Your piece on the High-End Audio dealers' dilemma (Setting Boundaries on the Sales Floor) is a breath of fresh air. It's great to see an audio journalist with the courage to stand against the current trends of Internet -nly dealers and direct sales. It's the "brick-and-mortar" stereo shops that built the industry and they are crucial to its survival. Without them, there is no connection of product and end user. These guys on the front lines (as a larger-than- life retailer described them in a short-lived column in Stereophile) deal with the issues of component-to-component interactions, component-to-room interactions, component-to-significant-other interactions and innumerable others. These are the people who know firsthand how varied the audio customer actually is and through their experienced feedback, the designers and manufacturers are able to improve their products.
Bravo for shining a little warm light on this neglected, and often abused facet of our industry.
hey, all I can ask is that you 'open my ears' to music (remember the first time you listened to the Art Ensemble of Chicago?) and equipment; and that your approach be fresh, quirky and not pretentious. And that is what you and your team does. Damn, as a public school worker, I will not be able to afford the equipment, but I do have loads of fun reading material presented from a different problematic and through an alternative prism. The writing is always fresh and free of hauteur and pretense. Putting out a zine from Arroyo Seco, New Mexico - could it be any other way?
|I must first say that I enjoy your online publication very much. I think it is about time that someone had the guts to review equipment that others pass on. I am so glad that you have reviewed the Supratek Chardonnay preamp and I am looking forward to reading the followup review of the Sauvignon preamp. I own Mick Maloney's Supratek Syrah (now Chenin) preamp and I must say that it is the most amazing piece of equipment I have owned in the 28 years that I have participated in this hobby. What I would like to see is a review of one of the Supratek preamps with a phono stage such as the Chenin, Cortese or Grange. As good as the line stages are in the Supratek line of preamps, it is the phono stages that really shine. I have spoken with Mick Maloney many times and he is very much an analog guy. He told me that the phono stage in the latest Cortese is "simply amazing". I believe that many people would enjoy a review of the Cortese preamp. I personally would love to hear your views on the phono stage of the Supratek preamps. I honestly believe these are the best buy in audio today.
|Your Auroville 34 on "Creative Community" really hits the nail on the head and says more, and more wisely, than most audio commentators ever achieve, Srajan. You clearly understand what ought to be driving fine audio, what does drive publications like 6moons, PFO, and did move people like Gizmo, and departed publications like Listener. My (belated!) congratulations on an exceptionally incisive column, my friend; a respectful kudos from a person who thinks very highly of you and your creative work!
All the best,
David W. Robinson
Editor-in-Chief, Positive Feedback Online
Your site has progressed very nicely, and I totally agree with your recent Auroville 34 comments. The 6moons site has truly become an asset to the audio community and it's become even more interesting with the worldly selection of audio reviewers. On a personal level, I've enjoyed contact with several of your reviewers including yourself. I've certainly appreciated the suggestions and recommendations over the past 18 months. If I could throw in plugs, one would go to Jim Smith of Avantgarde (I love my Duos and Jim was great to deal with); one to Larry of Magnum Dynalab (great company to deal with); one to Chris at BPT; one to Pierre of Audiomecca (the Mephisto II.X is awesome!); one to the BAT folks (very pleased with the 75SE & 51SE); one to the Shunyata gang (cables, wiring, interconnects); and lastly Alvin Lloyd of GPA (the Monaco rack is both beautifully made and really does make a difference! My only disappointment is when my wife first heard it, she didn't offer to buy it...Jules, how come you're so lucky?). And of course, most of the mentioned components were purchased due to some form of suggestion or review from the 6moons site
Hats off to 6moons and all the wonderful people/manufacturers I've had the personal pleasure of dealing with! The 2- channel audio spark has become more alive for me today than at any other time, and it's a pleasure to deal with the passion the above mentioned folks carry with their business. Merry Christmans to all!
|I wasn't just lucky, Ed - my wife thought the rack cost $900, not $9,000..
|This is a true story, a music lover's true story to be more precise.
Here he is, sitting in his old house surrounded by still folded moving boxes. He is about to move house. His old and trusty shelter for many decades is getting too big and the financial burden too heavy on his thin shoulders. Where to start is the question on his mind right now. My books or my music, he wonders. The thousands of books and CDs are his pride and joy. He practically lives for these art forms. A scanty meal he turns into a Michelin star dinner just by listening to his favorite opera while taking small bites. His audio gear is a reminder of times passed when he was completely involved in building his own speakers and amplifiers.
Now he has to move to a much smaller place, his big system with four large speakers dating from his flirt with the quadraphonic craze of the 70s has to be sacrificed. The 25-watt light bulb sheds a warm cast on the humongous white transmission lines. Looking at his handiwork, the music lover's eyes fill with tears.
But he has an alternative to all this. He purchased a PC with a 250GB hard disk and an iPod. His plan is to transfer all his music to the hard disk and from there in bundles to DVD. When he goes out on a trip or a holiday, he can load his favorite music from DVD onto his iPod. After some experimentation, he has decided that 192 Kb/sec and variable bit rate is the best resolution for his aging hearing. He is not able to differentiate such an MP3 file from an uncompressed WAV and it saves him a lot of disk space. His plan is to sell all his CDs as soon as he's transferred all the music to two sets of DVDs and keeping an additional third copy on the hard disk.
The last months he worked hard to copy his CDs to the PC's hard disk. The process is slow as he is using Exact Audio Copy in secure mode and subsequent LAME to compress the file into the MP3 format. His analytical mind forces him to keep track of this painstaking task and add tags to all files describing the MP3 files. These tags are then entered in a database. This way our music lover can easily retrieve any desired piece of music.
Yesterday he has processed, as he call it, his 800th CD. With over 8400 tag entries in his database, he is almost on a third of his collection. And now disaster has stricken. He just wanted to play a song as the hard disk began to make clicking noises. Click, clickclick, click. What happened he asks himself while his heart is pounding in his chest and sweat is breaking out of many pores. Have I lost all my work? Did I do something wrong? Who can help me?
He calls an acquaintance who is computer savvy and he tries to explain what he did and what the computer did. Only slightly comforted by the listening ear and the promise that in most cases some disk forensics can restore a good deal of files from a damaged or corrupted disk, he waits for the disk doctor's arrival.
After many hours of tooling with the disk, roughly 50 percent of all files are restored. Unfortunately enough, not as complete CD contents. Many ripped CDs miss one or more tracks, making them virtually useless. It is another painstaking task to make an inventory of the restored files and set up schedules to reload the missing tracks or reprocess the complete CD.
What can we learn form this real life tragedy? Backup, backup and backup when you get into media servers.
I am very grateful for all the nice reviews you have written on my albums. But I need to share this sad information with you.
Tinder Records the label that distributes my album in the USA and Canada has disappeared, changed all their contact telephone numbers, do not answer my letters and have failed to send me royalty statements for a very long time now. The director, Sandrine Di Rienzo, knowing that for the time being I can't afford to hire a lwayer in the US to get hold of her, is playing around with me and other artists living in Europe (Fania, Wazimba etc..).
Please publish this or at least inform as many people as you can so that she sould not be able to carry on her illegal activities.
|As forwarded by John Stronczer of Bel Canto from his recent visit to China's HiFi show while attending a concert there of Carmen by Bizet. What follows is the concert leaflet's commentary for the on-stage action:
The first scene takes place in a square in Seville, Spain.Young factory workers spill into the street for their morning break of fresh fruit. One of them, the dark Gypsy Carmen, sings a lovely habanera, reminding us that love occurs between all genders, races and body types. Before returning to the factory, Carmen throws a rose to the Basque soldier, Don Jose. A fight breaks out between two of the young people in the factory and while trying to instruct them on the futility of violence, Carmen is arrested. Don Jose is ordered to guard her but she convinces him to allow her to escape, explaining that they are all victims of patriarchal oppression.
The second act opens in the smoke-free environment of a vegetarian restaurant. Carmen and ethnically-diverse friends are enjoying whole-wheat buns when they are interrupted by the wicked Escamillo, a rich and famous bullfighter. Escamillo sings an aria in praise of wine, cigars, thick steaks and women. This disgusts the young people, although Carmen is strangely attracted to the bullfighter. Don Jose arrives and, alone at last, he and Carmen vow to live together. They will respect the importance of safe sex and acknowledge each other's unique cultural identity. Don Jose will do the ironing.
The third act opens in a wild place in the mountains. Carmen, Don Jose and other members of the Animal Liberation Collective are plotting to end the exploitation of bulls. Don Jose is enraged when Carmen nobly volunteers to seduce Escamillo, so exhausting him that he will be unable to effectively fight in the bull ring. Carmen patiently explains that the lives of many bulls and the contentedness of the cows is at stake. Escamillo enters and begins a duel with Don Jose but the Collective intervenes, insisting that the two men find viable nonviolent means to settle their dispute. The jealous Don Jose must seek anger-management counselling.
The final scene returns to Seville. Escamillo's colourful procession enters the bull ring. A dishevelled Don Jose confronts Carmen. He is suffering from low self-esteem. Counselling has only made his anger worse, recovering repressed childhood memories of satanic rituals where he was forced to drink blood, eat babies and smoke cheap, unfiltered cigarettes. Acknowledging his trauma, Carmen insists he begin the healing process by getting a bath and a shave. The two lovers embrace and detail plans to offer workshops in cultural identity and empowerment. The bull wins. The end.
|Tips for Christmas eating from "lp":
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door where they're serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnogaholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one on me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread all tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "HOT DAMN... What A Ride!"
When will your review of this Einstein cdp be out? I currently own the Mephisto II which is a beautiful machine and as the dollar falls, the Einstein goes up. I can't seem to find a dealer out here in Connecticut and normally would not buy without hearing it first. A good friend of mine sold his Mephisto IIx to get a Lector 7 that he thinks is better but the Einstein intrigues me:)
In my opinion, you have the best and most honest reviews. I was a beta tester for the Indras and they did everything your write-ups said and I had them before the review.
Thank you for your time.
I'm your reader since the end of 2002 and access your site every day except for weekends. Good to know that you are testing the new Audiopax 5. I've listened to it so many times in a friend's house and I was shocked. Since I also had a JR Coherence preamp, I understood what happened in Andrette's mind when comparing both preamps. I'm the Brasilian distributor of Shanling, btw...
Many thanks and congratulations on your site.
Just to commend you on the extensive and detailed review on the Continuum 3s. I am the proud owner of the Continuum 1.5i with a few modifications Mr. Johnson did - Bybee filters on each driver, spiked feet instead of the rubber feet and a layer of cast marble on the inside bottom part of the woofer enclosures. Everyone that has listened to the speakers is amazed by their sound. My room is only 11.25' W x 16' L x 7' H but appears way bigger by virtue of the soundstage these speakers provide. The other components are Audio Magic Clairvoyant IC and speaker cables, Audio Magic Stealth conditioners, Rega-25 turntable, McCormack RLD-1 preamplifier, McCormack UDP-1 universal player & McCormack DNA-125 amplifier. The amplifier and preamplifier have recently been upgraded to Platinum level by Steve McCormack at SMc Audio. I do believe you should look into reviewing a non-upgraded vs. an upgraded version of one of his amplifiers and/or preamplifiers in a future equipment review.
After my last email, I ordered the Lágrimas Negras DVD through Amazon.com. It is a great companion to the CD. The DVD has a live performance were they play all the tracks from the CD plus another 10 that do not appear on the CD. It also has an extra DVD with an hour-long documentary of the making of the album. Definitely a must if you like the CD.
|Dear Mister Ebaen,
Srajan Ebaen, born in Germany, equally knowledgable about HiFi as about colored knotted carpets plus a site called "6moons". It all sounds awfully "Bhagwaneesh" to me. And as we all as good Christians know, Eastern mystycism is not the Way. According to the Master, the Way is of Jewish origin. But all this does not take away that 6moons is a great site with lust-inducing beautiful pictures, nicely written reviews and causing eagerness to see each time what is reviewed that day.
I am happy and thankful for the marvelous work Mister Ebaen and his compatriots are doing.
Kees van Woerden (the Netherlands)
I have read your review on the Green Mountain C3 speaker with great interest. As a long time fan of time-coherent speakers, it is great to see a reviewer take the concept seriously. I have been a long time owner of time-coherent speakers, both as an amateur designer and in commercial products (mainly full-range electrostats). I would like to clarify something, however, about an implication you made in your review regarding your Avantgarde speakers. Your implication is that since they are using a 1st order crossover. that they are therefore time coherent. This is not the case and I refer you to the measurements of John Atkinson of the Avantgarde Uno Series two where he states,
"In the time domain, the Uno's step response (fig.7) appears to indicate that the tweeter is connected in inverted electrical polarity, the midrange and woofer in positive polarity. And not surprisingly, given the physical displacement of the drive-units, the speaker is not time-coherent. The cumulative spectral-decay plot (fig.8) is quite hashy, but this is not, I suspect, due to resonances but to the presence of early reflections. The lip of the midrange horn, for example, is clearly in the tweeter's acoustic environment."
I think you are doing the 1st order crowd (eg. Vandersteen, Thiel, GMA, Dunlavy (R.I.P), et al.) a disservice when you mention your Avantgardes in this manner.
Furthermore, the Avantgarde Uno is not even using 1st order crossovers. Again I quote Stereophile:
"The Uno Series Two has a new tweeter that matches the midrange in sensitivity, so that the midrange is now driven directly by the amplifier, with no electrical crossover. The midrange driver's physical design produces an acoustical rolloff of 12dB/octave above 3.5kHz and 18dB/octave below 220Hz. The tweeter's response potentially extends down to 1kHz, but it's rolled-off by a 12dB/octave crossover at 3.5kHz so that it matches the midrange. The crossover uses high-quality polypropylene-foil capacitors, air coils, and metal-oxide resistors. The tweeter has an oversized 6.5-lb magnet, and its claimed power-handling capacity is more than 100W."
So we see there is no crossover on the mid at all, which has its own natural rolloffs, and the tweeter is a second order crossover wired out of phase to achieve a good frequency response at the crossover point. I believe the Duo is designed very similarly and therefore, not only lacking in time coherence, it is also not phase coherent either. If you have heard a full-range electrostat, or one of the speakers I mention below, then you know what Avantgarde speakers are doing wrong in the time domain (inspite of what they do right elsewhere). Having heard Unos, Duos, and now Trios twice (with basshorns), I can say they do blow you away in terms of distortion, dynamics, and relatively few horn colorations. However, it is clear that the music is not as well organized as a true time coherent speaker.
Second: Your lack of mention about the dominant two or three time coherent speaker brands in our day and age (namely Thiel, Vandersteen, and the now defunct Dunlavy) is surprising. The very best time-coherent speaker I have ever heard was the Thiel CS 3.6 followed by the Vandersteen Model 5. Both are price-competitive (the Thiel is very price competitive) and worthy of mention in light of the substantial price tag for the C3. Another one that blew me away was the Dunlavy IV. Instead you mention 1st order wannabes (like Reference 3a) rather than the old pros.
I write this because you have become one of the more respected audio journalists on the web and I feel that it is important that you have your facts correct when dealing with such esoteric designs as 1st order time-coherent speakers and horns. In general I think you do a wonderful job of honest reporting and entertaining writing so I don't mean this as a general criticism but just in relation to what you have written about the Avantgardes.
I could be wrong but was under the impression that the Duo marries a 1st-order tweeter (single cap) to a 1st-order acoustical midrange (no electrical crossover but a 6dB/octave chamber at the throat of the horn). However, you are perfectly correct that without deliberate alignment of the physical centers of the drivers, time coherence does not apply. In fact, the paragraph in the review about how phase coherence doesn't automatically imply time coherence was penned for exactly that reason. Except I then fell for this mistake myself, didn't I?
Re: Thiel and Vandersteen, they're mentioned on the introductory first page and Vandersteen's Model 5 in particular is mentioned also in the very last paragraph and the last page, for the exact reasons you cite - those two firms have carried the torch of phase/time coherence most visibly and highly in this country. Dunlavy was deliberately omitted since they've gone out of business. However, I also wanted to mention some of the more unknown firms that work in this field, hence mention of the Caravelle, Reference 3A and Ultimate Monitor. But I really appreciate your note - there's so much to keep track of "out there" that it's easy to make mistakes - and I'm certainly not above making mistakes time and again. Thankfully, keen-eyed readers such as yourself keep us in check and the flexibility of the web allows us to correct for things after the fact. Gracias, Brad!
Just thought I'd touch base to let you know that the Bella Sonus CD I've been threatening to burn and send is finally heading westward. I think you'll dig it, at least I hope so. Since I don't have CD burn capability, I had to have it done for me and, hence, the delay. Incidentally, this is the selection I opted to send to George Louis to sample his algorithmic wares. Having listened to it twice now I would characterize the changes his process imparts as increased spatiality.
Concerning the Indra, I have been living with a 1m balanced IC for over two months now and am involved in beta testing the Varidig Sextet and, somewhat to my surprise, they seem to be cut from the same sonic cloth. Greater silence and neutrality I have never experienced and, happily, this is not at all at the expense of musicality. Clinical has not reared its ugly head even once during my audition period. Detail, texture and timbral subtleties are more readily evinced and apparent than ever before. Great stuff and certainly the most complete disappearing act I have witnessed with wire [and I have/do own some of the good stuff for comparison]. Now if I could just figure out how many lotteries I need to win in order to get the 10m balanced I need to introduce my preamp to my amp.
Review material has been top-flite of late. You guys are firmly ensconced as my go-to source when I need a dose of audio exposure and even the letters section has been a gas as it's always upbeat and positive. One page into the feedback section of that other audio rag/icon we all know and used to love ... such a malaise has set in on me that I have to pull up and take a Zantac. Never have I been subject to so much gnashing of teeth from one side of the mouth while the other side proclaims to the masses that this is "...just a hobby..." and it's all about fun. Do the camera buff mags carry on like this?
I read with interest your introduction to the Green Mountain Continuum 3s. Being a long time aficionado of time-domain accuracy and first-order series crossover design, I appreciate further work in this direction. Roy undoubtedly has expertise in this field and has worked hard to come up with an excellent product. I would appreciate mention in this vein of the pioneering work of Irving Fried. These were issues that he has championed for over half a century, and today he continues his efforts as consultant to the Fried Products Company and to IMF in its present iteration. I have communicated with him within this past year and he maintains his enthusiastism and appreciation for the sound of live music and building fine equipment without any of the marketing hype. Yet another company that has pursued this direction not mentioned in your nice review is that of Carolina Audio.
I have found Mr. Fried very articulate and learned in these matters. In the intest of historic accuracy, he should be acknowledged for his monumental contributions, including his writings supporting his fine work. Thanks so much for the excellent job you are doing at 6moons. It's always fun to read your reviews and I appreciate the high level of literary accumen adhered to.
P.S. I've had Fried A-6s for about four years now and thoroughly enjoy them. Prior to that, I had Fried Qs for about twenty years! Great monitors. I've also heard the Carolina Audio JTM single-driver floorstanding speakers and was amazed at their accuracy and musicality as well as his other models. The builder, Ronnie Thackery, is a true gentleman and has an amazing commitment to truthful reproduction and service. Thanks again, and I look forward to further explorations of time domain accurate reproduction using first order crossovers.
This is John Herzog, the guy who wrote the Butler vs. Rowland shootout on AudioAsylum. Wanted to let you know that I still am enamored with the amp. Have put it up against some other big dogs and haven't been humbled yet. More importantly, I recently purchased a brand new Thor Audio TA-1000 Mk.II. The combination of these two components is quite compelling. The Thor is very fast without being sterile. Give it a try if you can get your hands on a Thor.
|Great website and reviews of music and equipment. I am really enjoying it, having just discovered it only a few weeks ago. Please tell David Abramson that the reference to Bobbie Nelson (Willie's sister) on Willie's Teatro CD in his review of the Totem speakers appears to be incorrect. I believe that is Emmy Lou Harris on vocals and Bobbie on piano and Wurlitzer only. Great record and remarkable sound for CD (sorry, I couldn't resist).
Just wanted to say thanks for recommending the HDXV digital cable. It arrived today and right out of the box it sounded substantially better than my Cardas Neutral Reference digital cable that I had been using for the last 10 months. The HDXV gives you better resolution, greater focus and superior image density. The differences between the two cables are not subtle. For a $100, it's a steal! Thanks again!
This is just to thank you for an excellent review -- again -- on the Gradient Revolutions. In particular, I liked the 'philosophy' section: Do speakers report ... I too have owned Revolutions (as well as the delightful 1.3s), but gave them up not because I would have stopped liking them -- in fact, I have immense respect for them -- but because of certain changes in me, in my preferences as to the type of sound I expect from a speaker.
I've always thought that Jorma Salmi, the designer of Gradients and a good friend of mine, has truly done his home work on 'logic'. Given his axioms and premises for what a speaker should do, his deductive reasoning or inference is flawless as manifested in his speakers. From his starting point (which I think many share), no one can do a better speaker, I guess.
But evidently he cannot claim an enxclusive right or authority to the axioms and premises. As you write, other speakers take as their starting point a different task, a task of being more actively and shamelessly involved in the interpretation and evaluation of music; more directly connected to the affective side of music etc., and yet to be sufficiently neutral to merit the label of a hifi-speaker. It is that kind of speakers, slightly more outward-going and positively coloured than Revolutions, that I find myself liking most nowadays. But this is not a fault of Revolutions, not one bit.
|I have a story and question. First the story:
Recently, I was searching for an integrated amplifier. I had read a number of reviews and audio chat on the net and broken it down to 2 units. I secured the phone numbers for the respective companies and contacted them to find out who my local dealer would be. The people who spoke with me at the manufacturers were helpful and knowledgeable, and naturally quite sold on their own efforts.
So, I call my "local" dealers, neither of which is within 150 miles of my home. Oh joy! I learn that neither dealer actually stocks either of the products for which I am searching. Also, neither dealer has actually heard the product. Finally, neither really wants to give me a break on the price if I order the item.
Well, I think a brief review of what a retail store theoretically offers might be best now. It really is not that much. When you think about it, you are paying a markup of 35-50% for the following.
- Access: That is actually being able to purchase the product, to see it, to hear it
- Expertise: That is actually getting some valuable information regarding the product from the retailer
- Follow-up service: In case problems should arise.
Now let us review what my "local" dealers have to offer.
- Access: They do not stock the product, and if they did, I would have to travel nearly 200 miles to audition/purchase it
- Expertise: Since they never stocked the product, they probably won't have much to offer there either. They certainly did not sound like they wanted to discuss audio
- Follow-up service: If my purchase breaks, I can either ship it 200 miles to the retailer, so that they can ship to the manufacturer, or I can ship it to the manufacturer myself.
Basically, my "local" retailers have nothing to offer in this particular case, and of course they still want to make their cut. I don't know too many businesses where one would feel entitled to a 50% profit for taking an order and having an item drop-shipped. Additionally, the manufacturer, in an effort to try to protect these outfits, will not permit me to make a phone order with another dealer, who might actually offer some useful advice.
And here is the final kicker - both of these amps were listed on AudiogoN. I spoke with the sellers and both actually spent some time with me and discussed the product. Unlike the authorized local dealer, they had access and expertise, and they were just guys like me, not professional retailers.
Well, there you have it. Now I have a question:
I am using Analysis Plus Solo Crystal interconnect cables and Mapleshade Double Helix Plus speaker cable. The latter is fine, but the former really seems to make quite a difference. I would almost go so far to say that the AP interconnect is mandatory. It is the only cable, which I have heard, that does not seem harmonically truncated. All the while, I was blaming the preamp, amp, etc., when it seems that the weak link was the cable. The AP finally renders the harmonics in a reasonably correct fashion, at least for me. This might sound silly, but I would tell someone that it was the only must have in putting together a system. Other cables seem to act like a damn, and prevent all the music from flowing through.
Now the questions is this, do you personally believe that AP solo 9 or solo 8 speaker cable will continue this effect in my system, or will the speaker cable not make so much of the difference as compared to the Mapleshade cable? I am very much of the same opinion as you, in that interconnect seems to have a greater impact than speaker cable in general. Of course, I never thought that an interconnect cable could prove so vital.
Thanks for your time and efforts.
After reading your reviews about the GPA Monaco rack and your experiments with their APEX footers, then reading their extensive side and exchanging emails with Alvin Loyd, I became very enthusiastic for his product. I tried to find somebody in the Netherlands who was willing to import Grand Pix Audio. Guess what....................., I did !!! The father of Kharma loudspeakers, Charles van Oosterum, is now also importing GPA for this little part of Europe.
The GPA Monaco has been standing in my listening room for a few months now on the APEX footers and even my loudspeakers (Avalon Arcus) are standing on the APEX with no loss in the lower regions but more articulated bass (oops, I 'd never known there were woolly basses in the past). In short, I found out that every word written was true!
So I'm a very happy man and I'd like to thank you for your fine reviews on GPA and your pleasant site.
Eddy Lewe van Middelstum
another nice review on the Butler amp. Good reading. After reading this review, I felt I should make a review suggestion. I think you should try to get your hands on the Jolida JD3000 200-watt monoblocks. I own a pair and they seem to do the things you expect from SS like the bass. The bass is very impressive through my Von Schweikert VR-4jrs. The JD3000s blew away my Spectron Musician III by a large margin. The mids and high are truly the best I've ever heard. Anyways, keep up the great writing and I'll keep reading.
Gary L. Peeke
The review on Lagrimas Negras was great. It has not left my car's CD changer since I bought the album a couple of months ago. Definitely one of the best albums I have heard in a long long time. In your review you state: "Nowhere is this more evident than on Black Tears where he performs traditional Cuban boleros accompanied by Cuban piano, double bass, light percussion...".
Although most of the songs are from Cuba, there is Argentinean, Mexican and Brazilian songs on the album as well. I tend to believe the album is more a a selection of Spanish/Latin American popular music standards interpreted by a great Flamenco singer backed by a Cuban Jazz ensemble.
The review on Hollywood Rio was also very accurate. I love Ana Caram's previews efforts, but Hollywood Rio was a big disappointment.
PS: FYI, Camarón is shrimp in Spanish, while Cigala stands for crayfish.
I have read your review of the Sonic Euphoria device. I just bought one two days ago. I totally agree with your judgment about it. It' s the most musical "thing" I never heard. I must also say that it' s really a bargain considering its qualities. A question about the device: the technique of using autoformers is not new. Audrio Tekne of Japan has used it for many years now. Can we consider the work of Dan and Jeff a poor man's "democratic" solution of the same principle? Why are Audio Tekne products so costly compared to Sonic Euphoria?
Best from Genoa, Italy
I read with interest the letter from Michael about his circumstance. I've gone through a similar situation. I've been building a system around my speakers (Klipsch Forte' I've had since '86). I purchased an Art Audio Carissa after the excellent review by John Potis. I then purchased the well-reviewed Oval Nine speaker cable and Solo Crystal interconnects. And I had a reasonable front end with the NAD c451i cdp. I then tried a well-respected and reviewed tube pre that used typical nine-pin tubes (12AU7, 12AX7 etc.). While this setup sounded decent, it was far from what I expected from the pieces I had put together. As I researched the situation, people would say, "It's those Klipsches, they're just forward and bright". I was beginning to believe them.
Then I tried the deHavilland UltraVerve. A 6SN7 octal tube-based pre well-reviewed by your friend David Robinson at Positive Feedback and many others. I put it in my system an d.....WOW! There was everything I expected and then some. I'll borrow what Michael said, "weight, immediacy, emotion" and I'll add "resolution". It was simply amazing.
I write this for two reasons. There must be something special with 6SN7s and octal-based tube pres of excellent design. For people out there who are frustrated with their system. I say "hang in there".
I love my system now. The UltraVerve transformed my system. And it convinced me that all the research and study I did has been paying off. Thanks to you Srajan and the crew at 6moons and your friends at Positive Feedback. It's guys like you and the other ezines like EnjoyTheMusic that help us in this journey. If it wasn't for the show reports and reviews of excellent products like the deHavilland and Art Audio pieces, I would have never put together such a wonderful system around my nearly 20-year old speakers. Which reminds me, now I need new speakers to get to the next level. Does it ever end?:-)
My unique circumstance and its unique solution...
'In the early 90s, I made my first 'real' investment in audio through the purchase of a Threshold SA/3.9se. Mated with the Threshold FET 10 Preamp, Thiel speakers and a CAL Audio CD player, I was set (no pun intended). Some 13 years and many mistakes later, I've happened upon a system that is bringing it all back home.
"Every unique circumstance requires a unique solution" - which is after all what we deal with when we bring our purchases home to our listening rooms. When putting together a system, especially one that isn't purchased from 'the dealer', trial & error, time & money are at stake. I've looked for hidden clues written by kindred listeners who may reveal the all-elusive system which also happens to be 'the greatest bargain in high end', knowing very well this information can't possibly be revealed unencrypted (if only a Royal Flush had appeared sooner - bravo).
Happenstance. Steve Cohen at In Living Stereo points me at the Cain & Cain Abbys. I'm sold. Terry Cain loves the 45 tube with the Abbys and Ian White recommends the Fi X using the 45 tube! Finally Fi after years of Art Dudley. Ian also suggests the Audio Note M2 as a good match for the Fi. So I call the one dealer I've known for years who just so happens to carry Audio Note & Fi (I believe there's one) and he agrees with Ian. Done.
Trial & error, time & money. Something just isn't happening. Maybe the Fi X just doesn't have the drive. Maybe the Abbys don't go low enough at moderate levels. Shakti stones? Tuning de-vices? Power cords? Oh my.
Serendipity. Vu follows up on an aged request "would I listen to a preamp he's designed?" Ten minutes into demo(ing) and I'm the proud owner of a Deja Vu Audio preamp (6SN7-based and as politely as I can put it, stomped all over the AN). Weight, immediacy, emotion. It's all there. I should be done.
But in another part of town, Jeff Day's article on the Fi monos contains this intriguing quote from Don Garber "... but to best show off a 45, I'd make a few changes." Don said he'd use the "same circuit topology but a few subtle changes as well as a 5K primary output transformer (Mike LaFevre makes a couple of nice ones)." So like any self-respecting listener, I ask Don if he'd be interested in building such an amp; "I could do that" his response.
As the proud owner of the Fi 45 'Prototype' (the stereo version of the Fi monos optimized for the 45 tube), I can say without hesitation that I've found the unique solution to my unique circumstance.
|My compliments on the quality of your reviews. 6 Moons on-line has assumed the position of leadership that The Absolute Sound held in print years ago when multiple reviewers provided opinions on the same gear, and there were follow-ups. Kudos too on the "World Music" section, which has expanded my musical horizons.
I want to suggest an integrated amplifier for review that may be another price/performance knockout like your 2002 Component of the Year Unico. I'm talking about the French Kora Explorer 150 SB which combines an all-tube, tube rectified preamp and a 100-watt hybrid power amp in a single unit for under $2000 U.S. It is getting rave reviews in Europe like the Unico did, and every review of a Kora product I've seen in the American audio press has been an outstanding one.
I just read your HRS review...
I must say it is impeccably well written, and certainly one of the most accurate, comprehensive and meaningful essays on the subject and merits of resonance control I have ever seen. Too few people will read it, understand it or accept it.
Jeff Day's series on the Garrard restoration project is the most exciting thing I've read in the hi-fi press. I can hardly wait for the next installment! It's wonderful that your writers have the freedom to do such a thing. Your site gives some time to the usual suspects but your coverage of unusual topologies and products is the best on the net by a wide margin. I'm sure this has much to do with the interests and policies of the Moonie Commander-In-Chief.
Our writers indeed have the freedom to chart their own course based on personal interests. If there's one thing I personally take pride in, it's not our investigative journalistic skills (we have none) but that our publication has become a portal for creative individuals. We're keen on being a publication that's inviting to start-up and newer companies. The diverse interests of our writer group assures a high percentage of non-mainstream coverage even about products I'm personally ignorant about - because my guys and gal will make sure I do learn about them. And kudos also to our readers who do their level best to disabuse me of any all-knowing notions. The exisiting review of the SinglePower MPX-3 and the upcoming review of the StarSound Carvelle are examples of readers getting involved. In the end, I'm far less responsible than you may think. I'm just one of the 20 people who work here. The only thing I've done is set a tone - the current song is because so many others are chiming in.
Very nice posts on Audio Asylum. I am the national distributor for Canary Audio as you know, but I do use a pair of MA-60 MkII.2s in one of my display systems. Ralph, IMO, has been a tremendous asset to the audio community. I've been a audiophile for almost 42 years now and it's people like Ralph that sustain my interest in the hobby. Once again, kudos on your posts.
Thank you for posting the information you have regarding the Atma-Sphere press release, the Ralph Karsten legal fund, and today's Atma-Sphere Revisited piece. I've also talked with all three parties, but haven't posted any details because they asked me to keep it confidential. While I haven't heard many of the particulars you describe, my general understanding is the same as yours.
I tip my virtual hat to you for making this information part of the public record.
My highest regards,
Thanks for these articles. The lesson here is that although we may not want to pay exorbitant lawyer fees, it's best to have one review any business (or other) contract we sign because in the end it could save immeasurable headaches.
This letter should serve as my uninvited two cents on the Atma-Sphere subject.
I am so very disappointed that there is an issue involving Ralph and Atma-Sphere. As a former customer and occasional contributor to their user forum, I can tell you that my experiences were always enjoyable and that I consider Ralph a benchmark for how audio manufacturers should comport themselves. His products are and were rather unique and performed beyond the norm. His nurturing of his business, his customers and his products made ownership special. I find it silly for any business buyer to expect that the products of the "new" will be accepted in the market without the driving force of the originator's unique personality to enhance things. One thing is for sure........."the Big Print Giveth, and the Small Print Taketh away!" So often today, people are overwhelmed by legalities when they realize that not everyone operates by the "Golden Rule". I'm not implying that the new owners are less than scrupulous, but we often see artists at odds with commerce, and sometimes the business people get the better end of the deal. I, like you, hope that all parties can behave in a way that will favor common sense rather than greed. I really like Ralph and the guys in his shop and hope that this all works out for the best. I owned the Novacron amps and these were certainly "different" in looks as well as sound. These were the first amps, I believe, to use the 6C33CB tubes and sounded marvelous!
|Greetings from New Orleans,
As the owner of Atmasphere's M-60s and MP-1, I found this article to be most enlightening as, until now, everything posted about the current schism has been rife with speculation although reading between the lines, it was apparent that all was/is not hunky dory among the affected parties. Your overall report rings true as far as factual information presented. Now things seem to add up and make sense in explaining how we’ve gotten to the point [brink] where we find ourselves currently teetering. I have read the text twice now to make sure I properly absorbed its message and am left with a question I cannot seem to reconcile. How is it that a 1/3 owner and CEO of the LLC can be accused of violating the no-competition clause of “the agreement” for introducing a new product under the company name while actively in its employ? What am I missing/overlooking?
I look forward to your impressions of the Butler TDB2250. I recently purchased one and am interested in comparing notes. Also, I finally have some understanding of how this thing works. As you said, the Butler website is certainly not informative.
Louis D. Berkman
In life, you usually have only one chance to make a first impression (good or bad)... I sent this e-mail almost as a joke (you proved me right, I thought the 2 words were synonymous indeed but wasn't sure regarding hi-fi thus the e-mail) and completely forgot about It, even though I sent it today precisely.
What a surprise to receive an answer then, on the same day even! It may be irrelevant to you (as it should) what some French fellow thinks of you/your publication up north in Québec but regardless of that, the first impression (the one that will last) is a very good one indeed! Bravo to you.
Some sucking up is in order then. I first became aware of you while reading your Art Audio Jota review ages ago in Soundstage. Your style, your biases (what I thought I've read between the lines at least) stuck with me and when you published your Tact Millenium review, I was hooked all over again - a rare thing since I am usually more interested by the product Itself than the reviewer. The Absolute Sound's (and the very missed Fi's) Jonathan Valin is an exception. A matter of personnal biases again I guess. I hear what he hears and my idea of good sound is akin to his.
I came upon 6moons.com completely by surprise, surfing all over I suppose. Seeing your name as part of its gestalt made me bookmark it. A year later, I am a moonie at least twice a week and then some. I love the fact that you update often throughout the month, with always something new to read weekly. Also, it might be seen as more 'exotic'. Most of the products you review are new to me, unlike in other mainstream publications. And as much as I lust over some Zanden digital combo, the pricepoint of the products you review is usually 'affordable' by hi-fi standard. A good thing as Martha would put it.
Anyways, bla, bla, bla, thanks to you mostly, I am a moonie. And then, after you and Mister Valin, I am now falling in love (we, the québécois, have a sense of drama!) again with the writings of your very own Mister Jules Coleman. I can't say I hear what he hears just yet but I sure will put my ear out whenever I come across some Shindos and Reimyo. For now, his style of writing is way up there with my personnal views about hi-fi.
That's enough sucking up for now, don't you think?
Merci beaucoup Srajan - for 6moons.com, for your writings and for your answer. An everlasting good impression.
P.S.: Are we gonna be able to read your thoughts on the Zanden transport before the end of the year?
For those interested, Simon's original e-mail was as follows: "Srajan, In 3 words or less (!) can you please explain to me what's the difference between tone and timbre? Don't worry, I am not that dumb, I do know the difference between good and evil after all...! Merci," Simon
Feeling challenged to come up with a decent explanation (being German and not an English major), I replied as follows: "They can be nearly synonymous. Okay, that was 4 words. Timbre: The specific overtone content of an individual instrument, vocalist or other sound creator. Tone: More general when used as sound = tone = noise, more specific when being a tone in a musical scale (say f-sharp), more general again when used as "the instrumentalist had gorgeous tone" when it refers to timbre again."
I guess I got it right? On the subject of the Zanden transport, I've been informed that Zanden's Yamada-San was advised by US customs that his transports lacked proper code identification stickers. To run the necessary independent lab tests and comply with the formal requirements for digital gear (this was Yamada's first transport and he didn't know about the specific regulations for it) has delayed my receiving the review sample. I'm still on the books for it, however, and we'll just have to be a bit patient lest Yamada-San rush things and risk having a very expensive piece of hand-crafted statement audio confiscated by customs for lacking one lousy sticker.
|An open letter to our readers:
Unsolicited and from different and completely independent sources, I've now been repeatedly informed that the SinglePower MPX3 I reviewed really is a push/pull rather than single-ended design as claimed; has no patent-pending as is claimed; and is based on a design originally published on HeadWize without acknowledging its origin or having obtained commercial licensing rights. Having first rejected these claims as attempts by a competitor to discredit SinglePower, the multiplicity of contacts that didn't know I had received prior and identical notes from others; the fact that these parties had opened up these SinglePower units to inspect them; and the fact that owners of SinglePower amps have been openly threatened to publish images of their possessions' insides on HeadFi.Org makes me suspicious that my review might have misrepresented both the single-ended Class A nature and the patent-pending claim of the SinglePower MPX-3. I can't be sure but readers are advised that any potential misrepresentation occured solely as a result of taking the manufacturer's claims at face value. This is completely independent from the extraordinary sonics I described which are very much factual. Any possible discrepancies otherwise are brought up here solely for the record and to indicate that the Class of operation and the patent claim could be other than described in my review. If indeed the case, I would have been openly and deliberately deceived by the manufacturer. I shall leave this question open as unanswered but have decided to forgo any future reviews of SinglePower products just in case. Also for the record, Mikhail Rotenberg of SinglePower has been informed of these allegations and assured me on the phone that they are incorrect.
Srajan Ebaen, publisher
just read your full Denver show report and wanted to tell you how refreshing and well written it is. I honestly have not spent much time at your site in the past, although I have been aware of it and who you are. At the risk of sounding like I am 'kissing up' (which isn't my style btw), you really have a fresh enthusiasm and excellent writing style that is thoroughly enjoyable.
I of course appreciate your mention of our new product as well as the great pictures -- better than any we have at the moment -:) -- but am equally impressed with your appreciation of the show and what it meant to manufacturers in general. It truly was an excellent show and Ron deserves a big hand for putting it together. Collegiate is the right way to describe the feel of the show. Unlike CES, it was a great place for small makers to cost-effectively show their gear and meet potential customers.
I also appreciate the info you gave about Schifter's new overseas works. I have considered Mark (as well as Peter and Walter) to be friends as well as business contacts, since they endorsed our modifications of their P-3A DAC in 2000. Mark is a first-class guy and seems to have an eternal energy source hidden somewhere in his body. Mention of his factory in China and how he chooses to run it -- i.e. paying workers greater than the standard Chinese wage -- was very appropriate.
Outsourcing is double-edged for me. I refuse to design a product and hand the entire production/mfg. process over to Chinese or other factories, but I do believe in outsourcing resources and products used in our design in order to stay competetive. I believe that Mark will open many doors for small companies.
Anyhow, you are very busy as am I. I just wanted to take the time to complement you on a job well done. I will be paying closer attention to 6moons and will certainly arrange for an audition of our new preamp when I have a review sample ready.
Thanks for your RMAF coverage. It was particularly gratifying to see John Barnes of Audio Unlimited get some well-deserved attention. I have known John for about 10 years, and he has always been one of the high end's rock-steady, low-key, all around great people.
Funny thing, I was going through all the recently added pages when your email came through. I must say this is the best coverage of the show I have seen. It wasn't just pages full of pictures. (It was also nice to see all 3 of our rooms). Your text was/is first rate in the review industry.
Response Audio NY
I loved your review of the Reference 3 speakers by Anthony Gallo. It was very in-depth and informative in a detailed way that let me convince myself these speakers would be worth a 45 minute drive (each way) to audition. I went to listen to the speakers and bought them - ordered them that day. They'll arrive this week, supposedly. I love the speakers. They are exactly what I'd been looking for the past couple of years to replace my aged Vandersteen 2Cs.
I'm only sorry that production on their solid-state bass amp/equalizer is at least 6 months away. Thanks for your tips about using the inline low-pass filters. I've ordered some to use while I wait. The Absolute Sound had a review of the bass amp that I presume was not available during your review.
I showed your review to my wife and she loved your carpet. That's why I'm writing. She wanted me to ask you where we could get one like it? It really is a nice design and a good coloring. Any info you could provide would be helpful.
That carpet was bought from a White Van sale. There's a crafty fella in Albuquerque who sets up shop in various parking lots and turns them into day-time bazaars. Unfortunately, it's been a few years and I no longer have any info on him. White Van speaker sales = bad luck. White Van carpet sales can be very good luck indeed. Just make sure it's wool and knotted. Some machine-made carpets just pull the threads thru which means you (or your pets) can pull 'em out just as easily.
I've been working my way through the back issues of Positive Feedback magazine and have enjoyed a number of your articles. I've just read the article on DIY where you comment that the section is largely unrepresented in the press, and made a calling for people willing to annotate their discoveries.
Firstly, I am curious to see what kind of response you have received. I would think that it would have been small, but I could be wrong.
I have been a HiFi DIYer since adding a passive sub to my shelf system and being stunned at the significant cost and thinking I could do better. While I've existed pretty much in isolation with my efforts, I have read as much free stuff on the Net as I can get my hands on and I think that the reasons I don't write about my experiences would probably translate to others from the DIY camp as well.
My system is like this:
- Marantz CD67 SE mkII (unmodified, upgraded from a Rotel)
- Passive preamp (DIY ver 2. - includes passive line level crossovers for active speakers)
- 2 x 10w stereo amps: one bought from a friend (salvaged from an old TV and put in a kit box) and one from a kit and installed in a plastic lunch box (they're about to be replaced with 6 x 50w kits from Jaycar, which are decent spec devices and will move the system to being fully active 3 ways)
- Speakers are 3ways, sealed JL 12"s, dipole 5" Vifas, and Peerless 1" silk domes with first -order crossovers, physical time alignment with baffle steps.
- Interconnects are DIY (S-Video cable, a la Jon Risch/tnt-audio), Tandy and a Cambridge Audio one borrowed from a friend (the DIY cables are better than the CA one and one quarter the price)
- Speaker cables were Monster wire and are now being migrated to Cat5 a la Chris VH's recipes.
Room treatment is courtesy of some Accoustisorb panels (pro sound stuff by Tontine I believe) and sheets and carpet foam underlay hanging from the walls. Power filtering is a la Jon Risch, but mainly internal to equipment instead of in separate boxes. I am looking into balanced power but costs are prohibitive and I'll do it on the cheap if I do it. I'm also looking at learning to wind my own transformers but that's something for the longer run.
There are also numerous tweaks including spikes, isolation platforms, sandbags as well as wood, coins, water and candles a la Feng Shui and tips from the Peter Belt website, which I also find useful. Measurements have been as good as ~35Hz - 18kHz +/- 12dB with 1kHz - 7kHz being +/- 5dB measured at the listening position (non MLSSA measurements - these include the sound of the room) so I know that I'm not way off. The speakers are definitely getting there.
I see the problems as being these:
- 1) I haven't owned enough gear to know how to compare the sound of my system.
- 2) I worry if I'm not hearing things right or well enough.
- 3) I worry that people will criticize my writings because I'm just not up to the 'uber level' with everyone else.
- 4) I don't believe I listen to the right things in audio and therefore won't fit in with the rest of the press.
With 1), I have listened to things in shops over the years and my system has consistently compared favorably. My speakers have been about 30% of the equivalent cost (aesthetics aside - mine generally aren't pretty) but the most recent test (with my speakers still under development plus those 10w amps, Monster cable and cheap passive crossovers) definitely had the edge over a pair of AU$20,000 DALI floorstanders being driven by a DVD player and surround receiver in a shop. Hardly an ideal listen but my speakers are still being designed and cost about AU$900 in parts.
2) I know I don't hear as analytically as I could because my house mate can much more accurately predict the frequency response plots we do than I can (I have a Behringer measurement mic and a PC for analysis) but perhaps I listen to other things.
3) I have no idea what a super-stupid costing system is like except for two which I heard in shops, which sounded wonderful but basically sounded perfect because I hadn't gotten used to them yet. My stereo is the best level I can criticize because I've never been used to anything better. I think that is a fundamental problem.
and 4). I don't have an approach to audio that is the same as what I read. The Peter Belt tips worked for me (I can't afford his treatments, but the sample of Foil was wonderful) and I know how to relax (meditate) to make the music sound better. I make design and purchasing decisions on intuition (and where I've tested it, even accidentally, it's always been right - in my perception and also that of a couple of friends as well).
I simply don't think that I'd fit. In fact, over the years I've posted and been active on parts of AudioAsylum and rec.audio.high-end, and have been so radically punished (r.a.he especially) for having my views (which I never claimed for anyone else except for myself) that when I left, I felt I was doing them a favor as much as myself.
Oh, and I'm 28 and built my first DIY project (an active subwoofer) when I was 20. That alone makes me feel very different from the group. Not only do the comments about DIY talk about me but the whole topic of who's taking up the hobby does as well! I'm also on the 'wrong' side of the subjective/objective debate and many other topics. I may as well be a gay, one-legged greenie with leprosy!
Anyway, thanks for reading my views, hopefully these are enlightening in some way -:)
All the best,