Enjoy the Music.com

Letters To Us


Hi Colin,

My name is Francis Michael, a resident of San Antonio, Texas. Thank you for reviewing the Omega single-driver speakers. I own a pair right now. I use a Pioneer M-25 power amplifier (it looks very similar to the M-22 in your setup). I purchased them second hand for $300 or so. The preamplifier is an Audio Research SP9, also purchased second hand. My front end is a Rega Planer P3.

Since you have heard the combination of the Pioneer's with the Omegas, I value your inputs. The Omegas sound pleasant, yet unexceptional. I am always on the look-out for ways to improve my system. Would a sub-woofer help my system? If so, please offer your recommendations. Alternatively, if I were to let the Omegas go, what speakers would you recommend to match the Rega/Audio Research/Pioneer setup? I am willing to set aside $1500/- for upgrades. This would include purchase of a speaker (and or subwoofer), and a good line conditioner. Any advice you would offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Francis Michael



Thank you for taking the time to write to us. It is good to see that there are some sensitive souls in the land of cattle, oil and pickup trucks. 

I wrote two reviews of Louis Chochos' endearing entries in the craft of loudspeaker design. Despite some charming qualities with flea-powered tube amplifiers, I found his smaller versions to be out of their league in the low and middle bass department. The larger TS1s too, I said, have “poor extension into the lower ranges for low-level articulation, particularly on pianos, kick drums and double bass. The Omega loudspeakers can't approach any multiple driver loudspeaker's bass extension or sparkling high-ends, but with tube amplifiers, they certainly "get" the critical mid-range.” I found both of them exceptionally pleasant. Yet, with my SS Pioneer, the even tonal balance of the Omegas, was not “so unique as to win them many instant converts.”

Since I am an advocate of powerful subwoofers, when applied judiciously to music, I would first add a burly low-end sergeant to drill the toughest notes. Then, if you like the “seamless transition across most of the music range, very good expression of musical details” and easy to drive nature of the Omegas, I would research low cost tube amplifiers. There are many ways to enjoy the music, my Lone Star friend. A super-sensitive, single driver loudspeaker with a clean tube amplifier and subwoofer support is only one of them. Yours, in listening,

A. Colin Flood



Hi Steven,

First of all, thanks for all the great reviews.

I saw that you have both these speakers lying around these days and I was hoping you might share your impressions with me. My main speakers are esl-63s, but I'm interested in getting something more sensitive that I might run with SET. I primarily listen to jazz (I'm a bassist), but also lots of international and pop and some classical.

Many thanks in advance,




Thanks for your e-mail. While both loudspeakers are wonderful, they have subtly different personalities. The Ref 3a and laid back as are the Audio Notes. The Audio Note loudspeakers have more bass and, in my opinion, have more vivid harmonics. Both have incredibly smooth highs. Ultimate resolution would give a slight nod to the Audio Note, yet please remember i have the all silver version (silver wire, silver caps and silver voice coil). Always glad to be of service and in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin




I just read your "MSB vs. Audio Note Dac" review... and am glad that I am not the only one who thinks the MSB is nothing special. I tried a MSB Link III with the Full Nelson uprade and Powerbase, and was turned off by it's Technicolor presentation, which I assumed was the reason Stereophile kept it in class B. From the vaults of my memory, even the class C Adcom GDA-700 had clear musical advantages, in my opinion, over the stock MSB Link III.

Who needs upsampling to 96kHz or 132kHz, when you can't get 24-bit/44kHz right? In this case, wouldn't you just be increasing the amount of garbage pouring forth from your speakers?




Thanks for your e-mail and i truly appreciate your opinions. As you say, if you can not get basic sampling correct, why bother upsampling.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin




I recently got a set of er-4p’s and a Headroom Total AirHead. Your article was a major deciding factor in my purchase. But I’ve got some issues with the AirHead.

When I connect the Airhead to a source, i.e., DVD player or CD player, it’s HARD to hear the difference in the sound quality. I’ve tried to a comparison by going directly to the source unit (without the AirHead) and then plugging the AirHead in-line with the source unit. The difference is slight, if any, in most cases. I really have to listen carefully to hear any difference. Obviously, the amplifier portion of the AirHead works fine and I have no complaints about that aspect of the AirHead’s performance. But I really thought I’d hear an undeniable difference with the AirHead in-line to source unit. I imagined I would get an “airy” projection of the sound that would be very different from the raw source unit. Do you think there could be something wrong with the AirHead? What should I expect to hear normally?

Also, when I switch off the “processor” I hear absolutely no difference regardless of the sound source. I thought the source material (stereo) might sound monaural or flat but I can’t hear any change in the sound when turning it off and on.

NOTE: I’m using fresh batteries and the LED light is lit.

I really love the er-4p’s and would like to enjoy the Airhead. But I’m having doubts as to whether or not the $200 I spent on the AirHead was either a bad investment…or there’s something wrong with it. Any advice you could share with me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to help me.

Again Thanks, 

Bernie Huish


Hi Bernie,

Glad you're enjoying the Etymotics. For me, the Total Airhead amp makes a big difference in the sound - it locks the soundstage in place and provides more dimensionality. 

If you think yours is defective, then contact Headroom. I'm sure Tyll and the gang will take care of you and either issue a credit or send a replacement. 


Chris Boylan



Hi Karl,

Hope you are well today. I recently read your review of the Musical Fidelity M250 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was hoping you could give me a suggestion if you have a moment regarding a home system configuration am getting ready to purchase.

I am considering purchasing the M250s as the Amps in a system with B&W 804 left and right speakers and a B&W HTM1 as a center channel. The M250s would be bi-amps for the left and right as well as a dedicated M250 for the center. I am also considering dedicating two M250s to each channel since the B&W 804s are configured for bi-wire. I can dedicate one M250 to each set of cones per speaker in a passive configuration. This would run about $2,500 per channel.

My question is, is there another amplifier you have come across or reviewed that is in a similar price range for this proposed configuration that you felt was a more neutral power source or better suited for B&W Speakers? I absolutely love these speakers and want to treat them right!

I am appreciative of any guidance you may have. Thanks again. 


Steve Noll


Hi Steve Noll:

I am limited in how much help I can be regarding your system. I certainly can give you some isolated comments that may enable you to investigate further. We will not be getting into a continuing back and forth dialog in any event as so much background info is missing.

1) You love those speakers - right? Then you listened to them with amplifiers that are good with them - buy those amplifiers.

2) Sounds like you are setting up a 3 channel system - no mention of a home theater or surround system as with a TV monitor. Therefore the standard advice would and should be to use 3 identical loudspeakers. Even if that "center channel substitute" uses the same drivers, if it is horizontally designed various factors will prevent it from sounding identical to the L and R loudspeakers. Identical sounding is to be preferred.

3) You say that these models are configured for bi-wiring. Bi-wiring is not the same as bi-amplifying. Bi-wiring is extremely controversial as it appears as though some loudspeakers seem to benefit, others do not or are even slightly worsened by the procedure. Then you can have fun determining which specific wires to use for the bass range and which for the top end - a potential can of worms.

4) If you were thinking of bi-amplfication, then that is a different game. Two amplifiers (and hopefully two excellent and probably two different and excellent cables per channel both interconnect and loudspeaker types) will up your ante to far beyond $3,000 for each channel. Then you are able to consider $3,000 mono amplifiers with one interconnect and one loudspeaker cable for each channel. Believe it or not, there is a fine possibility of that being better! Do not rush - experiment and assume nothing if you do not definitely hear it.

5) Do remember that I found one slight negative aspect of the mentioned amplifier's sound quality in the treble range. Dealers also hear it and if it were not true there would be no need for the company to offer other models some of which have lower power output at a higher price. I make mention of this general subject in my current CES Las Vegas Show review. I doubt if that company will let me review any more of their products after finding a less than ideal sound in the treble range of one of their amplifiers. However, as you and our many readers have come to realize, with Enjoy the Music.com™ our reviewers are completely free to "tell it like it really is". I hope I've given you some food for thought - do not rush into the situation.


Karl Lozier



Hi Wayne,

Read your review of the Aria WT-100 with much interest. I'm in the process of breaking one in and have a question or two for you. Unless I missed something, you make no mention of break in in your review. Were the amps you reviewed already broken in? With only 24 hours or so on mine, obviously I've a ways to go before it gives of its best. At this point however, it sounds far more akin to solid state than tube. At least judging by my limited experience with tube amplifiers and comparing it to my present amps, BAT VK-60 monoblocks. While the Aria amp is faster, cleaner and more transparent, it lacks the weight and richness of the BATs. Soundstage also suffers compared to the BATs, especially depth. The Aria sounds a bit flat by comparison. The Aria does the dynamic headroom thing much better than the BATs. It's been quite awhile since I've had this much dynamic headroom in the system. Really cool. I'm hoping that in 3 or 4 more days, the Aria will match the BATs in those parameters where I find it lacking at this point. I've got it running continuously until Saturday afternoon. Oh, yes, forgot to mention that the tubes I've got in my preamp at the moment aren't my 1st tier tubes. I'll wait until Saturday to install them. Surely, that will make a difference also. I'll also pop in a pair of Ken Rad VT-231's in the Aria. I'm running Tung-Sol GTB "D" getters in the Aria until preliminary break in is done. Do you now own Aria amps?


Joe Mendez


Hi Joe,

My review amplifiers had been burned in to some extent before I received them. They did continue to improve, but I guess the difference was not great enough to talk about. The break-in schedule you have laid out should get you much of the way there, although I think it will take 200-300 hours to finish the job.

As for the shortcomings you are hearing in bass weight, harmonic richness and soundstaging, my advice is not to rush to judgment. See how the Aria sounds after sufficient break-in and the tube substitutions you're planning to do. But I don't think this amplifier will ever sound very much like your VK-60s, especially in the bass. (I don't think it will wind up sounding like typical solid-state either.) I suspect that the weight you like and have grown used to may be partly related to the higher output impedance typical of tube amplifiers, which in most cases gives them a bit less of a "grip" on the woofers, resulting in somewhat plumper low frequencies. When the Aria is fully burned in and have your best cubes in play, you may well find that the bass gains some weight, and there should certainly be compensating virtues of better extension and pitch definition (the latter is particularly beneficial with orchestral music). 

I don't know how much discussion you had with Michael Elliott when ordering your Aria. But I would suggest you reread the latter section of my review, which discusses the range of voicing possibilities he can offer.

And no, I don't own Aria, although I think they are superb amplifiers. Can't buy everything I like....

Best wishes and good listening,

Wayne Donnelly



Dear Dick,

Thank you very much for your review of our Silver Rock in Enjoy the Music.com™. Your very detailed analysis, I think really helps to understand this very special concept of a passive preamplifier.

There is maybe two more points that we would like to add about the Silver Rock.

First, its compatibility with the output stage that drives it. The Silver Rock transformers were designed to suit most CD or converter output stages which show output impedances from several tens to several hundred ohms. Less than 1KOhms is of absolutely no concern as we only had little problems with tube stages of impedances from 3.5KOhms to 25KOhms (yes there is people building CD output stages of 25KOhms out there! This would anyway be a problem with many interconnects and amplifier inputs).

To our experience, it is not so much a question of the impedance as per se, but rather a question of the output stage topology, of the size and quality of the coupling cap in particular, as those will influence the low frequency response and resonance. This may explain your observation with the LAMM Industries LP2 phono stage, which is having a capacitor coupled tube output stage of a nominal 3K5 ohms output impedance (what is the cap's value?).

The second point I wanted to make, was sensitivity to vibrations. To our knowledge, there is no audio equipment on the market that is not sensitive to vibrations. The Silver Rock, being an electromechanical device also is sensitive towards vibrations. Our customers do use various devices to couple/decouple and may greatly improve sound. We use it here on a 40 Kg sand filled box with spikes. The Silver Rock's sensitivity towards vibrations was also made clear with the new C37/wood/bronze knobs that are now available as and substantial up-grade to any version of our potentiometer. While we were aware of the knob's influence to sound, we could not imagine what a good knob may do to the Silver Rock. The standard bakelite knobs are a sort of optimum, easily outperforming any plastic or metal knob. Now, the new wooden ones are the only knobs that do not only not worsen the sound, but in fact improve it dramatically. Having said this, we will have to come up with a suitable stand for the Silver Rock line of products. It may take some more time, same as with the knobs, but it will be a significant up-grade.

Best regards,

Serge Schmidlin
Audio Consulting
Emotion in Sound



Hello Neil,

I've been in search of a CDP for some time now as it is noticeably the weak link in my system (Audiomat Arpege, Cambridge Audio D300SE CDP, GR Research Paradox 1 monitors) so I read with interest your positive review on the Vecteur D-2 as well as your response to a reader regarding a question on the L-4. 

I was on the verge of making the decision to purchase the L-4 myself and was looking to audition it but it has now been discontinued! It has been replaced by an improved (read more expensive) version called the L-4.2. I noticed on the "Upcoming Reviews" link that you have plans to write up a formal review of the L-4 (which I eagerly await) - any plans to review the L-4.2? 

You've also mentioned that the L-4 worked well as a standalone player. Could you elaborate on what you noticed when you used the L-4 as a standalone player versus with a good DAC? 

Thanks for your time and keep up the good work!




Thanks for the e-mail.

I will be reviewing the L-4.2, now that the L-4 has been discontinued. The L-4 is a fine player, so I am looking forward to the L-4.2. I suspect that the price increase may well be justified, but I will not know until I have the opportunity to hear it myself.

Given the write-up from Mutine on the L-4.2, I gather that it is going to be easier to live with the L-4.2 because one of the changes is to give you the choice of two outlets: low and high voltage. The L-4, with only the high voltage output required a quick flick of the volume control knob or you could get quite a blast of sound when you switched over to it.

Using the L-4 as just a CD transport, I discovered a depth and acuity of sound which most other transports do not match, even the excellent Vecteur D-2. What does that mean? As my local dealer said, when we talked about it, "it's more, you know just more." He is right in that all the positive qualities of the D-2 are there, but more so. It is impossible to say anything about high end this or low end that -- it has to do with the perception of wholeness in the music, musicality, if you will.

After hearing how impressive the D-2 was, listening to the L-4 was startling, since I really expected to hear D-2 plus good DAC and instead got L-4 DAC as a revelation in sound, plus a good DAC.

I hope this clears things up a little, but if you are anxious to improve the digital end of your system, I know from personal experience that time moves glacially.

All the best.





I'd like to say that I love your web site. Your reviews and articles cut to the chase and tell it like it is. That's a rare thing in hi-fi today. I recently read Dick Olsher's Y2K Compliant Stereo system. I'd love to see an updated version of that well pieced together system. A couple of the components used are no longer in production. Thanks 




Agrred in that we need to get an all new Y2K system. Maybe we can stretch the budget to the now appropriate Y2.3K  :-)

As always, Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin



Hi Dick Olsher,

Just first to say how much I enjoy reading your reviews, I appreciate the insight that you bring to many subjects. 

It was also good to see a review of a transformer volume control (we call these TVC's in the UK - nothing like a good TLA!). I don't quite know the history of who did what first, but we have had a couple of UK manufacturers making these specifically for high quality audio purposes for a couple of years.

I was one of the first to use the Stevens and Billington (S&B) TX102 transformers after they started production and have to say that for 18 months now I've been thrilled with the performance. It has been compared to many different passive and active approaches and has always trumped them all very convincingly! The fact that you can use them in balanced configuration can be a real bonus.

The S&B and the Sowter transformers are also much cheaper than the Silver Rock ($130 to $180 per transformer) meaning that for less than $600, one can tap into the highest audio quality for little money. I have not done a Silver Rock silver vs. S&B copper comparison, but I am aware that there is to be some comparisons made soon. S&B do now make their transformers with optional silver wire (requested by their USA distributor!) at $350 each, still providing a unit for less than $1,000. But again I have not heard what the differences are. I know that some audioholics are silver freaks, through and through, others stay with copper! 

I'd be interested in any further comments you might have or would like to see some further reviews. I know that Thorsten Loesch also uses the S&B units the same as mine (I believe he had also had some input to them in the manufacture of these). Maybe a TVC comparison would be in order sometime?

With regards,


Jonathan Dunham


Dear Mr. Dunham:

Thank you for the feedback and the informative comments. Indeed, the Stevens and Billington (S&B) TVC (as you call it) appears to be worth investigating, and I expect there to be additional TVC reviews within the pages of Enjoy the Music.

Since there is no Copper Rock to compare with a Silver Rock, I cannot comment specifically about copper versus silver in this context. Based on past experience, however, I think than the purity of the conductor is a more critical sonic factor than atomic number per se, and on that basis 6N copper ought to sound better than 4N silver.

Best wishes,

Dick Olsher
Senior Editor



Hello Mr. Olsher,

Congratulations on discovering a whole new dimension in volume controls in your review of the Audio Consulting unit. I have used a similar unit from Stevens & Billington in the UK for the past six months now, and I must admit that I will never be able to return to conventional preamps again. Some friends and I have compared the TX102 with various highly appraised preamps like Hovland, GRAAF, Aesthetix and CJ 16 and the X-former based volume control outclasses the the more conventional units by a wide margin when it comes to tone, dynamics, silence, purity, etc. The bonus is also that you get close to an ideal impedance matching and equally important; the x-former isolates the signal source from the power amplifiers and works as an isolation signal x-former (much used in professional audio).

The S&B unit was measured by a SS designer here in Norway who didn't believe his eyes when he saw that the unit measured absolutely flat to well above 90kHz with distortion figures in the 5th decimals range. Even loaded with a simulated 5 volt signal at 10Hz the unit had almost unmeasurable distortion. As a bonus you can wire the primary windings in parallel to get a gain of +6dB(at the cost of halving the input impedance from 50 to 25kOhms).

While I'm at it; I would also express my deepest admiration for the best audio magazine on this planet that's not in Japanese.
Keep on!

Best regards
Leif "IRON" Christensen
Oslo, Norway


Dear Mr. Christensen,

Thank you - your feedback is much appreciated. Several readers have by now emailed me to express their enthusiasm for the Stevens and Billington transformer volume control, so it is one to definitely check one.

Re the S&B's stellar measurements, such performance is certainly no surprise to audio professionals. Transformers are routinely used in professional audio for balanced signal interconnection and as low-noise gain blocks. Many Microphones and mic preamps feature transformers. It would be fair to say that many favorite audiophile recordings include the sound of transformers in the signal path. Audiophiles are just beginning to discover this new possibility in the application of transformers for volume control.

My best wishes... and enjoy the music!

Dick Olsher
Senior Editor



Dear Mr. Olsher,

Just want to let you know that I enjoy your writing both at Enjoy the Music and at your Black Dahlia site. I just read your Silver Rock review. Just one minor mistake: the output impedance of a 100K pot at midway is 25Kohm, since the two halves are in parallel. This is also the point with the highest output impedance since increasing or reducing the volume will result in one half being less than 50K, hence lowering the output impedance. The statement "The lower you go with the volume setting, the narrower the bandwidth becomes right in the audio band." is therefore inaccurate. With transformer attenuators, the output impedance decreases with decreasing volume, and the highest output impedance will be no more than the output impedance of the source component (for the 0dB gain version anyway).

That aside, looking at the pictures, this thing really is pretty crudely made, and at a price of up to $5000! I am using an inductive volume control that I built with Sowter transformer attenuators (www.sowter.co.uk), at 1/20 the price of the Silver Rock (the trannies were 90 UK pounds each about 3 years ago). The advantage of transformers is that you can run the input and output balanced, with an improvement in noise rejection. I don't know whether this is possible with the Silver Rock. My implementation also allows for switching of absolute phase. The Sowters are really quite excellent, with a bandwidth extending to beyong 100Khz and no ringing with square waves. Stevens and Billington (www.stevens-billington.co.uk) also makes excellent transformer attenuators, but are more expensive (130 pounds each). You can also specify silver windings with the S&B. I am using their MC step-up transformers and the size is more like a single-ended tube output transformer!

We at the Hong Kong Tube Audio Club will be conducting a shootout between the Sowter, the S&B (silver and copper, courtesy of the local distributor) and the Silver Rock, hopefully within the next two weeks. This will be a double-blind listening test. Will let you know the results if you are interested.


Adrian Wu


Dear Adrian:

Many thanks for the feedback and information. It is always a pleasure hearing from our international readers. 

Your comments re the output impedance of a 100K pot would of course be absolutely correct for a parallel connection of the pot. The information presented on the Audio Consulting web page and my paraphrasing of it assumes a series connection. Now that may not be the smartest way to connect a pot and probably not the most common, but that was the basis for the argument. Even with a parallel connection there are frequency response problems, though not as severe as implied by the series connection.

Re cost, it should be noted that there is a major difference between high-end audio gear and DIY products. The cost of high-end gear typically includes significant marketing and distribution costs. I agree that it is sometimes shocking to consider the parts cost of a particular product versus its suggested retail.

I would certainly welcome the Hong Kong Tube Audio Club's transformer attenuator shootout results. Please keep me informed.

Best wishes, and as always... enjoy the music,

Dick Olsher
Senior Editor



Hi Jeff Rabin,

I just finished reading your article in ETM, and share your appreciation for many of the brands your list. I am guilty of having the Dynakits, Original JBL's, yes, even now run 12" Gold Tannoys (which my son is eager to inherit one day) and a crop of 7 Wharfdales, all running. A golden era, and wonderful diversity.

Enjoyed it. Thanks,

Eli Rochlin



Hello Wayne, 

I enjoyed your review of the Jolida integrated amplifier. Have you heard Jolida's hybrid integrated amps? If so or if people you know have heard them I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Thank You,



Hi Tom, 

As I wrote in the review, the 202A was the first Joliet product I had listened to for years, and a quick survey of my friends did not reveal any other relevant experience with the hybrids. Sorry I can't be more help. But based on what I heard with the 202A, I would certainly be interested in hearing other Jolida amplifiers, and I think they are worth a serious audition. 

Best wishes, 

Wayne Donnelly



Hi Wayne,

I have recently purchased a pair of Von Schweikert DB-100's and await their delivery! 

Part of the rationale for my purchase was your glowing review. Do you still feel that way? There seem to have been no more reviews and little mention of the DB-100's since your review. I have called Albert Von Schweikert and gotten the lowdown on the speakers. He seems quite proud of them and ranks them pretty much higher than 20k-50k/up competition. 

I've got a Rogue Tempest Magnum Integrated, Nottingham Spacedeck w/Dynavector Karat cartridge and the new Cary 308 CD player. 

Is there anything you can add? I'm new to the audiophile world and would appreciate any input. 

Is there any speaker you would compare the DB-100 to? 


Richard Rostron


Hi Richard, 

I believe that the reason you haven't seen much mention or more reviews of the dB-100 is that right after my review appeared, Albert Von Schweikert decided to re-think the physical design and appearance of the speaker with an eye toward making it less imposing physically. So the design has not circulated much in reviewer circles. I stand by the opinions expressed in my review. The only changes I would make are to the numerical ratings. That was the first review I had written for
Enjoy the Music.com™, and in my enthusiasm I was overgenerous about the numerical stuff. Looking back, I would probably drop most of the ratings between 5 and 8 points, which means they would still be outstanding. 

Is the dB-100 as good as speakers at twice the price or more? I would certainly rate it as better than several in that price range. As for similarly priced competitors, I know of nothing with the combination of frequency extension, dynamics and extremely high sensitivity offered by the dB-100. I think they will knock you out. 

Happy listening,

Wayne Donnelly




Thanks for the very insightful review of the Meadowlark Swift. I was shopping for speakers for my second system when I discovered your review. I found a dealer about 2 hours away, drove there, auditioned the Swifts, and bought their last pair. They sounded good in the store and just keep getting better. They are not as detailed as the Tyler 7U's in my main system, and they don't go as low. But (and it's a big but!), I keep going to listen to the Swifts because they sound so natural and and musical. It has been enlightening at just how quickly my listening sessions now become all about the music. Listening to these little Swifts is a truly emotional experience, plus my wife really likes their looks (which should never be underestimated). 

I wanted you to know your review was right on target and I thank you for it. I am sold on the Meadowlark "time coherent" design concept and am considering the Ospreys for my main system. I was wondering if that review will be forthcoming any time soon? 

John Johnston


Hi John, 

I'm glad to hear that you like those little Swifts as much as I do. As for the Ospreys, I have still not yet received my review pair, although I'm expecting them soon. Most likely the review will be done by March or April, although you may not want to wait that long. Now this is NOT a review, but I did hear the Ospreys briefly at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and they sounded terrific. 

Keep up the good listening,

Wayne Donnelly



Hello Wayne,

I am considering buying some Meadowlark speakers. Here is my choice, and which do you think is the best way to go. I can buy some "Kestrel" (non rod rods, in rosewood) for $600, or so. These would be second hand. Or, I could get some "Swift's" brand new for $1000, or so. Is there a clear cut choice? Which do you think is the best option. 

By the way read your articles on Meadowlarks & enjoyed them, found then very informative. Either way I think this Marquee is preferable to getting the usual B&W's that seems to be the industry buzz word. What do you think? 


David Thompson


Hi David,

I see your dilemma. I have not made this direct comparison, but based on memory I think the relative performance of the two loudspeakers will be pretty close. If you have a strong preference for the appearance of one or the other, and the price difference is not a key factor, why not take the cooler-looking one. 

Another possibility that occurs to me is that if you bought the used Kestrels and then invested in 4 Bybee Quantum Purifiers -- one for each driver -- at $300-350 (see www.bybeetech.com for sources), the sound of those speakers would come very close to equaling the Hot Rod Kestrel for about the same cost as the Swift. Take a look at Dick Olsher's review of the Bybee purifiers on this site. 

Good luck and good listening,

Wayne Donnelly



Greetings Steven,

I recently met Cody Michaels and he gave me his excellent CD which you have aptly reviewed - I agree with everything you said. Have tried to contact him to thank him but have so far been unable to get an email address for him. Do you have his email address?

Thanks - Otis Read

PS. I think your website/search engine is great.


Otis, always glad to help and Michael can be reached at codypiano@yahoo.com.



Hi Steven,

I just want to let you know I found a final purchase. Bought an integrated amplifier "horning sati 845" and feel this is the end of searching for amplification. You know that feeling - end of the quest is reached.

I have to thank you for this because I learned about this unit from the Enjoy the Music.com™ website.

Frankfurt, Germany



Hi Wayne,

Good review of one of my fave CDs of2002, "10,000 Kisses". You're right about that edge on the CD. After I made a few changes to my system I was able to alleviate it.... "simply breathtaking" on some of her cuts...great stuff...and I have her two previous. If you like her, may I suggest Lynn Miles- "Night in a Strange Town, Philo 11671-1215-2; or "Slightly Haunted", Philo PH1190. Or even Eddi Reader "Simple Soul" Compass Records 7-4302-2; or "Angels &Electricity, Compass 7-4265-2.... good stuff.... cheers, lloyd

Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for writing. It's all too rare to hear from a reader about music, so you've made my day. And I will check out your recommendations.

Best wishes,

Wayne Donnelly 



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