Your space to participate, comment & critique. Email srajan@6moons.com.

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


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

Dear Sir,
I have been following your reviews on the Vibex devices with much interest. I note that you likened the combination of the Granada + Alhambra to salt and sugar and its effect on one's system to depend very much on where the system's existing sonic balance lies. May I know then if in your opinion, the Granada + Alhambra taken together is in anyway similar to the Vibex Three 11rR as I note that the 11R works on both AC and DC filtering. Thank you very much for your time and attention to my query. And thanks for the excellent work on your reviews!
Kind Regards
Andrew

Since I own the Three 11R, I feel confident saying that the G/A combo is demonstrably superior. Just the Granada alone is more effective than the Three 11R. That was unexpected but a sign that the designer hasn't rested on his laurels and really advanced his craft.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I have very much enjoyed reading your headphone-related reviews. I wanted to recommend that you try putting Mr. Speakers' Alpha Pads on the Beyerdynamic T1. With them on, the T1 sounds more similar to the LCD-2 and makes for a really engaging listen.
http://mrspeakers.com/product/alpha-pads-genuine-lamb-leather/
Best wishes,
Haidar

Interesting. I replaced ear pads on two HifiMans with those that come stock with the HF-560. That made a nice difference. And I've always said that Dan Clark's pads are the most comfortable I've come across. Didn't know that they'll fit the T1 though. Cool top, thank you!
Srajan

The alpha pads transformed my T1. Before they were lacking in (sub) bass but now they are full and rich and far less sibilant. I think it will change your opinion of the T1. It certainly did mine. Also, they fit fine.
Haidar
Hello Stephæn,
My name is Lalle and I live way up in the mountains in the north of Sweden. Abisko is the name of the village I've lived in since 1981. Check it out on the Internet! For some years I've read many reviews on amps, CD players, loudspeakers, cables... and now on the Black Pearls phono stage. Thank you! It's an amazing review. Almost more like a very good novel. The way it's written, the words, the feeling in it, the realizations... everything. To me it's very good literature. Makes me just want to grab the telephone and phone this Greek guy to order one. I've known about Black Pearl for some time and was really waiting for this review to come. In 1-4 years I will probably update my whole music equipment. What I have now is from the early 1990s. I'm waiting for the reviews on their pre and power amplifiers that I hope you will review some time in September/October this year. But if they get words like this, the way I feel today, I will probably really think about getting a whole Black Pearls system. I'm far from an audiophile. I just love sounds. Maybe in a special way. And from what I've read, it seems that Black Pearls deliver it.
Thank you once again.
Lalle

Lalle,
Thank you for the very kind words. I did look up Abisko and the latest census shows you are among only 85 inhabitants. I have no doubt that you love sounds in a special way. Since your location is 195km north of the Arctic Circle, I also suspect you know a thing or two about natural beauty, especially when it comes to viewing the aurora borealis. And I'd imagine a great sound system would come in handy during the nights of the midnight sun!
æ
A good friend has the Job 225 and is getting the Boenicke W5se for a secondary system (must be nice, huh). I’m looking forward to the pairing and am curious about the sound. I suspect it will be to my liking. Right now, I’m going Vega to EAR 868 to J2 to Strada2. Very much a warm lit-from-within sorta presentation although most wouldn’t ever suspect that as the outcome. Very good dynamics in a nearfield setup.

Sonically, I think my tastes might be maturing. I used to be all about lightning-quick transients, now it’s all about a meaty energized presentation. Meaty and energized rarely go together. And there’s the rub. That’s what I find interesting about the Job/Boenicke combo. You’re the only reviewer who does the unlikely pairings and mixes and matches things wildly. Thanks for that. I find it much more fun to discover an unlikely pairing than to only mate reference-level gear. Too bad Crayon doesn’t offer the amp section of their integrated in an amp-only configuration.
Best,
Joe Eagleeye

Therein lies the rub indeed. We're fully agreed -:)
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I saw on your site that you're gonna review the Chiara. When I was at the Munich High-End show, I heard them and was very impressed. The Kawero Classic was very special but so is their price. I read your review about the Zu Audio Submission subwoofer and can tell that you loved it. It made me look into its small brother the Undertone (space-wise it makes more sense for me) but I still haven't decided whether I should add a subwoofer to a stand-mounted speaker or go for a floorstander.

Are you going to review the Chiara together with the Submission?  It will be very interesting to see how well they are integrated together and maybe also will be an alternative to more expensive floorstanders like the Kawero Classic? Do you have an estimate when you will get the review pair?
Cheers,
Guy

For most, the Undertone indeed is more sensible - half the size, half the price and the same driver and electronics. I personally lean to monitor + sub over floorstander if the monitor is bass-extended enough to only require <40Hz fill. I tend to get the most linear performance from that. I also find it far more cost-effective. The last 20 cycles are the most expensive to get from a passive speaker. But then they're fixed, not adjustable. And yes, I will try the Chiara with the Zu. It may not need it however. Or, the 4th-order low-pass of the Zu may not be steep enough even at 10Hz and bleed through where it's not needed. We'll see. I'm not certain on ETA. It'll be in person because Kaiser have another delivery and setup to a Swiss dealer. August tends to be vacation month in Europe so I'd expect we're looking at September.
Srajan
Hi,
it has been many years that I've read your reviews and I thank you for all the work you have put in over all this time. You are an absolute reference for hifi. I am writing because I live on an island where there are no hifi stores and where it is difficult to get components to evaluate. I'd like to know what you think of my system and what you would recommend to improve it. My system is composed of the Ayon Audio CD3sx which I also use as pre; a Burmester 956Mk2 amp; and Raidho C1.1 speakers all wired with Cableless Cruiser. The system sounds very good and every day gets better. The CD player has only 80 hours on it and the more I use it, the better it sounds.

What I can do to improve without losing the good already accomplished? Replace the Burmester amplifier with an Ayon? I particularly like the sound of Ayon. It is very open and lively. Or better, add a dedicated preamplifier first? The one in the CD3 is good but a Polaris 3 is something out of this world although so is the price. Maybe I could buy a smaller Ayon model? I've only tried the Polaris and don't know if the smaller model is worth it. The Raidho speakers sound really good but they are difficult to drive and I don't know if a tube amp will get the best of them. So if I were to upgrade the speakers, would you recommend staying with Raidho and maybe go with the C2.1 or D2; or to try something else? I've heard good things about Ayon speakers. They should be easy to drive but I've never had the occasion to listen to them. I've listen to Ayon with the Martin Logan Montis and they sounded very good.
I thank you in advance for your consideration.
Kind regards,
Thomas

You're a very sick man, Thomas. I say this as a fellow addict. You've only got 80 hours on your CD player and already you worry about the next upgrade. You love your speakers yet are ready to change them for another brand. And like all addicts, you haven't diagnosed your condition. Before you can improve anything, you must determine what is wrong. No diagnosis, no cure. I appreciate that your island location limits you but given that you describe your system as sounding very good and getting better every day, it seems you've done very well for yourself. Don't you think that perhaps you should take a break from your upgrade addiction and just enjoy things as they are?

Of course telling an addict to stop is impossible. I understand that. I simply couldn't begin to assist you. Things aren't as you imagine them to be. Simply listing gear which you own doesn't tell anyone else what it will sound like in your room. If you had very specific items you didn't like; and very specific qualities you meant to keep; and some understanding what component was causing what... then you'd have the beginnings of a game plan. Personally I think a much better plan for now would be to live with your system as is for a few months to half a year to really get to know it before you even contemplate any changes -:)
Srajan

Thank you Srajan, for your reply to my letter. You are definitely right!
Greetings,
Thomas
Srajan,
Thanks for the excellent Munich show wrap. I attended the show as well and purchased a pair of Sven's amazing Boenicke W5 on the spot. By the time I had given Sven my details you had left the room so here I am asking for your advice.My goals is to build a high-quality desktop sound system around the W5. As source I was thinking of the Astell&Kern 120 where I would upload my HD music files and also use it as a streamer for Qobuz (not sure if I need to purchase A&K USB cradle to do that). Alternatively I could use my Mac as source with a Halide USB bridge I already own. Which DAC/amp solution would you recommend to drive the W5? My instincts would favour a one-box solution like the Gato 250 but keen t> hear your thoughts. I noted that you own a Red Wine modified A&K100. What's the benefit of the RW mod? Which 'travel-friendly' headphones would you recommend? And finally, should I go for the A&W a a source, which cable would you recommend to connect it to the DAC/amp?
Thank you
Vincenzo Picone

Travel-friendly headphones: Aedle VK-1 is what I own and use.
Travel-friendly hi-rez source that doubles as a desktop source: A&K 100MkII as USB or Toslink 'streamer'. All-in-one desktop amp/DAC/the works: April Music Aura Note Version 2 (even adds killer headphone output, tuner and CD player) is what I use -:)
Srajan

Srajan,
3 more questions for you:
• the April Aura Note 2 is not imported in the UK and the only models I can find are 120V. Is it possible/EASY to switch voltage?
• in your latest review of the Aptica I saw a pictures of your W5se on your desk. How are they supported/attached (would love to set mine up in the same way!)
• Following an extensive demo in Munich and your review, I am buying the Enigma M1 + Sopranino. Will the Devialet 250 which I own be a good match?
Vincenzo

Sieveking Sound in Germany distributes the Aura and will be able to help with a proper 230V unit. I ordered a pair of taller stands from Sven so the W5se would float above my glass table top for more room and a tidier setup. The Devialet should be brilliant on the M1 + Sopranino combo. Lovely choices you're making all around!
Srajan
Srajan,
I enjoy your reviews immensely. Based upon your opinions, I happily own a FirstWatt J2. I have been following the JOB Pre2 review with great interest and am curious about its exact voltage gain specifications, which remain unstated. Surely with the JOB 225 featuring a massive 35dB of gain, the Pre2 must be almost passive in order to make the duo useable. And if so, does this leave the Pre2 slightly down in jump factor as with other truly passive preamps (even the ones with 6dB on tap like Music First, Django etc)? Are you able to confirm? Appreciated.
Sincerely,
Tony Wainhouse

I don’t have the voltage gain spec. But that isn’t the relevant thing relative to the Job 225’s gain. The relevant thing is the PGA of the preamp which parses attenuation in 0.5dB steps rather than apply a log taper like conventional pots do. No matter how much gain a circuit has, if you offer attenuation down to full mute in 0.5dB steps, you’ll be able to match it to anything. My Esoteric C-03 can be set to zero gain. So can my Nagra. But zero gain doesn’t equal passive. You’ve still got active voltage rails; and buffered impedance-compensated outputs. That’s different from the true passives. So no, I don’t hear reduced jump factor with the Pre2. To me that argument is one of those audiophile theoretical ideas which doesn’t add up in reality -:)
Srajan

Srajan,
Many thanks for your prompt and thoughtful insights on this. I hear what you are saying when you make the point that a nil-gain preamp does not denote a passive preamp. And thanks for highlighting the JOB’s rather unique volume control system on the Pre2. I had completely overlooked this aspect. As I understand from your comments, the volume increments are so small that the Pre2 potentially makes preamp power amp gain mismatches, at least as far as sufficient usable volume control increments are concerned, a thing of the past. Interestingly, after reading about your many escapades with TVC preamps, I have recently inserted a Django preamp into my system of FirstWatt J2, Blumenstein Orca/Dungeness (active) and the results are simply breathtaking but also quite contradictory.

Firstly, with the Django and J2 in service, this is perhaps the finest sound I have ever achieved. However, when the music gets very heavy or complex, it is as if the J2 now runs out of steam. That is to say that during particularly demanding material, the J2 now appears to now have insufficient power to maintain the excellent dynamics heard in simpler music. The sound seems to harden and vocals sound a bit 'pinched' and shut in. If I didn’t know better, I would assume that this result was symptomatic of insufficient amplifier power to drive the 90dB loudspeakers with their solid 8-ohm impedance, single driver, no crossover and active subs during complex and demanding material. But this is not the case when my other two active preamps—one solid state and one tubed—are feeding the J2 in the exact same system. (Admittedly, the overall sound was less good than with the Django).

As you will know, the Django has a switch to introduce 6dB of gain but this does nothing to resolve the dynamics problem during heavy or complex music material. So as you have rightly identified, this problem is not a gain issue. As a cross reference, I recently stayed with the Django preamp and switched out the J2 in favour of my 150w/30dB gain Holfi Power 150 power amp, a wonderful, zero-feedback solid state amp from Denmark. With the big Dane providing the juice, the dynamic problems during complex or heavy material completely disappeared but the Holfi could not quite match the J2 for sheer articulation and realism during less demanding music. As a result, the J2 went straight back into duty. But the test proved to me that a Django-based system could indeed deliver full force dynamic, within the context of the right power amp/loudspeaker partnership.

So I simply cannot explain why the J2 drives my speakers perfectly well with an active preamp but not with a passive preamp?  All avenues suggest that this is a passive versus active preamp issue. Perhaps the ever-so-slight additional drive that an active preamp contributes gives the J2 a small but critical boost and just makes the difference in my system?  If so, the active JOB Pre2 could eliminate the current dynamics problem in my system?  I suspect that the Pre2 could potentially lose some of the precision and purity of the Django at the same time. I may have this wrong. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with the drive delivered via the Django in combination with the ultra-transparent J2?  Maybe the superior resolution of the combo is simply exposing the (typically) large amounts of compression that get applied to highly dynamic recordings?I simply don’t know. I guess that’s why we love this infinitely mind-bending hobby that we share? I’ll just keep listening. Hopefully this lot makes sense. I expect that you receive thousands of emails so thanks again for making yourself available to comment, Srajan. Appreciated.
Tony

The Django’s 6dB of gain are passive and generated with a step-up transformer function built into the attenuating transformers. So even then it’s not active regardless of voltage gain. The FirstWatt M2 generates its gain passively in the same fashion except more than 6dB. But that's an active circuit. With my Esoteric’s switchable gain (0, 12, 24dB), I have a quasi analogue ‘tone’ control. Zero gain sounds fastest and leanest, max gain sounds warmest and bassiest. That’s despite the fact that with max gain, the volume control setting obviously is way down whilst with zero gain it is far more open. 

On the amp/speaker interface, you’ve got current delivery and output impedance as factors which influence apparent drive and control over the speaker. And you’ve also got output impedance of a preamp as a factor on how well it will drive an amplifier. That’s where passives can fall below actives. And usually whilst producing more grip, bass and mass, actives give up transparency, speed, lucidity and micro detail compared to passives. So it tends to demand a well-chosen set of compromises between both approaches.

There’s an intermediate option of the ‘activated passive’. That’s how Wyred4Sound does it. Until unity gain they apply no gain so their device works like a passive. Above unity gain they kick in active gain. Once the volume control setting stops attenuating the source voltage, the device urns into a conventional active. But in passive mode you’ve still got active voltage rails, impedance-compensated outputs and such to not operate like a conventional passive on those counts. The mPre is a sub $1’000 piece that impressed me a lot when I reviewed it. No idea though how I’d feel about it compared to the Pre2 since I never heard them side by side.

The Job Pre2 is a wide bandwidth design like all of Goldmund’s stuff so it doesn’t suffer a time lag between low and high frequencies. This makes for a very articulate lit-up energetic precise sound. I’ll find out how much voltage gain it produces before I wrap the review. How it’d work versus the Django into your J2 and speakers I couldn’t predict of course. Thankfully the Pre2 isn’t too costly where, perhaps, it’s a gamble that you could justify either way? What I can nearly predict is simply that any active preamp in the sane money realm will subtract some of the transparency and openness of your TVC. You might have to prioritize based on what type of music you listen to most.
Srajan
There’s no custom cure for the upgrade bug as I soon found out. The Tektron TK 6EM7 micro amp Attilio made for me works so well that I decided to splurge on an upgrade. On request Attilio suggested an oversize rectifier while I plumped for Auricaps since he’s the Italian importer; and an all-important new brushed metal base  plate to match the handsome top one. Cost came to considerably less than one third of the original price plus €20 for shipment to Sicily and a month’s wait.The aesthetic results are as pictured. The amp now rests on three brass cones salvaged from my parts bin. The new rectifier has opened up the sound box considerably—money well spent there—while I have found no great difference between the Auricaps and the quirky Tantalums originally chosen by Attilio. Serves me right for succumbing to brand snobbery. However even with the new rectifier the amp proved marginal for my recently returned Harbeth mini monitors. Volume was never really a problem and it was absolutely addictive with acoustical recordings but prone in the end to losing its grip with compressed electric bass. We’re talking 83.5dB insensitive sealed boxes here though.
Michele from Rome
Hello,
Please be informed that the filter inside the Audiomica power cable is an ordinary industrial filter produced by Filtercon. It costs 10PLN or about €2,50. Detailed information for anyone not wanting to be deceived can be found here and here. The same is true for the ordinary industrial conductors of all their cables.
Best Regards
Cris

That Audiomica sources their filters from Filtercon is possible. Our reviewing job simply doesn't include cutting open a loaner to determine what industrial sources might sell the parts used therein. DIYers of course might be interested to learn where to obtain the necessary bits to roll their own. But it's far-fetched to insinuate deception. Capacitors, coils, resistors, transformers etc. all tend to come from specialty suppliers. Nobody alleges deception if Audio Research don't roll their own capacitors or NordOst don't extrude their own conductors in-house. In fact the vast majority of cable makers obtain their raw conductors from industrial suppliers.
Srajan

It is true that we cooperate with Filtercon but it is not true that our filters are ordinary ones. We instructed Filtercon to make filters for us according to our project and design. The filters which you were sent links for are not the filters which are used in our cables. They look similar but the parameters of our filters are totally different. Our filters are not available at the Filtercon website and store. They are made to our special demand. I think that someone from our competition was trying to belittle our achievement and spoil the good name of our company. Thank you very much for this information.
Audiomica
Hi Srajan (and John),
I recently caught up on your broken business model articles. As a manufacturer who has been a 6moons banner sponsor, I believe what you are proposing actually levels the playing field in a few ways. If all manufacturers have to pay the same amount for a review, then it should help how the reader perceives a review of a sponsor's product. There should be no doubts along the lines of "there is praise in that review because company XYZ is a site sponsor." This is good for everyone - the manufacturers, the reviewers (paid consultants if we want to call them that), and the readers.

Manufacturers would feel like everyone who gets a review is contributing to keeping the site going (no freeloaders) for the industry as a whole. The readers don't have to pay to learn about products that are usually not inexpensive in the first place. The reviewer/consultant gets paid for the long hours spent listening, analyzing, comparing, writing, photoshopping etc. I know it's a lot of work because when developing product, I have to put on my reviewer hat on and put in the hours. It's fun but it involves a lot of mental energy. Luckily it is work that makes you want to give it your best because you enjoy it and are free of conflict (which you wrote about in John Darko's KIH#14 and which especially mirrored my feelings towards self-employment in general). This part to be exact:

"Just as vital is not being in conflict. If you work for someone else, a certain amount of conflict and compromise is inevitable. If you’re self-employed, those shackles are off (as is job security). Absence of conflict leads to enthusiasm. Enthusiasm leads to giving it your all. Giving all of yourself to the job leads to getting reasonably good at what you do. That’s because you’re honestly motivated to improve yourself. You mean to see how far you can go since nobody is holding you back but yourself. All of that tends to lead to a certain amount of success. After all, success thrives on enthusiasm and self-improvement. It’s contagious and self-revealing."

Yes! As long as everything is fully disclosed, then what is the problem? I see it as a solution at least to the issues I raised above. When you free yourself of conflicts (the "box"), solutions appear all around you. I've been going through this process for quite a few months now and the results will show themselves soon enough (hopefully at RMAF). I have never been so energized like this before and I believe that I am getting ready to offer something that will be a true game-changer for our customers and those in the industry who will inevitably follow down this path. There is so much I want to talk about regarding this but it needs to wait for another 4 to 6 weeks. This was not the reason for this email but something that has me relate to your situation of wanting to change the game. Breaking free of the conflict, free of those who do not want to see change because they fear it, free of "the old appeals" (C.Sagan?).  Everything needs to evolve and eventually it does, but sometimes slower or faster than we like to see. It sounds like the evolution of the audio review model is already in progress!

Finally (for now), one idea for a new reviewer model that has been on my mind has to do with providing the reader with more insight into the reviewer's listening room. Not just pictures but more about the setup of the speakers and the spatial relation between the speakers, listening position, and room (and what happens when these are tweaked). The room dimensions and even some way to give insight about the room acoustics  (one could get deep into this part with measurements of the room's impulse response, time to decay, etc). The idea is that when readers have more knowledge about a reviewer's room, they might be able to understand and appreciate where the reviewer was coming from when reviewing a particular pair of speakers or electronic component. Of course it's more work and there is enough of that to do already and I understand that! But imagine if there were certain industry standards for how a reviewer details how the room is impacting their impressions of the product under test (just like a manufacturer follows certain standard such as specifying wattage, gain, sensitivity etc.). I am not saying this is something that can be figured out overnight, but it would probably change the way people relate to product reviews and perhaps the reader would be willing to pay to get this level of insight so they can get a better grasp of how a product would sound before they shell out their hard-earned cash. Certain parts of a review site could require a login that only paying members would have. It doesn't have to be a large amount. Even $10/ mo. x  all those people who would want the detailed scoop directly from the "audio evaluation consultant" would hopefully raise enough money for the consultant to want to put in that next level of time and energy into the process.  Just something that I wanted to throw out there:-)

Thanks for standing up to the system and wanting to make some needed changes in our industry, and wishing you continued success!
We'll be in touch soon enough,
Vinnie Rossi

Thank you for your well-considered note, Vinnie. You were one of the folks I particularly thought about. "If small firms like RWA support us to keep going whilst big firms like PS Audio or Naim have 8 reviews each in our archives yet never reciprocated once - then there's something wrong with the system. It's imbalanced and unfair." I'm pleased to hear you agree that change is necessary and welcome.

You're perfectly correct that more information about the room and its influence on the results would be most useful. That's why we've had basic room stats (construction, dimensions) and setup (long wall, short wall) for a long time in our equipment listings plus actual photos. But I concur, more is required. I'll think about how we can incorporate that, thank you!
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
Your new policy is not what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd. Rather, it's what should have been done years ago to correct widespread abuse.  Most manufacturers I know can relate (but only in private) stories of extortion from the glossy magazines. You're trying to clear the stables and the air. Um zu besser.
Best,
Rich
Bravo Srajan,
For taking a concrete step to address the broken model as you've explained it. There's no replacement for having the nerve to lead by action. As you say, subscriptions would be more perfect. Your model does seem like a solid intermediate step. I have faith in any reviewer who is willing to state clearly what the policy is and why. I've recently discovered Part-Time Audiophile and think that his series on reviewing is excellent. In response to some previous posts about people's willingness to subscribe, I'd point out how low the price would probably have to be. Certainly some would pay any reasonable price but it seems most relevant to look at the price of print mags in your space. I've let my subscriptions lapse* several times. This quickly brings offers of less than $15/yr. for me to re-up. I do have a predictable question. What happens when there's a product with great price/performance value but the mfr. won't pay for whatever reason? Surely some will say that they have a strict policy of not paying for press. Do you think these cases will likely be covered enough in other places so it won't be a major loss to your audience that they're not reviewed here?

* Too much coverage of "statement" products, which I've gone from lusting after to largely regarding with contempt and disdain. Maybe I've subscribed to the wrong mags?
Thanks for all of your excellent work,
Dave Rosenblum

PS: Maybe you should follow Stephen Colbert's lead and offer a "Six Moons Platinum." You could charge 2'000 eur/yr. for 50 page reviews of the extreme statement products.

Thanks. It's never been our obligation or even ability to review everything. That's obvious. We've been an attractive destination for newer smaller companies because we had no entry barrier. Will those companies now balk at our minimum fee for access to the review process? That's hard to predict because, in our Western sector, this hasn't been done before. It's something to monitor and make adjustments for if necessary. As I wrote, the new policy was in response to successful makers refusing to support us despite participating in the review process. It wasn't an unwillingness to help newcomers. But you can't make a policy with the intent to be fairer than the one it replaces; and then make exceptions. That's just another form of unfairness all over again. Hence my deliberate decision to make this entry fee as low as possible - a token one-month small banner.

As to 'Platinum', like you I'm not keen on 'statement' products which very few can afford. I'm neither of the right mind set nor do I have the hardware context to pursue such a thing. There are other publications with specific writers who specialize in this sector to do a proper job of it already.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
In UK terms 6moons is seriously Reithian - it entertains, and informs, and educates. I see no reason why it shouldn't be funded with a fee-based model, a bit like our beloved BBC. Would be delighted to see you go professional, and "unbiased", and ad-free - and to be paid properly for all your hard work.
Kind Regards,
Mark Hewlett

Thanks for the heads-up. Who knows. Perhaps that's where we'll end up indeed. Now, Reithian... as my good deed for the day on improving my vocabulary, that I gotta look up right now.
Cheers.
Srajan

Dear Srajan,
If you will forgive me for saying so, your audio journalism might possibly have wider appeal than the worthy and somewhat joyless efforts of Mr Colloms. Reading 6M enabled me to put together a new system that sounds much better than my previous ‘Brit Kit’ setup. As well as trying out new equipment and new tweaks, there was also much good sense on offer as to how to avoid contracting a terminal case of audio nervosa, or needlessly wasting money.

Arguably that’s what you are selling rather than review copy: some wisdom, advice and fresh ideas to assist hobbyists in making it through the audio jungle relatively unscathed and having an epic listening experience at the end of it. On that basis I would happily pay $10 or $20 monthly subscription for 6M. However, as you note, it’s not really that simple and there probably need to be wider changes, adopted by others as well as by 6M. I really do hope this gets suitably sorted. You deserve proper remuneration, we need good professional audio journalism!

All the best, and I will watch for appropriate use of "Reithian" in your next Nagra or ModWright review…
Mark
Hi Srajan ,
Yes Reithian.. had to look that up as well. I must admit that Mark has a point so kudos to you for standing up to be counted. We could do with a lot more reviewers like you who take an equal consideration of all viewpoints. As a recent start-up to the hifi market, I can attest as to how valuable 6moons has been to us. So as they say, the best of British/Swiss luck and long live 6moons.
Best regards,
Martin
New policy-phizog pics? Must be your inherent modesty? Your 'New Policy' article has nice historic pics of your various rooms. But, no equally historic pics of the Editor himself, in his various stages of life! The 'fade-to-grey' feature, let alone shots of the accompanying Art on the walls? We need more 'Lifestyle' articles. A food page?
Yours, in jest.
Chris Skelton

"Life is not riches nor structures of stone, but remembrance of those few people you've joined spirits with''. (Kung Fu)

Quite so about the jest bit. I think my personality is imprinted strongly enough on this site. Adding to it with too many mug shots would arguably get a bit much. There's plenty of fellow contributors deserving face time. But you're right, the art on the walls has changed. My wife's been busy. In fact she's in Edinburgh right now finishing up an advanced 2-week course in botanical watercolour painting. She has no intentions of getting into the formal botanical part of it (you know, illustrate botanical resource books and such). She simply wanted to acquire the raw techniques to subsequently apply them to artistically freer paintings of flowers. She's got another three days to finish up her portfolio to hand in for the certification. Then she'll be back primed to get creative. She sounds very excited about applying all the stuff she's learnt to her own compositions using various flowers in our garden for inspiration. So our art on the walls could be changing again soon. I let her know you noticed. She'll appreciate it.
Srajan

My partner of the last 20 years (we're both 65+) gave up being a teacher at 51 and with my encouragement went to Art College for 4 years, ending up with a First Class Honours degree! Claims it ruined her for 'Art' though she often produces all sorts of 'Art' things. Coincidentally, given your 'botanical' mention, our flower-filled garden is her passion.- Perhaps your wife should pop down from Scotland en route home for some additional stimuli!
Chris - currently selling all my vinyl!

Ha. She can't wait to get back home, eat our own home-cooked food and be immersed in what we call our domestic sanctuary. Otherwise the invite would have great merit, thx.
Srajan
Mr. Ebaen:
IMO, the appropriate solution for the future of 6moons is to believe in the intrinsic value of what you have to offer. Charge a subscription for it! The notion that on-line subscriptions only work for porn is false. Please don't take my word for it. Go instead to today's article in The Guardian titled "New Yorker Website Redesign" (they have 12 million on-line viewers as opposed to one million print readers!!) and the initial story which appeared in the  July 8th edition titled "New Yorker Alters Its Online Strategy." The following quote from the latter story is illuminating:

"Pay walls, once seen as untenable, have become something of a settled wisdom as online advertising revenue has proved disappointing. The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times all charge for online content using the kind of metered pay wall that The New Yorker plans to use."

I believe when you announce that access to 6moons—and its review archives!—will henceforth only be available to subscribers you will be instantly gratified at the response. What 6moons has to offer is unmatched in the audio world. Believe it! Readers will be quite happy to pay a modest monthly fee to hear what you and your cadre of reviewers have to say. In addition, with predictable revenues, reviewers can now be paid fixed amount(s) for their articles reflective of feature length vs. quick hitter. (The proposed idea to pay on the basis of the amount of advertising generated is simply loony.)

As The Guardian articles discuss, there are a number of ways to package and introduce the subscription. There may be some tinkering required to figure out what works best  and how much to charge, but not nearly as complicated as trying to make sense of the mumbo-jumbo of computer playback (the abbreviations involved are worthy of  Monty Python). I definitely think consideration should be given to an annual subscription, say $24.00, versus going monthly, say $3.00. The latter is a far cry from the $15.00 a month the NYTimes automatically bills me, which has quickly becomes as invisible as the monthly charge for my bank account.

You are right, the current model for audio reviews is broken. Charging manufacturers is not going to fix it. You have spent 12 years winning the absolute trust and respect of your readers. They will be only too happy to pay you to continue. 

Regards,
R.A. McCormack

Thank you for your vote of confidence. Here is what Alan Sircom with a UK hifi print magazine had to say about the same position expressed as, if your readers think you are professional and truly giving valuable advice with well written, concise and insightful reviews then they will pay.

His reply: Not enough will pay enough. For example, The New York Times lost more than 99% of its readership the moment it put up its pay wall in Feb 2011. Today, it currently posts 760,000 subscribers, which is better but still nothing like the 61.9m unique browsers it got before the pay wall. The London Times went from 20.4m unique browsers in 2010 to 131,000 fee-paying subscribers two years later (I don't have more recent statistics to hand). Most people in the subscriptions field expect an attrition rate of around 95-99% of the pre-pay wall audience, almost irrespective of content. A lot of site owners feel their content is distinctive, valued, and valuable enough to be a financially bankable asset. They typically put up a pay wall for their services, and disappear without trace soon after. A pay model is survivable (just) if you are the New York Times, because a tiny fraction of 61.9m is still hundreds of thousands willing to pay a subscription. It's survivable if you are the London Times too, because you have a very profitable multinational TV organisation holding out an umbrella for you. But when you don't have tens of millions of unique visitors every month, ridding yourself of almost all of them is suicide."

To be frank, I rather believe Alan has it right.
Srajan
Hi Srajan:
I am a full-time reviewer like yourself for www.avrev.com and I contribute to every issue of Tone Audio and PFO. I am writing to show full support for your editorial and asking manufacturers to support the publication. It is about time. I won't go on as I agree with ALL your reasons, the ones you eloquently laid out.
P.S. I have started a thread on the subject. Feel free to join in but please, no obligation.
Very kind regards,
Andre Marc

Thanks for pointing me at your thread. I'll participate if there are actual questions on the topic.
Srajan