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Your brief mention of the Tivoli table radio gives me an excuse to send you this message. I recently purchased a Tivoli Model 1. I'm 65 years old, so perhaps my hearing is flawed a bit, but I've noticed that vocalized "s" sounds, in words such as "source" and "it's", are a little too emphatic. The "hissing" associated with words such as these is noticeable (at least on FM). Can you explain the reason for this?


David F. Williams


Hi David,

Hmm. Sometimes if you're in a marginal reception area, on a stereo signal, you may get that sibilance on s's listening in stereo, but the Tivoli Model 1 is not a stereo radio, and Huntsville should have some good strong signals for your enjoyment, so I don't think that's it. On my early Tivoli, I had to get the volume pot cleaned, which caused some spittiness which usually settled down after a minute or so but was annoying as hell before it was fixed. Weirdly, CBC 1, which is mono, crackles here in Toronto, but I think this is because it is overloading the radio. Is it on every station in Huntsville? Maybe the problem is at their source and they need a call. I have called the local university station a couple of time about ground loops that I can hear and they are always thankful that some nutter can be bothered to call. On the off chance, have you tried switching the internal and external antenna switches in the back. Perhaps the radio is overloading? I will listen closely to mine tonight and see if I can hear the same thing, though I have not heard it so far. Another way to see if it is the tuner section or the audio section would be to run an external source through the source in through the back. One tonal fault I do hear is a sort of over plumy midrange, bass hump, which I think has been added to make the radio sound bigger than it actually is, which I think was a conscious design choice.


PS: Still a lot of fun for $100! If you listen to AM at all, the Grundig S350s are a blast too! Enjoy the mono!




I have a question for you regarding your reviews of the Omega TS1 and TS2 loudspeakers. You reviewed the TS2 first and noted many times within the review how much better the larger TS1's are. When comparing the ratings of the two speakers, you gave higher marks to the TS2? Soundscape lower and high frequency lower on the TS1. Can you further explain? I am looking between these two speakers to mate up with my ASL 5wpc SET amplifier and am having trouble figuring out which is indeed the better loudspeaker.

Mike Cole



The Omega TS1 is clearly the better loudspeaker Mike, so I am sorry if my marks on the smaller brother mislead you. The marks reflect my impressions at the time. The soundscape and high frequency are NOT significantly different. I think the larger loudspeaker is well worth the small difference in price. Although single driver loudspeakers do NOT have the sparkling treble and booming deep bass, which thrills many tweaking audiophiles, the Omega TS1s do have a wonderful coherency across the musical range that makes long term use with delicate tube equipment a listening pleasure to rival far more expensive systems, especially in small to medium size rooms. If you donít want a big, fancy system, designed to replicate the movie theater experience, than a crossover-less single driver coupled with a ! sweet SET amplifier forms a charming combination. Be sure to order one the subtle premium colors.

Yyours in listening,





Since reading your review of the various portable CDPs, I've since aquired a D-25S. Yes, quite a nice sounding player indeed. However, I've since come across a combo you may be interested.

I've been quite hesitant to give into this digital de-evolution in terms of music. To make a long story short, I purchased a Sony memory stick product that came with some software - their SonicStage 1.5 burning/jukebox software that uses their ATRAC3 codec. Because I had it on hand, I thought, what the hell. I installed it and burned a CD to see how it sounds.

I was very impressed, more stunned than anything. I heard what the D-25 has more or less - no pun intended. :) If you are close to a computer during the day, you may want to give it a try. Taking it one step further, I picked up the Echo Audio Indigo PCMCIA II card which doubles as a headphone amp (but also gives you Virtual Digital Dolby on your headphones - we should start seeing this chip on the newer laptops like the Sony TR-1).

Anyway, I've since ditched my portable CDP for work, and not I no longer need to carry CDs to/from work either. Check it out...let me know what you think.


Jim Smith



Hi Colin,

Been surfin' the net for a good bookshelf loudspeaker and your review was interesting. I have been looking at BIC dv62si with the frias crossover and several speakers at Speaker City. What's the skinny? I would be happy with any input you can advise.




Well, well, well... so BIC loudspeakers are still around are they? Glad to hear it. Back in my day, the BIC Venturi sound was quite the thing at the stereo shops. These days, I look for the lowest cost entry level loudspeakers at the Goodwill boutiques, consignment and used loudspeaker shops.

Used loudspeakers from yesteryear at the better Goodwill or consignment stores are often discarded because their drivers need work, yet their cabinets are usually solid and well made. I replace the worn drivers with much better ones, for a small investment. Twenty to 100 bucks in new parts goes a long way in an old, but solid, loudspeaker cabinet. The rebuilt models usually end up in the hands of friends and family, where they are much better values than the chintzy crap foisted on unsuspecting consumers at the Big Bargain speaker stores. No doubt that many low cost modifications to these entry level loudspeakers make very big improvements in their sound. I am sure that small tweaks to the BIC loudspeakers make noticeable improvements too.

Used stereo and repair shops are the second best place to find good low cost buys, because the shops know what they are selling. Even so, aging loudspeakers from yesteryear, like big ole horns, can be found there for reasonable prices because people donít like their age, size or the change in amplification required. As always, take any loudspeaker, or several, home for several days to audition with your own room, music and amplifiers .

If neither of these avenues suits you, William D, and if you can trust online reviewers who have different tastes, rooms, music and front-end equipment; then I would look online for new loudspeakers. Even low cost online loudspeakers have impressed me with their solid build, quality drivers, thoughtful design and overall value compared to same-price loudspeakers sold at mass market retail centers.

Hope this helps, yours in listening,




Hello Bill,

Can you tell me if it's rue that the Crown Jewel SE is the same as Shelter 501 II? Does this mean, the 901 is even better? Is the Crown Jewel still distributed or did it stop after everyone knew the price difference of $2,000 to the Shelter?

Thanks much for an answer,

Steffen from Germany



I had both the Shelter 501 and the Crown Jewel and Crown Jewel SE. While they all looked the same the Crown Jewel and SE were much more refined cartridges. I feel the 501 was probably a less well built Crown Jewel. I have not heard the 901 so cannot tell you whether it is equivalent to one of the other cartridges or not.




You rock, Steve...!



Dear Mr. Olsher,

I am auditioning Axiom M22's (am purchasing a hsu sub) in my home. I listen to lots of opera, classical, jazz - . The axioms have many attributes i like very much - mid range, clarity/detail - all the things axiom lovers admire. However, the sound stage seems compressed to me - if i'm using the right words - not as 3D as i had hoped, albeit amazing for such a tiny speaker. (i've moved them around to all the possible locations - even ones that meant i'd have to sell my furniture and never go upstairs. I never thought i could afford a speaker that had axiom mid range and clarity with the transparency and 3D stage I'd love to hear. I certainly never thought i could afford or even accommodate Mags, but the MMG's are tempting. I'm not a technical person, but your review indicates that the mid-range is not as clear on the MMG's and that there is roll of on the highs. I know that some speakers with a less defined mid range can appear to give greater depth - like my 1978 KEF 103's However, I don't want mud. Can you compare the axiom to the mmgs - or if I like the mid range and clarity of the Axioms, but seek the more mmg like sound stage, are the mmg's a good compromise - I'm thinking you may need to go all with way with mag's and low enders just wont cut it. Thanks in advance for any opinions you are willing to share.

Paula Blasier


Hi Paula,

Although you may find it hard to believe, it's true: I've never auditioned a pair of Axiom loudspeakers. I've basically given up on conventional loudspeakers about 10 years ago. Oh, they're plenty of good hi-fi mini-monitors out there, but there's more to audio then detail and clarity.

There comes a time in everyone's audio education, when a leap to a new technology is called for. The MMGs, at a killer price, provide what no small two-way box ever could and that is a concert hall tonal balance. To my ears a good dipole is more convincing tonally with a gorgeous lower midrange that capture the music's fundamentals just right. And as long as you have the domestic option of providing some breathing space behind the speakers - even three of four feet would be acceptable - the soundstage should flesh out with a wonderful depth perspective.

As a minimum, I would recommend a 50 wpc partnering amp. Do let me know how it all works out for you - if you do decide to go this route.

Best wishes... and enjoy the music,

Dick Olsher




I enjoyed your review of the Antique Sound Labs $99 monoblock amplifier. I have some questions about it. Are the amps SE or push pull, and are the valves operated in triode or some other mode? 

Steve Roper



The $99 Antique Sound Labs amplifiers I reviewed last year is the low-powered, but charming Wave 8. If you follow the link to publisher Steveís companion article, as recommended in my article, you will find he describes the work-pony amplifiers as "a push-pull design tube monoblocks, using ECL82 or 6BM8 tubes. The tubes contain double triode (driver) and a pentode power (output) devices, all in one glass envelope. This eliminates a stage, per se, for a claimed faster and more coherent sound, says Tash Goka of Antique Sound Labs in Canada, eh."

Yours in listening,



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