Your space to participate, comment and critique. Email srajan @ to submit your entry.

Dear Srajan:
Great review on those headphone wires from Poland. It makes perfect sense, after the fact of reading it, that headphone cables could make a big difference. This company looks like a real nice find. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.
Charles Andres

My pleasure. And yes, headphones are no different than normal speakers. The cables on them matter.
Kindly check out below facts... most interesting as usual... excerpt: "There actually are very steep filters within the DSD/SACD system, and to make matters worse, some of these are not merely rolloff filters that are relatively benign. For example, the noise shaping of DSD/SACD includes a filter that actually introduces a steep peak (of ultrasonic garbage) at about 53kHz. Also, the overly aggressive and extended temporal signal averaging of DSD/SACD may itself be regarded as a steep filter that degrades the music signal, degrading it so severely in fact that it obliterates singular musical transient information:
Thanks, and keep up your great informative work!

I've never touted DSD or SACD as the next big thing. Even without referencing an older article, it is well known that DSD requires more aggressive ultrasonic filtering. Hence most DACs doing native DSD offer selectable 50/60/70kHz filter options. But at the end of the day, I think you really ought to decide about the format based on listening, not theory -:)
Forza award. Yes!!!
Giannis Bouc
Hello Srajan:
I discovered your biography today and saw that you used to work at Mesa Boogie. Man, that must have been the absolute dream gig. Why ever did you leave? I'd have given my left nut to work there!
Jerry Bryndon

When I started at Mesa, their hifi division was a one-trick pony. All I had to sell was the Baron amp. Then Randy designed the Tigris integrated, not a matching preamplifier. As a result, I could never displace a line in a store but always relied on a dealer packaging our amp with a competitor's preamp. It turned out that Randy wrote more orders for a new guitar amp model at a single NAMM show than we'd ever sell anything hifi related in 10 years. Worse, the time, energy and money required to design a new hifi product was disproportionately higher for hifi than guitar products. It became clear that Mesa's hifi division would never amount to more than a 5th wheel at best. The company and its culture was 100% about musical instruments and its customers. Nobody there really understood or appreciated the high-end hifi culture. You might say that having to deal with hifi was a kind of imposition on their inner workings. Once I fully appreciated the consequences and got a better offer from Meadowlark Audio, I left. But you'd be right to say that they're a very special company indeed!
Hello Srajan;
am a "huge fan" of yours. By far my favorite reviewer/writer. Even more so now that I just ordered a brand new pair of Rethm Saadhana V3 speakers 6/18/2015 and also ordered their matching amps from Rethm pretty much based on your reviews. I know making these type of decisions based on reviews is not the most ideal way to go about it but your reviews are much different. They really allow the reader to not only better understand the product but to genially get a feel for it. I feel I actually sort of know the speaker in a way that just has never been possible with any other review from any other magazine or website. I would have never made this purchase without your assistance and wanted to thank you for the help. I will know more when I receive them in the next week or so. I am pretty excited. I actually traded another speaker you guys reviewed, the Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution. This speaker just didn't offer the type of sound I was looking for. With some luck and your help this speaker will fit the bill.
Thanks again
Frank Smith

Let's hope it does - fit the bill. Let me know when you know, would ya?
Hello Srajan:
Very interesting review on the HifiMan HE1000. I even looked up the elongated heads and Sitchin. No wonder your site is called 6moons! In the end, I just thought that with your enthusiasm for its performance, should this headphone not have gotten a Blue Moon award?

For me, performance and price remain inextricably interlinked, Laurence. On performance, yes, an award would have written itself. On price, I won't know until I've heard the Dharma and Ether. Those are half or less than half. If they come close to the HE1000 or match it, my regard for the HifiMan wouldn't waver a second but, I wouldn't think it priced competitively. Because that aspect remains an unknown for now, I didn't think an award was warranted at this time.
To Srajan, John Darko and Dawid Grzyb: Hey guys, just wanted to say a big thank you for the trust you guys have earned from me in your honest reviews and personal responses to my questions. Unable to audition, I made the blind jump with the W5se and Vinnie Rossi LIO based on this trust. I have the W5Se speakers now and am waiting for the LIO. I wrote to Sven the following and wanted to share it wiht you:

"Hey Sven, started writing a short message to you, turned into a novel: Will send out on the Internet as I am so excited by your speakers. As a diehard vinyl enthusiast and hater of digital,I am blown away by the speakers' ability to play digital. No going back to vinyl. I have heard lots of speakers over the years with my reference tracks (had Audes Blues 3-way full-range speakers for years, just recently auditioned the Harbeth Super HL5 plus, have listened to Magnepan 20.7s, high-efficiency single drivers, horns - to be fair. have not heard any Wilson Audio speakers - but have heard some systems in the 6-figure range in fully dedicated rooms). I call my reference tracks the torture tracks as they really reveal a system in areas I most prize (have not found a good classical song or heavy metal track to add as I am not familiar enough with what I should be hearing or listening for - only that violin is hard to get right).

Torture tracks: Neil Young's "Silver and Gold" (close mic'd guitar strings and lots of cymbals) reveals top end clarity. As system components get better, the cymbals become fuller and mpre natural sounding (less sizzle and more metallic splash). W5se speakers - best I ever heard by a lot. Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" (a capella version). The better the components, the more the voice becomes human and smooth. Again, W5se best I have ever heard (the closest: a friend's heavily modded Almarra tube amp which was so smooth it was sticky but I knew the sound was over-sweetened). Jennifer Warnes "Ballad of the Runaway Horse" (track used for the Sumiko Iron Chef speaker setup - highly recommend). There is a standup bass naturally mic'd. As system sound enhances, the bass tightens up and produces a clean clear central sound with the note coming from a distinct place (think string vibrating) and also the vocals become less harsh and more of a whispery sound. This one is harder to compare as "best" as it has a lot to do with room placement and room treatments - even just OK systems when properly set up can handle this well (conversely great systems set up poorly completely fail this). This was definitely a first in that it accomplished these aspects with just setting them down in the room and hitting play (I feel due to their ability to image and being less affected by the room by design). I want a proper match with an amp before I judge the bass. 

I have never heard a component/system nail all three. For example the modded Almarra on custom-built single drivers produced sweet vocals on the Vega track but fell apart on the other two (the bass was just mushy and spread across the room). Full range speakers would do great on the Warnes song but fall apart on Neil's cymbals. No speaker, no system I have ever heard produced the cymbals on "Silver and Gold" well. I use it as a test because I know the vinyl version well and on the vinyl it was always more metallic and distinct but still vague). No digital system had previously even sniffed at the analogue - but somehow the W5se blows away even the vinyl. My vinyl system had been:a rebuilt, replinthed Lenco L75, Cayin KT88 integrated amp, Cartridgeman Air-bearing tonearm, Music Maker III cart, Denon 103, Graham Slee Reflex and 47 labs Phonostages. Completely unexpected. 

A true first and I do not know how it is accomplished, is that tracks I am very familiar with the vocals sound new as there is greater depth to the voice as instrument (this is even when compared to the vinyl version of the game track). It is not to be confused with the extra detail you get on vinyl - shape of the mouth, sound coming from the throat, saliva on a sax reed. It is more of an involvement in the sound taking place. There is no way to get speakers to sound like a live performance but the only comparison I have to what these speakers do is at live small venue performances when the singer's emotion comes through. There is this extra voicing coloration that comes through. This is what makes certain singers special. I have never heard this extra bit on vinyl or digital and can't really put it into words. I am also surprised I have not heard this mentioned anywhere in reviews as it is so distinct. I have had plenty of goose bump experiences where the singer is right in the room, but this is something different and it comes through track after track. As a diehard vinyl guy, this is a hard one to wrap my head around.

Don't want to make a comparison on digital vs analogue yet. I had my vinyl system for 10+ years and knew it well. Right now focusing on my digital experiences. These speakers are special and have me enjoying digital more than I thought possible. Not sure who coined it,but it is genius - the toe tap test. With analogue it is so easy to find your toe tapping to the music. With the W5se speakers I am catching myself and others doing a lot of toe tapping. Now the truly amazing part is that I am using my PS1 (Playstation 1) as source and a severely underpowered amp (Miniwatt 8ohm 2.5wpc, combined cost €300 so it is not properly gripping the speakers and filling the room: 40+ sqm, 3m high ceilings). I have used this system with my Audes Speakers and self-built Zigmahornet single drivers and they produced tolerable sound. The W5se speakers are still breaking in and already are producing this exceptional sound. I have not even spent time properly setting them up in the room and they are sitting on two end tables. My Vinnie Rossi Lio (DAC, Amp) will arrive shortly and I cannot wait. Amazed at what these speakers bring to the table. So glad I was able to get over the mental block of paying big speaker price for a small speaker. It is the audio equivalent of the Tardis time travel machine."

All the best,

If that's what you think with the 2.5-watt Miniwatt, I dare say you'll be surprised when the LIO arrives!
Great review on the HifiMan stuff! Comparing your opening set up to the final conclusion, you probably answered your own question why their players are less popular in Europe and the US than they are in China? (Rest of the email not published and last name withheld by request.)
Barry G.

I'm no expert on portable players, Barry. I would simply say that their GUI is a major part of their design; and that to improve or equal iTunes or the QAT, Aurender & Co. versions becomes from difficult to impossible for smaller companies. The same is true for the industrial design and assembly methods. Big Corporate has Foxconn, injection moulding and Retina displays, smaller hifi companies do not. Whilst it's a completely unrealistic expectation that they should achieve similar results with lesser resources, a paying customer comparing appearance and OS between various options tends to not care. He simply wants the slickest most 'modern' machine. How do you compete against Apple and Samsung? Astell&Kern seem at the forefront of answering that question. But they're the exception. If you look at their history, it explains a bit how they managed. From where I sit, it's a minor miracle that HifiMan can offer something like the HM-901s. At the same time, I have to be critical and also point out where they don't yet meet the most current standards. If they improved on the display (perhaps simply inverted the color scheme to use a white not black background?), it'd be a ripper already. Full AIFF compatibility should be a few firmware updates away...
Very funny zoo there at the end of your Stello review, Srajan! I'm glad to see that your wife's happiness won out and that you were quick to admit that something cheaper kicked arse on something more expensive even when you had laid out your own hard cash. I'm told there's some funny stuff which dogs do with their tails. Perhaps that's something for next time around? LOL.

Having some hardware to juggle around is half the fun of this gig, Ben. I don't really hold any particular allegiances. Whatever works wins, even if it means shooting myself in the foot. There's no such thing as any one best. There's only what works best (or better) in a given scenario relative to our personal needs and tastes. It's very basic and you never know until you try. Still, many would prefer if there were an immutable hierarchy of fixed 'bests' regardless of circumstance. If there is such a thing, I haven't come across it yet. And I've been at this thing for a fair bit of years. Here the Stellos beat up on the Crayon which means, I now can use the latter downstairs again and for future reviews. i'm not exactly slumming it on the desktop right now with a LIO on long-term loan...
Hello Rob:
Quick thing. I got a new fully loaded iMac with the latest version of Yosemite OS and the very latest iTunes as well as your most current PureMusic. The problem is, it now stops after each track. This seems to connect to the screen saver option. If the screen goes dark after one minute and I hit any button on the keyboard to reawaken it, PureMusic will automatically play the next song of an album but then stop again. I’ve got at least one other user with the exact same issue. Help, please -:)

Hello Srajan,
Sorry that you are having trouble. Unfortunately this issue seems to continue to occur in Yosemite. It is related to our use of OpenGL for graphics acceleration, which is a performance enhancing feature. We are following Apple's guidelines in using the new energy saver API "Hints" for controlling application and sound behaviour during monitor sleep but it is not behaving in the way they have documented. We are still in the process of investigating this but don't have a solution at this time (other than the work-around of setting monitor sleep to Never). A few other suggestions: If the reason for using monitor sleep is because light from the screen is distracting, the screen brightness could be dimmed manually. Or else, you could use the Screen Saver in the Displays control panel and set it to go to a dark image, which would accomplish the same thing as manually dimming it. The screen saver will not cause playback to pause whereas monitor sleep will. (Note: today's LCDs are not susceptible to burn-in, in case that is the reason for wanting to sleep the screen. In fact we leave our Mac laptops, iMac and Apple Cinema Display monitors (on the Mac Pro) running 24/7 without screen saver and no issues.)
Hope this information is helpful.
Rob, Channel D

Great answer, thx!
Hello Srajan,
I hope that you are well, my name is Kai and I live in Geneva. When I was at the Audio Visual Factory in Préverenge, the owner talked about the Hugo TT and that someone from 6moons were going to review it. I haven't invested much in audio gear right now, I have a Cantata amp and borrowed the Cantata DAC and find the combination very subtle and nice sounding. I feel the Cantata to be rather expensive for what it has to offer and am looking into the AURALiC Vega or Hugo TT so that I can put more money into good speakers. I'm currently listening to music with the Cantata twins and John Blue JB8. I find the JB8 very nice sounding but lacking in the upper register while the bass is good depending a lot on the recordings. I tested the Third Rethm and they were lacking too much in the lower register. The new Rethm Trishna are equipped with active woofers and I was wondering how the combination matches. Another speaker I'm considering is the Pharoah which I believe you are reviewing right now which are sensitive enough for the Cantata amp. Ultimately I would have to listen to either the Trishna or Pharoah but it is a long way to go to listen to them so your comments may help me decide if it is worthwhile to take that long road. You surely have many such inquiries so I hope you can help me nevertheless.
With my kindest regards,
Kai Taimsalu

The Hugo TT still hasn't been delivered but on page 3 of its preview I explain why. Ditto for the Trenner & Friedl speakers. They remain outstanding. So my word on those is still out. The current Trishna with active bass system would surely work well with the Cantata even though the designer himself prefers tubes. I haven't heard the combination myself to have an opinion on sonics.
Just saw your Noir preview. I am thrilled! My local Audeze dealer could not pry the Noir off my hands!     
Giannis  Bouc

You already know what it sounds like. Would 'official confirmation' make it any better if that's how the review turns out; or 'formal disagreement 'make it less good? Putting myself in your shoes, I fail to see the appeal of my forthcoming review entirely. Even so, I'm happy you're thrilled.

I will be interested in comparisons.
Hello Srajan:
I'd previously written you after your Goldmund Telos 360 review. Now I saw what must be the original press release on their new speakers on Mono&Stereo, next your own much shorter version in the 6M newsroom. Man, this thing is unbelievably fugly. What a primitive concept of stacking metal boxes one atop the other within one giant klutzy frame. Perhaps 25 years ago that could be sold as advanced but today? C'mon! Despite all their fancy words, nothing can take away from that robotic look. No way would I or anyone I know let that into their house. What were they thinking? You've reviewed a slew of their stuff by now and probably talked to the chaps there. Got any insights?
Jerôme Anderes

I know that was a rhetorical question. All I can say is, there must be a market for it. Goldmund are far too savvy to otherwise continue with this particular industrial design. I don't see eye to eye with it either. Perhaps if our décor were NY loft with concrete floors, lots of glass steel and leather, I might feel different? And, CEO Michel Reverchon let on that for 2015, they're organizing a global design competition whose winner will be involved in creating a contemporary new look. The thing with being a very established company with a signature look is, how much can you change it without undermining your corporate image and history? Nagra find themselves in a similar position with their 'laboratory' look and small footprint with dates back to their now legendary portable recorders. The HD DAC elongated that chassis to maintain their signature height and width whilst more invisibly tacking on real estate in the back for what the circuit required. With the new Classic Amp, they've grown in height but all of this is happening in small increments, with a strong focus on retaining the visual identifiers they're known for. I'm certain Goldmund deal with exactly the same dilemma of tradition vs. modernizing. And, it's no secret that their #1 export market is South Korea. It must be the case that their current cosmetics are really popular there. Perhaps we suffer a sort of cultural disconnect with that? Even the name Anatta relates directly to Buddhism. There must a special cultural tie-in that eludes us. In other words, what we might view as a throwback to 1990 could seem ultra modern there? Fashion is cyclical after all. Goldmund probably have timed this to the 't' for their most important market.
Hey Srajan:
Humorous exchange between you and Sahr there. He took it very well, too. Just wanted to drop you a line about your ongoing success of landing assignments of products I never come across anywhere else. In this issue, I see stuff by sounddecco, Cembalo, Red Dragon, Enigma, Coin Audio, Musica Pristina, Voxativ, Trafomatic, Nagra, Audionautics, Pink Faun, Teddy Pardo... and there's more. It's a big reason why I keep coming back. Good on you. I don't know how you do it but keep 'em coming!
Uwe Serlik

Glad you enjoy our product mix, Uwe. Some of it simply has to do with turnaround. Just today for example I was contacted by Coin Audio of Taiwan to review their compact monitor. Three hours later the preview was live. Word has spread that you needn't wait very long with us to get covered. Manufacturers like that. So do our readers. It's a win/win and no big mystery. Just good old-fashioned work ethics. Or call it a bloody Germanic labour virus I can't shake. Either way, it works. Loving what I do is the other ingredient. I don't really consider it work -:)
Hello Srajan,
I am setting up a system in a small space of about 10 x 14 feet with the Gallo Strada II mounted on the 14' wall about 6' apart. I know you have had these speakers a while and had many amplifiers hooked up to them. I will be using a single tube-based preamp using 6n1p tubes through Lundahl transformers to provide a balanced output. I am a low volume listener for the most part but value depth and soundstage as well as being able to hear subtle details even when the volume is low. Based on your experience, what are the best amplifiers for these speakers with a street retail of around $5'000 or less. If there is a great integrated or all-in-one that I should look at, please let me know. I also want to pick a subwoofer that integrates best with these speakers, bearing in mind that integration is more important to me than the last 3dB. Thanks for any advice. 
Charles Liebman

I've actually never heard the Strada II wall-mounted since we rent, not own our flat. Alas, Anthony did tell me that under such conditions, their bass response would be surprisingly potent. The obvious subwoofer mate would be the Gallo TR-3D. That's how I've always used the Strada on my desktop. Relative to amps, would you mind paying a lot less than $5'000? I absolutely adore the little $1'200 50wpc April Music Stello MkII. It's what I currently run on the desktop. For $3'000 there's the all-in-one April Music Aura V2 which adds a top-loading CD player, AM/FM tuner, 24/192 DAC, an iDevice input, a very good headphone port and 125wpc amplifier. Same designer, very similar sound, the fully integrated package. Given that you already have your valve pre, the Stello amp would seem rather more sensible. And at the end of the day, I think that sonically, its class A/B Toshiba Mosfet p/p current buffer edges out the Aura's ICEpower.
Greetings Srajan Ebaen,
I'm sure you're a busy man. So am I. I just want to get your thoughts on speakers I'm interested in getting. I've had my eye on the Strada 2 w/ the Mapleshade Upgrade stand and I know what Pierre Sprey's products are capable of. You gave a great review of this speaker and praised it on its outstanding performance. However, I rather not have a subwoofer in my system. Pierre says a subwoofer is an option, not a necessity with these upgrade speakers, especially if you have exceptional components and cables, which I do. I've also investigated the original Gallo Nucleus Reference i/ii speakers, which you reviewed for in 1999. You described them as flawless and phenomenal speakers in a perfectly balanced system. The review pair you had were hooked up to Pass components and JPS Labs cables. These revolutionary speakers are now quite rare since production was discontinued by Gallo not long after they were released. I've only managed to find some in Europe. One at a HiFi retailer called Spring Air in Germany and the other at the Oslo Hifi Center in Norway. They are in very good condition and they are willing to ship them to the USA. I'm a music lover and audiophile and I love for a system  to have musicality, balance, transparency and all the ideal attributes. My current system is outstanding and I think a final speaker upgrade, which is the last or missing link, will take it to the phenomenal stratosphere level. Your thoughts, recommendations and suggestions?
Best Regards,
Sahr Abu

Yours is one of those unreasonable calls for help which assume that I'm a genuine hifi oracle. Without knowing what you own; and what, specifically, you want to improve... I have no idea about anything. And I'd question messing with a system you call "outstanding" already. Lastly, only Pierre thinks the Strada 2 on his stand doesn't need a subwoofer. That is, unless you place it on the floor for rug-rat status. That will quite effectively augment the low end but still not to full-range status. And stage height obviously suffers. But seeing that you're such a busy man, I'll keep it at that to not take up more of your time. What you need is a real psychic. I'm not even a false one!

Greetings Srajan,
My apologies for requesting you manifest hifi clairsentient gifts. It is an unreasonable request indeed even for an expert. I realized after I sent my initial message that I did not provide enough info. I currently have Martin Logan Mosaic speakers, a McIntosh MC402SE stereo amp and MCD500SE CD/SACD transport/DAC/preamp with Time Portal SE cables, interconnects & power cords. Also, a Panamax 5510Pro AC regenerator. The McIntosh and Time Portal gear are Signature Edition from The Upgrade Company. However, I think I've answered my own question. Apparently, the Strada 2 w/Mapleshade stands are not full range with or without the sub. The Gallo Nucleus Reference I/ii are definitely fully range (26hz-28khz). They go 20Hz lower and 8kHz higher than my ML Mosaics. Nonetheless, thank you for your expert advice.
Best Regards,
P.S. I like your sense of humour.

I'd not read too much into papery specifications. Bass performance very much depends on how speaker and room interact. Room size and boundary conditions (close or far from walls) have their own say. The Gallo Ref's passive woofer loads into a very small canister which plays up control over extension. To optimize the latter, there's a second voice-coil input. To exploit that requires another amp and a low-pass filter (Gallo had their own bass amp for that purpose). Without it, I'm not so sure you'd get much more bass reach than you currently have.
Hello Srajan:
I was surprised to see the word single-ended used in such a cavalier manner by not only Reimyo but Gamut and Constellation, for amplifiers which aren't. Their marketing managers must expect that single-ended has a special draw on their prospective clients to promote such shameful lies. Is there a surefire way to tell from the usual specs whether an amplifier described as single-ended actually is?...

A power consumption figure ten times higher than the power spec; plus significant heat sink surface to dissipate than number. If an amp claims 50wpc of class A output into 8 ohms, you'll expect to see 500 watts or more of idle dissipation and some pretty hefty metal work. The moment you see power specs of 100 watts or more not accompanied by some herniating chassis, massive transformer/s and 90% inefficiency, feeling extra suspicious is probably a good start. Other than that, sticking to brands like Pass Labs which don't play fast and loose with such basic definitions might be your best bet. You're the second reader to comment on that aspect of the Reimyo preview. We're clearly not alone in thinking that this subject is just a wee bit troublesome. Why not sell electronics on the merit of actual performance rather than by insinuation of false facts? Of course, most of us reviewing aren't engineers. If we were, we'd probably work as engineers. Hence sorting through marketing claims when they're not exposed by obvious impossibilities isn't our beat. Thus the habit to accompany such descriptions with "according to", "purportedly" and such. In the end, it's always the performance we're interested in. And there it's quite clear that on most days, implementation trumps technology. If any given approach was demonstrably superior to all others, we'd expect the vast majority to adopt it. But as you suggest, class A single-ended enjoys a particular cachet. Operating under that banner must seem advantageous to some even if they don't hold up under scrutiny.
Dear Srajan,
While I am excited to read the upcoming full review of the S100MKII, I hope you gonna give other preamps a try (e.g. Vinnie Rossi, Lindemann musicbook) and how they compare to the HP100MKII. 
Thank you and kind regards!

Not really. This is a review of the Stello amp with its companion preamp, not a writeup on any number of preamps which in any case have long since departed.
Hello Srajan,
We don't chat much. We should chat more. Regarding the Phantom, you not only expressed my feelings exactly, but in some cases verbatim. I fear exactly that they are are pursing the upscale Bose crowd. It's a wunderforce of technology but one spec I've read causes me misgivings. The 250-cycle crossover pushes a lot of directional energy in a 90° opposed physical wave front. That just sets up warning bells for me. Maybe they've cleverly managed to circumvent Physics but it smells to aim at populist fare rather than right on the level they've shown capable. Call me a skeptic. I'm also prepared to be wrong. If we're both wrong, I know where my dollar will go and I don't know if there will be anything left to write about.
Best wishes,

Having been 'preloaded' with very excited Phantom CES show commentary prior to Munich only to meet up with a demo as counter-productive as I described was in many ways a double whammy. I must believe that under better circumstances—stereo mode, on stands to get things at proper height for a listener, proper music at appropriate levels—my impression would have been very different. It simply begs the question why Devialet elected to instead demo the Phantom six up, angled in various directions, set up at knee height, then played loud techno with low bass that went into audible overdrive whilst their personnel manning the room saw and heard nothing amiss. You and I both want to be wrong so let's drink to that. Cheers!

That said, given the published expenditure of the entire Phantom's R&D project, proper business expects to recoup that investment, then make a profit. The Phantom is not a hyper-priced item. It must sell by the 10s of 1000s instead. That alone predicts that the target market can't be the small audiophile specialty dealer. So perhaps "upscale Bose" is entirely accurate.
just read your Munich report. Looking at some of the upcoming reviews you mention there (Goebel, Voxativ, Analog Domain, Orpheus Labs, The Beast by ReQuest), it struck me. You seem to be going more upscale. I always enjoyed your focus on more affordable products than that. Are we seeing signs that you're about to join the one-percenters? Please say it's not so.
Charles Andres

Excellent question, Charles! I do two types of reviews. The vast majority are responses to solicitations. Only a small minority are reviews I pursue from my end. When it comes to the latter, my own comfort zone and interest remain as they always have. To this day I don't own a suit. I've got a few sports jackets, most of them 10 years or older and worn perhaps twice a year. I'm far more comfy in Jeans and Western boots. Same with hifi. Where the first group of reviews is concerned, I too have noticed that I'm suddenly invited to tango with the posher crowd. I'm not sure why but I might guess at a few reasons. 1/ our new digs are bigger and the room now supports bigger gear. 2/ I bought a Pass Labs XA30.8 for proper credibility. 3/ I'm nearly 100% gray now (I started going that way in my early 30s and have finally nearly arrived). 4/ I wear a nice Swiss watch. 5/ We live in a very expensive part of what's already an expensive country. Add 1-5 and perhaps my profile has changed. Instead of unusual hi-eff speakers, SETs and living in the middle of New Mexico aka nowhere, I now own 'normal' 85dB monitors and floorstanders and live in central Europe. Instead of tubes, I mostly do transistors. The reason for being pursued for costlier stuff probably hides in there somewhere. But no worries, I don't expect to get overrun by expensive kit. When it comes to things I ask for from my end, I don't go after really steep things. Plus, I can always implement some deliberate counter measures if it turns out that my own product mix is drifting onward and up from the other end. The current April Music Stello S100MkII is an example of the type product I'm personally most interested in. But again, a good and perfectly fair question. My core aim is a nicely varied product mix: something for everyone. I'll try my best not to change that.
Hello Srajan:
It's a little thing but I wondered why sometimes, you list a manufacturer's and importer's or dealer's website, at other times just the maker's?
Scott Nimbon

That's easy. Usually we deal directly with the manufacturers for review samples since it is they who get the most return on an English review which is read globally. Hence only their website is listed. But occasionally we deal with dealers or distributors. This happens routinely with our Canadian writers when manufacturers don't want to deal with the Canadian border and associated fees. Now we also list the website of the party who, from their own inventory and at their own expense, made our loaner available. I in fact did just that for the Canary Audio review. It's a US-based company but a UK dealer of theirs handled my equipment loan. They made the effort, they deserve a link back to their own site for it. Hence there's a link to Canary's site for the international audience; and one for Definitive Audio for the UK readers. Most the time though, equipment is shipped directly from the makers and then only their site gets listed.
You wrote: "Pleased to hear you enjoyed your time with both hi-eff 'activated' systems and even thought the 9.87 a standout. I certainly very much look forward to some extended one-on-one time with it when a loaner rig becomes available. And I didn't know Jacob had a DAC/amp in the works. Cool beans!"

I think the Rethm Dac/amp was from Core Audio Technologies (Ryan Mintz).
Kory Odell

I believe you're correct. Another reader already mentioned the same thing. Thanks, Kory!
Hi Srajan:
I hope you are well. As you're so knowledgeable with the First Watt products, could you share your thoughts on how well you think the F3 would work with 92dB Altec Boleros driven directly by a PS Audio PWD2? I listen in a nearfield setup with a powered sub and to many different types of music. Your time & thoughts are sincerely appreciated.
Thank you,
Ed Schulte

If you're asking whether a 15/10wpc into 8/4-ohm single-ended amp with feedback is powerful enough for a 10" woofer plus 10" passive radiator, that's a very good question. On pure power conversion (loudness), it might be fine given your nearfield setup but voltage gain of the F3 is 12.5dB. That's less than half of the standard 26dB. Eliminate gain from a preamp by using your digital source direct and it becomes hard to predict whether you'll be shy of gain or not. The 8-ohm spec is promising but it might also hide a number of 'sins' which fall well below. And as the F3 specs tell you, its power output drops not increases into lower impedances. Finally, a 99dB but 10" widebander from Zu (it's in all their models in one form or another) traditionally sounds better with a bit more power and oomph behind it than the 2wpc SET amps which on raw sensitivity should work just fine. I would find an F5 or F6 a rather safer bet. And betting is all I can do here. The F3 might work but I'd want to hear it first before committing. Speaker efficiency/amp power is often secondary to speaker load behaviour, i.e. impedance and phase weirdness. And there the Bolero specs I can find confirm nothing useful at all.
Hi Srajan:
Great preview on the Reimyo amp. Like you, it doesn't matter to me what topology an amp uses. I only care about what it sounds like. Still, I enjoyed how you tried to understand the specs and then got clarification from the designer. Cool too to have Nelson Pass add some wisdom. I always learn something unexpected from your reviews. Thanks for that!

I keep on learning things too. That's what makes it interesting. And agreed, it's fabulous to have a legend like Nelson Pass be so generous with his time and advice. He even double-checked about the possible circlotron angle given the KAP-777's very basic circuit descriptions as published. Here is what he said. "I looked at the interior photo and noticed that the power supply caps share a common pin which doesn’t occur with a circlotron."
I'd been waiting for your latest LessLoss report for some time. Seems like the DIY modules worked for you but not as powerfully as expected. Your last paragraph and Mr. Motek's reply probably explain why. His suggestion for the next review make sense. I'm curious to read your comments on what these modules do when they are wired up inside a component. Keep them coming!
Tobias Herrighe

Yes, Louis' idea to submit two otherwise identical amps seems like the way forward to isolate what his modules do without extraneous dilutions. I'm certainly curious myself. This first review also was a good exercise in how directly the conditions of any experiment influence the outcome. The setup for this experiment was conceptually flawed. But we'll revisit the Firewall modules in a way that really hones in on their proper use.