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


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