Your space to participate, comment & critique. Email [email protected].

For published correspondence April 2014 - December 2013, click here - December 2013 - September 2013, click here; September 2013 to April 2013, click here; April 2013 - August 2012, click here; August 2012 to September 2011, click here. April 2011 to September 2011, click here; December 2010 - April 2011 click here; June to December 2010, here; February to June 2010, here; September 2009 to February 2010 here; June to September 2009 here; January to June 2009 here; May 2008 to January 2009 here; December 2007 to May 2008 here; July to December 2007 here; February to July 2007 here; November 2006 to February 2007 here; June to November 2006 here; April to June 2006 here; February to April 2006 here; December 2005 to February 2006 here; September to December 2005 here; July to- September 2005 here; April to July 2005 here; February to April 2005 here; December 2004 to February 2005 here; September to December 2004 here; August to September 2004 here; July to August 2004 here; February to July 2004 here; June 2003 to February 2004 here; June 2002 to June 2003 here.

By repeat inquiry, here is the owner's manual of the Garrard 301 vintage turntable [856KB PDF] whose rebuild Jeff Day described in his series of articles.

Greetings Srajan.
I was the guy in CH who wrote last year in June about my good luck in getting Job/Goldmund in GE to agree to let me purchase the 225 (when it was still sold on Amazon). They had to send it all of 125km! In your response at the time you suggested I let you know in due course about my experiences with the amp. Well, nearly a year down the line, here I am … and today the Job’s status/prestige (as well as marketing policy) are a ‘whole nutha thang’. The amp has not been out of my system since I purchased it in June ’13 … which means that a pair of Prima Luna monos as well as a pair of Parasound monos are idly rusting away in their respective corners. Nothing in my aural memory inclines me to put either of these back into play. Together with my ancillary equipment, the sound I have at home is simply wonderful. Nevertheless, I am thinking of pairing the Job with a passive preamp to get any redundant gain from the JC2 active out of the signal path and in that way perhaps experience a degree or more of purity, transparence and drive. A while ago you reviewed two preamps which appear interesting – the Tortuga Audio LDR and the Polish Khozmo (though I did note the exchange (sic) between you and the manufacturer). Simply put – would you have a preference in regard to these two? Would you suggest another passive? Job informs us on their site that a passive is in the offing … but no dates, etc. are provided. I would be grateful for any opinion. Many thanks in advance … and I continue to ‘leaf’ through your site as a much appreciated occasional respite from academic chores.
With every good wish,
E.M. Swiderski

My favorite passive is the Bent Audio Tap-X autoformer passive with full remote control over volume, balance and input switching. But at $2'000 or thereabouts it's probably costlier than you had in mind. I've not heard the Tortuga. That was another contributor on staff. But it's certainly got a very solid following and Glen loved it so that would probably my pick and a financially attractive mate to the Job.
Greetings Srajan,   
I've been a long-time lurker on your website and bought a number of pieces of kit based on your reviews and been quite chuffed by the results, thank you (I've got a Onix SP3 on its back right now replacing a 30-ohm power tube resistor as we speak - tube shorted and let the magic blue smoke out of the resistor - a bit of a mess). Below is an exchange I have had with Audioquest regarding their silly-priced Ethernet cables (and after a little looking, Chord is even sillier with an Ethernet cable at 2'000 GPB).

A bit on my background. I build big TCP/IP networks. Think some of your favorite search sites server farms, an Internet backbone that at one time carried 30% of the public internet was my design as well. I also have been involved in the standards and protocol design of the Internet and TCP/IP for well on 20+ years (chairing working groups in the IETF, ITU, etc.). I've been actively involved in some of the protocols that are actually used in transporting audio when streaming. With that background I can safely say that there can be no way an Ethernet cable can effect TCP/IP audio stream. There is no such thing as "soft" packet corruption - either a packet is bit-perfect and therefore handed to the application to process, or it's not and it's dropped. Cables don't effect that. The only way a cable could is if it is miswired, which would lead to massive link failure at speed. 

There is an insane amount of IT-grade (read cost-optimized engineering) on either side of that cable as well. Stuff that may not even meet FCC class B certification requirements. Even if it is a top-end custom streamer, it's still got a Broadcom, Intel or similar chip providing the MAC layer function, and a crappy little transformer terminating the network. Any goodness that the cable is providing (which is useless anyway) just went out the window. The number of impossibilities in the marketing materials are also annoying:

1) Shielding doesn't make a bit of difference in an Ethernet cable. There is nothing to tie the shield to. Unless you are running shielded network jacks (very very uncommon - usually found in hi-EMI factory floor applications for example), there is no termination for a cable shield on either end of the cable. That's why Ethernet cables are twisted pairs. That's how they reject noise.
2) Directionality? TCP/IP is inherently a bi-directional thing. If we are really worried about jitter, then jitter in the back channel is just as damaging as jitter in the forward path (the window won't open until the ACKs make it back).
I get cables - but we need to call BS on what is obviously BS, else the whole industry gets painted with the snake-oil brush, again.
Christopher Liljenstolpe

I have been an audioquest customer in the past as I do believe there is a difference in analogue cable performance. I could even, possibly, agree that SPDIF may benefit as there isn't really a datagram disassembly/reassembly on the ends of a SPDIF link.  But, guys, come on, Ethernet?
1) Jitter is not corruption, it's variability in inter-packet arrival time.
a) Jitter on a cable is infinitesimal on a cable, compared to the processing elements on either end.  We're talking sub micro-second. I know, this is my industry.
b) The full spectrum of the audio signal is encoded in the same packet - there is no "smearing" or other jitter effects between high and low frequency signal - it's all in the same packet.
2) It's Ethernet - if the packet is malformed, it get's retransmitted. That's a huge hit. If cables caused even a 1x10^10 packet errors, everyone would be screaming. $0.85 cat6 patch cables from monoprice have a BER substantially lower than that - it's just not an issue. If it were, IT wouldn't work. A single bit error causes the re-transmission. That's a logged error, not something quietly dropped.
This is unmitigated snake oil and simply a bald-faced attempt to separate a fool from his money. The pasting you are getting on tech mailing lists (like CAGeeks - of which many subscribers are audiophiles) is hilarious. We all agree that you have completely lost your mind and, frankly can't be taken seriously again. Good on you if you can get a muppet to buy this cable. Unfortunately, I (and many others who have seen this product), will never darken the threshold of your door again. You may get something from the idiots, but I will never give you another cent of my money - the gall of this is just too much.
Good day to you sir,

Hello Christopher ―
Thanks for the email. Would you be interested in a demonstration? If there’s an AudioQuest dealer close to where you live we’d be happy to set up an appointment so that you can hear our Ethernet cables for yourself. Let us know if we can offer the proof in the pudding.

Ahh no, waste of my time. If you actually understood TCP/IP networking, you would know that there is absolutely no way this has any effect. Even if it did have some effect on the wire, the packet disassembly, reassembly etc. that happens on either end would render it completely useless. It's a packet network. Those packets are either bit-perfect or they are not. The jitter in the wire (there is usually none, even on segments 100s of KMs long) is completely overwhelmed by the jitter and head-of-line blocking in the MAC layer on the NICs on either end. $0.89 Monoprice ethernet cables are used in High Frequency trading where jitter of even 1ms. is worth $Ms. If the packets are bit-perfect, they are accepted, if not they are dropped and it is almost never a "soft" cable failure. The cable is wired correctly or it's not, usually it's a cable break, switch or NIC failure or some other issue. It's a hard fail, not a soft degradation.

On top of that you are going to plug that cable into a $80 Gigabit or 10/100 switch (or even a $5000 one). Guess what, they all use the same chips - Broadcom. And I can guarantee you that there is no "biasing" or "directionality" going on inside that switch. In short, there is no way for it to have an effect. I buy into the cable quality for analogue and maybe unbuffered bitstream (SPDIF and the like).  This is packet networking. It's a different kettle of fish.
Good luck in your fleecing.

Hello Christopher,
thanks for your email. I'm always interested when experts in their field talk hard facts. My issue with all of it is very basic. When trusted reviewers with whom I've worked for years to have bidirectional listening confirmations send me a review which describes audible effects for products that either shouldn't work, period; or not how they're described by their maker... I'm publishing the review.

In many ways computer audio is still in its infancy. Software players whose main job seems to be memory management sound different even though experts insist they can't. But their benefits (or simply sonic differences) often seem to vary with OS and other factors which don't seem to be fully understood yet. There was a time not so long ago when S/PDIF cables were simply mono analog wires. Today nearly everyone with ears and a decent system agrees that purpose-designed hi-speed S/PDIF cables are, as you put it, "a different kettle of fish". And prior to that we had a time when it was heretical or foolish to suggest analog cable could sound different. Today USB cables find themselves in this transitional phase.

Is there a chance that looking into the future by 3-5 years, we'll have a different understanding of networked audio streaming than today? And if so, will some of it have come about because some foolish audiophiles kept insisting that things made a difference which the establishment insisted couldn't possibly be? When it comes to hifi apps involving Ethernet, my personal experience/exposure level is still nil. I use bog-standard wires between my router and music computer to purchase music or stream it. I've not felt compelled at all to change anything about it since I suffer no drop-outs or other observable weirdness. But that doesn't prevent me from publishing reviews about the subject by folks who are experimenting with it. Granted, it's a fine line between an open mind, being taken for a dunce and spreading outright mythinformations. This obviously also applies to deciding what to write about and what to publish. And it's pretty much a given that this line gets crossed. It's part of the endless learning curve. But as long as the dialogue remains open and dissenting opinions are published and aired like yours in this case, I don't see any real harm done -:)
Dear Webmaster,
I am a passionate music lover and am looking for reviews of some hifi audio equipment - speakers and amplifiers. But I fail to find anything that I am looking for on your website. How does one look for reviews of speakers and amplifiers? Why is 6moons so poorly designed? Could you please improve the layout of 6moons website and make it user friendly? Thanks,
Anurag Moghe

I’m not sure what issues you have. We’ve had this design for more than 12 years and nobody else has your problem. For audioreviews, click on the audioreviews icon on the showcase page (which is the page you automatically get to from the opening screen), then scroll to ‘current’ reviews and click on the icon of any component you want to read up on. Unless there’s something weird with how your web server behaves (try FireFox for Windows or Safari for Mac), it’s so easy that 10s of 1000s of regular readers find what they’re looking for every day…

The bigger issue is that there just too many ads so it makes it impossible to go through a review without the ads coming in your way. Could you show the ads away from a review on the sides?  If you still don't see my point then I'll send you a few screen grabs of your website so that you'll exactly know what I mean. One last question. Do hifi manufacturers pay your reviewers for the reviews or are the reviews done completely independently and in an unbiased manner?  Thanks for your response.
Anurag Moghe

The ads are no different from any print magazine – interspersed with content. That’s the going business model. And I know exactly how my website looks on all the going servers since I’ve designed it and do all the HTML processing. No need for screen captures. You’d of course like free content without any ads. Only trust-fund babies can afford to work for free. I can’t. I doubt you could. So ads are what affords you the ability to read our content without paying a dime for it. And the ads are deliberately placed where you can’t overlook them or otherwise they’d not serve their purpose. All of this is so basic, I’m surprised I have to explain it. Ads you can ‘tune out’ are worthless.

Manufacturers never pay for reviews.

It really comes down to this: You can read us the way we are; or not at all. But I won’t be making any changes along the lines you’d seem to prefer. Again, we’ve been online for 12 years. The site works just fine the way it is. If it didn’t, I’d most certainly be making changes since, again, this is my livelihood. But if you dislike it, there are certainly plenty of other sites you might prefer. You’ll simply have a very hard time finding more than one or two without advertising.

I thought I'd send you a short e-mail seeking your help. I am looking for speakers for pure music listening for my room of size 19 feet x 13 feet. I hear from people that speakers made by Harbeth, Spendor, ProAc, Neat, PMC are good. So I thought I'll seek your recommendation of the make and model? What type, stand-mounted or floor-stander would you suggest?  Besides this I will appreciate if you could give me an idea about the price point at which a speaker's value to price ratio is optimized. FYI I like listening to jazz, classical, reggae, flamenco, world music, and film music. The reason why I am seeking your help is because (a) I assume that you're a music lover (b) you have been in the hifi audio field for a long time and have noted general character of speaker makers. As you know that some of the speakers (and amplifiers) are just insanely expensive and don't make much sense from a value to price perspective. Thanks a lot for your help.
Best wishes,
Anurag Moghe

Speakers are the most imperfect distortion-prone part of any hifi chain and their interaction with a domestic space is quite unpredictable. In short, it's the perhaps most individual personalized choice to make. It's thus important to expose yourself to a number of designs to get a feel for what you like and learn a bit on the subject. There are so many different types and technologies, it's impossible to come up with anything specific which also is a function of what's available in your market when you're starting out with no clue whatsoever. First you'll have to come up with a comfortable budget. Then listen to a number of speakers in your price range by visiting local dealers (hopefully you'll have a few) preferably bringing some of your own music. Be sure to not play louder than you would at home; and to have the speakers no farther out from the wall than you could accommodate. Preferably the audition room itself mirrors the general size of yours as well.

It'll probably come down to deciding between a stand-mount 2-way and 3-way floorstander. Most people buy too much speaker for their room - what I call the Humvee for grocery shopping syndrome. For $3'000 for example you could get something like a Gallo Strada 2 with TR-3D subwoofer. That's a high-value proposition and one I own and use myself. But again, you first need to educate yourself a bit by exposure so whoever you ask for advice has some data points to go by. So go on a small audition adventure even if it means taking a day or two off and traveling a bit. People shopping for cars test-drive them or even rent them for a day to know what's what. The same holds for hifi, particularly speakers. The brands you list are all British so presumably that's where you live. One of the very best setup men I know there is Kevin Scott of Living Voice and Definitive Audio. He approaches hifi from a systemic view and has a lovely showroom for demonstrations. Perhaps make an appointment and be taken on a fabulous ride by a true expert in his field. That could save a lot of time and dead ends.
just read the two new power cord reviews by Marja & Henk over the weekend. Very interesting. So was the LessLoss response. They rather dumped on their Polish competitor and argued that by having zero effect on noise in the RF range, their design sounds better. Comparing the comments of your writers, it's far from clear to me that they actually preferred the LessLoss cord. "No shivers" didn't read like it was any improvement. And comparing $1.50 cords on their amps to two $1'850 each LessLoss was merely subtle? Not very impressive. Plus, for all their expense the LessLoss cords had no shielded plugs? Wow. I'm wondering whether Mr. Motek's reply wasn't just a very slick spin job which you bought into by publishing.
Ron Davis

I remember a saying about giving, a man and some rope. Allowing makers space for a response is a time-honoured tradition. Whether and how they wish to exploit that is up to them. I would certainly agree that talking badly about a competitor is nearly always a questionable tactic. Again, no rope, no spectacle.
Dear Srajan,
I loved your Pono feature and couldn't agree more. To me 16/44 or better streaming is the real future. Which brings me to two parallel articles related to the subject. Chris Sommovigo just wrote one called 'The great digital swindle' where he argues strongly against digital files. And your former contributor Michael Lavorgna just stated that he dislikes most streaming services because "they're restrictive and narrow in the music they present to me according to their notion of my taste". I must admit that their arguments quite passed me by. Did you read their editorials? What did you think? Did I overlook something?
Jeffrey Taylor

I just took a look to share your reaction. I couldn't relate to Sommovigo at all. I love the digital files I bought. They're on various hard drives in my home. They get copied to iPods and my Astell&Kern. They travel to the exercise bike, to my wife's studio, to our car for on-the-road fun and to friends when we visit. I can purchase them from the comfort of my home. I can sample them before I buy and access a far greater variety than any music store selling discs could ever carry. Buying from places like BandCamp means the money goes directly to the artists. What's not to like?

I also don't share Michael's sentiments on streaming. Be it Spotify Premium at 320kbps or Qobuz Hifi at full FLAC resolution, I pick what I want to listen to. It's literally no different than reaching for a CD. But there's a huge difference in the depth of choices. And cross-link features where in a streamed compilation album one can directly access all the artists makes discovery of new music child's play. Ditto for 'similar artists' links and such. So I'd have to agree with you, Jeffrey. I couldn't relate to their arguments either. Which probably means I can't see beyond my own blind spots.