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Letters To Us

May 2007

Hello Phil,

I just stumbled upon this web page and have saved it under favorites after reading just a hand full of the reviews. I have been in the dark about an obviously prolific Hifi website. I read your review on EMM Labs' stereo SACD player with great interest. An enlightening read. I have been on the hunt for a universal player and wonder if you will be able to provide feedback on Muse Electronics' Polyhymnia/Erato players. 


Dilshad Feroze


Hi Dilshad,

I have only heard a Muse SACD player once, at CES, and it was sounding very good in the Classic Records room, if memory serves.. I donít have enough information to give you any significant feedback. But the only ears that matter are yours!

Enjoy the music,


May 2007

Dear Steve,

I have an Eastern Electric MiniMax tube HDCD player, which I use basically as a CD transport and use a David Gill Art Audio DAC. Would it make any sense to have a CD transport rather than the MiniMax? If so, could you recommend a transport $3,000 would be my maximum price?

Many thanks for your help.

Douglas Nelson


Hi Douglas,

Steve passed on your question to me because Iíve been playing with a lot of digital sources lately. Years back the answer to your question would have been a PS Audio Lambda transport, which you might still find on E-Bay, but these days there are relatively few stand alone transports of this or any quality. People are buying DACs to improve the performance of their standalone CD players, so we see far more DACs than transports today. And you have a good one in the Art Audio DAC.

The Eastern Electric MiniMax tube HDCD player is not in the same class and at around $900, you would not expect it to be. You will indeed do better with a dedicated transport. A good match for the Gill Elise DAC is the C.E.C. TL-51X Belt Drive Transport, at around $1400. There is a new transport coming from Metronome which should fit in your price range, but I donít have the details yet. The alternative is to look for a used CD Player with a strong build quality, such as a Classť or a Krell.

Enjoy The Music,


May 2007

Hi Phil,

I've recently built up a Meridian system buying secondhand and ex demo; consisting of the G08, G02 and G57. With Wilson Benesch Arc spkrs. I'm still wanting the best interconnects for this setup and wonder what you used for the review or if you could recommend a particular make?

I rather like the Ecosse Maestro which is pretty good and I'm using these as phono through one of the auxiliary inputs of the G02 until I decide which XLR interconnect to go for, of course this is quite an inconvenient way at the moment!

Hope you can advise and regards,

Glynne Jones


Hi Glynne,

That sounds like a very nice system youíre putting together there. Iím assuming here you donít have an unlimited budget. Cables donít really deteriorate with age so Iíd be looking to pick up a good used cable from an established brand like Nordost, Kimber, Ecosse, Van Den Hul, Kimber or Chord. In my system Iíve had very good results with Soundstring cables linking Meridian and Wilson Benesch components at reasonable prices.

Enjoy The Music,


May 2007

Hi Phil,

I read your review of the K701. Out of the box I found it to be congested. Even with break in it never totally became transparent to me and was very colored. After playing around with two K701 over three month period I found out the problems;

1. The unshielded wire it comes with allows noise to enter the signal path.

2. Internally it connects the left side with the right through solid nickel wires running overhead. It also adds an additional split wire and 3 additional solder connections to accomplish this.

3. The driver design connects the hairline wire coming out of the driver to a pole that is made of gold over nickel which it is soldered to. In addition a separate solder connection is made up the pole for the headphone wire.

To correct this situation I used a shielded Cardas headphone wire. I drilled holes to connect directly to each separate side. Internally I connected the driver and the headphone wire to the same one solder point at the bottom of said pole so that the transmission does not have to go through the pole. After that effort it was magical. The modified K701 made the original K701 sound sick. Note that originally I tried just to change the wire but the headphone was not clear enough to make a big difference until the rest of the for mentioned changes were made.

Note that the shielding should be connected to the ground of on the connector only.

Aaron Frioedman


Hi Aaron,

Thank you for your feedback. There are indeed a number of companies offering updates to the K701 similar to the one you have tried for yourself, and claiming similar improvements. I have not experienced the congestion and coloration you have experienced, and that may be because of the difference in headphone amplifiers. I used a Graham Slee Solo in my testing, plus a Grado RA1.

However I am planning to try a wiring upgrade for my K701s this summer, and I would hope to give the readers some feedback. Iím looking for increased dynamics and more bass extension. So watch this space, and I find your comments encouraging.

Enjoy The Music,


May 2007

Hello Steve,

I'm getting ready to get some new IC's and I remembered our conversation about the use of Kimber Select 1030's being run in conjunction with the Nirvana SX LTD cables... My question? is in the Kimber line of IC's are the 1030's still the leader, or should consider one of their other models? S.A.P. electronics Anniversary (integrated) and Trios...





Yes, the Kimber silver is still my fave and in fact ordered some for my portable system (1/8-inch male to male headphone). Kimber does have a new, top-line Select (??1036??) and this is more of the good stuff yet have not tried it yet to know for sure. You have a great system and wish i could be there to hear it, as my Duos loved the SAP Anniversary amplifier and am sure the Trios build on that.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

May 2007

Hello, from a Perreaux lover,

To get the best from my amplifier, do you have a good idea of a CD player that could match, not too expensive. Speakers are Amphion Exson from Finland, Kimber Kables. and a Marantz DV 8400.


Ivar Henry Larsen


Hi Ivar,

You need nothing special in terms of matching except the CD Player should provide an output level in accordance with the Redbook CD specification. Some players, like the Gamut CD1, put out twice the right level and this will push the Perreaux into distortion. So check the specs for the Perreaux and the output voltage for the CD player you are interested in. The original input overload specified for the Perreaux R200i for example was 3.8 Volts (current production is 4V), but the CD1 puts out 4V from both unbalanced and balanced outputs. I actually has a small modification made to my Perreaux which increased the input overload to 5.5V balanced, which accommodates almost all CD players. The new Gamut CD3 outputs a maximum of 2.15V rms unbalanced or 4.35V rms balanced, so the balanced output would still be a problem. The Redbook specification, if I remember correctly, is for 1.98V rms unbalanced or 3.96V rms balanced.

Rega make very good CD players that are not too expensive, as do Cambridge Audio and NAD. Good hunting!

Enjoy The Music,

Phil Gold

May 2007


I enjoyed reading your review of Aperion's 633T speakers. Have you ever reviewed the Axiom line of speakers? I'm trying to decide between the two trying to keep my system around the $2600 mark for complete 5.1 system. Appreciate the work you do in reviewing these systems.

Mark P. Evans


Hi Mark,

Thanks for the kind words regarding the articles. I've not done a formal review of the Axiom's but I did spend a considerable amount of time with the M22Ti's. Though I'm sure some love them, personally, I didn't care for the way they sounded in my system and in my room. At the time, I was driving them with an Arcam integrated and an Arcam 8se CD player. To my ears, I heard harsh and grating treble. I expect it was the metal domed tweeter and plastic wave guide thingie over the top of the tweeter causing the issues I had with them.

In comparison, the little Aperion 632 bookshelves were considerably better. Much smoother top end without being as 'in your face' as the Axiom's. At an extra $100 a pair, to me they are worth every penny. For that matter, you could do all five channels (center included) with the Aperion 632's, they are that good. Then all you'd have to do is add a sub.

In the end, it is really all about what YOU want in sound. The Aperion's have a slightly forward or 'first ten rows' presentation. The Axioms are even more forward than that, at least to my ears.

Hope that helped.

Scott Faller

May 2007


 enjoyed you're Updates, Tweaks, Mods and Maintenances article. I have Underwood HiFi Modified equipment in my system and Michael Elliotts upgraded Counterpoint equipment also. But the one thing I can't find is someone to upgrade my speaker crossovers. I've soldered in LAT International silver coated copper wire which helped a lot but the caps or resistors ( I'm not a electrician ) on the crossovers....I feel there is room for improvement there being they are 20 years old. I'm using Polk audio SDA-SRS and Polk does not do that kind of thing. Do you know anyone I could talk to ? Thanks for your time I look forward to your next article.




Without knowing your speaker type and crossover information, there is no way of my knowing who could help you. Crossovers are voiced for a particular speaker quite often, and the various parts can make subtle but important differences in how the speaker sounds, especially capacitor and inductor types. There are a couple of online discussion boards that may be able to help 
you out.

Bill Gaw

May 2007

Hi Mr. Olsher,

Enjoyed your review of the Altmann Dac and note your positive comments on his product. I was looking at this product with a view to purchase and note the up to 5volt output which seems to me to be rather high. Did you find any problems with this during your review?


Mike Booth


Hi Mike,

Thank you for the feedback. Re the voltage output level of the Altmann Attraction DAC, it has not presented a practical problem when feeding several line stages in my system. Occasionally though with a very sensitive amplifier, high-efficiency speakers, and a very high-gain line stage, I would imagine that you would be barely cracking open the volume control.


Dick Olsher

May 2007

Dear Nels,

I read your review of the Promethius TVC preamp. A nice review but there seems to me to be inconsistencies in the review. You said, 1. " I don't have the answer, but I know that I have never heard dynamics like this, or total and complete silence between notes from any system, at any price Ė ever. " 2. " The Promitheus, while very revealing and detailed never becomes fatiguing which many high resolution components can, in my experience. It lays everything bare, yet remains true to the music, letting the listener become more involved in the listening experience rather than becoming irritated or bored by it. " 3. " I truly can find no fault in the TVC SE, performance wise. " 4. " Clear, smooth, dynamic, and extended on both ends of the frequency spectrum, the Prometheus Audio TVC SE has it all. Of course, because it is passive it is totally silent, regardless of the source material. " 5. " With the Promitheus Audio TVC SE in the system, one will hear the true sound of their system, as well as the recordings played upon it, whether good or bad. 6. " While components in this price range cannot truly recreate the sound of a live performance, the very best of them can make you believe you are listening to the master tape. Partnered with the right gear, the Promitheus Audio TVC SE has that special quality. 7. " This component gets my very highest recommendation.

Yet the final numeric type of evaluation of the unit received...

The first 9 categories of sound only received 4 notes and the next 2 categories 3 notes. This is confusing. Can you explain this discrepancy. Thanks


Howard Sheldon



Thanks for your e-mail. I apologize for the confusion. I do not give out 5 stars lightly. I reserve that for the best of the best, regardless of price. There are better line stages out there, but they cost far more. Considering the cost of the Promitheus TVC SE, and the value one receives, I think the ratings are excellent. Components in this price range just aren't supposed to sound as good as the TVC SE does.

In my review, I stated that there are systems that, although extremely expensive, come very close to recreating the sound of live music in one's home. That is the equipment that would get and deserve 5 stars for sound quality. It would also fare poorly as far as value, in my opinion. I have to think long and hard before I recommend a component that costs as much as a new Toyota- or worse, a new BMW. I have no such reservations with my recommendation of the Promitheus Audio TVC SE.

Performance wise, the Promitheus TVC has no discernable faults. A better line stage, in my opinion, would build upon the strengths of the TVC SE by adding more- more detail, more tonality, more depth, width and height of image, etc.

I hope this helps to clear things up a bit.

Nels Ferre

May 2007

Thank you as I'm still an "hifi-amateur" but I'm enjoying the site anyway: learning every day. Interesting articles, interesting tips, nice contests, nice content!

Best regards,


May 2007


Enjoyed your April Fools review of the S.C.A.M. Really. One of the best of its type I've seen. You da man!

Geoff Kait

May 2007

Good afternoon Steve,

Coming back to Denmark this autumn after a six month mission in Kosovo, I 
will buy myself a new stereo system. I love music, not audio gear and I don't like to upgrade. My preferences are almost entirely classical music from solo violin over grand  piano, trios, quartets, chorals, choirs to symphonies including Wagner and 

Listening conditions are a 40 m2 room with one wall entirely of glass (in 
listening sessions normally with curtains drawn) three walls without windows, 
wooden floor on rafts? with three smaller carpets and not overly filled with 

Having listened to some systems I am inclined to choose the Lyngdorf TDAI 
2200 integrated, all digital amplifier with the Roomperfect module and 
Lyndorf's CD-1 player. The difficult choice are the loudspeakers. My initial preference is Dali's new Mentor 6. However, your review, amongst others, of the Harbeth monitor 30 is very interesting. Having never heard a pair of Harbeths, I am in no position to judge which is the better Dali or Harbeth?

From what I can read, Harbeth will give a perfect midtone and treble, 
articulate and precise (upper?) bass in a superbly integrated, harmonious and 
musical soundstage. The Dalis will probably provide better dynamics and 
deeper bass and a bigger sound stage.

Cabels could be Silver Sonic Revelation and Q10. Which speaker should I choose?
Any comments to suggested amp, CD or cables?

Thank you in advance and kind regards,

Lorens Chr. Asmussen



Thanks for your e-mail. Lyndorf is said to make very impressive gear, so that should be fine. The main question is concerning speakers. Because the room/speaker interaction is very high, your best bet is to try the Dali Mentor 6 and Harbeth Monitor 30 in your home. Hopefully your local dealer will allow this, as this is really the best way to know for sure which one works right in your system, your room, and your preferences. In the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

May 2007


I need advice on a Superdeck!!! Not an expensive Superdeck a la RockportÖ but a good one nevertheless. List of candidates Ė LP12, Orbe SE, Gyrodec SE, VPI Aries 3..maybe HRX, Oracle Delph mk V. New not usedÖI need the support of a dealer.

I have lusted for a Linn LP12/Lingo/Akito or Ekos SE (if I have the funds for it... considering the Keel subchassis later on). This is what I want because it has been upgradeable for the past 35 years!! I guess the cache of the Linn aura is seducing me.

However, I am hesitant to lay a lot of money on the Linn because of the Linn and anti-linn people (including my non-Linn dealer who sells the VPI and Michell). The most off-putting site is Arthur Salvatore's recommended components website. States that the LP12 was the table in the 70`s but have been surpassed by Orbe, Gyrodec, VPI, Delphi. Talked to UHF, and they swear by their Linn. It is amazing.

I have listened to Orbe SE, Gyrodec SE, Delphi V and will listen to the VPI Aries 3 this Friday. My conclusion, I love them all. Mind you, it was auditioned in various dealer's room with equipment and a room I am not aware of. The only way to evaluate is my room. That's what I have been doing with every piece of gear including speakers but there is no way a dealer will lend me a turntable to audition at home for the weekend. I have not listened to an LP12 because the Linn dealer sold his demo but will get another one. At this point, it is pointless to audition because I lack a reference in analog. I have yet to hear an analog set-up I haven't liked.

What is the real scoop on the Linn LP12 ? Is it the reference or is it just a lot of hot air? Which would you recommend ? Do you really have to spend big money like the Linn to really get reference sound? The rest of my system Ė Ayre C5XE cd player, VTL 5.5. preamp (line only), Ayre V5XE, Avalon Ascendant. I need a turntable that will be heads and tails above my Ayre cd player and make me not regret buying the Avalons.

Currently, I love my set-up... wide soundstage. Odd thing, I tried the Ayre K1 XE. Even though the Ayre K1 XE had more detail and was a huge improvement across the board than my VTL 5.5, I actually prefer the VTL. The soundstage was about equal, but I noticed that I feel there was more emotion with the VTL. Could it be the tubes?


Renante Barroga



Personally, i think every vinyl lover should own a Linn LP12 at least once in the life. Then you can move to a Oracle Delphi or the like. Linn LP12 turntables should be very reasonable on the used market too :)

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

May 2007


I just read your review of this amp in the last few weeks. I have a pair of single driver speakers with Lowther DX-3 drivers. I am considering taking the plunge on oneo f these just out of curiosity. Are your recollections of this little giant still as fond as your review, one year later?

Thank you, 

Michael J. Pardales



Still own the amps and still love them. Lowthers should do well as they are highly efficient and, depending on your enclosure, should do nicely given the small wattage output.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


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