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Letters To Us

June 2007

Dear Scott,

I have been considering purchasing an Aperion Audio speaker system, and recently read your reviews of the 633 T's, 632 LR's, and 634 VAC's. My question is this: I have a limited space around my TV, which sits in the corner of a long rectangular room. I was going to get the system as you described, but am afraid the space limitations around my TV may not work for the towers. What would you think about using the 632 LR's all the way around, along with the 634 VAC. And along those lines, I will need to wall mount the surrounds. Do you think that will seriously compromise the sound? I should say I am not exactly an audiophile, but do enjoy good sound.

One more question. I have been holding out (painfully so) for a decent AV receiver to come out with HDMI v1.3. In particular, maybe a Denon or if it comes out with HDMI 1.3 (which does not seem likely at this time), an Outlaw Audio. I was hoping for a receiver in the $800 to $1000 range. What is your opinion about holding out like this for HDMI v1.3? I pretty much came to the conclusion that I will have this system for MANY years to come, and figure I might as well get the latest technology, and not be behind just a month or two after I purchase the receiver.

Thanks!!

Mitchell A. Watsky, Ph.D.

 

Hi Mitchell,

Quite honestly, I'd go for the 632LR's on all channels. That would give you truly matched sound all the way around. Just add a sub and you are in business. When it comes to the HDMI-3, unfortunately, I haven't kept up with that technology. My gear is HDMI-2 and I likely won't upgrade until something breaks.

Kind regards,

Scott Faller

 

June 2007

Scott,

I am setting up an audio room that will be strictly for listening to music. I will be playing such media as CD's/mp3's/Music DVD's. I am new to the "audiophile world but have dabbled in the home theater world which I can realistically say are two different worlds.

In looking for a receiver for this room I've been told to purchase a Denon receiver and noticed like most receivers are geared for the home theater. Due to the fact I only need 2 channels for this room where do you recommend I should start for a decent receiver? or should I separate the tuner and amp? I would hate to purchase a theater receiver when in fact I will never use the theater 
options.

William

 

Hi William,

My recommendations would really depend on how much you want to spend. I'll walk you up the price ladder. On the lower end of the price scale is the extremely affordable Insignia integrated receiver from Best Buy. For under $100, you are getting a darn fine sounding piece of gear. Far better than most people realize. It makes for a fine entry into the audiophile world.

Next up would be a NAD. They have always made fine sounding, affordable gear. They have a number of units to choose from at varying prices and wattages. If you are looking for another nice sounding but slightly more expensive integrated, Look towards Arcam. I have one of their HT receivers and have listened to all of their gear up and down the line. It is very nice for the money.

Finally, if you want to take a step towards true high-end audiophile gear on a very reasonable budget, look no further than the Factory Modified Jolida 102B. It only puts out 25 watts of tube power but it is a truly marvelous sounding integrated. Providing your room isn't too big (larger than about 200 square feet), you will absolutely fall in love with its sound. Oh, it's only $750 and worth every penny.

Hope that helped.

Regards,

Scott Faller

 

June 2007

Hi Scott,

I recently started collecting vinyl, and have been reading as many articles as I can to learn more. In particular, I've become interested in how to clean them. I came across your articles on another site and was curious - do you still use the KAB EV1 and/or Disc Doctor cleaning system? Would you still recommend them today?

Even though I could afford a higher-end Nitty Gritty, I'm learning that there are as many people who have issues with them as much as like them. Plus it'd be nice to save money to buy vinyl instead. :)

Your thoughts and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! A fellow vinyl fan,

Albert

 

Hi Albert,

Yep, I still use my lowly KAB with the Disc Doctor solution. It works great so I have no reason to change. Duane, the Disc Doctor says that there is no need to vacuum along with his solution but I find it does seem to loosen that last little bit of gunk enough to get your records even cleaner.

The KAB is a great, inexpensive way to supplement your cleaning regiment. I say, go for it!

Kind regards,

Scott Faller

 

June 2007

Hi Brett,

I am in the market for a new digital cable and I just read your excellent review on the Furutech Evolution cables and picked up on your special praise for the digital cable. I previously owned a Kimber Select 2020 digital cable that I purchased based on a review you did for another magazine.

I just purchased new Meridian digital gear and they have a propriety Meridian Smart Link connection between processor and CD/DVD player that requires three (3) digital phone (RCA) cables for six channel playback. As a result, I am looking for 3 digital cables and as a result, prefer something more affordable than the Kimber Select, which has also been around for quite awhile now and I am not sure it still represents the best.

I know that I need a true 75-ohm cable and I am looking for it to have true 75-ohm RCA connectors. I was wondering what your thoughts on how the sound of the Furutech digital compares with the Kimber Select? I thought that the Kimber could be a bit too revealing on some materials and not as musically enjoyable as their copper select analog cables. I prefer a more musical sound. In researching the Furutech, it looks like that for the digital cable, the XLR connector is indeed a true 75-ohm but possibly the RCA is not?

Thank-you for your thoughts and the excellent reviews,

Regards,

Randy Timberlake

 

Hi Randy,

First off I want to thank you for making me smile. I always enjoy when someone tells me that my review helped them to select a cable for their system. I make every effort to be as objective and detailed about my experience with the product as possible.

I have to tell you that three years later I still have my Kimber Select KS-2020 in my reference system and have found very few cables which match its ability. As I said all those years ago, it was a standout then as far as digital cables went and it still is. Although I will say that it was certainly a fairly expensive cable, then and now, and is out of most people's price range.

Let me try and answer all your questions as fully as possible. 

Kimber Select versus Furutech Evolution

You have posed a really hard question. I purposely make it a point not to compare cables unless I am doing an A/B test on them for a particular reason. My personal opinion is that a cable should be able to stand (or fall) on its own merits and every cable has good and bad points.

In this case I have not done any real comparisons between the two even in my own system. They are two different cables in two different price classes. However where it concerns the Meridian Smart Link Connection, I am not sure how much the difference in the cables will make in overall performance. I have no personal experience with their equipment or the link between components, though I hope someday soon to rectify that situation.

True 75 Ohm RCA Connectors

RCA connectors were not designed to work with 75 Ohm applications. In fact, given their design, they are perhaps one of the worst choices in digital applications.. Unfortunately for whatever the reasons, which undoubtedly include cost and consumer acceptance and popularity it has become one of the defacto standards in the marketplace.

As a result a great deal of people and companies have worked tirelessly to overcome this obstacle to varying degrees of success. On the market today you will find a number of vendors who claim to have "true" 75 Ohm RCA connections. There is no reason to doubt their claims, except perhaps data that claims a 75 Ohm RCA connection is not even possible, but overall it really doesn't matter to me. The test should really be if the cable itself meets and/or exceeds your expectations of it. If the cable works great and sounds good, who cares what statements are made about the actual connectors in my book.

BNC and XLR (AES/EBU)

Without going into too much depth at this point, though if you want more, please write me back and ask, both of these formats will certainly handle 75 Ohm impedance loads. Although the balanced digital cable (XLR) utilizes a 110 Ohm cable and connection. If you have the choice of either of these formats, personally I would take them hands down. Unfortunately neither is commonplace on consumer equipment, rather it is found on professional equipment and a select number of higher end consumer equipment mostly.

Silver versus Copper

Once again this is a really difficult question to answer. There are a lot of misconceptions about which material is better for cable construction and/or sound quality. In general I have found it to be the cable rather than the material that makes the difference. In addition, many of the silver cables are found in the upper range of a company's product offerings and not surprisingly they are more revealing than others in the same line. 

Specifically in the Kimber line, the Select cables were designed to afford the consumer with a much better sounding cable. Overall I have found this to be true with the ones I have tried and/or reviewed. In analogue cables, the KS-1021, a silver copper hybrid and the KS-1030 a totally silver cable give more resolution and detail. It really depends on the system and the listener if these are right for the application.

Conclusion

I think the best course is to try a few different cables for a range of price points within your budget to determine which is best in your system. Certainly the Furutech and Kimber cables are great choices, but you really need to evaluate them as part of the Meridian setup to see if it makes a difference which one you use. You might even want to audition a substantially lower priced cable. I have some suggestions if you are interested.

Hopefully the information I have included in this response will help you make a better and more informed decision as to which cable you ultimately chose. It is my belief that there are no wrong cables or right ones in general, just ones that work better or worse and more importantly that fit within your budget.

Once again if you have any more questions and/or concerns please feel free to write me back.

Best Regards,

Brett Rudolph

 

June 2007

Bill,

I have many worries about aerosolizing enzymes in record cleaning machines and then inhaling them. Proctor Gamble had a classic OSHA issue when they started producing enzymatic cleansers and the plant employees presented with chemical (?) pneumonitis. They may be irritants, and they really haven't been designed for or studied in this application... be careful advising their use!

My own symptoms developed after using enzymatic cleaners from my operating room to clean my LP's, and anecdotally, I developed sinusitis and other symptoms afterwards, and I suffered a good long while, with congestion, which interfered with my listening. When I recently used my RCM again, symptoms were exacerbated... beware.

Name withheld per writer's request.

 

Thank you for the concern. I contacted Lloyd Walker, the developer of the cleaner, and he assured me that the enzymes are found in many household and industrial cleaning solutions in a much higher strength than in his fluids, with the amount used to clean over 100 records being less than what would be used to clean the kitchen floor. While I am sure that aerosolizing any chemical in large enough quantities could lead to lung or immune problems in somebody, if these chemicals were dangerous, they would be banned in the household detergents they derive from. To be absolutely safe though, one could use a record cleaner such as my Loricraft, which has a reservoir which captures the fluid in a bottle for easy disposal rather than the VPI machine and others that allow the vapor to enter the room.

Bill Gaw

 

June 2007

Hi Ron,

I enjoyed your review of the Triode amps. Can you tell me if they are self biasing, or how difficult biasing is, if you do it yourself?

Thanks for your review of the Triode Corp. amp. I'm wondering why you said they would be good for a second system? Why not a first system? I'd also like your opinion on using a stereo integrated Triode 300B amp vs. Tirode's 300B monoblocks in a Cain & Cain Super Abby with Bailey subwoofer system. I understand you may not have heard the 300s, but I'm primarily interested in whether you think monoblocks are always preferred to a stereo amp. Thanks for your help.

Thanks,

John Gage

 

Dear Mr. Gage,

At one point I asked a similar question of the distributor. My question was about re-tubing and the possibility of using 6550 tubes instead of the KT88 tubes and would I have to re-bias the replacement tubes ? The distributor referred my query to the designer Junichi Yamasaki who answered that I could use 6550 tubes but offered no other information. I suggest that you contact the distributor directly.

If I only could buy only one amplifier that amplifier would have a minimum of 100 wpc I don't believe you can have to much amplifier power. I am not familiar with the speakers you mention. The choice of mono amplifiers versus a stereo amplifier is simple if cost were not an object I would chose the amplifiers that worked best with my system and speakers. Both configurations have pro's and con's I have tried many amplifiers of both types and have found no clear aural superiority. The sound is what the designer thinks is accurate find out if you agree with him/them

R.Nagle

 

 

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