For published correspondence April thru July 2005, click here.
For published correspondence February thru April 2005, click here.
For published correspondence December 2004 thru February 2005, click here.
For published correspondence September 2004 thru December 2004, click here.
For published correspondence August 2004 thru September 2004, click here.
For published correspondence July 2004 thru August 2004, click here.
For published correspondence February 2004 thru July 2004, click here.
For published correspondence June 2003 thru February 2004, click here.
For published correspondence June 2002 thru June 2003, click here.

Michael,

I've gravitated towards your reviews as we share some of the same sonic preferences and I am really turned on by Fi gear and the level of customization that is possible when working with a one-man operator like Don.

Keep up the nice "work" with the reviews!

Vik

Greetings

I attended the AES (Audio Engineering Society) convention today, covering it for the Grammies Recording magazine. The Javits Center in midtown Manhattan was chock-full, wall-to-wall with pro audio gear. Lemme tell you, it dwarfed the Stereophile show at the Hilton. This was all future technology, hard drive recording and digital software, though Telefunken was there with an old VW van and refab models of their famous U47 mics and newer models.

Anyway, I was there to cover a panel titled "Death of the Record Business, Rebirth of the Music Business." Opening statements by Bob Ludwig, George Massenberg and some label honchos all amounted to the same thing: the CD is dead, it's all about distribution of new digital formats, namely downloading and file sharing. A couple of people mentioned SACD and DVD-A but for this crowd -- the ones who actually record and distribute the music -- the CD is over. One person even said she had sold all her CDs and only kept copies on her computer as tunes on iTunes. So while we are all pondering which player to buy, the rest of the world is dumping their plastic.

Dinosaur, and damn glad of it.

Ken

Bravo Srajan;

myself and several others didn't even bother with the HiFi NEws show at Heathrow. Myself, I took out a room at the Strictly Hifi show in April in London for 750 pounds. For the same show in September put on by HiFi News, it is now 2500 in pounds sterling - for the same bloody room.

Roy Bird puts the show on in April just to help the dealers try to stay afloat with the big sharks out there, and he is making a good go of it. Attendance has improved and for next year, it is going from 34 rooms to 56. I am a man of principles. One of my pet peaves is that some dealers in the U.K like to take big name U.S HiFi and charge 2 x-plus the price and say they have to because of duties or tax. That's BS. Even at the tax here, it is 17.5 % and duties are 5%. Do the math. I charge 35% over and that includes the shipping. Some people are so used to getting stung that they think something is wrong with the product without the markup.

Keep up the crusade.

Cheers,
Paul L.

Ah, yes, the new breed [of Class D amps - Ed.]. Excellent, says this audiophile. Maybe not the last word, as you indicate, Srajan, but certainly up there with the best of them and knocking, possibly pounding, on state of the art's door. Lacking somewhat in the last word in terms of "body", if not soul, yet, the technology is certainly there and leaping ahead day by day. Enter the PS Audio HCA amp, which received Class A status from our friends at Stereophile. Having owned this amp for over a year, I would say it has the ability to be pretty darned close to the upper grade without the hassle. Certainly, it lacks the ultimate body of tubes but with the right source material can be freaky good. I was surprised you left the HCA amp out of your commentary due to its sonics and lineage. I have heard, but yet to hear, that modifying the amplifier further brings is performance to the lofty status of the stratospherically expensive amps from Audio Research et al. Having not yet heard the modded version, all I can say is it must be doggone good based on the responses I have heard and discussed from those who own one. Further, as you state, without the muss and fuss of tubes, one can, possibly, finally enjoy close to state of the art without constant popping up and down to rebias tubes or worry that things are overheating.

I, for one, have been a long time closet tube-o-phile, and one who enjoys the blessed reproduction of same, most notably in the late waning hours of the day. As I mentioned to you some time ago, I still have and adore my long out of production MESA Engineering Baron. Still, I can not bear to part with it and doubt I will. I conjure images of them prying it from my dead, cold fingers as they lay me to rest. I can only imagine this amp's sonic signature if fully modded with today's top of the line componentry. As a push-pull amp, it is extremely impressive. However, as impressive as it is, and lovely to enjoy, the shear cost of tubes and the "muss and fuss" forced me to finally review other forms of electronic joy. Having perused the many different options, I settled on the venerable HCA for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is Paul McGowan's history of supporting those who have laid out hard earned cash to obtain their toy from his workbench. All of which makes me state - class D is coming into it's own and the fact many other top end manufacturers are beginnging to offer some sort of variation on the design goes to show it is a force to recon with. Lastly, bringing me to the fact Paul's newest incarnation on the Class D mode - the new Gain Cell series. I have heard a GC-500 in less than optimal conditions (system without any real experience) and the experience was both visceral, incredibly open in all planes and free of noticeable artifacts, glare, grunge or any of the other nasties that accompany solid state reproduction. It was pure, sweet and incredibly dynamic, albeit natural.

If Class D does further the state of the art, then so be it, says I. This is, after all, a hobby for most of us. Who cares if it is class D, E, F or Z as long as it makes beautiful sounds? As I said, being a tube nut, it took me a long time to realize this. I will not abandon my tubes as a rule, but an open mind, and open heart is necessary if we are to continue down the engineering path to new horizons. Pull those feet outta the concrete and give it a shot. Who knows? ou just might end up liking something new and different. I did.

Richard Byers
Hi Srajan

Hope you are doing well. I have written you a few times in the past concerning your reviews on audiophile products. I thought it might be interesting to you to know that there is a small company, Reality Cables, that makes reference cables according to the design of Stan Warren. I believe that these cables, which I have in my own system, may be equal if not surpassing the Indra cabes that you seem to like. Gregg Straley at [email protected] is the head of this company and as a suggestion it might be well worth it for you to find out more about these cables. I know the man personally but do not have any business links with him. Thanks.

Regards
Howard Sheldon
Srajan,

Perhaps it's not fair for me to comment on this particular RoadTour article since I'm the Chris mentioned, but nothing is more fun than discovering new and cool gear that others employ in their systems. It's why I have joined numerous HiFi Clubs through the years. I like discovering new music, new tweaks and just hearing in person the things that are often reviewed but never auditioned. This series is a keeper and should be a regular feature.

Thanks,
Chris Keating
Hi Michael,

I thought I would extend an invitation to you to my listening room in Cinnaminson,/NJ near Philadelphia. I am married with kids but, our living room is a dedicated listening space that has been customized with room treatments. Setup as follows:
  • speakers: Magnepan MG 3.6R
  • Preamp: Supratek Chenin
  • Amps: Wolcott P220 monos
  • Turntable: VPI Scoutmaster/Shelter 501 MKII/Walker Motor Controller

All equipment on separate 20 amp circuits, room treatments by RPG, Quest Audio Interiors, design by Rives Audio. I figure as long as you are touring the Garden State, you are welcome to come over for a listen.

Regards,
Joe Galbraith

Before you eliminate all the myths associated with the Nuforce 9, might I suggest you listen to it (with analog) and compare what it gives you compared to others in its price range. I have the 8b with Cardas adaptors [my preamp is single ended]. I have just bought a Linn LP12, Ekos, nude Archive, Mana table (yes, off audiogon) I would never have considered it except for the Nuforce amps(I've got an Ariston rd110 and 11e, an Oracle 2, Ar es-1, Alphason top of the line tonearm (mcs110-or was that 100s?), Koetsu rosewood among other things. The reason I mention this is that before you consign the Nuforce to the "just like the others" amps, you should consider what effect this has on the ability to enjoy music on the average audiofile or music lover. With the Nuforce, I wanted to enjoy things now enough to spend (what he asked) $3650(plus $125 shipping). If you want to see where I am coming from, see my moniker (the bottom statement) on Audio Circles.

M. Makshak

Srajan Sir:...

You can always put a smile on my face... this is what a reviewer should do - make the review fun to read! Thanks a bunch..

Mel

Thank you for doing a review on a little-known and extraordinary speaker, the Fab Audio Model 1. As an admirer of these speakers for two years and an owner for over six months, I was very pleased that you decided to review them, and was quite eager to read your conclusions.

I will admit to some disappointment that Steve Marsh's experience with them was less salubrious than my own, though I was not terribly surprised. In my experience the Fabs have transparency, clarity and dynamics that can easily work against them in the presence of injudiciously matched upstream components. An example from my own experience might illustrate this point.

On my previous speakers (also 97dB sensitive dynamic speakers from another manufacturer) my favorite speaker cables were TG Audio HSR. These sounded warm and full, with quite good transparency. In contrast, a pair of Argent Audio Pursang S which I also own were very transparent and detailed, but a touch lean and tipped-up sounding. Two silver cables but with somewhat different sounds.

On the Fab Audio Model 1 -- in the same room, with the same Audion PX25 amp and Audio Note Level 4 digital front end -- the pleasing warmth and body of the HSR morphed into an excessively warm, bloomy thickness, with a distinctly noticeable lack of transparency in the bass In contrast, the Pursang S was revealed as quite forward sounding, with absolutely incredible detail, speed and imaging but a noticeable thinness and more than a bit of bite. While its bass was very transparent, it was obviously light.

So what have we here? Two speaker cables that both performed quite well on a lower resolution speaker, whose divergent personalities were revealed with unmistakable clarity by the Model 1. It was as though each cable had finally been allowed to express its inherent qualities to the maximum. This says to me that any fault in the Model 1 lies in its ability to make utterly explicit the effects of upstream components.

When I read Mr. Marsh's review in light of my own experience, my attention was immediately drawn to the descriptions of his speaker cables and vintage electronics. I don't know if these were the source of any of his dissatisfaction as I'm not familiar with any of them, but there is always the possibility that they were suboptimal partners to the Model 1. A follow-up review using a different room and system might be appropriate.

By the way, I subsequently purchased a pair of Kimber KS-3038 speaker cables, and the sound from the Model 1's driven through those is nothing short of stupendous. While the Model 1 require some care and feeding, like any top thoroughbred if they are fed properly they just might win the Derby.

Regards,
Paul Chefurka
Hi,

In regard to your article, "Importers in a changing market" ... "...the number of brands not yet represented in the US is higher than you may think. The following is an arbitrary short list of examples:..." I would like to correct you, we are the official exclusive USA importer of Acoustic Solid Germany, unless, there's something I don't know. Please make a note of it. Also, we used to be the importer of BKS Audio, Denmark, if you look at some old TAS magazines, you'll even find a review. Last but not least, we brought to the USA Shindo Labs and Final Labs (Japan), among others.

You have a wonderful magazine.

Sincerely,
Simon
NORMAN AV
wHIFI.com
Thoroughly enjoyed the review on Ed's Horn speakers. Even enjoyed the playfully restrained references to "hillbillies", a social and regional group I'm proud to be a part of. The South has risen again ... the wiser and unbigoted among us just don't make that big a deal of it....LOL.

Nicely written review...

W. Gordon Ray
Dear Sirs,

answering your article "Would the Original please stand up?", I would like to tell you this: The acoustical principle of these loudspeakers called Rondo is well known for decades and therefore not a matter of protection. But the particular shape of the body is a result of acoustical considerations, resonance and stiffness. The first one who brought it to the public was Auditorium 23. All the others have copied this shape.

The same priciple -- again with wideband driver -- but additional action and a different, more efficient form based on identical perception of open resonant speakers may be found here. It's the 'butterfly'.

Sincerely yours
Niels v. d. Osten- Sacken
Hi John,

I've been meaning to send you a real, hand-written thank you note but time being as it is, I decided an e-mail would have to suffice or it would not happen. We want to sincerely thank you for the great care you took of our product while you had it. Our service and repair technician was so impressed with what great shape the speakers were in and how well they were packed that he came up to my office to tell me that we ought to give you some sort of award! As you can imagine, he sees all sorts of things come in the door, and unfortunately, not all reviewers treat the product as well as you did.

Thanks from all of us not only for the very nice coverage but also for returning the speakers in the same condition you received them!

Best Regards,

Dawn Cloyd
Thiel Audio

Hallo Srajan,

I read all of your latest reviews around the Druid/Modwright and actually bought the Druid after reading your review and I have to thank you. This is the speaker for me. I combined them with a pair of the AudioZone Amp 2 monoblocks which are a lot like the Pateks you are using -30dB gain. I will get my Modwright SWL9.0 se soon. I am looking forward to many more reviews from you.

Thank you again und liebe Gruesse,

Malcolm

Thank you for an incredible review on the First Watt amps. Your discerning comparison of several low-power amps is invaluable to the audiophilemusiclover (one word on purpose). Too many reviews are fluff raves that provide too little of what would be truly valuable information, of which comparisons play one of the most important roles. I think you will find the quote below an interesting point in relation to low-power amplifiers. It is from the James Bongiorno essay: The Quest.

"So you think that your 200 watt amplifier is really 200 watts, eh! Guess what folks: it isn't. Actually, it's far from it. Let me explain. It would only be 200 watts when producing a single note. Now if you add a second note, it isn't 200 watts anymore. Some examples are in order. Let's say a note is being played that is 2 octaves above concert A or about 1760 Hz. Now, 200 watts is represented by 40 Volts RMS across 8 ohms. Let's assume that the voltage for that note is required to be half of the available output or 20 Volts. This 20 Volts is 50 watts. Now let's have another note at say low A at 55 Hz, also at 20 Volts or 50 watts. Guess what! The voltages are directly additive and in fact, the 1760Hz is in effect modulated by the 55Hz. Now the average sum of these two signals equals 40 Volts which should be 200 watts but, it isn't. Each frequency is only amounting to 50 watts for a total of 100 watts. Already, our 200 watt amplifier has been reduced to half its size with only two notes. Now let's add in a 3rd note sufficiently away from the other two notes. We must now divide the available output voltage by a factor of 3 which gives us 13.33 Volts per signal. This results in approximately 22 watts per note. That sure is a long way from 200 watts. Now can you imagine what happens with very complex musical structures?

The true available undistorted output power is but a mere fraction of what the amplifier is really rated at. If you don't believe me just hook up an oscilliscope to the output of your amp and watch the clipping. Those of you with amps that have true peak indicators can surely know what I'm talking about."

Yours,
Brandy
Hello Srajan ,

I am writing to compliment you and your staff for getting more cutting-edge products into your systems, on a faster, less conservative note and without the biases of the major magazines. Being from the U.S and having moved to the U.K was an eye-opening experience ...

Trying everything new that is being developed worldwide is too slow a process for the individual. Case in point? Your excellent review of the Zu Druid loudspeakers. Living Voice is the only truly well-knon efficient loudspeaker here - plus the Tannoys that are efficient. It's because of you bringing things to light -- products like Zu and the groundbreaking Cerious ceramic cables -- that doors break down for the adventurous ones who dare to look more closely. Now I will be selling these excellent products along with the Green Mountain Audio products I knew from the US. Superb job! We don't always agree as I had the opportunity to experiment with the Eastern Electric 520. With the right balance of tubes, it really changed. Now using the Amperex EL34s made a smoother transition yet again, at around $500 for a matched quad.

One amplifier I thought would have already been reviewed in your pages is the excellent Edge brand. I just started with their least expensive G-4. What a great product. It beats amps x 2 its cost and without the grain but with excellent detail. Thanks again for being on the forefront and for providing quality writtings.

Best regards, Paul
Hifidelityaudio.co.uk

Dear Srajan,

I wanted to thank you for publishing 6moons, the most interesting and informative hi-fi and music magazine currently available (either online or traditional). Without your magazine, I would never have discovered the musical joys wrought by single-ended amplifiers and single-driver loudspeakers. Nor would I have discovered some of the 'out of the mainstream' world music I now regularly play.

Several months ago, having read your comments on the Cain & Cain Abby speakers, I took the plunge and ordered a pair. I have never experienced a more real, vibrant, immediate sound! The addition of a First Watt F2 amplifier several weeks ago (replacing a Rotel amplifier), which connects to my DeHavilland Mercury preamp, has only furthered the strengths of the Abby.

In several weeks, I will implement the Bailey subwoofer that I just ordered yesterday. I think this sub, as you have commented, will even better balance the Abby's sound by ameliorating the 4Khz peak it demonstrates.

Once again, thank you for publishing reviews of components and music that largely do not garner the attention of the mainstream audiophile press, but are perhaps more worthy than those that do.

Regards,
Tom Haleas
Srajan,

I was delighted to see that you had the same reaction as I to the overblown NuForce marketing hype. An acquaintance in possession of a new pair of NuForce amps recently regailed me with the technical details of their clear superiority over all contenders based on NuForce's marketing claims. But he pushed it too far when he started ribbing me that I had wasted my money building my DIY Aleph-Xs (think homebrew Pass Labs XA), because for not much more money I could have bought the "far superior" NuForce amps instead and saved myself a lot of effort. Well, that did it! Out came the test equipment, and in short order it was proven that my Aleph-Xs were more linear (both amplitude and phase) over a wider bandwidth. Next was demonstrated that, although the NuForce did indeed have a damping factor of 4000 at its output terminals, that number shrunk down into the low 3 digits after transmitting the same signal through a length of audiophile speaker cable and was only marginally higher than my DIY amps under the same conditions.

Now don't get me wrong, these little (dimensionally speaking) amps from NuForce impressed the hell out of me and have a bang for buck factor that is very compelling, I am just a little allergic to marketing hype, and those who blindly believe everything they read. Also, you have to give NuForce credit that they in no way misrepresented the performance of their products, just acted a little cavelier in how that performance related to the rest of the industry.

Kudos to you for calling a spade a spade and having the grace to work with NuForce to help them refine their materials.

Terry Aben, Senior Engineer
Civil Infrastructure & Alternative Energy Technologies
Powertech Labs, Inc.
Hi Jeff,

Finally, I got the system done. Now it's break-in time. I managed to connect the OTA cable kit with the system but to fit the RCAs to the Almaro A205A MK II took me a while because the RCA connector was tight. When I pushed it in until the end, the cable was torn. I lost some lenth but not much. But I dont think I can disconnect the RCA connector too often.

The system sounds really amazing even before full break-in. The OTA cable produces better sound than the much more expensive Purist Audio Design Auesus (RCA connector) and the classis Kimble Kable 8TC speaker cable (both on loan from a shop). I dont know how to thank you so I send some photos for you to at least see how you have inspired me.

I will keep in touch when the system passes the 100-hour break-in mark.

Regards,
Tum from Thailand
Jeff,

I have been inspired by your article to start my own Garrard 301 project. I will send you pictures when I have done it. In the meantime, I would be grateful if you would send me a copy of your instruction manual.

Btw, I noticed that your 301 has a platter on it that looks like a 401 – was this how it was supplied or is it a hybrid?

Thank you.
Andrew Lyall
Hertfordshire
England

Hello Jeff.

After reading your fabulous article regarding Garrad 301, I seriously planned to buy one. But let me tell you that in India, nobody listens for good music through a good HiFi. Here the craze is for Hindi Indie pop songs with boomboxes (Sony, Awiwa, LG etc. with 5000-watt PMPO) except for a few like me. So forget about turntable listeners which may be in the hundreds in India. Most of them listen to low-profile vintage record players with ceramic cartridges. Vinyl is no longer availabe new. In this unfavorable condition, I realized from my heart that I should stick to vinyl & try to get a used cheap but quality TT. At last I acquired a Garrad 401 with SME 3009 improved (but in the base of the arm it is only written SME3009), with a detachtable headshell in fairly good condition.But the bias weight along with the nylon thread & rod is somehow missing.

I like soft, laid-back, tubish sound with lots of air and soundstage width amd depth. In this regard my taste is very similar to yours. I have a Marantz CD67SE as my digital front end, Audio Analogue's Puccini Remote integrated and the fabolous Rogers LS55 speakers.You see, I've deliberately gone for the Puccini because of its tubish personality. The Rogers was also my obvious choice as it is 90dB/6ohms so it can be driven by a low power but good amp like the Puccini.

I earn apprx.14,000 rupees ($280) per month which is considered fairly good in Kolkata where I live. Just think of my love towards HiFi that I have purchased these products despite my low income. If I had serious money, then probably I would gave gone for a Class-A SET amp with a high-end CD players... that's all just a dream...

I will ask many questions in my second mail especially about the plinth design very soon.

Regards,
Sandip Banerjee
Hello Mr. Day,

some months back I read your review of the Fi 2A3 monos which was fun to read because some years back I saw some ads of these amplifiers in Fi magazine and Listener magazine. I have never had the chance to listen to these amplifiers but somehow I knew they were good. So your review has been very helpfull. Thank you very much for it!

About 10 days back I have orderd the Fi Y line preamp. I want to order either the 2A3 or the 45 monos as well. As you will know there are the 45 monos available now, too. In your review you wrote that you wondered how good the 2A3s would sound with the TJ's 2A3 mashplate tubes. Have you tested these amps with these tubes? I ask you because I am not sure which version to buy. The 2A3s can be used with both tubes. Mr. Lavorgna told me that he did not test the 45s with the 2A3 tube when he made his review. Now I wonder which of these monos would play both tubes best.

Maybe you can give me some advice or help to make my decision? Because I will probably have no chance to hear these amplifiers before buying them. Allthough I consider to fly to New York and have a listening session, but that would make the amps more expensive for me.

I hope to hear from you in the near future! And please keep doing these nice and very informative reviews!!!

With best regards,
Josef Hoelscher
Muenchen, Germany
Hello Srajan,

how are you doing? I have written to you a few times in the past. I have a small HiFi shop in the UKI have the Eastern Electric 520 amplifier and your review sounded like a mixed bag. Several people I spoke with were afraid to even give it a listen, it was like you had to add the preamp or on its own, it was not that great. I can tell you personally that I removed the the EF-86 also and replaced it with a mid-60s Amperex e-80 PQ premium quality. Probably a 15% boost from that by itself. For the 12AU7, I tried RCA clear tops and Telefunkens which brought it up another notch. Next up was the rectifier. I put in a GE from around 66, still very accessible. The power cord also was a must. I ended up with a DH Labs - reasonable and good.

What a difference. Then to really complete the project, I opted for Amperex EL34s with the nickel base, about 500 quid for a quad, total transformation about 800. It now easily goes against 4K amplifiers with grace. Just the E80 and two RCA 12AU7s at under 100 are a clear big improvement. I spent over 10 hours just exchanging tubes after 150 hours of burn in. I always enjoy your reviews and just felt I would let you know what is possible because I understand you have only so much time to spend with a product and most people think, the preamp section and integration can't be that good from the mixed readings they received.

Please let me know how much tube rolling you did besides the E80. That with their killer little CD player is incredible for its price. I also use Herbie's tube dampers which honesty do make a nice improvement for little money. Enough said, I just wanted to set the record straight - many people got the wrong impression.

We can't always agree on everything and as I stated before, I have done much experimenting with this unit and its potential. It is not the last word in definition but well-balanced is my final thought after the tuneup.

Best regards and please keep showing the world that money does not always get you better.

Paul

Hi Jeff,

Thank you for a great review on the Tom Evans Linear A. I hope you can do the Linear B sometime soon too. But I think even more interesting, because of your experience with low-power tube amps, would be a review by you of the Allen Wright Vacuum State 300B Amp. I would personally be very excited by the prospect of a review of this idiosyncratic technology by someone with your experience.

All the best,
B.

Hi Srajan,

Following our correspondence, I would like to thank you once again for your recommendation on Bel Canto eVo 2i GenII and AP Solo Crystals. They work extremely well with the Gallo Ref 3s, PS Audio P500 and Grand Prix Monaco stand. Indeed, I'm very pleased with the sound. Now, if I wanted to enhance the low frequencies and, perhaps, reduce the noise floor - what power cord(s) would you recommend for the Bel Canto and/or the Cary DVD6?

Thanks again,
Moshe

I'd look at the Reference 3 SA bass amp instead. I have one and it works exactly as advertised, delaying the woofers' natural roll-off at about 40Hz by nearly a full octave for stereo bass into the low 20s.

Srajan

Hi Mike,

Saw your Asylum posts re: The Abbys. I just ordered a pair of Super Abbys and Bailey from Terry Cain. I hope to be able to add the Fi Super X sometime soon.

Regards,
T.J.

Hi TJ,

The Abby/Bailey/Fi combo is a real winner. In the Fi, make sure you try the 45 tube. Either the TJ mesh plates or some NOS 45s. I also write for 6moons and my Fi 45 review just went up. You may find it interesting.

Good luck with the system. Cain & Cain and Fi are great music-makers.

Cheers,
Michael Lavorgna

Dear Mike,

Thanks for the reply and the review. It is terrific. 6moons is a must visit website for me. It will probably be a couple of months before I can consider a new amp and I'll probably wrestle with looking at a dedicated 45 amp after reading the review. This is all your fault. Actually, the consensus seems to be the 45 is a better tube, so we shall see what I end up doing.

Keep up the good work.
Regards,
T.J.
T.J.

Hi Jeff,

I found your review of the 47Labs OTA cable kit to match my experiences with it perfectly. I used to run the OTA with my FI Super X and Avantgardes. It never ceased to amaze me. The bass is superb and the clarity and tone are good also. I had my entire system wired with it and even made power cords with the heavier gauge Stratos. I've since replaced all my wiring with Audio note silver. I must admit, the improvement is worthwhile but the jump in cost is not commensurate with the improvements. Since I now use the ANJ Neiro rather than the Fi, I guess the family match is appropriate. I still use a 47Labs front end and find the non-oversampling filterless DAC to be about as natural as digital can be.

Thanks for another gem.
Regards,
Chris Keating
Hi, Paul,

First of all, very nice review of the Leben CS300X, thanks. It can rock well with Metallica, just needs a more sensitive large speaker with bass :) Anyway, the higher-powered CS600 is coming soon in September, this one should rock harder.

In response to your query about famous Japanese tube designers, here they are, based on assessments by peers, clients and the Japanese industry, subjective but I guess these are the most well-known and recognized in Japan. Not sure why Mr. Shindo is not included, will have to ask. Then it becomes top 9 and we might as well add another to make it top 10 :)

Leben: Mr. Hyodo
Luxman: Mr. Ueda
Mactone: Mr. Matsumoto
Ex-Pro: Mr. Kondo
Airtight: Mr. Miura
Reimyo: Mr. Kiuchi
SD Sound: Mr. Ishigami
Yoshiba Onkyo: Mr. Yoshiba

With Best Regards,
JR
Soundscape HiFi And Music
Dear Mr. Kramer,

I enjoyed reading your balanced and rational review of the Nuforce Reference 8B. I think this is the honest review that many have been waiting for. I would like to see a follow-up review on the Nuforce as modified by Rick Schultz at EVS. Apparently this design has more potential that can be unleashed. Mr. Schultz has already come up with a modification at little over one hundred dollars that he claims makes an amazing difference. He claims this is a really serious upgrade. Having read reviews of his past products, I have no reason to believe this claim is inflated. He also is coming out with a Level 2 modification in the near future. It would be interesting to see how these modifications improve the unit. All for around $600.00.

Srajan did this for the Benchmark DAC-1 and I feel this unit is also worthy of such follow-up. Here is the EVS link.

Thanks for your time and consideration.
Brad Connery

Thanks in general for your tremendously well-written reviews. 6moons is always such a joy to read and a gorgeous place to go for an audioholic like myself. Please tell the reviewer who works with the upcoming review of the NuForce Reference 8.01 to compare it to the H2O M250. It is so exciting to read about those two newcomers and see how well they stand up in the stiff competition.

Will I buy a NuForce or a H2O? I don't know yet, but I think your review will be of crucial importance to my decision.

All the best,
Leif Svedlund
Hello Srajan,

thanks for your website and enjoyable reviews from you and your cadre of reviewers.

I'm currently listening to music through a couple of components that strike me as possible candidates for your realsizing initiative. The components are Elgar Ultra Precision Line Conditioners. I have two in my current setup, a 3006B model (= 30A max output and 200 lbs) and a 6006B (= 10A max output, 85 lbs). The conditioners operate in buck/boost topology, meaning the amplification element of the conditioner either adds or subtracts to the AC wave emerging from the wall to reform the wave into something that better resembles a sine wave. Because of this topology, the conditioners are not regenerators and thus operate quite efficiently, most of the power output being derived straight from the wall through a large, heavy isolation transformer (-60dB variety) that forms the core of the conditioner.

The conditioner circuitry looks to have gone through many, many iterations over the years, the last version being 6006 (ie, 6000, 6001, 6002, etc) version F or so (ie, A, B, C, D ....). They are built like a tank and are of the highest quality construction I have seen in my several years of peering into electronics components.

The best thing about these conditioners is they can be purchased typically for <$150 on eBay. I have purchased several for a total cost of less than $1000. I'm a tweaker so I typically replace electrolytic capacitors on circuit boards, which can be as much as 25 years old. I also add premium bypass capacitors though the stock unit is built generously using PIO capacitors for noise filtration and film capacitors for circuit purposes.

Soundwise, I would not now listen to my system without the conditioners, which are plugged in series with each other (the 6006 plugged into the 3006). Source components (Emm Labs gear) plug into the 6006, amps (tricked out Vivas) plug into the 3006.

I thought I would mention these little gems to you as they sound, to my ears, to be the real thing, as they should be for they are rated at max 0.2% THD output, which must beat the pants off comparable HiFi conditioners.

Cheers,
Tom Clearwater

Paul,

I noticed that Srajan is scheduled to do a review of the new PRE-T1. Based on my experience with this preamp, Srajan may be humming "Exit the Sandman" when it comes to tube gear. -:)

Your initial review prompted me to purchase a prototype of the new production version from Audio Oasis. This preamp and a pair of Channel Islands D-100 monoblocks have taken my system to new levels. This is coming from a guy whose previous signal chain consisted of a Thor Audio tube preamp and ASL 845 tube monoblocks. The PRE-T1 really is an open window to my sources (Amazon/Triplanar/ZYX analog, VRS Audio digital).

I recently took delivery of a pair of Devore Silverback References. This combination of components gets me closer to the music than at any other time during my 30+ years in our hobby.

I just wanted to thank you for making me aware of the Audio Zone products. Your experiences, along with those of Jules and Srajan have had a decidedly positive impact on my enjoyment of music.

I look forward to further "discoveries" from the 6moons crew.

All the best,
Wayne Pryor
Hi Srajan,

First of all I wanted to give you my compliments on the excellent 6moons website and very revealing and refreshing reviews and equipment assessments. I've been an audiophile since 1997 and have read a lot of audio magazines from all over the world. The only one left now which I think is still the best out there is Hifi+. But my main source for "food for thought" on the net is your site. Really great!

I'm also a classicaly educated musician. I studied "early music" on the recorder at the Rotterdam conservatory. I performed on several occasions at the Holland festival for Early Music and was a music teacher for some time. But as you know, it's hard to earn a decent living in arts so I abandoned the music scene for quite some time. In 1998, I started in my current profession, being affiliated wit hhe music industry in marketing/sales of mastering equipment for CD/DVD. Having interest in the technical side of high end equipment, I started building my own, some as kits, others from scratch. See my picture site.

Thanks again for creating such a good read on the web.

Kind regards,
Saffier Brull
The Netherlands

Hello Srajan ,

My compliments on your accurate Eastern Electric M520 review. I found most things true also with this unit. I took out the stock EL34 and used the real C-wing Svetlana version and for the EF-80, I used the Amperex PQ which are superb, as is the RCA clear top 12AU7. What a difference. Detail and tonality were much better. I am happy I read this before my purchase so as to buy the vintage valves I needed. The Mullard or Amperex EL-34 would have raised the bar again but at $600 for 4 new ones, I will wait a few months. Thanks again for the insight and review.

Best regards.
Paul

Hi Jeff

I had to email you a picture of my system at the moment, it is the best it has sounded to date. How is your system going, any changes lately?

Best regards
Jason

Avantgarde Duo Speakers, Oracle CD Transport, Audio Note Dac 3.1x balanced, Audio Note M8 preamplifier, WAVAC EC 300B amplifier, Audio Note Sogon Cables, FIM Power cords, FIM Power Filter.

Great job Jeff !

Yer on a roll man!

Best,
Larry Phillips

PS: Eat oatmeal and get the amp...
Hey John,

Nice review of the MiniMax Phono Stage. I don't know if you still have the unit, but put some Groove Tube 12AX7s in and this phono stage is a "real giant killer"!! I live in Chicago and Bill brought over his phono stage for a listen. I had an EAR 834p (highly modified) and within an hour, I was sold. Then Bill put in the Groove Tube 12AX7's and WOW. New ballgame altogether. If you put those Groove tubes in, I can almost guarantee you will sell your other 2 phono stages. Food for thought.

Keep up the great writing,

Gary L. Peeke

Scientist: Men do have trouble hearing women (AP) updated: 2005-08-08 09:26
Men who are accused of never listening by women now have an excuse -- women's voices are more difficult for men to listen to than other men's, a report said. The Daily Mail, quoting findings published in the specialist magazine NeuroImage, said researchers at Sheffield university in northern England discovered startling differences in the way the brain responds to male and female sounds. Men deciphered female voices using the auditory part of the brain that processes music, while male voices engaged a simpler mechanism, it said. The Mail quoted researcher Michael Hunter as saying, "The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural 'melody' in their voices. "This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice." The findings may help explain why people suffering hallucinations usually hear male voices, the report added, as the brain may find it much harder to conjure up a false female voice accurately than a false male voice.
Mr. Srajan Ebaen:

Hallelujah! At last this Foundation has the opportunity to present its million-dollar prize! Ken Micallef is surely our winner. He can claim the prize following a simple yes-or-no series of tests of the Golden Sound Ultra Tweeters! This should take less than 30 minutes of his time. This is a serious offer, made by our foundation in all sincerity, and thoroughly backed by us. Under his own operating parameters, if Mr. Micallef can tell whether or not the Golden Sound Ultra Tweeters are in operation, he will win this prize.

We invite Ken to submit his application -- see for the details, after which we will arrange for the test -- at Mr. Micallef's convenience, and under his conditions.

James Randi
James Randi Educational Foundation

Right, Randi. Sorry, you'll have to continue your fishing expedition elsewhere. We're all out of wanna-be millionaires -:)

Srajan

Thank you. I'll publish this response. Astonishing, how you folks wriggle out of any obligation to prove that you're publishing facts. Your choice.

James Randi

We are publishing opinions, Randi. Personal opinions of audio hobbyists, shared with other hobbyists who pay nothing for our content. You are the guy insisting on "facts" and "obligations". Our obligation is to call 'em like we hear 'em. No more, no less. Anyone expecting more is barking up the wrong tree, something we've stated ad infinitum on our site.

So better add that to my previous response if you intend to publish it.

Srajan

Hi guys [sent to Chip Stern via PFO),
I was avid reader of Stereophile for many years and quit.Why? Because everything they and now you are writing is so sugary, I want to ....

Guys, please stop serving the manyfacturers, I know, they pay you money, but still you have to serve the readers and only them! Belive me, you will be bancrupt in no time if you continue to sing songs about 1,500 power cords and $7,000 mini speakers!

There are many idiots in this world, but the majority are not going to buy this nonsence. That say, I'm not into cheap hi-fi electronics so please don't think that I'm from "another camp". I have quite exepensive gear which sounds exeptional. After a while of living in US (I'm originally from Russia), one thing I've learned is that it is not an achivement to by good expensive things but that it is most enjoyable to buy them when you think you have made a great deal. Please visit Audio Critique. That's when I inderstood why I quit reading Stereophile.You just mimic them in every aspect of your reviews! Everything is great! Yeah, sure.

Vladislav Yeliseyev

Dear Yell-At-Us,
What, pray tell, inspired this barrage of...I don't even know what to make if it, save that you are convinced that I am a whore and that I like everything, and nothing is bad. I'm impressed that you have expensive equipment. Why don't you go out now and get a really great deal on some really bad equipment so that you can hate music for the next six months and thus inspired, can go on at great length to tell all of us how awful the gear is and to prove categorically what an honest, principled man you are conmpared to sugary Chip and all of those suckoff Stereophile guys.

Explain to me now, how there is anything constructive in this message that I should take away as a guiding principle, save that if I like an expensive piece of gear, I am likely bending over for a manufacturer, while if you like expensive gear, it is because you have exquisite taste and got a really great deal?

Is this what you trying to tell me? Please clarify. I would love to correspond with you and share ideas, but based on this letter, I am not sure what your point is supposed to be. If it is that I should check out Audio Critique, might I suggest you have a gift for marketing language and should seriously consider becoming a motivational speaker.

If it is that I am a useless sack of shit, well then, thanks for writing and you have a nice day.

Warmest regards,
Chip Stern

Almost inevitably, when I research out audio technology, it is 6moons that provides the best description to understand the product and its value as it relates to my needs. Since buying an iPod in May, I have assembled a music system that consists of the following:
  • Toshiba laptop with Echo Indigo IO D/A converter for playback.
  • Stefan AudioArt 12” cable from card output jack to Ray Samuels SR-71 headphone amplifier.
  • Equinox cable to HD-600 headphones.

To me, the quality of sound that I can realize with this setup is simply amazing. Your reviews, and my 6 or 7 conversations that I have held with Ray, convinced me that this was the way to go. This is why I want to get more up to date and closer in to those of you who are reviewing because of the passion for both the music and the sound. Where do I go from here? The next step is to see what you have to say for the Burwen Bobcat.

I spoke to Mark twice and it comes down to your reviews and the leap of faith that the $1500 will be well spent. I spent considerable time talking to Grace about their M902 and Benchmark about the DAC1 and found that although they could do the job, it was more money than my wife would let me spend. A one time shot with the BB and USB1 DAC sounds to be the best choice albeit a leap of faith especially until I hear from your reviewers, based on their passions, whether this is a good choice.

If this works, I still have all my LP to archive with my LP12 and the Echo IO card with the BB shaping to turn it into a killer system. My laptop is my music player although I have the mini iPod but putting BB-shaped music files in this player and send it out to the RS-71 seems like it could be a truly awesome experience based on the money spent.

So this is my answer and I appreciate any comments or advice that would tell me when some of these reviews might surface in 6moons. Ray said that the next Stereophile will be covering his SR-71 but I told him that I already got the warm and fuzzy from your review. I am sure this will raise some eyebrows since I got there before it even showed up in Stereophile.

It is this initiate that I hope to keep on the leading edge that I await your e-newsletters. I wrote this Monday but was unable to send due to demands at work. On Tuesday I spent part of my morning reading about headphone amplifiers in the forum which I had not really gone through. I was struck by all of the favorable info on the SR-71. Now I understand where a lot of the buzz about this amp is coming from and I am even more impressed that 6moons got me there before even reading these messages.

Another case for being kept up to date on breaking news in the industry here.

Aloha,
Ainsley

Kind Sir,

To have inadvertantly stirred such passions among owners of the Apogees. Your opinion is much respected, yet I fear that in a simple aside you may have mispoke. All audio is a marriage. Good or bad. No component has the ability to speak alone. Any pairing of components it is a marriage of necessity more than convenience. Never easy. One always hopes for a match made in heaven, but generally it is hard work on the listener's part which rewards the union.

The Apogees represent a case where the state of the art in loudspeaker reproduction made a troubled marriage with the majority of components to which they were wed. Isn't it ironic (don't you think?), that the leading edge of some of the better digital amps, today's foray into the future, sounding so much the best virtues of SETs, plays to these speakers with a marriage of unnerving grace. Now is the summer of our content. A golden age of musical marital bliss!

Glen Wagenknecht

To all owners of Apogees,

My comments weren't meant in disrespect to their performance at all, simply to point out that speaker engineering should include load behavior and not just good sound. In an age of "power is cheap", it seems some speaker designers get lazy and create loads that are unnecessarily tough on the partnering amplifier. That's not to say such speakers couldn't sound terrific when mated to the appropriate amp and agreed, the H2O ICEpower-based amps I reviewed, for example, are ideally suited for such purposes. If I understand correctly, the Acoustic Reality line-source ribbons are such a gruelling <1-ohm load that they can only be driven by custom ICEpower amps offered by the same company. Such a load, from where I stand, seems somewhat of an insult to sane engineering when Zu can design a 12-ohm driver and Avantgarde Acoustic 19-ohm drivers - but that's just my personal opinion and shouldn't be mistaken to make blanket statements on sonics either way.

Srajan

Hello,

As promised, some quick feedback on my Melody/Onix SP3 II amp. Well, it's fantastic and punchy as hell. From the pictures I have seen, the Melody & Onix branded SP3 amps are identical in every way other than brand. I ordered mine from a supplier in Hong Kong. The most expensive system I had heard before cost about GBP20K and from memory alone I would say mine comes pretty close (although the speakers and interconnect most likely let the system down at the moment). I will get round to this but for now, I'm gonna have to put my marriage before another upgrade!

Thanks again for your extrememly helpful review!

Regards,
Justin Hareb
Hello Srajan,

Greetings from Australia! Just read your S.E.T. piece with the slap at the Apogee Scintillas with a grin! I manufacture spare ribbons for all of the Apogees and understand a SET amp lover having no love for the Scintilla, it generally requiring being powered by amps so far from your ideals as to be alien! There is no denying the Scintilla's ability to sound real when-well partered however...

Rather than try to convert you to love the power-munching Apogees, I thought I would tell you of my Perigee Definitive speakers at about 99dB/w and a cuddly 4 and 3 ohm load, something to get cheerful about! Consider also they are only available as active, therefore one system requires 6 SET monos! Priced at $145K Australian, they are unlikely to be the global fix for ribbon/tube lovers - however I am soon to release a new speaker that may just solve that problem. For want of a better description, it is like a Scintilla that has been "exorcised" - all demons removed! This will be released active/passive ready and is high 90s efficient and a real 3-ohm load with no nasty swings. Similar in size to a Scintilla (but sharing no common parts/dimensions) at about 1.5m high, it has none of the Apogee's structural problems and will be priced at <$20K US. Just what the tube people need...

Take care,
Graz
The Red Planet is about to be spectacular!

This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification, Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye !

Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m. By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m. That's pretty convenient, to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.

Jim Bosha

Hi Srajan;

I wanted to share a fascinating discovery with you regarding my Eastern Electric CDP/ATH W1000 combo. I have been listening to this system for about four months. I upgraded it through Underwood and added some great and very expensive NOS tubes. The changes for the better were wonderful - but none of them were as significant as the surprise that came my way about three weeks ago.

I was listening to the unit in my office as this is where it was always plugged in. I was interested in the possibility of moving it to my bedside so I moved it downstairs aside my bed, plugged in the unit, listened - and was shocked at the incredible sonic changes I heard. The system was more powerful, authoritative and linear than ever before. I then unplugged the unit and brought it back upstairs, replugged it into the outlet in my office and listened again just to make sure I wasn't dreaming - and the sound did in fact return to its previous status. I could notice the change immediately as this was a substantial sonic improvement and dropped when I moved the unit back to its original location.

The obvious question was - what on earth is going on? An outlet is an outlet. Why should the unit's sonics change so much for the better by plugging it into the outlet in my bedroom versus the one in my office?

So I called the electrician who had built my building and asked if there was any difference between the outlets. He immediately said yes. He explained that the wires behind the outlet that connect to the electric fuse box generally are 1.5mm thick in Israel where I live. However, where there is an appliance which requires extra wattage -- like a fridge, oven, dishwasher etc. -- they install what they call a "power outlet" which looks the same on the outside but the wires behind it are 2.5mm thick. He explained to me that although in a bedroom the standard outlet uses 1.5mm thick wire, because he had extra left-over wire of 2.5mm thickness which he did not use up after finishing my kitchen and laundry room (the two places where the thicker wire is normally used), he installed the extra wire in my bedroom.

Wow - there it is. The results must be derived from the extra current coming from the thicker electrical wire. Now I asked the electrician if there was even thicker wire that he could install for me. He said there is electric wire up to 6mm thickness (meant for central air conditioners) but he felt confident that there would be no sonic changes beyond what I was already hearing in my setup and that in fact it could even damage the unit. He advised me to use a surge protector even on the current outlet in order to safeguard the product.

This whole experience is awestriking. People spend thousands of dollars on upgrades, spend years reading audio reports on all the newest and latest stuff and here by mere accident, I got a free very substantial upgrade when I had essentially exhausted all the standard upgrades.

Why isn't there more talk in the audio press about this phenomena? Anyone can replace the electrical wire behind their outlet for minimal cost. I would love to here more about this topic.

Thanks,
Steven Rubin
A few weeks ago you inquired about people's upgrading by downsizing. Here is an update and for me the end of the line (or at least a major hiatus in "upgrade-itis"). I visited a friend this past week who lives in North Carolina -- Asheville -- who has the means to get anything he wants (he bought Kharmas once and we both thought they were absolutely not worth even 1/4 the price but that's another story.) I described to him my experience of listening outdoors and we set some of his gear outside on his hillside yard (oh the view!)

Well, we set up Magnepans 1.6, 3.6, JM Reynauds, Shahinians and even old Klipsch Belles out on the hillside. We started to use a couple of amps but pretty much settled on NAD bridged while we started to swap the CD players: Meridian, Wadia ... and Mr. Ebaen, what we realized was that we were not in a hurry to swap gear. We both agreed that all speakers pretty much gave us the best music we have heard.

Technical: we settled for a pair of NAD bridged monos since we pretty much had to drive everything to its limits because the listening area was so big (we tried nearfield - incredible detail from the Magnepans; and far field - wow! talk about soundstage!). The Klipsches were the more realistic since they play the loudest, the Magnepans had the best bass and highs... and so on until it became irrelevant.

The view of the valley, the air, the occasional sound of animals, the simplicity of the "room" created the best listening we experienced. We realized that in this setting, systems sounded different but we did not care, it was more fun to sit in a 7' sweet spot, listen intently or not, talk about the music, other things, play with the dogs or just do anything rather than pretend to even care whether one system was better than the other. The setting brought us the enjoyment.

Maybe audiophiles have this need to change their systems, partially, because their environments are so damn ugly and non-conducive to music! Cables, racks, tooth picks holding cables, crap all over the place - yuck! We saw just two monoliths and then the valley and the mountains. Even the cables (80 ft runs) were hidden by the grass!

I came back home and I am so happy to almost be done with my renovation. I lack the hillside view but I have a small yard with a pool and Fench doors all across the back of the house so I open them even in this heat and play either my Magnepan 1.6s or the Obelisks or for total happiness, take them out in the middle of the yard and listen. It is so wonderful! Sorry for the long rambling!

Enjoy your music,
N. Zapletal

I posted a complaint at Audio Asylum in reference to your review methodology. Specifically, I had a problem with your "Taboo" and "Patek" previews. You extended me the opportunity to offer my opinions about possible improvements at your review mag.

Well, I would start by reiterating my position that you should not make qualitative statements about products you haven't heard. I want a reviewer I can trust as just giving me his or her honest opinion. It just seemed like you were getting into the business of promoting products rather than evaluating them. You are my favorite review magazine (this is something that I failed to mention before) because I feel that you are one of us; simply driven by a love for music and an interest to help others increase their enjoyment.

I noticed that your Taboo review was good in that it refrained from over-hyping the product. It struck me as firmly grounded in reality. It was clear that while you liked the product okay, you were not bowled over by it. Looking at the circuit and owning Decware products in the past, Decware relies on a reputation that is not always so well deserved in my opinion. After reading the review, my confidence in you was restored. I would personally like to see a comparison between the Taboo and the Almarro. They are very similar in typology and price.

Since I posted my complaint, I decided to test your opinions for myself. I placed an order for Peter Daniel's kit and built it last night. So far I'm very impressed. Now I feel like a heel. This is a jewel. Again you have shown that my mistrust was unfounded.

Al ot of audiophiles are weary of the review process because we've all been burned by reviews that exagerated the performance of a product. A lot of us rely on mail order and reviews are very important part of the research that goes into making buying decisions as it is not always possible to audition products.

It's now obvious that the problem I had was just the appearance of reviewer bias and not real bias at all.

Thanks for your hard work (if you can call it work!),

Bill Surine

Dear Srajan,

Congratulations on your website. I find it to be a useful tool in this hobby. I wanted to recommend a CD that my wife and I have been playing obsessively over the last month and I think you should review it in the World Music page: Celso Fonseca "Rive Gauche Rio". He's like a breed between a young Caetano Veloso and Joao Gilberto. Check it out if you can.

Best Regards,
Carlos Espina

Hi Jeff!

Great review on the Omega Super 3 & Skylan stands! Love reading the 6moons review for their extended audio musings and loved the great pics as well.

Thank you!
Donald N.
Hi Jules,

Thank you for your work in presenting the extraordinary Shindo electronics to the world. I know the feeling of completeness in music reproduction these machines offer and they probably gave an end to your reviewing career. They surely changed my life; they are a work of art. In your recent Audience power conditioner review I noticed you are experimenting with Tanny concentric designs of the past (Monitor Golds 10" and 15"). As a user of these designs partnered with Shindo electronics for the last 2 years (Monbrison, Cortese 300B, Tannoy Autograph with Monitor Gold 15" and Shindo crossover) I urge you to explore the benefits of the Shindo crossover to these historic drivers. I don't think you can really appreciate what these drivers can do without the Shindo crossover. They are a different design from the originals and they use some really old materials and a massive autotransformer.

Hope this helps

Thanks,
Nikitas Gavalas
Athens, Greece

I love reading about audio almost as much as listening to music.

Three things about your site that I like:
  • e-mail notification of new content
  • Best thought pieces on the web - I particularly enjoyed your series on changing from a megabuck system to something more moderate
  • Best photos of audio equipment - every other review has mentioned the craftsmanship of the darTZeel amp, with 6moons we see it....

btw, is Chip Stern still reviewing? I haven't seen any of his work lately and note that his site has yet to see the light of day. He is a very entertaining writer.

Keep up the good work!
Jay

Boudreaux goes fish'n
Boudreaux been fish'n down by de bayou all day an he done run outta night crawlers. He be bout reddy to leave when he seen a snake wit a big frog in his mouf. He knowed dat dem big bass fish like frogs, so he decides to steal dat froggie.

Dat snake, he be a cotton moufed water moccasin, so Boudreaux had to be real careful or he'd get bit. He snuk up behine de snake and grabbed him roun de haid. Dat ole snake din't lak dat one bit. He squirmed and wrapped hisself roun Boudreaux's arm try'n to get hisself free. But Boudreaux, him, hada real good grip on his haid, yeh.

Well, Boudreaux pried his mouf open and got de frog and puts it in his bait can. Now, Boudreaux knows dat he cain't let go dat snake or he's gonna bite him good, but he had a plan. He reach into de back pocket of his bib overhauls and pulls out a pint a Tennessee hillbilly moonshine likker. He pour some drops into de snakes mouf. Well, dat snake's eyeballs roll back in his haid and his body go limp. Wit dat, Boudreaux toss dat snake into de bayou, den he goes back to fish'n.

A while later Boudreaux dun feel sumpin tappin' on his barefoot toe.He slowly look down and dere be dat cotton moufed water moccasin, wif two more frogs.
Enjoyed this article (on SETs). As an oldtimer who in his youth couldn't afford McIntosh/JBL/Empire/Garrard 301 components as I labored under the dashboards of new 19XX Corvettes and Custom Vans trying to fit 8-track replacements for factory radio, I got to hear some of the equipment "consumers" took home and plotted homicides and home invasions. When the weekends came 'round, after murder and robbery had been replaced with what I perceived as sanity (comparatively speaking), my R/R band would fire up a gig in one of the beach-clubs that dotted the Eastern coast of Florida. Although our performance skills were marginal, we struggled toward high quality sound. The R/R "noise" we made sounded pretty good (bass player and lesser guitar god). We insisted on tube amps which always needed some tweaking, a new tube, re-soldering a wire or a fire extinguisher but damnn... they sounded like the guitars on the records we listened to (except for the Beatles, of course, but we were nearly as loud as Hendrix).

As their tube amps self-destructed due to constant abuse -- and tube costs rising to as much as $10.00 each -- Leo Fender started selling S/S versions of guitar amps and we "re-tooled". But the band just stopped sounding like music (we grew fatigued with the travel) and we all went off to get "real" jobs.

Cut to 10+ years later and I'm found guilty of buying huge amounts of S/S power... (loud is better, yes?)... and power is knowledge....yes. Fashion, marketing and political views changed and unfortunately, what once were high-fidelity shops are now masquerading as "Sound-buy", "Best-track", "Smarm-Mart". Worse are the independent family-owned music-stores who now ignore a market they might once have believed in - under pressure from an accountant (usually a family member just out of junior college). They now choose to "go for the gold" (plated, colored, flavored, synthetic etc.). Kinda like the super-market scam: how much "juice" do you have to have to call it juice? What is it? Meat, milk, cheese or soy? Not that there's anything wrong with that in a grocery store...

But in a hi-fi store? It's like the "alleged" Mafia having a FOX TV show called Growing up Gatti. So cut to "present". After spending half my retirement and all my ungrateful kid's inheritance (most at the advice of audio "experts" who've worked 6-8 weeks in the previously described industry), I now own a Single Ended Triode system ( I never grow tired of spelling it out): Brian Cherry/Baul's Audio Lady Day+ "Silver" mono blocks, a set of DIY speakers (Prometheus Air Force MK II's), a TAD-150 pre-amp from a guy who's called "Bizzy Bee", a buffered tube CDP ... and ... anything I have that's solid state is stuck in a "surround" system in a back room for PPV boxing, Pride and Bushido martial arts events.

By the way, I just rolled a couple of 6SL7s in my mono blocks -- NOS Ken-Rad's vs. Sylvania WGT's (KR branded) -- and I'm amazed at the change...like water for chocolate... one pair chocolate and one pair vanilla...no wrong, just right and righter-er depending on my mood. Never quite understood the intent the director expressed in the film of the same name but can tell more about this simple change that I ever did with any change in power cords, I/C's, spikes, isolation devices, maple platforms, Walker SST treatments, in any or all the S/S devices I've ever owned.... granted, not all were Krell or Levinson but a few bore the name of Plinius...

So thanks for a well-written article on SETs and the "argu-ability" (spell check says that isn't a word....yet) that to dismiss what you haven't heard based on specs you can only read about, surmise and form opinions based solely thereon can be likened to the fool who knew not his hole from an ass upon the ground.

Anyway, thanks for being an arbiter in the "class" war, pro and con regarding SETs, the Phoole's on the hill who love and defend them and will continue to do so until they pry the NOS antique boxes out of our cold dead hands (or our tube caddy's) and the "toaster-heads" who aren't. I appreciate your well written articles, reviews (although I'd like you to find more faults - especially with your advertisers) and "information" that I often scoff at. LOL.

A
n impassioned listener and a reader but unfortunately not a devotee of all your "sponsors".

W. Gordon Ray

Hi Srajan,

Nice review on the Decware Taboo. I expected no less but it's gratifying anyhow. It's a real kick to have you along for the micro-power ride. The Method is on my short list and I'll likely be replacing my VMPS 626rs in the living room rig with the new Zu Tone monitors at some point.

Mike

Srajan-

Nice piece on SETs. I recently heard an extraordinary one - link is to reviews including my comments. Look at the other pages with design and background info: www.chimeralabs.com/reviews_amps.html. Pretty amazing stuff that somehow eliminated the shout from the Lowther DX3s being used. I don't even pretend to understand.

Keep up the good work!
Cheers, Bill

Srajan,

I'd like to thank you again for another fine article. Trying to describe musical qualities with words might just be the most difficult task imaginable. I find there is one particular descriptor that is constant in most well designed and implemented SETs - timing. Whatever it is that other topologies require reconstructing the music, in my opinion, they all fail at reproducing intricate timing details. A good SET simply allows the listener to get it better than other types. I think this is similar to how a non-oversampling, filterless DAC portrays the music in comparison to all the over, up, up and over and other types of digital hardware does. The result is indescribable but extremely noticeable and enjoyable.

Kind regards,
Chris Keating
Srajan

I couldn't agree more with John Potis' take on current audio shops. Just recently I wanted to buy a new pair of replacement ear pads for my headphones. Sure I could order them online for the cheapest price but being a normal red-blooded American, I wanted them now! So I called around to the local shops and nobody had them in stock. They all said they could order them for me though. One shop was persistent, asking, "Well, do you want me to order them?" I was honest and said, "No, I'll get them myself online." I'm willing to pay the markup for an in-stock item, but only when I'm getting actual value for it, in this case the immediate gratification of not having to wait. I wonder if some owners realize how easy it is to lose a customer or potential customer for life. I'll never set foot in one high-end shop in town because of the snooty and no-service attitude I encountered there years ago. On that same note, when I was a poor high school student, I was treated like a millionaire at another shop and have promptly bought several pieces of equipment there. Anyways, please keep up the good work. I love the site.

John Phillippe

Srajan,

As someone who has always been very passionate about music and who is somewat of a newbie to this audiophile "thing," I really appreciate the work you and the people who work with you do through your website. I learn a lot about gear and other things audio-related as well but the nice little gem for me, at least this week, is the World Music section.

As I am sitting here looking over my modest 500 CD collection, I am struck by the fact that not a whole lot of music in it has gotten me out of my chair to put any of the CDs into my player and listen. I never thought I would tire of the music that I own but the truth is, there is only 2 dozen of the 500 that I could listen to and never tire of. I need some more variety.

I can say that for the first time in a while I am excited to go to a record store and start looking at some titles. My music collection is a bit varied, you will find anything from Anthrax or Slayer to Michael Hedges and Patricia Barber. I think that the reason for the staleness is that I am just not exposed to anything new. I work, I come home and spend time with my family and I am not around people that would necessarily expose me to anything but Adult Contemporary flavor of the month type music.

I have always been interested in guitar players like Michael Hedges, Joe Satriani, Eliot Fisk, Paco DeLucia, Al DiMeola, and many others. It's just very hard to find music from other countries and the World Music section of your site seems to me to be a great place to start. Just about every artist that I see in there is new to me and your reviews have my interest piqued, particularly anything guitar or guitar-like such as the oud.

Thanks to you, I have my little list of titles to check into this weekend at the local record shop. Can you recommend any solo oud albums? I had a CD some while back that was all solo oud, a lot of it impovisational, but I can't remember who the artist was and the CD was misplaced.

Thanks for your passion and for firing up a bit of mine. I finally have some music that I can get excited about discovering again.

Brian
Hi Srajan

I hope your'e well and not being stressed too much! I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you again for putting me in directions I wouldn't have thought about by myself. For some time now I have wanted to downsize (for aesthetic reasons) from my AG Unos (they march up the room like a pair of Vorlons) but the trouble was what to replace them with on a smaller budget ?

I read with interest your reviews on the Gallo Ref 3 and the Hyperion HPS-938 and found my nearest dealer to investigate. Before hearing them I doubted that these $4000-ish upstarts could get anywhere near the Unos' sound quality. Boy was I wrong. I heard the Gallos first and was mighty impressed, for me they came across just a little forthright but I still cosidered them to be competitive with the Unos - amazing!

My second audition was with the Hyperions and when I heard these, my jaw hit the ground, bounced back up and then hit the ground again. I absolutely fell for these speakers big time and couldn't believe what was on offer for the price, hell even forgetting the price.

Now there are two areas where I feel I got the jump on you (for a change). I had already invested in the Stereovox HDSE i/c and was pleased to see how much you enjoyed it. The Stereovox Studio HDLS speaker cables are an amazing value too, I don't know if you plan to have a listen to some at all.

By the way, I also upgraded my amplifier as well as the speakers. The dealer I went to was using what I thought was a superb match for the Hyperions, the Graaf GM50 integrated "toob" amp. I was so impressed with this that I begged my wife to let me buy this as well. It really is well worth a listen.

Sorry to ramble on and on but I thought you might be interested to hear some more of your influence and inspiration to try things outside of the "normal" envelope. You also inspired me to try and kick off my writing career, something I have been toying with for ages. I have submitted a trial article to a UK magazine and am hopefully waiting for an answer.

Once again thanks for all your help and the fun you provide.

Best wishes
Nick Brown
Good afternoon,

Congratulations on three years! I am a little behind on writing this but, I wanted to tell you thank you and the rest of your wonderful staff for all the great work. I love the site and look forward to every update.

Thanks again!
Donald Nunez
Hi Jeff,

So far your Garrard 301 article is interesting and informative and I look forward to your next installment. I would like to know if you plan on doing any more comparisons between the 301 and the Thorens TD-124. It would be great if you could duplicate what you are doing with the Garrard for the Thorens-124. There is great interest in both of these tables, (they are simply the best for playing back old/original mono recordings with vintage mono cartridges). My vintage equipment customers are in two camps - one group is the Thorens 124/SME-3012 group and the other is the 301/Ortofon group. Some cross over by switching tonearms and as you did by using a more modern arm, but there is a vital interest in getting the best possible sound out of both of these tables.

As a side note, some of my past customers are people you may know or be familiar with - Anthony Kershaw of Audiophilia and Blair Rogers when he was still working with Anthony. I also sold some records to Anthony's former partner who started Audiophilia, Andrew Chasin...

Good luck with the article, and keep the information coming!

David
http://www.classicrecordings.on.ca/
Hi,

Thank you for your reviews on 6moons. I just ordered the Onix/Melody SP3 (mine is branded "Melody"), as well as a Katana Inca design HDCD player to partner it. I have an old pair of Celestion A1 speakers (which I love!) that will hopefully do for now. This is my first "real" hifi,and I can't wait for it to arrive.

Thanks again for your review - it was very helpful to me.

Regards,

Justin Hareb
Srajan,

John from Boston here. A real urban summer's day. What better than to close the shades, relax and listen to music.

First, your responses to the AA thread were both responsive and civil while avoiding being defensive. Props to you. Second, your last industry piece, "The Passion of the Internet" was, as I see it, your best and most ambitious writing to date. You have now staked out an approach, a claim to audio writing that no one else even attempts: you posit audio in a larger cultural, political and economic context; audio is not sui generis, it's a pleasurable activity engaged in by people who must operate in subjective and objective conditions - material conditions.

Your penetrating (and most readible, non-academic) analysis provides a prism of understanding and discussion that should spark real dialog as it recasts the relationships among workers/audio people, who buys equipment and the producers of that equipment in terms generally reserved for good marxist analysis: commodification, reification, alienated and non-alienated labor, wages and capital. As an extra addition attraction, you throw into the mix more than a dollop of non-Western philosophy. Quite the mullligan stew.

This approach is ambitious. You ask your readers to go on a very different audio 'trip' than is found in any other paper or Internet zine. Moreover, you do not cut your suits to fit your reader; you expect readers to do some work and stretch their minds as they stretch their ears. Basically, you do not "dumb-down" or have pint-sized expectations of your readers; quite the contrary.

Srajan, with this last "industry" piece, you have finally come out of the closet as I see it. You are a European intellectual with a streak of "New Age" mysticism who just happens to be an audiophile. Come on, 'fess-up .

Third, most of us who are interested in audio have no more chance to buy 'high-end' stratospheric priced near SOTA or whatever-it-is-called equipment than a snow ball in hell. When we read the usual reviews, it is as if we are entering a fantasy world. 6moons , via your recent writing and the reviews of several of your "moonie" reviewers, have boldly asserted that hi-end/quality audio ain't necessary out of reach of mortal beings with limited financial means.

Any number of recent reviews of human-priced equipment have moved me to say, "oh boy, how can I demo it, I wanna try it, maybe next year I can really put together suffcient funds to buy it". Meaning that having really fine equipment exists as a real possibility now rather than as fantasy or delusion and, ultimately, a source of frustration. More importantly, your approach valorizes the purchase of hi-quality equipment at relatively affordable 'people's' prices; and that the run-of-the mill audio person really can experience the passion of wonderfully reproduced sound and that honest audio craftspeople should be able to do their work and earn a reasonable living.

Fourth, because you are passionate about audio and have, essentially, made it your work and play without artificial divide, it is a labor of meaning and love; it is not alienated labor.You have written honestly about who you are, what you do and why you do it. You are 'open' about your relationship and historical connections to the audio equipment industry and 6moons' policy regarding reviewing. What more can a reader ask? If readers don't value or appreciate your approach, they just don't have to double-click your site. Neat, simple.

Fifth, there are times when I read your written output and think, "come on, this is really bullshit writing: too many mixed metaphors, too many adjectives; trim the style, get to the point, don't be so cute in your copy and layout." But hey, this is your gig and you do it with integrity and you do it in a way that nobody else does.

Sixth, finally, what makes 6moons a must read, for me, is that most of the time your writing is clear, coherent and perceptive. You are honest and respectful of all readers, whether they agree with you or not. In the audio world, the latter traits seem to be sadly deficient.

You end your posts with "Cheers". That's a whole lot less starchy and stiff than the usual closing so I figure you won't mind if I appropriate it for closing this email.

Cheers from tumid Boston
John

Srajan,

first let me say how much I've enjoyed your review journal for the past few months. Like Positive Feedback, you seem to understand that there are people and personalities behind the craft of audio equipment, and the love of music -- not thick faceplates -- that drive these creators. Like the excellent HiFi+ from England, you have tapped into another of my loves which is photography. Your detailed photographs of the equipment under review rivals the rich content of the text.

Regards,
Bill Cannastra

Jeff,

Thank you for your review of the Fi Yph. As usual, great reading material, especially the intro about High End audio!

I bought my first amp, a Quad 405 when I was sixteen for $385 (exactly $405 including taxes). At that time, I earned $220 per week at my job. Since I paid little for rent, each month or two I could afford a new piece of equipment. And that piece of equipment would cost the same amount as one week of work.

The month after, I got a pair of large original Advent speakers for $210. Then a Rega Planet turntable (complete with arm and cartridge) for $125 (brand new...), which I later changed for a Thorens TD160 MKII with TP11 tonearm and ADC ZLM cartridge for a whopping $210.

So each new part of my -- almost high end -- equipment cost me the equivalent of a week paycheck. These days, a so-called high(er) end turntable would cost me around $5000 with a decent tonearm and cartridge. Problem is, I don't earn $5000 a week.

At that time, the local HiFi store was staffed by friendly, music-loving peace-and-love kind of guys and you could actually hang out at these places. Everytime I walked into a HiFi store in recent years, I was always greeted by a commission-earning salesman trying to figure out how much he could squeeze out of my wallet. No wonder people shop for junk at Best Buy and Speaker City!

Keep up the good work!

Robert Gaboury
Montreal, Canada
Jeff,

I haven't thought about Leary and Alpert in nearly 30 years. I had the occasion to see and hear Ram Das at Hunter College around 1974. I remember thinking that he had the most enlightened eyes I'd ever seen. I fondly recall "the Nature of Personal Reality" as my life's guide. I magine I have strayed significantly!

Thanks for a nice review and an even nicer memory.

Regards,
Chris Keating
Srajan:

Thank you for your review of and exhuberance for the Druid. I have had mine up and running for all of 60 minutes and I am astounded. It's one of those "how day do dat" moments. I am using them with the Modwright SWL 9.0 and Butler 2250. I know, I know. I assume I have another 199 hours to go before they really start delivering the goods. Brand new Ibis cables also.

Thanks
Steve Jeffcoat
I loved Jeffs' Fi Yph review but loved even more his delving a bit into the underground New York audio scene of the late 80s and 90s. It's a shame that scene has dissipated somewhat around here with the demise of the "New York Noise" shows. I know those guys (J C, Blackie Pagano and others) are still at it though and hope that someday, the show might come back.

My only criticism of the piece is more a matter of historical interpretation than of disputing fact. In my opinion, the divergence of High-End audio and the average Joe was not due so much to the High-End companies deciding to abandon customers but rather to the fact that mainstream audio companies began using their superior resources to muscle the press into parroting their marketing line: "all amps sound the same, more power = better". This was the start of the concept of disposable components, built cheaply and marketed as newer and better. Because of this and the concept "power is cheap", speakers began to become more difficult to drive and amps had to get more powerful, whether that meant better or not. A cycle began that was hard to resist.

In order to differentiate themselves, the new breed of high-end audio companies had to go up-market because it was impossible to compete against the combined forces of the big companies amd the purchased press and retailers who went along with the flow because selling the hyped stuff was far easier than trying to reeducate their customers.

Keep up the great work, Jeff. You're one of the few people keeping a light pointed at companies trying to make a difference, like Fi and Auditorium 23. If they were to disappear, it would be a great loss to everyone.

Sincerely,
John DeVore
Hi Jeff,

Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your review of the Fi Yph. It read like poetry. Keep up the great work.

Best,
Jonathan
Hi Mark Wagner

I want to thank you for your reviews on 6moons. They are very useful as it is very difficult to get reliable advice for good Mahler recordings. If I have understood you right, the following recordings are the most commendable: Järvi, Solti, Haenchen and Rattle, with Järvi and Haenchen as the first choices and Rattle and Solti as the second. A pity that Järvi is not longer available. I have his Prokofiev's Violin Concertos with the Scottish National Orch. and Lydia Mordkovitch on violin - the best orchestral recording in my collection, considering both interpretation, playing and sound quality (with the only reservation that Prokofiev is not my favorite composer anymore).

All the best

Felix Gulsrud
Oslo, Norway
Hi,

I am very entertained by your reviews, which I find are thorough and well written, without resorting to ludicrous over-praising of products; I love the fact that you will also give the occasional product a bad review, something you almost never see in print or on the Web.

I was wondering if you are planning on reviewing any of the Tyler Acoustics speakers. In my search for a top of the line speaker system to replace my Thiels, I had the good fortune to be able to listen to the Tyler Linbrook Signature System, which I loved - and loved even more when I found out the price. In keeping with your recent review of the Gallo A'Divas, it would be fun for you to continue the value-for-money theme with the Tylers.

Best Regards
Graham Gillies
Hi,

I have a Droplet CDP here and think your review is spot on. The sound/looks/build quality is perhaps without peer anywhere near its price. Re: the error message refusing to play a few discs, try putting one of these discs in and if the machine does not read the disc's Toc, shut it off, then on and try again, I have found this to work the couple of times I got an error message. Let me know if it works for you.

Thanks,
Neil

Tried that. Worked on one CD but none of the others. The transport is bad is what it is.

Srajan

Hi Srajan,

I almost bought Meadowlark speakers but really never cared for the way they looked. That might have been one of the problems that didn't help sales. Just my humble opinion. It is disheartening for someone as passionate as Pat to try that hard and go under. I am for any USA made product even though many are priced too high .

Regards,
Tim Emons

Srajan,

You do an excellent, excellent job of asking questions that the reader themselves would often have.

Reviewers have pointed out that there is physically nothing about the Lamm amps that justifies spending the $29,000 for them. I agree the creator deserves to be rewarded and perhaps Lamm wishes to make small runs at a higher price for convenience at the same profit as dealing with producing units in quantity at a lower price.

However, some people may not wish to make the financial sacrifice to satisfy the desires of the producer.

BK Butler deserves to profit and profit well from his creation, and perhaps he did make expensive upgrades as he went along, however the jump is considerable [from $9,995 as announced a few shows ago to now $18K for the Monad amps] and I think many readers who would like to make the financial sacrifice here, would be much more comfortable to know how this considerable increase in price occurred.

You are in a position to examine why and how this occurred, and it would be greatly appreciated, I believe, by many of your readers who have an interest in this equipment.

Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts,

All the best,
Jeffrey Rose
Hi!

I've been thinking of writing you for a while, since it's obvious we share the same taste in stereo. Long before I was aware of 6moons, I got myself Avantgarde Unos and a pair of Supratek Merlots. At the moment I use them with a Django TVC preamp and a Opera Consonance Ref 2,2 CD-player. But since I started reading 6moons, I've bought an Almarro A205A, a Unison Research Unico, a GainClone, a Lenco L75 (after researching the Garrard 301 project), a Sonic Impact T-amp and presently the review pair of the Tonian speakers. (I also have a pair of Spica TC-60 but the Tonians are supposed to replace the Avantgardes because of moving to a smaller flat.)

Well, anyway. My point is that I'm considering two amps for the Tonians (if I'm replacing the Unico), and that is the Stellavox PW-1 recommended by Tony and the Nuforce Reference 8 that you're reviewing soon. (Or the tweakaudio version of the amps.) Thank's for always staying alert when it comes to new equipment, on either side of the price scale. My tip for a future reviews would be one of the Zenn preamps from Singapore, or maby some of the E.A.R. stuff. Anyway, it all boils down to the interest in music. Check out the solo album of Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist) and Susanna & The Magical Orchestra if you want to explore more inspiring Norwegian music than the Tord Gustavsen Trio. Hope you enjoy it!

Best regards
Tormod Halleraker