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I finally outgrew my kids, seem to have the WAF factor in control, and have all the audio gear I ever wanted and plenty of vinyl. I'm contacting you because of the article on room design. I have read a number of internet sites editorials on this and no one talks about what size I should have in relation to my system. This is my first real audio room from the ground up and waited 30 years to get to this stage. Can you give me a hand or direct me to where I can get good information. I have a 7.1 system and a stereo system Snell. I can supply you with all the other gear i have if you need. Thanks very much.

Dusty Akers



Wish I could give you some help, but there isn't a lot written about this. Normally, the larger the room that your equipment can support, the better. Also all walls should have measurements that are non-multiples of each other to smooth out standing waves. You should place some high and mid frequency sound absorbers at the first reflection points between your speakers and listening position using mirrors to determine these positions. There are several free programs to determine at least where to start on room dimensions and their standing waves from several of the companies that make room treatment products, and I believe Stereophile has one at their web site.

Your best bet is to get a designer who knows what he is doing to develop your room plan, who is a member, for instance of CEDIA. Be careful though. This is a relatively new field and even the experts come up with monstrosities such as Fisher Hall.





Hi Wayne,

I just read your review of the Meadowlark Blue Herons. It was very informative and nicely written. I am currently using Hotrod Kestrels and was thinking of upgrading. Since I really like the Kestrels I was thinking of staying with Meadowlark. Have you had a chance to listen to any other Meadowlark products lately? I have an opportunity to purchase Demo Blue Herons and was wondering how you think they stack up against the Blue Heron2, Osprey or new Nighthawk. I am particularly interested in your take of the gas piezo tweeter in the Blue Herons vs. the radiator ring tweeter in the Blue Heron 2 and the dome tweeters in the Nighthawk and Osprey. Also do you think that moving up in the product line will yield significant improvement over the Hotrods? (I really do like them). Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time



Hi Eric, 

I certainly understand your affection for the Kestrel Hot Rods. As for the other Meadowlark speakers you mention: I am currently auditioning the Ospreys for a forthcoming review. I have not yet laid eyes--or ears--on the recently announced Nighthawks. I have heard the Blue Heron 2s at CES 2003, where they sounded extremely impressive, and at the Primedia (
Stereophile) show last summer, where an insufficiently broken-in pair did not sound so great. 

My admiration for the Blue Heron's gas piezo tweeter is described extensively in my review of those loudspeakers. Generally speaking, I have found the high-frequency reproduction from all Meadowlark designs to be excellent, but I have no special comments to make on the other tweeters you mention. I also have found the overall performance of this company's products to be closely proportional to their selling prices. I feel quite secure in saying that any of the models you're considering will be distinctly better than your Kestrels. 

The little exposure I have to the Blue Heron 2 suggests that it is a most admirable loudspeaker, a challenger to many more expensive competitors and possibly the best that Meadowlark has produced so far--although I have not listened much to the @ $25,000/pair Nightingales, which I'm not sure are even in production these days. At $12,000/pair, however, they represent a mighty increase in price. If you can buy the demo Blue Herons -- $8,000/pair new -- at a good price, I hardly think you could go wrong. Be aware though that those highly resolving loudspeakers will be much more revealing of any shortcomings upstream in your system than the relatively forgiving Kestrels. 

Best wishes and good listening,






I enjoyed your thorough review of the JC-1 amps very much and it appears to be what I have been searching for. I have a pair of Duntech Princes speakers whose impedance is between 3-4ohms . I have been bi-amplifying with a pair of VTL 450 on the bottom and VTL 250 on the mid and treble in order to get enough power because these speakers need all the power they can get. My room is 10ft ceiling, 16ft wide and 23.5ft lg. I have never heard a solid state amp in the past that gave me the musical satisfaction that tubes do. Since I am a violinist timbral accuracy is very important to me and this is where I feel solid state has been deficient in the past.

How do you feel what I am now using for amplification would stack up against the JC-1.My guess is that if they beat the VTL 750s that you were using ,then they must be better than my combination. I know that you must be very busy ,but I would certainly appreciate your opinion on this.

Thanks very much,

Carter Asbill


Hello Carter, 

First, a slight correction. I didn't say the JC 1s beat my VTL 750 Reference monoblocks, although you could argue that they do on a price/performance basis. 

This is a pretty tough call. The VTLs are better suited to driving your Duntechs than most tube amplifiers, as they are designed to drive a five-ohm load--and in my experience do pretty well even with lower impedances. Replacing them with a single pair of JC 1s would be pretty close to a wash in terms of perceived power, as the JC 1s would pump out 800+ wpc into your low-impedance loudspeakers. And as good as the VTL 450s are, the JC 1s would be superior in controlling the Duntech woofers. 

As I stated in the review, the JC 1s -- when fully burned in -- are happily free of that dryness and edginess you describe having heard in solid-state amplifiers. But would you, a long-time tube fancier, respond as fully to the harmonic texture of the JC 1s as you do to the VTL sound? I expect the answer is possibly yes, because to my ear the recent-generation VTLs are tonally quite neutral. But I couldn't say that it's a sure thing. At the risk of getting tiresome, I urge you to make sure that the JC 1s you audition are well seasoned before you decide. 

Another possibility comes to mind. Are you currently bi-amplifying through an adjustable external crossover? If so, you might want to experiment with JC 1s on the bottom and VTLs on the top. or, if you really like the JC 1s, you could easily bi-amp even without the external crossover. (Now you know why some of my friends refer to me as The Evil Tempter.)

All of the amplifiers in question are absolutely first-rate, and it's hard for me to imagine you being unhappy with any of the possibilities. But in high-level audio, both God and the Devil are in the nuances. Good hunting, and I would love to know your final choice. 

Best wishes,






Greetings Mr. Gaw, I recently read your review on the Denon 2900, however I plan to get the 5900 with mods. Based on your review it would seem that an external DAC would be needed for CD playback in order to bring it up par with SACD/DVD-A. Thanks for your time.


Patrick Nicolas



While the CD playback is very good for the machine's price, it does not come up to the very best D/A converters. On the other hand, the 2900 is a very good transport. I have not received the 5900 yet, but I have been promised one of the first modded samples, and will report on it after my evaluation.






I enjoy your magazine very much, and find your reviews both informative and fun to read.

In recent years, for family reasons, I have wanted to simplify my set-up. It's not very fancy to begin with, but I do love my Sonus Faber Concerto speakers, especially for the kind of music I listen to (female jazz vocalists, small-scale jazz groups, chamber music), and would like to hang on to them. So, I have been considering things like a decent integrated amp, followed later by a better CD (or, at least, better DAC).

Then, I read your stirring review of the Linn Classik. It seems to have many of the sonic attributes I like, combined with amazing convenience (not to mention "most likely to please my wife" looks and size!). I was struck by your comment that they could drive the KEF 104's so well.

So, if you don't mind, I would like to ask a question: Do you think that a LinnClassik could drive the Sonus Faber Concertos properly, perhaps not extracting the maximum they are capable of, but at least getting a lot of their inherent quality to sing?

If you think it is possible, perhaps using a particular speaker cable, do you have a suggestion or two in this regard that won't break the bank? (Sorry, that's a second question.)

I don't know whether reviewers ever answer questions from the "anonymous multitudes" out there but, if you do, I would be very grateful for a few words of advice.

Thank you

Gary S.



Yes, i feel the Classik is am amazing all-in-one solution and nothing i have heard to date comes close. As for cables, it depends on your preferences. Cardas is very harmonically rich, then again so are the SF loudspeakers. Could be a great match... or too rosy. The Nirvana Cable is very clean and precise, or you have the better, all silver Kimber that is a blend of wonderful harmonics (not as rich as Cardas) and clarity. Naturally the list of cables is nearly endless, so these are but a few of the MANY choices. Hope this helps.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin




Hi Steve,

First I would like to thank you for offering a wickedly fantastic service to us wickedly fanatic audiophiles. I took the offer of having your main page as my homepage and I haven't stopped reading. I must tell you that I'm very impressed in your professionalism and sense of humor. I look forward to spending hours reading and bringing to fruitition the many tweaks and ideas your site provides.

Thanks Steve!!!

Michael and Christine Royer





Just read your review of passive preamps. I certainly concur with your thoughts about the PSS. I have a model 1000 in a dual mono configuration. After ten years, it's still hard to part with it. I've listened to some very fine active preamps yet I can't find the justification to spend the $1,500 or more difference. The biggest difference in my system (aside from using a CIA modified MSB Dac was using a set of Auricaps capacitors on my Triode Electronics [Uncle Ned's] boards for the Dynaco Mark 3.

BTW: Great Website!!

Phil Kawior





Read of your reference system. Does your shop sell Von Schwiekert VR2 and B&W 703? If so, could you suggest one of these (or any other choice between $2-3000) to replace my old JSE Infinite Slope Mod.1's. I like full scale classical in STEREO only. Located far from audition facilities, I need to rely upon experts. Due to my age and finances, this will likely be my final speaker purchase. Thank you much.

Ted Palmer


Hi Ted,

Your letter evoked many fond memories of your beautiful city, which I visited frequently during my years in Gainesville, where I earned my B.A and M.A. degrees at U of F before moving to the frozen north and Northwestern University for doctoral work. 

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I am an audio dealer, but I'm not. My association with the audio industry is strictly as a music lover, audiophile and reviewer--in that order. 

I have not heard the recent generation of B & W loudspeakers, so I cannot help you there. I am at this time preparing a review of the Von Schweikert VR2 for our December issue. Without giving away the story in advance, I think I can safely say that those loudspeakers are very well suited to your listening preferences. They are also quite easy to drive, and if by chance you have a tube amplifier, their impedance range is extremely tube-friendly, more so than the. B & W loudspeakers than I am familiar with. The VR2s will definitely, I think, help you enjoy the music. 

Best wishes,

Wayne Donnelly




Dear Mr. Flood,

I so enjoyed your review on the Axiom M3ti speakers. I own the B&K AVR307, TWO 12" SVS CS+ subs (run by 700w amp), Boston Acoustics VR10 center (VR tweeter), BA CR8s as mains and CR4s for surrounds. I HAD CR9s for mains, but I blew one of them. I am 59% movies, 41% music. I want to (at least) move the CR8s to the back, and buy something new for the mains. Being in the 16Hz range with the subs in my room (tiny 12x14, but not forever), I want a pair of speakers with GREAT highs and GREAT mids. I also enjoy 4/5 channel stereo at times and really can't do it right now. 
Please advise me on some of my best options with my 150Wx7 B&K ASAP. I do want dynamic, I do want loud, and I could tolerate speakers that are "a little" bright, opposed to the other end of the spectrum. I heard and loved the B&W Natilus 805's last month, but money is an issue, and I can always "get by" keeping my fingers crossed on a used pair of CR8s/9s on eBay for under $200. Much thanks in advance for your time.

My very best,




The conventional wisdom would say to match your mains with the rest of your home movie and music reproduction system. In which case, the BA CR9s have a little bit better low frequency response and weight than the CR8s. At a rating of 91dBw/m, the CR9s are much higher sensitivity than many audiophile offerings, but greater dynamism will come with higher levels of efficiency.

Yet, this does not seem to be your problem. It seems to me that you want a much higher quality sound that what the BA loudspeaker system gives you. I would try the CR9s and if that does not do it for you, then I swap the whole BA set for something that does. Remember, as expensive as used loudspeakers can be, if you purchase them used, you may be able to re-sell them for what you paid for them.

Yours in listening,






On your article on the axiom audio mt80ti speakers...i have a pair of b&w cdm-7nt speakers, mit terminator 3-b bi-wires to an NAD m-3400 power envelope (125watts @ 8ohms). i was considering a pair of the m80ti's and selling the B&W's.... What are your thoughts?




I had to do some brief specification research, since I am familiar with the B&W and NAD cousins, NOT those particular models directly. Judging from the B&W 800 series, in my opinion, the B&W loudspeakers often have difficult impedance curves, which are best driven by monster solid-state amplifiers, such as the commonly recommended Krell and the superb Pass Laboratories Supersymmetry™ Balanced Single-Ended Class-A X250 Stereo amplifiers. While the NAD equipment is well-known for its economical values, the integrated 3400 unit is rated at 100 watts per channel for continuous test tones, while claiming the old IHF ratings of 370 watts per channel for peak power. If you like the sound of the B&Ws, instead of moving to a lesser price loudspeaker, I would consider bridging a pair of NADs or adding a powerful sub-woofer (or two). Yours in listening, 




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