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

For negative consumer feedback on manufacturers—bad experiences actual owners wish to share to protect others from having similar bad experiences—click here.
Publisher's music corner: I'm presently looking for CDs by Kamo Seyranyan (Armenia), Hüseyn Meshedi Mehemmed (Azerbaiyan), Stravros Pazarentsis (Greece) and Sali Okka. Full-resolution files would be equally appreciated. Readers willing to assist with these purchases please contact me at [email protected] Thank you.

Srajan, there is an ambiguity with this review. I assume the sound of the AURALiC Vega in this review is based on the addition of the Nagra Jazz preamp, which isn't explicitly explained. In fact you say the sound of the Vega direct..."sounded stripped, stark and flat. Audible space and all its connective tissue had collapsed and all prior tonal and textural elegance abandoned." From what I can see, this rave review is based on the inclusion of a $10K+ preamplifier.
Jeff

That quote is out of context and culled from the paragraph on running the Vega as a preamp at very low volumes. I clearly stated that normal room volumes meant the display sat between 50 and 60 to imply -40 to -50dB of signal cut. Your quote now pertains to listening well below that. That's when adding an expensive preamp was significantly better just as AURALiC themselves predicted. I don't think there's anything ambiguous about that. Steep digital attenuation to the tune of -70dB or -80dB just doesn't sound as good as doing it in the analog domain regardless of whether with a cheap or expensive analog preamp.
Srajan
A professional is a person engaged in a certain activity or occupation for gain or compensation as a means of livelihood such as a permanent career, not as an amateur or pastime. Professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations. I just read your HP Soundings call to arms.  As someone whose dollars now hang in the balance and whose allegiances don't extend beyond his ears, I've become more readily aware of inharmonious elements in the audio biz. For instance a reviewer whose entire system comes from the same importer—though different makes of components, still from the same importer—certainly could be a coincidence or shared aesthetic but with more gear in the world than ever before, I can't help but look twice. Last year (before I embarked on audio as a business) I may not have noticed it nor given it a second thought. Now I find myself looking for the shadowed truths if only to safeguard my business and knowledge base. This self-contained posture isn't entirely new. As a consumer, I'd read reviews of components several times only to find my exploration of same to be incongruous on most every count. Exactly how much can one stuff behind a pillar of subjectivity? Quite a bit I'd guess.

Some boutique dealers I've met have encountered similar issues. One dealer/importer recently told me he was refused the review of a turntable package because the reviewer couldn't afford to give it the accolades he felt it deserved. Ouch. I for one will be content with my ears' decisions and hope they find their audience while doing my best to avoid the fray of politics where music should reign. However, in striving to get the word out about what you believe to be valid, one must engage the machine. Such engagements make me look back fondly on the great theatre critics, book reviewers and music critics who took to their work with the blood oath that it was a public trust. At its best, reviewing is an opportunity to inform, educate and cultivate interest where there was none. In other genres there was a collective interest in keeping value and ethics in place...call it self-regulatory. This is a trait that the audio business could benefit from - and not just those in business. Music lovers and consumers will find more copasetic music pairings, a newfound ease of use and as a result invigorate that which shows advancement.

As a dealer, one's equipment will get bad reviews. One should expect that. It's the nature of shifting value in a world where technical advancements happen as or more quickly than manufacturing. It's highly competitive and there's subjectivity and synergy of systems that come into play. An informed and fair description is a great tool both for the public, the dealers and manufacturers. Also not to discount that some elements go to taste. In this way I look for discernible patterns. Just as in wine, one knows that Clive Coates would more readily receive a bottle of Romanee Conti while Roger Parker would be the fellow for a new Le Pin (Burgundy vs. Bordeaux to the non wino). The best one can hope for as a dealer is that our ideas of what works in the various arenas of taste (rarely do we stick to just one) are adequately reflected and presented to the public. There are many many great people in this business, from engineers to importers, distributors, dealers and most certainly reviewers. But the only regulation is the market and those willing to speak out. Most won't speak out. Thanks for doing so.
Fred Crane
Stereodesk.com

As it turns out, the site's publisher Joey Weiss asked that I remove their verbatim quotes. He also explained that HP had previously reviewed the Veloce line stage formally for TAS and that the present miniature capsule reviews of it and the McIntosh MC2301 were really meant as summations and final thoughts on components in their reference system. They'd simply not clearly been identified as such. It was that which then led to my mistaken but aghast assumption that these were to be considered complete reviews. Given said misunderstanding—which I still think was most easily made—I've thus deleted the article as the grounds for it had been removed.

This is what I wrote to Joey: "Your explanations make sense. Perhaps you can agree though that having to make them in the first place indicates that it was easy to misunderstand. As reader feedback to the article has shown, I clearly wasn't the only one to be surprised. To be sure it isn't about word count. It's about what constitutes a proper review in trade for the privilege of having been granting an equipment loaner. If, as I did, you were under the mistaken assumption that these two pieces on the Veloce and McIntosh were to be considered complete reviews (and you didn't know about the prior full-length Veloce review in TAS which was never mentioned nor linked to)... I think you too would feel aghast that formal reviewing had declined to this level. Now that I understand these were simple capsule summaries about components in your reference system, my reaction of course is very different. As such I've deleted the entire article as it no longer mattered. Again, my reaction wasn't about style (which is unique to each writer and publication) but substance. And I think we can agree that if substance were to decline to this level whilst being packaged as a complete review, anyone working in the industry not speaking out against it would be asleep behind the wheel -:)"
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
As a long time fan of your site almost since its first appearance, I have long enjoyed the reviews and salivated over the possibilities of audio nirvana. It is with no small amount of trepidation that I compose this note but I am in need of some help and was hoping you might take pity on the imposition of a poor music lover of modest means. As mentioned I find myself in the position of having a modest budget and the intent of putting together the nicest compact system my meager budget allows. As background I went through financial catastrophe last year and currently live in a very small studio apartment. As an aspiring writer living on disability everything revolves around my desk and computer. I am not hung up on digital audio but given my small space and the wrenching need to part with my beloved vinyl last year I am presented with a different set of circumstances. Longer term I intend to either build or buy a mini-house so a small system would still remain appropriate. (As an an aside I am an old sailor and have a love affair with compact and tidy.)

With that as preface I just read your review of the Gallo Strada Two which, with a little stretching, is just barely within the envelope of my modest budget. Heretofore my main candidates for speakers were the well regarded KEF LS50, Role Audio Kayaks and the powered sibling of the LS50s the X300A (in the interim while I wait for the money to come in I am going to make do with a pair of the little FoxLv speakers on the desktop). So, question 1 would be are the Gallos enough better to discard consideration of the LS50s in favor of them, and how would your characterize the difference between the two?

What would you use for an inexpensive (< $1,000 USD) amp? Currently the little Rega Brio-R integrated is setting at the top of my shopping list. I had also considered the little Virtue T-Amps but they seem to have imploded. I am avoiding tubes for now as I will be moving again within the next 18 months and want to travel as light as I can and fear tubes would be too delicate. As far as source material goes I currently use CDs {mostly classical symphonic primarily, New Age/World Music and Jazz leavened with a small sprinkling of classic Rock}. I have recently begun improving my knowledge of digital audio and am looking at having my Mac Mini (current model running OS 10.8.3 with 8GB of RAM) serve duty as a server for high-definition downloads (I'll be adding an outboard hard drive or multiple flash sticks for storage). Although at this point I am so low on the knowledge curve that I am not even to the point of having any sound idea of what gear to buy for this. I have been looking at software and DACs but  am well short of knowing enough yet to choose intelligently. For a CD spinner I was considering the Marantz 8004 or the Oppo BDP 105 which you currently have on review. How does the Oppo work when fed into an outboard DAC?

So, you can see my conundrum. I really cannot afford too many mistakes. If you can spare a few moments any suggestions or guidance you might find appropriate would be received with much gratitude.
Sincerely Yours,
Warren Palin (no relation to Sara)

Hello Warren,
The Oppo 105 doesn't need any external DAC. It uses a very good DAC of its own so that machine should be considered 'as is' for your purposes. I've not heard the KEF LS50 in my own house and desktop, only at shows. I dare suspect they make a bit more bass than the Strada which, if you move into a small house and listen off the desktop, could be a good thing. The X300A version of course includes class A/B amps so that eliminates a further expense to work directly off something like the Oppo and you'd be all set. And with the Oppo you also gain the ability to do a digital crossover for integration with a subwoofer at a later time to turn this into a really full-scale system. So for the most expedient return on investment, I'd do the Oppo 105 with the KEF X300A and since you've already got a computer to work on, its USB output can feed the Oppo for music files you acquire, for watching movies or streaming content etc. If you wanted to splurge, you'd instead go with the LS50 and a small integrated amp like the Wyred4Sound mINT.
Srajan
I'm sure I'm not alone waiting with great anticipation for your review of the Mola-Mola amps. I have DIY NC400 monos and love them. What would be of enormous interest to me and many others is if you could compare the Mola amps to some NC400 amps. Any chance of that?
Ian

Hi Ian,
we share the same anticipation. Bruno communicated that the pre-production Mola-Mola setup of monos and pre is almost ready to ship to us. Regarding a comparison between the Mola-Mola amps and Ncore 400-based amps, that's not easy. First off, the 400 is meant exclusively for the DIY market which translates to no real off-the-shelf production versions we could get our hands on. The 1200 meanwhile is marketed for OEM purposes only, see Srajan's review of the Acoustic Imagery Atsah. Finally we respond to manufacturers' review solicitations and history tells us that careful planning of logistics on our side tends to differ from what actually happens. But we will keep your interest in mind.
Marja & Henk
Hello Srajan,
I personally want to say that I have enjoyed your site for several years now. The scope of your coverage into the outer niches of hifi has been illuminating. The many unique and bespoke products you have covered and the often unconventional design and engineering behind them has engaged me as a music lover and challenged me as a designer to find the true core of what makes a product create music and not merely sound. Your succinct descriptions and colorful prose are truly telling of your talent as a reviewer and I wanted to express my appreciation personally and for what you do for the audio community. 
Thanks,
Patrick Schrack
Birch Acoustics
Hello Srajan,
In your review of the Acoustic Imagery Atsah, you summed up the review by saying that they can compete against the Pass SIT and Bakoon amps except for the last degree of treble sophistication. How did you find the NCore to perform at low listening levels compared to those amps (I remember you mentioned in the Bakoon review that it particularly excelled in this aspect)? On a side note, looking forward to read your review of the Auralic Vega and maybe a second take at the Lumin as well?
Best regards,
Hesham Elshirbiny

The NCore did very well at low levels which frankly caught me by surprise. In general I don't find high-power amps very good at it and all ICEpower versions I've heard were merely middling at whisper levels. John Darko is lined up to do the Vega but I might get a unit for a 2nd opinion. On the Lumin however I opted out. Li On was very keen to send me one but I declined because it won't work in my setup. I'm allergic to wifi (it gives me a headache), I run iTunes with PureMusic and all my music is stored on the 2TB hard drive of my iMac (the OS is on the 256GB SSD). Since Lumin elected to have no digital inputs to use their unit as a DAC for users like myself who already have a server, they force us to add a second server, do the whole router/network routine, install new software like Kinsky on our computer and run a wifi tablet for a remote. That's an unnecessary aggravation I don't need. I would be curious to hear it seeing how blown away Joël was - but only after they've added at least one digital input I can tap. Unlike Joël I haven't yet seen the light of so-called audiophile music servers. The QAT I reviewed to be proven wrong had no sonic advantage over my iMac/DAC combo, cost a lot more and suffered on functionality by comparison. I'm thus mentally challenged still when it comes to this topic -:)
Srajan
Dear Mr. Ebaen,
just a quick message to say thank you for the fantastic help and entertainment you provide in your blog. My hifi life has always been adventurous, culminating about 10 years ago when Gary Dahl made a pair of interstage-coupled VV52B monos for me which fed my home-made Ariel speakers (Lynn Olson plans) and a custom modified cheap Korean CD player with a modified MSB DAC and incredibly huge power supply (also made by Gary Dahl). It was fun but I grew tired of the sound and my family grew tired of the precautions and sheer size of it all not to mention the heat ;)

And just as I was drifting into home cinema and lo-fi boredom, your website pulled me out of the water and back into a world of excitement, thought, meditation, pondering and imagining sound in-between your words. Anyway, I have since downscaled and 'up-fun'ned with a home-made pair of Zigmahornets and a Winsome Labs Mouse. Today I decided to go the USB DAC way and, joy of joys, just ordered a 24/192 Metrum Octave DAC on the basis of your review. I long drooled over the Anthony Gallo Strada but could not justify the expense for my office and did not want to mess with a sub so your review of the Classico range made me jump up and down like a child and these will soon be ordered too (still need to make up my mind between the CL2 and CL3 for a smallish room).

All this to say that there aren't many ways a reader can say thank you other than ... actually saying "thank you". I have told Met Vriendelijke (from Metrum) and Mena Finkel (RoundSound) plus the "Two Bald Guys" that 6moons was at the source of my acquisitions, hoping this can help you secure more loaners and foster good relationships with manufacturers. Please keep up the fascinating work, it is a joy to read. Do you know of any good resources on USB fed hifi? My initial attempts have been incredibly frustrating (I can't even get Foobar to play music through the sound card or accuraterip to detect my inboard CD player) and the constant debates over FLAC vs uncompressed provide very little practical help for someone starting out in this direction.
So, a heartfelt thank you to you and all the 6moons team.
Best Regards,
Pascal

www.computeraudiophile.com have set themselves up as a kind of authority on the PCfi subject so that might be a good resource for you. Re: the Metrum Octave, the Octave 2 was just announced which'll do 24/192 over USB and has improved jitter and performance specs all for $1.075 in one box like their flagship Hex.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Read your review of the W4Sound mPre + mAmps. In comparison to the  Burson Conductor, my interpretation of your reviews is that the Burson Conductor's DAC is superior to the mPre.  For someone who would use  a phono stage ahead of them,and connect to a high input-impedance SS  amp (e.g. the Herron M-1'S), which would you recommend for  reproduction of acoustic (small- to large-scale) music?
Thank you,
Harvey

As it should for costing more, the Burson Conductor as headphone amp and DAC is superior but it's also exclusively single-ended, features a stepped attenuator (less intermediate values) and no remote. The mPRE operates as a passive below unity gain but unlike a passive runs active buffering for stable output impedance. How it might interact with your amplifier I unfortunately can't predict at all except to suspect that it'll be quicker, more energetic and slimmer than the active Burson assuming you'll be listening to it in passive mode.
Srajan
Thank you for the very interesting review of the mTrio. I currently have an Oppo 105 which has enough digital inputs to handle all my sources. Since the 105 can drive a power amp directly—mine a Parasound A21—do you see any advantage of including an mPre in the chain?
Thank you.
Raymond

This gets us into the debate whether digital volume control is audible and if so, how much. Sabre claim theirs is 'invisible'. Current owner feedback of the Oppo 105 I've read suggests that the addition of a preamp is a very audible improvement. In past experiments I've found digital volume controls to be perfectly 'legit' if used at up to 10dB attenuation. Unfortunately most my listening (due to overall system gain, speaker efficiency and such) tends to involve a lot more attenuation. In general then, my experience has been that analog volume control is superior but it's always dangerous to make sweeping one-size-fits-all statements. Dan Wright who does a mod for the 105 (my review loaner is due in today) recommends against amp-direct drive but the cynics will point out that he would say that since he sells preamps. I'll report in my modded 105 review on what I think but unless the heavens part, I suspect I'll be siding with Dan and those other owners who prefer an external linestage. Until I've tried it, I simply won't know though-:)
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
I've been enjoying your reviews of a number of valve amps in the 6moons archives. It's been a revelation to read reviews that talk my language. I find the 6moons reviewers' descriptions of musical differences in the presentation of varying components to be extremely informative in conveying their sonic signatures.This all leads me to my question. After many many years of playing with audio I found a good deal of contentment with a system that comprised a pair of Audio-Note  AN/E driven by a pair of Audion parallel single-ended 300B Silver Nights fed by a Denon S-10. Unfortunately it was all stolen and it has taken me ten years to finally get another system up and running. This time I have another set of Audio-Note AN/E (I just love them but do hate the Audio Note wank factor and crazy pricing!), an Almarro 318B and a Meridian 24-bitt 508. I am very much a working-class man and wish to finalize a sound with which I am content to change it no more. Any purchase will be second hand to enable me to gain the best sound for my dollar.

The sound now is good but not great. It lacks that magic which makes you keep playing discs. I feel the culprit is the little Almarro. It's fantastic value for money, beautifully built but I feel its presentation lacks some aspects I find critical. As some background the AN/E are paper-coned 94dB designs which I use a good 1.3 meters from the front wall as I am no fan of corner placement. At present I find the Almarro has the following strengths which I really enjoy: Very fast. It has greet speed and timing far superior to the Audion monos. Great detail. I do not feel that any detail is left on the disc. Real punch for rock and bands like Tool which have a really good presentation of power and speed.

The aspects of reproduction I currently lack or wish to have are as follows. The entire performance occurs behind the plane of the speakers. I like to have the vocalist front and center ahead of the speakers. It also lacks depth. The presentation is very much a flat plane. This also results in a loss of venue acoustics. The Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions or John Williams in Seville lose their appeal. The reproduction gives you the note but not body of the instrument. You see the note in your mind but not the guitar. Emotionally cold. Music that is magic with its emotional voicing rather than dynamics becomes dull and not at all involving. This is an area where the Audions excelled. Lack of defined image outlines. The players and instruments lack that solid defined acoustic space that lets you see them or the instrument.

Must haves are strong fast deep bass. I look for the ability to present both the tone and note with the fundamental power and bloom plus ability to see the string and its harmonics and decay. It is the combination of the ability to sound like a valve head driving a pair of 15" drivers (very 60s) and the modern sound of a great Ampeq head driving a set of 8x10 inch drivers. One has great size and presence, the other speed punch and dynamics. Great vocals. I need to hear and see the vocalist up front center and defined as I listen to plenty of Kate Bush, Johnny Cash et al. Sympathetic. I have no desire to leave my music in the rack and listen to audiophile plink-plonk crap! I am looking for an amp that brings the strengths to the fore on less than ideal recordings. I felt the Audions were fairly good at this. Ability to involve at lower levels. I like to play loud but need a system that doesn't only work at anti-social levels and can communicate late at night. Wide deep soundstage. Speed, timing and transient ability. The Almarro shows the Audion a clean set of heels in this. Smooth crisp treble. I would take a slight roll off at the top end ahead of harsh treble.

Before I bore you to death I feel the following amps may meet my criteria but due to Australia being such a high-end backwater I have no chance to hear them: Art Audio Jota with volume pot; Art Audio Carissa with volume pot (can you still get KR tubes?); Leben CS600 (I think the bass may let me down). I am more than happy to take the integrated route or use a passive pot. Avoiding the expense of a good preamp is a good thing for me and it worked well with the Audions. I am open to any suggestions. I guess I want the emotions of a 300B with the punch of an 845. Like all of us I want the perfect amp for bugger-all money.
Hugh Barnes

I'm really not familiar with the Audio Note speakers other than from trade shows which always had them smack in the corners. There I never saw eye to eye with sound or setup never mind the pricing insanity which even has you bothered. None of that matters in this discussion of course other than that I have no handle on what this speaker might sound like in my own space and with my own electronics. And that makes me entirely uncomfortable about any recommendations around it. Some of the qualities you want—you essentially want it all which could be a bit unreasonable especially seeing how the speakers are already locked in—also strike me as being at odds with your favored low-power valve amplification. Something like a solid-state Lavardin integrated for example might well get you closer - or a FirstWatt J2 with a 6SN7-based valve preamp. But again, I'm nowhere near familiar enough with the Audio Note speakers to have any clue how to massage their sound to your liking, sorry.
Srajan

Dear Srajan,
maybe you could kindly forward this email to Hugh Barnes who asked which amp he should use with his AN-E. I've been enjoying the AN-E for about five years now. They are not the best speaker around but I like their sound a lot. I have experimented with different amps and room placement. I like fullrange sound and a feeling of immersion. Concerning placement it is critical to put them close to a wall to reinforce the bass. It is also important to toe them in for better imaging and a more natural sound. More than 30° is necessary. If they are too much into the room, you get 3D phantom images but you will need a subwoofer. So put them close to a rear wall or very close to the corners. Imaging is very good this way but you won't get the illusion that there is music outside the speakers. Everything happens inside but is big and fast if you have the right amp. This brings me to amp choice. I have tried the following: Naim Nait 5i, Audio Note Meishu, Symphonic Line RG9, Kingrex and finally a Shindo Apetite. The Naim is nice but at least to my ears a little dull compared to a valve amp. The Meishu does everything right but mine had reliability issues so I sold it after a repair and complete check-up. The SL is a bass monster but lacks in the highs when paired with the E. It works perfect with Focal speakers but with the E there was a loss in the higher frequencies especially with cymbals and other sounds that need a lot of speed.  Wrong amp for that speaker or wrong speaker for that amp. The Kingrex was okay but there wasn't enough bass. It was more ethereal than the massive 150wpc RG9. The Shindo is to my mind the best so far: it is fast, very transparent, full of detail with strong bass and very good imaging. I have never heard other push-pull valve amps in my system but I suspect that you should go that way. Get a good used push-pull integrated and very important!, put the Es closer to the wall. You might lose a little imaging but you will win everything else. 12 watts get very very loud on that speaker so a more powerful amp is not necessary. And the Es are also very good at low volume.
Sorry for my english, I'm not a native speaker.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Rainer Nowacki
Hi Srajan,
I hope you can give us an idea of how the Astell&Kern portable player compares to other non-portable headfi options such as the Asus Xonar Essence Muses or the Burson Conductor. In other words, not relative to other portables but in an absolute sense at least with headphones that present a compatible load, especially IEMs since that is its natural pairing. With no USB interface, battery power and no extraneous computer operations to juggle, maybe it is pretty good?
Best regards,
Nathan Lewis

It's already packed up and ready to go, sorry. And IEMs would not be a natural load for the Asus or Burson as their full-size sockets indicate already, never mind their power rating. There's only so much I can say about any one component. I always pack as much relevant information as I can but there are obvious limits and sometimes a reader doesn't find the particular answer he was hoping for. Perhaps some other reviewer of the AK100 will investigate that avenue?
Srajan
Dear Joël,
Thank you for the Lumin review. Can I quickly ask for just a little clarification. It has an onboard DAC. Were you using it in this review as just a streamer? Or were you using it in DAC mode also? I see wires connected to both the analog and digital out options in the photo… and am a little unclear as to whether the TotalDac and GD5 were used. If you used it as just a streamer, was its DAC capability still 'Lunar Eclipse' awardable?
Thanking you in anticipation.
Regards
Paul

Dear Paul,
I mainly used the Lumin as an integrated device with its internal dac. It is damned good and the comparison I made was against the internal DAC of my Esoteric K-03 player. As I wrote it in the review, the BNC digital output is no gadget and worked very well with my K-03's DAC. Between both modes (digital vs analog), my preference goes to analog but not by much. IMO you should consider the Lumin as an integrated device since I honestly doubt that the Audio GD or Totaldac improve the outstanding results delivered by the Lumin's internal DAC.
Regards,
Joël

Dear Joël,
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and clarify the question. Being over in Vietnam with the inherent difficulties in auditioning or attending shows, reviews such as posted on 6moons become a life line as far as research and selection are concerned. Your review really challenges me to get to Hong Kong and check out this Lumin for myself.
Best regards,
Paul
Dear Srajan,
I read with interest you article from May 2012 about various USB cables. Since I had an Entreq Konstantin around and in view of a certain exchange with Per Olof, I decided to have a look. See attached image. Does that not look like a stock cable to you?
Best regards
Rudi
Very interesting, Rudi. That does in fact look like someone's stock cable though from the writing I can't tell whose. Disappointing, that!
Srajan

It's just a basic stock cable from China or elsewhere: USB 2.0 Cables fully rated 30V 80° as they all say. I got some voodoo explanation from Per Olof that it's all in the connectors but they look stock to me too. Indeed I am rather disappointed by this. For some reason he offered to trade it in for a recent version—after suggesting I buy an upgrade to the Challenger which is probably the same cable at twice the price—but I somehow don't see the point. I guess this one has $5 worth of material in it, less than a stamp to Sweden, never mind the principle of the thing. Anyway, thought you'd want to know...
Rudi

As you see on our site under 'About Entreq' we clearly state that whenever possible we always try to use cables which already are in production. We also offer a 6-week return privilege to all customers who don't feel that our products create any improvements. And there are many customers who like our sound.
Per Olof
Dear Mr. Ebaen,
My Client: Sabih Tasoz
I act on behalf of the above-named client and have been instructed in connection with your publication of his personal data. Kindly note my interest. I refer to your article reviewing the Ten Audio TAD1 which can be found at the following address: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/tenaudio/4.html

Within that review is the following text: Ten Audio Limited also wishes to inform all its customers and potential customers that Mr. Sabih Tasoz of 26 Walmer Road, Lytham St Anne’s, Lancashire  FY8 3HL no longer represents Ten Audio and is not authorised to sell any products on its behalf or to give any representations about its products on its behalf. Kind regards,Jacqueline Read and Gregor Szymczyk, Ten Audio Ltd

The publication of the text above and in particular my client’s name and address by you is causing him unwarranted and substantial damage and distress. The implication of the text being that my client has somehow committed some form of wrongdoing by, for example, holding himself out to represent Ten Audio Limited without authorisation. This is not the case and any wrongdoing by him is absolutely denied. My client now requests the removal of his personal data and in particular the text above in accordance with section 10 of the Data Protection Act 1998. Failure or refusal to do so will result in an application for an injunction compelling you to do so without further notice. Should this be required my client will additionally seek an order for payment of his costs.
Regards,
Matthew Lardner

Dear. Mr. Lardner,
I would direct your and Mr. Tasoz' attention to a few items.

1/ Paragraph 2 of our disclaimer posted prominently on this page right below current audioreviews, direct link here. There it says, relevant section underlined, that "When it comes to a maker's business conduct and customer service; availability and long-term reliability of product; back orders and waiting lists; pricing, franchise, advertising or other disputes between a manufacturer and his chosen sellers or repair facilities; other types of disputes been a maker and his chosen representatives or those acting on his behalf; financial obligations; warranty issues; in short, business matters... it is the sole responsibility of the reader and prospective customer to conduct the necessary due diligence upfront or engage in necessary action to get satisfaction afterwards. We will not get involved in such disputes or litigation."

As Mr. Tasoz initiated contact on behalf of Ten Audio with my publication, it was his responsibility to take note of this.

2/ Ten Audio's attorneys instructed them to request the verbatim manufacturer's reply which I added to their review. Since it was their review and their product, I of course complied.

3/ Any attempts by either party to involve me and my company in a frivolous law suit will continue to result in full published documentation on my site. In fact this communication including your email has already been published in my letters/feedback section. I'm copying the folks at Ten Audio on this in hopes that they and Mr. Tasoz will resolve their obvious conflict.
ATB.
Srajan Ebaen
Hi Wojciech,
just read your piece on the Devialet at 6moons. Did you forget we own two D-Premier as part of one of our reference sets? Next you mention the D-Premier being a digital amplifier, an opinion we do not share. The trick of the ADH hybrid is that the tone and sound is fully the responsibility of the tiny class A amp. We tested the D-Premier just running the class A 1wpc module by taking out the class D board. With 107dB sensitive Avantgardes that was no problem and showed that when the class D module was replaced, the 'sound' of the D-Premier did not change for one single bit (pun intended!). The class D part just boosts power. Devialet compares it best to power steering in a car; you do the actual steering (class A) and the power steering (class D so to speak) makes it effortless. In our upcoming AudioSolutions Rhapsody 130 review some aspects of the D-Premier will get highlighted further.

In the article you wish for a display on the remote. You didn't try the app that gives exactly that functionality? Regarding switching amp technology—digital is in fact not the correct word—you might want to follow the progress with the Ncore 1200-based amplifiers. We are the happy owners of a pair of monoblocks equipped with these modules and are completely in love with them. Run straight from our PC/Phasure NOS1 streamer/DAC into either the big Pnoe horns or Avantgarde Duo horns, it is the smallest step from a live performance ever. Downside is that listening to CDs is no longer enjoyable ...
Best regards,
Marja & Henk
Forwarded from Martin Gateley of soundkaos and his Wave 40 speaker. First from his acoustic consultant:
Hi Martin, what a fantastic review, you should feel very proud! I like your aversion to "big boxes". You did look a little faint when you first saw my 200s (they haven’t got any smaller). "The second thing Lowther-injured listeners will note with pleased approval is the lack of hot-spotted lower treble. In the BBC's runaway series The Good Wife, the main character Alicia asks her girlfriend Kalinda whether she's a lesbian. In a bar two years later when Alicia has long since learnt about a one-night stand with her husband, Kalinda explains "I'm flexible". For lack of excess upper mid/lower treble energy we must thank Martin's religious flexibility which had him low-pass his widebander. In nearly all other quarters in this part of speaker town that's considered sacrilege. Only Tommy Hørning is a happy fellow sinner. By not running this Armin Galm driver wide open on top, its more ragged response above what became the filter point was cut off. Cheers to pragmatism, Kalinda and flexibility.” And "with due apologies to Rethm, Lowther and Voxativ...one ever gets from even the snazziest of whizzers." This was a difficult decision and a brave one I should add. But you now have full confirmation and backing from a world-class reviewer. This is really a very good position to be in.

This also is a nice comment and one after my own heart: "During a pre-Christmas stint to Geneva Ivette and I encountered a classical soprano busking in the street accompanied by minus-one material on a boom box. The carrying power of her unamplified voice through wide-open air across long city blocks above the din of a bustling luxury shopping section was shocking." Your speakers get very very close to this. Thanks for the reference, it means a lot to me to be associated with such a fine instrument!
Cheers,
Christien Ellis

And from the designer of the Enviee driver [translated from German]: Hello Martin, congrats on a fine review. You did everything right, particularly the choice of ingredients and the exquisite careful build. I recommend our new 'just' widebander. Testers in Germany love it and nearly all listen in single-driver mode exclusively!
Cheers and continued success,
Armin Galm
Srajan,
do you think the Bakoon would pair well with a set of Harbeth P3ESR? I'm thinking of demoing the amp and am very curious if you had an opinion. Thanks for any advice you might give. I really enjoy your reviews.
Casey Anderson

I've never personally reviewed a Harbeth but heard 'em at shows. Whilst we do have quite a number of Harbeth reviews on the site, those were all done by contributors. The Bakoon is a very quick supremely lucid amplifier. Harbeths to my mind (let's see whether we agree there) are very meaty, dense and perhaps a tad dark. Someone wanting to emphasize that quality might really enjoy darker slower tube amps. Someone else might wish to counteract some of it and inject some pep and speed and snap and upper harmonics. If you were this second person then I'd say absolutely, the Bakoon should be quite perfect. I thought it was terrific on Zu's new Druid V which on density and tone I'd characterize as chocolaty with a solid infusion of cayenne pepper for dynamic wakefulness.
Srajan
Srajan,
Perhaps your writing should extend beyond the realm of audio, if in fact it doesn't at present.

"With his latest A-014, Shigeki Yamamoto of the eponymous Japanese valve electronics house pays obeisance again to the 300B's reputation as the queen of triodes. Though its chassis color is paler than the deep red of prior models, this machine's tone density and color richness are truly intense. It's a mature comfort sound that paints in bold deep strokes with an emphasis on potent sonic mass. Things acquire weight. They grow earthy and grounded in materialism. But rather than seem rigid and stolid from such weighting, this downward physicality is embedded in supple elasticity. It articulates very fluidly like the peculiar elegance of a jovial fatter man who moves most gracefully. This is a machine for someone who's been around the block a few times to conclude that their favorite time of the year is autumn when the leaves are on fire, the hearth is lit and some honey-colored Sherry swirls seductively in a fine snifter..."

That paragraph is more than we deserve as audiophiles yet worthy of Yamamoto San. Write a book.
Thanks,
Fred
Srajan, 
Every few years or so I seem to catch the upgrade bug. And when I do, I always go to the same doctor - you! My system consists of the Merlin VSM-Mx speakers driven by Wyetech electronics - Sapphire and Jade, both of which you'd recommended and I am thrilled with. My sources are Dan Wright-modified Transporter and Sony SACD (again thanks to you). I used to have Meadowlark Shearwaters prior to moving up to the Merlin. I am in a medium-sized room (20 x 12) and my listening tastes are pretty eclectic. I tend to listen to Rock (Stones, Zeppelin), Jazz (Miles, Coltrane) and electronica 60% of the time and world/classical the other 40% - most of the ideas stem from the reviews on 6moons. 

The Merlins are outstanding 2-ways but they are outstanding 2-ways. I use a pair of 10" subs to flesh out the bottom. I just feel like moving up would get me a more full-range sound and a more "center of the hall" immersive musical feeling than the studio monitor nature of the Merlins. I wanted to get your help on narrowing my choices since you've been down this same path before - namely Devore (Silverback), Wilson (Sasha), Zu (Def IV), Joseph (Pearl) ... some days I contemplate the Rethm (Saadhana) or Magnepan (20.7). I have also been intrigued by the Aries Cerat also because you like them enough to own them.

The subs complement the Merlins well and do fill in the bottom end but given the 2-way monitor nature of the Merlins I get the feeling that I am listening to bookshelf/studio monitors with bass. For one it feels well integrated but not 'one' and for another the 'window' is small. I also get a front-row analytical ultra-hi def feeling. This is recording dependent and tempered to an extent by the tube electronics. I have only heard speakers on my list in showroom or show settings and/or heard you describe them in your reviews - what I picture is a more immersive center-of-the-hall feeling. I also feel like I am reaching a stage in my journey as a listener where it isn't quite about creating the most 'audiophile' experience to one where I can just surrender to the emotion of the music. It's like I am not looking for the latest super-charged Lamborghini that is exhilarating yet twitchy and nervous on most surfaces. I'd settle for the Porsche 911 which I can drive everyday.

I have spoken w/ Roger Hebert at Wyetech about upgrading from the Sapphires to his new Ruby 300B amps which have 4 x 300B per channel and up the power output to 35W so I will have some more flexibility and power reserve as far as speaker loads as concerned... but I am beginning to think building around speakers is a better way to go than around electronics.
Sundeep

One vital diff between 2-way + sub (in augmentation mode) vs. 3-way is that the former doesn't apply a high-pass to the midrange. A 3-way filters that critical driver both on its top and bottom. To get the same purity and coherence from a three-way that a quality 2-way like the Merlin offers tends to not be easy. Two, the inherent freedom of externally powered subwoofers (discrete volume control, discrete placement, discrete low-pass filter setting) can completely overwrite any presumed integration advantages of three-ways. Three, the type of bass control you now get from your 300B amp only powering the 2-ways whilst the subs take care of themselves will not transition if you suddenly ask the same amp to power a three-way superior to what you've already got (even lower bass).

Of the speakers you ask about, the Zu Definition IV sounds closest. However I'd actually look at the Druid V plus one or two Undertone subwoofers (or one or two Submission). In my experience it's rare to have spatial coincidence between where a big speaker's bass integrates optimally with the room versus where it will otherwise soundstage and disappear best. And lumpy muddy bass is possibly the worst sonic offense. The freedom to place the mains where they sound best whilst placing the sub/s elsewhere is very useful. Suddenly not having that option after having been used to it could be one rude and costly awakening. Plus even very small bass amplitude and low-pass setting changes can affect our sonic perception greatly. With a sub/sat system you've got that season-to-taste ability. With a typical passive 3-way you're locked in.

Based on your goals, I think the Druid V+ could serve you well. Its 16-ohm load and high efficiency also make it ideal for your valve amp. Another option relative to the 'immersive mid-hall feeling' would be a dipole panel speaker which more energizes the total room but your amplifier wouldn't be suitable.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I appreciated your review of the Clones 25i (among countless other reviews). In your review you noted the lack of sub-out functionality. If the user was comfortable limiting themselves to just two inputs, Funjoe has indicated it is no problem converting the #3 RCA input to an active stereo pre-out at no extra charge. I may just order one and test the waters. I currently have a DAL Audio LM3886 gainclone that is pretty decent but lacking some finesse so staying with the gainclone approach, it seems Clones may have something more approaching the Audiosector Patek and uses the same LM3875. I am wondering why you didn’t mention the Patek in your review, seeing that it uses the same chip, plus I thought you were running the Patek in one of your systems, but obviously that may have changed?
Thanks for your time.
Wayne Taljit

My Pateks were 120V from my time in the US. With both Cyprus and later Switzerland on 230V, the Pateks aren't components I use anymore - hence no comparative comments.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
It is interesting that we find distributors becoming retailers and retailers becoming distributors. As a retailer who also distributes certain brands in Canada (Audiodesk System, Marten Design and ATC loudspeakers), we are often criticized for wearing two hats. Certainly there is a correct way and an incorrect way to wear either hat or both hats. In today's world with ever more products available, there are still many brands which do not have a presence in many countries because the traditional distributors have a full catalog of products, many of which compete against the newcomers. As we do not make our entire profit from importation alone, we feel we can usually offer better product pricing for the manufacturers we represent plus have the pleasure of working with and traveling to our suppliers in these countries.
Best Regards,
Bryan Taylor
The Gramophone Inc
Alberta Canada
Hello Srajan,
I am a regular reader and thanks to your reviews a happy owner of the Eximus DP-1. I 've been reading with curiosity your reports of external devices to shed the noisy USB power line and now this new review of the SOtM USB converter. Given so many anecdotal reports of better sound with external USB converters, I'm curious as to what proportion might be due to truly better conversion versus simply having any functional device between computer and DAC which now effectively separates the two electrically. It would seem that any USB-SPDIF converter review should compare to a USB isolating device rather than USB direct as the most appropriate 'control group'. Thanks for your continued thought-provoking reviews.  
Sincerely,
Bryan Kestenbaum

Agreed and already done, Bryan. Those were my experiments with the split KingRex uArt USB cable and the Bakoon BPS-02 battery supply. Without changing USB transceivers, I could upgrade USB-powered modules like the XMOS inside my DP-1 to battery power. That was an audible improvement for both the Eximus and the USB-powered Audiophilleo 2. With the SOtM 'trio' (standard USB bridge + super clock + battery supply) I simply couldn't report in stages. With the super clock installed, the main box's requirements exceed USB power so one must run the battery supply. How much of the improvement I heard over Metrum Hex direct (which compared to previous external bridges was very good) now came predominantly from which of the three SOtM bits I don't know. All I know is that as a $1.500 combination including the VdH AES/EBU cable, it was the next step up in this game. With iFi's linear power supply for USB cables another affordable option already reviewed by John Darko and Michael Lavorgna on their respective sites, consumers have a number of ways to experiment with their currently USB-powered setups. As you said, anecdotal evidence of their efficacy is increasing. The real question is, how much will each individual think these improvements are worth? Depending on system context and listening bias, the delta of difference here is certainly far smaller than standard component swaps. How much money then should be allocated to USB 'tweaks' to keep everything in proper perspective? That's one of those unanswerables where everyone is on their own -:)
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I have been enjoying 6moons for a few years now. I suppose that goes without saying as the purpose of this note is to solicit advice from you. I have tried literally dozens of different components in trying to find that nirvana state that we all quest for as participants of this expensive distraction. In doing so I decided a little while back that I would approach this with a more focused attack. I have begun assembling my system based on your reviews and comparisons. Rather than buy what everyone else says is good, and each reviewer having different preferences, I have chosen to follow yours. The reason for this is that your writeup on the Modwright KWA150 really sounded to me like the amplifier I had been searching for. After reading your review, the most valuable part being the comparisons with other components I had tried, I purchased a used KWA150 over the Internet. Once I ran it in for a few hours, I was hearing exactly what I hoped I would. That's when it occurred to me that your writing style and my listening style might be matched closely enough to finally trust someone else's ears from afar. 

Since then I have also purchased the Wyred4Sound Dac2 and their STP-SE preamp as well all based on what I expected to hear thanks to your honest, entertaining and realistically comparative reviews. However I can't buy everything you write about so here is where the advice comes in. I am anxiously awaiting the remaining pages of the Druid V review. I have logged a few hours talking to Sean Casey about the various models and I'm of the opinion that I have probably been searching for this product as they have now released it. The speaker I have most enjoyed has been the Reference3A Grand Veena. I think this is due to not having a crossover on the midrange but there is not enough oomph in the bass department. My VonSchweikert VR4jr MkIII were very good in the bottom but too veiled. I want a 'live' big floorstanding sound. I plan to use them in a fairly large room ( converted 1800's church in fact).  Anyway, knowing the rest of the playmates, I hope you can have a few words for me based on what you have observed so far with the Druids. I would be stretching my budget for them but if they are right then it would be worth it.
Respectfully, with admiration,
Steve Miller

I just got a UPS tracking number for delivery on January 25th so I don't have the pair yet. That said, what your question brings up is bass power in a large space. A converted church will likely have a high ceiling. This adds significant cubits of air to be energized over and above actual square footage. The Druid is spec'd to 35Hz. I expect this means reasonably solid 40Hz in a standard-size room. How that'll translate to your presumably rather bigger one I can't predict. Much will also depend on your listening distance. Here their Undertone or Submission subwoofer models could enter. One or two of those would be easily added afterwards should the need or desire arise. It admittedly exceeds your current budget but could well be superior to having Zu's powered bass system installed in the main boxes like the Definition IV does. I've been told that my shipment will include a single Submission subwoofer. If so I'll definitely report on how it blends with the Druid V and whether a room like mine (5.5 x 12 meters, standard ceilings, staircase to open upper floor) really needs the sub.
Srajan
Srajan,
I luckily had a loan of the Bakoon amp recently as mentioned on HiFi Wigwam. I certainly agree with your conclusions and now I see that review from Wojciech too. Running through my Ocellia Calliopes it's a perfect match. Life-size imagery and 'reality'. I can confirm that it works excellently with my majorly inefficient Wharfedale isodynamic headphones. If it works with those it'll run anything (and that's with the amp set to medium so I assume 'high' will be more than enough). Style and substance!
Chris Skelton

Wigwam review: Listening to hifi equipment at the higher echelons is a bit like tasting fine wines. You need a good palate or in this case good hearing. Being the (right?) side of 60—well I would say that—my hearing will have lost its high-frequency capability. But the capacity to hear detail, ambience etc. still applies. And in the case of the Bakoon amp it certainly does apply. Bakoon is a new name to most, having popped up on my horizon via Srajan's review, a good place to read on the construction and special feature (SATRI drive). Bakoon aren't just new boys on the block apparently but certainly new to Europe/UK. This piqued my interest for two reasons. The amp is small and neat! Also as I have efficient speakers (Ocellia Calliope .21 Grandis Signatures if you want to be formal) the lack of wattage (15) wasn't a problem. Even at 15 ohms. But the reputed depth of detail retrieval and speaker control seemed to indicate it would be ideal for those of us with efficient units.

I use a Pass F3 for the same reason but the difference in physical size is marked! I fantasized about a system with just an iPod and Bakoon. Neat! Literally. The Bakoon is nearly smaller than my d/a (oh yes, I'd need the d/a.) It does get warm though, warmer than my F3. Jack at BD Audio thought it would look good made of Perspex but I think the aluminium case must help as a heatsink. (Test track 'She runs hot for me' by Little Village). So how does it sound? Well, if you can read through Srajan's prose you won't be surprised that it sounds excellent. I'm not going to ramble on about veils and reality. But it certainly digs out all the detail in the music and 'paints a lovely picture'. Despite its small size it deals with the sound spectrum very well. No lack of bass detail and grip, with cymbals sounding clear.

I find a sign of a good amp is how voices sound. Our brains are hardwired to voice so when a system reproduces voice with accuracy it becomes obvious. The subtleties are portrayed perfectly. Bakoon seem to claim zero rise time and this must affect leading edges of sound to a great extent. Works wonders on Fado. Every nuance of a  voice is portrayed perfectly as if in its own bubble of space. But a live version of Green Onions with Steve Cropper's hard chords at the beginning sounds great too! Great dynamics. A long time favourite/test track is 'Caverna Magica' by Andreas Vollenweider. Best I've ever heard it I think. More definition than ever. Mariza sounds even more wonderful (O gente de minha terra).

I had the music playing while I was on the iMac and found I kept stopping to listen. The clarity and detail are apparent even at low levels, another mark of a great amp. With some you feel you want to turn up the volume in an attempt to dig out detail. Not here. The 'first watt' principle applies much wider. The amp can catch you out too. It's so 'clean' you have to be careful with the (neat!) volume control. The volume contrasts are dealt with immediately. A Flamenco piano record I have (Diego Amador) works wonders. Very dramatic, the percussive playing is perfectly dealt with.

It won't suit everyone being single input. If you have more than one source you'd need a preamp. But a good one! Don't strangle the sound before it gets to this amp. The more you listen, the more you hear your music afresh. Flamenco's percussive attack shows the amp's capacity excellently. No dulling of the sound or rounding of edges. Sharp detail. The rapid clapping on Manolo Sanlucar's 'Patio Jerez' was sharp and succinct. Oh, and the cat ran away from the 25 seconds of a steam train crossing the ponta (bridge) on 'Ponta de  Areia' by Milton Nascimento!

A sideline advantage is that it has the capacity to be a headphone amp, another reason I was intrigued as my 'phones are the world's most inefficient. I run them from a Hafler 100-watt amp (though not at 100 watts!). Well, with the Bakoon at full volume it was fine!  As it has 3 gain settings internally (I wasn't going to dismantle it!) I'm guessing that it's still set at 'medium'. 'High' would suit mine better but for any other headphone it is more than sufficient. Great imagery, great bass, cymbals crisp. Anita Baker's funk was magnificent. Oh, and no hiss at all and also silence with ear to speaker.

There are some practical difficulties. Those of you with a predilection for hose-pipe cables and huge cable ends will find you may need to anchor the cable to stop it dragging the amp away! It works fine with DNM cable! Or CAT6! The thing that stays with me is the way the amp gives you the whole music, each facet clear and distinct. The old cliché about hearing things in favourite music you hadn't heard before holds very true here. Simple stuff or complex, it handles it all superbly. It's a gem.
Srajan,
You mention in your 2012 round-up reasons why people might object to 6moons, amongst them crimes against audiophilia, objectivity and double-blind testing. I find myself firmly in the objective side of audio. I’m not a great believer in miniature magic sticks or magic stones or fanciful marketing names for products and made-up science processes. The fact that you cover these products in the same depth as everything else that is reviewed on the site would never put me off reading about the products that I am interested in. Please don’t think of 6moons as being a site for a certain group of music and hifi lover. It’s not, it appeals to all factions. Those of us with discernment just ignore the features on topics we have no interest in and enjoy the well-written and researched articles on those that we have an interest in. Keep up the work, you have the most interesting and varied music and hifi-related content on the web.
Merry Xmas,
Simon Clark

Thanks, Simon. We'll definitely keep buggering on as Winston Churchill is rumored to have said. My main attitude is to trust the intelligence of our audience. Your take on it just confirmed once again why -:)
Srajan
Hello,
With all the reviews and differing opinions about interconnects, speaker wire and power cords, I've noticed that almost all equipment's internal wiring seems very pedestrian. If wire is so important, why don't more manufacturers use upscale wire internally? Thanks for considering my question and love your website, especially the in-depth comparisons in the reviews. Reviews aren't much help to me until I have a measure of the reviewer and you give readers a chance to understand your perspective and see how it relates to our preferences.
Paul Bujold

Yes and no. True, I've seen examples that would suggest apparent neglect on this count. But computer-type ribbon cable is perfectly adequate for bidirectional comm protocol, display lighting etc. In critical signal-path junctures you hope for a lot better and that's often exactly what you get. It simply may not look like very much. Some speaker makers which by design consume greater lengths of the stuff than amps or CD players go to extremes—the recently reviewed Estelon speakers use Kubala-Sosna wiring for example—but even preamp designers like Steve McCormack are known to go after exotica like Siltech gold/silver and Stealth carbon wiring even though there'll be mere centimeters of the stuff by comparison. Much 'external' wiring is dressed up to look the part. Used internally in components, the dress can go and what's left might seem quite pedestrian indeed. And I'm not saying that some of it isn't really under-spec'd. It's simply that only looking at things doesn't always tell the whole story.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
Thank you and Wojciech for the reviews of the Studio Oslo and your kind words. I think you nailed it. Being compared to Gallo's Strada, (which is nearly twice the price sans amplification) is high praise indeed. Especially as I believe the Strada a relative deal at $2k. Über resolution without strain costs. It's an exciting time to be in audio.  he envelope for what has been reference sound has become increasingly accessible to your average music lover, even as cost-no-object designs attempt to keep the target moving. The proliferation of artist-engineers like Nelson Pass, Jarek Waszczyszyn, Sasa Cokic, Cees Ruijtenberg, Akira Nagai, Jacob George, Vincent Brient, Roland Krammer, Bruno Putzeys, Burson, Wyred, King Wa, Jackson and Slagle's Emia and a host of others have made the divide between the best and the public not so unfathomable.*     

Exploiting that lessening divide is our goal at StereoDesk and AudioPrana. By way of explanation, StereoDesk is an on-line source for urban/small space solutions while AudioPrana (opening in 2013) is a brick and mortar salon focused on curated explorations of our favorite music makers, tailored to the lifestyles and spaces of our clientele. It's into the StereoDesk ethos that the Studio Oslo neatly fits. It's not an everyperson's speaker to be sure, but computer-side it's a music lovers delight. (What were those nifty pucks you were using to elevate them?)
Thanks again,
Fred Crane
StereoDesk

*As quoted from Jeffery Jackson and Dave Slagle of Emia, "Thank you to the giants whose shoulders we stand upon."

The pucks were spare decouplers from Artesania Audio's Esoteric rack which I use in the big system. That product includes two sets of decouplers - one with thick Neoprene pads, one with thin ones. I use the former on the equipment in the rack, the latter sat unused in a drawer. When looking for something to elevate the S.O.'s front a bit to raise up the image on my desktop, I remembered them and they were sized perfectly for the job.
Srajan
Srajan, 
Any initial impressions on the new Hex? Any better than the Octave? I bought the Metrum based on your and Martin's reviews and it is as good as you have said (if not better !). Now I'm on the fence whether I should upgrade to the Hex or not. BTW - not sure if you are still using the Audiophilleo. Philip just sent me the new version with the Pure Power battery PSU and it really makes a big difference. You should ask Philip to send you a sample. It is one of the best if not the best S/PDIF converter I have tried and I tried quite a few. Check out my review of 12 S/PDIF converters published in the Audio June issue. The AP1 tested was standard, i.e. the USB-powered version. Apart from those tested, I have also tried the über-expensive Soulution 590 (which is average at best) and the dCS U-Clock (price performance ratio is also rather poor but at least you can use it in an all dCS system where you can use the clock link connection, to squeeze some extra performance out of it).
Regards,
Adam Mokrzycki
Senior Contributing Editor
AUDIO, Poland

Yes on the Audiophilleo 2. But with a twist. I use the KingRex split uArt USB cable and run the power connector into the Bakoon BPS-02 endless battery supply (this cycles over two batteries so one charges while one plays, then it switches on the fly for 24/7 operation). I agree that going battery power makes an appreciable difference and that's how I use it. The Hex is a whole nutha ball game from the Octave. John Darko promised me a second-opinion contribution on top of his own writeup for his own website. He warned me saying "I hate gushy raves and stay away from them but expect a gushy rave on the Hex if you can handle it". I already feel similarly about it. In fact I spent the last hour trying to whittle down my first impression to really nail it down while it's still alive and twitching. Still working on it. Congrats on the show btw. It seems it was very well attended despite the riots on Sunday. M&H are presently working on part II of their report. Part I went live yesterday -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
shortly after your reviews I bought a pair of  Audez'e LCD-2 and Burson HDA-160 and lived with them happily for nearly two years but no matter what ancillaries I have used, I've always missed that ultimate thereness and presence you rarely hear but which for example heard it with a pair of new Maarga driven with Rethm's own amplification. That system had it (in my experience the first that could deliver it at its price where much more expensive ones didn't come close) event hough to my ears it lacked in the mid and upper bass. In the end I decided to sign up for a cost-no-object new headfi system and was mulling over the Stax 009 + Blue Hawaii SE combo when I stumbled upon your Bakoon amp review which I had missed in the summer. In another development I learnt from the TotalDAC website that the balanced Reference D1 can drive headphones connected directly to their main balanced outputs as it puts out a high 6.6V=1w. I would really appreciate your sharing your knowledge and expertise on this subject.
Regards,
Mehrdad Golabir

Well, uh, cough... with the Rethm Maarga + Jacob's own amps, you are setting a mighty high standard -:) I can appreciate how you'd like to replicate that with headphones. Is it possible though? First thing, as you correctly noted, the Maarga is a bit light in the upper-bass range. The LCD2/Burson combo is quite the opposite. On top it is slightly hooded but very powerful in the bass. If you compare the two sounds, your Rethm 'ideal' and the headfi rig you've got show a bit of a flavor clash. Which makes me wonder whether it's sensible to try and 'morph' what you've got in the other direction.

It's been too long that I have heard Stax to be sure whether their tonal balance is a closer match to the Maarga but in theory it seems plausible/possible. The question then becomes, how much will the dedicated amp necessary to drive them shift the sound again - and will it be in the right direction or not? My reference headfi system uses the LCD-2 and Bakoon and right now I'm breaking in the new Metrum Hex DAC which starts out fabulous to where I'm having very high hopes for it. This combo injects some speed and lit-uppetiness into the dark chocolaty heaviness of the LCD-2 which I like very much. Whether it'll be your thing I can't predict of course.

The TotalDAC's minor weakness at least as my friend Dan and I think of it is its analog output stage. Here I think the design can still make advances. Hence I'd be just a bit suspicious about driving headphones directly even though like you I've read that it's possible. In Dan's system and mine we both preferred a preamp behind the TotalDAC rather than running it amp direct. I'd be worried that the same applies to headphones. Another amp to consider that's very good and in line with what Jacob at Rethm would use is the Balancing Act from Eddie Current. Not sure any of this helped but there it is nonetheless -:)

Lastly, I haven't tried the LCD-3 but word on the street is that the treble balance is more open and developed - which would bring it closer to the Rethm sound with no other changes. That could be another route to consider.
Srajan

Dear Srajan
I really appreciate your quick and indepth response that left no part unchecked. It shows how you see your job, helping people in their pursuit of something and not just scribbling something to fill a page. I am from Iran but live in malaysia. Should there by anything I could be helpful with here, just let me know. There are friends we have never met before.
Warmest regards
Mehrdad
Hey Srajan,
First, great reviews! Love your writing style. Anyways Im looking to replace a Squeezebox Classic and want to go straight into my Mac via USB. I was thinking either the ASUS or Concero. But your review isn't done on the Concero. Or another DAC with good value performance. Im still shocked that SqueezeBox/Logitech has discontinued the SB product line. Anyways, I did get the Eximus for my main system and absolutely love it.
Any opinions would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Mike Cullinan

The Concero review will include a comparison to the Asus and Schiit Bifrost -:)
Srajan
Srajan,
I wanted to let you know the very sad news that Eduardo de Lima of Audiopax passed away today. I thought you would want to know as I know that you have known Eduardo for some time and were one of the very first reviewers to champion his cause with your review of the Model 88 many years ago. It is incredibly sad as I also got to know Eduardo quite well (I have been living in Brazil for the last nine years) and particularly more recently as I was one of the first to purchase his new Maggiore M100 monoblocks – the new big brothers of the Model 88. Life is so sad at times and Eduardo had so much more to offer in the hi-fi world.
All best wishes,
James Vickers

This is sad news indeed, James. Eduardo was incredibly gifted and very humble, a combination of virtues not that common. He shall be missed.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
I was delighted that you used part of my correspondence in your review of the NuForce DDA-100. I was particularly proud of "real music has curves" - haha. After another two weeks of continuous run-in there was still no change in the "flat as a pancake" soundstage that I noted in my system. Therefore I have initiated a return to NuForce. I really wanted to love this unit because of its conceptual elegance. How can one not be impressed by its inherent simplicity as compared to the normal arrangement? Bliss for someone who hates audio equipment clutter. But I had to remind myself that it only cost $549 and I was therefore being unrealistic to expect 'more for less'.

My modified Trends 10.1 and my Telefunken S82 single-ended pentode amplifier, the latter skillfully worked over by the estimable Sam Kim of Montreal, have no trouble supplying musical curves with my speakers. Since a chip amp and a tube amp can do so, I expect that it is a matter of continued research and refinement by NuForce to understand how to get their circuitry to project beyond the plane of the speakers. I use a custom dipole design (not monopole box speakers) so the DDA-100 had every chance to project sound forward and backwards. I tried the USB, Toslink and coaxial digital inputs but there was no change in the flat soundstage. Nor was there any difference in 'curvaceousness' when I set the DDA-100's volume above 75. In fact I could play it in the lower to mid 80s in my large listening space. I hope that NuForce perseveres with this design approach. If they come up with a revised design, I would be more than willing to give it a second chance to shine. They could have a winner at 'real world' pricing. 
Best regards,
Jonathan
Srajan,
Always enjoy your articles.  Now I have an issue of my own and I'd appreciate any advice. I'd like to match my Art Audio PX-25 amp (6 watts) with a pair of very good high-efficiency bookshelf speakers. I thought I had just the pair when I recently purchased the Teresonic Magus. Well the combo sounds like a cheap thin system. The transport, DAC & preamp are all state-of-art equipment so I know the problem does not rest there.  I'm disheartened since I read such glowing reviews of these speakers (and maybe they are wonderful with other components), but they do not work well here. Any idea for other options?
Regards,
Richard Lewis

Compact size, real bass and high efficiency don't coexist. You can have any two but not all three. With the Lowther's resonant frequency around 73Hz if I remember correctly plus a small enclosure, there can't be real bass regardless of what's claimed - and that's what you're hearing it seems. I don't know how big of a space you mean to energize with your SET. If it's the nearfield (say two meters removed from the speakers), you should get away with a 92dB 'regular' monitor with a benign impedance curve - something like a Reference 3A DaCapo, see here. Another option would be to add a good music subwoofer which might salvage your Magus setup.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
Still just loving my Bakoon 11R thanks to you. I have been using an NAD M51 DAC for the past 4 months with very happy results (Mac mini Pure Music). Last week I found a link which said I2S signal was available from the HDMI on the DAC. My first test was a BD player via HDMI to DAC. What a huge upgrade from coax this was. It surpassed my USB link from Mac to DAC by a fair margin. Then coming out HDMI from Mac to DAC was a revelation, I would say at least 30%. In the last week I have put it up against some very expensive DACs. The results by myself and other friends was a big margin in favor of the NAD via HDMI over the other DACs using USB. I notice you have had several products that had not been properly sorted before release. This happened to me with a Calyx Femto (2 problems), not good in an AUD 6.000,- item. I returned it and bought the NAD. My conclusion is that other makers of D/A converters should look at I2S via HDMI as a standard. The NAD has two inputs and one out (the out going to your screen). I do hope this happens in the future
Thanks,
Brian Livingston
Hi Srajan,
I just read your Atsah review and you make some rather prescient observations, not least of all in the conclusion -:) Following our conversation almost 2 months ago, I tweaked my Nc400 a bit more to overtake the Rogue Medusa in both heart and mind and now have a set of Nc1200 modules awaiting installation in a fresh chassis. I can however understand your desire to focus on the Mola Mola implementation as I'm sure Bruno has kept a few tricks up his sleeve for this, not least his discrete input/driver circuitry. Do consider popping some nice fuses in there as something like the Furutech/Padis makes a huge improvement. My search now begins for a DAC that will extract the most from their huge S/N potential.
Best wishes
Mark

I think AURALiC's new Vega DAC/processor has Ncore written all over it -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Now that the Zürich rush is all over I would like to thank you for the huge spread you awarded our little speaker adventure on 6moons. General response has been very positive and what made my day were the small number of visitors (die-hard audiophiles and audio professionals) who got the message. At the end of one of the three days one guy sat down and listened to some tune and then said to me: "How relaxing, I was totally beat from all the other rooms and did not realize how stressful this can be. Hey, I could sit here all day." That was my reward for 3 years of hard labour. Best regards and I will be in touch.
Martin Gelately, soundkaos
Hi Srajan,
It looks as though you had an interesting foray at the High End Swiss Show. I look forward to your assessment of the LS50. It only seems logical that they might send along the X300A as well. That's their desktop powered speaker with integral 24/96 USB DAC ...and if you sign up on their site a free dongle ($99 value) will be included to stream music at no extra cost. $799 for the X300A here in the States. $1500 for the LS50. A number of realistically priced small offerings on your plate. Sandwiched between the KEFs would be the Ancient Audio Oslo. Looking forward to your ears' assertions. 
Frederick

This is all assuming I'll be reviewing these. This was obviously just a show report mention. Whether KEF wants to dispatch a pair to us remains to be seen. I'm sure there'll be many such requests and that someone at the company will have to manage who gets what when. I'd certainly be interested as it seems to be a quite brilliant design that would suit many a budget and home.
Srajan
Hi, Srajan
I do already enjoy your website on a usual basis but the Freudian slip in the intro to the HighEnd Swiss report really made my day: verkackte assembly! Classic, I hope you leave that in for all the German-speaking readers to enjoy…
Regards
Maas Mollenhauer (also German by origin but ended up in the land of cheese, chocolate and watches)

Glad you enjoyed this deliberate twist. After considering just how this speaker goes together, it was the only suitable word I could come up with -:)
Srajan
Thanks for your coverage of FirstWatt amps. I was finally able to demo their J2 in my nearfield setup (Gallo Stradas + Eddie Current Balancing Act via the balanced outs). The sound is stunning. Immediate, open and SET/horn like.  I ended up buying the J2. Another friend in the area also bought a J2 to pair with some Harbeths. Thanks for such an exhaustive array of reviews. I find them quite useful, especially when they cross-reference gear that I've actually had in my system.

I heard the HE-6s with the SIT. I'm still not quite sure what all the buzz is about with the HE-6s. 
Best,
Joe Eagleeye
Dear Srajan
I noticed my picture in your Manger review. Please show me my permission for publication.
Have a nice day
R. Koprowski

I mentioned you by name and model which is some free publicity I thought [Mr. Koprowski makes a Manger-based horn speaker I mentioned together with the Silbatone model - Ed]. But I can remove it and the mention if you prefer. No problem at all.
Srajan


In the general case, it is my pleasure that you showed my column. But this time is different. Do you remember your letter below*? I think it's not ok. I made copies of your article and informed my lawyer. If you want it, we can solve otherwise. You write an article on my column (these or others). Everyone will be happy and I forget about the whole thing. You will get full permission for publication at any time, a number of picture all my columns and other equipment.
Have a nice day
R. Koprowski
________________________________________

*Dear Editor
I am an employee of the University of Silesia in Katowice. Within my research I designed speakers (picture include). Loudspeakers are based on the transducer's Manger. Speaker have already won a gold medal  for innovation at fairs in Poland in 2011 year. Have been reported in several places. They were not described by any of the audio industry paper magazine. Therefore, I wanted to ask what conditions must be met to have been described for free at your journal (6moons).
The columns are not commercially available.
Best regards,
R. Koprowski

Hello:
Without being a commercially available product, we couldn't consider a review. We only review production items people can actually buy, not prototypes or proof of concept creations.
Srajan
________________________________________

Okay. The photo and mention of your speaker have been removed.
Srajan

This does not close the topic.
R. Koprowski

Okay, suit yourself.
Srajan
Hello Srajan
my name is Nirav living in Stockholm Sweden. I'm reading your reviews and looking at the pictures with delight. In your Burson Conductor review as follows my understanding you feel it's performing  best with headphones (I have AKG K701). You wrote: "To recap, the Conductor's fullest excellence manifests when all functions are tapped simultaneously. As fixed-gain DAC it's directly competitive with the far costlier Eximus but not better. Ditto as preamp. It's once you enter as digital and exit on 6.3mm that this equality (which isn't sameness just to be sure!) morphs into superiority. That's a real achievement and how the Conductor ought to be used."
Kind regards
Nirav

DAC + headphones makes for 1+1=3 results. For an $1.850 converter to be competitive with one for $3.000 is no mean feat. Many would be happy with that alone. What I said is that if on top of that you add the headphone function, it gets even more disproportionately better. Nobody should infer that my quote implies that the Conductor's preamp or DAC functions aren't very fine. The full "sum being greater than its parts" simply kicks in most fully when the 3-in-1 concept is used as such.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
something other than the perpetual motion of the audio dissatisfaction/craving world. Hopefully both your sense of humour and mastery of US English will prevail - otherwise you will ban me forever!
Shepperd Strudwick

http://videosift.com/video/A-Christian-TV-Show-Explains-The-Dangers-of-Getting-Dick
Hi Srajan,
I really enjoyed your review of the Burson Conductor. Wish it had been around 9 months ago. I opted for the Audiolab MDac, also a Sabre machine that got some accolades as an over performer. Have you had a chance to hear this machine? I appreciated your relative assessment re the various bookend-priced DACs. Would be really interested if you had the time to review the MDac. Alas I’m sure you can’t be all things to everyone. As a matter of suggestion, it might be helpful in your headlines to identify what the actual piece of equipment is. Seeing you delve into the more esoteric brands, it's not always obvious until one reads one or two paragraphs what the heck the thing is.
Thanks,
Mike Stulken

In the audioreviews page, each click-thru graphic hovered over with your mouse already brings up a small text entry identifying what type of component it is - but your browser has to be enabled accordingly. Perhaps it's time we added that description elsewhere as it doesn't seem obvious enough the way it is.

I've not been contacted by Audiolab for any review ever and seeing I barely keep up with solicitations, they've not been on my radar to contact from my end. For the time being, nothing is planned on the MDac then. And you're quite correct, it's impossible to be all things to all people. So we don't even try. We have our particular beat, other publications have theirs and if you overlay a few of them, you come up with a quite complete picture of current goings-on in this industry.
Srajan
Dear Magico team,
congratulations on your new S1 loudspeaker, a very nice and technical design. But there is one issue which is not correct. You claim that the S1 is the world's first monocoque extruded aluminium speaker enclosure. Already 10 years ago we at Daluso (in the Netherlands) designed and manufactured the world's first monocoque speaker enclosure at only 4.5 inch deep and even in a much more difficult cabinet geometry. We would like you to withdraw that claim. Please find pictures attached that prove our evidence. We hope that we didn't spoil your party!
Best Regards,
Ed Doggen, Daluso
Srajan,
I have had the opportunity to compare my pair of J2 amplifiers with a SIT-2 recently. I find myself scratching my head when viewing a number of posts—one involving you as a supporter—from persons describing the FirstWatt SIT amplifier as not up to the sonic standards of their single-ended tube amplifiers. I find the SIT amplifier an entirely new level of amplification when compared with all of my previous amplifiers,  many renowned single-ended tube amplifiers included. I am curious to see the kind of feedback my post/review will receive. I know that this SIT-2 is here to stay. Also I am a big fan of your current reference speakers. They are cut from very similar cloth as my reference open baffles utilizing the Raal dipole ribbons on top, the Lowther PM2MKIIs in the middle and Altec 416s on the bottom, all very meticulously crossed using Duelund cast capacitors, inductors and resistors. 
Lance Anderson

Having adopted the Sit1 as my reference amps, I'd obviously concur but tastes do differ. I think that the journey into single-ended tubes is inevitable for those who started their audiophile career with affordable transistor amps. It's part of the ongoing education and there's lots to see and admire and learn in SET land (likely also involving a change in speakers to hear them at their best). The way it's gone for me, there's life beyond however and as such an exodus from traditional SETs to Nelson's SETransistor amps was on my books. That said, I find there's still room for really excellent valve preamps in such a chain. I very much enjoy the ModWright LS100 with Psvane 6SN7 and the new TruLife Audio Athena looks very promising as well. Both have an output impedance low enough to not need the optional SIT buffer and connect directly to the output transistors. By comparison the valve amps I'm familiar with are slower, bandwidth limited particularly in the treble, noisier, thicker and fuzzier. But if someone likes that sound and has speakers which accommodate it, the SIT1 could well be too quick and stark. And some 'religious' conversions do take time to allow our whole ear/brain mechanism to reset itself. Brief auditions are not sufficient for that process to run its course -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
again an interesting and enjoyable review on the Manger which made me wonder how you would relate the driver to other widebanders? The concept Mrs. Manger employs does not strike me as too different from the Rethm approach: marry a widebander covering mid and high frequencies to a dedicated powered sub. There are obvious differences of course, the Manger transducer being what it is, the fact that in the MsMs1 it is impossible to hook it up to different amps etc. But basically we are not that far away from the augmentations people have attempted with Fostex, Lowther and other widebanders. And btw., great teaser on the AudioSolutions speaker. Would love to see reviews of their bookshelf offerings!
Best,
Max Reismayer

In my book the biggest difference is voltage sensitivity. A 98dB Rethm or 100dB Voxativ plays a different game than Manger's 91dB. Given their flat diaphragm and the high number of Neodymium magnets behind it already, it's probably impractical or impossible to increase its efficiency. And that translates to lower speed and dynamic contrast particularly at the lower levels which are normal for apartment dwellers. The Manger's geometry also mandates some electronic linearization due to its 1.600Hz suckout. This means traditional passive drive will never get the same from it than the present active solution. Due to how poorly my preamps performed, I'm inclined to think that their amplifier modules are high feedback complex multi-stage affairs. I would have loved to hear this speaker with my FirstWatt SIT1 but obviously, no dice.

You wouldn't expect a Rethm or Voxativ driver to sound its best with a high-damping factor high-feedback powerful transistor amp. But that's how the Manger is delivered, probably for good reason. That and the efficiency offset are the two biggest differences I think.
Srajan
Dear customers.
We are the workers of Raysonic Company of Taishan Danxing Audio Technology Co. LTD. in China. Our boss Steven Leung or Leung Kam Leong ran away and absconded on September 19th, 2012. Now the company is bankrupt. We haven’t been paid salaries for more than 6 months and the total amount due is more than $30.000. He also defrauded foreign businessmen of about $60.000 from their first payment deposit. He further owes nearly $170.000 to material suppliers, a house decoration company, shippers, leasing agents and so on. His Raysonic brand has been used to cheat people. The appearance of his products is garish and the components inside are of poor quality. Customers had to send their amps back for repair many times. Please do not be cheated again by him. If you know where Steven Leung or Leung Kam Leong is, kindly tell us. He should pay our salary. We worked so hard for him and need that salary to live. You can call his telephone # of the Raysonic company here 0086-7505626822. You will see that you won't get an answer. We have attached Raysonic’s business license. The boss Leung Kam Long or Steven Leung is a Chinese but immigrated to Canada some years ago. He had registered the Raysonic for a few years but already cheated a lot of people - including his workers.

raysonic_susan @ 163.com
Dear Srajan:
I certainly enjoyed Mike Malinowski's review of the Tenor preamp; however there are a couple questions that I’d like to raise regarding statements pertaining to the preamp’s design. First, the practicality of designing a preamp with a (very) wide bandwidth. The review states that “the problem according to Michel is that to achieve inaudibility, the bandwidth should extend into the megahertz region. That’s certainly not practical.“ I assume what’s meant here is that megahertz bandwidth isn’t compatible with the Tenor preamp’s design goals. The fact is that a number of current preamps claim megahertz bandwidth (you can start with Spectral whose preamps have always had megahertz plus bandwidth for as long as I can remember). In fact my still functioning 1987 Goldmund Mimesis 2 claimed a bandwidth of 850kHz (with the original A1 modules; supposedly higher with the A2 modules).

My second question(s) concerns the significance of Tenor’s proprietary Harmonic Structural Integrity (HSI) technology. HSI appears to be what may be termed a “distortion-shaping”  technology that, while interesting, isn’t an especially compelling design approach from my admittedly semi-informed perspective. Maybe I missed something but aren’t the distortions that HSI  is supposed to ameliorate inherent in the signal? It seems to me that unless every component in the recording chain is also using HSI, the Tenor preamp is simply changing the nature of the distortion. For example if the microphones, preamp and amps used for recording are designed to address different parameters (say lowest distortion)  than those prescribed by HSI, then wouldn’t HSI by definition be adding something undesired—at least in the design of the components of the recording chain? That is, if the signal has its own set of distortions, does the preamp either pass them as pristinely as possible ... or what? The answer seems to be that HSI is either adding or subtracting  harmonic components to the original signal. Now I’m not saying that HSI is snake oil; I’m just saying the explanation of its significance and its effect seems a bit specious.

All of that said, my issues are strictly concerned with the explanations of the design and the choices made. As always it’s how a component sounds—whatever the basis of its design—that’s the ultimate test. I’ve heard the Tenor preamp in a couple of impressive but unfamiliar systems so unlike Mr. Malinowski I can’t make an informed judgment. He seemed to be very favorably impressed—and that’s what really counts.
Best regards,
Darryl G. Lindberg
Srajan,
As usual, the review of the Manger MSMs1 is interesting and informative. I just thought it quite odd that there is zero mention of your experience with the Overkill Audio Encore Speaker System. I'm not talking about comparisons but at the very least one would think you would mention (and link) the review as a reference. Keep up the great work.
Cheers,
Joseph Pagan

I see nothing odd about not mentioning another active speaker which I haven't heard since January 2005 and whose website no longer is active. If I applied what I think is your thinking across the board—and only then would it make sense and be a constant—I'd have to embed links to 'roughly comparable' product in each and every review. For that we have formatted our archives to search by writer, publication date, alphabet and product category. In this case, anyone so inclined can look up 'active speakers' in our archives and enjoy instant access to all our prior reviews in that genre. I don't believe that's too much to ask -:)
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
Hopefully audiophiles will discover and accept the absolute superiority of well-designed active loudspeakers like the Manger over passive designs. Two additional advantages are:
• dedicated amplifiers (for each driver) are presented an almost ruler-flat impedance load;
• transfer characteristics do not change with driver/filter temperature as opposed to the continuously variable frequency  response of passive systems.
Some passive speakers are notorious for suddenly waking up only when  fed with enough power to heat up the coils while being soporific at  normal listening level. I said adios to passive speakers in the same way I adopted Subaru four-wheel drive a long time ago - same feeling and similar thinking.
Keep it up!
Robert Gaboury
Marja & Henk need a holiday. Nobody has to like Apple products but this is so silly, it's stupid: 'Companies like Apple are built on that need to compensate for silence and tranquility with noise.'
Have a nice day
Otto Flemminks
Thanks for all the thought you have put into the Manger MSMs1 review  - at first read a bit surprising that there is no award on the header.
Best Wishes
Ian Lobb

I'm not sufficiently familiar with competing active speakers yet to separate how much of what I heard was due to the unique driver vs. the active crossover/active drive concept. That's why I stayed clear of an award. I figured the important things are all said in the review.
Srajan
Dear Sir,
I live in Kolkata, India. I have been using the Xonar Essence One since Dec ember 2011 alongside a pair of Sennheiser HD 515 headphones. Initially I was using it with a Philips BDP 3000 as transport with a Profi Gold digital coax cable. Recently I switched to a Sony BDP S370 as transport and the change is more than what I expected in terms of soundstaging, timing and details (though detail may not be in the Cyrus 6 cd player category). Now whenever I start listening to the setup, I end up spending 3 hours or so. I did not try the optical or USB inputs though.
Thanks & regards,
Sudip Dutt

I'm waiting for the new 'Muses' Edition which comes with costlier opamps and a range of competing opamps to roll at the user's discretion. I think it's otherwise the exact same unit. As you might know, 11 operational amps are socketed so an owner can alter the voicing. If you haven't experimented with that yet, you might enjoy it.
Srajan
Srajan,
Very much enjoy the website. One tiny thing is starting to bug me. Is there a statute of limitations on 'coming up next' items? If not I suggest there should be. David Kan's mooted article on the Trends pre + power amp combo has been 'coming up' for...well, 9, 12 months... maybe more? After so long does the world of hifi still care to know his views on how much this T-amp, which has been around for many years, is improved by combining it with its similarly venerable sibling preamp? Especially since a review of the exact same combination (with an essentially yadda, yadda conclusion) is already available from one of your other 6moons contributors, John Darko, on his website.
Michael Mill

Well, there ought to be. Statute of limitations. That's why I recently took down my own Zu Druid V preview. In the case of my pro bono contributors, there's the inconvenient matter of life, family, health and making money. I'm trying to walk the line of understanding boss and grumpy disciplinarian. Most the time we seem to be doing okay. On this count I admit that the clock has ticked its last tok. Lemme check with David to see whether this is still inbound or died some form of slow agonizing death to be taken down ...
Srajan

Thanks for the very prompt and indulgent response to my somewhat snippy comment. Hope the website goes from strength to strength.
Michael Mill

I'm sorry as this really looks bad. Part of the reason is malfunctioning amps. Trends had to ship yet again another amp in August. When I tried to do the review this month, the room in the basement was flooded. After working for three days to dry up the mess and put everything back, it flooded again a week later. That was just a few days ago. I hope I have diagnosed the problem and hopefully the waterproofing can survive the next torrential rain. I will be traveling to HK in October and try to do a lot of things before I leave - Trends is one of the priorities. I must do that so I can return the amps by hand. I hope to be able to deliver something before the end of September. 
David Kan
Srajan,
I hope you and your wife are well. What happened to the pending Zu Druid V review? Did they decide to redesign it further?
Best,
Chris Mercurio

Upon checking status I was just informed that delivery would be late October at the soonest, this due to delayed receipt of custom SuperPly required for the enclosure. Because the preview has been pending far longer than intended, I now took it down to revisit this topic once the speaker is actually in my hands. I'm told one advance pair will make a showing at the upcoming Milan hifi show.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
My journey started with your highly recommended FirstWatt J2 some three years ago. With great enjoyment I must say. My latest purchase is the Bakoon AMP11-R. Wow! In your review you stated the 11R being" lit up all over." This is so true. Compared to my J2 the J2 sounds almost metallic (slight glare) whereas the 11-R sounds so open, lit up and sweet. I run it with a 12-driver per side open baffle DIY Paradise Merrill 5.5 full range (100dB+) without crossover, two SVS 13-inch subs, PM/Mac mini and NAD D51 DAC reviewed by John Darko. The sound, integration, speed and sweetness are just wonderful. Soo In at Bakoon couldn't have been more helpful. Thanks again for your wonderful help Srajan.
Kind regards,
Brian Livingston
Hi Srajan,
I was wondering if you had the chance to hear Bakoon on any of your Rethms? It looks like I'm going to be the Bakoon rep in New England and that I'll be showing their wares at RMAF. I'll confirm this with you next week. I'm excited. Building a little showroom too, in Cambridge, MA. The truth is that my friends are thankful that I'll not bore them anymore with talk of circuits, drivers and the personal belief that peace can be obtained through even-ordered harmonics…even if even-ordered harmonic distortion. Thanks for any thoughts on the Rethm pairing.
Best,
Fred

Haven't tried the Bakoon amp on the Maarga which is the only Rethm I have but I did try it on the 100dB Voxativ Ampeggio before the amp went back to Sweden. Awesome match and dead quiet. Should be the bomb on Rethms too. My personal silver AMP-11R and a custom BPS-2 battery supply for my Audiophilleo 2 should arrive next week from Korea so I'm excited as well...
Srajan
I read Mike Malinowski's review of the Equi-Tech 10WQ with great interest and (that summer) picked up the 7.5WQ at the factory in Oregon. I finally got my media room project started this year and installed the panel a few months ago with the help of a friend and a rented mechanical "lift" or "jack". When the electrician came over to do some work, including wiring-up the power supply to the panel, he asked whether or not it was important to have a neutral wire, because my source (the old electric water heater line) did not have a neutral. I called Equi-Tech and got voicemail. I left a message, but never heard back, so I called again and have been calling ever since. I get the impression they are victims of the recession and I am at a loss as to how to get the answer for my electrician. With such an expensive and critical component of my entire media room, I dare not guess at the answer. Can Mike determine if a neutral was used on his 10WQ and let me know? I would greatly appreciate an answer.
Torben Goodhope

Torben,
My electrician had the same question. I opened the Equi-Tech and he ran a neutral from the main panel (which of course was tied to ground) to the ground connection in the Equi-tech. However, I am not an engineer and since we are talking about safety, I recommend continued trying to contact Equi-tech. As with many small companies, they sometimes completely close for vacation. They are heavily into the commercial market  and as far as I know still around.
Regards
Mike 
Dear Sir,
I presently own the EF6 and HE6  and would like to purchase the AKG K1000 used but in mint condition.Can I plug said headphone directly in the XLR output and will the EF6 drive it properly? Did you try the combination of EF6 and K1000?
Yours truly,
Alain Lancry

I've not tried the K1000 but the EF6 would be one of the few amps that's tailor-made for them.
Srajan

Thank you. On a different note, your review of the EF6 was excellent and truly described my experience with the EF6/HE6 perfectly.
Alain
Srajan,
Just a short note of thanks from Perth Australia for the great reading and fantastic reviews on 6moons. Since being involved in your site as a reader over the past 18 months, we undertook a DAC upgrade project. As a result of the reviews on your site my wife and I ended up buying from and combining 2 of the manufacturers you have reviewed products from. We bought the M2Tech Young DAC and got Burson's electronics shop in Melbourne to replace the audio op amps with their discrete modules. This has really fleshed out the bass and lower mids nicely. It has worked a treat and my old NuVista DAC is now doing a great job on my 2nd system downstairs comprising Perreaux Radiance integrated, EBTB Terra IIs, Cardas wiring loom and my old Squeezebox.

FYI my main system is JAS Odins, JAS 2.1 805 power (Psvane 805s) JAS 1.1 Pre (both with extensive mods), JAS wiring loom, Squeezebox Touch, Rega P25 Anniversary with Origin mods, RB600/Shelter 501/II, World Audio Design Phono (modified) and of course the new M2Tech Young DAC with the Burson modules which has now been in about 6 months or so.

I look forward to every review when it hits the site. All of the contributors are so knowledgeable and offer a great read with fantastic background material. While I do most of the reading my wife loves the results we get over successive small changes and improvements to our systems. Love your work, please keep it up.
Cheers, Gary and Linda
Srajan,
You have never given me a reason to not trust your writing. I’ve gone through almost your entire archive reading every review (I like to read) and not once have I thought you  lost the bigger picture of what this hobby is about, audio and the truth (or at least the pursuit of). I’ve even owned or been able to sample many of the pieces from your '32 Ohm Audio' series and always found your observations to be spot on.  

About the last feedback letter posted, it is indeed surprising to read a negative review from the 6moons pages. From my experience this is due not to a bias or shady insider business ethics on your part but because there is indeed a lot of good gear out there. Rarely have I auditioned a piece and thought “what crap” though occasionally it does happen. And to your credit you didn’t even go that far, never bashing or demeaning. You acknowledged what was good and bad.  What else can be expected of a reviewer?  

And as a reader who is expecting to spend $20.000 to $25.000 on a headphone rig in the next 6 months or so (common promotion), your upcoming review of the NuForce DAC-100 has me excited.  How high can it compete with the likes of Eddie Current, Burson, HiFIMan and Luxman in a headphone system... well see.

I’m so glad to see someone like yourself in the position you’re in to handle these situations as they should be, with grace and understanding.  Keep it up buddy.
Sincerely,
Kevin Pope
Hi there,
I have read your article about Ring audio and just can't believe you have wrote so negatively about this system. I am A passionate music lover and through my life I have exchanged numerous speakers and electronics, before I acquired Goran's product. I agree with you on a couple of points (alu legs, subwoofer cords, etc.) but those are easily addressed and present such a minor problem that they are almost not worthwhile to mention. As well as color/finish of the speakers. If you would have had a chance to visit the factory, your perception about what's possible in terms of finish would change. There are numerous ways of final touch to be applied at the end. 

What matters is the sound experience. You did not have the right amp to power the speakers on your test. I have tried at least 15 different topological amp systems and found out that the one with 300B valves is by far the best there is to match the speakers. Further, since I have Ring Audio system set-up in my home, I can verify that is necessary to fiddle around a bit, to adjust the right position according to the room capacity, to find the correct way (away from the wall, not like pictured in your room) for the best listening experience. And experience it is! 

Myself being public figure in art industry, I have invited many audiophiles and professional musicians of status to listen to the speakers. Absolutely everyone was stunned, expressing their views as the best sound they have ever come across. Many of my friends have systems a few times more expensive than Ring Audio's where Ring Audio is not only able to match but surpasses them with ease. 

However, I am not going to dwell on that but just to make the point. Being a reviewer myself, my first criterion is: if I don't like something, for any reason, I don't write about it. The greatest punishment is not to be present out in the open, in the media. On top of that, who am I to spit on someone's work? In spite of my feeling that something is wrong I would be a terrible person if I go bashing somebody. Anybody. Let alone Goran who is trying hard to make his effort known, trusting you will be of help in this long and hard process. 

But instead of this you wrote the article full of malice, antipathy and animosity, showing your real nature. So much to the credit of your deep insight philosophy and humanity you are so proud of. 
Odredjen

As an owner of the system I would naturally expect you to disagree with my findings. But that's the point of any review. We have to describe our findings, not somebody else's. My amps happen to be superior to the many 300B amps I've had through and those I still own. Apart from that they have very similar THD behavior and high-ish output impedance to be a virtual stand-in for this breed. They actually are single-ended transistors without feedback and with just a single gain stage. True SETs. From what I had available they definitely were best. And what I own is no secret. It's plainly listed in every review, letting manufacturers know upfront what the ancillaries will be. If it took you 15 different amplifiers to come up with the best match, it would suggest that indeed this is a quite voiced speaker system that only performs optimally with very specific amplifier mates.

Writing a highly critical review is no fun. Reading malice, antipathy and animosity into it when the quite rare occasion prompts such a review might seem a sensible reaction on your part but it's not at all how I approached this assignment. You'll of course retain your own opinion just as you should. Relative to fiddling with positioning, I did that as I do it with any speaker system within the constraints of my room. And yes, approaching any magazine for review always entails a risk. It's something manufacturers are (should be) aware of and it's something reviewers likewise must respect. Having worked in audio manufacturing earlier it was my job to procure reviews for our brand. I'd occasionally have to face my boss with a review that wasn't as complimentary as we'd hoped for. I'm thus aware of the other side from personal experience.

Unlike you, we do not have a policy of "if we don't like something we don't write about it". It's certainly a valid position to work with but it's simply not ours. While you clearly don't agree with it, you might at least imagine the very real challenges that arise when you can't 'opt out'.
Srajan