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Letters To Us

September 2007


When I found your site and instructions on building your own video cables I thought this was great, until I tried to find the supplies required. I contacted the company for the connectors and was told they were supplied in packs of 100 min. Also I tried to purchase Belden 1505a cable and was informed it sells in rolls of 1000 ft. Only and can't be cut. If I were making up 33 30ft cables, this would be the way to go, however all I really need is 5 at 30ft. So I'll probably just get them locally at 150.00$ or so.. Am I the only one with this issue?. Great web site otherwise.


Gary S.



Wish I could help, but long ago I ran out of cable and connectors. Some guys seem to have no problems while other find it a tedious task. You might want to ask the folks on the rec.audio.high-end board or other places, as someone might have a line on where to get the parts in smaller quantity. The DIY community is filled with good folks and am sure someone should be able to help.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


September 2007

Hi Steven,

I read your recent article on a "Three Dimensional Analysis" of different violins and a question came to my mind that I believe that you can answer. So here goes, a year ago I was discussing isolation platforms with Pierre Sprey and during the conversation Pierre said that all the great violin makers used maple backings. Hmm, having no knowledge of what wood the great violin makers used I just had to defer to Pierre's claim. (And yes I did buy his maple -shade isolation platforms). If you would be so kind would you please tell me whether Pierre's claim was true? One last observation, given that you are a drummer, do all (or most) of the great drum sets use maple in their construction?

Best wishes,

Charlie Mathews

PS: I really enjoy your online magazine!



Am glad you are enjoying our site :) Found a few links, with Wikipedia being one of the best. Yes, the back of a violin is typically Maple and many drums use Maple for shell construction as well. Of course there are drums made from other materials, including a clear type of plastic (Ludwig Vistalite), metal (timbales, etc), and some very exotic woods. Snare drums, in particular, are offered in a mind-boggling array of shell types and hardware configurations.

My brother has the Pearl brand Free Floating snare, where the hardware basically 'floats' around the shell as the hardware connects to itself from top rim to the bottom rim. If you are wondering, the advantage is that the main shell is free to vibrate/resonate due to no hardware attached to the shell itself. Another benefit is that it is relatively easy to change shells from wood to metal or other materials while using the same the core hardware.

Always glad to help.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


September 2007

Hi Colin,

I have just read your review on this nice little integrated amps. I happened to own one for a couple of years now. It is the center piece of my master bedroom system.

If you still have the integrated amp try a set of big bottle EH 6CA7's (not their EL34's). In fact, it sounds better with the aforementioned EH fat bottles in every way: deeper bass extension, more neutral sound, etc. to name a few. You don't even need to shell out big bucks for NOS. I don't know where VAS is coming from when they said they have tried all the new production tubes in the market when they chose the current lineup. The stock EL34s that I have just don't cut it: uncontrolled and tubey bass and too prominent mid range.

I guess as a reviewer you have to review a piece of equipment "as is" but if you have a chance you should give these EH 6CA7's a try.



P.S. One thing I do suspect is that the stock Cayin branded tubes came with mine are different from yours. The Canadian dealer that I have might not get theirs from the same distribution channel. 


September 2007

Hi Steven,

This is not so much a question about one of your reviews but a request. I'd like to replace my entry level Cambridge Audio CD player with something a little different, that is, something warmer, smoother, and not so bright sounding. Audio forums have suggested I take a look at tubed players and for most of us cost conscious folks that suggests Chinese made.

I was steered to a site called Pacificvalve.com and was greeted with names that I had never heard of before including Mhzs. Site descriptions for all products are well thought out and I was drawn to a particular player by Mhzs called the CD 66. I've found only one review of this player on a discussion board, which was thoughtful and well written. This player and it's younger brother are quite often modded in their home country of China.

I was hoping you'd consider a review of this piece as a comparison to the more well known Chinese brands.

Thank you,

Steve Anders



Thanks for your e-mail and am not familiar with that brand. Many people seem to enjoy the Ah! Super Tjoeb (and newest iteration Njoe Tjoeb 4000 as reviewed here). This is what Id suggest you seriously consider as it has a longstanding reputation for very good sound and reliability.

Be very careful what you read on some discussion board, as the one you mentioned (i deleted the name) is known to be a breeding ground for 'sock puppets' and marketing guys posing as normal readers.

Always glad to help and in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


September 2007

Hi Dick,

Love reading your reviews and took your advice on the AH Njoe Tjoeb 4000 and got one. A great player and I'm still enjoying it 5 years later, especially since the Upsampler was fitted.

I'm very interested in OB speakers and took a real interest in your recent review 'Feasting on the Feastrex full range driver and Augie woofer'. The price for the Feastrex however is in the stratosphere at AUD1,425 - AUD2,800 (NZD1,600- NZ3,100 + tax each, in comparison to the Augie at USD165 ~ NZD200+tax ea). Bit disappointed to say the least, so guess I won't be going there.



Hi Steve,

Many thanks for the positive feedback. Yes, agreed, the Feastrex full range as befitting a high-end design is expensive. Note, however, that my long-range plan is to design a more cost effective OB DIY speaker, based on the Augie woofer and a suitable but affordable full range driver. Look for it next year... 

Best regards, and as always, enjoy the music!

Dick Olsher


September 2007

Greetings Steven,

I'm glad that one of your reference speakers for years is a pair of Kef 104/2. I've owned a pair, the biwire version, and can totally relate why you simply loved the sound it creates. However, we can not stop time and age from ravaging these legendary speakers no matter how careful we are in using and taking care of it. Which leads me to this query. I believe it's worth it to spend a pretty sum of money to restore them to their old glory, woofer cones and surrounds repair, etc. Do you agree?

Thanks in advance and more power to you and to this fantastic site!

Andy VItal



Yes, restoring the woofers is well worth the investment in my opinion. Now that Sound Ideas Stereo offers the center foam and the outer foam is easy to get, you can restore the KEF 104/2 without much expense as to buying new speakers that would provide nearly same performance. There is much to love from both an engineering point of view and as an audiophile about these loudspeakers. Remember, great vintage loudspeakers will also sound great while the 'flavor of the month' comes and goes.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


September 2007

Hi Steven,

Love your reviews mate, without doubt my fave reviewer. As part of house extensions I am about to build a music room (yay) and currently in the market for a new system to fill the larger room (thinking approx.15x21ft though any feedback is welcome). I have been using a Sugden A21a (25w Class A solid state amp) with book shelf Sonus Fabers. Nice in a small room (oh the mid range), though really lacks scale and drama. I read your review of the Consonance 211 amplifier recently (did you buy the review pair?) and it is on my short audition list as is their R1.3 linestage (combo sells here for around $7,250). I am thinking of pairing them with some Audio Note AN-E (or maybe the AN-J) loudspeakers. Given you have heard this system or close I was hoping to get some feedback on the combination? One problem I have here in Australia is the no one stocks Audio Note speakers and I would have to order a pair from a dealer unheard, which makes me very nervous given the investment, one that will take all my resources. I can audition the amps in OZ though, just I have to jump on a plane for a while to do so.

Thanks for doing such a great job.

Cheers, Andy Moore



A most humble thanks and always glad to help. Have had a room around 15x21 and it is a nice size. If this is a dedicated room, use the Cardas Room Setup (Golden Ratio) and have the speakers at around 60 degree angle (30 right and 30 left) of your listening seat. Also make sure you use acoustic foam or the like to dampen first reflection points on the floor, sidewalls, and yes even the ceiling(!).

Yes, I did buy the review pair of Consonance 211 amplifiers, though have not heard the R1.3 linestage. The Audio Note AN-E or AN-J should be good. I have a pair of older ANJ-Spx and love them! Am sure you read my review comparing the new AN-E/Lexus versus the old AN-J/SPx seen here. That pretty much sums it up. Have a great time and as always...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin


September 2007

Hi Rick,

I enjoyed your article concerning titled PS Audio Soloist & JPS Labs Dedicated Line Revisited. Do you have any info on how I can install a 20 Amp dedicated line for my API Power Wedge. I was about to install a 15 Amp dedicated line. I suppose I should upgrade that plan to 20 Amps. Is the difference in the heavier 12 gauge Romex wire, the 20 Amp circuit breaker and 20 Amp wall plugs?

Vernon Barnes


Hi Vernon,

If you haven't already done so, go back into the archives and read the original JPS Labs In-Wall 30-Amp cable review. For that review, I had a plastic molded 4-outlet box installed with 20-Amp sockets, which isn't really code approved since it isn't anchored to the floor or wall as most codes require--check with your local electrician. But for reviewing equipment it is wonderful for constant plugging and un-plugging of various components and convenient because it extends out in front of my rack/table set-up.

The second dedicated line with 20 Amp Romex type wiring is terminated in a 4-outlet metal box that is screwed to the floor. It has two 20-amp Spec-Grade duplex outlets. Because I was running out of slots in my breaker box, I had to move some circuits and use some thin, half-space breakers to accommodate the increased number of lines. (I also had a third dedicated line run to another room for a video rig, so I had them all connected at the same time.) To cut costs, I drilled the studs and pulled the cable myself so the electrician only had to make the connections.

Unless you have a difficult installation or your power conditioner has isolated circuits, consider running a second dedicated line of the same length (but different pathway so they don't cross or interfere with one another). Separating the digital components from the analog ones provided a noticeable benefit. Also, my experience with the PS Audio Soloist suggests that the additional filtration plus the high quality of the plug used in it also contribute significantly. I'm hoping for an opportunity to review one of their power conditioners to verify if piggy-backing the conditioner with the Soloist is a worthwhile combination.

Until then, the short answer to your question is yes, yes and yes. Definitely spend the few extra dollars for the 20-Amp capability. Your system will probably only draw a full 20 Amps for very brief instances, but the result will be more enjoyment of your music.

Best of luck, Vernon, and let me know how it works out for you!

Rick Becker

September 2007

Dear Mr. Gaw,

I was disappointed to read your articles on wires' sound and find not a smidgen experimental evidence cited to support your theorizing. Ideally anyone should wish to see measurements related to the effects you cite, and then a correlation of what is measured to what is heard.

As you may be aware Gene Dellascala undertakes such measurements and reports them at Audioholics. He shares your distain for wire manufacturers, but his results also seem to substantially undercut the idea that wires matter.

Given the miniscule differences observed in his measurements, the utter lack of correlation to price of wire in terms of optimizing the effects you cite, the acceptance of megabuck wires that perform relatively badly by subjective reviewers, and the utter lack of systematic effort to verify and codify outcomes, I don't know how anyone could have any confidence in 99% of the statements made about wires, including, unfortunately yours.

Given the mountain of scientific evidence about the unreliability of subjective observation related to similar matters, I certainly wouldn't trust my own subjective observations on subtle aural differences absent something along the lines of double blind testing. It's beyond me how others do.

Bruce Stram



Thank you for your comments. Again, we come to the battle of the objectivists who use measurements vs. the subjectivists who use observation to obtain their fix on a process. This is equivalent to the God vs. evolution battle, with each side feeling the other is daft.

The objectivists say "if it can't be measured. it can't be heard" which posits that everything discoverable in the universe, has been, vs. the subjectivist's " if its sensed, then it must be true." Both approaches are based on fallacies, as all physical parameters have not been discovered, and how a sound is interpreted by an individual varies depending on the many changes, both physical and mental, that the body goes through from day to day.

As a physician, I have to rely on the scientific, objectivist approach, but see many things that cannot as yet be explained in this manner. AS an audiophile, I must rely on my senses, even when there are no measurements to back up my findings. Many major scientific discoveries were first found through subjectivist observation of the real world, which at first were disdained by the community at large, only to be substantiated by further observation, then subjectivist experimentation and finally the means to measure the observation were learned.

I also find it interesting that quite often, in many of the high end magazines which have sufficient funds to have a complete lab where the presently known measurements can be performed, there is a lack of correlation between what is heard and measured, and in most cases the subjectivist is extolling the product while the objectivist finds some fault in a known measure. Who then is right in making the call as to whether the product is good or bad.

Do you buy the product which to you sounds better or more approaching the absolute sound, or the product which measures close to perfect but doesn't sound so. Of what value are the measurements in that case? Which would be the better measurer, some machine, or your ears and brain?

I know this rant won't solve anything or change any minds. I'll trust my ears and judgment any day.




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