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For published correspondence May 2008 thru January 2009, click here.
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By repeat inquiry, here is the owner's manual of the Garrard 301 vintage turntable [856KB PDF] whose rebuild Jeff Day described in his series of articles.
Hi Srajan,

Thanks for sharing the review by Francis Baumli. Well written, very interesting, and my ears are envious!! Offer him one of those high paying, short hours, but very rewarding "reviewer positions" you've been speaking about...and hopefully with 6moons.

All the best...
Ed King

Dear Sir,

I read your report on the recent High End Show in Munich.

I agree with you that the MOC location is ill-suited to listening to music and that this Show has become dull and unimaginative. I was therefore astonished to read your final comments "There was a little outboard show at the Fleming Hotel which I didn't visit on principle..."

I beg your pardon? On what principle? What status quo are you trying to maintain? How can you say, in one breath, that the main show is lousy and yet "on principle" you choose not to visit an 'outboard' show trying to put right what the main show fails to do? And all the more extraordinary as you were actually staying at a hotel less than 50 metres from this 'outboard' show! Bizarre...

You cover THE show in Vegas, don't you? Is that not an 'outboard' show of the CES? Do you not remember that the High End Show in Germany was founded exactly to counter the dull, unimaginative mainstream audio shows of its day? Now it has become the status quo (and all the more boring for it) you pay lip service to it "on principle"? I guess your "principle" must therefore exclude you from a huge swathe of audio happenings that your readership want to know about - but which you censor. One understands censorship when it is used to 'protect' dictatorial regimes, but censoring developments in audio...?

I do not subscribe to censorship, and my "principle" in so doing is out of respect for free speech, the basic tenets of democracy and the certainty that restricting freedom inevitably stifles creativity. Perhaps next year you should report on the North Korean or Zimbabwean audio scenes?

Yours sincerely,
Simon Yorke

Hello Simon,

I myself haven't lived in the US for 4 years nor covered the Las Vegas show. When I did, the event was in the Alexis Park and T.H.E. Show was right next door within a 3-minute footwalk. I haven't been back since everything moved to the Venetian.

When I go to Munich, I go there on my own nickel. No one pays my way, I cover all expenses out of my own pocket. Including travel days, actual attendance and writing the report, I lose about 2 weeks of time. When I return, I then have to make up that time as far as review assigments are concerned. If I don't go to the show, my business isn't affected as we are a review magazine. Manufacturers know how to find us and send review loaners regardless of whether they or we were at any particular shows.

I have little sympathy for manufacturers who would make the life of the press even harder. The Munich show is convenient because everything is under one roof. The organization which brings foreign visitors like myself into town has put this event together. Manufacturers like yourself who offboard attempt to take advantage of the other event's traffic. Without it, you'd have nothing. And, you chose a hotel which was not anywhere near the M.O.C. Why put the burden of finding you on the press? Participate in the main event where everyone else is. Don't make more work for us than it already is to cover such a massive event.

Perhaps you should reflect on my reality before you jump to any geopolitical conclusions. Censorship? Will you accuse those magazines who sent no reporters at all of it? It's nothing of the sort. I decided to support the main event, you decided not to. You took a calculated risk that not everybody would see you. That was your decision. Mine was to stay at the M.O.C. Next year I'm not going at all to instead do a show I haven't before - perhaps Athens, perhaps Stockholm, perhaps Tokyo. And I didnt say this show was boring. I said the spirit of the exhibitors was. Big difference. There's nothing wrong with the venue per se. The old argument of "not conducive to good sound" doesn't wash. Some manufacturers manage just fine to put on a compelling demo there. If they can, other should be able as well.

Srajan

Hey David,

I've been following your posts on 6moons for a while - bought a pair of JB3s and a KingRex but realized the small print was crucial i.e, they are nearfield speakers. Wanted a bit more dynamics so we swapped them out for a pair of Rega R1'...ahhh, bliss (however, the JB3' are truly magical with midrange and female vocals).

I've been thinking of upgrading the amp next and was getting interested in viewing your John Blue Valve amp review, but you've pulled it. Any particular reason?

Thanks for contributing as you do, really enjoy reading your articles.
Best regards,
James Hodgson

Hi James,

Thank you for your support. I'll come back to the JohnBlue TL66 in due course. The designer recently had it upgraded and sent me the parts. Since I have to do some breaking-in, I might as well move on with other assignments.

Best,
David

Dear Sir,

Concerning this French-Swiss debate about the Janus/Rubanoïde, I agree with you for the legal aspects to be treated not here; but, if you still accept some simple people considerations, permit me to point on some residual questions:

1- If Schmidlin wanted to get the exclusive rights to sell the Janus in all the world, even in Asian countries, it is certainly because he was convinced of its musical qualities ! How can he now declare 'The French man's clone that was built by some in the past is so bad'?
2- If the signed agreement concerned only the selling, why Schmidlin was so in a hurry to built his own clone called Rubanoïd ?
3- And when the paper problem occurred, what was the obligation of the seller to find a technical solution, which is the domain of the conceptor because he is the expert here ?
4- What is the matter with the existence or not of a licence between Lineaum and Deminière? Was it not the time to deal with this at the signature of the exclusivity contract? And a little too late now?
5- From where does come the information of Schmidlin about a panel of 'serious' French Audiophiles who have made measures on efficiency (dB/1w/1w) and also on the flatness of the response range? Here in France, we never saw publications on this subject, and be sure that many of us are impatient to discover it !
About the respective qualities of Janus versus Rubanoîd, we remember that you declare in your response that YOU NEVER FORMALLY REVIEWED THE RUBANOÏDE !

For the quality of Janus, we do not lack testimonies all published on the Deminière's site, and several forums, in French, sorry.

For all this, Schmidlin answer seems to be a little uneasy, and finally far from praiseworthy.

Titounit

Mr. Christian Le Dalour hiding behind the Titounit handle -

Again, none of this is my concern. Deminière has never contacted me and I don't get involved in this type of dispute. Had I formally reviewed the Rubanoide and it turned out to be a forgery or someone else's intellectual property, it would be different.

As it stands, I don't need you to remind me that I never formally reviewed the Rubanoide. I am in perfect command of my senses and I remember perfectly well what I did and did not do. I heard this speaker at a friend's and simply reported on its existence at a time when no other audio magazine in the world yet had.

Now let me make myself clear. Stop pestering me about this entire affair. I'm sure Mr. Deminière can take care of his own business. And it won't be with me but with whoever he accuses of theft. I am a publisher. I wrote about a speaker in an industry feature article. End of story.

If you have any personal involvement in this, contact Serge Schmidlin.

Srajan

Hi Mr. Kan;

I see you are reviewing the VA Two. I have two of these amps and use them in mono. One amp mono to one speaker. Each amp is a replacement for the original that arrived defective. Both defective amps were replaced quickly and customer service was great. Tech really wanted to investigate the defective amps for their education. They never informed me what was wrong with each amp, different malfunctions interestingly. I did ask. However, their e-mails were prompt and helpful. The replacement amps are working nicely for the past 3 and 6 months of ownership.

I have a 14' x 24' room and direct the speakers the longer direction. I use two pairs of stacked Piega TC-70X. hey have the coax upper and mid ribbons. Piega uses their MOM technology for quick and still fleshed out bass. Not ectomorph-like. Not endomorph-like. But muscular and built for speed. Prior to room treatment, the Piegas in single pair use gave a bass in the room that gave me headaches. I listen at 80-90dB. Then the bass overpowered the mids and highs. However after quite a few Acoustic Resonators from ASI, the tonal balance greatly improved. Unexpected result.

I use the VAs for one pair of Piegas and currently a Spectron M III SE. I have a Clayton amp but it doesn't fit in the area of the other components. Yes the M III is warmer but the VA has the ferocious transients. The VA is clean and transparent with no detectable bloom. The Spectron gives more bloom in the mids but recedes slightly in the treble. The bass from either amp is excellent, with the expected warmth, body and transient differences. VA bass more ectomorph.

The gains for the stacked configuration are increased soundstage coherence and better resolution of instruments. Also the bass seems more linear across frequency.

I have Isotek power conditioning incl Titans for the VA and Lessloss and WSS power cables. WSS speaker cables. AMR CD 77/USB computer out. Esoteric D5. Vtl 6.5, Tron Syren and McAlister PL-12 that is so transparent and controlling. TW Acoustic AC3 with for arms etc. And so forth.

The VAs are great because they demand so little space. And they have a volume control. They are not my cup of tea tonally, but they are exhilarating with the right recording. However, imagine the options in this stacked config. The VAs allow more tuning options (tonal, dynamic soundstaging etc.)and give a different presentation vs. the M III. And the blend seems seamless to me even if I can notice when there is more or less output from the VAs.

I could not live with both sets of speakers run by VA monos completely. Like a sports car, exciting but not comfortable for the long listen. However, with the right speakers or preamp (VTL) the VAs could be quite the ticket for many. I do like them better with the VTL, even if the VTL is not so transparent.

Good luck,
Dave O.
Hi Gents,

I've just finished about the first page of Michael's time next to the water cooler of hifi. Always love his musings. As it is, I'm drinking a Batard Montrachet on a perfect night in Cambridge, and find dividing my attention difficult. It's moonlight in a bottle.

I did wish to take a brief moment to second his sentiment. As evidence, I'll put forth histories to which I've born witness. Lucky as I've been to be in daily contact with many a professional musician and artist my life long...parents, Joe Pass, Carmen McRae, Carl Fontana, Jimmy Rowles, Marc Johnson, Peyton Park, Joel Press, Samuel Barber, Donal Fox, Mstislav Rostropovich and a number of others that would needlessly drive this nail further...people who walk with music in their step, who live in music because there is no other alternative for them; and who, by our hyper homosapian hifi longings, have to a fault crappy systems. I don't mean at all to diminish our, as audiophiles, affection for attempting to create real music...but if only the most defined, acute spacious iterations bring you joy, well, practice your scales. It will remind you just what kind of magic is coming through your speakers, be they $30,000 single driver phenoms or blaring boom boxes...the emotion is there.

The artists have given us everything, their all-hopefully we keep that in mind while honoring them with our enjoyment and the hobby that frames it.

Fred Crane
Hi Srajan,

Only found the time now to read your Munich show report. You hit the nail on its head! Surprising atmosphere this yea - I remember the Frankfurt shows of the early nineties well. Where has all this enthusiasm gone?

I still have mine and music matters more than ever for me.

Anyway, always refreshing to surf through your pages.

Keep on with this great job!

Best regards
Oliver

Dear Srajan,

It seems that we have some people feeling that Audio Consulting has taken the idea of the Rubanoide from somebody else.
As you very well know, the Linaeum goes back to Paul Pattock and all patents are his. That there was a French audiophile that took up the idea in the 90s is also common knowledge to the audiophile community (Hiraga’s article in La Nouvelle Revue Du Son, Mai 2009).

Three years ago, we paid a substantial sum of money to this man (we have all documents that can prove this) in order for him not to give away any info about what we wanted to become a commercial product (the man was under contract and would have gotten his percentage). Not only turned it out that he had absolutely no patent but also he went on giving away the (very dangerous) info about the construction of the Rubaniode.

This was only the first act of the problems.

Rapidly we found ourselves in the position with enormous problems of stability, going as far as having the membranes totally blocked in the air gap. At that point we could not consider any sales to Asian countries where temperature and moisture are very high. We had to invest about €20,000 into finding new moving coil materials and paper membranes to solve the problem. In fact it ended up in a 100% new development for a Linaeum clone as the more we looked into the French one, the more we were facing catastrophic engineering problems. We had to start from scratch which took us over one year to get where we are now.

The French man’s clone that was built by some in the past is so bad that we were approached by many of those DIYers to provide new membranes after the initial ones were simply stuck in the air gap. A recent set of measurements by an independent group of serious French audiophiles also showed that it is only our Rubanoide that matches the 100dB efficiency mark, together with the flat bandwith. If La Nouvelle Revue Du Son chose the Rubanoide as a further development of the Linaeum principle, this is not by chance. By the way, they also mentioned the French guy and his website.

Not only had we paid for a bad copy of the Linaeum but we also found out that there was no patent on it by the French inventor. Now we find ourselves attacked by people whose only motivation is jealousy. The truth is that we are idiots who paid for something that did not exist.

As you were reporting on this speaker in the past, I thought you needed the full story. Sorry for bothering you with such “low level noise”.

Serge Schmidlin
Dear Sir,

I had the pleasure to read your publications on the 6moons and particularly concerning the Rubanoïde you wrote in November 2007. All the fame of this invention is dedicated in these pages to M. Schmidlin, and two lines only were given to the real finder of this technology, M. Deminière. Now the truth has been revealed that M. Schmidlin has stolen the invention, and M. Deminière explains all the story in a French site CIN&SON at this address (at the end, page 8 to 10).

In the USA, the Rubanoïds are now well known by your publications but what you make known is not the truth. It seems to me and other French enthusiasts of the true product, the Janus 50, that American people, and every good sound amateur everywhere, should know that the genuine marvelous sound transducer is not Rubanoïd but Janus 50, and the man who found and developed this technology is François Deminière.

In the forum www.cinetson.org , he explains the way by which Audio Consulting signed an exclusivity contract that was never respected. So all the Rubanoïds are counterfacts and not legal. Furthermore, their performances are not at the level of the original : Janus 50. A purchaser of a Rubanoïd found that the moving coil of the HP was distorded and that the Audio Consulting representatives were unable to repair it. M. Deminière did it and discovered that the technical and sound characteristics of his invention were not respected by these copies. He repaired, and the owner found again the pleasure he discovered the first time he listened to Janus 50. I suppose that your are involved in the insurance your readers must have to be able to know the only people able to repair their Rubanoïds, in fact their Janus 50. And the respect of the truth drive every honest people to re-establish the true information about all this.

For all these reasons, I would be very pleased if you could verify what I describe here, by reading this French forum. And if, secondly, you could present in 6moons the true story of the Rubanoïds and present the true author, M.Deminière. You once made a very interesting portrait of M. Salabert, the producer of the Phy-Hp wide-band hp.

Be sure you can publish a very interesting paper on M. Deminière and the patient way of all experiments he made to reach at end the truly astonishing sound of his Janus.

You perfectly know that it is important not to kill the inventivity in such a delicate matter as the sound industry, because it is owing to persons as M. Deminière that progress are made, not by thiefs and pirates as MM. Schmidlin who see nothing else than their private profit.

Be the defensor of this aim.

Thank you. And excuse my poor English.

Titounit

Dear Sir,

First off, I don't read French. I can't read the forum thread you link to. Two, if Mr. Deminière has indeed legal issues with Mr. Schmidlin about their licensing agreement, the proper course to settlement or restitution is not through my magazine (nor indeed online forums of any kind). Three, my article was written in November 2007. Why hasn't Mr. Deminière contacted me earlier, and in person?

I'm neither an arbitrator nor an investigative journalist. Until M. Deminière contacts me personally, in English, to substantiate your claims, I don't feel obliged to engage this subject. I should require compelling proof that at the time my article first published, the facts represented disagreed with the actual facts as they stood then. To date, Mr. Deminière has not contacted me. Not once. That and the amount of time that has passed suggest that at best, the relationship between Mr. Deminière and Mr. Schmidlin has since soured. Alas, we do not alter articles years after the fact. Change is the nature of life. Disputes of the alleged nature are settled by negotations between the parties afflicted and perhaps, finally in court. They are not settled by self-appointed apostles, online forums or publications such as mine. If Mr. Deminière wishes to contact me about anything, he can do so. But he has not since the article first published 1.5 years ago nor did he at any time prior to seek publicity for this Janus 50 product. As far as any thinking man is concerned, those simple facts speak quite loudly. Whatever might be the case now on the licensing agreement between Mr. Deminière and Mr. Schmidlin is for them to settle. I have never formally reviewed the Rubanoïde and given these allegations, don't have any plans to review the Janus 50 either.

Srajan

Hi Srajan,

I'll keep it short and sweet, great site!

Constantly keeps me informed and entertained with high quality writing.

Keep it up,
Cheers,
Neil Young

Srajan,

Based on your review of the Modwright Transporter I bought one and have to say I totally agree with everything you discovered. It's the best digital front end I have had in my system.

Since your review the Transporter has been upgraded by Dan and is now in it's "Platinum" iteration with an upgraded power supply and various other changes (the most important is a change of a few parts to allow for use of the EML 5U4G). I recently got my unit upgraded and am now running the (enormous) EML rectifier. After a lengthy break-in period performance has been significantly improved above the original Modwright Transporter. I didn't think that was possible. People even use a weird looking octal adaptor to use 6SN7's instead of the 6N1Ps with supposedly great results. I have not tried that yet.

story short, I was wondering if it would make sense to do a little follow-up to your original review as that version of the Modwright Transporter is not really around anymore. Dan lowered prices and the Platinum version now goes for $300 BELOW the cost of the original. It may be a temporary offer, not sure.

Just a thought in case you ever run out gear to review....

Auf Wiedersehen
Thomas Scheidig

I love those EML 5U4Gs in my Woo Audio 300B amp and Yamamoto. I did not know of the Platinum edition nor that the ModWright transporter could now take it. Trouble is, shipping to Switzerland is quite costly from the US and without having an original (but apparently now discontinued) comparison model available, the very appeal of a follow-up (how does it improve) is eliminated. So we'll need to have you do the review and tell us what the changes do -:)

Srajan

Was watching a house building programme onTV where the folk were having a pre-built (factory stuff) German house built. Describing the insulation in the walls, they said that it included a layer that shielded against 'electronic fuzz' which caught my attention! The Germans build a lot of houses this way (Huf house for example) so it's interesting that they include this (Faraday cage?) concept. Does their hifi sound better as a result?

Chris Skelton

Hi Srajan,

I have been reading and enjoying your reviews for quite some time now - going back to when you were reviewing for Enjoy the Music (I remember how you were one of the first reviewers to recognize the talent of Graham Slee). Thanks for the excellent and informative website.

Could you please give any guidance as to where one can purchase Calyx products? Have done a Google search and come up with nothing.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Edward

See below. Marja & Henk however found a solution: From Calyx' forum on their site we find calyxamp@calyxamp.com as a valid mail address.
Hello,

I currently live in South Korea and I am very interested in purchasing one of Calyx's integrated amps. However, their website has no contact or purchase information. Can you tell me how I could contact Calyx or purchase their products?

Thank You,
Gary Zabunian

That sound's nearly too stupid to be true so I checked for myself on their English pages. Like you, I cannot find any contact information. I also always delete all e-mail correspondance after I reply to it to prevent Outlook Express from growing into a monster. The only thing I could suggest is to try a sales@ or info@ (calyxamp.com) approach since most servers are set up to deliver wrong e-mails as long as the server is properly identified. Sorry for that - and if Calyx reads this, perhaps they'll feel prompted to fix this right away.

Srajan

Dear Srajan,

I am now reading your website for three years and it is about time to express my gratitude to you and your fellow moonies. I started the audiophile path at the age of fifteen, after listening to a full linn setup with lp12 and linn isobarik at a viennese dealer. I would never forget the impact a rolling stone live album had on my ears back then. As my funds were obviously limited at that age i purchased a used tandberg receiver, linn kans and a heybrook tt2 turntable, all of which i abused to the best of my abilities with all sorts of music from kraftwerk to bach (much to the aural delight of my tolerant parents).

Very much later on i wanted to create music myself and invested in pro equipment like allesi speakers and a mixing console. It was fun, but ultimately i lacked the time and talent to pursue that path. Unfortunately the sound of this system had me listening less and less to the music i love. This state of affairs lasted several years until, after a lengthy hospital stay due to a major motor bike accident, i decided that music needed to be a much bigger part of my life again.

It was your website that introduced me to the gear that was about to make this happen. Your reviews gave me the kickstart to explore the vintage roots of audio reproduction and the heart and soul of electric and eclectic creations. I am now a 40 year old happy user of a shindo claret, a rogue audio atlas, a yamamoto A08-s, a njoe tjoeb tubed cd player, a garrarrd 301 with schick arm and a wooden 103r, a squeezebox and zu druids. All of it i bought purely on speculation, but with conviction. And it has not let me down ever since.

So here i am, thanking you for showing the way. Today i still read your website, but mostly for infotainment. I have no intention to change course or to do any upgrade mayheem. I have found deep satisfaction and joy. Everyday. All the time.

Rock on and enjoy the music.

Oliver Kartak

I'm happy to hear you're enjoying our efforts. More importantly, I'm thrilled you now continue to read us merely for infotainment as this is exactly what I see us provide. It's not an endless proposal to keep "switching gears" but, predominantly, an ongoing commentary on developments and product releases in audio to help those in the market to identify a few prospects for consideration. After that, stick with what works for you and don't get derailed by the news-driven nature of the press. You definitely got it. Bravo!

Srajan

Hello Srajan

Your show report is huge, very enjoyable. Even though you found the show boring, you did the job very professionally. My hat is off!

Sasa & his team deserve very well your Harvest Moon award as I had a chance to visit Serbia a few years ago. Nothing is easy over there and they did a great job under very hard situation - amirable people.

My regards to Ivette.
Cheers,
Franck Tchang
Hi Srajan,

Nice idea, single ended in a push pull world. Sasa has a big pair of oil-filled capacitors.

Congrats all around and best of luck,
Fred Crane
Hello Srajan,

I have been reading and generally enjoying your work for the past several years. Thanks for your efforts, and keep up the great work! I was moved to contact you for two reasons. One a question, and one to share my opinion about the health of the hi-end.

1) In your Munich show report, I was interested in your observations about the Cessaro horns. Wondering if you would mind elaborating further on the quality of sound in general, and the upper bass horn and tweeter in particular. You mentioned in your report room for improvement in the HF.

2) In the same report, you mentioned your overall perception is that in general, "hifi passion is dying." And last weekend I read an article in the NYT about the benefits of working with one's hands - actually doing something, in the author's words.

And I put 2 and 2 together. In the golden days of hifi, the 50's and 60's, enthusiasts had to have basic skills like soldering, reading instructions (if not a schematic), and building some parts of the hifi system with their own hands. Or in the words of the NYTs, "actually doing something".

Compare that with today's state of the industry. Read a glossy magazine, find out what everyone thinks is cool, then spend a lot of money to buy it. Repeat.

Is there any wonder less people are involved in the hobby today?

Wondering if there is an untapped market for a contemporary Dynaco-like model. Good audio performance available at reasonable (let's say mid-fi) pricing, to consumers interested in doing some of the work themselves. Like Ikea, for audio!

And to expose new people to audio, I wonder if people like Terry Humphries and his wife are on to something with AudioArt Cafe. Positioning the enjoyment of music as an aesthetic experience, similar to enjoying visual art or good food. A pleasure. Not an obsession.

Again, thanks for the interesting reading. If you have a moment, I would like to hear more of your thoughts on Cessaro and horns in general.

Cheers,
Scott

In the Cessaro/TruLife Audio room (nor anywhere else for that matter) I didn't spend sufficient time to really analyze much. Velissarios' son played me two tracks of Greek music that really got under my skin and instead of wearing the silly reviewer's cap, I just enjoyed the music. I noticed a small issue with treble integration early on but then I forgot all about it as the emotional response to the setup was powerful and that's what I look for most of all. If that's in place, all the audiophile stuff becomes quite irrelevant. My ideal of playback is not to sound like the real thing but to trigger an emotional response that is real. In a home environment, once that has been achieved, dialing in the rest of the audiophile bonbons is the cherry and cream. But if the emotional triggering doesn't happen, all the audiophile stuff is window dressing without anything meaningful on the other side of the window.

Srajan

Hi Srajan,

By reading your very good in depth report...is 2-channel audio on its death knell? Did the new Rethm Saadhana live up to your expectations? I am starting to wonder if I should bail on the Quad 57s or Rethms. Oh well...we baby boomers will always be suckers for 2 -channel audio I guess.

Regards, Tim

Based on sheer product volume shown, things are better than ever, particularly for vinyl. Based on certain talk? Take product X for example, well reviewed in print and on-line, very attractive, very desirable, priced very fairly. The German importer has a professional ad campaign going in the German mags, has expensive full-color literature for the dealers - and in his markets, all of 60 units sold since introduction. And that was more than all of the US combined. "With the money we invested in promoting the brand, now again here in Munich, we haven't made a penny of profit yet." So it depends on whom one talks to. A category that's purportedly experiencing real growth are USB DACs and headphones. Those are the bridge products to the younger generation. They work with PC and mobile audio, are small and can be terrifically cost-effective.

Srajan

Hi SE -

Great pics & coverage on the show!!You must have used at least 10 rolls of film to take all of these pictures, eh?
Keep up the great work...

Regards-
Dan Ellis (DE)

Actually, one 4GB card did the trick.

Srajan

Srajan,

Thanks for the great coverage of the show. One gets a nice idea of what it was like to be there.

Cheers,
Robert Lighton

Hello Srajan,

Thank you very much for this wonderful and extensive report about the Munich HighEnd Show. It is the absolute best I have found on the internet. Of course it will be impossible to cover the whole show. But I think you missed out some of the most exiting equipment from Germany: ACapella, Consequence Audio, Einstein and Odeon. These and some other exhibitors decided last year not to attend the fair anymore because of the rather poor conditions to present their high end audio gear. Therefore they decided to exhibit at Hotel Fleming's (just across the road near Hotel Leopold where you stayed) because of the more intimate atmosphere and better sonic properties of the hotel rooms in comparison to the rooms available at MOC where the main show takes place.

If by chance you had gone to this alternative show also because it was open till 8 pm on three days, I would be grateful if you could still cover this event also as I had no opportunity to visit either of the shows.

Thanks,
Jochen

I knew about the Fleming outboarders but deliberately didn't go. It's the HighEnd Show that gets the visitors into town and these folks simply take advantage to divert traffic. It's hard enough to cover the MOC when you're one man and have 2 days. I don't see why journalists who pay out of their own pocket to cover the event should be expected to chase down companies elsewhere who refuse to support the main event. Also, everyone at the MOX exhibits under the same conditions upstairs, then again downstairs. If superior audio cannot be demonstrated there, I question how superior it really is. For anyone to get somewhat objective impressions (shows are notoriously unreliable in that regard already), it is important that everyone play by the same rules. Which means racing the same track in the same weather conditions. One expects that true high-performance products and their designers have special tyres and suspension tricks to outrace the competition on the same track. If they cannot, they're just spouting excuses. I already hinted at that in my published report by the way...

Srajan

Dear Srajan,

I am from Mumbai, India, currently enjoying my music with Living Voice IBR-X2 speakers, Leben CS600 integrated valve amp, Resolution Audio CD player, Kondo copper speaker cables and Analysis plus silver oval interconnects. The music from this setup gives effect on hearing as the ensemble playing live on stage and myself sitting in the front row of audience. After reading your reviews on Rethm's Saadhana , I happened to get a chance to hear Saadhanas in my friend's house in Mumbai with valve amp. The effect was terrific. I was transported directly in the middle of musicians, I felt my whole body was enveloped by sound of musical instruments and the effect was beyond my imagination, hence I would have your advice as you have vast experinece, that this effect was due to speakers and if yes should I change to Rethms, and on 6moons I read about Ocellias also which are single driver like Rethms and Ocellias are not available in India and cannot be auditioned locally, also Anthony Gallos are available here, hence your kind advice that if I want to change my speakers which you feel of the three or any other can provide me sound better than Rethms. And according to you which 300 SET amp or transistor amp with sound similar to 300B will be best. I will be very much thankful to you for your kind advice. Looking forward to your reply. In Mumbai the living space is very expensive so apartments are not so spacious so to fit Rethms is somehow very tricky as these are very deep. Thanks

Krishan Mehra

Trust your own experience, Krishan. What you heard the Rethms do is exactly what they do in a good setup. The room plays a role but you should be able to extrapolate from your friend's setup whether you can reasonably duplicate it. Also, if he lives in Mumbai like you, why not ask him to hear the speakers in your own flat? If you have fallen for the Saadhanas' spell, I know no other speaker that does that in exactly that way.

Re: amplifiers, the Yamamoto A-08S (45) or A-09S (300B) are fabulous with that speaker. For less money, the Trafomatic Audio Experience 1 (2A3) or 2 (300B). In solid-state, the FirstWatt F3 or F5. Jacob has heard the Red Wine Audio Signature 30.1 and can tell you about the match. Being self-amplified in the bass, the Saadhanas need very little power so you can focus on quality rather than quantity and the amp need not be expensive to work superbly.

Srajan

Hi Srajan,

I own a Glow Amp 1. Besides your very positive review of the Glow Amp 1 in March, 2008, I bought a Glow Amp 1 because it allowed me to roll tubes inexpensively.

In your review of the Glow Amp 1 and in your comparison of the Glow Amp 1 to the Dayens Ampino, you apparently used the stock tubes that came with the Glow amp. I've tried a number of tube combinations in the Glow amp and find it responds to each change. Lately, I've been using NOS GE Triple Plate 5670 rectifiers and NOS Mullard EL-84 power tubes. While these tubes cost me about $170, they improved exponentially the performance of the Glow amp. The sound of the retubed Glow amp is articulate, extended and beautifully detailed. By comparison, the stock tubes sound dead and lifeless.

I use the Glow amp with a handmade HotAudio USB dac Straight (another product to consider for review) to drive Hornshoppe Horns. While I have not heard the Ampino (I might prefer it), I can say that the sound of the retubed Glow amp, when matched with good quality components, is musical, seductive and glorious.

Best wishes,
Lance

Hi Srajan:

Well, I am not sure I'll be getting an Ampino. The shipping will be nearly half of the unit itself ($130). Also, I asked Zoran if one of these could replace the Alps and he said there wasn't room (it would appear all that would need to be done is shorten the bar, but I trust he knows his product better than me).

Kind of dissapointing as I am really anxious to hear the unit. The fact you mentioned it sounded like the F5 was quite appealling. I had an Aleph 30 I sold a couple years ago that I sold when I was layed off and went back to get my masters degree. I was oping the Ampino could "hold me over" until my wife finished her masters in a couple years. Maybe I'll try to find a used Zen or Almarro A205A. In any case, I sincerely appreciate your time & effort in helping me find some great tunes at a great price. Please keep up the great work.

Warm regards,
Ed Schulte
Hi Srajan/Marja & Henk,
Barry here from New Zealand. I have just read Marja & Henk's review of the Reimyo CDT-777 and DAP-999EX DAC. I own this combination and thought I would share my experience with you as the performance of these two components was significantly increased in my system by the replacement of the Harmonix digital cable with the Acoustic Revive DSIX with an upgraded KingRex power supply fed with an Acoustic Revive power cord, and by upgrading the Harmonix DC-2 power cables supplied with each component to the Reimyo Studio Masters.

As a side issue my first Reimyo CDT-777 transport laser died after 4 months of use. The New Zealand importer Feedback Audio who I purchased it from contacted Reimyo to resolve the issue and 8 days later I had a brand new replacement CDT-777 from Japan sitting on my door step. No send it back and we will take a look at it etc just a no questions asked replacement. So my view of Reimyo is that they are excellent.

Interesting that you found the CEC transport improved things. Based on that, if you owned the DAP-999EX would you replace the CDT-777 with the CEC or similar ?

Thanks & all the best, really enjoy your stuff.

Barry
Hi Srajan.

Great review on Entreq's USB cable. For some time I've been fence sitting about upgrading my system's source with a Bel Canto CD2 to match my BelCanto dac3, or to buy a dedicated Macbook to use as a server.

Your Entreq review just helps to further the debate. I hit on the Entreq link in your article as I was intriqued by your mention that Mr. Friberg has designed power cables specifically for class D amps. Perhaps they'd be a great match for the BC ref 1000s that I use?

A recent purchase of an Acoustic Revive power distributor and a subsequent purchase of that company's power reference cord demonstrated very vividly how dramatic a difference a cord makes. The power distributor was initially plugged into the wall with one of many Zu Mothers I own. The noise floor dropped to inaudible and space between instruments increased. With the insertion of the AR cord, a certain anaemic thinness of the sound disappeared to be replaced by a textured and dense tonality.

I'm still looking forward to a review of the ASI Liveline power cords;my curiousity has now just extended to Entreq's offerings!

Cheers, Alan

ps. I attended Akfest in Michigan recently with my brother. One display that I really enjoyed had a tiny attractive glass encased Jolida tube integrated. Jolida is also about to market a $99 dac! The Jolida integrated was the Glass FX-10 and it used 4 EL-84s and sold for $450. I believe it generated about 10 watts per side. This display powered some Nola speakers and brought home just how good a system can sound that's very modestly priced. Perhaps Glow's Amp One and the Ampino have some competition at this price point?
Hi Srajan:

Another great article on the Ampino. So you say the Ampino bested the Glow on Glow's own speakers, but did it beat the Glow on your bigger systems? If you could only own one of these amps for your big rig's speakers (no cans), which would you take. Many thanks for your time & opinions. I absolutely love your website.

Thanks & have a great day,
Ed Schulte

I did say that, correct. To my mind, the Glow was always conceived of as a 2nd system type amp - desktop, den, bedroom, studio. With highly efficient speakers, 5 watts go all the way and then some. Chances are though that someone with a Glow Amp budget is far from having the right speaker for that task. On the other hand, the Ampino's 25/40wpc into 8/4 ohms are perfectly sufficient for the kind of speakers anyone shopping in the $300 - $1000/pr speaker class is likely to have. In that sense, the Ampino is serious, the Glow is a toy. Which doesn't invalidate the Glow one iota. In a big rig, it simply prefers the kind of speakers most its prospective owners are unlikely to have. In my big rig, the Ampino completely outperformed the Glow. But the Glow worked fine on the right speakers - just not to the same standard. Which you would never know if you only had the Glow. Directly to your question, no headphones, just speakers in the main listening area - Ampino without a question. On the desk top, on the speakers I have - still the Ampino. But if you prefer the cozier sound of tubes in the nearfield, the Glow is a real contender and a lot of value for the money.

Srajan

Hi Srajan,

For once I am writing to you not to ask you questions but to share something with you. You may already know this that I am about to tell you, but if not, you may find it useful. In a 2006 review by 10AUDIO of the Gallo 3.1, the reviewer states that he found that although the Gallo's midrange and treble had "all of the qualities of a true high resolution reference loudspeaker," the bass was the "weak link in the overall sound." According to him, "the bass did not match the impact and resolution of the midrange and created a discontinuity from about 150Hz on below."

He felt that an amplifier connected to the "woofer's second voice coil might tighten up the bass so that its character would properly match the midrange," and he found that the use of the Gallo SA amplifier did just that and allowed the bass to "blend seamlessly with the midrange." But he did not like the sound of the SA amp's cooling fan which he found to be distracting so he turned off the amp but left it connected. In this configuration he discovered that the tight, detailed bass remained even though the SA amp was turned off but the bass was somewhat weak. So reasoning that the pattern was tight but weak bass with too much resistance (a turned off amplifier) and somewhat loose and slow bass with too little resistance (no connection) across the terminals, he began experimenting with various resistors that he had on hand, finally settling on a 15ohm 5watt wire wound resistor. Since his music preferences do not include music which requires bass that is lower than that of the Gallo's unamped woofers, this tweak gave him a solution which he called "not just a good compromise: ideal," which allowed him to realize the wothwhile benefits (in term of bass quality) of the SA amp without the drawbacks mentioned above associated with using the amp. In his opinion, "the speakers speak with one voice from low bass to beyond my range of hearing." He went on to say that perhaps in somebody else's listening room such a tweak might not be necessary.

I was having the same impression about the Gallo's bass. I felt that it was just a little bloated and not tight enough to really be in synch with what I was hearing from the rest of the speaker. I then read in another review -- a 2008 Bound For Sound review -- where the reviewer after having read the 10AUDIO review, although skeptical, decided to try it anyway. He then wrote:

"It has worked and worked spectacularly."

and:

"He used a 15 Ohm 5watt resistor. I used a 10 Ohm 10 watt resistor. Oh, my! the speaker was good before, with the resistor in place it excelled. All four drivers became as one. The bass perfectly integrated with the lower mids and the lower mids fed the mids just as perfectly. The sound became seamless. Seamless in the fashion of a full range electrostat but with body in the bass. With the resitors in place I turned to piano and large scale classical recordings - I wanted to know if the rather diminutive Gallo could fill the room with power midrange music. It did so in ways that were totally unexpected - solo piano has seldom sounded better, more full bodied or more rich tonally."

I decided to try this solution. But I wanted to wait until after having accomplished at least the 100 hour recommended break-in, which I did according to your instruction. In the 10AUDIO review he gives a link where one can order the resistors and I did so. They arrived just a few days ago and after having installed them I was immediately happy. I have to say that everything that was written about this solution seems, in my humble opinion, to be spot on true. But I also feel that the transients throughout the entire frequency range seem faster to me, making an already fast speaker even faster. Eric Clapton's attack on the strings of his acoustic guitar in Eric Clapton Unplugged sounds incredibly real and present as does also flamenco guitar in Renaud Garcia-Fons' Entremundo. As I mentioned before, for ten years I was a classical guitarist by profession so these are sounds that I am intimately familiar with.

Anyway as I already said above, it is probable that you were already aware of this tweak, but I thought I would share it just in case.

Hope all is well with you,

Peter Borelli

Recession beater: Lossless Mac Book, Havana Dac by MHDT into a Nuforce Icon with RJ45 extenders into Loth X monitors...2000 Condrieu optional.

Fred Crane

Hello Srajan,

I had the chance to try the Leben CS200p stereo power amp with the Zu Essence. I connected it directly to the source without any preamp. The result was really unbelievable. The system sounds incredible sweet with tons of details, resolution and frequency extension. The bass is tight and controlled. The soundstage is far beyond my expectations. My room now seems 10 meters deeper and wider. I think I have found the perfect companion to my Zus. I wonder why I have not found any review on the net, this product deserves more visibility in my opinion. The problem will be to find a preamp that does not reduce the quality. Maybe the secret of this synergy is the direct connection?

Best regards,
Giuseppe

Srajan:

Had to send a letter of thanks. After reading you reviews over and over and over ( I'm slow) and Potis' (RIP) as well I bought the Gallo 3.1s several months ago and they will probably bury me with these, if there's room. Your reviews were very accurate and insightful. I have never enjoyed listening as much as I do now.

Became a bit nervous reading about the changes in Music Reviews, but the following helped: "I'll only contribute in a guest-starring function with occasional world music content."

Your World Music reviews allowed me to dramatically expand my collection with more amazing music. I look forward to more recommendations.

Great site. Thanks much.

No reply necessary, I'm sure you have lots to do. Just wanted to say thanks.

Bob Lemlin
Hi Srajan,

I just wanted to thank you for the great and insightful work you've provided over the years. I am now a good half year into my system and couldn't be happier. Let's see if any of this rings a bell: A Modwright Transporter (latest power supply mods, use 6sn7 tubes through an adapter and the new EML rectifier), through a Red Wine Audio Isabella (with the DAC for digital in from other components), to a pair of mono Spectron Musician III Mk 2 amps, to my Dali Euphonia MS4's. And all cabling (all interconnects, two runs of speaker cables biwired, and 4 power cords) are Franck's Liveline. I put this together very slowly, and the funny thing is now I believe that the speakers, around which I built the system are probably the lesser of all the components! Anyway, thanks again for your obvious influence here. My enjoyment is sky high. Now I have a Naim system to sell!

Jim Schneck
Dear Srajan,

As I am living in Geneva where one finds a couple of high end (priced) solid state manufacturers but negligible retail counsel, I am not interested in overpriced mainstream products and strongly rely on reviews in 6moons.

I recently purchased an OTL amplifier that may be of interest to your readers. Should you be going to the Munich fair this month, you could hear the amplifier at the Eternal Arts (audioclassica) stand and listen to the OTL amp that I purchased 9 months ago. It's based on Julius Futterman design but has been modernized! The sound is quite sublime. The designer was heading Grundig Fine Arts product line and Sennheiser in the 80s. The OTL power amp has already received rave reviews in Germany magazines and may deserve publication for a wider audience by 6 moons. I would be interested to hear what you think of his new all tube preamp. I unfortunately cannot go to the fair as a long planned family reunion is on.

Kind Regards
Alistair Botterill

I saw that amplifier at least year's event and covered it in my show report. If Eternal Arts contacts us for a review, I should probably not say no.

Srajan

Marja and Henk,

thanks for the great—as usual—review, in this case of the Icon Mobile. I just wanted to report that, on the strength of your comparisons of the 3 mini-units—Predator, iQube, and Icon Mobile—I went ahead and purchased the Icon Mobile and a Qables Silvercab iPod to mini adaptor. First, I like the Icon Mobile very much in conjunction with my iPod. Second, I found the cable-enabled by-pass of the iPod DAC to be an even more significant enhancement—this is a great combination and will make long plane rides even more tolerable, among other uses. I would second what you reported, however: the Qables mini-jack still does not mate properly with the Icon Mobile. If Nuforce has made any adjustments to the black band that rings (protects?) the circumference of their Icon Mobile, then it is not apparent, at least in the version I just bought within the last 2 weeks. After communicating with Hans at Qables -- who is very responsive -- I am easily convinced that the Switchcraft mini-plug is not the problem; it is the recessed female mini-jack on the Nuforce product that prevents the plug from fully seating (as you two reported, of course). I'm tempted to resort to surgery on the black band and see if I can't 'solve' the problem for myself, because I don't want to give up on the combination.

Speaking of long plane rides, I'm hoping once again -- but not expecting -- to say hello to you at the Rocky Mountain show this fall. With Al's untimely and tragic demise, who knows what the future will bring for the show after this year.

Regards,
Jerry Powell

Hi Jerry,

we are pleased that the IM combines well with your iPod and your needs. This sort of feedback to reviews is most welcome. It proves we are not writing in vain. We are also pleased to read that you find the dock output to be a much better way to connect the iPod to the IM even though this construction does not bypass the Apple DAC. To bypass the built-in converter Apple needs to open up shop for third parties as they did apparently for Wadia - of course at a cost. Please let us know how you did on adapting the seating of the plug.

Marja & Henk

Hi Srajan,

During the last Montreal Show a couple weeks ago, we had a late night amplifiers "tasting" session. Both Sashas from Obad imports brought a couple of their KingRex amplifiers, including the 20 watts integrated and a couple of prototypes fresh from the factory including a 50 watter with seperate PSU. Those are the two small boxes on top of the Neodio CD player in our Gemme Audio exhibit. The integrated KingRex was used extensively during the weekend. I think anyone with high efficiency speakers should at least try a KingRex, and especially the 20 watts integrated. This proved to be a revelation. The amplifier did not had that annoying teeth-grinding UHF noise of previous digital amps and was superbly quiet with a good grip on the twin 15 inchers.

Best
Robert Gaboury

Hi David,

Just wanted to let you know - I run a Mardis modified Trends TA-10 (jumpers set to bypass the volume circuit) fed by the King Rex PSU and use the KingRex Preamp to feed the signal. CD player is a Shenda Music Van all hooked up to a pair of ProAc Response 1 SC speakers.

I enjoy this combo very much and looking at my friends' faces frozen in disbelief (the KingRex Pre + Trends TA combo drives the 86db efficiency ProAc's without a hint of strain).

Thanks for writing such great reports - very best regards,
Markus Rufer
In part response to the letter about your apparent bias towards Modwright, etc. I can say that I'm on the other side of that coin. Your enthusiastic comments on PHY speakers/Ocellias got their hooks into me and, after a long search, I now am the (happy!) owner of .21 Silver Calliopes, as you know!

Also, Jeff Day's championing of Leben........I run a CS600. Both excellent musical contributions to daily pleasure. We all have to take responsibility for sifting what we read, reading around the equipment if possible. I for one, trust your --and others' -- ears more than my own! I even am working on a variant of room tuning, just to try the concept!

Happy listening!
Chris Skelton

Very well-written and informative review on the ModWright KWA-150! Photos of the unit are fantastic and are the best in the business!!! Keep up the phenomenal work, Srajan!

Regards,
Timothy F. O'Connor
Talk about the 'straw that broke the camel's back', this is it. The latest reviews of the Zu speakers and ModWright amplifier has done it for me Srajan. I got back into audio 6 years ago after a 20 year retreat raising 3 daughters. For several years I found value in your webzine and looked forward to latest updates. I actually learned a few things along the way; I even purchased a highly touted and recommended CD player back in the early days.

No more... the time has come for us to part company. I can no longer tolerate the blatant advertisements you call equipment reviews. Value gone, reader gone, website deleted...

Thanks for the memories,
Dennis Pitzer

Since we're free, at least you don't have to cancel a subscription. And you're quite correct, having purchased both the Zus and ModWright for personal use is quite an endorsement - even though in both instances, that commitment happened a priori, before having heard the product. As a previous Zu owner, I had a good idea what to expect and owning ModWright's LS 36.5, I was hopeful the amp would turn out just as well - and I needed a hi-power transistor amp to do certain speakers justice in future reviews.

Both products did turn out to meet my needs and tastes. I take it you would have preferred otherwise? What seems rather more important is whether I accurately described what these products sound like. Future owner comments and reviews shall tell whether I was as wrong as you seem to imply.

Srajan

This is getting to be a habit: congrats for the exellent piece on the nu Zus. I haven't ever heard them or your Tangos but your description of their sound and your rather heartless criticism helped me to focus on what I really like about my Tannoys (12-inch Yorkminsters). So, now for the hot seat: bearing in mind that I am far from rich and that you can't listen to First Watt products in Europe, would you advise me to mail-order an Aleph J as a stand-in for my Nagra 845s?

Keep up the excellent work and the comparisons.

Michele from Rome

It sounds like the Zu Essence and your Tannoys share a similar sonic philosophy. For my tastes, a First Watt would be stupendous. Alas, I have personal experience only with the F3 and F5 (which I'd recommend), not the Aleph J which Jeff Day reviewed for us. Having worked my way through the rest of the First Watt line, I know how little separates one model from the other. Nelson has honed in on what he considers important so whatever he does now seems to point at the same thing, simply accomplished by various means and optimized for different applications. Hence I'd be surprised if the Aleph J didn't fall into the same F-amily sound - in which case you should be very happy indeed, hard as these things are to predict from one stranger to another -:)

If you were to pick between the F3 and the F5, the F3 would be a tad more sugar (sweeter), the F5 a tad more salt (separation).

Srajan

Hi Srajan.

First a dislaimer. I have no personal or financial interest in writing this! When I was in Montreal earlier this month to attend the audio show there, I came away very impressed with two rooms.

One had the larger Leben integrated powering DeVore 9s. A Clearaudio turntable and a new Leben phono stage completed the system. I really was amazed by how dynamic this room was. I haven't lived with tubes in a system, and I had to forego any preconceived notion that tubes had to impart a certain soft or relaxed vibe. Both the Lebens and the DeVores have been well covered.

The other room had speakers made in Hamilton, Ontario by Coherent Loudspeakers. The larger of two speakers that I heard I thought were quite special. They had a PHY driver and a ribbon tweeter. They were amped by a Winnipeg company's mosfet amp. Source was a Nova Physics player and the same played through an Audio Aero dac.

I suppose if there's a reason that I thought I'd tell you about this room, it's because it seemed to get less traffic through it than others, which I thought was a shame. The speakers did no hifi stuff in big letters but to me they imparted a sense of ease that was very desirable. The soundstage seemed very deep and the tone/density factor very high, this not at the expense of PRaT or detail.

In fact a revisit to the room had me question my first impression.In speaking to the speaker's very amiable designer, he said that he struggled a bit when he went between the NP player and the player run thrugh the Audio Aero converter. It took some adjustment to get the balance back. Actually, I was glad to hear just how much detail came through when the sound wasn't at its best...the smooth vibe made me wonder how much micro detail was emerging when the system was at its best...the *struggle for balance* confirmed that there was no shortage of detail.

Coherent does have a website that might interest you. Unfortunately,I found it rather rudimentary.

I did have one reservation about the speakers as well. They cost about $14,500..not sure if that was $US or $Can. Sorry. I wouldn't say that that price was unwarranted, but it surely puts it amongst some very fine offerings from competitors.

Anyway, I've attached a picture of the room, courtesy of Audigon.

Cheers,
Alan Luke

Srajan,

I have to say how amazed I am at the continuing - actually, improving - quality of your reports on audio shows (the Klangschloss Greifensee report was truly outstanding, helped by your sensitive photography) as well as equipment (the Zu Essence review had me laughing out loud - "fork a duckie", indeed!" - yet you retained a level head when it came time to put a complex comparison in perspective).

Kudos!
Russell Dawkins
Srajan,

we just picked up the April issue of Jean Hiraga's Revue du Son and found the interconnect shootout of 26 different cables. Franck Tchang's LiveLine won and is the only one to get 5 bars for Dynamique Subjective, Effet Stereophonique and Definition/Timbres. For once it seems reviewers all around the globe agree on something. Also, Diapason's May issue
sports a 32-cable shootout with only three 'outstandings' left standing: ASI Liveline, Cardas Golden Presence & 47 Lab 4719. Coincidence? We think not...

/M&H
Dear Srajan,

First of all I would like to thank you for being objective and open-minded, and for your honesty. We are glad that there are people like you in the audio world.

It is our pleasure and honour that our integrated amplifier Ampino received the Realsization Award for 2009. This encourages and commits us to continue our work and to persist in our goal - music for the people.

Best Regards,
dipl.Eng.Dejan Dobrin
Dayens, Serbia
Srajan,

hello..... I hope that things are well. I noticed that the Boenicke preview is down and that there is no review. Did something happen? Is the preview in transition to review? I have been waiting on pins and needles and look forward to hearing your impressions. I believe that we have similar taste in sound.

Thanks again,
Everard Williams

Sven Boenicke has postponed the promised delivery date a few times now. Until I take actual possession of a fully broken in review loaner, I deemed it best not to have the preview in endless limbo. Though perfectly unintentional, such hanging delays are somewhat of an abuse of the preview feature, turning it into free advertising of sorts and creating the impression we take forever to conclude an assignment. For the same reason, two other reviews (Peachtree Audio Nova and Green Mountain Audio Pico HD which had already run as previews) have now been cancelled. The Boenicke review is still on but the timing of it all depends on Boenicke and an open slot in my schedule. Other companies have made commitments and won't get bounced just because someone cannot deliver his product when he said he would.

Srajan

Hi Srajan,

I absolutely love 6moons and used it extensively when auditioning components for my audio system. I was wondering if 6moons has any plans of doing a head to head comparison of the Modright Transporter and the new PS Audio PerfectWave DAC. I have a transporter right now and am thinking about getting it modded but am pretty curious as to how it fairs against the newer PerfectWave.

Thanks,
Danyal

Whenever reviews publish, the loaners are returned to the maker unless the reviewer purchases the unit. In this case, the Transporter has long since been returned to Dan Wright so no comparison is planned or likely when Marja & Henk review the PS Audio DAC.

Srajan

Hello Srajan,

Following your reviews, I first bought the RWA 30.2, later replaced by the 70.2 monos, then the Isabella, and last month the ASI interconnects from Franck while I was in Paris (a most enjoyable meeting). I'm now eagerly waiting for my Yamamoto 09S due in about a week, a decision also made after reading your review (and that of the 08S). You are becoming an expensive acquaintance, and we haven't even met. You have a way with words (I so much enjoy reading your reviews), the knowledge and experience that I don't, and so far I haven't regretted any of my purchases so you're obviously "right on" as far as I'm concerned and I am enjoying the ride, but still yearn for more emotional satisfaction from my system.

It's funny, you have replaced Gizmo as my mentor, and although I never got to follow his high efficiency, alnico and SET recommendation, it looks like I'm slowly heading somewhere close, so many years later.

In the meantime, while waiting for the Yamamoto, I have been wondering if and how the Isabella will do in terms of synergy; would you recommend another preamp? I'm still using the Silverbacks, which I will probably also have to replace, eventually, (actually, I wouldn't mind recommendations here either).

I happened on a new music store in Lausanne's vieille ville esterday and immediately thought of you; "Passion Musique" rue Mercerie 14 (owner, André Hamel) sells classical and jazz CDs with a full ECM display. It was past closing time but I intend to raid it asap. I buy most of my music online but it's nice to see that there are still small specialty stores.

Best regards,
Chris Aubry
St. Prex, Vaud

Hello Chris,
the Isabella + Yammy should be a very good combo. I'd not even think about changing anything there until you've lived with it for a long time. I don't think you will be disappointed.

The Yammy on the Silverbacks however... that remains to be seen. Franck's speakers, though only 91dB on paper, are so linear below 1000Hz that the 09S handles them beautifully and I've got more gain than I could possibly stand. The Silverbacks could behave very similarly. Or not. That's impossible to predict.

Re: the amp, if you haven't ordered yours with the Emission Labs rectifier and 300B XLS tubes, that's a must for when your wallet recovers.

Srajan

Srajan,

Just a short note to tell you how much I am impressed with your Klangschloss show report. I, like you, have not only exhibited but also have attended so so many audio shows and read so so many show reports. Your show report is the amazingly rare report that, at least to me, allows me to feel as if I were there. The photographs of the exterior of the building and surrounding area plus of the rooms themselves gave me an honest rendition of what occurred there. The description of each exhibitor and their audio equipment, also, caused me to feel as if I were there (and I do wish I were).

I know several of the audio equipment makers who exhibited and while the show is intimate in comparison to CES or the German Show (or Montreal, the past Stereophile Shows or Rocky Mountain Audio Fest), each appreciate the quality of audio aficionado and music lover who chooses to attend. Certainly a wonderful experience and different from the industry norm.

Thank you, again, for a wonderful show report.
Regards,
Lawrence Blair
Managing Director
Avantgarde Acoustics North America
www.Avantgarde-NorthAmerica.com
www.OctaveAudio-usa.com
Srajan,

I have changed my power cables Crystal Cable Reference with Neutral Cable Copper: they are awesome. In my system they outperform the Reference in every parameter. I am speaking of a cable that costs €200. Neutral Cable is an Italian brand, Fabio Sorrentino is the owner. If you take a look at the prices you would think of mid-quality cables. I think that they have an extraordinary musicality. I just talked with him and was wondering if you would like to review a few of them. This is the site.

Best regards
Stefano Amico
"I worked on a coal wagon and hell, I was singing sellin' coal; "Stone coal, lady! Nickel a water bucket! Stone coal , nickel a water bucket!" The bottoms of those buckets was all pounded up so maybe three or four big lumps would fill it. We was selling all through the red light district. It was called Storyville. The women would be standing there in the doorways to their cribs wearing their teddies; that was a famous uniform they had, all silk like baby bloomers only transparent. One of them would call, "Commere boy. Bring me three buckets." And it was fun to go in them cribs and for a little extra start them fires. And I'd take my little quick peek, you know scared she'd catch me, slap me, and shove me out of there. But they didn't pay me no mind. Just a stone coal boy-breathing like a bitch, man." - Pops Armstrong, Life Magazine , June 1966.

Hi Sraj,
And so began one of Pop's early discoveries. New discoveries are liberating; though your nomadic tendencies are likely more comfortable with dots and digits, selfishly, I have an insatiable curiosity for the ebb and flow of music through a mid-priced vinyl solution.

Who better to escort you/me into that world of oxygen and light than Yamamoto-San. His YC-03S is priced provocatively and I've seen no ink on the subject. Why do I have a feeling that it would be forgiving with a budget component like the Jolida phono pre and likely ascend as the equipment allows. Just conjecture to be sure, but I've no compunction about dreaming.

Of course, should the hop to vinyl be a distance too far with what is already a heavy load on your plate, then I suppose farming out to one of the several qualified gents on staff could seal the deal. (Who do I think I am?) In the meantime, I'm waiting for my new Sennheiser cans to hear through my HA-02s (small is in).

Fred Crane

I'd review anything Yamamoto makes. Everything so far has been a very high price/performance proposition and how the stuff is put together is wonderful. Alas, I don't own a single record and I can't be persuaded to get started neither. Too many experts in that field already, too much great new music out on digital every month to keep up with. But perhaps one on the team will take one for the team? -:)

Srajan

Greetings Srajan,

The Last Factory website directed me to your review of their CD cleaner/treatment product. I was surprised to see a price of $22.50 for a 1 ounce bottle. For years, I have used a product that one can buy at an automotive store or on-line to clean and protect the plastic back window of my '62 Corvette, the plastic windows of my Honda S2000, and yes, to clean and protect plastic CDs. It comes in 8 oz bottles and costs a lot less than Last but offers the same cleaning, scratch removal and polishing.

It is Meguiar's Mirror Glaze # 17 Clear Plastic Cleaner, # 10 Clear Plastic Polish, and even #18 Clear Plastic Detailer which I use primarily as a detailer for my S2000 back window. The plastic window looks very good for 9 years old.

Ed Wagner
Dear Srajan,

like you, I used Ikea racks some years ago, and it sounded nice. But at the time, I didn't know what a really good rack can do.Later came Finite Pagode Signature and very massive wall-mounted birchply, both already much better. After being so impressed with the Liveline cables, I now purchased the ASI rack. I don't have experience with top level racks like SRA, HRS or GPA in my system. But the difference the ASI rack makes compared to what I used before is really hard to believe for me.

It's still just a bunch of wood, so why should it sound so different? I don't understand what is going on here, but I sure enjoy what I'm hearing. The difference between the Ikea sound and that of the ASI rack is at least as big as that between the cables that come included with cheap electronics and the Liveline cables.I don't understand why you're using Ikea stuff, being used to GPA before.

What's the reason ?
Kind regards
Steffen

Money. The Monaco racks were far too deep and tall for the intended sidewall placement where I needed something low, shallow and wide. The Ikea solution is extremely cost-effective and after moving our household from Cyprus to Switzerland, I couldn't afford to get something custom-made to fit my rack requirements.

Srajan

Hello Srajan,

I recently ordered a set of 5m Acoustic System Liveline Speaker cables from Franck. Again, he was very polite, understanding and accommodating, I requested a white finish which is non-standard and the final cables look superb with a kind of translucent white finish, a simple modest appearance that needs no justification.

Straight away they just sounded like music and are easy to forget both visually and sonically - which I mean as a huge compliment!

So, thank you again for making me aware of Acoustic System International in the first place and a big thank you to Franck for the superb service and superlative product.

Kind regards
Simon Granger
Hello Srajan,

We just received a phone call from Guy, the TW-Acustic Raven distributor for the Benelux. He was called by a furious Thomas Woschnick about our Raven One review. He is extremely peeved about the first page where a failing product is described. He is under the impression that this will cling to the reader's mind. He is even willing to fire Guy as a distributor. Also, he is not willing to communicate direct with us, only via Guy.

Would it be an idea if you contacted him and explained that the episode was included also to emphasise great service? It is policy to publish what happened, good or bad.

Marja & Henk

Naturally, I sent Thomas Woschnik an immediate e-mail in case Mr. Guy' job really was on the line. It likely was merely an immediate emotional reaction soon to be tempered by calming reason. As the next e-mail shows, readers are certainly intelligent enough to understand that 'shit happens' and how in this instance, the blame fell not on the manufacturer but a dealer and that in fact the manufacturer responded in record time to remedy an issue that would happen to many turntables whose damper fluid cell was overfilled. - Srajan

Marja,

The Raven One is obviously a good platform. Just in case for your info: Mains phase is very important and even if some can't believe it, the sound of the power cords have strong influence the same in fact as for other electronic equipment. We have tried many test of mats and clamps.

The Millenium is frankly bad, the Boston is also not adequate. The best balanced and the cheapest is unfortunately the skin pork mat. It costs 30€ and really improves all the parameters of the Raven One naked without any drawback, and outperforms the above mentioned mats. The damp clamp is the best plug we know of, we have tested the Clearaudios, audiotechnica, Millenium (bad too) and others. The damp clamp is as natural as the turntable. Arms and cartridges have also an influence. If the Vivid is not bad (yet better than many Rega family arms), it's a bit light and the Ortofon 309S 12" is really fantastic. This is an other advantage of this table, its versatility. This arm sounds extremely elegant and carves an incredibly vast soundstage.

Better still is the last version of the Triplanar, same for the carts. It's okay with a Dorian but test for instance the Myiajima Shilabe at 2500€!!!! Whaouuuhhhhhh.

When all parameters are in conjunction, it's still very difficult for digital to outperform it, even the recent recordings sound better. At last I agree with you, the Raven AC is a monster and has great potential, but there is a lot more in common with its small sister Raven than differences. The Raven One is even more tolerant, because less extreme. It's a music machine with which I live everyday.

Good depth article for a totaly unknown product in France.

Best Regards
Patrice Alapetite

Hi Patrice,

thank you for your reply. We know about the influence of power cords as we have recent experiences with the LessLoss and Acoustic System cords. Regarding mats, we found out that the combination of a bare platter with the Vivid arm and Lyra Dorian was the best to our ears. As we had only the Vivid arm available, there was no opportunity to try another. The same goes for the cartridge. It would be nice to have a little cupboard with arms and cartridges. Regarding modern analogue issues, we just mentioned that too many releases are just put on vinyl because it's hip, not for the quality.

Regards,
Marja & Henk
Full moon - or maybe, narcissistically Fred's Full Moon, with various pictures of same, perhaps thrust out of a moving car, with celebrities touching it, with the likeness of Herbert Hoover painted on it, etc. will be open for audio reviews any day now.

Please alert Andy Ton, (sweet though inexperienced gent that he may be) or any like manufacturer that I am for sale and will likely trade a stunning review for something as small as one of their review components. Now if they want a Full Moon award, there will have to be more give and take, say some Red Sox season tickets, a back rub (where's the muskrat), Burgundy from '85, 88 (under rated year), 90, and 2000, Bordeaux from 61,82,86,88, 90, and 2000. Time shares, travel with expenses, etc.

For a something a bit more long term, indentured servitude of some sort, contributing to my harem, I will bestow the Gospel of John award, where I will proclaim that said component recreates quite literally deceased musicians in your living room...at which point you better hope it can turn water into wine-jonesing dead musicians will need untold booze and food to take the edge off.

Of course, one will have to buy my advertising to be considered for a review, seems only fair after all. Anyway, I'm glad we can finally parlez as colleagues. Must go get this thing waxed, don't want people calling it Full 'Hairy' Moon

Fredric Crane
Hi Srajan,

I hope that eveything is okay with the review. I was thinking if it should be a good idea for me to visit you in Chardonne. It would be nice for me to hear the component together with the rest of your system. It would also be good to get some feedback directly from you. Maybe I could also tell you more about my work and the ideas behind the design. I don't want to disturb you in your work. If you don't have the time to meet me, just say no.

Signed

Hello,

everything is okay as far as that goes but truth be told, my xyz is better. Which is a problem. Not so much for me as for you but I hate to be in this position. A visit won't change what I hear nor will explanations on the design. After all, in the end what matters to a reviewer and prospective buyer is the sound. And for that price, this device would have to be leagues better than what I have heard before. And it's not. Not even close. I fully understand what rides on a first review for a new manufacturer and I appreciate your concern. I am willing to meet but please understand that in the end, I only go by what my ears tell me...

Comment: Which certain specifics altered to keep this general, the above exchange took place.

Dear Srajan,

I thank you again for writing about and introducing me to another product that I find at least as good as you have described it. After buying the Almarro two years ago (which I keep enjoying enormously), I now rewired my system with the Liveline cables (interconnect, speaker cable and power cords).

I have not heard better cables so far, regardless of price. It was not exactly crap that got replaced by them in my system, either - Argento Audio silver and Nordost Monofilament throughout, respectively. These are not bad cables, but compared to the Livelines, there's always one word springing to my mind that sums up their sound - artificial.

Kind regards
Steffen

Steve Marsh on staff is currently penning his own impressions within a forthcoming cable group review. All he told me so far is that "I read your review only after I knew what I was hearing and we agree completely" - and, "I'm finally having fun with my hifi again". It's gratifying to hear that with a component category that tends to be so interface dependent, this particular cable design appears to transfer its characteristics intact from one system and listener to another.

Srajan

Dear David,

Like you, I own the M&D Sapphire, with whom I am very happy. However, reading your preview on 6moons has triggered my attention for the Diamond+, and I am wondering whether that model would be a genuine improvement over the Sapphire. Therefore, I am intrigued to find out when the review for the Diamond+ will be published. Fortunately, I will have access to the Diamond+ before I would decide to upgrade or not, but it's nice to read about them since I thought that the report on the Sapphire was quite correct!

Many thanks,
Dirk-Maarten 't Hart

Hello Dirk-Maarten,

The conclusion to the Diamond+ review has taken me longer than I thought. (Yeah, what's new?) Since I own the Ruby, Topaz and Sapphire, I think I owe every Mark & Daniel fan a full report on how each of them can perform their best in comparison to the Diamond+. I have extensive audition notes which I am now distilling down to some key findings. While the Diamond+ could well be the undeniable leader of the group, I have been trying hard to unseat it and outsmart it with its 'lesser' siblings by means of synergetic partnership through different amps. Daniel Lee might not like it but that's the only way we could justify an upgrade.

It won't be too long, I promise.

David

Dear Srajan,

Please note that the John Blue Audio Power Distributor PCS-6 is a clearly unscrupulous visual knock-off of the Acoustic Revive RTP-6: http://www.johnblue-audio.com/ and http://www.actm.jp/acousticrevive/rtp-6u1-1.html.

Thanks very much,
Joe Cohen

I saw that when I posted the news announcement. But are you saying that Acoustic Revive holds a trademark or other protection on the form factor in this class of devices? The Furutech RTP-6 I own looks like it too. What, exactly, did you expect me to do about it? Or was your note just about pointing out the obvious? Visual clones of successful products are commonplace today. Does that automatically make them counterfeit? Our news room deals in news. If they pertain to our 2-channel focus, I publish them. The rest is for the manufacturers to sort out between them. Naturally, if I'm informed that one manufacturer is pursuing legal action on a competitor to defend his intellectual property rights; and I am provided with at least a copy of a letter of one attorney to another to prove that such a process has indeed been started and what particular design or circuit is being challenged or deemed in violation of a patent or trademark or similar... then I would naturally feel compelled to not grant such a manufacturer space until the matter has been settled. Am I to understand that is the case here?

If not, are you suggesting I have a compelling reason or moral obligation to not post the John Blue news announcement in our News Room?

Srajan

I was not suggesting at all that you refrain from posting their announcement. I was merely pointing out the obvious. As the saying goes, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". With regard to the Furutech RTP-6, it should be noted that Furutech had licensed a number of products from Acoustic Revive that were made with AR's legitimate cooperation (hence the use of AR's model number). There is no such relationship between John Blue and Acoustic Revive yet the appearance of a very close knock-off might lead some to conclude that this product was made with Acoustic Revive's approval, or made by Acoustic Revive for Blue John. It was not on both counts. If there was anything at all that I would have had you do about it, it would have been to have you publish my letter, which you have. So bravo! This just needs to be out in the open and up front so that consumers will have no confusion and will be able to make an informed decision.

Thanks very much,
Joe

Hi Srajan,

I have owned the Pass Labs INT 150 for the last month.I have to say your review did not match up to what I hear with this component in my system. I have been absolutely thrilled with its performance. Excuse me if I am not very articulate in these matters. I listen to a lot intimate music. Jazz, Opera, Chamber music, German and French lieder. I found the Pass Labs to be very liquid sounding with lots of delicate detail revealed. I hear a warm full-bodied midrange, wonderful imaging and soundstaging with refinement and intimacy in abundance. Also, incredible dynamics when called for .Female vocal sound wonderful with loads of instrumental texture. I've always been skeptical of the burn-in theory until this unit. After 300 hours of burn in, the Pass Labs amp made a huge leap in performance. I was curious why you didn't use the balanced inputs in your review? Hope I was not to long winded.I really enjoy your online reviews.

Regards,
Drew in Canada
PS: I don't work for Pass Labs. Haha.

Hello Drew,
that review isn't finished yet btw - awaiting the Green Mountain Audio speakers to do that. This unit was provided by the Swedish distributor and has been played so it's not break-in handicapped. That said, it's always surprising how different people react to sound differently. We're all right in our perceptions and in the end, that's what we have to go by. It's great you enjoy your purchase. Don't let my review dissuade you. It's your ears you gotta please, not mine -:)

Srajan
Dear Srajan,
How are you ? We would like to long term advertisement on your online magazine soon but if we don't have the Blue Moon Award & Reviews from you magazine, we can't sale the amp anywhere. Without sale we don't have money to advertisement. I prefer that your come to our company to listen & to review the amp. Unfortunately, the machine is very heavy and requires setup. Without send the amp is the best way. We'll cover your expense.

Best regards,
Andy Ton

Hello Andy,
our Blue Moon award is not for sale. It is bestowed based on merit, i.e. a combination of performance, value, build quality and such which the writer finds to stand out from the crowd.

Reviews must be conducted in the reviewer's home where he/she is intimately familiar with the sound and how the various components contribute. To formally review anything in a manufacturer's facility is impossible. Only disreputable magazines would agree to it.

So, if you don't have money to advertise now, you have simply contacted me too soon. If you don't have money to ship out your amplifiers for review, you have contacted me to soon, too. If the amps are too heavy to ship and require special setup a customer or reviewer cannot be entrusted with, then perhaps your design requires modifications before it is ready to sell. In either case, it does not seem we can assist you at present.

When you are ready, feel free to contact us again.
Srajan

PS: The above exchange is verbatim. I only deleted the manufacturer's brand name. It is not my intention to embarass them. Still, it is hard to grasp that with these issues explained over and over again, there would still be manufacturers unfamiliar with proper protocol. Our reviews are free. You need not advertise to get one. Advertising doesn't protect you from criticism. It doesn't buy an award. Check our archives. The number of non-advertisers with reviews (and awards) far outstrips the others. And among reviews of manufacturer who advertise or have in the past, more than one is highly critical. We do factory tours and show reports which will include some informal sound commentaries. But those are never formal reviews nor formatted as such. It is appropriate to cover travel expenses for factory tours if the writer is making a special trip rather than 'being in the neighborhood already' but that's the extent of any financial quid pro quo.
Hello Srajan!

Since 6moons was one of the first publications to alert the world to Emerald Physics, I am kind of suprised that there was never a formal review from you guys. And now with the release of the new CS1 and hardly a peep from the audiophile world about it, it is kind of looking like Emerald might have been the ultimate "flavor of the week"? Any plans on a review of the CS1?

Mike Hannah

I contacted Emerald in the early days but my offshore location made two-way shipping of a review loaner unappealing. John Potis did sign up for the CS2, then moved to Positive Feedback Online where his review published. On my current team, Jay Fisher is scheduled to do the CS1 but timing will depend on his and Emerald's schedule.

Srajan

Hello Srajan,

first of all, a puff piece. I've been reading you for some years now and from my almost 40 years of audiophile (customer) experience, Iwill say that your style is excellent. In fact, you are possibly the only reviewer who has completely mastered the art of communicating with the reader. That Pass 150 review was as informative as it was honest. Now if only I could get FirstWaa products in Italy.

On a concluding note, now that you're in Switzerland, do try and listen to the Nagra electronics, particularly the VPA 845 amps. I really think it would be an instructive experience, even for you.

All the best,
Michele from Rome

Hi,

I bought a pair of Zu Varial and while they are still breaking in ... your review is very accurate, the sound is dead neutral and I could hear much more in my music.

Are you familiar with Supra Sword interconnects? Recently I read your review on the Crystal Ultra and am thinking about trying it out.

So far you are 2 for 2 with me ... I bought the Modwright Transporter and Zu Varial after reading your reviews and am very happy with both purchases :-) Thank You!

King
Hello Srajan,

I understand that you're just one man and time constraints are forcing you to choose between component reviews (which you do second to none) or reviewing CDs. Personally I find this unfortunate since your fellow reviewers' tastes differ greatly from yours. I hope you might consider perhaps merely listing exemplary music which crosses your path with a sentence or two as a descriptor thereby informing the public without putting undue stress on your time. For my part I'll leave you with two that you may enjoy, Misha Alperin's Night ECM 1769 and Susanne Abbuehl's April ECM 1766.

Ed Masters

Not to worry, I'll continue to contribute to the now relaunched music reviews pages and I will also 'abuse' the equipment review section to embed recommendations for exciting new releases in my hardware reviews. The current March crop of music reviews includes three by me.


Srajan
Hello Srajan -

p
lease keep up the great 6moons - first port of call every morning for my daily hifi fix ! Do you have any plans to compare the Crayon CFA-1 with the RWA 30.2? Both products appear to offer largely similar specs and features (notwithstanding different operating topology) and in Europe at least, more or less same ballpark cost. I must say, having read the initial stages of your review of the Crayon, it appears to offer a tremendous blend of convenience (remote, mm/mc stage etc) with an attractive price for us tube lovers looking for an entirely fuss-free amplifier with valve characteristics.

I look forward to reading more about this interesting amplifier.
Best wishes and kind regards,
Cato Wille

The RWA has been returned to its American maker already but being quite familiar with it, I can state even without a direct A/B that that the Crayon is the more resolved machine and more illuminated on top. It really is a stupendous performer and in its price range, the closest I've yet come to make single-ended triode sound with transistors. As the preview already states, it's not the same overall. But, in very important (and unusual) aspects, it's a virtual stand-in. That's the fascinating part. And what it does different, many will feel to be better...

Srajan

Dear Srajan,

It is with regret that I've had to read on the 6moons site that the Acoustic Plan Veena review will not be posted due to legal threats from the company. I respect that you've had to comply. It does however tell me enough about the company Acoustic Plan. I was interested in their speaker and having read the two preview pages, wasn't that worried about the cosmetic issues. Now I will make sure that neither I nor anyone I know will express any interest in their products. A less than honourable decision by that company.

All the best with 6moons, and thanks for being candid about Acoustic Plan.

Dirk-Maarten t'Hart

See below. In 7 years of operation, this was a first. It was most peculiar in that I made my criticisms in the maker's presence. He had no issues with leaving the speakers with me as arranged but changed his mind subsequently. Was he naive enough to assume I'd not mention them? Should I henceforth insist on signed, legally binding statements by the manufacturers that once product is submitted and confirmed to be working properly, they have recinded any rights to interrupt the formal review process and must see it through to its conclusion? I think not. I refuse to let one incident affect the vast majority of manufacturers who understand the rules of the game and are as prepared to roll with the punches as they are to enjoy applause.

Srajan

Recently, a manufacturer opted out of a review he had initiated. This occured after he'd personally delivered the product and the first two pages of the preview had published to describe the company and design of the review subject. Since we were threatened with legal action if we didn't comply, I wanted a verbatim record of the e-mail exchanges.

"After reading your second part of the review and after consulting two independed people I decided to take the speakers back and finish them before going further. I understand your criticism but on the other side we missed any positive attribute. I want to ask you to cancel this second part until the speakers are finished or at least to give me the chance for a comment."

My reply to Claus Jäckle of Acoustic Plan was as follows:

"We do not commit to a review, make time for your product, receive the product and then pull the review. This is neither fair to us nor the reader. The speaker you submitted is exactly as you have sold it all along and how you wanted me to review it (or else you would not have brought it this way in the first place). From that moment on, the review process is under way. Product is only returned if it doesn't operate properly. This speaker works just fine as you know.

"I also am not a consultant to give manufacturers free preliminary advice. I told you very specifically what my criticisms were while you were here. You elected to leave the speaker regardless. You watched me stabilize and shim the speakers to get them straight and unwobbly. Did you think I was not going to write about my criticisms? That's my job, Claus. That's what I do and that's what my readers rely on. So, the review will proceed as every other review does once product has been received. Before it gets published, you can add a manufacturer's reply to explain whatever changes you wish to make in the future."

Having declined to pull what was already written -- the criticisms in question referred to the lack of a grill on the back to leave a €15,000/pr open-baffle speaker look quite unfinished; the lack of spike provisions to prevent floor wobble and afford levelling; and a propensity for fore/aft motion due to a tall baffle, light plinth and small front print -- I received this reply:

"I decided not to continue with the review. The speakers are my property and I feel free to determine about them. I hope very much to finish this matter in a friendly way. I don't want to use the last means of legal action."

Without a legal budget nor any inclination to waste further time on and grant visibility in our pages to a manufacturer who was so clearly unwilling to abide by common review protocol, I thus canceled the conclusion of the review. Let this be a reminder for manufacturers to only submit product that is truly and fully finalized. When a maker actually writes "until the speakers are finished" (and the Veena was a model that had already sold and been reviewed elsewhere just as I received it), it proves that he agreed with our criticisms. And constructive criticism is indeed one of the forms progress can take. It should not, however, be used as an excuse to claim immunity from public mention so as to fix matters silently and off the record while confusing the difference between a free review for a broad readership and a paid-for personal consultation. As we have adopted a policy of operating transparently to our readers, the 2-page preview will continue to remain accessible from this link. However, it is not accessible from our audio reviews archives. Why grant formal visibility to a manufacturer who has decided so clearly he no longer wants it?

Srajan Ebaen

Hi,

I read your preview on theLars amplifier. Are you sure you have the pricing correct? The exact same amplifier was shown at the Stockholm HighEnd show in 2008 and then priced at around €13,000 for the integrated. For the performance I heard then, even that price was pretty steep. Maybe you can ask the manufacturer what made the price increase? It says 140K SEK in 2008 and now 76K eursos. That's around 840k Swedish kronen or a price increase of six times. Astonishing!

This hobby is crazy and I participate myself but this is a new level.

Best Regards
Pär Wiklund

I will have Lars Engström's explanation on this matter in the final review.

Srajan Ebaen

Hello,

I came across a set of reviews on Mahler's 5th Symphony recordings on your website. The reviews seem to have been written by a discerning brass musician (a hornist?). As this reviewer states that the recording by the Royal Scottish Symphony Orchestra shows one of the finest trumpet playing (an opinion I share) and wonders who was soloist on this recording (as I wondered), I'm writing to tell you I found the hidden trumpet player: it was John Gracie, who's still principal today (information graciously provided by the other trumpet player of the RSNO, Marcus Pope, who also plays on this recording). Please transmit my message to the author of the review. This should interest him/her -- so I hope.

Best wishes,
Pierre Baraduc

Hi Srajan,

This story is about my horrible experience with Roger Paul who manufactured the H-CAT preamplifier. Hopefully it can be useful for you at least not to become a victim like me. I am very frustrated.

My name is Surja Sutantio from Indonesia. My company Audio Society is listed on the H-CAT website under dealers, soon to be deleted of course when Roger reads this. Being an audiophile and audio distributor, I am always curious about equipment with very good reviews. Underground forums such as Audio Asylum and AudiogoN have had many discussions about this preamp.

I continued to follow the controversy on Audio Asylum and decided to give it a try so I contacted H-CAT and placed a sample order with payment upfront. It took about 4 months when I got the first preamp from Roger. I do like the sound of the H-CAT preamp; it has very good transparency, focus and soundstaging.

During the first 2-3 weeks after I got the preamp, Roger was actually very curious and responsive. He even called my mobile several times and we talked a lot. The product and responsiveness were enough to convince me to promote H-CAT in my country. So I talked to Roger about ordering another 2 preamps for stock and transferred $4200 right away in April 2007.

What a terrible mistake! As of today, I never got the preamps he promised. The one I have developed noise problems. Roger kept promising but defaulted time and again... for all kinds of reasons...mostly financial ...The last promise he e-mailed me right after RMAF 2008 but again he did not deliver. What can I say? I can't believe how bad this man is. I trusted him and waited for 1 year and 10 months. By now I no longer care about the money. I just want to inform the audiophile community to learn from my experience.

Regards,
Surja

Hi, Srajan.

I recently retired a 10-year-old Cambridge Soundworks desktop speaker set and subwoofer and asked a friend about replacing it. He put me on to your review of the Qinpu system, which I enjoyed a lot. I ordered the system, installed it last week, and absolutely love it.

A friend from Beijing told me that a) Qinpu means musical score; b) that G. City is a great place to visit and c) that she's not surprised to find high-quality audiophile equipment coming from there since it was one of the first Chinese cities to open to the West.

Anyway, thanks again for putting me on to this great system. I think my boss is going to order one, too. He can't get over how good it sounds.

Cheers,
Hugh Kennedy
Dear Srajan :

I just read your year 2000 Soundstage piece on cable burn in and apologize for not emailing you many years ago. It was well crafted, offered many opinions and stimulating points. This was not an easy task and I laud you for your great efforts.

Forgive industry people like me who don't always thank you on a timely basis for the great work you do. Whether we agree with your positions or findings or not - there is a duty of honor amongst all of us to acknowledge the work of both print and e-journalists.

I have great respect for what you have created at 6moons and am in the process of reading past articles and viewing current matters on the site.

Looking forward to speaking with you soon,

Steven Hill – President
Straight Wire, Inc.

Srajan,

Let me begin by saying thank you for the years of enjoyment and knowlege I have gotten out of reading your exceptionally well written reviews and articles on audio. I think the sonic qualities of a speaker must be one of the hardest things to explain with the written word, but you constantly do it well and make it look easy. My only wish is that after all these years of reading your words, I knew how your name was pronounced! Oh well.

I have written to you in the past, wondering if you would do a review of the Orb Audio speakers, as I wanted to get your opinion before buying. It was during that time that I stumbled upon an intriguing article you wrote for Good Sound way back in 2001. You had exceptional praise for the Axiom M3 bookshelf speakers. I was looking at the Orbs because I wanted a speaker to mount on my wall, but after reading your review of the Axiom bookshelf, I perused the Axiom Audio website and found that they had recently released an On wall/In wall hybrid speaker based on an updated version of the M3.

I plunked down my money and purchased what are so far the best speakers I have owned in my life. After living with them and enjoying their sound and looks for about 6 months now, I just had the idea to write you again. You see, I love reading about $80K speakers and dream of owning a pair of Magicos or Wilsons one day, but the fact is that I am a lowly mortal man with three expensive kids and a doubly expensive wife! So, those dreams will have to remain dreams for now but Axiom was a product within my reach! While the ultra high end is always fun to read about, reviews like the one you wrote so long ago on the little Axioms can be even more exciting because I can actually put down the article and run out and buy a pair! By the way, the 6moons review of the big Axiom M80 and huge sub was great!

The on wall/in wall concept that Axiom has produced is fairly unique and their technologies and drivers have been improved upon since you were last wowed by a pair in 2001. You simply have to hear the music being produced in my room by these two small speakers on my wall to believe it! Maybe you would consider reviewing a pair of these sexy Axiom speakers to meet the needs of readers like me who do not have limitless funds, but nevertheless seek limitless audio quality. The benefits I see are there is no impact on room size and the traditional audio quality limitations of in wall speakers seem to have been eliminated by these babies! I think many people would be interested to read your take on these, considering they are only $500/pair.

I took a couple pictures of my room to share with you, if you are interested. The pics were taken from my listening position. The two Axiom speakers are obviously on the wall (half in the wall, half outside) and there is an Orb Suber Eight sub hidden behind the chair. And if you can see a glimpse of it, the whole rig is powered be the mighty little Trends Audio TA10.1 amp located under the chair (another purchase based on a 6moons review...blue moon award!)

Thank you for taking the time to read this email and I wish you nothing but the best.
Steve Kozle

Ah, 2001. I'd not taken a look at one of my GoodSound reviews in a long time. I just did. Thanks for memory lane. Back in the present, I somewhat doubt that Axiom would be too keen on dispatching a pair of affordable speakers to Switzerland, then back to Canada. Shipping alone will cost more than they have in the speaker. But perhaps one of my US or Canada-based writers will be sufficiently interested to bite. I'll certain try. And I do appreciate the love-that-Ferrari-piece sentiment coupled to can-only-afford-Honda reality. That's why you'll continue to see Trends-type reviews in these pages and my recent writeup of the tiny Qinpu system and Sutra T-amp were personal efforts in that direction. The next one on Miu-Tech I already committed to and Glow Audio is down the aisle as well -:)

Srajan

Srajan:

I have been evaluating the Esoteric MG-20s for two weeks trying desperately to warm up to these. When I play classical music with a sizable orchestra I keep coming back to your assessment. At first I thought it was me and that I would get used to them but when I hook up my Vienna Acoustics to get back to my reference, the realization is immediate. These speakers are too lean and flawed in their ability to keep the loud and soft passages uniform during dynamic changes. It is easy to become seduced by their clarity though.

I appreciate your candor and wish the rest of the reviewing community followed suit.

Respectfully,
Paul Porreca

I appreciate the sentiment, Paul, but this is at the heart of subjective reviewing. Others who fell in love with these speakers to describe them differently were just as candid. It's simply that your personal observations in this instance overlap with mine, not theirs. So you assume their descriptions are dishonest. That needn't be so at all. In fact, you might next run across a component you love which I criticized. Or hate one I praised. Then you'd have to wonder about me, wouldn't you? And so it goes. Again, this is a subjective endeavor. The only possible objectivity about it is consistency - to apply the same subjective yardstick come rain or shine; and to communicate clearly what yardstick you're using. Nobody has to agree with your stick. But as long as they know what you're measuring with and against, the findings remain meaningful. The real trouble is inconsistency for whatever reason...

Srajan

Interesting review on the Crystal Cable Bridge, I'm glad someone was paying attention to what I was doing 15 years ago! Though I have not bothered to renew my patent (it's very costly and the only benefits are advertising and ego), I would be interested if they cite my invention in their applications as others have. This is a link to a very old page for it: http://home.earthlink.net/~idos/DIF.html ...

Larry Smith

Hi Paul!

Nothing new vith this Crystal Cable Bridgte. I have been using something like this for several years. I learned this tweak from a hifi store here in Gothenburg. You can buy a similar cable in any electronic shop for about $4. Try that, amazing. This is a very well working and cheap tweak. By varying the length and location of the extra cable you can change the sound, great fun. You can also try extra blind cables on your speaker terminals. This will give similar results.

Best regards
Anders Velin

Hi Srajan,

Received my Liveline interconnects day before. Ran it in for 24 hrs. Absolutely stunning stuff. Everything sounds so real. Thanks for the recommendation.

Regards,
Prem Rajagopalan
I see that, like me, Bruce Toerien has been wondering where the Ocellia review, that was promised, has gone to! But, unlike me, he at least has Ocellias to listen to! (Not that having Duos is too much a hardship!) I had planned to trace your steps to Panjas recently, but was delayed; perhaps in Spring. I hope M. Furon will be there! The concept of the Ocellias is very intriguing/tempting. We sit and wait. Like good wine, it takes time! Here's to a good 09 for you in snowy, scenic Switzerland.

Chris Skelton

I'd love it if you forwarded this to Bruce. Get in touch M. Toerien, and eulogise on the Calliopes? I'd love to get a 'user's view'! roycerolls@madasafish.com
Hi again Srajan,

Will there ever be a review of the Ocellia Calliope? I'm listening to The Doors - The Doors on DVD-A, and its magic! The Amp - Almarro A205A MKII, with Mullard tubes and V-Caps. The speakers - Ocellia 21. Silver. Zu cables. Hell - these speakers even sound fantastic with the brilliant Trends 10.1!

Take care,
Regards, Bruce Toerien

Samuel had some medical issues and also moved his household to Canada where his wive's family lives while maintaining his original residence in France. So he's gone bi-continental. I moved to Switzerland last year so both our schedules were busy with non-audio matters. That's delayed things all around. I remain up for it as always and stuff shows up at such a steady clip that I tend to not wildly pursue things that don't (show up). I expect it'll just be a matter of Samuel eventually dispatching a review loaner pair and not getting buried under orders.

Srajan

Srajan -

A bit of deja vu - the local news (SF Bay Area) featured the Angelis folks and their awesome turntable on the evening news tonight... pretty cool. The TT looks great - it is also on the front page of the area news website. I think they had an interview with Dino. Thought you might like that.

Frank Mercurio

Srajan ,

I've been a fan of your reviews for a long time. It's strange, because I usually question the integrity of most audiophile reviewers. Your reviews strike a fine balance between form and function and I wish there were others like you. Keep up the good work, and thank you very much for pointing the way. Encore une fois, merci beaucoup.

Have a prosperous 2009.
Alberto Sithole

Dear Srajan,

6moons has been an invaluable source of information during my hifi endeavors of the past 5 or 6 years. What differentiates it from manyprint publications is its international scope, personal stories of its contributors and its relaxed attitude toward anything like an absolute sound. There are so many approaches towards assembling a musical system - why try to go through the pain of putting them in any particular order of performance? To me it is sufficient to learn about the true gems and occasional flawed products out there. Many standout products will prove theur quality not ncessarily by wowing the listener right off the bat, but by providing enjoyment and owner satisfaction in the long run. The Sugden A21a may be a good example.

Anyway, in the past years I read all about your moving from New Mexico to Cyprus and now to Switzerland and wonder if you ever thought about doing a road trip to visit associates and readers around you or if you would be interested in a meet somewhere. I'd definitely be fun and a learning experience for everyone involved. Should you be interested in meeting up, you're always welcome here in Garmisch. For example, your trip to this region could lead you also to Hannes Frick in nearby Vorarlberg, to the manufacturers Rossner & Sohn and stst in the Allgäu region in the very south of Germany, and maybe include AOS (who continue to build speakers based on the famed UK TDL/IMF line of transmission line speakers) at the Starnberger See just north of here and possibly a quick stint to Lindemann, most of which (save WLM) you haven't reviewed yet. I am sure south/central France, Switzerland and northern Italy would provide a similar number of interesting stops.

My very best wishes to both you and your family,
Dr. med. Matthias Rüger
Garmisch, Germany
Hi Srajan,

Happy New Year. I wanted to drop a quick line and share my Molger experience. I received Jim Smith's book for Christmas. One thing that became quickly apparent was that I needed to get my rack(s) (Ikea Lacks) out from between my speakers. I noticed your use of the Molgers and thought that might be a good solution as the Lacks are too deep for side wall placement in my small room. Off to Ikea.

When I got home, I set up my Gryodec and cued up the first record. Something was definitely wrong. Bass was bloated and diffuse, which in turn obscured the usual upper end detail. I set up the Lack again. Everything was back in order. Except for the fact that it would have been just a matter of time until I banged my knee on it and sent the turntable crashing.

What's the difference? It turns out when I put together the Lacks I installed spikes in each footer. I am not a hunter but it turns out that a super cheap spike system is available at you local sporting goods store. I use arrow tips and inserts which also offers a degree of leveling. I didn't think the spikes would make that big of a difference but figured I'd give it a try anyway. Pop off the plastic inserts, drill a guide hole, insert the aluminum inserts and screw in the arrow tips. Sure enough, problem solved.

Now, my room is suspended wood frame not concrete like yours and I'm using analog instead of digital but I thought you might be interested just same. Thanks for the Molger tip. It's the perfect solution for my system right now. Here's some pix.

Jon Banz

Srajan -

Thanks for sharing your trip to Sicily. Really enjoyed the shots inside the church. I have not been there since 1980 but hope to get back again some day. I was lucky enough to get to spend 3 years traveling throughout Europe and although I am of Sicilian decent, I thought it was one of the most unique and magical places I have ever been to.

Thanks too for all of your reviews, previews, news and contributions and sharing the world of high-end audio with all of us out here. Your website is a great source of off-the-beaten-path product and you have found a unique voice blending your audio experience with cyberspace.

Hope the New Year finds you well and prosperous.

Thanks again,
Frank Mercurio

PS: On the remote chance you have not ever seen the film Nuovo Cinema Paradisio, it is a must rent both for being one of the finest films ever set in Sicily and for the most eloquent score by Ennio Morricone - the music is beautifully paired to the film. Melena is a another great Sicilian set film as well.