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


Usually I do not respond on hifi message boards. Today I did on the Devialet Chat forum where the topic was the article where you mention the Phantom on DAR. Wanted to share as the person's initial statement is so comical, I thought you would get a laugh. It was a challenge to hold back on sarcasm and snide remarks: "My point is that there is a correlation between Srajan liking all that Devialet is not; pPantom especially dispenses with the very thing that keeps his business model alive. Vast quantities of add-on foo." My reply: This definitely happens in many outlets. In Srajan's case it does not hold up. The following is summarized from the article being discussed. The article is about the Kii 3, a  €10'000 small active speaker, amp, Dac all in one (just need a laptop).  In the same article he also talks how the Devialet Phantom is an example of how innovative companies backed by R&D are setting the way for the future. Lastly that the Kii 3 is a reality check for those perched on their "hifi altars". From reading the article I understood he just did not like the presentation of the Phantoms. In the comments section you can also read how he is "100% certain" that the Phantoms would be a lot more impressive if properly demonstrated. When we have beliefs we hold onto them and see what we want to see. Better to follow something than to be led by something. 
Keep following your ear and your heart my friend,
Joshua Jacobson

PS. I should also add the title of the thread: "Darko did not care for the Devialet demo!" 

Do you seriously suggest one should first read and comprehend an article before commenting on it? Joshua, you disappoint me -:)
Srajan
Just spied your new iMac article. Got me wondering if one couldn't get voice control by now! Next track. I share your small delight in being able to point the Apple remote at the screen across the room. You can see why. I use a suspended listening chair! (Just re-leathered). Takes an age to centre the pendulum effect. No jokes about music hanging suspended in blackness etc!
Chris Skelton
Thanks for the encouragement. We both started on this computer-based trip about the same time and seem to have got to the same place.

I'll give the upscale music server another go with the Orpheus Labs deck. If that doesn't obliterate my iMac, I don't know what will.
Srajan

I've never doubted the iMac/HDD set-up, playing David Lindley as I type. Was just ruminating on your recent interest in powered speakers (Kiiaudio). There's been an interest on HiFi Wigwam in these the past couple of years, especially Event Opals though a friend's "horrid things when I have heard them. Bright and thumpy bass with no definition" comment doesn't encourage! Of course, powered speakers have always been around, Meridian are a good example, but,as you pointed out, we hifi nuts have got addicted to separates. But wives might like the concept, living-room-wise? I guess with the development of algorithms, we'll get more in this vein. (The Avantgarde Zeros are tempting? And it seems just for you? They can be USB connected with no WiFi.) I've always been wary of doctoring with the signal. I have a classic Redbook  Dac, non-filtering, and nice fullrange/no-crossover speakers. Complexity brings its own problems? But good to get your sharp-eared opinion. Enjoy the view!
Look at these. I was one of the few people to enjoy them during an extended two-day listening session in 2008 or 9, with an all Nagra rig of yore (MPA, VPA, their then current DAC) and sundry transports (no CDP back then). This took place in my dealer's listening room in Rome, in the august presence of my all-time hifi hero, the great Jean-Claude Schlup who set up the Nagra speakers with his own hands the first day. Touble was, though JC pronounced himself satisfied and even preened somewhat, I thought the sound altogether unexceptional, if that. Coming back for another audition on the following day, I found that my dealer, an honest, humble but somewhat skeptical soul, had investigated the external crossovers after JC's return to Switzerland and found that the speakers had been wired out of phase. With the red-black thing set to rights, the speakers were the best I have ever heard, period. (They never went into production). Therein lies a moral I should think.
Michel Surdi

If you mean to say that an engineer can design a killer speaker yet not hear when it's wired up out of phase... I should agree, that's interesting.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
As you know I was interested in buying this Amare DeForest preamp and was looking forward to the rest of your review. However, I have just noticed this morning that the preview no longer appears on your website and that the review has not been completed. Was there a problem with the company/product?
Thanks,
Dr. Mike Woolias

The 'problem' was simply a 6-month limbo scenario with no delivered product and no communications on status. Our previews aren't indefinite placeholders and lack of communication in this age of instant communication is troublesome to boot. So I took the preview down, wondering how long it might take them to notice and, perhaps, finally contact me with an update. If not, the assignment is cancelled. As a punter by proxy, I must also consider how a customer might be treated. If they don't talk to me over a 6-month period, what will happen to a buyer who needs help?
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
Kii part I is a great example of why I have so much respect for your work. Great honesty and fearlessness to wade into waters others dare not to go. The second part has me wondering just how special these are. I know you have not had them in house but can you make a rough comparison of the Kii 3 to the W5se with the LIO (around the same coin). It seems I can't go wrong with either and maybe they are different flavors, but wondering if they are in different leagues.
Keep up the great work,
Joshua

As you said, I've not had them in-house yet for the acid test. For one thing, the Kii is truly full-range whereas the W5se is not. That's obvious just from the specs. It's also got power headroom up the wazoo while LIO maxes out at 25wpc. Quite carefully, I would have to say that the Kii Three is the higher-order proposition - which doesn't take away from my regard of the Boenicke (I'm staring one in the eye as I write this) but, my Swiss guys are, after all, antediluvan passive speakers. As such, they are beholden to certain limitations and rules which the Kii if not breaks then bends a lot.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
mega show report once again, from a guy who said he'd take it slow for a change. I wonder what you'd do if tasked to only pen a 1-page report?
Francis Pelieu

I'd probably not bother. Writing is what I do, not holding back. I did however throw out a ton of pix to keep it at the present length. I'm not interested in photo dumps without proper added commentary so 'delete' they went -:)
Srajan
Interesting observation on the Devialet Phantom in Munich. Are you sure they played six in a row? Your photo only shows four.
Brian

"There was a Phantom room using by my count a mix of six Phantoms and Silver Phantoms and the Sci-Fi future world room utilizing 4x Devialet Expert 400's to drive a pair of B&W Nautilus speakers. In terms of pure engineering, I think we can agree that Devialet is thinking apart." That's from Michael Lavorgna's report for AudioStream. So yes, Brian, there were six; and yes, it was a long but narrow room so to get all these units into the frame without also capturing people milling about was impossible without waiting endlessly. And I was primed to exit tooth sweet.
Srajan
Good evening Srajan,
It was great meeting you. Had a great time at the show.  I'm mid read of your reportage at present and had to stop cold on the Orpheus and ReQuest bit. Here's the reason I didn't go beast in our top stuff. The DAC they contracted from MSB is a delta-sigma converter and not the discrete DAC MSB make. One wouldn't be wrong in thinking of it as outside of their ethos. An unusual choice. Back to my tea and the report.  Newport in just 9 days away along with that rack, the W8SE+ and some KT150 Allnic amps, their amp, pre and new DAC. Should be interesting.  And I'm bringing the Saskia turntable.  Ahh, the audio of hotels...
Fred
PS: The Vox Olympian was the most cohesive multi horn I've heard...a treat.  The obvious preparation of the demonstration is something unusual in my  experience. Goebel was amazing as well.

Aha. That perhaps explains the Aussie importer's Beast feedback. I assumed, point blank, that ReQuest used MSB's typical discrete R2R tech.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I just found your short review of my album Acatao. I am very happy you like it :-) Thank you very much for your warm words about it. Looking forward to read your full review of the CD.
All the best,
Miguel Czachowski

My pleasure and well deserved!
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
I noticed that you got mail regarding speaker isolation devices. I have a fresh name for you. Iso Acoustics. They had a particularly good demo at the Montreal show. These are industrial and studio-grade components which are exceptionally effective and priced real world, not boutique. We're talking $50 retail on the built-like-a-tank sub mount! The stands now ship standard with some of the Dynaudio monitors as well.  I can hear why. The improvements are that drastic. I'm looking very seriously at some of their stuff for my own monitor speakers as well as sub. They are local boys in my area.
Best wishes,
Glen Wagenknecht
Great show report as usual! Gotta go to the Munich show one of these days. Still can't wrap my head around overpriced computers for music serving though especially since I keep finding ways to make my PC playback sound better. Btw, I'm totally hooked on Tidal. Love it despite a lousy search engine, lousy metadata and a number of messed-up albums. Found a Zemlinsky piece that was actually Bruckner's 1st. Yikes.
Cheers,
Paul Candy
Hi Srajan
Appreciate your reviews and commentaries at 6moons. You briefly mentioned Boenicke W8 speakers on display at HiEnd 2015. How did they sound and is there a review coming for them? Also, in the pre-show commentary you mentioned Eden Acoustics from Canada. Were they present and did you have an opportunity to hear them?
Regards,
Dan Holuk

I've talked about the W8 in prior reports like my Warsaw 2014 comments. I deliberately didn't repeat on ground already covered. As far as a review goes, I've done the W20, the SLS and the W5 so it seems high time someone else on our team got involved to spread the joy around as it were. John Darko expressed interest and he has an Aussie importer for Boenicke. And if I had seen/heard Eden, they'd been in my report given the setup of my intro. So no, they weren't there - or, I failed to find them.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Busy trip to Munich and what appears to be a full year ahead of planned reviews. I hope this Kii Three is somewhere in your review plan. Would‎ tick off so many boxes for someone like me starting from scratch again. WAF, no compatibility issues and condensed so as to be non-invasive even for apartment living. Can lifestyle finally meet audiophile? ‎Thanks as always for your continued reviews.
Regards,
Paul

I only mentioned review list items where the manufacturer made a commitment to me already. The Kii Three would top that list but things were really busy for Bruno that evening and the subject didn't even come up. They certainly know how to find me if and when the time comes. Based on the Munich demo, yes, lifestyle finally does meet audiophile and in the process, kills off all excitement over the usual detours and complexities. This is a major disruptor! Will people pay attention however? That's the real question I don't have an answer for.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
Thank you for your consistently detailed reviews, excellent photographs and thoughtful comparisons with previously reviewed pieces.  I enjoyed your review of the Metrum Pavane but my copy was missing the part where you compare it with the similarly priced Aqua LaScala MkII. 
Thanks for any additional thoughts you wish to provide.
Best regards,
Tim Mitchell

My copy is missing that bit as well. It's a very different sound as described in the original LaScala review. Hence I didn't bother to compare it to the Pavane which is a more refined resolved Hex. So no, I don't wish to provide additional thoughts -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Greetings; hope you’re well. Forgive the intrusion but you were so responsive and helpful last time I emailed you that I couldn’t resist contacting you again. Partly because it challenged my audiophile/engineering prejudices, I was inspired by your positive review of the Vega 'gyrotension' isolation footers and my own liking for the sound of suspended turntables to begin exploring options for suspending my Feastrex speakers which are currently spiked. Along with the Vegas, there are similar pods (and platforms etc) from Townshend, but using a spring and pneumatics rather than silicone rubber, at a similarish price (well, about £100 instead of $100 each). Townshend claim massive attenuation of vibrations of the 20dB and up order from 3Hz, even claiming to eliminate seismic and other vibrational activity, not to mention speaker interaction with the floor etc. The reviews of these pods under speakers echo your comments on the Vegas: much improved clarity, articulation and soundstaging. I wondered if you have any experience with the Townshend pods, and how the Vegas might compare in terms of isolation and sound? By the way, I note that the 'vogue', if it can be called that, for solid unsuspended turntables seems perhaps to be passing; many of the top decks today are using sophisticated suspension of various sorts (Continuum, Kronos, SME, Avid, Tech Das etc). Maybe we will see a similar 'revolution' away from the spike in other components?
Any comments much appreciated.
With best wishes,
Gerald Gaylard

Indeed, the decoupling/floating scheme has any number of options including the Boenicke SwingBase. Then there are various roller bearings like the original Aurios and Symposium equivalents. Those too mean to isolate, not to 'ground'. How various of these devices might compare is a fair question but not one I have an answer to at this time, sorry.
Srajan
Hi Srajan.
I'm still enjoying our Trafomatic Head One I picked up at your former place last year. Cool. I'm thinking about your recent review of the Metrum Pavene DAC. Hope I didn't miss something, but did you test it with a passive preamp? Do you think it has the drive to stand on its own (with only a power amp)?...
Curious to hear any experience or ruminations you may have. 
Thanks,
Kurt Gruetzner

No, I didn't. And I have no notion about how it'd do direct-connected to an amp. How would you control volume? The only one qualified to answer that question of drive relative to output impedance and current (in the absence of having actually tried it) would be designer Cees Ruiijtenberg. You might ask him.
Srajan
Hey Srajan,
I saw Edgar's Resolution review and noted your intro. So in print, what translates to just a short two-page review on your site is considered sufficient and so are stock photos. But from what I can tell, with your regular team, you expect at least four pages plus their own photos? I certainly appreciate all the content you guys provide. I guess I had just never fully appreciated how hard you must be working to create it. So, thanks to the whole crew!
Thomas

When I changed site format from 700 to 1'200 pixels last year, paragraphs got wider. Now the same amount of text occupied less vertical space. In print, you might deal with pages even narrower than our prior 700-pixel equivalent. So a lot of it is just a matter of formatting. What looks short on our site might narrow and elongate to many pages in print. On that topic, the real decider would be a word count. And yes, our standard review layout runs across four pages though occasionally, we go beyond it (the Vinnie Rossi LIO went to 8 pages). Where images are concerned, I do prefer to show our readers shots they haven't already seen many times before in press releases, brochures and manufacturers' websites. And because lots of black type against white background looks like so much crawling ants if you don't break it up, I prefer to insert many photos also to give the eye a break and create some diversity from the monotony of just words. So yes, the content our team creates does involve a robust word count and original photos wherever they can manage. It all comes down to presentation. Manufacturers sweat how their stuff looks, works, is packaged and promoted. Writing about it should also uphold certain standards of presentation, don't you think?
Srajan
I note that you are in the process of reviewing the Apertura Audio Adamante speaker, and that this speaker includes a "central drain cone" to affect the connection of the speaker to the floor. I'm not sure whether this serves a similar function to the post and the grounding frame mentioned in your previous Goldmund ProLogos Active review. One topic that has appeared on your web-site  has been the idea of "floating" (sorry if this is an incorrect term ) a speaker - perhaps through the Vega Isolators, a Boenicke Swing Base or products mentioned on other sites include the Nordost Sort Fut. Is the concept of using a suspension product contrary to the use of the central drain cone in the Adamante speaker for example —the SwingBase would seem to be an unsuitable design in this case—but what of the suspension feet?  Would suspension feet ruin the speaker designer's concept? Or would they allow the core of the speaker to work well?

My own interest is sparked by the pleasing results I have obtained with using the Nordost Sort Fut  with Dynaudio speakers. Their minimum height is 69mm which may in itself count them out.  It's another one of those concepts where it is difficult to experiment before purchasing and we look to the unique opportunities the reviewer has. If there was another area where I could request more discussion, it is at the foot of p2 of the Bel Canto Black review by Joël Chevassus. I refer to the paragraph that begins "For control of your library ... ". This paragraph mentions the lack of standardization of DLNA/UpNP protocols ". I've been in hell (well not really) for 2 months trying to find an app that will recognise the features available on a server and a DAC from 2 different manufacturers. One app will recognize playlists, another won't; apps that require a different type of connection between server and dac without offering an opportunity to change. Should I give up and turn to the manufacturer to take over my computer?  I feel silly turning to others to establish digital addresses and protocols for my system. Is there one of your contributors who can describe the state of play, or maybe direct me to some articles that help me learn some principles in this field? As always thanks for the discursive and helpful nature of so many of the articles you publish.
Ian Lobb

The mechanical diode notion (that mechanical energy will drain out of a footer in one direction but not enter the other way) is at the base of pointy footers and the Goldmund, Apertura and Triangle schemes. Of course one central cone alone wouldn't work. The speaker would topple. How exactly four standard weight-bearing cones can make a 5th one the main or 'active' cone escapes me entirely. And yes, a SwingBase or Vega footer would be the exact opposite idea which isn't to couple but to isolate. The epidemy of that would be a speaker suspended via wires from the ceiling. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Whatever your ears tell you works better, wins.

Relative to apps and funky handshakes, I'd get with the DAC/server manufacturer and ask for help. I don't believe there's a one-size-fits-all approach. You may need a firmware update; the combo of app and OS might not be compadre with your DAC. I've had PureMusic access my computer remotely once to trouble-shoot and my issue got fixed in less than a minute. It's definitely a workable solution if you're dealing with a professional. Some of this stuff is for IT geeks only and us civilians need assistance. Of course real men never ask for directions but I'd rather have results than my pride intact -:)
Srajan
Hello Srajan:
After last year's announcement of your policy change and the expected online reactions, it's gone completely quiet on the subject. I wanted to follow up and get your take on the transition from that time forward and whether it's been a success and good decision.
Mike Hulbert

There's a number of aspects to your question. From our end, contributors now get paid. I no longer do free reviews. That's a win for us. Another side is content selection and quality. Here our readers and you will be the judge whether anything has changed for the worse. Personally, I think nothing has changed on those counts. But there's a third element which goes beyond us and our readers. Whether manufacturers agree with our policy or not, they are being confronted with the underlying issue it attempts to address. It makes them consider it. How they react is up to them. Prompting this consideration—it's ongoing each time someone we haven't worked with prior to the change solicits us for a review—is up to me. This third effect is a grand and snowballing success. All the reactions it triggers (from "outrageous" and "bullshit" to "I liked the old system better but can understand why the new was necessary" to "of course, how could it be any different") are valid. Dealing with these ongoing responses has helped me refine and define my position. On the most basic level, it is that my time and expertise are valuable and no longer pro bono. The inner artist and the inner businessman have merged. On a related level, it confronts the conditioning that Internet-based content is or should be free. We're seeing terrible effects of that attitude in the music industry. Content creators like musicians getting paid for their work? What a peculiar notion. Out of Spotify's user base of 60'000'000, only 15 million pay. I'm a content creator too and I do it full-time, for a living. Like musicians, I obviously must get paid somehow or I'd be homeless quickly. So personally, I've never regretted the decision even once and think of the outcome as successful. And again, I leave it to our readers to decide whether and how it has affected our content and their enjoyment and use thereof.
Srajan
Hello Mr. Ebaen:
As I value your opinion I thought I might ask a question. I’m considering buying some Joseph Audio Pulsars. I will be able to audition them in my home soon. I was also considering the Bryston Mini T speakers but will not be able to hear them at home. I wondered if you had any thoughts and/or suggestions about these speakers or others of this type? My listening room is of modest size (about 20 ft. by 10 ft.). I have a Mac Mini,  Ayre DSD dac, Jeff Rowland Capri S2 preamp and Jeff Rowland 525 stereo amp ( 250 Watts per channel ) Thank you in advance for any thoughts you may share.
Regards,
Guy Russell

You'll have a home audition which will tell you everything you need to know; and I've not heard the Bryston Mini T. Presumably you mention them in case the Josephs don't work out? You use a very narrow room indeed so looking for a small speaker is the right idea. So is a personal trial. If the Pulsars are a miss, you should continue investigating compact speakers which you can take home for a weekend and which suit your budget. Personal experience is the very best teacher. And with this little information provided, I'm not really sure what else to say. I'm not an audio oracle -:)
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I'm a regular reader from Australia and I would just like to say how much I enjoy following your publication. Certainly the depth and production (photograph's of both quantity and quality) values are far higher than most others. It's a long way from the cult magazines of the 70's! What I am about to ask may not be part of your brief but I would appreciate some advice. I have been a avid audiophile for a long period and have both built and purchased many pieces of equipment. I feel that I have some idea of what is snake oil and what is substance.

I am currently running the best gear I could afford at the time (major purchases about 10-15 years ago). EMM Labs DAC 6 and CDSE Transport (the first digital that I felt could realistically allow me to leave vinyl), EMM Labs 6 channel Switchman Mk2 Pre-amp, Conrad Johnson Premier 8XS amps and home made "line source" speakers consisting of a 75 inch ribbon as used in the big Genesis 1's, some Aurum Cantus' ribbon tweeters and a pair of Genesis type self powered woofers. As you can imagine it has evolved over many years and I think it sounds rather good. It is a big, transparent sound with a huge soundstage if the listener is seated centrally.

I have retired now and don't have the funds I once had but wish to enter the world of computer audio and hi-rez downloads. I live in a relatively remote area of Australia (Tasmania) and have little or no opportunity to audition much upper end equipment and to be honest, even if I make the effort to travel, I find store demonstrations to be nigh on useless. In short, I am looking in the 4-6000 Euro maximum area to purchase a DAC. You have reviewed multiple units in that bracket P.S. Audio, Metrum Pavane, Fore, Aqua Hi-Fi La Scala and Vinnie Rossi. How do I choose? I really can't afford to buy and sell regularly and wish to be able to see it as a 10 year product. I also want it to be a step up from my "old" digital gear. What I don't want is a "hi-fi" sound. For what it is worth, whilst I am not wedded to DSD and haven't had the opportunity to audition hi-rez PCM but I have found well recorded SACD's a worthwhile step up up from CD and multi-channel SACD's can be terrific although the format seems to have been stillborn. I imagine that a lot of readers might have similar feelings and thus my enquiry might be of a broader value? Any advice given would be most gratefully received!.
Warm Regards,
Peter Iles

Being sensitive to snake oil is a very good 6th sense to have in this racket! And you're right, even in the digital sector there's a lot of it with regards to sample rates, filters etc. I myself am not technical enough to wrap my head around multi-bit DSD à la Sabre's 32-bit expansion. It would seem to me that a twin-engine DAC (R2R for PCM, 1-bit for DSD) is best or 'purest' but I don't know of any in our price range. I've heard DACs which treat everything as DSD (Nagra, APL Hifi) and they sounded softer, sweeter and warmer than R2R DACs like Aqua and Metrum. Given your past enjoyment of EMM Labs, the $7'500 Meitner DAC today would probably be the closest equivalent. The ladder DACs like the Pavane and LaScala don't' do DSD. They rely on DSD to PCM conversion inside player software like PureMusic, Audirvana & Co. I'm not really sold on DSD nor is my music library so for me that's perfectly acceptable. Your case is a bit different. From the DACs in your price range which I really love, the Fore Audio is the only one which does DSD (the Sabre way). For multi-channel DSD, you'd want an ExaSound but I haven't personally reviewed anything from them. From my group of acquaintances, I'd go with Colbern's Fore Audio DAISy1. It's even DSD256 ready which might mean something in a few years. I'm still miffed I sent it back but how many DACs can one guy have?
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
Somehow this Goldmund "street price" quotation that originated from a Stereophile report was misconstrued. The "street price" reference was made regarding different global markets. In some markets, depending on different import taxes and duties, Goldmund products can be purchased at lesser prices than the US price. But in the US the Goldmund Telos 360 retail at $40,000. There is no such thing as a "street price". Sorry for any confusion but somehow this conversation which took off from a comment regarding "street price" was used in a different context.
Best Regards, 
Bob Visintainer
Rhapsody Music & Cinema 

Hello Bob:
Understood. But those figures came from the company president Michel as you confirmed for me. As you know, we are read worldwide, not just the US. We address a global audience. So it seems perfectly fair to leave that quote as is; and leave it up to each country's importer/dealers and their customers to apply the specifics as they pertain to them. It informs readers that what might appear to be out of reach to their wallets might in fact still be very well within. And that's important. After all, price is the very first gate keeper.
Srajan
Hey Srajan,
nice review on the Metrum Pavane! The last page gets a bit esoteric for my taste but I guess that was the point?
Michael Faller

Esoteric as in, out there? If one thinks that frequency response and "bass, mid and treble" and soundstaging are the only elements worth talking about, perhaps so. But there's a lot more to truly superior gear which renders the usual discussions tied to measurements primitive by comparison. I'd not call that an esoteric discussion but more advanced than the basic ABCs. The real trouble here is that one can't separate the listener from the results. Our depth of perception—what we notice, how we let that affect our mind and emotions to create a deeper state—is inextricably tied to the experience. Since one can have deep sessions even with crap gear, it becomes a very interesting question to ask just how and what the equipment really has to do with it.
Srajan
Hello Srajan:
I just read your Goldmund Telos 360 review. I began to wonder when you reported that they don't provide a 2-ohm power spec. When you showed that small transformer inside the can, I started to understand. When your postscript made reference to actual street price, it all added up. If I needed a very powerful transistor amp, I think I'd go with the Audionet AMP which is stable into 1 ohm and costs less than the Goldmunds at 30% off.
Craig

I just took a look at Audionet's website to check out the amps you mention. Indeed, their smaller monos are rated at 550w into 2 ohms and 750w into 1 ohm. Bandwidth seems not dissimilar to Goldmund's. Looking up pricing, I found €18'250/pr in a PFO review. That does look a very attractive product indeed. Thanks for pointing it out. Relative to street pricing vs. listed retail, I tend not to get involved. I don't have a sense for what stuff actually sells for on the show-room floor. In this instance, it was on public record and as US importer Bob Visintainer explained who attended the Chicago show, came from Goldmund CEO Michel Reverchon. Given the surprising offset between list and street price in certain markets, I thought readers would want to know. Depending on where you live, what might seem out of reach could still be within.
Srajan
You have made it clear in recent articles that you now have a soft spot for a 2.1 speaker configuration, with mini monitors handling 40-60Hz up and a sub handling the really low frequencies. You have stated that, provided good integration between monitors and sub, this configuration allows you to marry great soundstaging, mid-range purity, and low bass reach to a greater extent than your typical, equivalently-priced floor standers.

This seems like a great way to go indeed, but I have what may be a stupid question: doesn't this 2.1 configuration mess up with the spatial information as recorded in stereo? For instance, imagine a song has a double bass playing to the right of the stage. I presume (and this is where my ignorance kicks in) this spatial illusion of the double bass to the right would be obtained by the right speaker pumping up the low frequencies of the double bass at higher volume than the left speaker. Now, if most of your low frequencies are handled by a single subwoofer placed in the middle, wouldn't that shift the double bass to the center? I know low frequencies are omni-directional, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this issue.
Thanks in advance, and sorry if my email makes no sense.
Jacques Miniane

It makes perfect sense and in theory you're right. In practice—and if the effective crossover point is at 40-50Hz—you'll have enough blend with the monitors for stereo cues in the mid bass. Mono bass in the first octave is fully omni. You can of course run stereo subs. The higher the handover to the monitors, the more that becomes an issue. Many also advocate stereo or even swarmed subs for more even room coverage. In my setup, the low-pass for the sub is at 20Hz or even 10Hz because I just need/want a little augmentation. Even a 4th-order filter like is standard for subs isn't a brickwall. There's significant bleed above whatever frequency you select. So if you want to come in at 40Hz and you set it to 40Hz, you'll have too much energy at 60Hz or even higher. Plus, any monitor rated to 50Hz at -3dB has plenty of life below that frequency, just reduced in level. In my experience, those reduced stereo cues mixed in with the mono cues of the sub, are sufficient to lock in the soundstage. But, someone else might prefer two subs. I've tried it and I heard no reason to buy a second Zu Submission. Again, my recommendation, preference and personal case is for monitors or small towers which hit between 40 and 55Hz at -3dB. I'm not advocating mini monitors which require a THX-style 80Hz or 120Hz handover!.
Srajan
Hello again Srajan,
In the past, you have been kind enough to provide me some valuable advice regarding my audio purchases, which has always paid great dividends, and I was hoping you might take a moment to assist me once again. I recently picked up a pair of virtually new, but well broken in Zu Druid MK 4/08's after a number of discussions with Sean Casey about my room, intended use and musical tastes. I'm using these speakers, a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium preamp, and a digital front end to be comprised of either the Auralic Aries or Sonore Signature Rendu (and a NAS) to build my retirement system around. This has become unexpectedly necessary as my company will be outsourcing my department and eliminating my position at the end of this year, after a transition that  I have to manage. And so, it is vital to maximize what I am spending now to create this system, and make it as good as possible, within budget constraints, as it will need to last me for a very long while. 

Given that you clearly are the authority on Nelson's First Watt products, and that you also are very well versed on the various models of Druids over the years, I'm certain that you are my best hope for the optimal recommendation to match up with my speakers and audio tastes. Like you, I have long been a tube (and SET) aficionado for all of the sonic benefits inherent. However, given the cost of good tube/set amps, and especially the rapidly increasing rarity and cost of good NOS tubes, and the new Eastern European high end equivalents, moving to a solid state amplifier which could also satisfy me, makes significant sense. This, of course, led me initially to consider the First Watt F3, as I recall my immediate interest reading your review back when it was published. There are a couple right now at Reno HiFi that would be perfect, but, I wonder if their power output is really enough for a 12 ohm pair of Druids that will sometimes be driven to somewhat louder levels. I also know, though, that over time, your preference for First Watt amps has moved past the F3 to the F5, and now the SIT 1. The SIT 1 are, unfortunately, out of the price range I could afford, although there is a SIT 2 available that I could manage. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on what model, F6, F5, F3, SIT2 you feel would provide the best synergy with my Druids, and still not leave me missing a tube/set based solution overly much. Thank you, in advance, for any assistance with this. And keep up the good work at 6moons. Your site's reviews, are, for my money, the best that are available and have the added benefit of being vastly enjoyable to read.
Jeff Corbin

I would look at either the F5 or F6. Both are 25 watters to give you a bit more headroom into a 16-ohm load (and the Druids actually like more power than the raw efficiency spec predicts). The choice between those amps comes down to a bit more zing and separation (F5) versus more sweetness and chill factor (F6). In tube terms, pentode vs. triode. In energy terms, more forward and energetic vs. more relaxed and fluid. The F6 in fact is quite close to the SIT2 but less money and more power. So if it were me, the F6 would be the one. If you find the Druid a bit thick and slightly opaque in the upper midband, the F5 would be better.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
Thank you for the detailed and insightful review of Vinnie Rossi's LIO, which looks to be one of the most creative pieces of audio gear introduced in recent years. And not just creative from an engineering standpoint, but in its effort to identify and address the unmet needs of consumers in this hobby. While I appreciated your efforts to isolate and assess the quality of LIO's component modules, I finished reading without a sense of whether and how LIO's various parts combine to form a synergistic whole.  It's often assumed that combining multiple components from one manufacturer will yield automatic synergy, but having found this to be true less often than one might imagine, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how LIO comes together as a single unit.
Best regards,
Oliver Mains

Having given rough map coordinates for LIO's different functions by way of specific competitors, it should go without saying that the whole comes together without any hitch whatsoever. There are no impedance mismatches between individual components, no insertion losses from cables and their connectors. There's no happy-hour limit when your AC power is at its quietest. By din of the isolated power supply, all of LIO's 'components' offer AC-invariable performance and do so without costly power cords and line conditioners. Add up multiple good things and the end result is even more of a good thing. The only potential limit is the final power output into speakers but even here the very low-impedance power supply and extreme current delivery of the ultra-cap banks act far more butch than the paper rating suggests.
Srajan
Hello again. Hope you get this one. Although this is a small matter, having read your reviews for many years I’m guessing you might accept this suggestion. In the USA, dollar amounts are written "$12,000", not "$12’000".
Regards,
Guy Russell

I'm not in the US but Switzerland. And I've gone with this convention because it avoids confusion with a decimal point. Some European countries do that with a comma. Moving from a comma to a hyphen eliminates possible confusion. And yes, in the end it is a very small matter -:)
Srajan
Just read the recent review of this Trilogy headphone amp. Very interesting. Thank you, as always. One curious thing I noticed in this review and other 6moons reviews -- namely, the inclusion in the summary section of irrelevant and extraneous information.  For example, why does the review include the following:  "Room: Regularly shaped 4.5 x 6.2m basement, quite low ceiling."  Interesting, perhaps from a prurient point of view, but hardly relevant; we are, after all, reading about a headphone amplifier. Why not include a description of the paint trim, the grain of the wood floor or the energy-efficient of the window treatments? Much of what seems wholly precious about esoteric (with a lower-case "e") audio to the great unwashed is the obsession over miscellanea of dubious importance. I don't think that the inclusion of such details is overly helpful to the chances for a resurgence of public interest in all things Hifi.
Yours with tongue planted partially, but not entirely, in cheek,
Michael Traister

For a headphone review, you’re correct that this information is extraneous. It's simply the default header. However, for all other reviews where speakers are involved, room-related information is in fact most essential since it is the speaker which literally plays the room. Failure to provide that information makes review findings quite irrelevant.
Srajan

Thank you. I agree. When skimming the review, I thought perhaps the amp could be used as a low-wattage amp for speakers since the room's size and shape were highlighted up front. Great website. I learn a lot and appreciate the information. One last idea: When prices are referenced and the currency is other than €, £, ¥ or US$, please mention the equivalent price.  
Michael

If you want to know and we don't provide a currency you're interested in, it's easy enough to look up the conversion rates yourself with any number of online engines. I do expect a bit of resourcefulness from our readers. After all, you pay absolutely nothing to read our work.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
It was great pleasure for me to read your masterly SA Lab DAC review. As I see, your assessment was generally positive.
Yours sincerely,
Artjom Avantinjan

Absolutely, it's a very fine machine with a very particular flavour. Thanks for helping to make the review happen!
Srajan
Howdy Srajan:
So really, the Kalugas are in the pipeline again for another endless tease? Say it ain't so!
Jim Mackay

It ain't. Bruno the man himself Putzeys just today confirmed we're a go and production samples are available now. The designated drivers remain Marja & Henk who'll pick up the narrative where we left off way back when.
Srajan
What?
"Now personally, I really don't like big speakers. They cover up our terrific lake and mountain views" - sez you! There we were, thinking of you cross-legged, curtains drawn (closed!) deeply meditating on the nuances of everything you hear! And now you tell us you're looking at the view! 'Reviewer goes soft' headlines?
Close your eyes and drift away... preferably to BIG!! speaker sound!
(I'm biased-Ocellias are pretty large)
Chris Skelton

Busted!
Srajan
Srajan,
From the bottom of my heart - thank you, for publishing Tim’s Montreal 2015 report. Tim seems to have been affected by Soltanus Acoustics ESL Virtuoso profoundly, just as I have been when I heard the speaker for the first time - and, he spared no words to show it. Beautifully written and uniquely 6moons, very personal, visceral. There is something about you guys, collectively speaking… :-)

Given my enthusiasm, to put it nicely, about Soltanus and in promoting their panels, they offered me a job with them. This is a small group of friends, deeply convinced making something special. If I could only get you to come on down and take a listen (I know you’re not fond of panels) with us. You took a chance on Soltanus last August and I won’t ever forget it. I took the job with them but this is a personal message from me. Jody, (Brooklyn Audio) a long time friend of mine, our North American distributor now, will send an official note to you and Tim. Again, thank you Srajan. This report truly touched me on a personal level. Best to you and the gang and please consider coming down for a visit.
Dragan

I'm pleased to hear you feel we have a certain 'something' collective spirit. All of my contributors are free to approach their subjects as they see fit so there's no doing on my part about any of it. I've simply set the tone with my own approach and the fact that they enjoy participating perhaps explains why there's a particular overall style to our work. As to "coming down" to Serbia to see the facilities, I doubt it'll happen. I travel less than I used to because my work load on this end has increased. Each day on the road has to be made up for before and after to rather counter the appeal -:)
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I've been an avid 6moons reader for years and the first 'real' hifi system that I put together was entirely based on your magazine reviews (as I found auditions were a waste of time)  - Melody 101 preamp+ Triode 300b +Rethm Saadhana (v1) speakers...! Unfortunately, I had to sell the system due to change in my personal circumstances and now I am starting from scratch again and I'd be much obliged if you could shed some light into following couple of questions:
1. The few DHT preamps you reviewed - Amare Musica, SA Labs and Coincident - I am not sure what to choose - any advice? I'm specially interested in Amare Musica vs Coincident?
2. Could you also elaborate the difference between Rethm Saadhana (v2) and Prime Audio Tone speakers ?  (I'll be driving them with Cymber 13e1 amps).
Thank you .
Regards
Pulina

The Amare Musica hasn't been delivered yet nor have I been informed when it will be. Some of these Polish companies are terrible at maintaining proper communications. The Coincident I didn't review but Joël Chevassus on staff owns it and could give you some feedback. Re: Saadhana vs. Tone, if you've read my reviews with some understanding, you'd know that one is a very inefficient very compact monitor requiring considerable power and damping to sound its best, the other a very high-efficiency design with powered bass system to occupy the exact opposite polarity. There's absolutely nothing between them that's similar. The Cymer's 35 watts would be more than sufficient for the Rethm. How much power the Tone would need depends on your SPL, room size and sitting distance. It might come off fine but inherently it's not a match I'd consider ideal.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
For the last five years, I have followed Professor Edgar Choueiri's efforts to develop a way of retrieving three-dimensional spatial cues from two-channel sources.  In January, a device produced by Professor Choueiri's lab—the BACCH-SP—appeared at CES, where demonstrations of the device impressed members of the audio press ( http://masisaudio.com/tag/ces-2015/). Though the BACCH-SP is a sophisticated and powerful device, the theory underlying it is simple. On recordings made in natural acoustic environments with conventional stereo miking techniques (spaced omnis, Decca tree, ORTF etc.), the microphones pick up many of the same sounds but at different times and with different amplitudes. These similarities and differences between the two channels give rise to stereo imaging.  In stereo playback, the listener's left ear hears sounds from the right speaker and vice versa. This crosstalk in stereo playback is not on the recording and therefore additive. Through extraordinarily sophisticated processing that requires individualized calibration and tracking of the listener's head, the BACCH-SP removes this additive crosstalk, leaving only that on the original recording. 

During a recent trip to Hong Kong, I had the privilege of hearing the BACCH-SP in two different rooms. The first (pictured below) was a purpose-built listening room in the offices of Mr. WS Lam's firm Masis Audio. The system on which the demonstration was conducted consisted of Sanders electrostatic speakers and amplifiers and a Velodyne subwoofer. The pictured Avantgarde Zeros were deactivated. The source material were digital files of 16/44.1 and higher sample rates and bit depths played from a Mac-based media server. No audiophile exotica was present. The three-dimensionality of music reproduction in this system was uncanny. On commercially available orchestral recordings and Mr. Lam's own binaural recordings, spatial relationships not audible in conventional systems were not only perceptible but obvious. In audiophile terms, a palpable soundfield extended beyond the locations of the speakers, with many sounds seeming to emanate from beyond the walls of the room and others from behind my head. By eliminating additive in-room reflections, the careful room treatment allowed the acoustic spaces captured on recordings to be reproduced with extraordinary and, in my experience as an audiophile, unprecedented precision and realism. 

The second room (pictured second) was the living room in the home of an intrepid purchaser of the BACCH-SP.  The system consisted of active sealed box speakers of this audiophile's own design with digital crossovers, a room correction engine, Ncore amplifiers, an Antelope word clock and a BACCH-SP. As in Mr. Lam's system, the source material were files on a Mac-based server. In the audiophile's system, the effect of the BACCH-SP, though less pronounced than it was in Mr. Lam's meticulously treated room, was similarly stunning. On a number of classical recordings with which I'm familiar, the BACCH-SP seemed to reveal spatial information that had previously been hidden. Many of these recordings were not audiophile recordings; even 1970's DG multimike jobs seem to benefit from the technology. Of cours, it didn't hurt the presentation of the BACCH-SP that this system was carefully constructed, balanced, measured and calibrated. The system easily ticked all the conventional audiophile boxes, but the spatial presentation that I heard exceeds what is possible in conventional megabuck installations.

For years, I've used various audiophile technologies—high sample rates, DSD playback, cables of various types, high slew rate amplifiers, etc.—and obtained incremental and often minute, improvements in performance. The improvement in playback wrought by the BACCH-SP is not subtle. It fundamentally changes the experience of listening to recordings made in natural acoustic spaces. Is it a panacea? In some sense no, because some recordings were not engineered with the reproduction of every spatial nuance in mind. Nevertheless, in my view, the BACCH-SP is the most important audio innovation since digital recording and perhaps since stereophonic sound. I worry that because so many of us have invested in cables, exotic amps, DSD music libraries etc., the audiophile community will reject the BACCH-SP out of hand. Though it doesn't render those technologies obsolete or irrelevant, it does make them seem insignificant. I hope that you—as the foremost proponent in the audiophile press of digital technologies that improve music playback (digital crossovers, room correction, "smart" speakers as opposed to "dumb" speakers etc.)—are able to cover the BACCH-SP.  
Yours,
Jon Murray

I took note of Stereophile's and AudioStream's descriptions of said CES demo and yours now is the third report on its effectiveness. Very interesting, thank you!
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
Thanks for such a superb review of the Kaiser Classics.
Vladimir Dorta
Hi there,
Over the years, I've read many many reviews from many sources. I have come to the realization that often I take your reviews as my true bench mark since often I have tried audio gear and the experience I ended up having was close to the remarks you guys posted up. So thank you for sharing your opinions on different gear :-)
Dany Michaud
Srajan, 
I would like to belatedly thank you for your review on the Albedo Apticas as they piqued my interest, and then some. Knowing I couldn’t afford them but intrigued by the Accuton drivers and what they’re capable of, I began my search and came up with what some might call, a stateside version, called the Clearwave Duet 6 monitors. The sound I’m getting is so full bodied and deep of bass yet crisp and bracing with great delineation and detail. And all of this from a monitor. I have no need for a sub in my humble abode. It’s truly amazing the advances that ceramic drivers have made since I first heard them decades ago (and wrote them off!). So thanks are in order for reigniting my interest as this is all I need for the long haul.
All the best,
Tim Patchett

PS: I’ll understand if this may come across as a sneaky way to get them on the radar but that is not my intent. I just wanted to thank you.

Not at all. I'm happy to hear you concur that a properly designed speaker with modern ceramic drivers no longer hits all the wrong notes -:)
Srajan
Hi Srajan:
I am enjoying all the current reviews. Thanks. I’m sure there are a kazillion reasons you don’t give advice but I’m buying the April Aura Note v2 + Gallo Strada 2 for a desktop system (you see why I am writing you). My Gallo dealer recommends Wireworld speaker cables (convenient / a road more-travelled). I also loved your reviews of Nanotec SP #79 & 777 cables (cool / exotic / great story). Do you think one would be a better match for the April/Gallo system – or have you found another far better match for that gear? I will probably also buy an AC cable from whomever I buy the speaker cables.I am asking you because, having done the reviews, you know the equipment well, and it is also impossible to find & test most cables in Calgary.
Hugely appreciated!!!
Joel Shapiro

PS: the April/Gallo system will replace another system of equipment all reviewed on 6 Moons: modified Unico, modified Jolida CDP, MIT Shotgun cable loom, and modified Peachtree iDac (all mods by Underwood Hifi). I built my main system around the Audiomat Opera Reference, reviewed by Paul Candy.

Killer li’l system, Joel. Thing is, I’ve never heard/reviewed any Wireworld or Nanotec cable. Those reviews were done by my contributors, not me. I’d probably listen to your dealer on that count. What you should try regardless of the cables you end up with is, swap the polarity on the amp side’s speaker cables. Try both red-to-red/black-to-black and red-to-black/black-to-red (obviously the same for both speakers). The Gallos are so revealing, they’ll sound distinctly better in one of these hookups (true for any speaker but many are too opaque to actually tell). Which way will be better is impossible to predict but you’ll be able to hear it. After you’ve decided which you prefer, leave it alone and stop reading reviews -:)
Srajan
Liked the fallen soldiers bit. It used to be things, were made to break after a period of time. Now we're such well-trained consumers, it can work forever or not,  we'll toss it just the same. What sounds good, sounds good.  Synergy is far more important than vintage. To the lost...

However, just like an addict, once I hear a 'little better', it stays with me.
Fred Crane
Hi Srajan:
In his recent letter to you, Louis Motek of LessLoss Audio wrote this about the S.A. Lab Lilt DAC/Preamp: “…He's been taking it to shows and hooking it up directly to high-efficiency horns. Straight from high current DAC to loud horn. No amp, no preamp, just the output transformer on multiple taps for volume!  Awesome little piece of machinery… 3-watt output!” Can this DAC/preamp really be used as an amplifier too?  With its 4P1L tubes and output transformers, it seems plausible. There are no binding posts, so how would one use it as an amplifier?  Does it require a special version?  Inquiring minds would like to know! Thanks.
Gerry E.

P.S. Just to add to your list of DHT preamps, there are the Bottlehead BeePre (300B) and Smash (4P1L) units.  These are high-quality kits and one of the least expensive ways to join the exclusive club.  I use a BeePre myself.  With WE 300Bs of course!     

Louis was talking about just the discrete DAC which he heard in a different unit from the designer of that module. I have no idea how that component is configured. With the Lilt, you're correct - there are no speaker-level outputs, just RCA (fixed and variable) so it wouldn't apply unless one specifically requested a modification from the Russian builder. You could certainly contact him through his website.
Srajan
Lovely review by Edgar, on the Kharma two-ways. But wasn't using them right between his Wilsons a bit of a compromise?
Andreas Schuster

Probably. But moving behemoths like his—which were additionally dialed down to the millimeter by the local dealer—is nearly asking too much. And where would he put 'em for the duration? So yes, in my own reviews, I always only have one pair of speakers set up. But that's possible only because I insist that whatever I own, I can readily move; and that it be small enough to store in the entry or our landing. You might say that my personal mandate is its own compromise.
Srajan
Actually, the Audio Technology Nagra cubes remind me very much of Schlup's folly, the 100-watt Nagra Kudelski Pyramid stereo amp which I briefly owned and just as rapidly disowned. Same power supply, same specs, cheaper casing. Makes you wonder.
Keep up the Lord's work.
Michele from Rome

Interesting that you can tell all that from the rendering of the guts!
Srajan

Hell no, I only opened my MPA once. Still, it's the logical ancestor of the cube.
End of debate, bye.
Michele
How's going, Mr. Srajan?
Wow! is all I can say with the Kaiser/Goldmund reviews so far!!!
Best Regards, 
Bob Visintainer
Rhapsody Music & Cinema 
Hi Srajan,
I was shocked by the last sentence of the Telos preview. How can a company sell a solid-state device for $40K and offer only a three-year warranty? Is this common even in this price range? I'm especially surprised coming from such an established high-end player. This also made me think of the question of reliability of hifi kit in general. When I started buying modest 'hi-end' components not that long ago, I assumed anything selling for over $1'000 must be of tremendous quality and would last a very long time indeed. Many will knowingly laugh at that. Perhaps a good reality check is that the first CD player I owned, a very cheap Sony model, still works. That Sony player booked a lot more hours in my youth than any of the later players that I've used daily. I run a modest system and can't imagine ever considering a purchase like the Telos. But, if I won the lottery*, the salesperson would have a hard time explaining this warranty.
Dave Rosenblum

* Not that I'd run out and buy a $40K amp if I did win the lottery.

Companies like Bryston in Canada warranty their amplifiers for 20 years. But I've seen anything from 1-5 years depending on maker and component category. It certainly should be a consideration flowing into any purchase decision. When we bought our used replacement car last December, we got a 10-year/150'000km warranty on it. It was three years old but with less than 10'000km on the clock. A very good price plus that peace-of-mind warranty combined to sell the deal for us. So I can fully appreciate your reaction.
Srajan
Srajan,
I was reading your article on the SEOS™ waveguide and hORNS company and wanted to give you a quick history of that waveguide that might have been missed. It was originally designed on the AVS audio forum here. A decent number of people helped with the design and shape. One of the forum members that spearheaded the project looked for a company to help build the prototypes. They used Autotech for the prototype work because they had experience building horns. After Autotech made all the prototypes, they decided to sell the SEOS to other people. The FP was also designed by AVS forum members and then (as mentioned in your article) Autotech decided not to sell the front panel to the DIY guys in America that actually designed them. I don't think hORNS mentioned that the SEOS™ waveguide is registered in the USA and owned by the guy that did the heavy lifting to get the project completed. With a large group effort, he also had a few different sizes of the waveguide produced in plastic to keep costs down. Later, speaker designers worked up some nice speaker kits for the DIY community to enjoy the work they did on the project. They're listed on the DIY Sound Group site. Hopefully some credit will eventually go to those people that came up with the design, not just the company that was hired to do the original prototype.
Brian Jacobs

Thanks for the added intel. This documents the gap between DIY and formal production and reviewers like us who cover the latter, not former. We're often not hip to DIY history and rely on information provided to us by either a manufacturer or, if our writer works with a regional distributor or dealer, their sales agents. In this instance, Joël mentioned getting very little from Autotech which frustrated him some. He wanted to do a good job on the history of the review products. I believe most of what he got came from his regional importer. He very likely didn't know about the AVS connection..
Srajan
Srajan,
you weren't kidding when you wrote that the Goldmund Telos 360 is mostly empty inside. For €40k the pair! That made me appreciate even more how a pair of Job 250 goes for $3'400. Their power rating would seem to be about half but the difference in price is still shocking, particularly when Job is built in Switzerland too and the company can still make a workable profit. This really made we wonder about those Goldmund margins.
Jerôme Anderes

When one accepts an expensive assignment—which I knowingly did though I didn't have the actual figure then—it's unfair to berate a company for their positioning in the market afterwards. Goldmund have pursued luxury branding from the very beginning. The number of Switch watch brands which do the same is obvious legion. I'm told that in Asia Goldmund enjoy the #1 ranking for exotic hifi. Whilst that may not be the sector I'm comfortable shopping in doesn't mean I'm not curious about it. With this assignment, I'm also satisfying that personal curiosity -:)
Srajan
Good DAC you have there in the S.A.Lab Lilt. I know it well from Audio ALT directly. Andrejs Staltmanis, the Latvian living in Germany, introduced us a couple years ago. He's been taking it to shows and hooking it up directly to high-efficiency horns. Straight from high currect DAC to loud horn. No amp, no preamp, just the output transformer on multiple taps for volume! Awesome little piece of machinery. There's only one in North America which I sold to an audio buddy in Denver. Puts DAC chips to shame on dynamic clarity. 3-watt output! Redefines the PCM position with regards to digital format wars.
Louis Motek
Hello Srajan:
I have some older Denon gear, one integrated, one tuner, which I bought whilst living in Canada. Now that I live in Lausanne, I need 230V. Is there a way to make that happen?
Philippe

Hello Philippe:
Here is a Swiss-sold unit that should do the job. It plugs into your typical Swiss power outlet and offers you two US-style power outlets on the other side whilst stepping down our 230 volts to the 115 volts which your US/Canadian-spec Denon gear wants to see. The power rating of this transformer should exceed your load to work without issues. Go here.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I thought I'd follow up on our conversation regarding the passive attenuator scheme. I just received a product which I believe may allow a listener to move their digitally managed volume control up into the "lossless" range we'd all like to enjoy: http://www.sescom.com/product.asp?item=SES-MULTI-PAD. I'll be in touch shortly as I believe these little guys will need some break-in. But just a quick pic to show you the device and the range of adjustability. The manufacture assures me that all but two of the resistors utilized internally are of the 1% metal film variety. Out of the package and at only 5dB cut, the sound quality and directness are suffering but soundstage width and depth have improved. Odd comprise. We'll see what a few more hours of use can reveal. 
More to follow.  
Steve Miller

Thanks for sharing your adventures with these inline solutions. This certainly looks to be a very flexible product. I'll be curious to learn how you get on with it after a few weeks of use!
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I just wanted to thank 6moons for past reviews of ASI LiveLine cables as they led me to a delightful meeting with Franch Tchang in Paris and a subsequent purchase of power cord, speaker, coax, AES/EBU and USB cables. I recently installed the power cord, coax and speaker cables in my Devialet 200/Atohm GT1 system, with a BlueNode streamer and a FiiO X3 hi-res portable providing the content. In a word, wow! It is as if a window has opened on my music. I know the cables need to burn in but they are already transforming my system. I am stunned by certain sounds and the overall cohesiveness of the music. I know it will get better but it's damned good now! Attached is a photo I took of Franck as he played his electric guitar for me and another guest. Plus one more of the two of us. What a nice and interesting guy. Hats off to 6moons for tipping me off!
All best,
Michael Fanning
... "an embarrassment of riches" you called today's converter choices. Just yesterday you posted the Cyenne DAC review. Today I see a preview on the DAISy 1. How the hell do you do that? I discover more new brands on 6moons than anywhere else. Keep it coming!
Josh

I really don't do anything. I just catch balls thrown at us. Remember, these news brand solicit us. Being unfamiliar with them, I wouldn't even know to contact them. So we'd have to ask them why they keep coming. I simply think that it's because we have demonstrated interest, openness and fairness in covering new companies. Since we're global, we don't have minimum dealer requirements which can eliminate companies at their very start. And because we're online, our reviews can be read anywhere as long as it's in English. That makes it attractive for companies operating outside certain 'hifi hotspots'. Next week I'll get my first review product from Russia. As long as manufacturers like what we do, I don't see why we wouldn't keep it coming.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
You have made a digital convert out of me. Selling off my analogue. Having to admit the convenience/breadth of digital and the narrowing gap in performance has me selling off my vinyl. Too much frustration with worrying about the setup and having to constantly make adjustments. Would really like to get your take on the Devialet Phantom setup in stereo and how they compare to a more traditional setup (Gallo Strada, sub and something like the mINT or Job 225 and DAC). For €4'000 to have everything (DAC, amplifier, speaker) in one small package (no wires) seems too good to be true. Any chance there could be a review in the future?
All the best,
Joshua

That will depend on Devialet. Since our reviews on their gear many years ago, they've not been in touch. Presumably the baton has passed to other publications. The Phantom does look like an engineering tour de force. The only aspect which concerns me is their inherent brute force approach. To get that type of SPL and bass from a small sealed enclosure relies on high power, corrective DSP whilst generating intense internal pressures. Hence I wonder whether all that effort also translates sonically over an easy-does-it recipe like Strada + sub or such. It's certainly a very intriguing and different product and if we don't get one to review, I'll be very curious to read what colleagues elsewhere have to say about it.
Srajan
Hi Srajan.
For many years now, I have valued your writing and opinions. From my various Wyred4Sound products, to Modwright items, to Zu Audio, I have trusted your ears and interpretations to guide my path through the dense underbrush of products on my way to better sound...on a budget . A sincere thank you for your efforts and admirable work at 6moons in all aspects of this endeavor. Most recently I have found myself the lucky auditioner of DAC's Desktop Maraschino amps. As a result of your findings and comparison (the latter being the most helpful in context), I couldn't resist. These amps are truly astounding.  And although I didn't try the 48V supplies, Tommy agreed I would proceed straight to the 60V versions.  he result in my system is better than anything I have experienced in any other setting I have encountered. At any price. Subjective yes, but happy for me nonetheless.

My concern for writing you at this time is to inquire on a technical opinion. In my setup, I am using the Wyred4Sound Dac2DSD direct into the Maraschinos via XLR. I'd like to get the volume opened up a little further on the Dac, which sits at about 40 (of 70 ) as indicated on display. If you remember, I believe this puts the DAC into digital decimation. So can you comment on any of the XLR attenuators that claim to drop signal by 5, 10, 20 or more dB? In theory it's just 1 resistor in the signal path, allowing for the DAC volume to be opened up more. I believe you had to employ these during the Liederman/EmeraldPhysics bi-amp/active DSP mission. Any insight or experience you might share would be helpful. DAC direct and eliminating the pr-amp gives way to more sizzle, more emotion. Driving the Maraschinos this way in my system is addictively transparent and communicative. Never thin, white or light. Hence, a fixed reduction in overall output, allowing the DAC to run with less internal attenuation, is my goal.  
Looking forward to any thoughts you may have.
Kind Regards,
Steve Miller

Happy to hear you've found your Cherry!
I've not compared different inline attenuators but clearly remember the scenario you recall. Versus the steep digital attenuation during that assignment which they used to gain-match their drivers, the inline solution supplied later was far superior. Now we could get all geeky and fret over performance differences between company A's inline adaptor vs. company B's but I believe that would be a 0.05% issue versus the 5% issue it solves either way. You should contact EJ Sarmento at Wyred to learn whether his display references directly to 1dB steps or 0.5dB or something more arbitrary. Then you should listen to a very hot Pop recording with no dynamic range (which will have you use maximum attenuation) and a classical Adagio which begins with some pianissimo string ostinato before all hell breaks loose. That'll show you lower attention. You'll want your inline solution to be somewhere between those two values and closer to the latter as otherwise, your system won't play loud enough on that type music. Once you know what that figure on the display equates to in actual dB, you'll have the value to go after with your XLR inline attenuators. I think it's a very good very cost-efficient idea that'll accomplish the same for a lot less and even better than a quality passive preamp. Good thinking!
Srajan

I am thinking I'd like to keep a little headroom to be able to rock out on those rare occasions when no one else is home. The big Zu Messages can really boogie when asked to. What I have located is a switchable device with 3 discrete settings of 10, 20 and 30dB attenuation in one slick package. I'm ordering a pair up and we shall experiment more in a few days. 30dB will put the onboard volume basically wide open for normal listening while 10-20dB cut will allow a little extra drive for friskier sessions
Steve
Hi Srajan,
I read your review about the Pass Labs XA30.8. You mentioned that the FirstWatt F6 was ultimately sweeter and more airy. However you gave a couple of examples for how dynamic range and transient response together can make the sound more real and alive. There were especially two examples you mentioned which caught my attention:
1. The force and physicality of the left hand of the Piano keys - you mentioned that the XA30.8 is conveyed it with better dynamic contrast and more force.
2. When a metal vessel falls on a concrete ground, the sound is very scary and it is this scary-ness which is absent when a plastic vessel falls on the ground.
Would you say the XA30.8 did both these acts better than the F6 on a speaker like the soundkaos?
Regards,
Abhijit

Yes it did/does, but... a speaker like the Wave 40 which is intrinsically heavier and denser like the XA30.8 is ultimately better served by an F6/SIT1-type amplifier at least to my ears. And that's how all of hifi is a tradeoff.
Srajan

The soundkaos is darker, heavier and denser than which speaker? I have heard the ASI Tango (which you also have I guess). Is the soundkaos noticeably darker than the Tango?
Regards,
Abhijit

All the speakers I currently own are listed in the review's intro. Those which I compared on the Pass amp are listed in the review itself. Which speakers did better on the F6 than XA30.8 is spelled out as well. A bit of reading is all that's required to figure that out, no guess work needed!
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
How are you? Have you ever heard the Pass Labs Aleph 0 or Aleph 2 mono amps? Their specs look amazing on paper but since they are old designs of Mr. Pass, I wonder if they would hold their own in terms of transparency and resolution compared to good amps of the current day. What do you think about these amps?
Regards
Pani

Hello Pani:
Never heard them. When those amps came out, I was still in audio retail then sales & marketing and had a very modest personal system. Those amps and others like them were way out of reach for me then and I never had opportunity to cross their paths.
Srajan
I have been listening to the TOTL Forza cable on my LCD2 for a month, then went back to the stock cable and had a shock. The recordings sounded broken! So I paid up for the Forza. It transforms the LCD2 into something really magical  (probably does the same for all Audeze, which for me do not have great differences in sound).  
Giannis Bouc
Hello,
A quick question: what are the accessoires you put on several power amps?
Regards,
Ce Bauer

Those are mass dampers plus RF traps from the Spanish Artesania Audio company which makes my Exoteryc equipment rack. Six of them are part of any shipment of a double-wide three-tier rack. That's how I got them. But they are available separately as well. For a cheap DIY version of a mass damper, put some steel shot in a big ziploc bag.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I now have a pair of Voxativ Ampeggios at home. Your analogy with Turner paintings is - luminous.
Cheers,
Johan-Frédérik Hel Guedj

Congratulations. That's my favourite Voxativ model!
Srajan
Hello Srajan:
Did you really say it? Not really. I read Wojciech's review of the Wow Audio Labs components where he makes reference to your earlier review. He says that their casings reminded you of Boulder. That seemed very strange. So naturally I read your review as well. You mention Jeff Rowland for the finish, not Boulder. And Avalon for the enclosure facets. Don't you just love it when people misquote you?
Tom

It happens. I recall John Atkinson repeatedly wishing that people would actually read before commenting on their reviews when so often, comments make it clear that people didn't read (or at least, not very well). But c'est la vie. Writers write. What readers chose to do with our product—skim it, skip larger swaths, only read the conclusion, speed read to get the general gist, pour over every word—isn't up to us. Hence what they get out of it isn't up to us either. With a professional colleague one might expect better but we all make mistakes. I'm lucky in that our readers often point out ours so I get to fix them before they grow too old -:)
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
I’ve been on a long hunt for interesting preamps that aren’t too hard on the wallet. I’d like to collect three or four and change them out to add different tastes to my system. So far I’ve gotten one of the better ones from Hegel and now I just ordered this one: http://www.transcendentsound.com/Transcendent/Masterpiece.html It’s quite new, it’s different, it’s cheap so I thought I'd let you know.
Best
Walter Staehli

I was aware of Bruce's various Grounded Grid models but not of this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. And, have fun putting together your preamp spice rack. That thinking falls right in line with my own. Instead of spending all one's money on one super-posh component (whatever that means according to a personal budget), break it down into smaller bits and allocate those to multiple examples in the same category. It's the best way to learn; and it forestalls the inevitable boredom with sameness no matter how brilliant its level. As human beings, we get bored by lack of variety. Why keep selling and buying and selling and buying when there's clearly no end to it. Why not buy cheaper stuff you can afford to keep; and by keeping it, have more flavours to pursue that keep things interesting. Good man!
Srajan
Hi Srajan:
Being interested in the latest Metrum DAC, I'd found the first Pavane review through their Facebook page. Now I found your preview of it. I must say that I learned far more from you about how it works and on NOS DACs in general than from the entire René van Es review. What gives? No matter, you're surely one hard-working bloke. Keep it up!
Chris Nathing

What gives is, I think, a different focus. Each publication has its own. Such a focus includes product mix, narrative style and even word count. With a clearly communicated focus (or one established by simple consistency), an audience understands what to expect. Now they can flock to one publication because of it or avoid it because the focus/style doesn't match their own. With our tag line being "for music lovers and audiophiles who love to read", our focus has been clear since day one. Extra information is always available. In most cases, it just means a question or two to the designer. One simply must want to know to go beyond the basics. But it does make for longer reading. And some publications prefer a tighter more condensed style with less tech talk, figuring the latter can be chased down by those who really want to know. With today's search engines, that's a valid assumption to make. That's the beauty of variety, choice and competition. We all get to map out our own approach and the reader has more options because of it.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
Thanks for your thorough review of the Cygnus open-baffle (well, the subwoofer is OB) speakers.  It is encouraging that 1) your always thorough reviews judge with the ear and an open inquisitive mind, sans some of the typical biases of old-school reviewers and 2) you have knowingly or unknowingly given greater exposure on several occasions to one of the great legendary audio minds, Siegfried Linkwitz. Just off the top of my head, in addition to the Cygnus, I recall you have reviewed the Bastani OB speaker and the Emerald Physic OB speaker, and I'm sure others.  Linkwitz' pioneering efforts and research first gave us the Linkwitz-Riley passive crossover network many years ago. Interestingly he has all but abandoned passive crossovers as "a waste of time..." if accuracy is the goal http://linkwitzlab.com/crossovers.htm.  

Linkwitz has nearly single-handedly advanced the knowledge base and scientific validation for the benefits of pistonic dipoles specifically, and dipoles generally. In the last 10-15 years his analysis, measurement and designs of so-called open-baffle (OB) or dipole loudspeakers has benefited many designers, the DIY community and advanced the state of the art in OB/dipole design, whether or not he receives credit. His measurement and analysis illustrating the ability of a dipole to effectively deal with room acoustics, enclosure resonance and uniform power response at all frequencies documents scientifically what most people hear when they listen to a dipole - an accurate natural sound. Linkwitz is quick to point out that an OB design does so many things fundamentally more correctly than a sealed or ported enclosure that it is difficult to design a bad sounding OB/dipole speaker. High output levels of deep bass in OB does become somewhat more of a challenge to the designer but Linkwitz designs have helped to effectively, if not inexpensively, address this. The reward of jumping through that design hoop is increased bass articulation as you verified in the Cygnus review. Magnepans, Quads, Soundlabs and other full-range dipole/OB, though not the pistonic variety of which Linkwitz is a proponent, are additional examples of dipole/OB attributes.

Linkwitz's life's work contradicts some of the errant yet foundational beliefs of large segments of the (flat-earthers) audiophile community. At over 77 years old, he appears to be in a hurry to openly share his research so that his findings do not perish with him. He has stated just this point. His site LinkwitzLab.com is a wealth of information and true education, free of antiquated voodoo, audiophile myth and legend. The entire contents of his site are available for a charge for those who would like for further research and education. Though he was head of research at Hewlett Packard for many years, he attempts to make his research as accessible as possible for those not necessarily mathematically inclined. One 'correction' to the Cygnus review. The Cygnus principal says his subwoofer is an iteration of the Linkwitz 'H' frame. It is not. It is a Linkwitz 'W' frame. I believe you included the example below in one of your previous reviews, showing both the W and H frames.

As always, an admirer of your writing and analytic skills. Keep up the good work. 
Best,
Ed
Have you ever seen a review of a Bakoon AMP-12R & the EQA-12R together? I can’t find anything about the Satri circuit but the company blurbs.
Steve Ericson

I haven’t, no. But seeing how I don’t do vinyl, I haven’t necessarily paid attention to it either. As far as the Satri circuit goes, my coarse impression is that it's essentially a high-gain op-amp executed fully discrete. And yes, details on it are sketchy for the obvious reasons. It's a very small company with a few decades worth of R&D and IP to protect. Plus I doubt that the average reviewer looking at the circuit could reverse-engineer or understand it enough to add anything salient to the discussion. That's why there is no meaningful 3rd-party data on Satri.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I am your faithful reader for many years. If I say that I bought a Burson 160, then Conductor, then Stello U3 and Job 225, you know I am your audiophile follower.  I greatly appreciate your last article about transports. I wonder if you could think about the comparison of: your Apple, a Windows 8 machine with Jplay and the Auralic Aries. I trust your ears, even more than mine. I use Jplay (I believe it is better than JRiver20) but would love to hear whether you hear difference with Apple/Audirvana or Aries, a very interesting product that's a bit different than those servers and it does not cost as much.
Best regards,
Bob

Our household segregates church and state, OSX and Windows. I use a Win 64/7 machine for work and the iMac for music. The iMac isn't partitioned so I don't run Windows on it. And on my work machine I had Jplay but didn't like how it worked when I switched between Youtube, Qobuz, Spotify+ and other programs. And, I never really got on with the JRiver interface either. In short, I'm afraid that on this count, you will have to trust your own ears more than mine -:)
Srajan

Hi, thanks for the immediate response. There are plenty of Windows 8.1 machines around so I hope you can borrow one for comparison. I am afraid, forgetting my ears, that my system is not as transparent as yours. Plus, you have an enormous amount of gear that you could use for comparison. I like your articles as I was never disappointed by your guidance. I am looking forward to reading about your Hugo listening experience.
Bob

In the end it is still your ears which you must please and your system which must do the pleasing. I'm afraid to say, I'm not going to borrow a Windows 8.1 machine to conduct this particular comparison. If you're curious about it, you will have to do it yourself. Which will be the most meaningful exercise anyhow as no matter what somebody else may hear or claim, if you can't hear it—because of your ears or your system's lack of transparency—there's no good reason at all to worry about any of it! -:)
Srajan
I really enjoyed the MAC/CD appraisal. Still, this bona fide audiophile codger uses his unpopular Nagra CDC as a main source and keeps no end of Flac files on a USB pendrive, with a battery-run Mac Air, Audirvana and Audioquest Dragonfly plus an Audioquest Evergreen cable as a perfectly creditable secondary. Some thoughts on the theoretical nasties stemming from the iMac's power supply?
Best,
Michele from Rome

Given that PureMusic buffers all music in solid-state memory and literally spins down the hard drive—to awaken it, I get the 'wheel of death' and have to wait until the machine awakens from slumber mode—I'm not sure how much damage the SMPS can inflict. It might, indirectly, by dumping infrasonic noise into the power line and infecting other gear. But that's addressed with my Vibex power filter. I'm well aware of many theoretical reasons not to use computers as transports. But there's theory and then there's listening. Like other audiophiles, I go by what my ears tell me.

Here's a nice example of how theory is trumped by experience. Is battery drive plus super caps better than an RF-filtered highly regulated traditional supply? Surely it must be. Well, Chord no longer think so. They're on record saying that if they designed the Hugo TT now rather than last year, it'd not get the current batteries or super caps. That's because they've since learnt how to match that battery power supply performance another way. I applaud their engineer's fortitude to say so -:)

Back to using a computer as transport, I'm well aware that it puts me in the 'deaf reject' category. I'm a bad bad audiophile. But hey, if it saves me very serious dosh of having to go after some silly-priced audiophile server that still needs a computer to buy music and can only be operated with WiFi, I laugh a very loud final laugh all the way to the bank. And I've got a far bigger display to work with, too.
Srajan
Hi Srajan,
I enjoyed your review of the Aqua La Diva. My own findings of the computer vs. transport vs. server conversation (not as a reviewer, but as a biased and soul-less retailer) aren't entirely in line with you findings/perceptions, but I don't doubt the merit of your view. I'd always hoped for a clear cut, and exacting answer, but it turns out there are as many parameters involved in the choice, as one might make in the choice of an analog set up.  (table, drive mechanism, arm, cart, cable, controller, add some salt and pepper, onions and cheddar and you have an Analog omelet.) Like you, I've found certain standards (USB, S/PDIF, i2s, AES/EBU, Ethernet) sound better on certain combos. I've also found certain software to work better with certain combos, and tend to prefer those where a good software has been purpose written. I have my leanings to be sure but won't share them here because they won't apply to many readers systems and I would be giving poor counsel as a result.

The sub culture I've found for transports is simple. People who like to grab their discs from their shelf, and play them...they don't want to down load them all, they don't want to send them off to a service to have them downloaded, and they don't want a computer around when they listen to music. The largest chunk of our population was born when a 'computer', was someone who worked on an adding machine. I think it's great that there is a true high fidelity option for those folks, or anyone who feels similarly, regardless of their birthday. It's not quite like spinning a record but it can be darned close. (and you can skip that one song you don't like on the album from your listening chair.)
All the best,
Fred Crane

I'm familiar with many of the arguments against computer transports of course, hence I've dipped toes into the server waters from time to time. As any audiophile does, I use my ears (and then my wallet) if and when something becomes a must have. So far I remain committed to the iMac - which isn't to say that I might not come across something better next month. But with my allergy against WiFi, it would have to solve the GUI issue in a novel wired way which thus far has proven elusive.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
I bought a Class D Amp (Gato 250). I listened to it intensely for several weeks. Then I sold it. Besides a impressive listening experience, something else happened. I found myself more and more running around the room whilst listening to the music. After some days, I felt like my nervous system was overwrought and I had Ohrensausen. I switched back to my old Yamaha amp. I was able to sit in my chair and enjoy music again. I read—not totally understood—a review that mentioned the problem of pulse-width modulation (PWM), a carrier frequency above the audio band. I wonder if this is the context of my "nervous breakdown". Because I like the Class D Concept (energy efficient, affordable) and would like to give it a second try, I like to ask: should I give a different Class D Concept (NCore, ICE?) a try; or should I better skip the idea of purchasing a Peachtree or Wyred4Sound?
Thanks a lot for your thoughts and insights.
Kind regards,
Alexander

Very fair question but impossible to answer with certainty. I happen to hate WiFi. It makes me feel tense, "under bombardment" and plain yucky. Most people I know handle it just fine. A few months ago a friend and I listened to his Berning Siegfried 300B amplifier which also uses an RF-style carrier frequency to modulate the impedance. A third person in the room (and manufacturer of a competing 300B amp) claimed he couldn't listen to it without instant headaches. He begged us to turn it off. We weren't sure whether he was kidding or manipulating the comparison. In hindsight, I wondered whether he simply was hyper sensitive to said carrier wave frequency like I feel WiFi.

Electro smog is a phenomenon only marginally being acknowledged. I remember when I first moved from a 21" to a 27" iMac. There was so much radiation coming off its screen; and I was sitting within 2 meters from it whilst listening; that I thought I'd not be able to keep it. Only after installing some mysterious devices a friend of ours sells under the Tachyon brand did my sensitivity to that radiation diminish sufficiently to no longer veto that bigger iMac.

I've also had good results with so-called Schumann resonance devices. I believe sensitivity to electro smog is very real but until there's a bigger body of scientific work investigating it, our sort is on its own acknowledging it and making the relevant adjustments. I can't predict that another class D amp wouldn't put you on edge too. Nor can I predict that the 'voodoo' devices we use would work for you. All I can say is, trust your body and make your own well being more important than having scientific explanations or writing off your reactions as imaginary. Imaginary my ass!
Srajan
Shipping woes. I very much enjoyed your feature on shipping. in 1970, I  taped an amplifier to my torso under a bulky sweater whilst traveling from Istanbul to the US. I should have just paid for the customs and shipping. Trust me.
Frederic Crane

Some of the things we run into on this count beggar belief. So it was overdue to cover some basics and save ourselves and some of the other guys certain easily avoidable issues.
Srajan
Hi Srajan, 
the iFi Micro iDSD is so insanely great  that I feel your Hugo review will not be quite 100% if u do not compare them ...  just my 2 cents ...  
Giannis Bouc

My plan is to compare the TT against the standard Hugo since that's a key 'concern' for fence sitters who find the TT's price far too high vis-à-vis the Hugo which has gotten sterling reviews. Then I'll frame the TT against DACs I own (COS Engineering D1, AURALiC Vega, Metrum Hex) and against directly competing 3-in-1s like my Eximus DP1 to chime in on the headfi function. The iFi however isn't in the crib or on a review list...
Srajan
Hello! I have enjoyed your articles for years. Thanks for all the thought and effort you put into them - and for your helpful direct comparisons with other components, which are so often lacking in audio reviews. I have Avantgarde Uno Nano speakers and want to get a solid-state amplifier for them. I recently borrowed a Pass Labs XA30.5 from a friend and was knocked out by its performance. However, I'd like to see if I can find a cheaper FirstWatt amplifier (my big money is spent on tube amps) that is very similar. I need very little power so I'm thinking that one of the FW amps might give me similar dynamics, bass and detail for less cost. Which FW amp would you say is most similar to the XA30.5?Thank you very much!
Arthur Ball

I've never heard the XA30.5 but I reviewed and then bought the XA30.8. If the two X amps are similar, the review of the .8 does include comparisons with the FirstWatt F6 and SIT1. You might reference that review in our archives to get an idea on how these two brands compare sonically. The FW aesthetic is different. They're not just less powerful Pass Labs versions.
Srajan
Thank you for years of excellent writing. If you actually receive this through your spam filter, I'm proud to say I send out almost no fan mail. Your contribution to my audio pursuits warrants this effort because when someone does you a solid, you just have to try to make it be known that you noticed. You're a damn good writer writing about something very difficult to understand. Tough job well done!
Thank you.
John D Gerndt
Hi Srajan,
Some months back I contacted you about the suspicious nature of the Hypex marketing with continual deferment of your review due to manufacturing problems. Well, I have been able to do some interesting comparisons. I have run for the last 6 months a Pascal S Pro (Gato 250) module. The amp is very very good, like a Bakoon 12R on steroids. Must be run in balanced mode only, it's far better. The next test was Anaview's new module. This was good but nowhere near as open as the Pascal and a bit dry. Next came the NAD with the new nCore version. This was similar to the Anaview but a little more open. Next was the DIY version of the nCore. This came closer to the Pascal but did not better it. Finally the Mola Mola. That was the winner. It had the openness of the Pascal but added amazing grip over the speakers. When putting it into the system, my Trenner&Friedl Ra never sounded as good. Sounds like your new Pass Labs 30 watter in your comparisons. The amps run extremely hot (also the DIY version) but the local distributor said that the new cases were now vented. It looks like in the end, if you want the best, you have to pay for it. The Mola Mola are $15'000. One wonders how the other versions of the similar kitted amps compare. In the end, I am extremely happy with my S Pro Pascal. When run in balanced mode, it is a bargain. Always love your reviews. Keep up the good work.
B.
Dear Srajan,
I trust that you are well – and I love what "you’ve done" with 6moons, policy wise and on interaction and the reading experience.
Michael Hollesen, Klutz Design
Just saw your additional page for the GigaWatt review. Good thing you revisited the subject then. And as you wrote below, you'll benefit too going forward.
Jerry Haskins

Quite so. Adam knew his stuff and identified an improper combination of his own gear. And having determined that even on my usual Vibex conditioner there was a subtler but audible degradation with the PF-2 in the chain, I've now removed and replaced it with my new Zu power cables. So making that mistake netted a useful insight.
Srajan
On that R2R speaker, it's $50'000 and they use MDF?
Charly Beagrie

Dear Charly,
Thanks a lot for your question. During the development of this system we've made a good number of enclosures with many different materials. The comparative analysis of obtained measurements and test results as well as results of subjective examination and audition have shown that special MDF with high density is one of the best materials for this particular system. Many other materials and finishes are available for you for the same price.
Regards,
Artur 
PS. Sound first!
"...freshly minted Vegatarian?" Made me wince/grin!  :-)
Noel Prellwitz

That was the idea. I've been trying to connect poncified and Ponzi scheme and work it into a narrative but thus far failed miserably. Still working on it though. Where there is a will, there is a whammy -:)
Srajan

Hmmm...
Poncified - blown out, adding a few pounds, bloated, overdressed
Ponzi - fraud based upon payout of investor capital rather than profits There is certainly a lot of bloat in high-end audio but not a lot of Ponzi type fraud. The Internet has greatly helped consumers keep manufacturers somewhat transparent and honest. You may need to expand your narrative to whammy those two together.
Noel
Srajan:
What happened to the SVS Prime review?
Chris

Our writer already had the loaners and put in significant time to take them through their paces but then SVS and their PR firm opted to recall them and cancel the assignment. What I can tell you is that he was impressed by what he heard and felt they were punching above their weight.
Srajan
Hello Srajan,
I was just about to fire off a peppery question on what happened to the GigaWatt review. Then I saw it back in the preview area. Kudos for holding your conclusion and experimenting more given the manufacturer's suggestions. I really enjoy the transparency with which you operate your site. I always feel that the spirit of exploration and curiosity overrides any concerns over propriety. Good man!
Jerry Haskins

Making mistakes is one way we learn. The trouble with hifi is, unless there's obvious distortion or a dead channel, mistakes aren't necessarily obvious. Adam Schubert's comments opened up an opportunity to check out something I'd not considered. And if he's right, I'll benefit too since I'll then change this part of my setup. Talk about a win/win. Finally, being online affords us the flexibility to revisit things where needed and stick fixes or additions into the original page. It'd be silly not to exploit that option.
Srajan