[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
September 2006


RC-10 or C-200?

September 26, 2006

To S. Andrea Sundaram,

I read your review of the Energy RC-10 loudspeakers. I haven't been able to find them in a store to listen to, but I have listened to the cheaper Energy C-200 bookshelf speakers (about $300), which I quite like. Have you had a chance to listen to the C-200s or know anyone who has? I'm interested in hearing how the RC-10s and the C-200s compare, and if it's worth paying the extra for the RC-10s.

You also mentioned in your review that the RC-10s probably are not suitable for a large room. In what size room would you think this would be a concern?

Gerard Chan

I have not heard the C-200, so I cannot make a direct comparison. The RC-10, as I wrote in my review, has an remarkable top end, and is exceedingly refined-sounding for its price. Build quality is also exceptional. The overall character of the sound is probably pretty similar between the two models because they are coming from the same design philosophy. Depending upon your other equipment, the additional refinement of the RC-10 may not be all that noticeable. I might expect the C-200 to fill out a larger room a bit more, since it has a larger driver and bigger cabinet, but the elliptical surround of the RC-10 may largely compensate for these differences. I would consider 16' x 18' or so the upper limit for a room in which the RC-10s would work well, but it's all dependent upon your listening habits (volume, type of music).

Any purchasing decision is about trade-offs. If you can afford the RC-10s and your room fits the suggested size, I doubt that you'll regret buying them. If you think that money could be spent better elsewhere in your system, or elsewhere in your life, then get the C-200s. While not every speaker in Energy's line is quite as remarkable as the RC-10, every one I've heard represents strong value in its price class….S. Andrea Sundaram

"...falling into a same-company review routine..."

September 22, 2006


Regarding the "integrated" Aurum Acoustics review, actually, this is a triple review. You're forgetting that the Integris CDP was reviewed on Ultra Audio last year. Not too long ago, I cautioned that SoundStage! might be falling into a same-company review routine like that of Stereophile and TAS. I hope I am wrong.    I e-mailed these pubs as well, and I think TAS is actually doing something about it. They had many "new company" reviews this past year. For the record, the Aurum review(s) were very good -- I almost feel guilty complaining. Maybe I'm going overboard.

John Harnick

Thanks for your comment. We are certainly trying to cover a broad array of audio products, but keep telling us how we're doing....Marc Mickelson

Axiom M80 v2s and placement

September 20, 2006

To Doug Schneider,

I just read your review of the Axiom M80 v2 speakers and had never even heard of the brand before. I'm trying to set up a two-channel-only system for classical music, and I am torn between a few choices within my budget. The options that I know of are a used pair of QUAD 21/22Ls, used Spendor S3e's, or a new pair of Axiom M80 v2s. My ears grew up on QUAD ESLs (63s and then 988s), but my NY apartment doesn't afford room for such things -- just so you know where my ears are coming from!

What draws me to the Axiom speakers is the very flat response and deep bass. It's often considered that well-extended bass isn't particularly important for classical music, but to me it's something of a prerequisite. What worries me about the Axioms (as they play deeper than the other two speakers I mention and have a three-way crossover instead of two-way )is that due to room constraints, I can't sit more than about two meters away, and can't get them more than about 2 1/2' away from the front wall for that distance, with the speakers sitting about 5' apart. I'm wondering how well integrated all the drivers will be at that distance, and whether I'm going to have problems with bass from the rear port. Of course, you never know until you try, but I'm curious how you had them set up for the review, and if you found any particular positions that yielded particular sonic problems.

Daniel Segall

Whether a speaker has a two-way or three-way crossover is not important at all. Good designers can make great speakers either way. However, your concerns about speaker size, room size, and listening distance are quite valid. In fact, I suspect that M80 v2s might be too big for your room. They're a large speaker with high output capability and seem to sound best in a spacious room and with a generous listening distance between you and the speakers.

That said, if you're drawn to the idea of fairly flat frequency response on- and off-axis (which I am, too), Axiom has plenty more speakers that are smaller that might work better. In fact, the one that jumps to mind is the M22 v2, which is a stand-mounted model and quite a bit cheaper than the M80 v2. In fact, it's one of the true high-end bargains to today. It has the same sort of linearity through the upper bass and midrange. On the other hand, it doesn't have the kind of bass depth and high, high output capability that the M80 v2 has; however, with your setup in an apartment, I suspect that that shouldn't matter at all....Doug Schneider

Improvement with Bryston DAC?

September 11, 2006

To Philip Beaudette,

Could you tell me if the built-in DAC for the Bryston B100 SST integrated amp would improve the sound of my Roksan Caspian CD player? I live in Brazil and it is difficult to compare products, but there is a distributor of Bryston in São Paulo.

Sonia Christopher

When I tested the Bryston DAC, it could only be used in conjunction with the B100 SST integrated amplifier. Therefore, when I listened to it, I was not just hearing the DAC but a full Bryston system (preamp, amp and DAC). Bryston is due to release a standalone DAC sometime in the near future, but if you want to upgrade now the only way to get the DAC is buy a Bryston integrated amplifier or preamp, both of which can have the DAC onboard.

What I can tell you is that the DAC on the B100 SST was a revelation for me. The improvement in sound over my NAD C542 CD player was simply jaw-dropping. The greater sense of space, transparency and openness that it gave to music was astounding, and I have missed this since returning the B100 to Bryston. While I don't know how the Bryston DAC compares to the one used by Roksan, I can say without reservation that this is a must-audition product if you think your CD player needs an upgrade....Philip Beaudette

Parsifal Ovation or Sophia 2?

September 6, 2006


I read your recent review of the Verity Audio Parsifal Ovations with interest. I'm sure you have read Fred Kaplan's review of the same speaker in TAS; it paints a slightly different description of the Ovations. My question is this: How would you compare the Wilson Audio Sophia 2 to this speaker? SoundStage! has written very favorably about Wilson Audio products in the past, and the Sophia 2 is similar in size compared to the Parsifal Ovation.


You ask a very good question. Because my review of the Parsifal Ovations was a mere follow-up to Jason Thorpe's much more thorough review, a direct comparison wasn't mandated. However, I have had a pair of Sophia 2s here for a number of weeks (we'll soon be publishing a review of them), and, as you point out, they are natural competition for the Parsifal Ovations. The Parsifal Ovation and Sophia 2 are two rather different speakers in design and sound. First, the Sophia 2 is slightly larger and much heavier than the Parsifal Ovation; a pair of Sophia 2s also costs nearly $6000 less than a pair of Parsifal Ovations. In terms of sonics, as I pointed out in my review, beauty is the Parsifal Ovation's game. It is a speaker that makes listening to music a luscious experience. The Sophia 2, in contrast, doesn't display overt beauty or any other subjective characteristic. It is a more neutral-sounding speaker, one with greater bass depth and dynamic abilities too. The Sophia 2 is very even and coherent -- nothing seems highlighted -- whereas the Parsifal Ovation is slightly darker in tone. The Sophia 2 is more sensitive, but not to any great degree. However, I can drive a pair with 18-watt Lamm ML2.1 SET monoblocks that aren't suitable for the Parsifal Ovations.

If I were buying, I would choose the Sophia 2s, but, as I note in my review, I wouldn't argue with anyone who heard things the other way around. The Parsifal Ovations are fine speakers, and I've greatly enjoyed my time with them....Marc Mickelson


[SoundStage!]All Contents
Copyright © SoundStage!
All Rights Reserved