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Letters To Us

May 2008

Hello Ron,

Your article was helpful on these Japan made w/some outsourcing from China. Only had one question that will likely be more like 2. Would it be sonically appropriate to use a pre with these? It seems more and more amps are being made to handle a source or 2. I want just a power amp to use my own pre, in this case a passive/active (at 12 o'clock) Monolithic. Appreciate any help you can provide. While I am at it.. Wouldn't you think that an amp constructed in such a manner that there is a switch that lets one choose to use either power amp or integrated might degrade the signal? Possibly not noticeably?

Regards,

Skip Flowers

 

Dear Skip,

By all means use a preamplifier to drive these TRV-M88SE mono's just as I did. As a matter of fact this is one of my fave things to do mix and matching components, usually tubes combined with solid state. Understand I do not know exactly what you will use to drive these amplifiers and there could be a problem if you only use a passive device. Obviously you need to inject a signal at a certain level to drive any amplifier adequately, it comes down to matching output power and input sensitivity, but I am sure you know this. Your last question is very interesting. Theoretically the ability to switch from integrated amplifier to a power only amplifier should/could improve the sound if only because it might bypass some of the circuits and wiring used for the inputs.

Be well, and Enjoy The Music,

Ron Nagle

May 2008

Hey Steven Stone,

I'm an audiophile of 40+ years who is finally looking to set up a good sounding desktop nearfield system to play streaming web audio off my Macbook (and use it as a CD player as well). Being a "Spendor" man for 35+ years, my speakers will be the fine Spendor 3/5 mini-monitors. I'm looking to use my very sweet (those 7591s!) 1962 McIntosh 225 to drive 'em (it has gain controls for each channel). All I can afford is the Benchmark DAC1 USB : is this a good choice?

Question: on what should I place the mini-monitors to get them to ear level? Does anyone make a cool little six inch speaker perch for desktop mini-monitors?

Does this sound like a decent system to you? By the way, my other two channel systems are both nearfield (six feet from my Spendor 1/2s). I'm a huge believer in getting close! :)

Thanks for any input!

John Meyers

 

Hello John,

First question I don't think you need to place your monitors so the tweeters are exactly ear level. In my system I usually cant the speakers back slightly, and toe them in a good bit, but very often they are between 3 and 8 inches below ear level. But the best way to tell where to place the speakers height wise is to listen and move your head up and down (and side to side for width) to make sure the sound is harmonically consistent within your listening window.

I think the system you describe should be very fine for a near-field rig. The Benchmark is an excellent DAC/preamp. I once owned a 225 (I used it with old quads.) It will mate very nicely with the Benchmark. The Benchmark is quite matter-of-fact and the Mac will give it a bit of juice. I haven't heard these particular Spendors but if they are anything like the models I've heard in the past, this should be a very musical system.

Sincerely,

Steven Stone

May 2008

Phil,

I just wanted to drop you a note to say that I really like and appreciated your review style regarding the Gemme Audio Tanto & Audio Ranger Speakers review. In short, it was a productive method of reviewing and one I surely enjoyed and absorbed. I will keep my eye open for your future reviews. I came across this review while researching single driver speakers. Absolutely, one of the best reviews I read to date.

Thanks,

Eric Launche

 

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for your kind words.

Enjoy the music,

Phil Gold

May 2008

Hello Steven,

Can you tell me if there are any commercially available devices allowing contactless optical playback of vinyl LPs. I see there have been quite a few patents filed and wondered if any of these have reached the marketing stage yet?

Thanks,

Paul Robotham
Fynk Studio

 

Paul,

There sure is, see this link. Always glad to help.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

May 2008

Hi Steven,

Request your help as this is eating my head. I had purchased three year back high quality copper wire that had a see-through casing for loudspeaker connection and OFC Audio connection Transparent for RCA connections. I have noticed both the wires have turned green from the transparent cable. Is the copper turned green or is it the transparent insulation that has turned green due to chemical reaction (I read on the net).  In any case does this degrade the quality of sound in the Audio system. Do you think it needs replacement.

Best Regards,

Clayton Rana

 

Clayton,

I have a feeling your the copper has tarnished. As for how the metal's 'skin effect' and the tarnish affect the sound, I have no experience. If you are asking if the clear insulation turned green, plastic generally does not turn green. Perhaps there is some chemical reaction from the plastic formulation used and the copper wire itself. As it is not that expensive, i recommend replacing it.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

May 2008

Hi Jeff,

I enjoyed your review of the Dared MP-5 which I intended to use as a standalone DAC, I already own an amplifier. You mention it is possible using the headphone out, but that mat cause problem? My question: I guess I should simply look for another DAC?

Thank you,

Martin

 

Hi Martin,

The Dared MP-5 is a great amp. I use it at work on my PC and may log more hours on it than any other amp I own. While I have often used it as a headphone amp by itself -- those MOSFETs really show my headphone who's the boss - I have never used it as a standalone DAC through the headphone jack into another amp so I don't really know. My worry was that there could be an impedance mismatch between your regular amplifier and the headphone output of the Dared and the mismatch would result in less than optimal results. That said, I really quite like the Dared just as it is and indeed it does a fine role an amp all by itself. I'd be worried that I was wasting some of its intrinsic good if I only used it as a DAC. I might try it someday, but at the moment, I think, it would probably be best to direct this question to Joe at Dared USA. He's a super nice guy and wouldn't steer you wrong. His email is at the bottom of the original review.

Jeff Rabin

May 2008

Steven,

Thank you very much for the prize! I haven't been this excited in a long time. For the short term, the Axiom Audio EP500 will be the perfect mate for my dear KEF 104/2's (also beloved of Mssr. Rochlin, I believe). By this time next year, I hope to have a home theater completed, which is where the EP500 will really shine...

Jeff Merth

PS: got my KEFs about seven years ago, I emailed you asking how you had modded yours. You graciously wrote back a long email describing the mods. I was amazed that you had time to manage your killer website and answer question-asking strangers. I asked if you had found a way to put more hours in the day... but I don't remember what you said. It appears that you just never sleep!

PPS: Just returned from a business trip to find the EP500 waiting for me. I was rather amazed that the *GIANT* 80-pound box made it half way across the country without a scratch on it... but the unit was securely packaged and is working just fine.

In fact, it works so well that my wife and I both stood mouths open (not kidding!) as it shook the rafters and window glass in our house. Amazing! Love that palpable, tight bass. More testimony to follow after I've had a chance to get the sub completely dialed in....

May 2008

Steven,

Thanks again for choosing me to win the Boston Audio (two sets) of their TuneBlock SE devices ($598). BTW, I brought the Cyber 211 mono based on your review with the GE 211 tubes installed, I'm planning to pair them with the Audio Note speakers kit DIY. Although I originally planned to pair them with the Hyperion 968 but I caught the DIY bug so....

Thanks for the great work!

John Lui

 

John,

Congratulations John! Once you have received your prize and a few weeks have passed, please send us an e-mail about how much you are enjoying it.... Congratulations again and as always...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

May 2008

Steven,

Never won a thing in my life, and have now won the Role Audio Windjammer loudspeakers ($1,495). How about that? This isn't a trick is it? If not:

Thank you for providing such a contest along with a top notch web audio magazine that I read all the time.

Richard Lewis

 

Richard,

No trick and the speakers should be headed your way shortly. As awlays...

Enjoy the Music!

Steven R. Rochlin

May 2008

Hi Nels,

What a great review, not only in what you said but the positive effects I hope it has for Jim Salk. I'm very proud to have contributed to this design which happened almost accidentally. It's a rather long story, which I won't go into, but when I designed and modeled the ML-TL cabinet for Dennis Murphy, I thought it was for his personal use. Little did I know it would eventually become a commercial reality. 

As a point of clarification, this is a mass-loaded transmission line (ML-TL). The cabinet's internal height forms the line's length and, thus, its 1/4-wavelength resonant frequency. That resonant frequency isn't low enough, however, for the drivers used or for a reasonable bass response and that's where the mass-loading port's length and diameter come in, extending the system's overall response to achieve an anechoic F3 of 42 Hz, the lowest fundamental frequency for an instrument in a "normal" symphony orchestra. Stuffing is used with an appropriate density and location to fine tune their response...

In closing I must say your review was thorough, well-written and enjoyable to read, and the fact that you've got a pair of SongTowers on order to replace your 15-year old Infinitys is high praise indeed.

Best regards,

Paul Kittinger

May 2008

Hi Steven,

M.U.S.I.C. initiative... as always you have good news for us on 1st of April.

Best regards,

Vlado from Slovakia

 

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