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Hi Steven,

First of all I want show you all my admiration!!! I read most of your reviews! :-)  I have some questions about my system :

I'm an happy owner of the Avantgarde Unos (also because of you :-) ) Now I'm driving it with the little Decware Zen Select (1.8 watts) and its line stage. The result of the match is very good... but, I would take an amplifier which will be wonderful for my loudspeakers. In other words I would appreciate a suggestion from you to make fly my wonderful loudspeakers. You have a great experience, so I hope you can help me! Of course it will be not so much expensive :-)

Some examples in my mind: Moth si 2A3, Viva Solista (very expensive), Mastersound se 300 B, Audion Silver night 300 B, Cary audio ? Audio Note conqueror? I would a rich sound, not aggressive, holographic, detailed. In short, complete! I ask so much?

My best regards,

Filippo Cristallo
Matera- Italy



Thanks for your e-mail and glad you are enjoying our website and reviews. For the Avantgarde there are many choices. My preference would be a better (Level 3) Audio Note or my fave Wavelength Audio cardinal X-1. These should make beautiful music together with your Avantgardes. Forza Ferrari and always glad to be of service.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin




How can I learn more about audio, and acoustics in particular? Speaker placement (and turntable setup) are very much like tuning a musical instrument. For example, many rooms prevent some speakers from ever sounding their best due to room dimensions and other factors. Successful setup is highly dependent on artistic skill as well as an understanding of the science. This important factor is rarely considered before a purchase.

Component mismatches are another neglected topic in the industry. Even though a component is highly regarded, it does not mean it will maximize musical enjoyment in all situations. It must work well with the other components (and the room) in order to achieve its potential. I canít count the times I have heard good music turned into bad sound due to the these factors. Keep up the good work and I wish you a successful year.

Hartwell K. Smith
Lexington, NC



We have a few articles concerning room setup and also turntable setup within our website. Please see
this link  and also this link. Always glad to be of service. In the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin




I enjoyed your review of Atma-Sphere's M60 Mk2. I received my M60's a month ago and I am very pleased. I run a Wadia directly into the amps and they feed Merlin VSM-M's. The reason for my email is I am interested in the subtle tweaks you made and I have a question about cabling.

There is a fellow New Orleans audiophile who powers Avantgarde Duos with M60's. Alan also has a relationship with Bybee and loves the power cord that they are developing. He plans to sell his Shunyata cords. I may be interested in Bybee's cord too, but right now I plan to follow your lead an buy Vibrapods for my M60's. Would you mind clarifying which pod and how many you used in your evaluation?

My second question may be a matter of judgment. My interconnects are single ended Nordost Quattro-Fils. I am single ended because of the BAM module for my speakers. My question is am I making a mistake using staying single ended? I use two cables, a 1m and a 1.5m, so the runs are short, but both my Wadia and the M60's seem built for balanced inputs. I can purchase a balanced BAM and re-do my interconnects if I can expect a significant gain, but I am under the impression that with the length of cable I use, there is little difference. I will appreciate your suggestions.

Thank you,

Chris Mathes
New Orleans, LA


Hi Chris,

To support the M-60 I used two Model 2 Vibrapods under the front and two Model 3s under the rear. I placed them next to the stock feet, but if they were my amplifiers I would remove those feet and put the pods in their place.

I think your instincts are pretty good in the matter of single-ended vs. balanced interconnects. As I stated in the review, there were very subtle differences to be heard between the two. Since your Wadia also has a fully balanced circuit, it might be interesting for you to borrow a set of balanced interconnects to try between CD and amplifiers. As for the BAM, I suggest you consult with Merlin about whether or not going to the balanced version is likely to make a significant improvement. 




Thanks for the review of the Bybee Quantum filters. I've enjoyed your reviews over the years and found your comments to be state of the art, especially in terms of taste and balance. I recently installed a pair on the tweeters of my speakers and have been enjoying their benefits, for the most part. Though the overall sound is more transparent, more detailed, more focussed, more dynamic, has better timbral accuracy and is more natural, the physical presentation seems to have taken a big step back. The width of the soundstage seems to have collapsed 25-30% and images which previously floated detached from the speakers now seem more connected to them. Normally things open up with extended break in, but no such improvement seems to be taking place. I'm in a wide room and had been enjoying and extremely wide soundstage (21ft).

I'm considering possible culprits for the effect to be -- the filter itself, a perceptual effect from greater focus, the added signal path to the tweeter (the filter and 5 or 6 inches of extra wire after the resistor divider), the epoxy surrounding part of the filter I glued in place, or the proximity of the filter to the resistors in the tweeter crossover. A more pure installation would have attached the filter to the tweeter terminal, with the other end attaching to the resistor (shortest signal path possible). I didn't do this because it would have involved boring out a channel in the baffle to fit the filter next to the tweeter. I'm thinking I may tear things apart, try to remove the epoxy from the filters and do a shortest signal path installation.

I'd appreciate any thoughts you have on why my soundstage may have narrowed. Thank you.


James Duncan


Dear James,

Thank you for the detailed feedback re your experience with the Bybee Quantum Purifier. I think that the imaging issues that you are experiencing are most likely due to the fact that you only treated the tweeter in your speaker system. There is now a disconnect between the tweeter and midrange in terms of focus. It is advisable to treat - as a minimum - both the tweeter and midrange - so as to maintain identical voicing though the midrange and upper octaves. Once that is done, the imaging and soundstaging should gel for you. Of course, if cost is no object, the woofer should also be treated in a multi-way system.

I should have been more emphatic about this point in my review of these remarkable devices. Let me know if this works for you.

Enjoy the music.

Dick Olsher




I am a recent owner of the Wolcott Presence 220M amps. I brought to drive my Magnepan 20R's. They are awesome. Thanks for your review of Henry's great product, it helped in my selection process months ago.

Question, any recommendations for pre-amplifiers that would blend well with the Wolcotts. Any input would be appreciated. I live in northern Michigan and High End Audio is at least 200 miles from me.

Thanks Again,

David Mathia


Hi Dave,

It's really good to hear back about your success in finding a suitable partner for the Magnepan 20R. It's a tough speaker to match up, and it usually does not fare well with tube amplifiers.

Re matching line pre-amplifiers, if you like the sound of a good 6SN7, check out the deHavilland Audio Verve. Review in progress.

Dick Olsher



Dear friends,

Congratulations on an excellent and informative website. It is very impressive. I am wondering if I may help publicize it while helping some of our most technologically oriented students at our college... 

Bruce R. Marino
Prof, MA, MATS, MPhil, PhD

Steve sez: Sure, enjoy and many thanks!



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