[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
October 1997


October 30, 1997

I really enjoy your reviews of Blue Rodeo. At the end of your description of their discography you put the trivia question "What band did Cuddy and Keelor form before Blue Rodeo?" You put the answer as The Hi-Fi's, which is right, but not entirely right. They formed two bands before BR: The Hi-Fi's in Toronto, then they moved to New York for 3 years and called themselves Fly To France while they were there.


October 27, 1997

I think you made an excellent point in your editorial. Which printed magazine could confirm an entry from Bulgaria in just 5 minutes?


...Istvan Sz.

October 22, 1997

SoundStage! made a compelling case for the Canadian mail-order only Newform Research Ribbon/hybrid R8-1-30 speakers in your 97' April edition. I read it with great interest because I am contemplating of replacing my Magneplanar with a pair of their more expensive $2550 NHB Essential speakers.

In your insightful review of the R8-1-30 and the brief discussion of the NHB, some sonic abberations of the R8-1-30 were identified, and they were :

  1. Relative lack of high frequency extention when compared with high quality conventional dome tweeters as used in the Coincident Technology Conquest speakers,
  2. Midrange congestion due to intermodulation distortion of usingan 8" mid/woofer to deliver both deep bass and 1000Hz signals.
  3. lack of midbass power and definition; The speakers were not recommended for Rock and Roll material.

Of course, you also point out that the ribbon tweeter is among the very best available, at any price.

My question is : Does the NHB Essential together with a subwoofer alleviate all of these problems ? In your opinion, does it make sense to replace an MG3.5 + subwoofer with an NHB Essential + subwoofer?

Your response will be much appreciated.

...A. Tang

Hello and thanks for the letter.

I was very impressed by the ribbon performance of the Newform R8-1-30 loudspeaker as I described in the review. However, while the integration between the woofer and tweeter section was good, it was not outstanding. As a result, I did not feel that the bass through lower midrange performance of the woofer was up to that of the ribbon. While the $1236 price makes it a good value, a very serious audiophile may not be satisfied with the speaker as a whole.

I have heard the NHB loudspeaker, but only at audio shows. Therefore, my impressions are under less than ideal conditions. Still, I thought that the NHB integration was extremely good and at least seemed, under these circumstances, to be a much more satisfying loudspeaker in that regard.

What I feel is important to mention is that Newform has now expanded their line of loudspeakers. Designer John Meyer has produced a new loudspeaker that uses the same ribbon as that of the R8-1-30 with the highly regarded ScanSpeak 8545 driver. I have not heard this loudspeaker, but the use of these high quality drivers is promising. Therefore, I have asked Mr. Meyer to supplement this response with some information on this new loudspeaker. As well, since Newform is a factory direct seller, I asked him to provide some information about his "satisfaction guarantee"...DAS

From Newform Research:

New models address the requests from audiophiles for several years now for systems which include the best mid-bass drivers on the planet ie, DynAudio, Focal, ScanSpeak, Eton etc to match the speed of the Ribbons in a simple 2 way system.

The new R630 and R645 employ the famous ScanSpeak 8545 carbon fibre pulp 6 1/2" drivers (used with good reason in many mega-buck systems) along with the R30 and R45 Ribbons. Pitch definition from the ScanSpeak in indeed superb and it is an incredibly linear driver. Because of its smaller diameter we have narrowed the baffle to reduce diffraction further. Ultimately the R630 will not move as much air as the R8-1-30 so its bass dynamics are slightly less although bass extension is excellent. The R645 in using two ScanSpeaks has both the dynamics and the extension plus the mid-bass transparency of the R630.

The R630 and R645 are elegantly simple solutions as is the R8-1-30 but the tradeoff in this case is cost. The new systems will be extremely well received by the audiophile community but the R8-1-30, I believe, will continue as the bang-for-the-audio-buck favourite for most users.

Maggies are great loudspeakers. NHB will probably be more dynamic with better horizontal coverage and smoother high end response. Being mono-polar, our speakers will be more flexible to place and easier to set up. Properly set up, both the Maggies and the NHB will satisfy virtually anyone. However, there is a strategic issue here. If the user is contemplating a surround system at any point, dipoles are basically not a consideration. Discrete systems are designed to deliver precise localization clues and this cannot be achieved if the front wave is followed by a back wave 5 to 15 milliseconds later. DTS is very clear on this. Dolby is more politically sensitive.

Also, slapping a rear chamber on the back of a dipole may make it a monopole but not necessarily a good monopole. If you want a good monopole, buy something that was designed from the start as a monopole.

Our satisfaction guarantee? If it doesn't work for you in your room, you send it back within 30 days for a full refund. Returns are a pain for everyone so we go to considerable lengths to assure our Ribbons are the right choice for you and your room. See our Room Optimizer form on our web site. You talk to us, we talk to you and work out an optimal solution. It's a lot easier than ship it out and ship it back.

...John Meyer
Newform Research

October 17, 1997

Great job gang! I really enjoy reading the reviews. I am especially pleased that you leave out most of the technical material that requires an electrical engineering degree to understand, and concentrate on the sound. It is really nice that you actually compare your test units to other products on the market and give an honest appraisal. I believe some magazines will taint product reviews based on the size of the advertising budget of the company involved. Keep up the great work.


October 13, 1997

I very much enjoyed GS's review of the Jethro Tull Aqualung DCC gold CD.

...K. Ripshtos

October 12, 1997

I have just started using a Radio shack( experiment boxes) They come in various sizes . I have been filling them up with pennies for RF shielding. I've placed these boxes over my dac. It seems to smooth out the highs. Any comments?


For just pennies (sorry about the pun!) you have been building RF/EMI shields. You might even want to try mixing your pennies with lead shot, aluminum bits or other ferrous and non ferrous materials to come up with the best formula for your application. This is effectively what the Bright Star "Little Rock" and the Shakti "Electromagnetic Stabilizer" do, albeit, for a MUCH higher cost.

You also have the added advantage of mass loading the device you place it on, thereby taming resonance's. Have you tried one of my inner tubes under the component in question yet? I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

...Greg Weaver, The Synergizer

October 8, 1997

Double the number of equipment reviews. For example, review two different amps each month instead of just one. Other than that, I love your website.


I would love it if we could! Time is our biggest enemy, however. Still, you will be happy to know that we have amplifier reviews coming up from Mesa Engineering, Blue Circle Audio, Cary Audio, Anthem, Sonic Frontiers and more...DAS

October 3, 1997

Are you EVER going to do the promised review of the Dunlavy SC III?

Good question! Please see letter below...DAS

October 1, 1997

Hey Guys,

I love reading your reviews and I only have one problem... I wrote you back in May in reference to the articles on the SC-III review, and the John Dunlavy factory tour... your response was as follows "The review of the SC-III will likely be July 1, although we should have the John Dunlavy Interview on-line in June." And in your August Feedback section you wrote and I quote "Look for the John Dunlavy interview to be published in September." Well, please let me be the first to tell you it is now October. I understand you have many other commitments and dead lines, but it's been 5 months. I am really interested in reading these articles, so please tell Todd he has at least one reader who is looking forward to his review on the SC-III. Besides this small complaint, I have really enjoyed your site!

...Eric G.

You and about a gazillion others have taken me to task for the Dunlavy delay. All I can do is plea Mea Culpa and throw myself on the mercy of the court. As for concrete reasons for the delay, I've but three:

  • First, in the last 10 months I've left a small software development firm that I helped direct for last 3 years and struck out on my own. Like many small business partings, this one ended up less than amiable. This has forced me to devote much attention to resolving issues with the old firm, as well as managing my own business. As a result, my time schedule has been difficult to gauge. However, things are finally coming under control. Look for my comments on a more consistent basis in the future.
  • Second, plain and simple, transcribing a 3 hour interview is a task best kept for those in the innermost circle of eternal punishment. Still, I agree that the interview should have been completed earlier. As for a timetable, the interview is about wrapped up, it WILL run either November or December.
  • And third, the SC-III review is the single hardest piece I've ever written about, not due to defects in the speakers, but due to their phenomenal performance. To do justice to them, without looking like a cheerleader or stockholder in DAL has pushed my analytical and descriptive abilities to the limit. Look for the results of those efforts in either the November or December issue as well. I promise. Oh, and thanks for hanging in there with us.

...Todd Warnke

October 1, 1997

You guys review far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far to many interconnects and cables. seems like at least 2 or more per month. I know this stuff is important, but this is overkill. Otherwise, it's the best i've seen online.


...C. Hopper

Had enough of cables? Well, we did do a lot, I guess, including the Nordost SPM and Kimber Hero this month. You will be happy to know that in the upcoming months (and even upcoming in this month), we will have electronics reviews from Sonic Frontiers, Anthem, Blue Circle, Mesa and many more, and in addition, speakers from Clements, Merlin, Dunlavy, among others...DAS


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