Your space to participate, comment and critique. Email srajan @ 6moons.com to submit your entry.


Srajan,
in your review of the Goldmund headphone amp you mentioned that it tamed the HD800s. How would you compare the Riviera amp and the Goldmund?
Robert Pollock

The Riviera pursues a very different philosophy with its deliberately tailored distortion behaviour whilst the Goldmund goes after top bandwidth i.e. speed. Two different schools of thought, two different kinds of sound.
Srajan Ebaen
Hello Srajan:
I don't think I've ever come across a mention of MQA files in any of your reviews or that of your writers. That seems strange for folks who claim to be interested in good sound, who claim to cultivate an open mind and a curiosity about novelties in fine audio reproduction. Really, what's going on there?
Frank Vigo

In my case, it's because I don't listen to MQA files. I didn't get into DVD-A or SACD either. At the time that one could buy such discs, nobody actually sold them where I lived; nor did the mail-order options have titles I wanted to own or didn't already. Today I don't use my streaming subscriptions in the big system but only on the desktop - and then mostly to check out things I might want to own. I prefer owning my music. On my desktop, CD-resolution streaming is perfectly good enough for my purposes. Plus, the stuff I listen to tends to be way off the mainstream to not get any 'special treatment'. For me then and at this time, MQA just doesn't factor. Neither really does hi-rez, again because of my musical tastes. If and when I come across something I want to own and it's available as a 24/44.1 or 24/96 file, I will buy it to have around for reviews but that's quite rare. Back to MQA, Marja & Henk on staff have heard it and wrote about their response in their review of the Mytek DAC. So as times goes by and if/when our various contributors start to actually use MQA files in their daily listening, I would expect to see them mentioned in their reviews. As to my own reviews? Probably not. Again, I managed to sit out SACD without ever noticing that I was missing anything. If MQA takes off in a big way to start showing up in titles I want to own; and if at that time I can hear a compelling sonic difference to their non-MQA equivalents... then I might change my mind. Until then, count me out. If that seems strange to you, so be it.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I read with great interest your excellent review of the Denafrips Terminator DAC.  As a frequent visitor of 6moons, I have noticed your high opinion of the various Metrum DACs so I was surprised you didn't include them (particularly their latest Transient-equipped incarnations) by way of comparison in the Terminator review. I had the pleasure of auditioning the Metrum Pavane (with the original Transient chips) in my system (Wilson Sasha & Ypsilon electronics), so I can use that as a reference. I'm planning to replace my aging Lindemann 820S SACD player with a server/DAC combo and either DAC fits the bill. A word or two on how the Terminator sounds relative to the Pavane (about which you had written back in 2015) would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Dimitris Caradimos

I can only compare gear I actually have on hand, Dimitris. Just because I reviewed something years ago doesn't mean I kept it around until today. If I did, my house would turn into a shop and manufacturers would be most unhappy about such unauthorized indefinite loans. I reviewed the Pavane in 2015, the Terminator in 2017. Both were returned right after so no dice, sorry. Also, I now have different speakers than I had two years ago. Even if I triangulate my own reviews, it means guesswork. That said, I will assume that the Terminator has the lusher midrange and slightly warmer richer overall voicing.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I assume this one might be difficult to tell as you also have to rely on memory, but here it goes: Could you possibly describe the relative distances between Crayon CFA 1.2 - April Music Stello HP100+s100 - Clones Audio AP2+55pm - Gato DIA-250 in terms of resolution/air - warmth/weight? A little bit of context that might help: I've heard both the Crayon and the Gato. Out of the two, I preferred the Gato because that extra density and weight it offers made me enjoy what I heard, whereas in case of he Crayon I appreciated the virtues of the sound. I felt that the former played to my soul, the latter to my mind - if it makes any sense. That said, I can't escape the thought that the Gato always tried to seduce me with its presentation and even if it is attractive, it would bother me in the long run. So I'm looking for amps that are sonically somewhere between the two and it really wouldn't hurt if they were considerably cheaper. Thus my two candidates are the Stello and the Clones.
Your input would be truly appreciated!
Best,
Gergő Kiss

You've already done half the work by giving me two coordinates in how you felt about the Crayon and Gato. Both Stello and Clones twins would fall in-between just as you desire. Between the Stello and Clones, it'd be a much smaller gap, with the Clones combo being a bit denser than the Stello.
Srajan
Great to see your Bespoke Audio Company review published. I’ve read it a few times now and while I understand and appreciate your comments, I’m still puzzled as to your overall conclusions. As I read it, the Vinnie Rossi and Wyred were very close but substantially cheaper while the Nagra had greater texture and drive and therefore was something you preferred. Have I understood this correctly?
Thanks,
Adam

Except for the last bit, Adam. I would prefer the Nagra under certain conditions but not others where the Wyred goes to work. It depends on what speakers and amps are connected. Otherwise, yes, that's what I wrote. What's puzzling about it? That competing products would be cheaper? The Bespoke spends money on an overbuilt enclosure with upscale finishing and a made-to-order approach so from the start it's handicapped on lowest price. Wyred have never yet spent big on bling to pursue maximal value instead. So these are simply two different strategies and product positionings. Meanwhile the Nagra is active so conceptually totally different like apples and bananas. Sorry, I don't understand your confusion. Yes you can get very similar performance from the Vinnie Rossi Lio when configured as a TVC passive; or the Wyred. With the Lio, you would even add remote source switching and balance control; with the Wyred the same plus even more socketry than the Bespoke. But if you wanted what Bespoke offer which goes beyond just sonics... then they have something unique which the right customer will happily pay extra for. And that would be the intended takeaway from that review...
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
what happened to the Voxativ Zeth? I'd seen it in the previews section for months but it just disappeared?
Holger Scharmacher

It was cancelled because overly busy sales kept postponing availability of the loaners.
Srajan
Sorry to be late to the party but just read your masterful Ecobox dipole speaker review. It/you demonstrated a commanding knowledge of dipole speaker theory, advantages, disadvantages and limitations, as much by what you wrote as what you did not. Recognizing the evolution of their woofer design alone demonstrated you 'get' dipole design. An infinitesimally small number of audio journalists do, or appear not to. Nicely done. If only there was a way to make dipoles smaller. Alas, the horsepower obstacles presented by dipole acoustic cancellation...
Ed Houk
Cube Audio's Fc8 are excellent drivers not only as a widebander but also full-fledged multi-way!
Андрей молочник

Pleased to hear it. As my review stated, I was very impressed with them as just a quarter-wave loaded single driver speaker so going full-on open baffle should be stunning indeed. Thanks for sharing.
Srajan
Hi Srajan.
I want to thank you for bringing awareness of the Job Int to the market. As far as I can tell, you've got an exclusive on this. Doesn't seem they need to advertise much though. I've been on a simplification kick over the last 2 years and its worked out really well. Replaced a Cary Sli-80 tube amp and Chord Hugo with the Job and I'm not regretting it. I have it connected to Bryston Mini-t's and I get a prodigious amount of bass but no loss of detail. The tube amp was spectacular sounding, but I constantly worried about the time I left it on, the weird hiss I got when I listened up close to the tubes and the general fuss. This thing can be left on and not worried about and I no longer worry about the micro-usb on the Chord getting buggered (which it did along with the battery fritzing out). I've got a Chromecast audio dongle attached and even my wife is digging it, as she couldn't figure out the whole computer audio thing with J. River etc. The Chromecast sounds surprisingly good through the analogue connection of the Job and with free Google audio radio stations, it's a heck of a deal. My propensity to be obsessed with the latest stuff has diminished intensely. I couldn't figure out a way to network my audio so I bought an ifi micro idsd and some hifiman 400s 'phones off audio marts and a duplicate set of hard drives and now domestic peace is restored and I can listen to the Grateful Dead as much as I want without the hectoring I previously got.
Thanks for your good work.
Mike Stulken
Hi Srajan,
Could you please kindly give me some suggestions on some of the better sound quality USB DAC under 3K USD in the market for my home stereo system? To give you some background, my source is a Mac mini with mostly 24-bit flac files and Ayre cx-5emp CD transport with LFD MK V integrated amplifier, Harbeth M30.1 speakers.
Much appreciated for your time to respond,
Best,
Shepherd

I'd look at the Metrum Acoustics and Denafrips catalogues. The new Metrum Onyx hits your budget as does the Denafrips Venus.
Srajan
Hi -
Good thorough review on the Dutch & Dutch 8C. Enjoyed it. One complaint: that review was crying out for a direct comparison to the Kii Three. I understand such things are very difficult to arrange but I'd bet many readers would like to hear the impressions of someone who isn't a dealer who has compared them. Maybe 6moons can take this up as a challenge and figure out a way to make such a report possible. Seems like in the Netherlands or Germany it wouldn't be impossible to arrange. 
Thanks,
Danny

We already reviewed the Kii Three, Danny. Now there is zero motivation for them to ship out another loaner pair just to conduct a comparison. And the Dutch & Dutch review is a wrap. Now there's no justification to hold on to their loaners beyond it. Just because you can write "it wouldn't be impossible to arrange" doesn't mean it is so given how we organized two feature reviews quite set apart in time. Why not ask for a comparison to the Grimm and Æquo while you're at it? Those too we reviewed already. So unless assignments were specifically organized and scheduled to overlap, dream comparisons aren't something we can magically conjure up just because someone can dream them up. In this case, the Dutch & Dutch wasn't even available yet when I wrapped the Kii review. So without sounding prickly... you are asking for the impossible. But feel free to contact both Kii and Dutch & Dutch with this request and see what happens. If they agree, I'd be happy to do it.
Srajan

I understand your answer. But, there are distributors and retail outlets that sell both. For instance, Purite Audio in London. Maybe a dealer or distributor would help out instead of the manufacturer?
Thanks,
Danny

Yes there are dealers who have them both. But now they'd have to ship their own paid-for property, be without their floor samples for the duration, cover 2-way shipping and our fees and risk minor handling nicks. What's their upside? They already have our reviews for both and buyers in their establishment would simply compare them side by side, in person. Why would Purite Audio cover those fees just to entertain our curiosity? You could certainly ask them but remember that dealers only cover a regional territory whereas our readership is global. Why should a dealer finance global exposure from which he only benefits partially? This is why we always deal directly with the manufacturers. Their business is global, our exposure is global so it's only fair that they bear the associated costs. In the rare instance that we obtain loaners from a dealer or distributor, that's nearly always directly organized by the manufacture so the math betweem them works out. So far we've only worked with one dealership who are willing to shoulder those costs as part of promoting their own business. As anyone in business knows, when it comes time to pay a bill, many fun ideas suddenly evaporate in thin air. And those who don't think that any of this costs actual money... well, they're living in a different world than we do -:)
Srajan
Hello Srajan:
I really loved your Denafrips review. That kind of hard-hitting coverage is rare. Even more, I just saw the announcement that comparisons to the Pontus and Venus model are forthcoming. That's terrific and I can't wait to read your observations. Keep up the good work.
Holger Scharmacher

We'll keep up the work. Whether you call it good or bad depends on the critic's critics. What seems to bug many of the harshest there is the pesky fact that there are actually plenty of folks like you who like what we're up to just fine -:)
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
Would you be able to tell me what makes the Questyle CMA800R Golden version so special over the silver? Is there a huge noticeable difference in sound? What are improvements in sound over the standard silver version?
Thanks for your time,
All the best,
Kaddy

Excellent question. I have the same. I was supposed to review the Gold (and compare it to the Silver) but never got the promised loaners. So we both continue to wonder.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
Following your 6moons online magazine for quite some time now, I was intrigued by your Denafrips Terminator DAC review. Given you recently (May-2017) also reviewed the Totaldac d1-core, I want to ask how the Terminator compares. I was happy with your review on Terminator but missed the comparisons to other recently reviewed DACs such as the Totaldac d1-core. It’s great to read that the Terminator performs on par with the Aqua Formula DAC but how does it compare to the Totaldac d1-core ? It would be great if you could maybe elaborate on that a little.
Thanks in advance,
Peter

You seem to suffer from a misconception, Peter. We don't hold on to things after their review unless we buy them or are offered an extended loan; and we don't compare things we don't actually have. The TotalDac was reviewed in May and returned to its maker then. The Terminator review happened late September and that piece has already been shipped back. With so much stuff coming and going every month, I couldn't possibly tell you from sheer memory anything that'd have real significance, sorry. For example, our reference speakers are no longer the same and those were used for the Terminator review now. If the TotalDac review made comparisons to the Aqua back then (I don't remember), you might triangulate and get an answer to your question.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
I really appreciated your review of Terminator. I owned both Ares and Pontus in recent months and now I am waiting for my Terminator so could not agree more with your findings. However, your review would be even more complete if you also tested it in OS mode. In that mode it gains a lot both in terms of resolution and soundstage, without loosing the other peculiarities you described so well.
Best regards
Nicola

I did hear it in OS mode; and also in NOS with x8 oversampling in player software instead. But like the shallow/sharp filter, I didn't find the changes big enough to overwrite the key personality I described, hence those user adjustments are... well, up to each and every user to decide. In my reviews, I don't aim for an 'every detail' type description as I believe those are peculiar to a given room and system and as such, meaningless for others. I tend to focus on the core traits which experience suggests will translate.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I've been following the exchanges on various audiophile fora on the Denafrips dacs with considerable interest, so was quite pleased to find that you had their Terminator in for review, giving you the opportunity to compare it with some other very fine and much more expensive dacs. Your conclusion that it's one of those "once in a Blue Moon," high-value-for-the-money components confirms what I've read from owners. Still, I'm not accustomed to spending in the neighbourhood of $4300+ USD on a dac, and probably the rest of my system wouldn't really do it justice. I wonder about the entry-level Ares, the intermediate models, Pontus and Venus. I'd love to read your take on one of those. Maybe some kind soul who lives in Europe and has one of the less expensive models already broken in would be willing to ship it to you, as your friend Dan did with his, long enough for you to listen and review. Or perhaps Denafrips or Vinshine Audio has a fully broken-in unit they would send you for review, given their very pleased response to the Terminator review. Under those circumstances, is a review of another model from the same manufacturer something that you might be willing to consider, I wonder? I think there might be other readers similarly interested.
Regards,
Marshall Taylor

I usually obtain review loaners directly from the manufacturer. That way the matter of desired break-in is already addressed from their end. Ditto for 2-way shipping and related costs. I wouldn't want owners of various gear to send me their personal items. If a manufacturer wants a review in our pages, it's their responsibility (or that of a regional sales agent like an importer or distributor) to handle the hardware loans. In this case, it just depends on what Denafrips want. The Terminator review was an exception and a personal arrangement between me and my friend. Future Denafrips reviews would have to be organized by them. That merely depends on their plans..
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Thank you, thank you so much! It was a very emotional and sentimental moment for me while reading the final part of the review. I've been working day and night for the past few years to get Denafrips products up to speed. I always believed that one day I will make it. Your review means a lot to me, it is very encouraging. With the Blue Moon award, I'm honoured!  I hope the Terminator will bring you truly outstanding music listening pleasure. That being said, if it would have been burnt in for 500-1'000hrs, it would be even better!
Many thanks.
Denafrips

Dear Srajan,
I’m a little afraid to read your Denafrips commentary to Stephane. Do I understand that the price could increase? Have you information? On the other hand I’m also looking for a new DAC to replace my DAC40 card in my Accuphase E470. I looked at the DC37/Accuphase or the D1 dual/Totaldac. I was interested in the La Scala MKII Optologic but the tube in the final stage frightened me (definition, S/N, lifetime). Your advice and recommendation about these DAC ? In comparison with the Terminator?
Warmly,
Eric Philippet

Prices can always increase but I have no specific knowledge that the Terminator's is set to. From the converters you mentioned, the La Scala MkII Optologic would top my list and as a hybrid tube/Mosfet output buffer, I haven't heard anything frightening about the sound. If the tube gives out, eventually, just replace it like a light bulb. There's no more to it than that. As far as how it might compare to the Terminator, I wouldn't know because I don't have that Aqua in-house. I will compare the Terminator to the Formula model before the review finalizes. Back to possible price increases, if/when one comes across something priced this aggressively, it's only common sense to act now rather than wait and risk an adjustment once word spreads.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
I’ve been an avid reader since the Taos NM days. Thanks to you, I’ve learned a great deal. I am well aware that you write primarily for audiophiles and lovers of music and that your audience is global. May I ask: in terms of demographics and English comprehension, who is your audience? Thanks,
J. Davis
a New Englander

Hello Jim:
I have no idea. I’ve always operated under the assumption that consistency of approach and style creates its own audience. Being by now in our 15th year, the journey so far has certainly borne this out. So to me, our audience is simply whoever reads us. My server’s stats show me how sizeable this audience is but not the age, profession, income, education or English comprehension of our readers. Truth told, even if I did have those metrics, they wouldn’t change a thing. I have a clear idea of what I want to do and how I want to do it. Those who don’t like my/our style and approach have many other resources to go to. Because 6moons is what I’ve done for 15 years mostly every day, it’s vital that I enjoy doing it. Otherwise I might as well work for Big Corp., pull a far heftier salary with paid vacations and a guaranteed retirement. The way I’m doing it is the way I enjoy it and from the feedback we’re getting, there are plenty of folks out there who do as well. About the rest I don’t bother.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
was wondering about the Java LDR passive preamp review. With your pending review of the Bespoke Audio pre, a comparison of their different design implementations would make a very intriguing review. Thanks as always.
Brian Livingston

I still haven't received the Java so until it does show up (if it does), I've taken its preview down. The current status is MIA.
Srajan
Dear Srajan and 6moons,
This mail was originally meant for your reviewer of the Belden 9497 speaker/bell wire Michele Surdi but as I haven't been able to locate his email address, I sent it to you instead. Hope it's OK. I'm a regular reader of your webzine and often find it quite enlightening and entertaining. I thank you for bringing e.g. the Leben products come to my attention. I own today the CS 300X. By accident I've just stumbled upon your fresh review of the Belden 9497. This cable came to my knowledge and into my possession some 6-8 years ago when I heard about it in connection with Shindo Labs. Hearing this I thought it might have some merit and I bought it from eBay. It was cleaner and had clearly better definition than your otherwise fine timbre "White Lightning/Patio Cord DIY speaker cable" also in my possession. In the end I had some issues with the Belden 9497 which led me to substitute it for the Kondo KSL-C until Frederik Carøe of Duelund Coherent Audio launched his DCA 16GA inspired by the old red W.E.16GA 'tone wire'. This new DCA 16GA tone wire showed some real promise. And after reading about the must-have twisting of this cable (3 turns per foot) at Jeff's Place, I duly tried it out. But what?

Now Frederik Carøe's 16GA sounded more akin to my Belden 9497, perhaps even worse I felt, with a hardened upper mid and dirty splashy treble. How could this otherwise "pretty true to timbre" colorful DCA 16GA suddenly loose all its traits just by twisting it lightly? While pondering I came to think of the very tightly twisted Belden 9497 I had lying around. If the DCA 16GA could be made to sound this bad by twisting it, then what about un-twisting the Belden 9497? After all, the two different cables share almost the same DNA: tinned copper cores of the same gauge although different insulation material. To cut to the chase, this undoing of the Belden 9497 brought forth a performance that transformed it to such a degree, it utterly trounced the "un-twisted" Duelund DCA 16GA besides many many other very expensive offerings, the mid-price Kondo KSL-C included. The Belden 9497 taken apart, the two conductors run separately side by side, is an unbelievably good speaker wire I think and would be my speaker wire of choice these days if it wasn't for the true Japanese version of it; the Belden Studio 497 MkII. The Belden (or BeldHen as I call it to commemorate the first syllable in my name Henrik because I haven't seen or heard of anybody ever trying this conversion) Studio 497 MkII has all the traits of the 9497 intact, just even more so. Being more organic with less electronic glare in the upper mids. Very nice.

This Japanese version can be a bit tricky to source though as it is rather difficult to tell the versions apart from afar. Same black and orange insulations, with the Studio 497MkII only having very small black printed signs/letters to make itself known. I was fortunate enough though to have a relative bring the Studio version back for me after going to Japan and visiting Akihabara just after I'd discovered the hidden outstanding potential of this version. If you take price into the equation, even the 'converted' Belden 9497 will probably trounce most every other speaker cable with a price tag the general public are willing to pay for. And even above. I've tested this BeldHen with my various FR drivers (WE/Altec755A and C, amongst others) and I'm currently running a pair of Falcon LS 3/5a's through the Studio 497 MkII. Works a treat. My credentials: I've since the very early eighties together with Peter Qvortrup been the Nordic pioneers of Audio Note/Kondo; cartridges, SUTs, the M7 and Kondo's silver wire interconnects, Snell Acoustics, EAR, Dunlop etc.  Later in the mid nineties I again worked with Peter in Hove/UK doing the final voicings of his AN UK products besides measuring and building his AN Type E, J and K speakers. I hope you might consider making a re-run of this Belden 9497 review but now as the BeldHen 9497 - or even better, the BeldHen Studio 497 MkII.  You owe it to yourself to try it out.
Yours sincerely,
Henrik Rasmussen
Over the years, I have found your reviews incredibly helpful for finding and choosing quality gear—more than any other person or source. But I wanted to thank you in this note for all of the beautiful world music you helped me discover. What an amazing journey to listen to new music—great recordings of music from around the world with artistic integrity and originality. I’m listening to music from Turkey, Africa, Eastern Europe, India, South America and more that I would have never found on my own. The variety and beauty are mind blowing. And now I couldn’t live without it. Thank you 6moons.
Joel Shapiro
Dear Srajan: You may remember from our previous correspondence that as a result of your enthusiastic reviews I became interested in the EnigmAcoustic Mythology 1 speakers. Luckily the M1 speakers were available locally and an audition confirmed all the nice things you reported. Although I flirted with the notion of other speakers, a short while ago I purchased the M1s. My old system consisted of Martin Logan Monolith speakers and Krell components (CD player, preamp and amp). I had planned to simply substitute the M1s for the Monoliths but various circumstances required that I consider purchasing new equipment. In this regard, I am considering the Devialet 400.

I am currently conducting an in-home audition of the Devialet 200 and my initial reaction, while extremely positive, is that, indeed, on some media, and only occasionally, the voicing of this configuration does seem oriented toward the treble – although bass, when it appears, is extremely full, deep and powerful.  On other occasions, the system using the Devialet cannot be said to be anything other than neutral. Moreover, as time goes by, the ethereal nature of the M1/Devialet 200 combination has given way and there seems to be ‘more there, there’.  (I note that some reviewers have found the materiality and favorable attributes to increase with the dual-mono Devialet 400.)

You have indicated that the M1 speakers benefit from partnering with a "chunky…material" amplifier like the Pass Labs XA30.8 - which you found anchored the M1’s drift in the opposite direction.  Reviews of the Devialet equipment, on the other hand, have sometimes found their sound to be similar to the M1s’ - ethereal with a tendency toward prominence in the treble (perhaps a little strident). Could it be that my varying reactions to the M1/Devialet 200 combination are due to greater exposure to (or familiarity with and acceptance of) the Devialet sound? In the end is it all a matter of what you call seasoning, and (eschewing the notion of an absolute sound) if one is satisfied or accepting of the performance of a combination of speaker and component(s), should the sanctioned view of the suitability of that combination of components be of major consequence or importance even if one still wants to call oneself an audiophile?

All that being said, what is your opinion of the Devialet products as a partner for the M1s?  Any counsel, advice, or intelligence you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Godfrey Herndon

It were Marja & Henk on staff who reviewed Devialet. I've never heard it under controlled conditions. They ended up buying two units but favour the older firmware. So they rolled back to their favourite firmware version which changed the sound very noticeably. That part isn't fixed by any stretch. And as you know, I don't buy into the absolute sound. Playback is different from live music and live music is most different itself depending on venue and seat within it. As a result, playback isn't fixed either and a sensible user exploits this to emphasize/prioritize the aspects most important to him/her. Who cares about isms? Why worry over calling yourself an audiophile which is a loose definition to begin with? Other than yourself, who is there to bestow or deny the title? What's it matter in any event? The only thing which does is whether you enjoy the music such that concerns over sound mechanics disappear. And yes, our ear/brain does get used to things and compensates. Human beings are very adaptable. We can live in the Antarctic and in the rainforest. We can live with and enjoy any number of sonic flavours. It's simply a matter of trusting your own response rather than worrying about what others think.

Obviously Enigma's super tweeters have adjustments relative to output and crossover and even what hairline you set them on (closer to the front edge or further back) makes a difference. Have you exhausted those changes to be sure you're getting "the best" from the final combo?
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I hope you can help me. I recently acquired one of the last 2 pairs of Gallo CL3 direct from Dan at Gallo, based partially on your wonderful review. The speaker has been incredible for me. I've been running my trusty Silk audio (Yaqin) tube integrated at about 50w push pull. I am looking to upgrade and have my eyes on the Italian-made Audiozen Alchemy hybrid integrated. You tested them 6 years ago with 3 different amps, 2 solid state and 1 tube. I'm wondering what was your favorite combination? 
Thanks,
Todd

To be honest, I don't remember. Anthony Gallo himself enjoyed demoing his speakers with high-power class D. I took a look at the Audiozen Alchemy and see nothing to suggest it wouldn't be a fine match so trust your instincts.
Srajan
Dear Sir,
I have enjoyed reading your articles for quite a while. I especially like your reviews of the iterations of First Watt 1 through 7. In your opinion, have you found  a good cable to work with high efficiency speakers and tube electronics? Whatever information would be sincerely appreciated.
Regards,
Robert

My favourite cable for the type combo you’re talking of would be the Ocellia solid-core silver loom from Samuel Furon. You'll notice that this man designs high-efficiency speakers and valve electronics as well so it's far from a coincidence that his cable would be so ideally matched to what you're looking for.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Since reading your review of the Metrum Adagio, I’ve been very intrigued by it. The strange thing is that although it’s been awhile since your review, there’s little else in the web about it. You can find more talk about other DAC’s such as Totaldac, Lampizator, and even the Aqua Formula, which was at the top of my list before your review of the Adagio, which I find very interesting since it includes a preamp.When you search the internet for comments on a DAC, it’s very interesting to read very contradicting comments on the same DAC. Some people swear for one DAC, while others loathe it. I haven’t read this kind of controversy even on speakers, which are obviously a personal preference. The greatest example for me is the Chord Hugo (and now also the Dave), which many people say are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and any others loathing its sound. But the same is true, even if in a lesser way, to many other DACs, with many people carrying shootouts and declaring one DAC the clear winner, when in another shootout the result was the exact opposite. It makes things difficult for the regular audiophile who cannot listen to a DAC before buying it. And even if you could, how could you know if it’s a better choice than another DAC in the same price range which you are not able to listen to. We have to rely on the very few good reviewers who actually take the time to describe the sound of the DAC and compare it to other DAC’s in their possession. I know the same could be said of other type of audio electronics, like preamplifiers and amplifiers, however, consensus is usually far more common in those cases than is the case with DACs.

I remember what you said in your review of the Formula, which was that you could feel the mood of the song more clearly than with any other DAC which you had auditioned so far, which is what I believe to be the most important aspect of an audio product, and which proves to me that the Formula is doing something fundamentally right, even if it doesn’t have the ultimate transparency of the Adagio. So I’d like to ask you if you consider the Adagio equal to the Formula in this regard (presenting the mood of the song in a stronger way).
Regards from Mexico,
Juan

How reviewing works for me is a bit like entering a round room via one of, say eight doors. The room is built so that each door faces a bit of wall, not another door. The decorations facing each door are different but once you're inside the room, just turning around slowly takes everything in. Then it doesn't matter what door I walked in from. Just so, the first impression, the overriding sensation or mood, will still be dominated by what I saw first. Unless something was really off, the music (the contents of the room) will always be the same. But what door I'm looking at it from; and how far into the room I manage to go... that depends on the component. If someone asks me, after the fact, how another component might sound relative to a certain perspective that required looking at the music from a particular door which happens not to be the one I actually came in through for it... then I can't really answer the question. So for the reviews of the Adagio and Formula, I focused on specific aspects which stood out or dominated. That doesn't mean they couldn't do other things. What I described and focused on simply was the core flavour or 'signature' I detected. Beyond that, I would have to have the two in situ again to run a particular comparison with the intent to hone in on one specific quality and see how each does with it. Attempting that after the fact I don't know how to do.
Srajan
Hi
Just thought I'd tell you that I recently took delivery of pair of Kii Three. My audition of them was partially due to your writing about them over the past 2 years.  I listen in a 'dedicated' small home office, which is only about 16sqm. I think the Kii are the only way I could get a full range system in this room to sound good. Previously I had a good quality conventional system (speakers were Devore Fidelity Nines) with full room treatments. The full Kii setup doesn't cost more but I'd have to say it is a couple of orders of magnitude better. As you noted, the sound has extraordinary clarity. And I can listen to a full-scale orchestral piece like Maher's 6th symphony, with full frequency range and dynamics that are startlingly close to realistic. Even in my small space the sound is clear and the soundstage is fairly well portrayed. I can't think of any other setup that could do that in this space.
Thanks,
Danny Hoffman

Good man. You've used your brains to abandon conventional hifi and get into 21st century SmartFi which, due to DSP and clever engineering, can do things passive speakers no matter how good cannot especially in challenging spaces. Bravo. You're in the minority though. Most audiophiles trained to think along traditional lines (and here we in the press are definitely guilty of indoctrination) still demonize DSP. That forgets that whatever minor sins it may be guilty of pale in comparison to the things it can fix. And as you found out, the Kii Three is cleverer than most in how it really does take the room out of the equation without relying on forests of tube traps. Thanks for the note, Danny! Now other readers have confirmation from an actual user that the Kii Three really does what it claims to -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
It's a pleasure to read 6moons and one of the pleasures I've enjoyed - finding good music. For example, Lea & Kash by Karim Baggili is such a great album. And recently Marja and Henk mentioned the Elina Duni Quartet in a review and I am loving that. Music is so subjective and personal, it's impossible to know what someone else will like. So it may not be your cup of tea at all but one favorite artist of mine is Sarah Jarosz - loosely categorized as bluegrass/folk. Her first album Song Up In Her Head was recorded when she was about 18. Her second album Follow Me Down was done when she was about 21. Those two albums are a good starting place. Another great album that recently came out is by Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop called Love Letter For Fire. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful, personal writing - much appreciated!
Wishing you the best,
John Gaydos

Thanks a lot for the recos, John. As you said, with music there's no telling what one might like so giving something a listen is the only way to know. I'll be looking up Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz to do just that now...
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I'll let you in on Italian hifi's dirty little secret. You can't get it in Italy, mostly. I've never found Aqua, Albedo, Goldnote and other Italian brands you've reviewed in Italian stores. As my dealer visits attest, you can sample German, British even New Zealander gear but not Italian. Which may or may not mean something but there it is.
Have a nice Sunday
Michele from Rome

Probably the prophet having no worth in his own land and all that abstract Jazz?
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I really enjoyed your refreshingly hype-free coverage of the Munich Show but was a little surprised at your fulsome recommendation of the active Genelec range,not least because it followed on from one of your own reviewers, Bill Armstrong, giving the 8351As a rather equivocal appraisal a few months back. I was on the verge of buying a pair of these (blind) after reading encouraging feedback online but the review meant that I paused and went to extra lengths to audition a pair first in my own listening space. And I didn't really get on with them at all. So, although I don't necessarily expect reviewers to always be in agreement, I do wonder if you've personally listened to these speakers at any length? Because they don't strike me as having the kind of earthy, soulful sound you usually gravitate towards.
Regards,
Jamie

I've heard the Genelecs but not reviewed them formally yet. This, after all, was a show report mention to the effect of, most people would never need more. With their onboard EQ functionality, there is a lot of wiggle room on the Genelecs' final voicing. And, they're active speakers from the pro sector so like the Kii Three, that's the type sound one should expect as a baseline. Incidentally, I don't gravitate toward earthy soulful sound. I've got a number of speakers which all have quite different voicing. To me there isn't one 'right' way or sound but different flavours and perspectives.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Would you be please so kind to help me to decide between Metrum Pavane Level 3 or Aqua Formula? I understand that the best way is to listen for myself but here in Slovakia it is impossible to organize listening test for either one. I currently own Revel Ultima Salon 2 speakers which are fed by Mola Mola Kalugas. I use modified version of CAPS 4 server running Roon/HQ Player. I would like to upgrade myDAC and I am thinking of buying Mola Mola Makua as preamp and pair it with either Pavane or Formula. I was even thinking of Metrum Adagio if that makes sense driving Kalugas (and save money on Makua). I am listening to 70-80 rock like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Marillion, Queen etc. My wife likes jazz and latino. Which way would you go? Thank you many times in advance.
Best regards,
Martin Adasek 

I would go with the Metrum Adagio and forget all about a preamp!
Srajan
Srajan,
first, great review of the new Lessloss cables.In one of the pictures, it shows I presume your iMac computer with one of the Lessloss power cords coming from the back of the computer. Does the standard new, power cord fit the iMac or is that a special model and does the replacement of the stock power cord with the Lessloss make a difference in what you hear?
Thanks,
Dave Smith

The standard new cord fits the iMac without requiring a special model. I reviewed the entire LessLoss loom and didn't break things down to A/B comparisons between my original power cords and the LessLoss component by component.
Srajan
Pavane Level II: Got mine in yesterday (traded in my Hex for it). First impressions are that the house sound or flavor if you wil,l is basically unchanged. But there is no doubt that more detail and micro information are coming in. It very much mimics what happens to the sound when any source of distortion is reduced or eliminated. I most expected to hear the benefits in the upper registers but I was a little bit surprised at the seeming tightening of the low bass response with no apparent loss of impact. My only source is a transport feeding RedBook CD to the DAC.
Thanks for bringing this unit to my attention via your Pavane/Adagio reviews.
Alan Trahern
Hi Srajan,
Just noticed this in our Mytek review: Country of Origin Poland. Can you change the country to United States please. Mytek is an American company, the DAC is designed here, it just happens to be assembled in Poland from parts that include American made.
Thx,
Michal

Hello Michal,
our own photo of its back says 'made in Poland'. And that's where it ships from so by our definition, that means it's made in Poland. If product is designed in the UK but built in China, we also use China as country of origin...
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Is there a review of the PassLabs XA25 to come?
Best regards,
Gerd Bethge

I'm not sure. I've not been tickled about it yet. Always playing bare catch-up with solicitations, I very rarely get around to make requests from my end. So... for now it's not on the books but that could change with just one email -:)
Srajan
In Nov 2016, I researched a bit and purchased a pair of Elac  B-6 speakers from a Dealer in Quebec. The speaker was well received by those who reviewed it including internet-based reviews on Youtube.  After a few months of listening to it, I have to agree with some reviewers that it is the best sound for the money available at present.  The speaker designer Andrew Jones did a good job picking quality components.  Due to the speaker's price the finish is a bit cheap looking but this can be overlooked when you listen to the soundstage.  My CD player is a NAD 546 BEE (2013), turntable aYamaha YP-D6 (1979?) with a $80 cartridge, Sansui AUG99X integrated amp (1985).
I would recommend reviewing something from Elac.  One of their speakers might make your Blue Moon List for 2017?
Michael Hastie

I made it a point to visit the Elac exhibit at the Munich show and let Andrew Jones know I was interested in reviewing something from their new Adante line. Whether anything comes of it will now depend on their interest. There are so many opportunities to get reviewed these days and manufacturers can pick those publications whose presentation and reach they enjoy the most and find most suitable for their marketing strategy. I have no idea how we fit into their picture.
Srajan
Your comment on silence at the end of the show pages reminds me. We never have total silence, really. There's always wind, birds etc even when we think it's silence. Once I found myself in a windless snow field in deepest Arizona. No roads, no birds, no wind noise, no planes. Just listening to my system after 2 weeks away. Refreshed the ears?
Chris Skelton

The only place without any noise would be an anechoic chamber. But then you suddenly hear your bodily fluids. So the actual point is the silence underneath/behind/around whatever noises remain. That's what meditation points at. Living out in the country side, it does get very quiet at night but of course some noise floor remains. Again, the real trick is to tune into the underlying silence so that suddenly the remaining noises are like ephemeral clouds against the deep blue sky of the real silence. That's why I wrote "said like a true mystic" -:)
Srajan
Greetings, Srajan &
I'm John Boros, from Ontario, Canada. We have corresponded in the past, but it was some time ago (likely about the Eddie Current BA). I'm writing now to ask for your sage advice! I've been into audio from the early 60's, when we built crystal radios to listen to the Beatles. The  hobby has evolved through a number of stages. Now, nearly 60 years of age, I'm confronted with Tinnitus, especially in my left ear. I'm still listening to my beautiful Dahlquist DQ 10's, with Mark Levinson 335 amp and Ayre K5xemp preamp and a host of old analogue sources, an R2R and fm tuners. The setup is now more refined, doesn't have the slam of old, but can still create enough of a pressure wave (five drives in each speaker) to quickly elevate the ringing in my ear/s.

So, Srajan, I'm wondering about alternatives, from flat panel speakers, such as Magnepans, or electrostatics, such as Martin Login or Quads, to high efficiency speakers, such as ZU audio, driven by low powered SET amps. The million dollar question is: what system would provide me with the greatest listening pleasure (mostly to classical and jazz) without further damage to my hearing (without a powerful sound pressure wave)? I really don't know who might know the answer to this question, but thought you'd be my best bet! The sound pressure wave is, to some extent, independent of volume, where the volume can be a subjective perception, while the sound pressure wave is not. For example: if I compare driving only the front speakers in my surround sound setup with all five speakers, both setups driven at the same volume, the surround sound setup will affect my hearing, increase the ringing far more quickly. I read in one of your ZU Audio speaker reviews that you're now more interested in ss designs, with high efficiency speakers and perhaps you've moved on since then. The Zu audio concept has captured my attention, but I have no idea if the sound pressure waves they produce would be any less forceful, or, even if the design concept would appeal (we essentially listened to a set amp with a single, 8 to 10" driver, before the advent of SS; but, I'm sure it's evolved since then, I would hope).
I'm sure you're busy, but if you have a moment of time I'm hoping you can advise me on how to keep my audio ship from sinking!
Thanks and sincerely,
John

I'm not sure how sage my advice will be. Not suffering tinnitus myself, I don't have first-hand experience with the varying triggers you describe so whatever I might say would be pure guesswork - not something you ought to invest into, John. My best guess is pure common sense. Do I assume correctly that the lower the volume is, the less severe the in-ear ringing? I'm not saying that it goes away, just that it isn't as strong? If so, I'd investigate high-efficiency speakers with lightweight cones like Voxativ. This type speaker comes on song very early on the dial so it sounds fully arrived and involving at low SPL - which hopefully would translate into not aggravating your condition. Voxativ also make H-frame style dipole subwoofers of high efficiency. They interact far less with the room and don't require high output to sound very articulate and intelligible. Again, my thinking is to pursue a speaker that sounds terrific at very low volumes. But... this could be pure bogus if in actuality, tinnitus is a steady-state noise in your ears to mean that the lower the volume of the music, the more you actually hear of the ringing. If any reader suffers tinnitus and has useful advice... please throw your hat into this ring by contacting John at jsjb @ sympatico.ca.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
kudos on your two Bakoon reviews which just posted. I've been very curious about this brand ever since your first review of the AMP-11R. I followed each new review of various of their headphone gear across assorted online media. My main interest is loudspeakers so I was keen to learn about their newest amp which finally makes real power. From your descriptions, I'm very clear on what sound to expect. I also sense that if I didn't need more power than your Linnenberg amps, I could get very close in performance without spending anywhere near as much as the big Bakoon (or put up with how hot it runs). I have Focal Sopra N°2. Do you think those Allegros would really be powerful enough?
Dirk Hedermayer

I looked up your speaker's specs: 91dB, dual 7" 3-way. That makes it quite similar to the Audio Physic Codex I recently reviewed and ran the Linnenbergs on. Based on that and our very large room, I'd say absolutely. This is a properly designed amp with a stiff power supply that should sing into your Frenchies. From my end, I'd say full steam ahead. Of all the amps at my disposal, the Linnenbergs were my favourites on the Audio Physic 4-way!
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I follow with interest your reviews on 6moons and I own some gear you have reviewed like the Pass amplifier or Goldnote CD1000. I own also an old 1992 Wadia  R2R X64.4 and use the Goldnote with it as transport and for USB with hi-res music. Now I want to update my system and am interested in some R2R converters you have reviewed in the same range price: Aqua La Scala MK2 Optologic (I'm Italian and the factory of is near to Milan where I live), Metrum Pavane and Rockna Wavedream Edition. My amplification is Pass Labs XP20 preamp and XA30.5 power amplifier with Pioneer TAD S-3EX loudspeakers.
Thanks in advance for your answer.
Best regards.
Alex Carlo

These are undoubtedly all very good machines. From my perspective, the Metrum has the highest resolution and the Aqua the best dynamics and density. The Rockna review dates back further to another sound room so I'm not sure how exactly I'd describe it by comparison. If your budget can stretch, Aqua's Formula would eclipse its stablemate the LaScala.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I appreciate how you test an amplifier with a variety of speakers that have different sensitivities, resonance tunings and impedance curves. Related to speaker-amp pairing is how the speaker or amp performs or "comes alive" at low volume levels, another aspect that you cover quite well. My understanding is that how an amplifier sounds with an average sensitivity speaker at low volumes is closely related to how it sounds at normal volumes with higher sensitivity speakers. Here's my question: what sounds better at low volumes - NCore (e.g. the Nord Acoustics NC500 you reviewed recently) or a Job 225? You've written that the Job 225 comes alive at low volumes, and separately, though less emphatically, that the NCores have a very low noise floor. But low noise floor isn't exactly the same thing as low distortion, or harmonically rich, at low volumes. I've looked at distortion vs. power plots for class A/B amps that show distortion % rising at the beginning of the 'first watt', an issue Nelson Pass has explained as being a function of negative feedback. Bruno Putzeys' philosophy around applying high amounts of negative feedback in his NCore design suggests similar first watt performance limitations - maybe tellingly there are no distortion vs. power plots available for NCore.

My experience bears this out. I'm currently using a pair of NC400s into 90 dB full range drivers and the sound isn't satisfying at low volumes. I used to run a GainClone into 95 dB full rangers and remember the sound being more captivating at low volumes, where captivating means something along the lines of being harmonically rich and low distortion. So I'm wondering if a Job 225 would be an improvement over my NC400s. I intend to actively cross over my current drivers, which will only increase their effective sensitivity, so I'm worried the NC400s won't cut it if I'm already dissatisfied with their performance. (The NC400s do sound very impressive with bassy material and at higher volumes, at least until I run into IM distortion from my full range drivers.) Related question - what amplifiers would you recommend for mid-bass duties at low volumes or for high sensitivity speakers? The Job 225 is my top contender, considering value. If cost and power usage were no object I would go for a First Watt F5 or a variety of other Class A behemoths. Is there anything better than Job where performance and value are concerned?
Thanks! Sorry for the long email!
Andrew

Good questions. It depends on the speakers. On our nCore 500 Nords, if I run the leaner/faster AI opamps, the sound is harmonically thin until the volume goes up. If I run the much fatter Sparkos Labs opamps, it gets very bassy and dense from mute up but loses transparency. But if I run feisty muscular dense speakers like the Mark & Daniel Maximus Monitor MkII, the nCore are perfect at all volumes - with the AI. I'm starting to think that good whisper performance with non high-eff speakers wants very wide bandwidth to avoid phase shift in the audible band and the blurring that goes with it. Here the Linnenberg Allegro monos (50 watts, one pair of Exicon lateral Mosfets in push/pull, 1MHz bandwidth) are my favourite find thus far because they're 25% of what Bakoon's AMP-51R commands. The Job 225 isn't quite as refined as the Linnenbergs but cut from the same basic cloth. Unlike the nCores, that means exploded bandwidth on top. To my ears, that makes a difference. For the money then, the Job 225 (or the matching Job INT which includes volume and a DAC) are the ones to beat. Our Job 225 runs in the video system and we're never playing that loud. Still, dialogue intelligibility is paramount and the Job does a perfect job on our low-efficiency German Physik HRS-120. That said, because it's a fast transparent vigorous amp, it won't 'add' harmonic density like most tubes do. That must come from the speakers.
Srajan
Leaving aside the business "ethics" connected with MQA, take a look at this. It would appear that MQA is as much guesswork as any other codec, possibly more so.
Charles Beagrie

I'd seen that and related articles already, thank you.
Hi Srajan,
I enjoyed your review of the Audio Physic Codex. Seems like you really liked this speaker. I have two questions. First, it would appear that you did not pair the Codex with your Crayon CFA 1.2 at any point during your time with the speaker. But you certainly liked the combo of Codex and Linnenberg mono amps. My reading of your Linnenberg review is that it shares some of the characteristics of the Crayon. Do you have a sense of how the Crayon might pair with the Codex? The Crayon would seem to have the advantage in terms of sheer watts and perhaps bass grip, since it outputs 90 watts into 4 ohms vs. the 55-watt Linnenberg monos. Your thoughts? Second question: Although you wrote a very positive review of the Boenicke W11, you have alluded to some problems you had integrating the W11's side-firing woofers into your room. That problem did not seem to exist with the Codex. In considering the W11 and the Codex, do you see these speakers as playing on the same general level and what would lead one to choose one over the other, recognizing they are both fine speakers?
Jon

In our room, the Codex had more linear and also lower bass that better integrated with the rest. Boenicke's woofer crosses in at 150Hz on a 1st-order filter for audible output well to 500Hz. That's potentially problematic. It's precisely why Manfred Diestertich of Audio Physic mentioned how they'd lowered their crossover point (of the force-cancelling sidefire woofers) from between 400 and 500Hz down to 100Hz. Consequently, in our room the Codex was the better speaker with superior resolution and balance. As to power, I said in the review how relative to bass control, there was no appreciable difference between 50-watt class A/B and 250-watt class D. The Codex does not seem to be a very challenging load. And correct, I didn't use the Crayon. With the Linnenbergs being so superb, I saw no reason to make the review even longer than the five pages it already is.
Srajan
Really excellent description of the transparency density tradeoff in the Metrum amp review. It's what I've been trying to put into writing for years now without getting past more or less poetic similitudes, alpine morns and middays and the like. Kudos.
Michele
Dear Sir,
I have a Trafomatic Experience Two (300B integrated SET) and a vintage threshold FET 2 preamp (ca. 20dB gain). In your reviews I have often read that using a high-gain preamp in front of an integrated can elevate the latter's performance. Specifically I remember your review of the Trafomatic Experience One said that. I would like to try this. Can you please advise what volume knob positions I should use on the preamp and the integrated amp respectively for best results, and also the safe operation of the integrated? For example, should I set the integrated to 3 o'clock and then the preamp to desired listening level etc.
Many thanks,
Himanshi Srivastava

That would apply only if the integrated uses just a passive attenuator, i.e. no separate preamp stage. In that case, simply experiment whether it sounds better with the pot wide open and the preamp's only a little; vice versa; or in-between. If you get some noise, try the integrated's pot at 12:00.
Srajan

I just tried your suggestion 'conservatively'; happy to report this is the best I've heard the Trafomatic perform. Improvements are in bass slam and soundstaging. It sounds like a different amp altogether! Thanks for all that you do.
Himanshi

My pleasure.
Srajan
Srajan,
something I meant to ask for a while. In diverse show reports, I notice that some of your colleagues like John Darko, Steve Rochlin or Michael Lavorgna host or participate in discussion groups or seminars while I have never heard you do any. Is there a particular reason? Just curious. Keep up the good work.
Holger Scharmacher

I love listening to music. I also love writing about listening to music. But talking about writing about listening to music; or talking about listening to music... that I don't really enjoy. That's the main reason. The other is that I go to shows to accomplish a certain thing. Spending time doing something else is a dilution. For example, I've been invited to give a seminar, on a topic of entirely my own choosing, in a manufacturer's Munich exhibit. Ken Kessler routinely does that. Michael Fremer does as well. I declined. Outside the reviews I write and the KIH columns I publish on John Darko's site, I don't have anything useful to add. I've already said it all. I can see how a seminar might drive traffic to a particular exhibit but I'm not going to a show to promote a particular manufacturer. If anything, I go there to promote my site. I'm still a hobbyist but I also operate 6moons as a business. And shows are a place to conduct business -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan:
After reading Walter's letter to you, I just had to go read the review of the speaker he was referring to. It seems you agree with his assessment to a certain extent yet also found good things to say. Was that just diplomacy or did you find his wholesale dismissal too extreme?
All the best,
Brett Carson

It's a fine line between claiming a product to be bad, period; versus of appeal only to a limited audience. As the review states, the Kii Three for example was vastly superior. Yet, some things the Bernola did actually better or different enough to appeal more to a certain customer. I don't have to be that customer myself to recognize that such customers exist. In my book, putting myself into other shoes isn't diplomacy but key practice to prevent reviewing from becoming "good is what he likes, bad is what he doesn't like". Because that would be far too simplistic. It's actually good practice to write up a component like that. To me it's far better exercise than a policy that just sends such products back and cancels the review.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I heard the Bernola speakers a while ago at an exhibition and was baffled at how you can have the nerve to market such a flawed product (actually regardless of price) and be convinced to add value in any way. It seems obvious that Mr. Frauchiger perceives reality in a completely different way. I thought of warning you when I saw the announcement of the review and now feel bad I didn't. You could—for example—have used the time for a long walk up that mountain/hill that's sometimes visible through your windows :-)
Keep up the good work!
Best,
Walter

That mountain is called Croagh Patrick and it looms over our kitchen windows as ever, casting its shadow over the peculiar affairs of men -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I have plans to buy the COS Engineering H1 as a dac/pre-amp/head-amp all in one for my Job 225 and MrSpeakers Mad Dog/Sennheiser HD650/Final Audio Sonorous III headphones. I Would like to know if plugging and unplugging headphones using either 1/4" jack or double 3pin XLR would pass on DC to the Job 225 (due to possible short circuiting from (dis-)connecting headphones)? Would I be forced to unpower/power-up the Job 225 each time I swap from headphones to speakers? Also a side question, not so important to have an answer, would it show good synergy with the Job225. Or should I better contact COS Engineering themselves for these questions? (According to you're review it should sound great with ambient/dub/techno, my favorite genres). Thanks for the many great reviews including the COS H1 and Job 225 review. I have bought some stuff based (partialy) on your reviews and have never been dissapointed. 
Many thanks in advance and kind regards
Bren Arden

To be sure about possible small noises, you'd want to contact COS Engineering about how effective the mute relay on the preouts is when headphones are inserted/removed. Simply try it. If you get some little noise bleed through the speakers that disturbs you, power the Job 225 down during headfi sessions. I'd not leave it on in the first place since it just consumes energy without benefits. The frontal power switch on the Job certainly makes it easy enough to fire it up and power it down. I see no issues with synergy whatsoever.
Srajan
Hello again Srajan,
You might like to be made aware of a contender (already!) for the Kii Three throne: the Dutch & Dutch 8C. Compared to the Kii, the major functional difference appears to be that the D&D is cardioid through the midrange down to 100Hz but omni below, whereas the Kii is not cardioid in the midrange but is in the bass down to around 50Hz if memory serves. Actually, I just checked the Kii specs and see that they claim cardioid dispersion from 80Hz to 1kHz. With the Kii it is done electronically though whereas the D&D does it acoustically like a cardioid microphone — and like the Geithain larger monitors. I have never seen a better horizontal directivity plot, though. Here's another bit of background info. Great review of the Kii Three, by the way. I imagine demand is pretty heavy at the moment; there is a lot of buzz in the pro monitor world describing it as the ultimate mixing monitor. It seems to me the only fundamental improvement might be a coaxial mid/high arrangement.
Best regards,
Russell Dawkins

The Dutch & Dutch has been in our review pipeline for many months and flown in our 'coming next' gallery. It's even mentioned in the intro of the Kii3 review. They're simply a bit late delivering a sample to Marja & Henk -:)
Srajan
Hiya Srajan:
Nicely balanced very informative Kii3 review. I liked how you cut through the 'best in the world' crap I've seen somewhere else and separated out clear strengths and weaknesses instead. From Peter's feedback, it also sounds like you really hit the nail on the head. So... if you retired from 6moons, could you see yourself with a Kii as your final system? Just curious.
Holger

Absolutely. It would depend of course on the state of our resident hifi at that time; and our room. If, for example, I learnt that Dirac or some other correction software could give me most or all of the Kii's benefits and retain the qualities of our gear where they exceed the Kii... I'd stick with what we have. If I ended up retiring in an AirStream Silverbullet to become a road nomad, I'd need something compact and minimalist and the Kii would already be overkill. If I ended up in a small flat somewhere to simplify, the Kii3 would be all I'd need and want. But let's remember that fussing over sound at this level is a real extravagance. Much of it goes away the moment one stops comparing. Then whatever you already have is perfect as long as it keeps working. Being happy and healthy exist on a completely different plateau where no hifi is necessary at all. If a hifi gets added, even better; but it needn't be subject to compulsions and anxieties, just a piece of kit that does its job reliably like a coffee maker or toaster. -:)
Srajan
Srajan,
Do you suppose it possible that the cause for some of the loss of high frequency ultimate detail/truncation of decay trails might have been the result of vibrational disturbances suffered by the onboard electronics of these fully active speakers? I know they have been DSP'd to within an inch of their multi-drivered lives but I wonder if that's the whole story.
Alan Trahern

First off, to second-guess Bruno Putzeys puts me on very thin ice but if I were to take an educated stab, it's probably intrinsic to class D drive. If you have a speaker with a truly superior tweeter, comparing its performance on a good class A or A/B amp to a good class D amp, one hears a very similar thing. I'm also wondering whether on a tweeter, very high damping aka ultra-low output impedance is required/desired. On the average woofer, it's 24K gold. On a tweeter, I'm not certain because this behavioural aspect of the Kii suggested overdamping which is just another way of calling out truncated decays. To be sure, this is my inner techno peasant groping for an explanation of a listening observation. As you see in the next post below, Peter Ericsson had the speakers for a week and identical observations. I'm very certain of the observation but I can only speculate as to true cause.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
It has been very interesting to follow your review of the Kii Three. I have had the Kii for home demo for a week and can very much confirm basically all of your listening impressions. I have been very tempted to sell my 'old school' class A electronics and speakers (Parasound Halo JC1 + JC2 and PMC OB1i) and instead invest in a pair of Kii Three. However, as you write, the choice is between tone density, warmth and treble finesse vs. linearity, bass performance and timing. Without correction of room-induced problems, the Kii wins over my old school system. It would be worth the loss of the class A glow to get rid of the bass and timing issues all traditional speakers have in the majority of listening rooms.

However, when using Dirac room correction (in sofa mode so the whole family can enjoy better sound), the story is different. Contrary to the belief of many purist audiophiles who have never tested intelligent room correction software, the sound character of my system does not change at all when applying a digital correction filter. What changes, however, is that the bass response and timing become dramatically better, actually to a level similar to what the Kii produces (Dirac corrects both timing and amplitude problems). And the good thing is (again contrary to the belief of many 'purists') that it gets significantly better over a very wide listening area. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts about 'old school' systems + computer-based room correction vs. the Kii approach. Perhaps a review of what software-based room correction can accomplish with your equipment in your listening room?
Best regards,
Peter Ericsson

Hello Peter,
this is a very interesting topic. Being solidly booked for quite a stretch, I obviously can't hang on to the Kii until there's an opening for a Dirac-type assignment to organize for a direct A/B. But as a completely separate review—A/B of with/without correction of our own 'old school' approach—it could certainly be done. Thanks for the prompt. I think that's a terrific and now very timely idea.
Srajan
Hi Srajan, 
I've been reading 6moons.com for I guess ten years now and it has been quite helpful on my hifi journey, i.e. purchasing a Red Wine Audio amp and then the Almarro A318B and WLM Divas and realising that for me tubes is where it's at even though RWA sounded more taut and clean. That led me to Audio Note UK products and my personal audio nirvana. What strikes me as odd is that in all of those years I've followed 6moons, I never saw you review any Audio Note UK products. That doesn't seem to make any sense when the 6moons idea is/was to review more obscure and small brands. AN UK isn't a big brand in the sense of Bower&Wilkins or Rotel and very interesting for making their own transformers, capacitors, resistors etc., all made in the UK with very good R&D and a unique approach to music reproduction via filterless R2R dacs (regarded as best of their kind) and NFB DHT SET ranging from entry level to aiming for the highest possible reproduction level. So it's neither a big bland hifi brand nor 'seen-it-before' brand making just amps from components of others and some marketing. You and Peter have some kind beef or what gives?
Best Regards,
Jan

Audio Note haven't pursued us and I've grown out of tubes particularly with amplifiers to not have contacted them from my end either. Even after 17 years, there a still many brands we've never reviewed yet. In general, we keep busy just responding to solicitations plus the occasional writer request to pursue something of personal interest. Of course having found your personal nirvana, you don't need us to confirm it for you with a review. Just trust your own ears and enjoy. If we had a beef with AN UK, do you think we'd keep mentioning them in our show reports years after year? The latest one from Montreal features them again...
Srajan
Just a short note on your IEC power plug problem. There seems to ignorance on the part of some Euro manufacturers on the importance of power cords, with silly design applications, Devialet being one of them. And of course your current Kii3 review. There is a fix; the new Furutech Fl-C15 IEC plugs should work. Your time and effort put into your reviews are so rewarding to us all in the audio community. Keep up the good work
Regards,
Brian Livingston

In this instance, I'm not sure whether it was a cosmetic/design decision; or perhaps a reflection on the engineers' belief that 'audiophile' power cords don't make a difference? Not being able to compare, I can't comment on whether my Zu or Ocellia power cords would have had a sonic benefit on the Thrii. I'd seen the Furutech press release, thanks for the reminder. Of course that'd require reterminating our resident cables - not on my current to-do list. But Kii3 owners could certainly have something made up accordingly.
Srajan
Keep up, Srajan. MQA? Who he? You have yet to write about Ambisonics!! It's been around since the 1980s! Yet another example of a great British invention that has been ignored for far inferior systems. How could we not want a system that not only has rear and side speakers, but, in full execution, has a speaker above you? The only set-up that really has the singer in your room, etc., etc.!
Yours in jest.
Chris Skelton
Hello Srajan,
I enjoyed your review of the Metrum Adagio. Your observations were spot on with what I heard from the Adagio in my system. I was greatly impressed by the degree of resolution and natural sounding delivery. However, when running the Adagio amp-direct, I also heard what you described as "forgoing the weighting contributions of the preamp meant slightly less gravity and somewhat less power on the low bass." In a direct comparison, I enjoyed the small degree of additional body, impact, and tonal density resulting from the Pavane run through my high quality buffered zero-gain preamp but I also wanted the improved resolution of the Adagio. I tried setting the Adagio volume control at 12:15 and running the signal through my preamp.  That configuration came much closer to the sound I was trying to achieve but I still perceived less 'gravitas' than offered by the Pavane. Thankfully, I was able to send my Pavane to the Netherlands for the Level 3 upgrade you mention in your review that involves installing the DAC Two chips and other improvements. This commitment to customer service is why I enjoy dealing with Metrum Acoustics.  Based on my time with the excellent sounding Adagio, I suspect many will use the volume control amp-direct and not look back. Some will enjoy the options of being able to either run the Adagio direct to their amplifier or through their preamp, as their mood suits. For those like me who already own the Pavane and require the 'special sauce' of a really good preamp, or for those who simply enjoy their Pavane, the Level 2 or 3 upgrades offered by Metrum provide a path to improve the resolution of an already very good sounding DAC without buying something new.  In my system, the Level 3 (highest upgrade) Pavane is a clear step up in resolution over the original Pavane without any loss of tone, body or dynamics and it falls just short of the spooky level of detail offered by the Adagio. Comparing the two DACs when played through my preamp, the Level 3 Pavane seems to offer a slight bit more body and impact while the Adagio provides improved resolution but the differences are mostly small so either option is a winner.
Keep up the good work.
Tim Mitchell
Hello Srajan:
I noted your reply to Trevor on MQA. I sympathize with your position but still think that your personal feelings shouldn't override your obligation to report and be involved with the audiophile news. MQA certainly is a part of the news cycle to deserve coverage also from 6moons. I think you ought to reconsider!
Howard Clellan

Given that we're just one small spoke in the wheel of the audiophile press, I would think that the pervasive coverage MQA enjoys elsewhere is perfectly adequate. The question of obligation is an interesting one. As a single owner/operator of this small business which charges nothing to its readers, I tend to think that I have the right to run it the way I see fit; which in this instance includes not covering MQA at this time. This reminds me of John Darko's recent first 1-week vacation in 7 years. Reader Artie McLovin commented: "John, I'd have some sympathy if you were a code monkey or an accountant but *seriously*? It's been attributed to several billionaires but I think the quote goes: 'do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life!' I have no doubt that your obsession involves some very late nights and hideous long-haul flights but you're not exactly driving fenceposts into rock-hard ground or shearing sheep in a 50°C tin shed, are you? Enjoy your break but never take for granted the fact that you get to do something 95% of office drones would give their right (okay, left) arm to do." That's a good reminder... and, office drones, if they took some serious initiative and risk, could go after creating their own job from scratch which they enjoy a lot more than the office. Having done so myself, I run things as I deem best. Writing about a format I've not heard a single music example of doesn't fall into that category. Should I have something useful to report on MQA by way of personal experience, not just by regurgitating carefully crafted press releases or engaging in endless speculations whose tech goes over my head, I'm sure you'll see it here sooner than later -:)
Srajan
Hello Srajan, 
I am wondering. The Crayon CIA 1 has been out for a while but I can't find a 6moons review of it. At some point are you going to review it and also the newer CIA 1T?
Peter

I don't know, Peter. Crayon haven't contacted me about it and they certainly know how to find us.
Srajan
Srajan:
You've been uncharacteristically quiet on anything MQA. Is that because you don't have an opinion; or decided to sit it out? In which case, could you explain why? I'm just curious because MQA is in the audio press everywhere except on 6moons. It's starting to look either strategic or like a glaring oversight. Shouldn't the press report on news?
Trevor

I agree with everything you said, Trevor - 'cept "uncharacteristically". I remained quiet on DVD-A, SACD and HDCD too. To me and the music I listen to, these formats were DOA. As far as MQA goes, I haven't heard it yet. I have zero opinion on its sound. Even in backward rural Ireland where we live, there's sufficient bandwidth to stream 16/44.1kHz via Qobuz or Tidal all day long; and to download, albeit slower, the occasional higher-rez files to own. Ergo, I see no need for MQA. What's more, folks far smarter than I on the subject (I'm thinking of Andreas Koch and the folks at Schiit for just three) have expressed technically astute critiques about certain MQA claims. I see no good reason to jump on the bandwagon only to, by sheer default, become a promoter for something for which I see no good reason in the first place. It's all too easy for the press to get roped into becoming part of a marketing strategy. Since I'm not technically astute enough to dissect this subject properly and generate a fully educated opinion for myself; since I've not heard it; since I have little interest given how perfectly content I am with RedBook music and the occasional higher-rez file of music I really like ... I'd rather keep stumm. In many ways, this thing smacks of déjà vu all over again - another way by which the ailing music industry hopes to monetize its inventory and reinvent the wheel. Hey, didn't we just have a whole lotta noise over Pono? A year later, what happened to that?
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I am sure I am not alone in writing about the Kii Three and its anticipated review. Hope it's coming your way soon, went to RMAF to hear but wasn't there, my Asian area dealerships are struggling for demo versions (Live in Vietnam). The lifestyle product I have so eagerly waited for is seemingly tantalizingly close but also tantalizingly far...
Regards,
Paul Dalgleish

I thought I'd have it by now but on this St. Patrick's Day, it hasn't arrived yet. Should be next week, however.
Srajan
How true: "So much of our perception of fullness, leanness, warmth, brightness etc is manipulated by small boosts or cuts.” I would not have believed that until I'd done the DEQX dance moons ago!
Dan Ellis
Dear Srajan;
Since our last conversation about the JJ 2A3-40 tubes, I have about 6 years on them in my system; so I thought it a good idea to report on their performance for me. My initial listening revealed much deeper and crisper bass lines than with other tubes I had auditioned; and that impression has remained solid in the intervening years. No problems whatsoever with them in my amp, which is a Custom Bottlehead stereo unit built by Paul Birkeland as a one-off to my specs. Here again is my amp for context: dual shunt-regulated PS in the middle section, 6GK5 driver coupled by Copper V-caps to GE NOS 2A3 with Pyramid PIO output caps and MagneQuest TFA 2004 Jr. M4 with Cobalt (in the center of the lams) output trannies. The outboard box houses an LED string to bias the tubes. MagneQuest input transformer, driver tube choke-loaded, output tube choke-loaded, 47#'s of goodies and 3.5 watts per side. 6GK5 driver tube(with choke load), JJ 2A3-40 output tube(with choke load), Copper V-cap coupled to MQ TFA Jr. with 10 Cobalt slices in stack, and Pyramid PIO output cap.
Thanks for pointing me to these glorious and long-lived tubes, which I purchased from Eurotubes in Portland/Oregon.
Cheers, Hank Murrow
Dear Srajan: 
I sincerely compliment you on your Vivid Audio Giya G4 review. This review capsulizes the ongoing appeal of the 6moons site: lucid, intelligent, informative and tantalizing information on the latest equipment, technology and personalities involved in audio. More important, you and your contributors serve as an essential component of this hobby of ours. You are the dream-makers of this business. After reading your review of the Vivid G4, if it had been possible, I would have immediately run out to hear these remarkable transducers for myself and perhaps, with a little persuasion and an 'easy credit rip-off' loan, made a purchase. (Un)fortunately, there isn't a local shop where I can hear the G4 speakers – and such is the case with much of the equipment reviewed on the 6moons site. 

From my viewpoint, 6moons reviews give its readers a glimpse into a promised land that they may never be able to afford, or achieve. Nevertheless, and possibly as a substitute for the real thing, readers such as I will keep returning because the reviews serve as alluring evidence that audio heaven can be achieved – even as this heaven shifts into previously unimagined forms. In any event, this knowledge should further spur innovation and ultimately result in a higher quality, more affordable and universally applied/available standard of sound reproduction. So, 6moons creates 'Objects of Desire' by the sheer joy and excitement embodied in the best of its reviews.  Reviews which, in turn, keep your readers seeking out your site and interested in audio as a hobby.  Each reader will, of course, develop personal interests and preferences – which is fine, since, as you repeatedly point out, a perfect audio system or set of equipment that is fit for all situations and circumstances does not exist. In any event, it is certainly fun(and never less than compelling) to hear (and view) audio technologies, innovations and approaches through the trusted eyes and ears of your reviewers. One can never be certain when something about a new technology or approach will 'click' with a reader and open a door or window into a world of pleasures. 

By way of personal example, in addition to the excitement and pleasure your review of the Vivid G4 speaker has given me, your championing of COS Engineering and your (ongoing) devotion to Sven Boenicke's and Vinnie Rossi's products have introduced me to highly innovative ideas and equipment that I might not otherwise have known, nor had access to. Further, the singular enthusiasm found in your reviews of the EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1 speakers and Nelson Pass' amplification (of whatever name) has created a similar enthusiasm in me.  While naming names, I must also make special mention of Joël Chevassus provocative review of the LEEDTH E2 Glass speakers and John Darko's white-hot ardor for KEF's Wireless LS50 speakers. Each of these reviews has sent me scrambling to find, find out more about, and/or created an intense interest in and longing for these products. My point is, you and the other contributors have an important job, and you do it very well. You keep the audiophile fires stoked and the life blood of the audio industry flowing in a most enjoyable way. These are especially important attributes if new and younger audiences are to be attracted to our hobby at this exciting and dangerous time - a time when the clear majority of the denizens of our hobby are getting older and more homogeneous, and yet technology is enabling new approaches and heretofore virtually impossible solutions to audio problems that will enable high quality sound reproduction that will appeal to everyone. So, kudos to you! Please keep up your good, enjoyable and important, work!  
Godfrey Herndon

Well, since you insist, we shall. And thank you for the compliments!
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
Hope you are having a good life! Sold my APL NOW 4.0 GO and now on the hunt for a SOTA dac in the €5-10k price range. Preferably with a killer VC. What are you liking these days? As always, thanks for your time.
Kerry

Metrum Acoustics Adagio.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I've always been meaning to ask who your favorite reviewers are. Do you mind?
Gerhard

It depends on how you define favorite. With some writers, I admire particular aspects but dislike others. I've always admired Ken Kessler for his economy and range of experience but the editorials he's penned for Doug Schneider of late exhibit the most unpleasant bile, spleen, bitterness and cynicism. Now I only read him to be reminded about what not to become. I very much enjoy Art Dudley's command of the craft and tangential approach but not his occasional detours into political commentary. When Herb Reichert is 'in the zone', I find him fantastic and very much unafraid. Amongst the up'n'coming writers, I really like John Darko which is why we cooperate. For overall consistency of style and informativeness, I'd single out Roy Gregory who used to run Hifi+ but today writes for Marc Mickelson's The Audio Beat. Those are the ones who stand out for various reasons. Talking about inanimate appliances and doing it year in year out can quickly turn to graft. Not letting it do that to remain interesting, amusing, thought-provoking, entertaining... that's the challenge. It's like a classical soloist. He/she has played the same bloody piece thousands of times. But if you hear them in concert, they make us believe they're discovering it for the very first time. It's so fresh and impulsive. Any reviewer who manages that 10 or 20 years in does his job well, slickness of language or other fancy skills notwithstanding. That's how I see it. What I find boring is 'predictable' and 'workmanlike'. I'd rather see a writer take risks and fail every so often than settle into formulaic sameness. After all, aside from being critics, our other job description is as ambassadors for the hobby.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
I trust all is well with you and yours on the Emerald Isle. I know you appreciate the craftsmanship of Chris Sommovigo and thought I'd share a pic of his special edition Tube interconnect that arrived today. Lovely to gaze upon, with sonics to match! They hold their own compared to the Oyaide Tunami XLR cables also found between my DAC and integrated amp.
Cheers,
Max

Definitely. And it seems, Chris really enjoys Japan's celebration of the artisanal spirit to feel inspired by it for his own work...
Srajan
Hi SE -
This path looks extremely promising for many audio inmates (including me) that are ready to:
  a. simplify 
  b. give up some performance as compared to the big dollar rigs
  c. save some serious coin
Looking forward to mo articles like this one. Keep up the great work!
Regards,
Dan Ellis

The credit for this one goes to John Darko. I only commissioned it -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan
I am Jake Purches and I work and share a premise with Laurence Dickie at Vivid Audio UK in England. I am very pleased you enjoyed the G4 loudspeaker. I have the rare joy of being able to listen to all the range and the G4 is certainly my speaker of choice for my audio recordings to monitor on as it's razor sharp at revealing edits. Too sharp sometimes. What is invisible on planar headphones becomes 'visible' to hear on the G4.  G1 simply adds scale. That is why the G1 exists. Scale and size and power. Once again, a superb review and I am sure I can say for us all, we are very pleased you have enjoyed them so much.
Kind regards,
Jake Purches
Vivid Audio UK
Srajan,
I don't check in much these days to your site but I loved your review of the STP 2 and commend you for continuing to keep this under-appreciated preamp relevant. I have a Mk 2 unit, had Chris from SF do the PS work and a few other touches here and there. The STP is easily W4's greatest achievement. Since you stated you are keeping it for reference, I have a suggestion. Throw some Sonic Imagery Labs discrete opamps in the unit. I have played with the en vogue discrete opamps out there and I would suggest that the Sonics are in a completely different realm and the STP loves them. I think you will too. One other product that I think is in the same league as the STP as a value proposition is the Rogue Hydra/Medusa.  I have owned many of the best D amps of recent years including the Merrill Veritas. Like the STP, these Rogue amps are a tad dry stock but the circuit is there. Mundorfs in the PS, change the 4 Solens on the preamp board, add 4 Sonic discrete opamps, roll the two triodes to your taste and the amp becomes something really really special. Think of a 30.8 but with a touch of speed and space and quiet that distinguishes class D.
All the best,
Paul Petelin

I had a fun exchange with EJ at Wyred the other day, wishing him good luck trying to better the STP SE MkII. He agreed, saying he's been trying unsuccessfully for 2-3 years already -:)
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
Long time reader and big time fan, just catching up on your W11 review from November 2016. Must find the time to locate a dealer nearby and audition that speaker, no doubt about it. One image I can't seem to forget is the midrange/mid-bass driver made from wood... the wooden cone combined with wooden phase plug is gorgeous. Curiosity is killing me... any idea who makes that driver? Never seen anything like it, totally unique in my books. Would also like to know if you have any plans to review Boenicke's newest addition, their flagship W13? That speaker also looks like a gorgeous piece of art, ready to knock your socks off with its pair of 13" subwoofers. Anyways, here's a toast to innovative design combined with kick-ass sound!
Take care,
Luke Person

No idea who makes that wood-cone driver. If I were Sven, I'd not let on either. It's good to have an exclusive at least for a while. As to the W13, I haven't signed up for it because, in the current space, I wasn't sure I really got the best from the W11 so asking for the flagship with even more bass didn't seem prudent. However, there's also his new amplifier which I might do instead.
Srajan
Hi Mr. Srajan,
I used to own a Lessloss 2004 MKII DAC. Its main selling point was that it was made to play in master mode. Their website went into length selling the virtues of their DAC hooked up in master mode. No need for an expensive transports since a transport's only function was to read 1s and 0s and and unless compressed did so perfectly, therefore vibration control was useless and any cheap transport configured in slave mode should sound as good as expensive transports. Now that same company rolls out a $91'000 anti vibration streamer. Perfect example of what killed the HIFI industry. Quote from Lessloss DAC 2004 product documentation: "But oh! In that case, you can use a $30 CD player and still get a better sound than you'd be getting if you spent $30'000 on the best transport and digital cable! Yes, this is the plain truth about CD players and DACs. Their Master/Slave relationship is backwards and their prices therefore have become high due to design flaws regarding jitter avoidance."
Regards,
Robert Charbonneau

LessLoss reply: As with any endeavor in which one strives for perfection, the state of the art of any given time will probably be in some ways overpassed at a future time. In the year 2004, it was indeed a very strong argument that the hifi industry had it backwards. At that time, nobody was slaving transports to a single master clock and if they were doing this, they were doing it at 44.1kHz, which itself is already a strongly reduced clock speed to the MHz clocks which in actuality run the equipment. The only ones slaving at the superclock MHz speed directly were rare pro-audio companies such as Digidesign. We, acknowledging that the approach was a logical one, pursuedit to make this possibility available to audiophiles.  Fast forward to around 2011. We learnt through experimentation that it was possible to get even better results not by synchronously slaving the DAC to the transport but by reinventing the actual source of the digital stream. That source has to be synchronous to the operating system itself, something that was impossible to achieve in a computer audio setup with its many onboard clocks and procedures. Going this path, nothing less than a total build of an entire system was necessary, which is what we did. This job was huge but the results exist today in the form of the Laminar Streamer. 

On the surface, when you read our statements from 2004 and compare them to the 2017 Laminar Streamer, you have to be careful to understand the difference. The 2004 statements apply to digital sources such as typical computer systems which already have several clocks on board, and CD players which have laser adjust feedback loops, all of which introduce jitter into the stream. So in that context, slaving such sources is the best approach. In effect we are simplifying the system because it is complicated to start with. But when we derive the digital stream's source fundamentally from one clock, which is the case in the Laminar Streamer, we now have a system which only becomes more complicated through reclocking, and this would lower the overall performance achieved. 
Louis Motek
Hiya Srajan:
Some good recent comments there. Me, I read reviews as much for their entertainment value as for hard audio facts. On that count, you continue to give the best entertainment. Why reviewers are expected to justify a component's price is beyond me. It is what it is. If you had a nice scale, how would you weigh the Echo's End and Laminar Streamer's 'fingerprint' you call it relative to magnitude? You said the DAC's contribution was stronger. That makes sense to me. I'm simply curious if you can be more specific with a best guess? Don't let the naysayers confound you. Keep up the good work I say!
Chris

Having done quite a few DAC reviews; and having a goodly inventory on hand... the Echo's End 'aroma' potency was as obvious as the DHT module of the LIO; which is to say, very. If we call that thing 100, I'd give the Laminar Streamer less than 30. In combination of course, it's an ideal dovetail job so there the math seems to compound a bit. I've obviously not heard the DAC fully loaded to the gills with the max number of Firewall cards. I've heard a number of discrete R2R DACs from Aqua, TotalDAC, Rockna and S.A.Lab to have a notion on how big flavour variations between them were. The Echo's End's difference is more different, leading me to wonder how much of that is really due to the Firewall cards. If 15 in my loaner unit could do that, what would more than thrice their number do? I have no idea but it does have me curious. Not sure this helped but it's the best I can come up with. Seems this review triggered more than the usual share of curiosity one way or the other -:)
Srajan
Srajan:
Still waiting on that Kii review. Can you tell us when it is finally coming? Getting impatient!
Tom

Funny you should ask that today. I just heard from Chris Reichardt: "The speakers just got back from 'Stereo' in Germany and are now being checked and repacked to go out to you." So it seem that by March 1 or thereabouts, my pair should have landed.
Srajan
Hey Srajan,
I appreciate that you keep an open mind to give every product a fair shake. It's one of the things I like about the site. You guys review all sorts. But even by your standards, that LessLoss streamer really seems a stretch. How could any discussion of its sound keep a straight face with that price? You wiggled mightily to call it proof of concept as though that would take the price off the table. But it doesn't. Your review lists the price, their website does. You even link to competitors at roughly $650 and $1200 that seem to be doing exactly the same thing but each come with their own remote. I looked closely at that QLS and its descriptions. At that price I might even try one. They talk of custom code too. Except for its big enclosure, what really does the LessLoss offer extra? I just don't get it and I've followed your writings through some pretty obscure products over the years. Keep on doing what you do. Don't get me wrong, it's fun. Sometimes things just don't add up I guess. This be one of them!
Marty Johnson

Accepting this assignment in the first place meant acknowledging that price. The only way I knew how to was by starting out with "crazy!" so that's exactly what I did. I thought that set the tone rather nicely so we all could call that subject 'done and dusted', then get on with the more interesting sonic discussion. Frankly, what else can a writer do other than not accept such an assignment? That's a perfectly valid choice to make of course. It's one I routinely make with very expensive cables. But because I really sympathize with the SD card reader concept per se, I was very curious what LessLoss might have achieved. I wanted to hear this crazy thang and I'm sure glad I was given the opportunity to. Louis could as well have sent it to someone else instead. The rest is for the discussion forums and blogs I think. In fact and in the interest of not beating a dead horse, I won't publish any other reader emails on this particular topic of price unless they deal with other aspects of my review. The price is crazy. Acknowledged. Now what?
Srajan
Hi Marja and Henk,
I read your Akiko Audio Corelli review with great interest (I own a triple AC enhancer); however two questions came to mind. It appears that you think the Corelli substantially improves upon the Tripe AC Enhancer but you don't make any explicit comparisons. At 1/5th the price, does the Triple Enhancer deliver 50% of the performance? Your review is so extremely positive, why no Blue Moon award?
Regards,
David Lantz

Hi M&H,
On February 7th I sent you the email above but received no reply. Srajan always replies to my emails within 24 hours. My questions seem to me perfectly reasonable ones. If you really have no interest in communicating with readers, I suggest you have your email address taken off the 6moons website. That would be better than being seen as unresponsive and rude.
Regards,
David Lantz

Now who's rude. You don't seem to realize that Srajan is the only 24/7 6moons reviewer who makes a living out of it. All other contributors have busy day time jobs and perform reviews in their sparse spare time - and that includes responding to questions. Now to those. As the Corelli works on all 3 power lines, it is working completely different from the Triple. So no 50% for the Triple but rather 33.3% of the Corelli. We did not give a Blue Moon award because we don't know of or have experience with any other crystals-based power enhancer; with other devices like Shakti stones it would be comparing apples and oranges.
Hope this helps,
/M&H

Marja & Henk make a very important point. Pulling a regular 9-5 job five days a week means that all our reviewers must use their weekends and holidays to write about hifi. It's a sign of their hobbyist enthusiasm that they do in the first place rather than just enjoy listening to their systems and music and keep otherwise stumm about it. A bit of consideration goes a long way. Sometimes it's also good sense to check that an email didn't inadvertently end up in a junk-mail/spam folder rather than assume unresponsiveness.
Srajan
Srajan,
great review on the LessLoss DAC and streamer. The Echo's End sounds like exactly what I want. I have done a lot of DSD and CD comparisons to understand your descriptions perfectly. Unlike reader Brad, I also don't think that the price is unreasonable. 15 Firewall modules alone add considerable cost. Just one sells for $178 I think. About the streamer and others running FAT32, I'm with Holger and you about the nav issues. I have more than 3TB of music. I would use an SD card like you wrote about (for curated sessions) to rely heavily on playlists. Having to rename track numbers would drive me nuts. I might also want to move my favorite tracks off my NAS to one or two maximum capacity cards if it sounds better. Then selection by artist, album or song is very important to me. Given your admiration for the LS's sound and seeing the Chinese SD card reader under your MAC, do you think audiophile SD card players have any real commercial future? It would seem that you'd like them to?
Anthony Merck

It's a valid question and so is the assumption. Louis and I had loads of fun email sparring. He separates performance and convenience with the F1 race car argument of going faster by not having mirrors and trunk space. I disagree by saying that convenience is part of performance especially with file players which navigate bigger and bigger libraries. If using them is a pain, the sound doesn't matter. Ditto for €90'000 preamps without remote control. I know that he focused on minimalist code. I don't know whether more elaborate code to reintroduce search features like all portable players since the iPod run, would have any sonic impact. I don't know whether he knows, i.e. whether he has tried to write such code, then abandoned it in favour of the current one. Personally, his sonics plus a DAP-like OS for ease of navigation, with a DAP-like display for navigation and cover art plus his planned wired remote control would be my perfect source. That's because ours is a WiFi-allergic household. I'm always looking for 'server' type solutions that don't rely on tablet remotes. I believe a NuForce subsidiary is working on a portable digital audio player with full dock functionality and a custom OS tweaked to double-task as a premium home hifi server that feeds one's own DAC or runs its own. Other people who can use tablet remotes have many audiophile servers to choose from. They likely find this whole concept of an SD card player far too limiting. Do such players have a future? How many people have purchased a Resonessence DAC for its SD card slot? I don't know but I doubt they were many. So common sense says... probably not if we mean large scale. A few sales here and there where that particular feature set meets a client's needs better than anything else? Absolutely. That'd be my prediction about the future for SD card readers.
Srajan
Hello Srajan:
Just read your latest LessLoss review. Been very curious about the Laminar Streamer. Had previously read Matej's rave. With yours, I appreciated the delicate balancing act between ergonomic shortcomings and sound advances. You wrote that flash-memory or SD card portables come with operating systems that allow searches by artist, song, album. Most support playlists. None require renaming track numbers like Louis proposed to get around the limitations of his. Most have bigger displays that support album art. It's understandable of course that his small company can't command resources of an Astell & Kern or Sony to incorporate their sophisticated GUI. But now his price becomes much harder to swallow. For that kind of money, I want it all: a Sooloos touch-screen display, Roon meta data and his sound. I guess we keep on dreaming -:)
Holger

It is indeed a delicate balancing act, Holger. Often the hifi arts get advanced by crazy projects from small operators who do unreasonable things. You don't want to rain on their parade by applying certain expectations that are realistic for Apple/Samsung corporations but not cottage industry makers. At the same time, prospective buyers want to know what they're getting, exactly. Once pricing skyrockets into the luxury/premium sphere, making 'excuses' or needing workarounds also becomes less and less cool. Navigating the path between these different aspects without capsizing into an unqualified rave or its opposite isn't easy. I tried very hard to manage the right balance and give this unique product its proper due without brushing over certain ergonomic limitations. For LessLoss to commit to a 6-year R&D cycle during which they only invested without recouping is exactly the kind of craziness it might take to come up with something better when one can't rely on corporate scale and resources. And there clearly is a very active market for very expensive hifi. So I can appreciate why this first generation of Laminar Streamer is priced as it is. It has to recoup a very lengthy investment. It's why at this juncture, I called it predominantly a proof of concept. If a few well-to-do hifi enthusiasts and benefactors acquire it, perhaps they can restock coffers to pave the way for a 2nd generation priced more within reach?
Srajan
To the Editor:
In your most current LessLoss review, you show that their DAC is based on the Soekris board. Did you realize that this board sells for €335? And LessLoss wants more than €5K for it by putting it in a stained wooden box? And is it auto switching or not? First Louis tells us that it is, then he recommends to unplug whatever is in and only connect what we want to use. This kind of crap is exactly what's wrong with hifi today. And you're supporting it by covering such products. Shame on you guys!
Brad Hopkins

Given how I embedded the link to the Soekris page and given how I can read... yes, I know exactly what the board lists for there. How manufacturers set their end price is always only up to them. All we do is present the whole package as completely as we can, then let the reader and potential buyer decide what they consider a fair value or attractive proposition. Did I know what was inside until I opened it up? No, since LessLoss don't mention Soekris on their website or show clear photos of the board. But I certainly don't feel compelled to cancel the review because of it. I'll report on the sonics and how they compare to other converters on hand. Then I shall trust the intelligence of our audience as we always do, to decide for themselves. Don't shoot the messenger, Brad.
Srajan