? I have some appliance damage that I suspect is due to surges and/or spikes on the power lines and a whole house system may be the answer. Improving the audio and video performance would be "icing on the cake". Did you get a discount from the suggested retail price? I enjoy your articles. Thanks for your advice.

Best Wishes for the New Year,

Tom Poterek

 

Tom,

Still using it but primarily for my video systems as the APC S-15 does a better job of cleaning up the sound. For the price its an excellent value especially for preventing equipment damage from spikes.

Bill

 

February 2007

Colin,

I live in Toronto, Canada and even though AXIOM is headquartered close by I wanted yr advice on what to go for, either Axiom or Aperion for my home theatre. My main goal is sound quality and oomph. Looking fwd to hear.

Cheers,

Prem Karunakaran

 

Prem,

That is a tough choice. I really liked the charming little Axioms, thinking they are a surprisingly good value for the money. I ordered their bigger brothers and thought they were almost excellent too. But the Aperion I reviewed came with a built in subwoofer, which for a tube lover like me means I can use a tube amplifier for the crucial mid and high range frequencies. I would certainly pay Axiom a visit though and hear for yourself. Maybe they have used or clearance loudspeakers that you love.

Yours in Listening,

Colin

 

February 2007

Hi Scott, 

I purchased the Paradisea based on your review, as well as online threads, and have searched online, but can't find a good answer, as to whether to leave the unit powered, or to switch off after a listening session. If you have time, appreciate your comment.

Thankx,

Uco Wiesema

PS: Am quite happy with the sound jff (just for fun) how's that for homemade speaker stands.

 

Hi Mr. Wiesma,

Funny you asked that question, I was recently in a conversation on one of the forums about that same issue. Considering that the Paradisea only has 110 volts applied to the plates of the tube, conceivably, the tube could last 20,000 to 30,000 hours if not longer. How I came up with that is simply from statements made about your typical preamp tube (say a 12AX7) that has 300 volts applied to its plates. That tube will last about 10,000 hours. Since we are dealing with 1/3 of the voltage, it would seem logical that the lifespan should be about triple that of the average preamp tube (guessing with logic rather than hard science). 

All that assumption aside, I leave mine turned on most all the time. The tubes are relatively inexpensive, even the pricey ones aren't more than $30. I usually only shut mine down if I know I won't be able to listen within a few days. Hope that helps.

Regards,

Scott Faller

 

February 2007

Bill,

The DVD-3910 is a perfect example of how an excellent DVD video player can be combined to offer all the benefits of a good CD player and include both high-resolution formats - DVD-Audio and SACD. For those looking to go up to the next level and purchase a statement piece, Denon offers the $3,500 DVD-5910. Although it is hard to believe the video portion of the player could be significantly better, my guess is that the audio quality is stepped up a few levels. For those looking to keep their options open with the ability to play all the formats, the Denon DVD-3910 is quite a value and a product worthy of serious consideration.

What would be a good choice to move up the audio quality in a combo DVD/CD player but keeping the price under $2K?

Cheers,

Brian Bloom

 

Brian,

Believe it or not, I know of no universal player under $2000 that would improve on either the 3900 or 5900 series. You'd have to go into the $5000-6000 level to do this. On the other hand both Parts Connexxion in Canada and VacuumState in Switzerland can do updates to the audio section that will make either series sound as good as or better than those more expensive units. I personally have a 5900 modded by Parts Connexxion that is superb, and am negotiating for a modded player from Alan Wright at VacuumState now for review.

Bill

 

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