Enjoy the Music.com

Letters To Us

 

December 2006

Hi,

Do you still supply the cartridge alignment template for turntables? There was no address shown in the website.

Thanks,

Neal Petty

 

Neal,

Thanks for your e-mail. You can print a PDF and have one today for free. See this link where you can also get a pre-printed version as well. See the web like for details :)

Happy Holidays and as always... 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

December 2006

Mr. Gaw,

I've been having a lot of buggy little problems with my home entertainment system, and I've convinced myself that the ideal solution is a power supply / line conditioner. There are several products available from Monster, but a reviewer on Amazon's web site says that these aren't a good value for the money because they don't actually function as "line conditioners," instead only serving to filter noise and protect against surges. The reviewer went on to say that he bought something of similar cost, made by Tripp Lite, but I can't seem to find any Tripp Lite products that appear to have been designed for home entertainment and not for personal computing applications.

I also found a product made by Belkin that describes itself as a "line purifier" which sounded to me like a way of misleading people into thinking it was a line conditioner, without actually being one. May I ask you: how important is it that a person's power supply / noise filter / surge suppressor can also perform as a line conditioner? Can you recommend a product in the $100-$150 price range that will perform those functions that would make the purchase worthwhile?

Thank you for your time,

David O'Gorman

 

David,

Unhappily, there is nothing in that price range that will do you any good. Happily for a few dollars more you can get the product that my December column extols as my product of the year. That's the APC H 15 unit that should fit you bill. While it lists for $399, it can probably be picked up for considerably less. Unhappily, you'll have to wait for Dec. 1 to read about it unless my editor Steve is willing to forward you a copy of the article.

Good luck,

Bill

 

December 2006

Steve,

Great articles about Death of Digital Hard Formats. As a recent convert to digital (I never listen to CD disks anymore - always RIP’em (sound better anyway)) I am perplexed by the path forward. I love the hi-rez surround music appearing on the market. But I can’t find a digital download of the multi-channel version. It seems to be all 2 channel only (am I missing something)?

Media players/computers usually have a digital-out but external DAC’s are limited to 2-channel out. Only disk players have multi-channel analog out. So how does one enjoy hi-rez multi-channel music that is purchased via download?

Will any of the new formats HD-DVD or Blu-ray deliver the goods? I see that the Blu-ray spec supports 192/24 PCM across more than 2 channels. I think that would sound just fine. Will anyone make this format available for download?

Mark

 

Mark,

Excellent questions! It appears I am ahead of the curve to some degree as outboard computer high-end DACs are not surround sound (more than 2 channels) that I am aware of. The current specification of USB interface may be the limiting factor. Most audiophiles are more concerned with 2 channel so I feel let us first get the recording labels to offer better than CD resolution stereo recordings, then we can work our way up to multi-channel as the technology catches up.

As for the new HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats, have heard early reports from one of our writers that HD DVD sounds stunning. Our current technology would easily allow for downloading current high resolution content and then burning it to a hard disc format, but I am trying to make a point that we do not *need* hard formats. Perhaps I am a touch ahead of my time, though NOW is the time we had better be asking about such possibilities or we may just be left behind and suffer with 256kbs mainstream digital downloads for many years to come.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

December 2006

Steven,

I am fascinated by your words on the abandonment of hard media for downloading. Of course this is the future of music distribution; why would any sensible company wish to bear the overhead of manufacturing and distribution when they are no longer necessary to stay in business?

Where I don't agree with you is in regard to your anticipation that consumers will ever get higher resolution downloads than Redbook standard (at least within the foreseeable future). The reason is simple. The record companies now hate the fact that they went for even 16/44.1 way back in the early 1980s. They partly blame all of the illegal copying of their intellectual property on the fact that they have inadvertently given the public access to the masters. You and I know that this isn't the case but you and I aren't record industry lawyers with only a tenuous grasp of things technical. The future they see is one where copying is limited both by digital rights management and by comparative low resolution. Believe me, I worked in the industry for decades and the "access to masters" is a direct quotation from a very senior industry person.

There is also your (correct) point about CDs already effectively being a lossy storage medium. But this does not mean that "lossless" on-line offerings such as those from Music Giant are not also, by the very same token, "lossy". They don't load their servers from original masters or copy masters. They use CDs. So here "lossless" means 16/44.1 equivalent and not 24/96 or whatever the actual master is.

So the future will be "soft" but whether ever to a standard satisfactory for audiophiles is very doubtful. My advice is to buy as many CDs as you can while you have the chance.

Name Withheld As S/He Is Within The Music Industry And Asked To Not Be Directly Identified

 

Hi,

You make some great points and i agree we are still a bit off from the mainstream availability of very high resolution digital downloads. If virtually no one is asking for them and willing to buy them at a good level, then of course the bean counters will see no reason to offer them. As you know, the advantage for the recording labels is that overhead is drastically reduced when offering digital downloads so we audiophiles have some advantage there.

Also agree that even the likes of MusicGiants are selling lossy 'CD quality' music. So we are still stuck with compromise until the day comes that true higher quality downloads are available. My hopes are that we can all band together and ASK for better than what is available today. The future is, in some way, in our hands.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

December 2006

Hi Bill,

I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your article about visiting the Boston Symphony Hall.  I bought tickets for my boyfriend to see the Holiday Boston Pops, and -- well -- the seats are as close as you can get to the front.  I was worried that the sound would be bad and not as amazing as if I had fond seats further back.  But after reading your article, I'm encouraged that any seat will give a new experience, and I'm excited to see the Pops up close and personal!  (Oh, and I'll definitely notice if their shoes are polished or not).  :) 

Thanks for the great review!

Nicole

 

Thank you Nicole. Every seat in Symphony Hall is a good seat, just some are great. I prefer way up front as I played in orchestras as a teenager, and that has worked out well in high end audio as most orchestral recordings are mic'ed from a close position. Onb the other hand I have a high end audio friend with golden ears who prefers the second balcony, rear. So its all a matter of taste. Enjoy the concerts. Hopefully there won't be too much glass tinkling during the concert like at the Spring Pops concerts.

Bill

 

December 2006

Dear Scott,

Me and a friend bought the Mhdt Laboratory Constantine DAC based on your review and Enjoy the Music.com®'s Best of 2006 recommendation. We received the DAC couple days ago and liked what we heard connecting to our Squeezebox with a DIY linear PS. We thanked you for the in-depth and useful review. However, we noticed you listed the DAC weight as "approx. 25 pounds each". We wonder how did you arrive at that figure, when we picked up ours we thought 'did Scott mean 25 pounds for a pack of ten or something?'

As nice as it is, it can be no more than 3-4 pounds each. Care to 
comment?

Raymond

 

Hi Raymond,

What, yours doesn't weigh 25 pounds? Jeez, mine feels like it has lead weights in it. You must have gotten ripped off to the max! I'd try to get your money back if you can cuz it sure isn't like the one I recieved for review.

Seriously, it looks like I forgot a decimal point :-) The weight should be 2.5 pounds. That seems a bit more reasonable. Hope you guys enjoy the MHDT DACs as much as I do. They definitely get better with some hours on them.

Nice catch.
Regards
Scott Faller

 

December 2006

Hi Mr. Rabin,

I have just read your review of the Role Audio Enterprise speakers. I took delivery of my pair early last year from the UK Distributor, Eminent Audio (Glenn Croft etc), and I have to say that even your glowing, sometimes colourful, review does not do them full justice!

In my system they are hooked up, via Van Damme cables, to a Croft Twinstar IV pa and Croft CharismaX pre Valve Hybdrids (two more unbelievable units that defy their price tags). Although the power amp is conservatively rated at 60wpc (Croft Watts as they like to call them) they rock - sounds more like 600! I spoke to the CEO of Role who called the Croft/Role combo as a marriage made in heaven - dead right. I have ditched my sub because they move the room on their own. Killer bass - and clean with it.

Genius design.

I have owned many speakers in my time (including Apogee Divas!!) and can honestly say I have never been happier - and the bread knife (cockney slang) likes them too. They also put paid to the old adage that when it comes to making good 2-channel music, British is best!

Bliss...

Chris Ramsay

 

Hi Chris,

Well, Chis, I take offence at the suggestion that my writing is 'sometimes colourful.' Only sometimes? Kidding aside, while it's no secret that I liked the Role speaker in the review of November 1st, I am sorry that I did not do them justice in my 'sometimes colourful' review.

That said, I believe, you and I can agree on a few things:

1. There's watts and there's watts and whatever I threw at the Roles they lapped up like purring kittens.

2. I liked the speakers too. Indeed, I found them to be the dog's bollocks.

3. And with their 'killer bass,' a subwoofer (save for the 'Charlie don't 
surf' set) is pretty much superfluous. Though that said, the NSM sub I used and hardly devoted a word to in the review is a very fine unit indeed.

4. Our bread knives have at least one thing in common.

Jeff (who used to live in Limehouse) 

 

December 2006

Hello Steve,

After reading about various room treatments, but without several hundred to a thousand dollars or more to spend I began thinking of alternatives. Also to consider is WAF with large, expensive and obvious acoustic treatments that are eye sores. I determined there may still be a way to calm those room acoustics and improve my sound. Many manufactures discuss corner treatment near the ceiling and how that corrects a lot of ills.

So next I went to my local hardware store and for the low cost of acoustic ceiling panels for a drop ceiling (about $2 each), maybe I could do my own treatment. Wow, this could be an audiophile dream come true, have a less visually obvious room treatment, with good WAF and low cost. I cut the 24"x24"x1/2" acoustic panels in half. These are readily available through Home Depot. Mounted two vertically, one on each wall, butting each other in the upper room corners where the walls meet the ceiling on the front wall behind the speakers.

I then mounted one each on the back wall, up in the corners facing forward toward the speakers. Some rooms may only need four panels one up in each corner facing toward the listening position on the front and back walls or two in each corner if more treatment is required. The nice thing is you can experiment and it only costs another $2 to know if you need more. I needed the extra panels on the front corners on each side wall.

The improvement is interesting. Nearly an order of magnitude better, a solid improvement as if going up to the next level in amp. I didn't know what to expect but the increase in transparency, air, improved sound stage reproduction and a deeper more solid bass was realized, as if veils have been lifted. Or as us audiophiles are always searching for... better highs and a tighter bottom. For an improved interior decor they can be painter to match the walls or wrapped in cloth. See photo for positioning. As a reference, that's the top of my Maggie 1.6 QR you're looking past to see the left front corner treatment in my listening room. I hope this helps those like me that don't want or can't have those large, expensive and visually obtrusive room treatments.

Happy listening,

Greg Ganoff

 

December 2006

I've read a few of your recent reviews and found them to be entertaining, even-handed and pretty down-to-earth, keeping the gear in real world context.

Thanks.

Peter Frumkin

 

December 2006

Hi Steve,

I'm new to the world of turntables and would love your advice.
My current system includes a refurbished much more powerful HH Scott 222c tube amplifier (the guys at Mapleshade refurbished my dad's old system. To go along with this are Dali Ikon 1 speakers.

I was told by a friend to look at Linn turntables: the Valhalla model was mentioned. Love the look of these older wooden tables. Mapleshade told me to look at the Pro-ject RM 9.1. They mentioned how the non-suspended table could be much more amazing sound when mounted correctly. Then I came across, while surfing, the Clearaudio Ambient, which I have no idea what the price of this is selling for. Love the look but it looks like it would cost the amount of a Bentley and have no idea if this is even a good table.

To be perfectly honest I'm an aestheticist and the Pro-ject just didn't have any warmth to it (very space age) and didn't look like it could hang with my tube amp and Dali speakers which definitely look like they were styled to fit my amp. Although now that I'm thinking about it I'm wondering what it would look like mounted on a beautiful piece of Maple. One other thing is that I had no idea $1500 was almost hitting low end for a good turntable. And frankly this is probably what I'm looking to max pay for just the table part (give or take a couple hundred).

I know this is like asking a car specialist to pick a car for me but can you suggest any models I definitely should look at and if any of the ones I've mentioned above are overrated? And if you're really feeling like helping the audio cripple it would be grateful if you could either tell me why or point me to some of your past reviews.

Thanks for the help.

Tim

 

Tim,

The Clearaudio Ambient with CF tonearm is $4500. Given your $1500 price range, i would be looking into a used Linn LP12. Personally, i prefer suspended turntables. In life we each have preferences. Hope this helps.

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

December 2006

Steve,

Hi I enjoyed your review of the Magnepan 3.6R. I own the MMG's and am dying to jump to a higher level. I've listened to the 3.6's in an audio store and was blown away. The bass that is lacking in the MMG is more than made up for in the 3.6's.

I originally bought the MMG's b/c of your site's Y2k system under 2K review which recommended the MMG's paired with a rotel 971. I bought both of those in 2002 and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Am now thinking of getting the 3.6's and wondered what you thought about my amp selection: Rotel RC1070 preamp and Rotel RB 1080 amp. I've enjoyed Rotel so much that I thought I would continue with it.

Unfortunately, I haven't found much comments on the web regarding amp recommendations for these speakers, they simply say how much power is recommended....

Thanks so much,

Malav

 

Malav,

The 3.6R are great speakers. They do enjoy some power to drive them so the 200 WPC of the Rotel should do nicely. They love current and the Rotel has that. Definitely go for it and if you find you, for some reason, need more umph you could bi-amp with another Rotel :)

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

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