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Letters To Us

July 2007


I just wanted to make a comment relative to Klipsch corner horns. I have owned a pair since 1979. They are the most awesome pair of truly balanced horn systems I have ever heard.

Yes, I agree that they need proper amplification - I recommend that EVERYBODY at least Bi-amp the system and remove the Bass-mid crossover. I am currently using BGW750's (225 Watts per channel at 8 ohms) for the base and very modest Peavey CS800's (200Watts per channel at 8 Ohms) for the mid-high combination. Electronic crossovers were from Heathkit Pro series and also the preamp which provides variable loudness, another seldom used control that brings realism into play very nicely.

There is no crossover distortion configured this way and the system sounds unbelievable in terms of balance across all frequencies and true realism in sound. Because of the efficiencies of the entire design the listener is hearing a "live" experience. I haven't even bothered yet to try tube amps or find a better mid-high amp. The base design is full complimentary (BGW750) and therefore very smooth for the base. One can bet better than the Peavey's if needed but the benefit of bi-amping is so great that almost any decent mid to high end amp should sound great.

Gordon Hope


July 2007

Hi Phil,

I very much enjoyed your review of the Meitner CDSA player. Throughout, your impressions match mine, except that I haven't spent too much time with SACD - I just get stuck on CDs, they sound so wonderful.

One night when the player had just run in nicely, a friend and I listened to the vinyl version of Willy Nelson's great old Stardust album, remastered at half speed on a mint pressing. I use an LP12 with Cirkus upgrade, Lingo 2 power supply, and Dynavector 17D3 cartridge - certainly not the best vinyl rig, but not shabby eiher. My point is that when we compared the vinyl to the CD of Stardust - one I've had for at least 15 years - there was no contest. The ancient digital transfer won hands down. The difference was so dramatic that I wondered if my turntable had gone off. It hadn't. Everything was spot on.

This was the very first time I've listened to a CD I preferred to a good vinyl version of the same recording. I bought the Meitner and My Naim CDS3 player immediately went up for sale. By the way, I use the Meitner with a Tom Evans Vibe pre-amp with the external power supplies. A match made in heaven, truly.

Thanks again for your review,

Don Braid


Hi Don,

I'm happy to hear you are so pleased. You must be very happy to have such a fine product hail from so close to home.

Enjoy the Music,



July 2007

Hey Max,

I just read your review of the Audio Points. I just received mine. I have the following system:

Musical Fidelity X-150 Integrated
Musical Fidelity X-Ray v3 Transport
Musical Fidelity XPSU vs Power Supply
Musical Fidelity X-10 tube buffer
Musical Fidelity X-DAC v3
JM Labs Focal Electra 906 monitors
HSU VTF III-MK2 subwoofer
High end cabling throughout

I installed the audio points under speakers, under amp, under transport, etc and I am not sure I heard much difference to justify the cost of the points. Perhaps it will be a matter of removing them to get the "oh, put those back quickly" effect. Do you feel that these will enhance any system? My system is high end but perhaps not ultra high end.

Any feedback you could give me would be greatly appreciated.


Erik Larson


Hi Eric,

Good to hear from you. I'm not sure I'd be willing to say that any tweak--even one that's worked splendidly in my own system--would work equally well in all systems unconditionally. I certainly would make sure you've installed the audio points correctly, both with regard to positioning and the weight of the component you're using them under. I also believe that A/B comparisons (in this case, "with" vs "without") should tell you everything you need to know. Remember: yours are the only golden ears that matter. I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with your gear, but I do believe that the better the component, the more dramatic a difference a tweak can make. But also, I found that the audio points that worked so well under my last pre-amp didn't seem to make much of a difference under my new one (and have since been removed). I'd suggest you contact the folks at audio points directly and see what they have to say. The bottom line here is that (last time I looked) your satisfaction is guaranteed. You can return the points for a full refund (and with my abject apologies). Maybe you should consider going in the opposite direction: damping. There are (much softer, spongier, and cheaper) devices you can put under your components that just might have a beneficial effect on the sound. In which case, I'd think about getting some "vibrapods" (that's the name of the company). In the meantime, i wish you great good fortune adventuring in sound. Many hours of happy listening! And do let me know how it all turns out.




July 2007

Dear Sir,

I am about to buy the 6 pieces of First Sound pre (2 linestages with four power units). My system is DCS (Four pieces) Lamm 1.2 and SF Stradivari. I will appreciate much if you coul let me know the sonic characters comparing to LammL2. Thanking you sin advance.

Awaiting your kind response and best regards,

Mete Kizavul


Hi Mete,

To start with, the First Sound is the single most stable, reliable and faultless component in my system. If bad luck struck and I was forced to sell off gear the First Sound would the last thing out the door and the first one to come back when fortune reversed herself.

Next, Lamm makes some of the best gear out there, so please take my comments with that understanding – that is, both are great pre-amps with the differences being small but significant. That out of the way, the bass of the First Sound is both more pitch stable and denser. The decay and inner resolution of the First Sound is also a notch better as is the lack of noise. That last item is, perhaps, the most significant skill of the First Sound – as it makes every other pre-amp I’ve heard sound noisy in comparison. I think that is due to the massive power supplies and extensive shielding of the First Sound stuff. But why it is there is of less interest to me than that is there – that is, it’s the result that matters to me and the First Sound has the results. Good luck!




July 2007


I've been going through your CD Player reviews with great interest. It's such a difficult time. Both my wife & I are classically trained at FSU. So we love music, mostly classical of course. Trying to make the decision/investment.

First, you changed the grading format from 100 pts to 5 eight-notes. So it's difficult to convert apples to apples from previous reviews. I've narrowed it down for now to the Ayre 7, Jolida, CEC, and possibly one of the two Onix AV123 players ($400 vs. $1k). If price were not an issue, Ayre probably. Arcam seems to have winner too at that $2k point vs. $3k for Ayre. I have an old system that still is doing a beautiful job (analog). Audible Illusions pre-amp, Maggies IIIa, Audio Research 2-channel non-tube amp. I have a good collection of CD's and have moved the JVC 1050TN to the HT area. So looking to add something sweet in the 2 channel area that will keep for a while. Is the Ayre that good and worth the extra dough? vs. the CEC or Jolida. Your thoughts?


John Krstich


Hi John,

The grading form! I understand why it’s there, but that thing causes me fits. What happens when you review a product that has the “best” sound that you’ve ever heard in a particular category, and by a significant margin? Does it get 5 notes (or 100 points)? Then what happens when, several years later, you review something that is just slightly better? So, do you give the one you are reviewing right now 4.5 notes or 95 points in anticipation of that future product? Man, I hate dealing with that issue, and that’s just one reason the scores cause me problems. Nonetheless, they do allow for a way to quickly quantify the unquantifiable – and if well employed, a way to make subtle distinctions between similar gear.

Anyway, back to your real question. First off, your system is well designed to extract maximum information for the dollars invested. Well done! That does, however, lead to an issue – a poor source will not stand a chance in that setup. With that in mind, here’s what I would do in your situation. If the price matters (and I’m sure it does) I’d get the CEC. The Ayre is a bit better, but only a bit (no pun intended), while the CEC is definitely better than the other players you list. The entry-level CD stuff has evolved quickly and will continue to do so for a while, so the 3k you spend on the Ayre would probably be better spent by putting $700 towards the CEC today and then the rest towards a new player in a 3-4 years. The CEC is a serious piece of gear and really does make great music. Good luck!




July 2007


i have a Almarro a205a amp and i think it is pretty good. How would you 
compare the uVac to the Almarro? Is there a clear overwhelming difference 
between the two, or you would have to listen very carefully to hear a 
difference? One last question, please, if the uVac is clearly better, can you 
please recommend an excellent phono amp for the uVac as my preference is 
LP's. i would need to keep the cost below $1,500 on my budget. i know you 
are busy, but your answers will be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,

Van Fondas



Always glad to help. Keep in mind the Almarro is around 5 watts while the uVac is one watt. This is a bit more of a difference than one may think. If your loudspeakers are not around 95dB/w/m and near a constant 8 Ohm load things could be problematic for higher sound levels. I would say try before buy if possible, yet this may be nearly impossible with the uVac. As for a good inexpensive phonostage, the Lehmann Audio Black Cube is a good solid recommendation. The basic version is very good and as your finances permit you can upgrade to their stronger power supply that enhances the sound quality further. In the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


July 2007


I am from Norway, and I have bin a hardcore audiophile for many years. I have tried a lot of equipment through the years. One thing that stand out, and that i cant forget, is the 47-labs Gaincard. It is some years since I sold it, and I think it is the only one in Norway.

I have had more expensive equipment since, but is still thinking about the Gaincard. I know you have one, and I know that you can compare it to other stuff. Do you still think it is still as good as you did when you reviewed it years ago? How good compared to the Almarro 318b? To more expensive equipment? There is not a dealer here in Norway so I have no chance to hear it. I can afford a much more expensive amplifier but I do not know any I want more. I am just a bit nervous that I will think it is not as good to day, as I thought then, if I buy one?

I have the Conrad Johnson Act two preamplifier and Acapella horn loudspeakers with an Accuphase DP-75V cd-player. What do you think? I would be very glad if you could take time to answer me. Best regard Torry Hægeland, Norway.

Torry Hægeland



Thanks for your e-mail. As you know every system is different and therefore everything from the source component to cabling to amplification can make a difference. What matters most is system synergy plus the loudspeakers and room's acoustics. It would be nearly impossible for me to specifically decide what is best for you as i have never heard your system nor tried that specific combination of products. If you loved the 47 Labs Gaincard in the past, it may be worth giving it another chance. My only guess might be to also try the Wavelength Audio single-ended tube amplifiers as they worked great when i was reviewing the Avantgarde Acoustic hornspeakers that is along the same lines of the hornspeakers you use. Hope this helps. In the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


July 2007


...great site and keep up the good work and thanks!

Keith Palmer 


July 2007


Good and compressive article, even a dabbling audiophile like myself could follow. Two questions for you, where did you get that cheap $7 linear supply, and why did you go for the 1.5A when the Squeezebox indicates 2A?

Thanks again, your article sealed the deal as to whether streaming digital audio was stereo worthy at this price point.



Hi Ron,

Thanks for the kind words about the article. Here is a thread at AudioCircle.com that has several links to inexpensive power supplies.

One of the guys there did some measuring of the current demand of the SB. The SB2 draws .75 amps in wired mode (rather than wireless). The 1.5 amp power supply should be fine with the SB3 running wireless. I've been using the 1.5 amp myself and not noticed any issues at all.


Scott Faller



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