Your space to participate, comment & critique

For published correspondence April thru July 2005, click here.
For published correspondence February thru April 2005, click here.
For published correspondence December 2004 thru February 2005, click here.
For published correspondence September 2004 thru December 2004, click here.
For published correspondence August 2004 thru September 2004, click here.
For published correspondence July 2004 thru August 2004, click here.
For published correspondence February 2004 thru July 2004, click here.
For published correspondence June 2003 thru February 2004, click here.
For published correspondence June 2002 thru June 2003, click here.

Srajan,

You do an excellent, excellent job of asking questions that the reader themselves would often have.

Reviewers have pointed out that there is physically nothing about the Lamm amps that justifies spending the $29,000 for them. I agree the creator deserves to be rewarded and perhaps Lamm wishes to make small runs at a higher price for convenience at the same profit as dealing with producing units in quantity at a lower price.

However, some people may not wish to make the financial sacrifice to satisfy the desires of the producer.

BK Butler deserves to profit and profit well from his creation, and perhaps he did make expensive upgrades as he went along, however the jump is considerable [from $9,995 as announced a few shows ago to now $18K for the Monad amps] and I think many readers who would like to make the financial sacrifice here, would be much more comfortable to know how this considerable increase in price occurred.

You are in a position to examine why and how this occurred, and it would be greatly appreciated, I believe, by many of your readers who have an interest in this equipment.

Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts,

All the best,
Jeffrey Rose
Hi!

I've been thinking of writing you for a while, since it's obvious we share the same taste in stereo. Long before I was aware of 6moon,s I got myself Avantgarde Unos and a pair of Supratek Merlots. At the moment I use them with a Django TVC preamp and a Opera Consonance Ref 2,2 CD-player. But since I started reading 6moons, I've bought an Almarro A205A, a Unison Research Unico, a GainClone, a Lenco L75 (after researching the Garrard 301 project), a Sonic Impact T-amp and presently the review pair of the Tonian speakers. (I also have a pair of Spica TC-60 but the Tonians are supposed to replace the Avantgardes because of moving to a smaller flat.)

Well, anyway. My point is that I'm considering two amps for the Tonians (if I'm replacing the Unico), and that is the Stellavox PW-1 recommended by Tony and the Nuforce Reference 8 that you're reviewing soon. (Or the tweakaudio version of the amps.) Thank's for always staying alert when it comes to new equipment, on either side of the price scale. My tip for a future reviews would be one of the Zenn preamps from Singapore, or maby some of the E.A.R. stuff. Anyway, it all boils down to the interest in music. Check out the solo album of Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist) and Susanna & The Magical Orchestra if you want to explore more inspiring Norwegian music than the Tord Gustavsen Trio. Hope you enjoy it!

Best regards
Tormod Halleraker

Srajan,

Nothing profound but many times now have I thought of e-mailing you and never have done it because of the effort required to say all I have on my mind. So I thought I would say a few things today. First of all, I really appreciate the great graphics on your site. They are the best and at least for me, looks do matter. I like audio equipment that is a pleasure to look at as well as listen to. Secondly, I really appreciate the fact your site reviews a lot of interesting (and to me, "non-mainstream") gear, not just the 200-watt amps and four-way speakers. Particularly of interest to me is your current focus on "realsization" and the gear that comes with it. Thirdly, I appreciate the fact that your site is updated almost daily, not just once or twice a month. Fourth, I encourage you to do a review of a Salk Audio speaker, perhaps the Veracity HT1. Finally (at least for this time around), I enjoy your broader (than audio) perspective on the world. Keep up the great work.

Dave Langenes
Dear 6moons people:

This is a message primarily for Mr. Mark Wagner, but all the staff are welcome to read it.

Thanks for your review of the Waterlily Mahler 5 recording. I am delighted that you felt the sound was natural, as that was the intention absolutely. I wanted to apologize and explain about what you referred to as my "crowing" about having an advance copy at CES 2005. I may indeed have been crowing a bit about the sound of it - I was and am very pleased with the sound as you seemed to be ,too!

But as to crowing about the possession of a pre-release copy - I really was not intending to do that. I was working on the recording, on the surround mastering in particular(as I thought I had made clear), and it would have been quite peculiar if I had not had a copy of it under those circumstances. I am proud indeed of having been associated with the recording, but having a copy at that time was automatic and normal. I am sorry if that was not clear in the context.

Thanks again for your review. I realize that a performance of a highly personal piece like the Mahler 5 will in musical terms push people's buttons differently so to speak, but your observations on the natural sound of the recording made us feel very good and gave a most pleasing "mission accomplished" sensation.

Thanks again,
Robert E. Greene
(Senior writer, The Absolute Sound)
Hi Srajan,

I just received your Music in a Bottle CD (thanks for shipping it out so quickly) and am listening to it through for the 2nd time as I write this.....bravo! This is a beautiful CD! I really enjoy all of these eclectic offerings, which makes me want to explore more about these relatively unknown artists. The musicianship and recording quality are both superb! This is a real breath of fresh air - wish I ordered it a lot sooner ;-)

Thanks again,

Vinnie Rossi
Hi Srajan,

Tim Shea from Soundstage. Hope you're managing to stay cool despite the summer desert sun and glowing tubes.

Just wanted to drop you a quick note of appreciation for your article on the Zu Druids and for your site in general. You inspired me to begin writing audio reviews in the first place, and reviews like your Zu review continue to inspire me to become a better writer/reviewer. Thought you should hear that, and congrats again on a great site.

Tim
Hi Srajan,

I'm not sure if my experience counts as 'serious' down-scaling financially but, for what it's worth, here it is. Having gradually built up my system over a number of years, I had reached a point where I was running a Conrad Johnson CDP & DAC, together with a CJ Premier 16 preamp and Audiopax monoblocks. Speakers were Avantgarde Duos. The total RRP in the UK for the items at the time of purchase was about 31,000 Pounds Sterling, although I managed to acquire some items at reasonably significant discount.

I felt that I wanted to upgrade the CDP & DAC and was so impressed with the Audio Note CDT2 and DAC 3.1x balanced during evaluation at home that I bought them without any serious comparison with other possibles (I did in fact have the Lindemann D680 unit at home for a while but while I appreciated its 'hi-fi' capabilities, it didn't do as much for me musically as the AN combo).

I know that you are well acquainted with the Audiopax amps and Duo speakers and I still consider them to be a first- class combination. There was little that I found to criticize about them (see below) and I would have been quite happy to continue enjoying them without any thought of further upgrade. However, Peter Qvortrup whispered sweet nothings in my ear and that, combined with my experience of his CDP & DAC and the very positive comments from people posting at AA about Audio Note equipment, led me to agree to try a system at home. That was it; no return!

From then on it was a downward path :) to an all-Audio Note system consisting of an M5 preamp, Conquest silver 300B monoblocks and E/Lexus Signature speakers with external crossovers. Interconnects and speakers cables are also from AN. The RRP for the system is about 24,500 Pounds Sterling, around 6,500 Pounds less than my previous system, although the difference would be greater if the original items that are still available were priced at current RRP.

It is, simply, a musical system. It is not particularly 'impressive' as the Audiopax/Duos sometimes could be, it does not 'image' to quite the same extent, the bass is not as 'punchy', the 'soundstage' is possibly less broad and deep. All these things are what I think of as being 'hifi' artefacts, which is not a criticism because I enjoy them. But I can happily live with them being less apparent when the upside is a sound that is so involving and consistently entertaining. It takes me back to my younger days when my enjoyment of recorded music was less 'tainted' by the ogre of audio esoterica. There is 'rightness' about the sound, particularly when playing acoustic material (whether solo voice and guitar or a massive orchestral piece) that is deeply satisfying.

On a specific point, I have a fair degree of sensitivity to what I hear as 'aggressive' sound. Female voice at full stretch at its upper end (not good if you enjoy opera), violin, some brass; anything where I find it 'shouting' at me. The Duos were certainly not bad at this (I've heard much, much worse) but they could sometimes be hard on my ears. This just does not happen with the Audio Note system but I have no sense of loss of important information.

Interestingly, this appears to be influenced by both the Conquest amps and the E speakers because when I used the Conquests to drive the Duos, there was considerable reduction in top-end hassle. Much as I liked the Audiopax amps with the Duo speakers, I considered the Conquest/Duo combination to be more enjoyable and the Conquest/E took it a stage further.

I am not a competent wordsmith so for an undoubtedly better penned description of an all-Audio Note system, see the review posted at AA by KevinF, reproduced below. I can only say that I agree entirely. Kevin is also a Brit and, like me, lives not very far away from Audio Note at Hove on the south coast. This fact is relevant, because an Audio Note system does not always jump up and impress you in the way managed by some other systems. You may need to live with it for a little while and let it work its way into your heart and mind. After that, you're captured! Peter Q. does not believe in short loan periods for home demos. He seems to be quite happy to leave large dollops of equipment with you for just as long as you need. Not the usual experience with borrowing equipment, but it works so I guess he knows what he's doing!

From sunny England (it is occasionally, particularly now we are experiencing the effects of global warming), with best regards,

Jeremy Bacon

Srajan,

My name is Gary Zabunian and I just wanted to thank you for the excellent article on downscaling. I have been an "audiophile" for the last 15 years and at 31, I have finally put together a great 2-channel system. I didn't really get into it before recently because I always felt that you had to go with the likes of the Krells and Wilsons to get anything worthwhile. I finally decided to get away from the mass market manufacturers and see what the little guys were creating. As a result, I have put together a modest system worth about $8K that I feel confident can take on anything twice the cost and if it can't, so be it because I love it (and I am $7K richer). The anchor to my system are a pair of Mobile Fidelity Oml1 monitors that I picked up for $1000. I haven't encountered many speakers under $4K that sound significantly better then these little guys or are nearly as well made. One hell of a bargain and gorgeous also.

To drive them properly, I picked up a pair of Monarchy Audio 100se monoblocks for $900 off AudiogoN. They don't have that SS haze most do and they drive my monitors beautifully. As a transport, I am using a Sony 900v which I love and as a dac I have the Benchmark DAC-1. For just $1700 combined, I have a source that can compete with any RedBook playback under $5Kk until you get up to say, Wadia. My preamp is a $350 tube unit from Antique Sound Labs for a touch of warmth and I am using Zu Cable for my interconnects. I bought them used at a substantial savings and for speaker, cable I am using Monster Cable 2.4s, which I also got used.

I could have gone exotic but the hunting for esoteric budget gear has been so much more fun let alone a savings. I'm listening to more music then I ever have and I'm loving every minute of it. This is what its all about it. Thank you for letting me share. If you have any suggestions regarding my system, I would love to hear them.

Gary Zabunian

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the two links. Your article is the absolute best I have read on Fi. My hat is off to you. Also, I have to comment that 6moons' photos are the very best and I believe the standard which others should strive to achieve. Photos are very important and it is sad that audio magazines don't do a better job.

Michael's 45 amp is beautiful. I may have to go this route and I just e-mailed Don Garber about this.

Thank you again Jeff for the links and your help.

Phillip
Dear Jeff,

I just read your very nice review on 6moons about the Garrard 301 turntable. I also use the classical idler-wheel players like the Garrrard 301, 401 or the fantastic Thorens TD124. I have a small collection of these turntables. I can recommend the SME 3012 as a very good tonearm for the Garrards. I prefer the modern "R" version because that tonearm is close to a first "A" series.

I designed for these classical SME tonearms some tweaks like a bronze knife edge bearing, a bronze ground plate and an RCA plug conversion kit. An unfinished project is a tube power supply but it's already in working order and the perfomance with a 301 or a TD124 is a very big step forward.

If you like and use an SME 3012 in the meantime, I can send you a modified SME for a test.

Best regards,
Robert Graetke
Analog Tube Audio - handcrafted in Germany
Srajan -

I don't usually make a habit of jotting off letters to random publications. You'll be horrified to know that this is my first try, so you're in for one of those unpracticed, subliterate rants of which I'm sure you see far too many. I wouldn't do it now but too much good food and too much good drink have made me feel generous and gregarious. I hope you'll be gentle and not publish any of this with my name still attatched.

Now that the "long time listener" intro is out of the way, I'll get to the point. I want to thank you for your articles on "realsization."

Now I'm sure that you'll see a few metric tons of similar mail. There will be the "I sold my Soundlab U-1s for a pair of Epos and I've never been happier" mails, of course. Then you'll have the mails pointing out that "realsization" is just another continuation of audiophilia nervosa; after all, how do you upgrade when you've run out of "up?" I'll hope my mail is a bit different.

I suspect that I am typical of many of your readers. That is to say that my total investment in my sound system is significantly less than the cost of the last new car that I bought. Any addiction to audio related scribblings on my part is in large part a healthy interest in neat toys. It would have to be! I may be fussy about quality, but I would admit that my musical jones can be satisfied nicely by a 20-year old boombox. Besides, I do have more important things on which to spend my inadequate funds. Like New York rent, beer and getting the rest of my music shipped back from the West Coast.

That's why I have to thank you for the "realsization." It's let me put my finger on why 6moons has become my main supplier of the audio-scribbling drug. It's not just the writing and it's certainly not the pictures. It's not even that your writers convey how much the music matters to them. It's about the involvement.

Don't get me wrong! There's a joy in the toys! (How could I stand to read it otherwise?) There's your coverage of the small vendors. Even better, there's your continuing attention to DIY escapades. This is the stuff I love!

But "realsization" is the capstone so far. It's the rosetta stone that translates what could be no more than another gear rag -- err, gear page -- into something much more fun. It's all about how involved you are. That's what's fun about the small vendors: they're either involved or they don't do it. That's what's fun about DIY: you get to be involved in every aspect. And, Srajan, that's what's absolutely stunning about the "realsization" series: you're not just covering a financial choice, you're covering people who have found a way to become more involved in their gear - without soldering irons.

I'm pretty sure that makes 6moons unique. What's more, all of your writers have it. I don't know what you fed them to get that, but it worked. I'll make you a deal, oh Editor of the Hinterlands. If you can stay this involved with it, I'll make sure that I keep reading. You can even tell your advertisers that (but don't let on that I'm not likely to buy anything from them for a while, huh?). Now if I can just convince you to publish that series of articles on how to get the girlfriend to agree that $3,500 speakers are a perfectly reasonable expense...

Thanks for the fun.

Malachi K.

On the SST Joy Juice

The short story on the Walker Audio SST Extreme - it works well. The change reminds me of what I heard the first time I dropped a set of silver interconnects into my system. This makes perfect sense to me. Silver is an excellent conductor and smearing a bunch of silver paste on the tube pins should go a long way towards smoothing out the transition between contacts. It seems to work much in the same way as silver-plated copper wire. Silver-plated copper is not a substitute for pure silver but it does have some (not complete) sonic benefits over straight copper.

I have not yet applied the SST to the CAT SL1. I wanted to start with a less complicated system. I first applied it to my Sophia 300B tubes (the new bottle-shaped version) and noticed a reduction in what I first thought was grain but now think more appropriately should be described as a reduction in background noise and distortion. Like you, I noticed a perceived change in gain, which is very important for me, given that I am using the 300B amp to push my Proac 2.5s. I don't listen to music at high levels so any change that way is quite noticeable. My feeling is that listening at low levels is a great way to determine if a change in the system is working. If at low levels you can create that sense of space and immersion, you have really achieved something. Relying on SPLs for immersion should be left to the car system.

I then applied SST to the EH6SN7s and heard a further increase in perceived gain and reduction of noise and distortion. The next step was to apply some to the turntable ICs. I am unsure of the effect there, except to say that the music seemed to lose a little sparkle but I'll reserve judgment for a time. I've heard this change before when I first tried a YBA 1 pre only to realize that the change was for the better and that the loss of excitement really was a loss of higher frequency distortion or glare that I was inaccurately interpreting as sparkle - like the shimmer coming off water that looks beautiful for a while yet ultimately causes eye strain. The effect of the YBA was truly sublime and I can still recall the sound today. What it didn't have was the living quality that most decent tube pre amps have.

All in all, I like the effects of SST. I assume that I'll hear similar differences when I apply it to the CAT. If anything remarkable pops up, I'll let you know. Thanks for the tip.

Mark Magee

Happy Birthday!

Three years of making our enjoyment even more enjoyable.....you have truly added much to the joy of audio. My time in New Mexico was for two years in 1954-56 at White Sands Proving Ground. I loved the southwest.....was not however the world's greatest soldier. Made many good friends though. Keep up the excellent work and thanks to all who have made your site so successful.

Dudley Miller

Hello Srajan,

Congratulations on your 3rd year of publishing 6moons. I only discovered your site 2 years ago, and that was by fluke from reading an article you wrote in Positive Feedback. As a subscriber to several audio publications going back as far as Stereo Review, I truly commend you for your ongoing honesty, awesome writing style and occasional personal feedback! Thanks, and continued success.

E. King

Hello Srajan,

Why do some of your reviews stay in the 'coming to a powerbook in your lap soon' list for months? Is it slacker reviewer syndrome or SRS? Enjoyed your take on Stereovox's entry-level cable. Sommovigo's balanced digital cable ($325) is the best cable I've heard except for the Sextet($2400). Interesting how we audiophiles steer away from bargains for fear of missing the best thing. Higher list price, ergo more ad dollars, ergo the inevitable reviews, equals more chatter equals tingling hifi geeks. I can't figure out how so many manufacturers stay above water. Face it, except for the reviewers, the dealers and the manufacturers, who actually gets to compare gear for more that a few minutes other than in a motel room or one of the fewer and fewer retail showrooms?

I really enjoy your publication better than any of the rest. Graphics and layout at 6moons have no peer. Your reviews stand out for their literacy and candor. I also like your autopsy-like photos. No geek ever goes to a dealer prepared to whip out his phillips, flathead and allen wrench kit.

Continued success to you, Srajan.

William Berry

Not so much slacker syndrome as lack of organizational skills on my part, putting up the wrong items as "coming soon" when others would come "sooner". Will try my best to get this improved. Seems the Germanic perfectionist genes have long since been traded for faded jeans with holes and ragged seams. That's what living in the hinterlands of New Mexico will do to ya. However, that's no excuse. Time to tap into that ol' gene pool again. -:)

Srajan

Just read through your recommendations for the different world music categories. I'm especially interested in Flamenco and Fado but other areas as well. After 30+ years, it's been a great learning -- and enjoying -- trip! Your overview on Flamenco is spot on. Your comment on singers is true. Ideally, you need to be there. There's nothing like sitting in the Spanish air in the early hours of the morning, being swept along with the passion of these rough voices crying out! Calixto Sanchez was sensational, absolutely exhausted by the effort after an hour! Putting his deepest duende out that night!

I guess the same comment applies to Fado; it's a thing of the moment. Often can be ordinary but sometimes, a spark lights up a flame in the performance. Your only omission here is, of course, gorgeous Mariza who has swept in and carried (a lot of) us away! The Live in London DVD will illustrate this well?

Checked to see if Andreas Vollenweider was in. Yes. The world is full of undiscovered gems. (Did Djavan Gasparyan feature?)

Of course, we could start a debate about whether we should corral music in this way? Isn't it all music? We're just (like history) too Euro/USA-centric. I can get carried away on any of the music in your lists, often more so than classical/etc. music. Real people putting their life out there!

Keep it up! (Oh, and hi to New Mexico! Had a great visit there to experience the New Year dances in Taos once)

Chris Skelton
Srajan,

You are undertaking a very worthy journey, in my opinion. While we all like reading about "state-of-the-art, state-of-the-treasury" products, be they speakers or sportscars, the car rags review a whole lot more pocket rockets than they do Ferraris. Is the same true of the big US audio mags? I think not quite....

With all the cash you will be saving, perhaps you can look for a blue-moon-worthy, affordable analog rig as well.

Thanks. I enjoy your website. Keep up the good work.

David K. Shay
Hey Jeff,

I'm a 17-yr old obsessive maniac who dives head first into piggy-bank-milking ventures, my newest one being a Garrard 301 a la Jeff Day, OL Rga, Denon 103 & all. Ive been pathetically begging all over the Internet for sellers to patiently await my payments to coincide with my epic grocery-bagging bi-weekly salary. Which, by the way, I have not been able to keep more than 5$ of it saved at a time.

These are my babies that are to arrive in 2 weeks:

1. One mint boxed oil bearing 301 - $958 inc shipping
2. One Origin Live Rega RB250 w/ significant structural upgrade - $289 inc shipping

Putting me at 1247 bones total, (biggest investment of my life) & all the Western Electric theatre stuff I cream my pants on a daily basis for, cost quadruple that amount. So to cut it short, Im asking you, the guru of my enlightening quest, if I can still buy the DL103 for the discounted price you snatched it for & where, and what kind of economical & temporary way can I properly & bestly listen to this gem do you suggest, once I finish the plinth.. considering I have no amps, speakers, cables of any kind... and once I move up in the world (or pawn my car), I'd replace with all WE goodness.

Let me know,
Tona

Dear Srajan & Jeff,

From a cold and wintry Cape Town, I congratulate you both on this story and to Jeff and his collaborators in this project - well done! I re-lived the pleasurable agonies of 12 years ago when I re-built my own Garrard 301 and sat down to think what I could do to make this beautiful vinyl transport work well and to look good.

I also remember the incredible lack of enthusiasm from locals whom I approached for certain solutions to things I wanted made and in the end, I had to do everything myself, including the plinth cut-outs and the power supply.

Checking out your photographs, I cannot clearly see what was used to bolt the Garrard's chassis to the top plinth. This was also a problem for me at the time as the 4 original dome headed, slotted and countersunk screws were both too short and an imperial thread size. I had no option but to have these especially made and I had to order far more of what I needed.

I still have some spare with their nuts and the length is 70mm. If you need some of these, it wil be my pleasure to send you a set of four copied in stainless steel, no charge of course.

Best regards
Andre Hanekom
Hi Srajan,

I just read your feature on "22 is the new 69" and thought I'd advise that we recently had good show results this way. You can see a pic in the attached page from the current issue of Hifi+ as it appears in Roy Gregory's show report at Montreal's FSI 2005. His pic showed the room setup better than my own (although the color seems way off as it often does in these rooms). I'm not sure we had 22 degrees exactly in our final setup but it was darn close to it. The listening area was therefore also skewed into the corner of the room.

The somewhat asymmetrical rooms of that particular Delta Hotel have a triangular outward protrusion in one corner that you want to get away from - don't place a speaker or a listener in or near it! That corner was to the left of the system as set up. With this setup, as opposed to a dead-ahead axial arrangement, you get a much more scattered or evenly random group of reflected sound angles which helps soundstaging and clarity. On axis, in a bare room, the situation was insufferable. At the final angle it was tolerable but still could've benefited from some acoustics treatments. In the future I think I'll try taking a few things along.

Furthermore, I've found all show/hotel rooms to exhibit nasty midbass standing wave effects the nearer to the center of the room you place speakers and/or listeners. Standing, you may hear loosely defined bass (released after a delay by the room) and sitting you may get nothing but hollow sound. To restore a semblance of good even bass in these concrete vaults you want to get nearer to the boundaries. Doing so in an axial fashion further damages imaging and clarity. But rotating at an angle can resolve that to a large degree.

Going to a 45 degree angle makes symmetry a problem again. About 20 degrees or so seemed quite nice...

In our recent show setup, we also benefited I think in that the sidewall the system was aimed toward (I think the vertex was the opposite corner actually) had a heavy curtain (on the windows that cover nearly the entire side of the room). I'm not sure it's the right solution for every room. I have an axial setup in my current listening room but it's truly rectangular and has no sore spots to avoid. Plus I have ample "stuff" and acoustic treatments to control and disperse things - never so in show conditions.

Anyway - hope I didn't bore you with this and maybe it's a little info that may help out should you choose to investigate it further. The case-specific characteristics of the room (the bareness; the projection; and the curtain) had considerable influence upon arriving at the final position but there may be some common ground suited to other cases for using the diagonal approach.

Best regards,
Derrick Moss P.Eng, MBA
President, Aurum Acoustics
Bravo!

I never (ok, rarely) write to reviewers. Have had the Modwright 9.0 now for many months and I am impressed how well you hit the nail on the head. Nice succinct review! Has worked wonders with my 5 watt SET amp.

Have enjoyed your site now for a year. Keep up the good work. A great service to the audiophile community! Thanks.

Mark Burhenne

Dear Srajan:

I must congratulate Jeff Day on his fine and well thought-out presentation on the Garrard 301. If we go back a little, a Garrard 301 was my ticket to 6moons and although I have been extremely busy traveling for the past year and a half developing some personal projects, I have never stopped reading the beautiful reviews that have turned many out there into moonies.

Thanks to Jules snatching the 301 we were both bidding on, however, I had to stick it out as a Linny and with over 4,000 LPs in tow, I don't have much time to listen to the 6,000 Cds I also have. Not complaining, just explaining. Talk about a love affair with a past age. Articles like Jeff,'s bring out the reason why so many of us have stayed in Vinyland. Craftsmanship, tradition and the ability to tweak and bring "old technology" to surpass the achievements of a new era. Of course, there is always the sound, but there is also the thrill of showing off a beautiful product that after more than 50 years has surely beaten the expectations of most audiophiles, proving that quality sound can surely survive the challenges of time. Isn't that what a true classic is meant to be? Once again, congratulations on a great product showcase, - boy, it looks brand new as well.

Continue the good work, 6moons is the best!

Juan
Hello Srajan,

I have spent a lot of time at your website, and I have to say I very much enjoy it. You do have a way with words! Now I have to say, I work for a non-profit agency (so therefore my paychecks are non-profit.....) so in reality, I really can't afford the components you review. But I will say, your reviews remind me of what I used to read in The Absolute Sound a few years back. Just to read about these components and the way that a person would talk about them was a pleasure. For myself, I soldier on with a Dyna SCA-35 (honest!). There is a lot of things so much better but in the end, it is really good for what it does.

So please keep up with your interesting reviews. They are much appreciated and anticipated by a lot of people.

Sincerely,
John Laff

Dear 6moons,

Here is a little tip for anyone who wants to take an iPod system to the next level. Get a 12v auto charger and connect to a jumpstart system with a slave battery. It made a huge improvement in eliminating fatigue and grain and increasing depth and width. I also use the navipro remote through the headphone output with no loss at all in comparison to the direct lineout in the bass area. I believe that at one time, eurospec and early-gen iPods had a different output setting that could relate to the bass difference. Low capacitance interconnects are necessary if you go this route. My current system with three easy pieces is so enjoyable. I have the iPod direct into an H2O Signature S250 single-wired into 1-ohm Apogee Scintillas.

Respectfully
Carlton Spence
Dear Mr. Ebaen,

First, I absolutely love your website. Thank you so much for the fabulous reviews and entertainment you give to us all! Simply wonderful.

I've been enjoying your reviews of different integrated amps, particularly the Melody SP-3 and the Almarro A205A. I think I just have to buy one of these just because of the incredible value and design kudos I hear from you. I'd love to see how these two match up against each other and maybe the Cayin A88-T as well. People always ask me to recommend audio gear to them. I'm sure I couldn't go wrong with any of these. Maybe the market doesn't need to compare these integrateds butit would be very good reading - maybe splitting too many hairs?

I finally have a pair of nice-sounding speakers, Omega Grande 6 Rs, but it's time to retire (re-sell) my Ideal Innovations Stereo 30 and get something.... well, like what I mentioned up above. I guess everyone wants to be guided to towards audio nirvana. That's what I look to you for!

Keep up the absolutely fabulous job you are doing. Due to your site, I just found out that Walker Audio is literally 10 minutes away from me - gotta pay them a visit!

Thanks again,

Karl Zimmer

Unfortunately, there is no corporate 6moons office where all of our reviewers check in to do their work. I bought the SP-3, Jeff bought the A205A, he's in Washington State, I'm in New Mexico, with no possibility to compare both side by side. The same is often true for other comparisons readers inquire about. Unless the same reviewer has both pieces in at the same time, the fact that 6moons reviewed them does not mean we can actually compare 'em. Moonies are literally all over the place -:)

Srajan

Hi Jeff,

I recently read your review of the Omega Super 3. Great-sounding speaker and your review style doesnt suck either...!

I noticed that Louis offers the doubled-up FE127 in the TS33 adding mo sound and mo betta SPL=96dB which is now getting pretty real. I just picked up one of Vinnie Rossi's amazing, totally hotrodded Clari-T Tripath amps and was wondering what you thought of the idea of a custom Omega super-duper 3, two drivers mounted on the wide baffle, with a sub? Nice baffle for mids, dynamics x 2 and Louis' yummy woodcraft - a cool idea in my mind.

I breathlessly await your appraisal of my idea. Kneels and bows,

Angela Dando
Hey Jeff,

excellent job with the Garrard article. I would have never known what I was sitting on, but thanks to you I do now. I've been very fortunate to have a grandfather who was an audiophile at the beginning. I've received from him a Dynaco ST 70 and PAS pre amp, both of which I restored and upgraded and are now playing fantastic music in my system. I knew there was a turntable in his system and had earlier caught a glimpse of it, however, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a picture of the very same Garrard turntable in your article. Here I was dumbfounded that after 50 years a turntable can stay the test of time and play great music. Like you and thers have said, it's an impressive work of engineering. I'm looking forward to your next installments on plinths and tonearms for the Garrard but was curious as to when you'll be publishing them. I've pretty much decided on building a birch ply stack plinth and installing my RB250 arm on it. But what I really want to hear is a nice 12" arm like the SME 3012, Fidelity Research FR 64 or one of the great Ortofon arms. I'm sure that you'll make some good comparisons. Once again thanks for the priceless information and knowledge.

Jason Balodis
Dear Mr. Ebaen:

Jules Coleman's reflections on HE 2005 is one thoughtful piece of writing - in fact it is, for me, one of the best commentaries on high-end audio that I have read in quite some time. I tip my cap to Mr. Coleman. It's rare that I, after reading an article in any publication covering high-end audio, simply think: Yes.

Furthermore, I enjoyed 6moons' coverage of HE 2005. I love all the photos. They are, among others reasons, what sets you apart from others. Each photo from HE 2005 evoked a sublime memory.

I must also say that I enjoyed the location of the show. My wife Lisa and I made the trip from Wisconsin to NYC to take in the show (Friday and Saturday) as well as some of the sights of NYC. The New York Hilton was centrally located for us, close to stores on 5th Avenue as well as the restaurants on our list. I likely would've passed on HE 2005 had it been located in another section of the city.

I agree with many of your reflections on HE 2005 (except the quibble about location). I do hope that all parties involved in the hobby/industry of high-end audio -- the consumers, manufacturers, retailers, audio writers and advertisers -- can coalesce to continue to sponsor shows for the consumers. It is a rare opportunity for me to see and hear products from so many different companies. I can visit dealers in Milwaukee, Chicago, and the Twin Cities, but even still the range of products is finite. Of course, the Internet helps. But I like see and touch products and I prefer to pose questions to informed individuals face-to-face. Plus, I got to trade information with other music lovers and audio enthusiasts. And I got to meet equipment designers. That's why I made arrangements to attend an event like HE 2005.

Bravo to the exhibitors at HE 2005. Those who didn't exhibit missed an opportunity to connect with me, and others like me.

My wife and I had a blast that weekend. Our experience was a rush of romance, intriguing exhibits and demonstrations, compelling music and sound, enthusiastic and knowledgeable people, leisurely strolls down 5th Avenue, shopping (window and otherwise), and fine dining. Where else does one get all of that?

I'm not certain about the "cost-driven rape-and-pillage campaign" you mention in your reflections. Whose sentiments? They seem rather cynical. Too bad.

Meanwhile, I count my blessings. I had an attractive and witty woman on my arm as I visited each exhibit and demonstration. After a superb demonstration in the cost-no-object room sponsored by Sound By Singer, my wife enthusiastically remarked, "It doesn't sound at all electronic-y." That alone was worth the price of the trip. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and my weekend with her.

Keep up the good work. Keep the cynicism at arm's length.

Kind Regards,

Mark Bruce
Waukesha, WI
Hi Srajan;

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and the rest of the 6moons staff who visited the High Water Sound room and was so generous in your collective comments. I introduced the Sound Engineering SE-1 Turntable at the HE2005 show and I was lucky enough to be included in High Water Sound's system of world-class products. I was even luckier in that the room was setup by Jeff Catalano, a master who leaves no stone unturned to squeeze the very best music out of a system.

It was fun for me as I was a wall flower in the High Water Sound room, listening to the comments being made all weekend about the room in general and the turntable in particular. I knew that the SE-1 satisfied my musical taste. The gang of Nashville musicians that listened to the music gave the turntable two thumbs up. But what would the pros, the NYC audience and audio press think about my humble attempt to make good music? To hear what people had to say and to see the SE-1 on 6moons in the HE2005 reviews made this labor of love all worthwhile.

Thanks to everyone at 6moons for attending the show, for the comprehensive show report, the great photography and of course the kinds words about the High Water Sound room, where I played a small part in making it one of the best rooms at the show.

Sincerely,

Bob Benn
Sound Engineering
Nashville, TN
Hi Mr. McAllister:

I just read your piece at 6moons. Wow, very interesting and thoughtful! The "Me/Skeptic" interplay was a nice touch to keep it light. I'm inclined to agree wholeheartedly with you "that audio reproduction is a representation of a musical expression", or a musical event. The comparison to translation is really apt and I wonder whether the term interpretation might also be appropriate in the context of audio equipment and music reproduction.

Having gone to French schools and being fluent in English and French, I am somewhat familiar with what constitutes translation and interpretation. My personal understanding is that the former is more technical in its application, such as when a translator orally conveys what is being said by a speaker in a language that is different from the one understood by the audience in order to present a clear facsimile of the message, whereas the latter is more of an art, such as with a novel where word-for-word accuracy is not as important as expressing the narrative, flow and feel of the story and its characters. However, I may be incorrect and the difference between the two may be very slight, such as with the words 'objective' and 'goal'.

In any event, I have similar views about the need to connect emotionally with music as opposed to hearing an accurate 'copy' of the original piece. How the latter could ever be achieved unless one was actually present when and where the music was recorded is beyond me. Such a goal seems to me to be hopelessly unattainable. Besides, I'd much rather listen to, rather than hear, music. Ultimately what I hope for is music that speaks/sings to me, a connection to some part inside that resonates with feeling. Although my intent is always to enjoy the music each time I sit down to listen, such a connection doesn't always happen and I wouldn't want to expect it either, as it depends on the mood and circumstances.

As for live music versus studio (or concert) recordings, I find that well-recorded music can be just as conducive to an emotional connection as a concert. It hinges on whatever combination of notes, instruments, tempo, rhythm, feeling, ambience, etc. turns the crank of each listener. Admittedly, there's nothing like the charge you get when attending a show by a favourite artist, musician or composer, born of anticipation, being out for an evening and the excitement of the crowd. However, I don't expect the same things from my stereo as I do from a concert, they are two different experiences. (I have a feeling that this may be due to listening mostly to jazz, a genre in which a piece is rarely played the same way twice.)

You've written a great piece. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Regards.
Max Hollins

Max,

Thanks for the kind words. I had viewed interpretation as a part of translation. Translations are fundamentally tied to language, where I believe interpretations exist independent of language. So while an equipment designer may interpret what he or she hears, it is the translation, based on their interpretation, that comes out of the speakers. At least that's the way I had viewed it. You are correct in pointing out that the emotional connection doesn't always happen. It's dependent on many factors. Someone else pointed out to me that after seeing someone perform, and witnessing their nuances, it alters your perception of their recorded music. I think we've all experienced this at some point. It gives their recordings a tangibility they had never had before, which often makes the connection so much easier. So cheers to you on your quest. An even bigger cheers to Srajan for allowing me to hitch a ride on the caravan that is 6moons.

Drew McAllister

Srajan,

Just had to send a big Amen to your article "Trust your own ears". Never understood the religious wars that sometimes take place on some audio boards when someone likes a piece of equipment the resident guru thinks is crap. If you like it in your system, then who cares what someone else thinks? I think some people are taking their hobby too seriously and analyzing everything instead of enjoying the music. I too am guilty of this.

Mike Eby

Hi Srajan,

I read your reviews on the Avantgarde horns and the Zanden Model 5000 DAC with great amusement. I also seem to agree with the review of the Avantgarde Model 5 amp reviewed elsewhere on your site. My father has built a system around a set of Duos, a Zanden and a Sony SCD-1 player. It seems that the conclusions you reached were nothing short of accurate. He auditioned the dCS Elgar and preferred the Zanden by quite a large margin. It was this way that I had my induction into the world of hifi.

Unfortunately, I can't quite afford a Zanden on my own - nor an SCD-1. However, I do have an older Marantz CD-7, which shares the same DAC as the Zanden (Philips TDA 1541A S1), though it only cost me about a fraction of what the Zanden sold for. In my humble opinion, I think it compares quite well with the Zanden, save for the lack of the "tube" sound, in which case the Zanden triumphs easily.

I've not seen too many reviews of the CD-7 despite its use of the Double Crowns and a proprietary Motorola "anti-ringing" DSP (which is again employed in the Marantz SA-11S1) along with thedigital filter. The transport mechanism is a modified Philips CDM-12 Industrial, similar to the one employed in the Mark Levinson ML No. 37 and various other players. Furthermore, it has the capability of acting as a DAC.

I am interested to know what your opinions on the CD-7 are. I personally think of it as a "poor man's" Zanden, though I think it hardly qualifies at that kind of price. (It's still too expensive for most poor men.)

Please do continue writing those excellent articles on 6moons. I really enjoy reading through your musings.

Best Regards,
Jason
Dear Srajan,

Well here I am looking to get a letter published in the e-zine for which I work. What has the world come to? I just read your latest reflections on the HES, with which I fully agree. In signalling out Andy Singer, Damoka, Highwater Sound, In Living Stereo and Rhapsody for praise, I did not mean to criticize by implication those who were not present. I am sure there are good business reasons not to attend. Of course, it goes without saying that those retail outlets did not in fact host demonstrations at their stores in lieu of the Show; and I am guessing that they are not likely to in the short-term either. The fact is that as long as HES is around in NYC, it is the mechanism for bringing the larger consumer audience together with manufacturers and retailers. If those retailers who didn't participate offered an alternative, then it would be easier to be sympathetic. They just decided it wasn't worth it to them and I understand that. It's just that when they don't show up, HES loses its luster and as long as their is no alternative on the horizon, a threat to HES may well mean the end of any such large-scale project in NYC.

To be sure, there are many threats to the success of the Show already. The most obvious is cost. I have no idea what the costs are to Primedia of hosting the Show but I know that it is high to exhibitors. It's too costly for exhibitors and the press. There are always two questions about costs: what are they and how are they distributed? I take it that Primedia can subsidize the total costs only so much before it is not rational for them to support or fund it. On the other hand, if the full costs of participation are born by manufacturers and retailers, it may be too costly for each individually to attend. The total costs are not likely to be reduced. The question is whether they are too high in absolute terms or whether instead there is a redistribution of them that makes manufacturers and retailers sanguine about the long-term rationality of attending. If not, it may just be that having a Show in NYC may not be worth its costs.

Jules
Paul,

I enjoyed your HE2005 report. I am an admirer of many of the companies you wrote about so I am glad that their exhibits were worthy of mention! One thing I'd like to add. In your report, you said:

"Since my 6moons gig focuses on the < $5000 per piece category, I was disappointed by the lack of affordable gear. At best, perhaps four or five rooms offered decent yet inexpensive equipment. Other than Creek/Epos/Shanling courtesy of Roy Hall, there was Odyssey, Rogue Audio, Hyperion and Almarro and that was pretty much it."

I'd like to point out that my room (Sonic Spirits, room 1018) featured a number of components that were under or near $5000, including:
  • System 1 (demonstrated Thursday-Saturday) included:
  • Focus Audio FS-78SE loudspeakers ($3450)
  • Blue Circle BC3 Galatea MkII preamp ($4995)
  • Blue Circle BC202 Hybrid Stereo amp ($5295)

  • System 2 (demonstrated Sunday) included:
  • Focus Audio FS-68SE monitors ($2050)
  • Blue Circle NSCS Integrated Amp ($2495)

We felt that it was important to show affordable gear at this consumer show so I was a little disappointed not to see our room mentioned by a reviewer who focuses on this segment. Perhaps our systems just sounded more expensive! :-)

Anyways, I do appreciate the coverage that 6moons has given us. Just thought I'd point out that we did try to address the "affordable high-end" showgoers, much like those exhibitors you mentioned.

Hope all is well!
Best.

Phil Lam
Sonic Spirits Inc.

Dear Jules,

Words cannot express how touched I was upon reading your show report with its kind and supportive comments about me, Sound By Singer, and our efforts in HE2005 and in the audio industry as a whole. I think it was exceptionally perceptive of you to note the conspicuous absense of other "high-end" retailers in the last few shows. I think it is a symptom of something other than cheapness, or lack of funds. I believe it represents a fundamental disenchantment amongst these dealers with high-end audio and true high-end audio/video in general, as well as a perception that the people who come to hi-fi shows are "not real," meaning that they will just not spend the money to buy whatever it is that these retailers have to offer.

It is true that there has been a paradigm shift among high-end audio/video retailers. We are all, including yours truly, spending a lot more time, effort,and money on selling and installing multi-room audio/video systems and doing Crestron control with systems integration. These efforts do not require much demonstration of high-end components. In more cases than not, 6-figure deals are put together without the client listening to anything. So I suppose from a purely "rational" business point of view, if the vast majority of one's clientele is uninterested in musical or visual performance as opposed to control features, there isn't much reason to invest in significant demonstration facilities with carefully set up systems, much less bringing these to hi-fi shows. This probably explains why the other large retailers are not at the Home Entertainment Expos.

Sometimes I feel like one of the veterans of Gallipoli, described in a wonderful Australian ballad "And The Band Played Walzing Matilda" which laments "Year after year, their numbers grow fewer. Soon no one will march anymore." When the last veteran is called to march at Home Extertainment Expo, I hope it will be me. I reject out of hand the idea that the people that come to hi-fi shows are "not real." I dispute the very premise that "rational" is synonymous with nothing more than maximizing profit. What is rational is to engage in a pasttime which one loves; which gives one a sense of fulfillment, enjoyment at the end of the day. If one does this, one will be successful, both in business and in life. It does not matter that it takes 70% of my facility to make 50% of my sales because without my high-end audio, I wouldn't enjoy coming to work. One can make an analogy to art. Throughout history, great artists have painted commissioned work to pay the bills while they toiled on their masterpieces; their labor of love. High-end audio/video dealers should take a page out of their book. Feed your soul and you will do a better job at the things which feed your pocketbook.

Very Truly Yours,
Andrew Singer

Jules:

I just read your show report, so first, thanks for the kind words. You hardly mentioned any exhibitors or rooms, so I'm flattered.

Second, I agree with much of what you said, especially regarding the theme of passion, which is central to the article, and its main corollary, your statement that you observe less and less connection between music and the reproduction of music. I'm not as certain that things were better in the past as you appear to be (the recent past, at least, since the good equipment of many years ago -- witness the Thorens 124 -- play music better than a lot of modern equipment, which dissects it), but I certainly agree that the ability to convey the emotional content of music should be the primary goal of audio design. I loved your statement that Lightnin' Hopkins should sound like he is in pain yet happy to be alive, as it makes the emotional content of the music -- not its details or soundstage or frequency extension etc. - the main issue. Thanks again.

Dan Meinwald

Thanks Dan. Would that the industry had many more people just like you. I didn't mean to give the impression that I thought equipment of the recent past is better than the current crop of excellent components at conveying the essence of music. In fact, I think the wrong turn was taken quite a while ago and as equipment gets better and more revealing, it becomes ever more obvious how far down the wrong road we have gone. Take an EMT 927 or a Garrard 301 done right with an SPU Classic, playing through appropriate tube electronics feeding a nice pair of Klangfilms or original Tannoy GRFs and you shouldn't be surprised if I don't answer your phone calls or emails.... (except those from Srajan of course).

Best,
Jules
Jules Coleman says in his HES report: "I don't want a playback system that aspires to make Lightning Hopkins sound as big and sweet as Patricia Barber or Diana Krall sitting in my lap. I do want a system that makes Lightning [sic] Hopkins sound like he is in pain yet happy to be alive."

I think it is quite naive to want to hear him "sound like he is in pain". This statement seems to arise from some preconceived notion that the Blues must emanate from some painful experience or a life of misery.

Having seen Mr. Hopkins perform many times, and by simply listening to his music, I can safely say that he was not in pain, but in fact, was quite joyful deep in his spirit. Happy to be alive? For sure, but come on, don't get into this silly notion about the blues having to be an expression of suffering. I, for one, sure don't want a system that makes Lightnin' sound like he was a tortured soul.

By the way, a friend of mine was Lightnin's driver and companion for a while in the '60s, here is what he has to say about this pain thing: "Lightnin' certainly wasn't about pain; he wasn't a tortured soul in any form or fashion; he loved to go on and on about "poor Lightnin' " but his whole life was dedicated to having fun..."

Just some thoughts...

Mike Quinn
JazzTimes

Dear Mike,

As someone who has listened to it all my life and even played a bit of it, I hope I am not as naive about the Blues as you portray me. I don't think I made any general remarks about the Blues being all about suffering and tortured souls. In fact, I didn't use the phrase 'tortured'. In fact, what I said was that I wanted my system to make him sound like he was in pain but happy to be alive. In fact, isn't that exactly how you describe him: as portraying himself as pained but in fact quite happy to be alive.

I'd love to go listen to some blues in the city with you sometime.

Jules

Hello Srajan,

I found myself nodding in agreement with pretty much all that Jules had to say about the NYC show. Spot-on!

However, I do wish someone could discuss the implications of this particular show from an expense vs. return standpoint. The last two "Stereophile" shows in which we exhibited (2001 & 2003), it cost us over $20,000 per show...

At these stratospheric costs, it's no surprise that there's been some attrition with the manufacturers as well as some dealers. My hat's off to those who can afford it!

Best regards,
Jim Smith
Avantgarde-USA
Hi Srajan,

Since you're into world music, have you heard of Julien Jacob? Enjoyable stuff to my ears! He sings in his own invented language. If you haven't heard of him you can listen so samples here. There are several articles about him, including this one. By the way, your web site is, as always, an enjoyable read and a visual delight - keep up the good work!

Deon
Hi Srajan,

I know that people probably email all the time with music suggestions for you but this guy is one of my favorites. I'm a rhythm junkie like you and nobody gets my motor running like Leon Parker. Do you know his work? I normally wouldn't suggest jazz to you but this is not typical jazz. It has a very African feel to it, with really deep rhythms and nonsense vocals (more African sounding than scat-like). If you're sitting still during this music, then you have to be dead. If you already know him, then you know what I'm talking about. If not, you should find the album Awakening.

Drew McAllister

Dear Srajan-

First of all, thank you for your wonderful periodical! You and your all-star team of writers have enhanced both my knowledge and pleasure of this wacky hobby on many levels.I couldn't agree more with what you had to say about both the Ars Aures/Art Audio room and the Horning/Tron rooms at the recent Home Entertainment show. Amazingly, I think they were my two favorite rooms of the show as well.

I have always taken great pleasure in reading your reviews but had never had the opportunity to actually listen to any of the equipment that you were commenting on. Therefore, although you are more descriptive than most, I was never able to truly know if the equipment you were describing would lead me to the same conclusions had I actually heard it for myself. Now, I feel that not only can I enjoy your reviews, but, seemingly our tastes in audio systems are similar enough that your reviews have taken on added weight and significance. How lucky for me!

A million thanks!

Jay Bass

Srajan,

I cannot believe there is not more exposure for your Music in a Bottle sampler/compilation. I've not found a better eclectic variety of superbly recorded music, a constant surprise and joy to listen to. I used to treasure the annual free Windham Hill Occasional samplers for the same reason but this takes the cake! Every cut a pleasant surprise - I can only wonder why Todd's work is not better known. I've grown up in and around music (my little sister is a professional oboeist) and pro audio, have a few product designs under my belt (the first BBE pro and consumer equipment) as well as some home brew gear I love (my current pride and joy is a Class A tube amp based around the 6C33C Russian tube), and I know what live music sounds like. Todd seems to have a knack for capturing this magic.

I have no idea what plans you have for getting this music into people's hands but one means for greater exposure you may not have considered is local NPR stations. Here in Southern Oregon, we are spoiled to have both classical and eclectic public radio (they call it Classical and News/Rhythm and News here). I suspect that many of my fellow listeners would be blown away to hear this music!

Adam Reed

Srajan,

I just minutes ago received Henry Ho's Signature stereo amp to try out. The darn thing has blown me away. Hard to believe - I was running an ARC VT100MKII. Wow. The only bad news? Your review will add to a waiting list.

Man oh man. What fun!

Best regards,
Bob Wood
Mr. Ebaen,

Thanks for the interesting H2O review. What I especially like about your style of reviewing is your description of the sound. So often other reviewers are using hifi words whose significance is different from person to person. Yours is down-to-earth, understandable and we can feel what you are trying to describe.

I am happy that the Clari-T amp will be reviewed too - it was one of the amp I was considering. And if I can make some suggestions for review, here are the other amps that were of interest to me (with Class D or IcePower modules)...

Thank you once again.

Best regards,
Abdel Babel

Srajan,

Thank you so much for your mention of Irving M. Fried's recent death and his contributions to the pleasures of listening to reproduced music. He certainly was a man who loved music and his passion carried over into his business of manufacturing speakers. I found him to be a great encouragement to me in my listening pleasure. His publication of the 'Fried Newsletter' was informative and provocative. As an owner of his speakers for over twenty-five years, I have fond memories of him and appreciate your pointing out to your readers a little about him and his significance.

About a year ago I was impressed to write him a personal thank you note for the lifetime of pressing the envelope and just expressed my appreciation for him and what he'd done for me as a result of his efforts. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a telephone call from him a few weeks later. He was so enthusiastic about music, and was happy to talk about his current work briefly with the young people that he was working with at Fried Products. It was a treasured moment and I am grateful that I took the time to write when I did.

Thanks again for your inclusion of his story. Audio reproduction today has built on the creativity, devotion and solid achievements of such people, and I'm glad to have you recognize him.

Happy listening,
Ed Sager
Hello Jules,

In my search for information on Holophone speakers on the net, I found this article written by you in 2004 where they are mentioned. I read it again today and I'd like to share my personal recent findings with you. I thougt it might eventually interest you.

I am Daniel Oeyen and live near Brussels. I am a Holophone fanatic from the late eighties. I don't spend a lot of money on hyper-expensive High-End systems but I like to find the best sound for a budget. So the Sopraninos that I enjoyed since the eighties broke down eventually. I tried to contact EHS but Freddy Van Bercy who was the producer of the Holophone speakers at the time seemed to have sold the company. I visited him a lot at the time before I bought my set. But the people who took it over didn't seem to have made these speakers a top priority - if they were really qualified at all. I had serious doubts. So I decided not to bring my speakers to them. That turned out to be a good decision because a while later, I met a guy who worked in the best Hifi stores of Brussels and is a speaker builder/technician/specialist. He said he could fix my Holophones and said he had a pair of dismantled Alto Signatures for sale, too. He could restore them in a week and they would be ready to be sold then.

I couldn't believe him at first when he said that he knew how the Holophones worked and that he could repair mine. But after listening to a lot of speakers he had for sale, lots of talking and hearing the result as he restored the Altos, I was convinced. It proved that he knows what he is talking about and that is an in-depth connoisseur of most speaker building techniques on the market.

So I gota great deal on the repair of my Sopraninos and the rebuilt Alto Signatures and now have 2 pairs of Holophoness ounding both absolutely great. In case you would be looking for Holophones again -- or at least a speaker with exactly the same characteristics and sound -- that speaker guru I met is the man you'd really need to know. (I can give you his e-mail and phone number by request if you need it).

Then referring to the tube amp section of your article, I dug out my old Audio AD "Sforzando" tube amplifier from under the dust of my garage because I wanted to sell it to make some room. I hardly used it since its revision (that cost me a lot of money at the time) because I was disappointed by the results back then.

But when I tested the amp to make sure it still worked and changed some settings I never did before (turn the "presence" button to the on position - what a concept), the sound it generated in combination with the Holophones was a shock. The sound really "opened up" and the presence of the artists became so clear it was almost scary sometimes. As though they where ghosts in the room just as described in the old Holophone sales booklets. :-)

I immediately decided not to sell that tube amplifier! My Yamaha solid-state amplifier now sounds like a pocket transistor beach radio by comparison, even with the Alto Signatures as speakers. Unbelievable. I bought this Yamaha amp from Freddy Van Bercy. He used it (amog others) for his sales demonstrations of the Holophones.

In case you ask yourself what that "Sforzando" is: well, it's an old integrated stereo amp from the late sixties "made in Belgium". Someone told me even it was sold as a kit at the time. I had it upgraded years ago and they changed all the tubes to NOS Telefunkens. It now sports 4 x EL84s and 7 x ECC83 and 4 x ECC82 valves. All this in one compact (heavy) block. It is a mini-sized tube amplifier but a tricky little powerpack. I haven't even dared to turn up the volume beyond "2" yet because the sound is so dynamic. And that was only on the Sopraninos. This weekend I'll hook it up to the Altos and I'm truly looking forward already to hear that result!

Now I really understand what you mean about the combination of tube amps and Holophones. The result is really amazing! It's as if everything HiFi has gotten redifined for me again. I guess that isn't very impressive to a specialist like you but to me it is a renew impulse for my HiFi passion. Who knows where it might lead in the future? I'm already looking out for a more modern tube amp that accepts more connections than this old one. But at least, the new direction is defined. I'll definitely go for valves now. And I'll keep a close look on 6moons for news about that.Especially if there is anything around that offers a good quality/price deal. Every suggestion is welcome.

Sincerely,
Daniel Oeyen