I wonder if one of you could give me your opinion regarding the pricing of USA made hi-fi products in countries outside of the USA. If you take a Krell or Jeff Rowland amplifier, for example, it is twice as expensive outside the USA (comparing prices in the UK and Japan). Is this, however, a reflection of the distributors making a handsome profit, or on cheaper manufacturing costs in the USA?
I am considering buying a new amplifier in Japan, where I currently live, and have largely been looking at UK and USA made models. Contrary to USA made products, you can buy UK imports at an equivalent price as sold in the UK. You would therefore appear to be getting better quality for the same price, and not feeling mugged like you do buying a USA import. Of course, I should not buy an amplifier on price considerations alone, but when you can buy Arcam and Chord products in Japan...
With thanks and regards,
Thanks for your e-mail. As you said "Of course, I should not buy an amplifier on price considerations alone, but when you can buy Arcam and Chord products in Japan..." Price is not the only factor, we must also consider the build and sound quality of said device plus the company's support for a product. In the end, if a $500 amplifier was exactly the same as a $1000 one with the same quality and company support you should buy the $500 product. It is not the country, but the product/company/quality of said product that should be considered.
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
I live just outside of Houston and have wanted to send you a few lines and say how much I enjoy your audio equipment reviews. I have recently rediscovered my love for good tunes.
I have been doing a lot of reading on the Internet, every Saturday and Sunday for the last couple of months. I read many good reviews, articles and tips on TNT, including yours. I really like your speaker stand design. Anyway, I stumbled across you again this past Saturday at your new hangout,
Enjoy the Music.com™.
I have been reading and reading and reading because I don't want to just go out and plop down the bucks for a new amp... I WANT TO BUILD A TUBE AMP! I believe you in that I can obtain a world class system for moderate cash. That is surely debatable, especially among the high-rollers; those who may spend $20,000 for a pre-amp, etc., just because they can. So
let's get down to it... "where's the beef?"
In your TNT review (2002) of the Deluxe Classic 2A3 SET, you mentioned going over to a
friend's house and using a pair of Klipsch Heresy speakers for the A-B comparison.
What is your opinion of horn drivers in general? I am really sorry that this turned out so lengthy (maybe
I'm paying you back... your reviews are very long-winded... but very entertaining, my friend). I am sure you are a very busy man, so I appreciate it if you take the time to read this. Please give me your honest opinion about the
Heresy's and a SET amp to drive them.
Thanks for the kind words. It's great that you have rediscovered music. It beats the hell out of TV. I like to quote Groucho, "I find television VERY educational.
Every time one gets turned on, I go and read a book."
Getting to something that will be a good match with your Heresy's. Lucio
of TNT is right when he mentioned an SET as a good mate. Since you mentioned Traffic and Ricky Lee Jones, I assume you are a rock fan. Putting two and two together I'd also presume that you play your music loud on occasion (or would like to). When it comes to the Hereseys, they are sitting around 98dB sensitive. This is a really good start for a good match to an SET. Trouble is a 2A3 may not get you the listening levels you may want to hit on rock music. Don't get me wrong, it will sound fabulous but it will be volume limited.
I'd look towards something around 8 watts or better. That puts you in
300B land. There are several guys out there that do 300B's. Wellborne Labs would be my first choice. In fact I just bought one for myself. It's a kit amp. Ron sends you all the parts and you assemble it. Ron will build it for you, if you want, but he will charge you for his time. The Wellborne
300B DRD is stunning. I've had it in my system and it may be the cleanest amp I've ever had the pleasure of hearing.
If that is a bit out of your budget, last weekend one of the guys brought over a Dyna-kit clone. It is the Dynaco ST35. DIYtube.com sells the printed circuit board cheap. They give you a parts and vendor list with the kit. This is a 6BQ5 push pull design. Tell you what, that little amp (at 18 watts) sounded darned good. Granted it's not as clean as the
Welborne but it made music as good as some really expensive amps I've heard. It would be a really nice mate to your
Klipsch. With both of these amps, you'll need to add a preamp to the system if your CD player doesn't have a variable output.
When it comes to horn drivers, I love 'em. I can't say that Klipsch
loudspeakers are my favorite (Altecs are) but the Hereseys are a great sounding small speaker. Of course, my favorite Klipsch is the KHorn but they are big and expensive. If you have the money and the room, they are one of the great speakers of all time. As for the guys that slam
Klipschs, don't pay them any mind at all. Each of the true horns out there have a unique sound. Those guys just have their favorites just like each of us have our favorite foods. Just cuz they hate
broccoli, doesn't mean that you do.
You may want to visit the Klipsch forum and do some reading on crossover tweaks. Lucio is right, the caps need upgrading. The guys on the forums will know what caps, coils and resistors sound best in your model.
If you don't want to build an amp, there are loads of SET's out there that are reasonably priced. Fi, Handmade Electroinics, Bottlehead and numerous others sell them for under $1000 preassembled. Here's one for you, go to Target (yep thats right Target) and pick up the Sonic Impact battery powered chip amp. It sells for $30, $40 if you want the cardboard speakers. I puts out about 12 watts per channel. Put batteries in it and connect your CD player and Klipsch's then prepare to be amazed. It's not going to be tubes, it won't be your Pioneer, but it will make music, clean music like you've probably not heard before from your integrated.
The little SI amp will be fun to play with but it really isn't a substitute
for (even) a modest quality tube amp. I know I didn't give you a straight answer on an amplifier but there may not be one. See, audio is all about personal preferences. What I prefer, you may not be able to live with. Thanks again for the kind note.
Good luck in your searches.
Firstly, thank you for the excellent review on the Dynaudio Confidence C2 loudspeaker. It was well written and communicated it's characteristics well.
I currently own the Dynaudio Confidence C1. It is a superb loudspeaker, and the sound I hear from it correlates well with what you wrote about the C2 -- very smooth and delicate, perhaps a touch laid-back, which is the type of sound I prefer, especially with the vast majority of recorded music! However, it's bass, although excellent in pitch and definition within it's range, is a little lacking in depth. It runs out of steam as it approaches the 40Hz mark. As such, I was considering upgrading to either the C2 or C4. All I need is just a
touch more bass, to flesh out those piano notes and add some more foundation to some other music that has more content down there. I don't listen to pipe organ music, and I tend to listen at moderate levels.
What do you think of the bass on the C2? Do you think it will get below30hz reasonably well? I understand some people think it doesn't go all that low either, but I would trust your opinion on the matter more than internet discussion forums. I'd especially like to know if you've had a chance to hear the C1s, and see how they compare. Otherwise, I might have to save up some more money and get the C4s. I alas don't have the opportunity to listen to the C2s in my home
-- they are at a dealer far away.
Thank you very much,
I haven't heard the C1s, so I don't know how the two speakers might compare subjectively. And I don't do frequency response measurements in my reviews, so answering your question involves a little bit of guesswork.
I don't think that the C2s would go much below 30Hz. I also don't think that there is a lot of music below that level, unless you listen to organ music or deep synths. They bass that is there in the C2 is ample but very well-controlled. If I said that I thought it was a trifle tight rather than full, it might be accurate, but please don't
over interpret that. I found nothing wanting at all for two reasons: (1) while I have a good number of organ recordings, they are not the focus of my listening, and (2) more important, my room isn't large enough to yield good 20Hz tones.
The C2 does have two of the bass drivers that you have in your C1, so if you need just a "touch" more bass, I would think you will get it. The real question is whether you need just a touch more, or substantial deep (<30Hz) bass. Again, I think you will get the former, but not the latter.
I do think that the C2 is a speaker for the long term -- it is one that all but the most bass-hungry music lover could live with for many years. In my brief experiences with it, the C4, while it doesn't go much deeper, is a "bigger" speaker in that it goes very loud (though just as smoothly) and has subjectively a little more bottom end. If you are listening at moderate levels, you may not need to go for the C4 -- it can really fill a large room nicely. I can't tell you how to spend the roughly $4K price difference; both of these speakers are terrific units, but if I had the money for either one, I would spring for the C4 if I had a large room (i. e. over 5000 cu ft) and liked to listen to at least some pieces at a good volume.
I think I sold you a spare TAD 2001 some years ago. Anyways, I really enjoy reading your reviews and have a similar horn setup as you
(Edgarhorn - midrange, bass and subwoofer horns), using SE amps. Also, have Electrohome 9500LC and PD-1100 direct digital DVD. If you could possibly indulge me for a moment, I have a couple of questions: I need a preamp processor recommendation for HT only, no 2-channel audio (using totally separate tube phono pre for that). I have listened to the Meridian processors, they sound very natural for digital. I see that you use the EAD pre processor for video, never heard one but how do you think it compares to say a Meridian 568? Second question, do you use 5 or 7 SE tube mono amps for a horn-based surround sound system? Finally, I am considering the latest Sound Application Reference Linestage Power Conditioner. Do you still fell that the Walker Velociter is still the better performing unit?
Any consult would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the kind words. To answer your questions:
1. I still love the sound of the EAD Theatermaster. It compares favorably with the
Meriden and other similarly priced products, and is, I believe one of the few that is still manufactured in the US.
2. The front left and right channels have two Vacuum State DPA-300 balanced amps. The bass amps use two Vaic 32B tubes and the mid-tweeter amps use two 300 B's. The subs run off of a Crown Macro Reernce amp. The center channel uses a 300B stereo SE amp from Jack Eliano of Electraprint Audio.The 4 rear speakers are driven by two 5 channel EAD 50 watt per channel solid state amps, and the rear subwoofers by a Sherwood 5 channel 250 watt solid state amp.
I know its a mix of amps, but each does its specific job. I couldn't afford the air conditioning bill never mind the tube replacement costs, if all 23 channels of amplification were tube. But it certainly would make the room toasty in the winter. Plus all that light output from the tubes would affect the video.
3. Believe it or not, I use 3 Sound Application and...
4. Walker Velocitorss as they seem to work in synergy.
I have one Sound Application unit for the video, one for the front channels, and source equipment and preamps, and one for the rear Channels. The wall AC goes into the Sound Application units and the Walker Velocitors plug into them and the equipment into the Walker's.
If you're just able to go for one, I'd say the Walker would be my first choice. If you can afford two units, but have more than six pieces of equipment, go for one Sound Application and one Walker, and plug all of the high voltage and video into the Sound Application and the source audio components into the Walker.
Excellent review on the Basis 2800 with Graham 2.2. Do you still have the same high regard for the combination? Is the setup still what you use to play LPs for yourself? Have you had any experience with the Graham Phantom and/or do you have any comments for me regarding the Phantom
vs. the 2.2? I would very much appreciate your reply.
In answer to your questions:
Yes, with a change of cartridge to the Transfiguration Temper.
No, I haven't heard the Phantom.
I enjoyed reading your recent review of the NAD L53 DVD receiver. I wonder if you would be kind enough to answer two, hopefully,
straightforward questions which would help in deciding whether to buy this receiver.
1) I would need to connect it to two pairs of speakers (in separate rooms). Is this possible with the L53?
2) I would need to input a record deck into the L53. Can I do this?
With thanks and best wishes,
In answer to your questions, the L53 has only one pair of speaker terminals. So while you could connect both pairs of speakers to the single pair of terminals, you would not be able to adjust the volume control of each pair of speakers independently of the other. You could probably fool around with an external switch box for the two sets of speakers, but these are usually more trouble than they are worth.
As to hooking up a record deck, if you mean a tape deck, this can easily be accomplished using the VCR tape loop. If you mean a turntable, the L53 has a number of spare line level inputs with which you will require a
phono/preamplifier such as NAD's new and well liked and well priced PP2
In any event, I really don't think you can go too wrong the '53. It's one of the best values in Hi Fi I have ever seen.
I would appreciate a few minutes of your time to help me decide. I have Studio Lab speakers currently (SL-200s, S-10s, and an M-100 sub) all of which I got at least 10 years ago. I am in the market to upgrade to a good home theatre system to complement a 42" plasma TV that I am about to get. I read your review of StudioLab's Reference One towers. You were obviously impressed with them. I have listened to them at their store as well as their Digital series 5.3 towers. When compared to the 5.3s, the Reference One's seem a bit muffled. It also appeared that the volume had to be turned up with the Ref One's in order to make sound as loud as the 5.3s. Also they are about twice the price. I would appreciate any comments you might have on these two speakers in order to help me make up my mind.Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
Thanks for your message. I am not familiar with the 5.3 speakers. It is certainly possible that the Ref 1s are less efficient, but I never found them muffled sounding. It is possible that the 5.3's are peaky, emphasizing certain frequencies so that they sound brighter, or their sound is just more forward sounding. Personally, I find that bright sounding speakers are sometimes distorting the sound and become hard to listen to for more than 10 or 20 minutes.
I suggest that, If you are upgrading your system, you hold off on the speakers until you have decided on the source units; that is, DVD player, CD player, amplifier and pre-amp and interconnects.
Then you could consider which speakers would best fit my system. My reason for this suggestion is that the speakers can do no more than reproduce what you give them; thus, the higher quality the signal from your source and amplifier the higher quality the sound will be.
All the best on your sound adventures,
I have just finished reading your review of the Von Schweikert VR2 tower speakers. Thank you for your conscientious
I apologize if I'm blunt, but I'm trying to omit as much BS as I can. My guess is that, if you're in the audio industry, you're as tired hearing BS as I am tired of reading it. I'll be brief and get to the point: I'm looking for a pair of speakers, and I'm hoping you can provide some suggestions for a short list of great speakers to audition.. I'm not yet smart enough to know from reading specs whether, say, Von Schweikert VR-2s have the world-class presence and immediacy that I'm looking for, so I'm hoping you could suggest 2 or 3 great tower speakers in the $2-3k range that would fit the interests of a busy, stressed, jazz-loving, traveling consultant.
I have B&W Nautilus 805s already installed. I got a good deal, so I bought them thinking I'd rotate them to the surround position when I got a pair of 804s. The 805s sound nice, but aren't as alive as the pair of Von Schweikert VR4 Jrs I heard in an audio store last month. So I'm considered other options, before I get too far down the B&W path.
I'd consider replacing the B&Ws with something of a different line, in my pursuit of a matching HT speaker system, acquired pair-by-pair. It seemed to me that I could get Von Schweikert Vr2s, a pair of VR1s, and an LCR15 for what I was going to spend on just the pair of the B&W 804s. But I really don't know whether I'm dropping down a league or two in doing this: it's so hard to resist confusing price with performance.
Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
Your price range for a new speakers is one of the most populated and competitive in audio. I can't say I have done a great deal of auditioning in that category recently, but for what they are worth, here are a few thoughts.
The VSA VR-2 should be a strong contender for you, given your musical tastes and fairly sizable listening room. These speakers are reasonably sensitive, so your power should be quite adequate. Its woofer moves a lot of air, so bass should be quite good. The 2s also do a creditable job of imaging and soundstaging.
At the bottom of your price range, the Meadowlark Kestrel 2 is definitely worth auditioning. Meadowlark designer Pat McGinty thinks this is one of the best values in his line, and I agree. Perhaps a bit more refined and slightly less robust-sounding than the VR-2.
I hope you find these suggestions useful, and not just more BS. :)
I read your review on the Mat 1 turntable mat and are interested in your
findings for the following reason. I use a Rondine turntable with Shure V15
cartridge in our rerecord remastering studio and have recently found that adding a weight
clamp makes quite a change to the sound of the music...
(1) Adding weight made no difference in record speed. 1000 Hz tone on
the Spectrum Analyzer was exactly 1000 Hz with weight off or on.
(2) With all amplifiers off, it has always been easy to hear what is
playing just by listening to the sound that comes directly from the
cartridge (i.e. not the sound through an amplifier and speakers, but the sound generated by the stylus being in touch with the
Adding the weight causes the sound to immediately vanish. Remove the weight and the sound is immediately back.
From this observation I can only assume that the weight damped the resonance
by the pickup cartridge and record.
(3) The small amount of distortion disappeared from records that had
displayed in the past. I noted that the treble had become very defined/sharper. Bass notes took on a more tighter sound.
My question Have you tried the Mat in combination with a record clamp and what were your findings?
I do all my remastering in 24-bit/96kHz domain and am amazed at the number of records that have overtones right up to 40,000
Thank you for your inquiry, and for sharing your findings with your own record weight. I have long had
aspirations remastering some of my LPs to CD, but my life has not yet progressed in that direction.
I believe in my review of the Boston Audio Design Mat 1 I made several comments and comparisons with my HRS Analog Disk, which I reviewed in mid-2004. You might want to check out that review also. The Mat 1 offers superior dampening than the Analog Disc. I suspect the reason is two-fold. First, the Mat 1 works on the entire grooved surface of the
LP -- directly beneath where the cartridge interfaces with the LP, whereas the Analog Disk, working from the top of the LP, can only absorb energy from the label area. And secondly, the carbon graphite is probably a superior absorber than the synthetic material on the Analog Disc. The Analog Disk improves the sound slightly when using the Mat 1, but to a less noticeable degree than without the Mat 1.
It would be interesting to see what contribution could be made by a carbon graphite record clamp (in conjunction with the Mat 1). I highly recommend that you try the Mat 1, Bonner. They have a 30 day money-back guarantee.
I am currently working on a review of Tune Blocks, which make a significant contribution beneath my Linn turntable. And a friend of mine will be writing up his experiments with black CD-Rs. Stay tuned.
Best of luck my friend,
Dear Mr. Phil Gold,
I just read your online review of the Dynavector DV-20XH high output cartridge. How would you compare the sound of this with the Dynavector Karat at $750 which is a low output model? I play pipe organ, choral and orchestral music mostly.
I'm afraid I haven't had the pleasure of doing this comparison. However
Enjoy the Music.com™ has published a review of the Karat which you can read
by clicking here. I hope you will find that helpful.
Enjoy the music,
My name is Patric and I'm from Sweden. I've just read your test of a Jolida JD 300B and I have some questions about that amplifier.
Did you hear any noise whatsoever between the tracks or in silent passages in the music?
The reason for asking this is that I have a slight distortion in one channel in my Jolida JD 300B. The sound is not hearable during normal music, but in
quiet passages the noise is very annoying. It is also dependent on the
volume pot, but does not fully go away
I've also mixed up the placing of the four small tubes on the front after all testing. I've got two types of tubes, TAD 2AU7A and Sovtek
12AX7LPS (original). Which type are to be fitted in 2V1 and 2V2?? One of those tube pairs always
glows brighter than the other pair. I would be very happy if you could give me same expert
The Jolida 300b that I received came with a pair of 12au7's for V1&2. Mike at Jolida stated that the 12ax7 can be substituted for the 12au7's. I'm not sure what the noise could be in your unit. One thing, a 12au7 will 'flash' or light up on start up. I wouldn't suspect that this is a problem.
You may want to contact Mike at Jolida direct. I'm sure he would be able to help you diagnose the problem.
Sorry I couldn't help more.
I live in France and I seen on Enjoy the music that you have experience with ALTEC MODEL 19 and tubes amp. I would like to have your opinion on the best amp for this cabinet. I'm not listening at high level but I like loud bass. I'm thinking about SE845, SE805, 300B (SE or PP) or PPKT88 or PP EL34: what is your opinion?
This is just my personal preference but I'd go for one of the single ended amps. A 2a3 or 300b is all the wattage you'll need to get those beasts rockin'. Not that there is anything wrong with a push pull amp (I use one myself in a different system), but with big horns, SET's can be magical.
Hope that helped.
Appréciez La Musique!
I'm from Portugal and am searching for loudspeakers to match my Naim nait 5.
After read your review of the Usher x-708 i began to be very interested in them.
Do you think they are a good choice for the nait 5, or they need more than the 30 watts of the
nait? Sorry about this questions, but here in Portugal is difficult to get many of the
products and since is impossible to listen to many thinks i have to make this questions.
Noite Boa Nano,
It would be difficult for me to answer your question with any authority
because I don't know your listening preferences or your listening room. Assuming you have an average sized room (3 meters by 4 meters) and you don't listen at extremely loud volumes, the speakers should do just fine behind your Nait 5. I drove the Ushers with a 55 watt amp in a large room and they sounded just fine. I was able to reach 100db on music peaks sitting 2.5 meters away without clipping too hard.
Keep in mind that these are a fairly forward sounding speaker and you may need to hang some heavy tapestry's, rugs or curtains on the walls to dampen the frequency buildups. Then again, chances are you'd have to do that with any speakers you purchase.
Hope that helped.
Aprecíe A Música!
I saw your review of the Sony SCD-CE595 SACD changer and was wondering if you ever used the previous generation SACD changer from Sony, the SCD-CE775. They both have exactly the same features, and look remarkably similar, except for the model number. They were also similarly priced. I have two SCD-CE775 that I bought for 199 and 149 respectively; and I see that the new 595 can be had for $122 shipped from
Ecost. Not much of a risk to take in upgrading, but I'm wondering if I should bother.
The only things I find wrong with the SCD-CE775 are:
a) the 775 can't be turned on or off by remote - you have to do it on the front panel
b) I can hear the laser even 12 feet away when it's playing an SACD or even when it is in "pause" mode . The noise goes away if I stop the disc (or of course if I power off the unit)
c) it can display the title of each track from the CD-Text or SACD discs, but not other information such as performer name. In
comparison, my Yamaha CDM-900 CD changer is able to display all the CD-Text information (but of course it's SACD only, not CD).
Are any of these problems cured on the 595?
The 595 still can't be turned off with the remote though the laser mechanism
noise seems to be gone. The text still scrolls and gets truncated on songs with long names.
Hope that helped,
I own a Model 2 and your review is right on the money. Tried using the included wire antenna sent by Tivoli, but found less interference with the internal antenna. I was thinking about adding the sub woofer, but the sound is so good, it may be too bass heavy with the sub.
Thanks for your review,
Vince Julian, Jr.
I agree, the internal antenna does a fine job in many cases.
Enjoy The Music!
I own a pair of Antique Sound Labs Wave 8 amplifiers, I just read your review of them on your web site. You mentioned upgrading the capacitors as a means of improving their sonic performance. I am wondering if you could suggest a source for more information about this tweak, or perhaps offer some guidance yourself. I have owned many audio amplifiers over the years, both grate and small ($) and I am very enamored with the sound of these little gems. Thank you for your consideration, and your excellent web site.
Thanks for your e-mail. Basically, you could try various part from high-end parts suppliers. My
March editorial discusses such tweaks. Always glad to be of service.
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin