Your space to participate, comment & critique

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

First of all, let me congratulate you on your fine website. There are a few reliable audio publications on-line, but none approaches the finesse of your design. Second, I must tell that I've read several of your reviews (and essays) in GoodSound, SoundStage!, Enjoy The Music, and now 6moons, and I do like your style... Even today I like to read over a review you wrote back in 1999 on the Lyrrs: not because I own a pair, but due to your delightful prose. Those analogies with bullfighting and the fish that was supposed to be dead are so much fun to read (and to the point). A golden ear with a dull pen doesn't grab me. A writer should be aware of his craft. That's why I'll keep visiting 6moons.

N. Vidal, Portugal
Dear Srajan,

Been reading you as well as many of the 6moons staff for years. Love your pub. I have purchased quite a few things on your reviews and have found you guys, particularly you, to be dead on. I've purchased Harmonic Precision's Caravelle monitors from StarSound Technologies about nine months ago. You can read my review on Audio Asylum or Audiogon to get the complete scoop. I've been an audiophool for 35 hears and have a wonderful tympanic reference. I'm not bragging but my ears have never steered me wrong and I'm not easily influenced by press or other audiophools until these tympanics have had their chance. If you can give a listen to these monitors, I am certain you will find them as exciting as I do.

They not only sound superior, hands down, to their competition in the way of monitors but sound superior -- or on par at least -- with some very serious high-end floorstanders. How about the JMlab Utopia Altos which I auditioned for a long while at Sound by Singer? ... I'm a school teacher and an audiophool with absolutely no agenda. There's nothing in this for me $$ wise other than the satisfaction of turning on people to something these tympanics have never heard the likes of in such a small package. Is there a way for you to review these speakers? Is there something I can do to help Starsound (they make Audiopoints as well - perhaps you know of them already?) get these babies reviewed? I know the owner, having been a fan of theirs for years. He has no clue of this email. I'm motivated from within. What's an audiophool or manufacturer got to do to get you to give a listen to a speaker that will (guarantee) amaze? Thanks in advance, I hope to hear from you.

Peace,
Warren

Synchronicity? This and the e-mail below arrived on the same day and I had not heard of the Caravelles before, ever. Hmm. That admitted, all any manufacturer needs to do is contact me with a review request if he's indeed interested and we'll attempt to schedule something.

Srajan

Hello,

my name is Ron Myers and I've been browsing your website for several years now, over which time it has given me countless ideas. It seems that you and the other reviewers are constantly seeking out the cutting edge of audio that also happens to be offered at reasonable prices. I just wanted to offer you guys a list of what I believe to be the current leaders in the cutting edge technology/price ratio. I'm sure that you have heard of at least some of these but I just wanted to make you aware of them if you haven't. Thanks,

Ron

  • Tube Technology Fusion CD player
  • Green Mountain Audio speakers
  • Wilson Benesch ARC speakers (groundbreaking cabinet design)
  • Manger Zerobox speakers (revolutionary new fullrange drivers)
  • Harmonic Precision Caravelle speakers
  • Stelar 1 speakers by WEGG3 (incredible)
  • Decware Zen SET amps
Srajan,

I enjoyed reading the review of the little Sonic Impact amplifier.

The reaction of your reviewer to this little Class-T amp mirrors my initial reaction to the first Tripath demo board when I listened to it about 5 years ago. This initial listen clearly (pun intended) showed me that this technology was the future of audio amplification. While the Tripath demo board was not up to high-end standards in every way, it did show that uncanny ability to communicate the musical message as do great SET amps.

Bel Canto has been working these past 5 years to better understand and implement the core technology that Tripath has created. Our work has taken the core technology to extremely high levels of performance, essentially creating a new 'class' of amplification that transcends previous technologies and renders moot discussions of tube vs transistor. Our genII eVo technology takes the basic Tripath core to new heights, and rest assured, those heights will continue to rise as we continue work on new amplifier platforms based on these cores.

Five years ago I predicted that this type of amplifier would start to become the dominant technology. This transition is in full swing, with switching or digital amplifier products appearing on a regular basis. As a home theater reviewer put it in a recent review of our eVo2, "Welcome to the 21st century of digital amplification...". Remarkably, none of the major 2-channel audio mags have recognized this fact and are still hashing out the old tube vs transistor debate and heaping praise on what amounts to 20-year old solid-state class AB designs sold as new product for the high-end market. It is high time that these trends change.

Best Regards,
John Stronczer
Bel Canto Design, Ltd.
To the Editor:

It has been my honor to know Bill Legall these past 7 years. My first comment about the article was the quality of the writing - a well-written article about a man and his talents on par with the New Yorker. I was surprised that an audio magazine would spend so much time on the qualities of the man and less on the inanimate object. Most of the high- end stereophiles I have met have been in love with conversation about the products and less about the music.

Bill loves sound, the recreation of reality in his private space. Listening with Bill to a live recording from the 50s where you hear the tinkle of the glasses, the shuffling of feet and feel you are there is the miracle of Bill. He seems to be able to get the most out of any system because 'he' knows when he is satisfied.

I am proud to know Bill and Loretta Legall. Thank you for this tribute.

Eric Michelson

I loved your recent Minimax CD player & audio-technica ATH-W1000 review! I'm in the process of down-sizing my system and am hoping to acquire this system next!!

Keep up the awesome work !!

Regards,

Steve
This just in from our man Les Turoczi who has labored hard to come up with just the perfect Xmas gift for that special unbearable relative of yours...
Well done, Srajan -

The "Reminder to Manufacturers" is a great and important piece. I think it is crucial to give a heads-up to the many manufacturers who don't really think through the review process or even, as you point out, their overall business plan. This is an industry where much of the best and most innovative gear is never heard simply because the company that produced it didn't have a solid grasp on what it takes to run a successful business. I'm not saying the world would be a better place if all audio-dweebs* had MBAs (boy, I'm really not saying that!), but starting a company without a huge bankroll is very, very hard and people should know this.

For this reason, I congratulate you for publishing this essay, and even more, for putting it out in the public arena for consumers to see. The more consumers know about the gear and the industry, the healthier the industry will be and the better everyones' systems will sound.

Keep up the great work, and happy listening.

John DeVore

*This is absolutely not a negative term. I count myself proudly among their ranks!

Hi Srajan,

Just requesting to be added to the mailing list. I've really enjoyed the site - very few people write about listening these days. Herb Reichert used to, but for now, you're the only one I know of who does it in a meaningful and useful way. Plus, I enjoy the small manufacturer angle.

Thanks,
Austin Jackson
Boston Audio Design
Hello Srajan,

I just remembered that I promised to send you a concept drawing of the mini-sphere. It will be a sphere with a 5.5"- 6.0" diameter to be suspended from the ceiling as a satellite speaker. It will consist of two 4" drivers bolted to a radial wave guide. Predicted frequency response at this time is 100Hz - 18kHz. The drivers consist of a 3" edge-wound voice coil mounted to the rim of a 3" diaphragm. We are still modeling diaphragm material so I cannot tell you its composition yet. The motor assembly will be neodymium with a return cup and top plate made of 1018 low carbon steel. Material for the suspension has not been decided but our hopes are that we have enough room for a dual spider. (not shown in picture).

The picture I'm sending is only conceptual and this layer does not show the voice coil, however I think you will get the idea. You may share this on-line with your readers if you so choose. All your comments are greatly appreciated and validate our current project.

If all is successful, we will integrate this new driver design into a cool new floor model targeted for paired audio. The main difference to the current design would be the amplitude of the rear-propagated sound wave. We are thinking about offering this model with a pot that will allow the end user a way to attenuate the rear wave to match room requirements.

Very best regards,
John Larsen
Artistic Audio Inc.
Srajan,

Since your review of the new Gallo References has derailed a purchase plan that was once quite clear, I’m hoping that you would be so kind as to help me get it back on track.

To be more specific: I was just about to pull the trigger on a new (yet reasonably priced) pair of Silverline Sonatina IIIs before I read your stellar praise of the Reference 3s and now I’m wondering if this would be such a wise move. I’ve received great pleasure from a pair of the Silverline SR17s for several years now, but having recently moved to a larger space, the inability of these monitors to flesh-out the lower end is all too evident. And having had a difficult time trying to integrate a Sunfire sub in the past, I’ve decided that it was time to ditch the monitors in favor a full-range design — even if the idea of accommodating large cabinets is less than appealing. Given my love of the SR17s, it made sense to stay in Alan’s camp. Given my budget, it made sense to buy the Sonatina IIIs. But then I read your review.

Now I'm trying to figure out which way to go. And since no one in my area seems to have a pair of the References that I can demo, my decision will have to be based in large part on opinions such as yours. So I’m wondering which way you would turn if you were in my position and why?

A bit more information: I recently sold my Ikemi and Kairn and moved all of my music onto a hard drive (lossless rips). Now I’m sending the music to a Birdland Odeon AG (via glass toslink) that is connected directly to a Klout (via AP Solo Crystals) and then on to the SR17s (via a 20’ run of AP Oval 12s) with no apparent loss in sound quality ... perhaps it’s even a bit more open than before.

That said, I would be confident about using the Klout to drive the Sonatinas (at least for now), but I’m not so sure about the References given your comments regarding the improvements that come with bi-amping. I could, of course, get another amp for this purpose, but I’m not too interested in the Gallo amp and the idea of putting my money into a single higher-quality amp is, to be honest, more appealing than supplementing the Klout with another amp of less standing — especially given that two amps would also mean another relatively long (20’) run of speaker cable.

Okay ... any insight that you could provide would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
Raoul

See what happens when you read reviews? Jesting aside, I'm naturally biased toward the Ref3s seeing that I bought 'em. What I will say is to not underestimate the Reference3 SA bass amp/crossover/EQ just because it's only $900. Remember, your full-range amp drives the Ref3s all the way down to 20Hz, albeit rolled off below 40Hz. The bass amp merely augments it in parallel and is thus sonically invisible. Seeing that you don't fancy large cabinets which usually are required for full-range performance in larger rooms, the demure appearance of the Gallos might be right up your alley. However, there's no way of defeating Physics - which in this case means that a secondary hi-current amplification source is necessary to overcome the lack of physical air volume behind the driver. Also, since we're talking a low-pass filtered signal below 40Hz, a run of Radio Shack "el cheapo" 10-gauge copper wire will do the trick. No reason to sweat the expense of a designer set of 20' subwoofer cable.

Srajan
Dear Sir,

After reading some of the commentary regarding your latest think piece on the pitfalls of seeking resolution but passing up enlightenment along the way, I was curious to see what you wrote. So, after reading your piece, I'm struck by the sheer common sense of it all. Why the %$^@ do we buy these systems anyway if not for the power of music, whether that be Black Flag or Beethoven? Where did we make a new path away from the one thing that first caught our hearts and souls so many years ago when we were young and entirely content to stare at album covers for hours on end while being reinvented in every way possible by the power of music?

I myself am totally guilty of chasing the Nth degree of resolution. I was seduced by recommended components. I was seduced by ads. I was seduced by price tags. I was seduced by cults of personality. I was seduced by provenance. It's really easy to see how I got carried away - along with a lot of money. But I'm fortunate to have met Jeffrey Catalano of High Water Sound, one of your "Forbidden Fruit" subjects in NYC. (And by the way, the subjective nature of what we hear couldn't be more clear than when I think on the differences between you and me regarding what we hear from High Water Sound's reference system. It just reinforces the very sound advice (no pun intended): trust your ears, not what you read).

Nonetheless, I can't stress enough the invaluable qualities of an honest and experienced dealer. And Jeffrey Catalano is both. The man knows that the only thing you'll keep coming back to is the music. You often hear the cliche that this component or that speaker gets out of the way of the music and just let's it come through. Jeffrey Catalano is the human equivalent of this effect. I've bought a full Tom Evans/Horning system from him. And that was that.

David Terry

As proof that our Editor does spend time away from his listening seat, here are some samples from a recent trip to Colorado's Durango, Silverton, Ouray and Mesa Verde.
Hi Srajan,

You asked to me to provide some feedback on the headphone system that I put together with your advice (we corresponded via email last month). The Aural Audition headphone amp which you reviewed very favorably is matched to the Modwright Sony 999ES SACD player (very,very well reviewed at 6moons) but I have not yet ordered the AT1000 headphones to replace my Sennheiser 650 with Cardas cord. The system sounded very good but not "great" until I changed the power cords. My research lead me to order the Shunyata Hydra and 4 Python power cords - as expensive as the SACD player and I was still skeptical as to the result. However, when I switched over it was like decanting a fine wine (something with which I am quite familiar!). The tightness disappeared and was replaced by a full, rich, deep and rounded result - much more than I expected but most welcome.

I plan to "upgrade" to the AT1000s soon and will give you my input when I have done so. Meanwhile, I have two tangential questions with regard to my system and your comments in some of your headphone reviews. Firstly, I completely agree with your view that serious audiophiles are missing the best experience if not using good headphones to really listen to the music. My headphone system is under $10K but outperforms my "full" system of $100K with Jeff Rowland Amp/Pre, MIT Shogun cables and Avalon speakers etc.! However, you point out that the soundstage is lacking or at least "different" - which is true. My first question is as to whether or not there is any advance in recording/playback of the music of which you are aware with phasing and amplitude that reaches the ear canal in a lifelike manner to replicate a realistic soundstage via headphones? Secondly, bass is there but not "visceral". Is there a way to add in a powered sub-woofer with X-over unit to the headphone setup (as with a regular speaker system) that would work in correct phase and provide the physical "punch" that the 'phones lack? This could be relatively inexpensive and round out the experience (excluding the previously discussed soundstage factor)?

As before, your insights and views would be much appreciated.

Regards,
Chris

John Sunier of the Audiophile Audition webzine is an expert on binaural recordings which are produced with the microphones embedded in the ear locations of a dummy head. This will give you the best and most natural soundstaging from headphones. John knows far more about this than I do so I recommend you contact him through his site. Re: the subwoofer, many music lovers indeed run their main-system sub in tandem with their headphones to add the air-moving impact of large in-room diaphragms to the less visceral information which the headphones provide. I myself have not tried this so I can't be specific except to recommend posting a query on www.headfi.org where the very serious headphone users share information.

Best,
Srajan

Dear Srajan,

Your essay Auroville 29/31 was superb! I was reminded of my nearly 30-year quest to wring the last bit of resolution from my system only to find that I had chased every bit of enjoyable music away instead. I had succumbed to all the "Hi Fi" crap that the magazines pronounced important and was just plain dissatisfied with the results. I was rescued by hearing single-ended amps and some beautiful horns and have not looked back since. Music and "Hi Fi" can co-exist if you use your ears and your emotions rather than other's opinions to fuel this hobby!

Kind Regards,
Chris Keating
Dear Editor:

Some recent reviews have left me a little uncomfortable; the last being the McCormack UDP-1. IMO, there's a little too much quoting manufacturer boilerplate ad agency press release puffery. 'Zample: "These changes -- along with a host of smaller refinements -- have resulted in the DNA amplifiers exhibiting greater coherence, better bass definition and a greater sense of pace and rhythmic control. The soundstage is more 3-dimensional and images are more confident and palpably real. The DNA amps exhibit exceptional stability and reliability and are capable of driving a wide range of loudspeaker types including 'difficult' low-impedance models. This has all been accomplished at reasonable cost and with improved cosmetics, placing the DNA series amplifiers (I believe) among the real bargains in high performance audio today."

Oh really, says the marketing...excuse me, the designer of said pieces who, once you purchase a DNA amp, offers to "improve" it at his other-coast workshop - for a fee, of course. Well, if it was worth a shit to begin with, you wouldn't have to rebuild it after purchase. The great "mod upgrade" game, learned from the software industry. T'aint a "real bargain" after you apply the upgrades and shipping to and 'fro.

"The McCormack Audio UDP-1 is the heart of a superb multichannel (or 2-channel only for us traditionalists) music and home cinema system. It can potentially replace your existing CD player, DVD player and surround-sound decoder with a single high-performance playback machine."

Oh really (again.) Or so sez the vested-interest designer of the piece. Why don't you just listen to the piece? Of what use is the above under-edited blather? Why has the UDP-1 jumped +$500 since intro? What is the back-panel labeled source of manufacture? Why don't you do this on all equipment (Ref: TARAlabs)? Why does the IEC power receptacle have what appears to be 2 prongs, lacking a ground pin?

Why does the unit appear to lack any third-party electrical safety certslike UL, CSA, FM, or even the miniscule, nearly useless CE label (because it can't without having the chassis/case grounded)? Why don't you report this on all equipment?

Regards,

Chuck Beaman

First off, the designer quotes in the review are the result of phone conversations between reviewer John Potis and designer Steve McCormack, not ad agency copy. Secondly, the Pioneer platform is openly acknowledged which makes the transport guts sourced from Asia - no secret there, no US company builds their own transports. And I can assure you that the listening impressions in the review proper are the results of actually listening to the unit. Why the price has increased I don't know but if you're curious, a phone call to Conrad-Johnson might answer that for you. Lastly, here's a great piece by a professional modifier on why even the best audio equipment is designed to a price point and thus can benefit from modifications.

Srajan

Srajan,

re: your column Country-of-Origin Shenanigans -
I bought a pair of New Balance shoes today and they came with a card that speaks to country of origin issues. Here is how the card reads:

"
Many of our shoes are produced in one of six United States factories. While most of the footwear industry has moved its production overseas to take advantage of low labor costs and generally cheaper production costs, we continue to have many of our shoes made in the United states and have expanded production substantially. Since 1995, we have increased our manufacturing jobs by 65%. We at New Balance are proud to provide jobs to the U.S. workforce, and are proud of our well educated, high quality associates who can compete with anyone in the world. Through their hard work, we are able to make many of our models of shoes in the United States despite the competition from lower cost imports.

Unfortunately, we are not able to obtain all materials and components that are needed for these shoes in the United States. In some cases, they are simply not available. In other situations, economic and quality considerations dictate foreign sourcing. However, New Balance remains committed to providing jobs for American workers and to supporting domestic manufacturers and suppliers where possible.

The Federal Trade Commission has attempted to determine what it means to say a product is "made in" the United States. While this seems like a simple question, the answer is not always obvious given the global nature of the economy. We believe most consumers think "Made in USA" means that real manufacturing jobs were provided to U.S. workers in order to make that product. The shoes produced in our U.S. factories are made by U.S. workers using both U.S. and imported materials. Where the level of domestic value is at least 70%, we have labeled the shoe "Made in USA." Where it falls below that level, we have qualified it as containing both domestic and imported materials. This determination is based on part on a survey of consumers conducted by the FTC. The Federal Trade Commission's analysis of Made in USA issue can be found on the internet at FTC's website or for a copy write to New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., Brighton Landing, 20 Guest Street, Boston, MA 02135-2088, Attention Communications."

There are other examples. Polartec fabrics come to mind. Your heads up is appropriate and "Made in USA." is to be taken seriously. Cables are a lightning rod for controversy, aren't they? I sure do like what great ones can do.

Chris Mathes
New Orleans
Thank God MillerSound isn't powered by this:

Bill LeGall

Srajan,

A-FUCKING MEN. I know...I shouldn't be swearing on the High Holidays...but #31 was dead on.I don't even care anymore about the last "smidgen" of detail, or that last few percent of inner resolution. Only dorks do - people who measure equipment and call their boring prose...writing.

Ian
Hi Srajan,

That's one heck of a good Auroville 31 - and right on! Reminds me of the Naim/Harbeth combo I had here for review: it faithfully played music perhaps better than anything I've ever experienced off every CD I popped into the drive, and yet from a traditional hi-rez perspective, it didnt 'have it together.

In science we know that materials behave differently when you approach the nano scale - the scale of molecules, or a billionth of a meter if you want to get out the meter stick. For example, gold particles go from being inert at the macro scale to highly reactive in the catalytic sense at the nano scale. It appears the same thing happens to music. When the rez approaches the 'nano' level, it goes from an integrated 'Newtonian' organic whole music to a collection of hi-rez 'nano' sounds that no longer work together in the way music is intended to. It's the 'nano effect' of hi-rez audio.

Cheers,
Jef Day
What perfect timing! After reading the original wonderful review of the Reference 3s, I quickly snapped up a pair. While sounding good, the speakers were not a perfect match with my aging solid-state Mac integrated. Time to look into tubes!

Reading your review of the speakers paired up with with the likes of Audiopax and Bel Canto sounded wonderful but waaay out of my ballpark. I came across a post yesterday that Morningstar was now selling direct at an even better price than before and that raised my eyebrows. In my mind though, as many probably have, I thought the puny power output of the MiniMax just would not cut it for me and my speakers.

Nice of you to be able to prove me wrong! This sounds like it could be a match made in budget heaven. I will definitely have to give Bill a call and discuss his trio.

Now if I could just read a review of the setup I really thought would jive well with these speakers. That would be the Unison Research Unico integrated and CD player. A few more dollars, a few more watts, but even worth it? Maybe that review will happen some day, eh?

So a big thanks from me and I'm sure many others for bringing quality Hi-Fi to the budget-minded masses!

Michael Cole
MillerSound is powered by this - which invariably results in this.

Bill LeGall

Hi Srajan,

I meant to send this reminder before the festival was a day old, so now I guess you'll just have to salivate. Oh yeah, some guy named Perlman is playing here this weekend too. :)

I just skimmed your latest PFO discourse and in your one-of-a-kind and most eloquent manner struck at the heart of some problems/gyrations I've been going through for some time. I have written a short first-person account of my experience to be submitted to Dave Clark after I clean up some other things. After a very short time as a "reviewer", I simply do not know how you can still enjoy listening music they way you obviously do. Of course I realize you have abandoned the traditional for the unique as far as a writing and reviewing style. It's good to be king eh? Just kiddin'...

Btw, you must visit my little town for Lotus Fest some day, you and your spouse would love it!

Cheers,
Gary L. Beard

I know you're kidding but being master of one's own work hours and exactly how one spends them without any input by committee indeed does feel kinda royal even without the palace and sycophant retinue. As far as the "retaining fun" business goes, that's in fact what inspired the launch of 6moons. I'm damn careful about it, too. Once that goes, you just go through the motions as the thing you happen to do every day. One way that works for me is to not take any notes, ever. I listen to things long enough until I have a clear sense of what the item under review does. It's an intuitive/creative process I by now trust implicitly. It's like my subconscious collects its own data and at a certain point, something feels checked off and I'm ready. Then I write the review and select specific CDs right then while at the keyboard to illustrate whatever key qualities I want to describe that strike me as the most memorable of this component. So even the writing process isn't rote or boring as though I had to sift through tons of notes. It's a recap of the subconcious process made deliberate and conscious in the moment of writing where the subconcious collection and deliberate conceptualizing sync up. This seems to keep boredom and repetitiousness at bay and makes me actually really look forward to the process of writing every day. So I feel lucky that finally, in this second half of my life, I've figured out something I'm reasonable good at and which I truly enjoy doing. The road to this wasn't straight-forward at all which makes me appreciate the present circumstance even more... :))

Srajan
Hi Srajan,

Right now I'm listening to the World 2004 compilation and I have to agree with you that it is excellent! I've been browsing Amazon.com as I listen, adding more than a few items to my Wish List - and with the ability to six-degress artist to artist and album to album, it's growing endless. I've realized how much I enjoy the music of Mali as I was "networking" Amazon.com music.

I'm attaching a photo of my second system which I thought you would appreciate given how you decorate your audio room. It caused me to think that another type of unprecedented article that 6moons could debut would be an article on the gestalt/feng shui/decoration of audio systems and audio rooms. Many people seem to carefully decorate their audio systems and it would be interesting to see and read about how people do it and why, and how it enhances their listening experience.

Anyway, food for thought.

Best,
Andrew
Srajan,

Just received my first email from the 6moons update - and I wanted to say thank you.You are on a roll...

Do you know Milford Graves? I've had the pleasure of knowing him and more to the point, hearing him play on a number of occasions while attending Bennington College. "Still, I truly believe it from experience: Not everyone in a human body is the same kind of being."

Forgive the indulgence, but I would say not everyone has attained the same state of being (always the optimist). Your comments about the LeGalls had me somewhat uneasy at first. What's this got to do with...Then, I started thinking about Milford - and another thank you your way since I hadn't thought of him in some time.

I will say that every time I heard Milford play, I had a physical response unlike any other experience in my life (one time this was shared by my philosophy professor! who was sitting next to me). Here's something from the above link/interview I thought might interest you.

"At the college, we had people who had cardiac irregularities or arrhythmias. They were diagnosed as non-organic arrhythmias - people couldn't really get any help with using medication or trying to change their lifestyles. So I would coordinate some music that would be considering 'free jazz,' entirely spontaneous and improvised. Some of it was done live but some of it was pre-recorded. We would play these things and we found that with one particular person, his heart rhythm started to synchronize with what we had performed on the tape. Then we played live and we steadied the rhythm into a regular heart rhythm and his own heartbeat stopped being arrhythmic and then it coordinated with us. That was very interesting. Some people don't believe this but I have all the documents about it - electrocardiograms and a tape with one track having our pre-recorded music and on the other track we actually had this person's heart rhythm and you could see how it synched right in."

Cheers,
Michael Lavorgna
This fall, Dutch audio and home cinema lovers will have a new magazine to read: Vi-fi. Vi-fi is a magazine about audio, video, music & movies. Vi-fi will cover anything that is in any way related to quality reproduction of music and movies, from digital music servers to tube gear. Vi-fi is initiated by renowned audio journalists Hans Beekhuyzen (Publishing editor of ProAudio + Visie) and Henk Peters (former Editor-in-chief of Homestudio and senior editor of Hifi Video Test). The first issue of Vi-fi will be presented at the most important audio and home theater show in the Netherlands and Belgium: the VAD Show.
Keep up with the great work, Srajan - and you should come to New York more often. Maybe next time when you are here, I'd love to have you to my humble house for a listening session. I have something I think you would like to check out - Lector CDP 7T CD player (with Krell and Von Schweikert gear).

All the best and hope to talk to you soon
David Selek
Hello Srajan,

I hope all is well in New Mexico. Please add me to your mailing list. Thank you for this service and a wonderful website. I'm currently enjoying an Art Audio Carissa thanks to you and Johns' wonderful review. Take care.

All the best,
Scott McIntosh

PS: The Forbidden Fruit Tour was excellent.
Dear sir,

FYI, I am the ecstatic owner of a FI Super X amp and Avantgarde Uno 2.1 speakers with 47Labs Flatfish/Shigaraki DAC and PurePower battery power supply. I have the Audio Note M2B preamp with a Welborne Gatekeeper. You and Jules and Jeff along with Art Dudley are people whose opinions I trust immensely.

Thanks,
Chris Keating
Srajan,

Your e-zine is continuing to raise the bar for the best and most interesting articles anywhere, and without question numero uno on the 'net. Love the 301 article. Can't wait for the story to unfold.

In fact, I have all the usual online audio sites bookmarked, but these days I rarely ever check them out. Can you say Booring?

On the other hand, I probably stop by your site twice a day, just in case another tasty morsel might be waiting there...

Re: the Wyetch, I wonder if by chance the WE 300B's would place those amps on an even higher pedestal?

Wish you could find out and tell the story if it's interesting. I suspect that PERHAPS the tendency to leanness might just disappear, without shifting to the other side of the sonic pendulum.

FWIW - the WEs are extremely expensive. But that 40,000 hour figure changes the math if it's close to correct.

Good stuff, congrats to all.

Best regards,
Jim Smith
Hello and congratulations!

Wow!, this is the most interesting article I've ever read on your site. The Garrard Project is simply amazing... I can't wait until next month. What a great idea. Keep up the good work.

Stefan F.
Hi Srajan,

I purchased the Resolution Audio Opus 21 player about 2 weeks ago but today, I connected it up to my Air Tight monos. Once again I am in total agreement on a review. It really does the communication and involvement thang incredibly well - the way good live music does. Hitting the play button is like opening up the endorphin valves.

Thanks Again,
Anthony Gallo

Dear Srajan,

After reading your review of the Artistic Audio Mobius, I found the response from John Larson, President of Artistic Audio Inc., most disturbing. It is understandable that if a product has received a negative or not terribly positive review from a publication, the designer or the company making that product will not be too happy and thus surely deserve the chance to respond to criticism. However, I do expect them to make some insightful and valid points that let readers make value judgement on the review product.

If I was reading it right, the main criticisms of the Artistic Mobius in the review were:-

i) the resolution wasn't very high for a modern speaker design
ii) it was not the most dynamic of speakers
iii) bass perhaps not as articulate and weighty as other speakers

Rather than giving us possible reasons or a theory why Srajan made the above criticisms, Mr. Larson decided to make a personal attack on the reviewer, claiming the "review to be totally subjective to personal taste and equipment preference". He further went on to say that "Without the use of any test equipment, the results are limited to the personal taste, sonic ability of the electronics and software in use."

The way I see it, every audio review in every single publication is "totally subjective to personal taste and equipment preference". Every human is subjective as far as audio is concerned, otherwise everyone in this world would prefer the same amplifiers, speakers, CD players, cables, concert halls, singers, music...

As to the use of test equipment, I don't think I have heard from anyone who has dared to claim that test equipment is essential to reviewing hi-end audio gear. The subject of what constitutes good-sounding equipment is so complex that no one can claim that they can fully correlate measured performance with the real-world performance of any audio gear. And not all well-established audio magazines use test equipment in their reviews, the prime example being "The Absolute Sound" . Would Mr Larson criticize that all reviews in The Absolute Sound are "totally subjective to personal taste and equipment and the results limited to personal taste, sonic ability of the electronics and software in use"?

Stereophile has been well known to use test equipment in their reviews of audio products. Even so, the results of the measured performance graphs do not always correlate with the audio experience of the reviewer. Mr John Atkinson has never claimed that we we should believe the test results over the reviewer's real-life experience.

I think that Mr Larson is doing a disservice to both himself and the audio community as a whole by making such disturbing statements in his response. If Srajan had given the Mobius a rave review, would he still claim that the review was totally subjective and without test equipment, the results would be limited?

Best wishes,
Dr. Roland Lim

Posted by Trelja (A) on September 05, 2004 at 09:03:36: 3 on the Audio Asylum: 3 Audio Deities At 6moons.com

Hello.
I would like to pass along a link to all of us here which goes into a lot of detail concerning three local folks who I respect beyond words. They are all friends, and Vinh Vu and Bill LeGall are just about family to me. Each has the area of knowledge, and I dare say they are probably the best in their fields, in the world.

Lloyd Walker's turntables are perhaps the zenith of analog playback. What can you say beyond the fact that his products are the destination in the field? Lloyd is a down-to-earth, approachable, fun-loving person. I can't say enough about him.

Vinh Vu's turntable dust covers are perfect to the point of being personally endorsed by Harry Weisfeld of VPI himself. In addition, Vinh has been building a tremendous amount of momentum with his Gingko Audio isolation devices. Check the past few issues of Stereophile and you will realize that the biggest problem Vinh is going to have is keeping up with demand. Look for a more formal review upcoming from Michael Fremer.

Bill LeGall is the best speaker guy in the world. In addition, he is one of those individuals only the truly blessed are lucky enough to have come into their lives.

While I am providing the link, I must say that whatever I can write or do pales in comparison to the job Srajan Ebaen has done in putting the piece together. There is so much detail and the pictures give a true insight into each man. 6moons.com has been growing and growing as one of the sites when it comes to audio. I can now understand why. My hat is off to a truly special man. Thank you, Srajan.

Enjoy,
Joe
Hello Srajan,

I just want to thank you for using your wonderful abilities to express the experience that is 'the LeGalls'. I have known them both for over 7 years and deeply understand what special people they truly are. In all my years of trying to describe them, I have never been able to capture their essence. You are a truly gifted man to be able to express what I have been unable to after spending just one afternoon with them. I actually had tears in my eyes while I was reading your article. I again just want to thank you for taking to time to express the experience that is them. You captured it and I thank you for it.

I called Bill right after I read the article and he said I should look out for the music you will be releasing on your new label. He could't stop talking about it. It sounds like you made just as great an impression with him as it is obvious he did with you.

Donn Wagner

Srajan,

I received the FMods and have installed them. The sound is fantastic, just as you described in your review! With the addition of FMods to my system, I no longer use my Velodyne DD-15 for music, only for movies. However, I am considering adding FMods to all 5 of my Gallo Reference 3s and if the tests go as well as I believe they will, I'll end up selling the Velodyne.

Thanks for your generosity!

Damon Newsome
An ad for 6moons next time? HEMA is not only HEnkMArja but also the Hollandse Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij. In the olden days, Hema sold everything at the same price. Now they changed their philosophy to sell only their own brand: Hema. Good quality for a reasonable price. We were asked to participate in the campaign. Altijd Jezelf means AlwaysYourself...
Nice review on the Emmeline SR-71! Nicer still that you're doing pieces on some of the "little guys" in the audio world.. The "no dealer, sell direct" model that the Internet has enabled is great for a guy like me who could never afford most of the mega-buck gear you read about in Stereophile.

I'm a HeadFi member, so of course I've read a ton about Ray Samuels and Mikhail Rotenberg, but I gotta mention that you're doing the headphone-obsessed public a disservice by not paying attention to Justin Wilson and the Kevin Gilmore-designed amps he sells at www.headamp.com.

As you may already know, Kevin Gilmore is something of the reclusive mad scientist of the DIY audio world. He's a chemistry professor somewhere I think, who designs outrageously over-the-top audio gear and posts them on public forums:http://headwize.com/projects/showfile.php?file=gilmore3_prj.htm / http://headwize.com/projects/showfile.php? file=gilmore_prj.htm / http://headwize.com/projects/showproj.php?file=gilmore4_prj.htm

...Totally a designer, not a manufacturer (plus he's got his day job), Kevin has never shown the slightest interest in building his amps for sale. Enter Justin Wilson.

Lots of DIYers have made Gilmore-designed amps, but no one makes them like Justin. Gorgeous custom extruded aluminum chassis and faceplates, elegant circuit boards & top notch parts...his amps are things of beauty. Running anywhere from $300 to $2500, they are some of the most popular amps on HeadFi.

Many people gush on HeadFi about how great Ray and Mikhail are to work with, no one really says that about Justin...he's a little slow and not especially pro-active in his communication. However, he's always responded to my emails, and I recently bought a Gilmore Lite (bottom of the HeadAmp line) from him that I *love*.

I know you're this big-time publisher and you've probably got a list a mile long of stuff you're going to review (and a list even longer of stuff you'd like to review), but here's one vote for adding Headamp.com to your queue.

Thanks!
Clarke Robinson
San Mateo, CA
Hi Jeff,

I have a question, but first . . . .
I've been enjoying AVVT 2A3M mesh plates in my Fi 2A3 amps, but one tube has gone downhill to the point where I couldn't stand it anymore. So I ran a web search to see what 2A3s folks have been using with the amps and came across your 6moons review. Well done.

I thought you might be interested to know that I've liked the RCA 5V4G rectifiers with the AVVTs. Plus I like the ST shape of the 5V4Gs with the largish AVVTs. I preferred the AVVTs to the Sovtek 2A3s and some different 45s. They have more life and they really let the music move along.

Since the demise of the AVVTs, I've been using a pair of globe 45s I picked up cheap, with Bendix 6106 rectifier tubes (a 5Y3 equivalent). The 6106s are also quite nice. The 45s are quite good with simpler music and are particularly natural with vocals but they lose some of the excitement that really made the AVVTs attractive to me.

So my question is: Have you had the chance to try the TJ 2A3 mesh plates? I don't want to spend the money on both the TJ 45s and 2A3s and given my experience with the AVVT 2A3s, I may go with them. By the way, I first heard Avantgarde speakers at Deja Vu and they made such an impression that, even though they were much more than I ever thought I would spend on speakers, I pursued it and have a pair of Duos now. I expect that, with luck, I'll listen to them for the rest of my life.

Brian
Hi Srajan,

Six articles back to back by you equates to:

a. 6moons phenomena
b. No sleep
c. Too much work
d. Too much fun
e. A combination of a-d

Keep up the great work but don't forget to sleep once in a while.

Regards.
Dan

It's 'e' for energetic, enthusiastic, elated, Editor and ediotic, the 5 essential engredients to make it happen. I wouldn't trade it for enything but it's clearly not for everybody. And you're right with your underlying concern - turning a hobby into a business requires mindfulness to not lose sight of what motivates one to begin with. If the fun and enjoyment factor turns rote, your reason for what you do just went up in smoke. So I'm watching it. So far so good. I took my time earlier in life to coast and travel, hang and chill, and in this second half, the cards seem stacked to let 'er rip so I'm just going with the prevailing winds, holding up my little sail and seeing how far it'll take me. Srajan

Srajan,

my name is Dave Burna. Through my friend Larry Borden, I've made acquaintances with Jules Coleman and several of the 'NY/CT audio dealer mob' in my search for the right high-end speaker for my home. Of course that's a longer, somewhat unrelated story.

In the course of demoing speakers, I've been listening to a variety of CD playback solutions to replace my antiquated all-in-one player. This stirred up my long-dormant 'EE/chip designer gene' from my previous career and has led me to consider some type of PC-based hard drive media server and USB DAC in place of a CD transport/DAC. As far as I'm concerned, there are still some user interface issues to be worked out with PC solutions - most of the options are a little too cumbersome. The best interface I've found is iTunes, but I'm concerned that Apple's proprietary codec won't allow for as much downstream flexibility or ability to upgrade the player quality.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for the recent article on CD transports. It's the first decent, concise explanation I've read on how mechanical issues effect CD playback. I'm beginning to think you need to spend more money to get a great CD solution than you do vinyl. It's still early in the 'PC media server' era, but I'm having trouble justifying an investment into a new transport, even more so after this article. Guess I'll wait until the market shakes out just a little more.

On another note, thanks for making 6moons a successful web-based source of information. I've been considering for some time that the economics of audio reviewing and publishing wouldn't support a full-blown print channel for much longer, so I'm glad to see that 6moons has become what I believe is one of the few professionally-run online outlets.

Best,
-dB
Srajan,

I read with interest your review of the Accustic Arts Drive-1 transport. I too am an owner of the Drive-1 (which I purchased prior to your review) together with a Zanden 5000 Mk IV. I purchased the Zanden 5000 first (thanks in part to your review) and was searching for a good transport and came across the Accustic Arts. Guided by the review in Ultrasound magazine, I demoed the unit with my Zanden and found the combination very nice, thus buying it.

I would like to point out that my preference is to use the XLR outputs of the Drive-1. Now my Drive-1 does not have a BNC output but I have also tried BNC cables (with RCA adapter) and I agree with Ultrasound's findings that the Drive-1 performs best through the XLR. The main advantage is that the dynamics are better through the XLR connectors. I have tried Acoustic Zen MC2, Nordost Silver Shadow and Harmonic Tech Cyber digital cables. I have finally settled on the AudioNote Kondo KVz digital XLR cable and recommend it highly.

Another suggestion I would recommend is to tube roll the Zanden DAC. For the 6922 output tube, I have finally settled on a late 1960s Siemens cCA in place of the stock JAN Phillips 6922. I get smoother highs, more lucid mids (on top of the already lucid Zanden mids) and more tuneful bass. I also recommend swapping the 6X4 rectifier. Now, most people would say that the perhaps weakest area may be in the bass (not as tight as some other high end DACs). This is where the 6X4 comes in. I have tried a 1950s GEC 6X4/EZ90 and this gives more extension. I've finally settled on a 1960s Mullard 6X4/EZ90 which gives more weight and impact than the stock and the GEC (but not as extended as the GEC). Tube rolling the remaining pair of 6CA4 rectifiers has the least impact. Not surprisingly as these pair of rectifiers (I believe) are for the power supply of the digital circuit. That said, I am now using a pair of Mullard EZ81(6CA4 equivalents) which I find gives a smidge more resolution in the highs. The NOS 6X4 and 6CA4 rectifiers are not expensive and can readily be found. The better NOS 6922 tubes can be quite costly and hard to find (thankfully you need only 1) but I do believe that tube rolling the Zanden is worthwhile to extract the best of the unit. Considering the price of the Zanden, the extra cost of NOS tubes is a small price to pay for the sonic gain.

Regards,
Albert Ong
Hello Marja and Henk,

Thank you for your article on EAC. Yes, I have been using EAC for some time now with good results. I thought your article was very good and wish to make a few comments:

1. While mentioning the benefits of circumcision etc. I am surprised that you did not mention the effects of different recording speeds. I have found this to make a significant difference to recording quality. Of course, it does vary for different writers and media/sensitivities.

2. Yes, different discs do make a difference. I have tried black discs such as SMARTBUY BLACK and found them to be very good. However, since they were becoming increasingly difficult to source here in Australia, I switched to Verbatim Vinyl discs as they promote themselves to be specifically made for audio recording. Perhaps a dubious claim! As a remark, I have always found TDK discs to sound rather poor. Yes, I would be very interested to know which discs you recommend but whatever you choose, please make sure they are available in or from Australia!

Sydney, Australia
PS:
Just got some Mofi discs and thought to give you some feedback. Firstly, I was very surprised to discover that these discs are only 650MB instead of 700MB (as is usual these days). I went back to the Mobile Fidelity/Music Direct website to see if anything is mentioned about this fact there. Interestingly, it seems to be omitted. Surely, this is an important thing for customers to know and should be stated clearly!

I use Nero 5.5. and have a Yamaha burner (CDW2200E) which supports AMQR. With AMQR selected, burn speed is restricted to 4x rather than 1x (as is recommended by MoFi on their website). At this stage, I have yet to try a 1x burn (in fact, I think my burner will only burn down to 2x as minimum) but I will certainly be trying other speeds during the course of my evaluation.

My impression of sound reproduction of these discs is very good. Compared to the Verbatim Vinyl CD-R (my current standard), the MoFi discs are noticeably less compressed and more dynamic. So, I think it is something of a winner, albeit for recordings of less than 74min! Also, one has to mention cost. These discs are not cheap, particularly when shipping cost to Australia was $US21.50 for a 25 spindle pack!

Thanks for your efforts.
Anyway, how is your testing progressing?
Regards,
Raymond Raheb, Australia

Hi Raymond,

Thank you for your comments. And you are right about recording speeds. However, so far we experienced that when using EAC as a writer -- 0.95 beta 5 -- EAC determines the best recording speed. From other sources we learned that some drives like the newer Yamaha models perform better when writing at top speed. Writing at slow speeds results in poorer quality. In the followup, we certainly will address this issue. In the meanwhile, we are studying the various test performed by www.cdfreaks.org and others. There's a lot of info out there.

Regarding the black stuff, we are now collection all kinds of brand and notice the same you did. Availability is the hard part. Sometimes retailers offer black CDs as a special, limited sale. We also received our stack of Mofis and noticed their capacity. We are also hunting for a Yamaha burner but it seems Yamaha stopped producing these machines. Their reasoning is that the margins are too low. So now we are probably going for a new external Plextor SCSI .

Re. the Yamaha in combination with the 650MB capacity, you get down even more when burning with the higher 1.4m/s speed of AMQR. As you are using Nero have you yet did some testing with CDSpeed? This nifty program gives you great insight into the quality of a disc, pressed of burned. Our shootout is a bit delayed because we have to write a lot of 'commercial' pages and find the right Plextor. We will keep you posted.

Thank you for your input.
Warm regards,
Marja & Henk
Dear Mike

I read your review on the Diamondbacks and wanted to drop you a line to say thanks. I've upgraded my system [Rotel 1075 amp; Pioneer Elite VSX-55 TXi (using it as a pre/pro - liked it better than the Rotel 1068); Pioneer Elite DV47Ai; Definitive Technology 7002s (main) 2005 (centre) and BPX rears; Hydra Model 8] this year and the PCs were the last thing I replaced. I was going to look into a number of different PCs but I was impressed by your article and so I picked up a pair, which are now on my amp and DVD player. All I can say is "wow". Out of the box they had as big a positive impact as did the introduction of the Rotel amp and the Hydra. Your description of the sonic improvements echo my experience. I initially thought the Hydra and the PCs (even the Monster M1000i interconnects) were overkill for my otherwise modest system, but each has made a noticeable improvement. So, thanks again for the well written and accurate article.

Murray Box
Hi Srajan:

No, I'm not a prospective writer but just have been browsing through your 6moons website and it is beautiful and awesome! I'll spend more time with it again at an earlier hour of the day but just wanted to let you know I think it is a work of art.

Judith Mirus

Srajan,

Here's that interior shot I promised you of my new First Watt F-1 amplifier.

Nelson Pass
From a mooniac hardcore reader of 6moons. I've been enjoying the benefits of EAC for the past year. Your article helped illuminate why it works so well. I've also been combining the EAC with a Yamaha CD burner that uses what they call "Audio Master Quality" which burns longer/larger pits into CDRs. Your article ended up helping understand why this Yamaha feature probably works so well, too. It really does make a great difference in the quality of the recording. So I thought I'd send along this little explanation from the Yamaha web site

"
Yamaha's Audio Master Quality Recording dramatically reduces jitter. Using this feature, the recorder will write longer pits and lands than when in standard mode. Thanks to a variable linear speed, CD-players will read CDs created with the feature at the same speed even though pits and lands are considerably longer. The difference is not only technical, but audible as well. This unique recording feature succeeds in a way that traditional CD recording methods have always failed. It brings true-to-press quality to newly created CD-R or CD-RW music discs.

Yamaha's Audio Master Quality Recording mode widens pits and lands, significantly reducing jitter during playback. In test after test, listeners proclaim they will never go back to the old way of writing audio CDs again. The results, they say, are astonishing. While the CD player's laser unit reads the data, the photo detector covers a wider area per pit or land. The jitter factor remains under 20ns, or a reduction of up to 30%.

Kevin Teixeira

Hi Kevin,

thank you for your reply on our 6moons article. Every day we learn more about this phenomena called CD. Your pointing to the Yamaha technique is certainly something we are going to look in. Especially the way they handle longer pits in relation to the clock is interesting (longer pits mean greater linear speed to compensate). It also proves that there are more enhancements to be found. For our planned CD-R shoot-out we will look at the Yamaha if possible.

Marja & Henk
John!

I've been listening to some recordings that I was a part of and these little Ohm Micro Walsh speakers are really somethin'! From mutli-track to live single-stereo-mic-to-mini-disc recordings, they have a certain accuracy that I wasn't expecting. They're not "studio monitors" but they bring me back to the actual time that we were laying down the parts - weird!

I'm also impressed with how great older recordings that didn't sound so good in the past sound. That great soundstage just lays it all out without grossly EQ-ing - not "perfect" but better than anything else that I've heard for 3X the price...

Time to keep breaking them in...

Neil Miller
Srajan:

I read your review of the Ensemble Dirondo and HiDac and would like to make a couple of brief comments. First, bravo (part one) for calling it as you heard it. Bravo (part two) for checking in with Jules Coleman to see if you were just off the mark, it's good to check your results especially with a product at the price level of the Ensemble pairing. I've done the same and think it a wise practice.

Second, I can understand your experience of respecting and appreciating the Ensemble pair without falling in love. If there is a balance point in matters of taste or appreciation of art, I found myself similarly poised - that is to say, I also found it on the border of analytical. In my system, I found it controlled and organized. It filed instruments and singers in a way that was a far cry from my Audio Note 3.1x, which I found to be uncontrolled and impressionistic even when not called for. As a counterpoint, the Ensemble was a welcome experience. And, as this is a subjective matter, I have found that live music can be an emotional experience but isn't always, and that was my experience with the Ensemble pair. As a reviewer, I have commenced an inquiry whether emotional involvement is the point, or whether it is the experience of a live event that I'm in pursuit of.

As with ocean tides, my preference in musical reproduction has moved closer to "just the facts" than a romantic impression. That said, I too would have preferred a hair more romance or sweetness, so I cannot and do not fault your conclusion.

I do, however, find the Ensemble pair to be quite removed from the sound of a particular brand of popular electrostatic speakers that present music like an autopsy, i.e. everything is there and in its place and the only thing missing is life!

Finally, I'm not sure if I mentioned it in my review, but my Audio Note is also the most expensive digital piece I've had in my system prior to listening to the Ensemble pair. It may be that I missed part of the landscape of what's possible and what's available, but I so enjoyed my experience that I was and remain willing to bite at the Ensemble apple. And, to my mind rather than from my actual experience, I thought I might find a bit more emotional content with different wiring - rightly or wrongly. Finally, finally, I had an opportunity to listen to the Gryphon Mikado CD player reviewed at positive-feedback.com. It, by comparison to the Ensemble, was far drier, more mechanical, perhaps more detailed but DOA - much like the electrostats mentioned above.

In conclusion, should Urs Wagner sweeten the sound of the Ensemble pairing, it would be welcomed but if he doesn't, I could happily live with the Ensemble pairing as is. And as a context, my system prompted Jim Grudzien whose system is more romantic and relaxed to remark the sound was "sweet." And so this simply reminds me, if no one else, that this is a subjective pursuit with many paths to many places of bliss.

As a reader of audio reviews, thanks for your work - keep it up.

Cheers,
Larry Cox