[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
November 1997


November 28, 1997

I have been evaluating the Nirvana S-L interconnects recently. I had a look at your reviews of the Nirvana with various cables. Looks like we are pretty much in agreement to the qualities of the Nirvana, it is a very transparent cable with a natural tonality, slightly laidback in character but I think that is correct.

I have been evaluating the Nirvana in what is probably the acid-test configuration, with a passive preamp which only requires 1 set of interconnects unlike the usual two pairs required with most preamps. I find that on some recordings the difference is more than subtle, the Nirvana gives very precise imaging to some recordings, probably systems with active preamps will have difficulty in extracting this level of detail so that the difference becomes apparent. Seems to me that if you want to do cable reviews, a passive preamp is an invaluable beast even if you also listen with an active.

Its a pity that the Nirvana is on the rather expensive end ... requires swallowing a big gulp on the budget :-(


...Roland Y.

Hi Roland and thanks for your response. I currently use the Nirvana cables as my personal reference. I can describe them with one word - outstanding. However, as you point out, they are certainly not cheap. Designer Stephen Creamer has designed them to compete in the ranks of 'The Best.' As a result, they are unfortunately out of the reach of many. However, I encourage people to try and seek out these cables, and make use of local dealers who may have a home loan program....DAS

November 27, 1997

Thanks for the great website! I just read your Monthly Mouthoff. I don't consider myself an audiophile, rather I'm just a college student who wants to enjoy music in my free time. I have to honestly admit, I previously thought audiophiles were all just a bunch of fools with too much money and time on their hands, looking for minimal improvement over mass market equipment. Then I read a special insert they had in Time magazine called "Time Digital." The article discussed headphones, and at that time, I couldn't fathom how $100+ headphones in the article could be much better than my $29 Sony headphones. I took it upon myself to go listen to some, and came home with the Grado SR-80s, a changed man.

Now with the help of your website, I've gone ahead and ordered a Musical Fidelity X-Cans tube headphone amp. Needless to say, I'm hooked now, and when I get out of college I'll pursue a good home system.

I wouldn't say high-end audio is dying, rather you just need to reach out and lure some of the uninformed. That "Time Digital" article did it for me, I'm not sure what other avenues the high-end audio community could use.

...Ivan C.

Hello Ivan, it is GREAT to get letters like this. You are right on when you say there is a need to "reach out." I believe that the Internet will help to spread the gospel of high end and will become one the key forms for its growth over the next few years. Never before have audiophiles been able to interact in such a wide open, world-wide forum.

The Internet scares some people. That's too bad for them, because it is one of the greatest opportunities presented to us today. We're here for the long-haul..DAS

November 27, 1997

I wrote to you back in July about the terrific Audio Magic Tubed Interconnect. I have also since purchased one and am amazed how good it is. Just for your information, I did a couple of things to tweak it. Top Hat tube dampers work very well with this cable. They provide more air around the images, and improve the audibility of detail. I also had Jerry at Audio Magic make a special cord from the power supply to the tubed interconnect using his Illusion flat silver wire. I also replaced the stock power cord with the Illusion cord. If you get bored, try these changes. They work very well.

...Gary R.

November 27, 1997

Would love to see something along the line of addressing the latest trend of certain digital manufacturerss in trying to make the pre-amp extinct. Personally, I just bought a new Wadia 850. Everything I hear from most reviewers and Wadia is that this thing sounds better going direct to the the amp utilizing the digital volume control. Well, I tend to dissagree. You see I also own an Ayre K-3 pre-amp coupled to the V-3 power amp. In my experience, this setup is FAR more rythmically dynamic than the 850 going straight to the V-3. I  attribute this to the fact that the K-3 is extremely transparent and also posesses an incredibly beefy and clean power supply that I'm sure the 850 can't even begin to compare to. This whole thing reminds me of a few years ago when everyone was singing the praises of "passive" devices. I didn't like them then and I still don't like them now. IMHO, a great active pre-amp is an asset NOT a liability to any good hi-end system.

I would be curious to hear how others feel about this topic. And of course would love to see a review of Ayre's latest product the incredible K-3.

Thank you,

...Anthony S.

Hi Anthony,  thanks for taking the time to respond.  You make some very interesting points.  As a matter of fact, just the other day I was talking with Todd Warnke about this very topic since he has a CD player in for review with the same capability.  Does it eliminate the need for a preamp in a CD only system?  Todd is sure going to try it out.  Greg Smith has also addressed this topic in his reviews of the Camelot Arthur V3.0 DAC and the Lexicon DC-1.

We'd be very interested in hearing what others have to say about this topic too...DAS

November 25, 1997

In response to Todd Warnke's review of the Dunlavy SC-III loudspeakers, I just wanted to say that as good as they are, and they are good speakers, the new Merlin VSM-SE's are fantastic speakers. They do everything better than the Dunlavy's. In short, they are much more able at creating an illusion of real people playing in a real space. They dig much deeper into the music because of their much greater resolving abilities. And they have the ability to flat out disappear. You also get the benefit of really deep bass and a relativley small enclosure. Truly a state of the art product. The Dunlavy SC-III's just aren't in their league. My friend recently ordered a pair after hearing my system. He is selling his Dunlavy's.

...Allen B.

November 19, 1997

Re: Dunlavy on SoundStage!

Read the review......wonderful. Please tell me what associated equipment was used for the review.

The Dunlavy SC-III was a long-anticipated feature. When published there was something conspicuously missing! Please check the side-bar that is now in the Dunlavy SC-III review.

November 17, 1997

For a future review, I highly recommend you guys get a review on the Yakov Aranov equipment. If you liked LAMM, you'll love this. The Russians have got it together!

...Anand R.

Hello...yes Marc Mickelson certainly did like the LAMM gear.  You will be happy to know that right now Mike Masztal is working on a review of Aranov electronics.  Look for publication in the near future...DAS

November 14, 1997

Excellent website, full of informative equipment reviews. Perhaps you could consolidate the advertising banners in one place so that they don't seem to be all over the table of contents when one is trying to get to the reviews. Also...big plus...you don't bother with home theater equipment, pure music...I love that!

...Albert H.

November 10, 1997

[Include] objective music reviews -- as many as possible. What I mean by objective is that since the music itself is a matter of individual taste and therefore what one likes, another despises. It is far more important that the actual sound properties of the recordings are reported on. Most people know the type of music they like but can't know how the recording is (e.g. hiss level, clarity, etc.) until they hear it on a good system.

How many times have you gone out and purchased a disc because you liked the artist only to find that although the music is what you expected, the reproduction stinks? Too many times for my liking.

...Irwin Z.

November 3, 1997

I have had my Audio Alchemy 3.0 fully modified as you reviewed. I just purchased the MPS power supply. Does this power supply require a break-in period? Also I have a TG power cord that I used on the Power Station 3. Do you think this would work well with the MPS unit?


Greg Weaver will have a followup to Dave Duvall's review in the upcoming December issue.   His response is below:

The MPS seemed to sound a bit quieter and offer a bit more extension (at both extremes) after about 40 or 50 hours, so the answer is yes. The MPS should benifit similarly to the PS 3 with your AC cord as well....Greg Weaver

November 1, 1997

I love SoundStage! It is the best thing the has happened to audio related publishing in the last 10 years. Aside from the review articles I really enjoy Jim Saxon's writing. He is the best!!

...Mario A. Diaz, M.D.
South Florida Audio Society

Thank you for the kind words Mario. You're right about Mr. Jim Saxon. His writing is funny, provocative, and most importantly, entertaining. To me, he is one of the best things to happen to audio related publishing in a long, long time...DAS


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