[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
May 2007


"Audio heaven reached"

May 15, 2007


I'm a longtime music lover, drummer (thankfully, I don't make my living doing this!) and audiophile. Last week, my local dealer (Audio Concepts in Dallas) delivered an Audio Research Reference 110 amplifier and a pair of Wilson Audio Sophia 2s to my listening room. This rounded out my ARC Reference lineup -- I have a Reference 3 and Reference CD7 as well. The synergy of the Reference products is as you described in your review. The Reference 110 is close to the Reference 210s that I heard at my dealer's showroom. The Sophia 2s are also a great value and match for the ARC gear. Audio heaven reached.

I've been experimenting with the 8- and 4-ohm outputs of the Reference 110. Right now I prefer the 4-ohm taps. It seemed to me as if the Sophia 2s sounded brighter and a bit nasal on the 8-ohm taps. I'm not sure yet, and things have not fully broken in, so it would be premature to say this how I'll always listen.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your interesting, informative, well-written review on the Reference gear and Sophia 2s. Much appreciated. Keep it coming!

Ralph Sorrentino

Wilson Benesch, please

May 11, 2007

To Doug Schneider,

I have been a fan of your minimonitor reviews, and the YG Acoustics Anat Reference Main Module is another great one.

Could you get hold of a pair of the new Wilson Benesch Square Ones? I read a raving What Hi-Fi review in which it surpasses favorites such as the B&W 805S, ATC SCM 19 and Dali monitors.

Vladimir Dorta

Unfortunately, Wilson Benesch hasn’t submitted any product to us for review in years. However, you never know what will happen. Perhaps they’ll read this message and contact us. I checked out the speaker and it does look interesting….Doug Schneider

Independent reviews?

May 8, 2007


I like SoundStage! a lot. I do have concerns with your carrying advertising. As with printed magazines, how can we be sure that advertisers' products get a totally unbiased review? Also, do politics within the hi-fi trade prevent you from looking at certain products?

Darren Stanley

You raise common concerns, ones that we considered long ago when SoundStage! began (we've been publishing monthly since 1995). First, Doug Schneider and I respectively handle business and content separately, so the two don't mix. We also have a finite number of advertising spots and are almost always sold out. In fact, we maintain a waiting list and are therefore beholding to no advertiser. Finally, regarding our approach to critiquing audio products, we publish measurements taken by independent entities, and these tell it like it is with no input from anyone at SoundStage!

There are other websites where the same people who write reviews also write copy for the companies that advertise. Some of these same people use subtle or overt coercion to solicit advertising from companies whose products are covered, sometimes trading advertising space for products after they are reviewed. This is not the case at SoundStage! or any of our publications, and our reputation within the A/V industry reflects this. We are able to procure as much review equipment as any publication in print or online, and we often get new models first....Marc Mickelson

Krell KAV-400xi or...?

May 2, 2007

To Philip Beaudette,

I am trying to find an integrated amp to power a pair of B&W 804S speaker for $2500 or less. I am leaning toward the Krell KAV-400xi, but I have heard it tends to be a bit bright. Do you feel this is the case? Do you have any integrated recommendations in this price class for a pair of B&W 804S if the Krell isn't the best option? I like my music detailed and powerful.

I greatly appreciate any help you may be able to send my way.

Nicholas Lytle

I would never describe the Krell KAV-400xi as bright-sounding. It plays with a great deal of ease and composure, always sounding controlled and powerful. For the dynamic and detailed sound you want, the Krell is an excellent choice.

As for alternatives, the next in line after the Krell (and maybe in front of the line; you'll have to decide) is Simaudio's i5-3 integrated. It's a little more than you were thinking of spending (list is $3000), but it has detail and power in spades. I actually preferred it to the Krell, but I could be pretty happy with either one. You should note, however, that it doesn't offer the as much power as the '400xi (80Wpc vs. 200Wpc). But -- and this is the big "but" -- I never came close to exhausting its power reserves. It will depend on your listening habits and the size of the room in which you want to use it.

As a second alternative, I'd also recommend auditioning my personal favorite, the Bryston B100 SST. It offers power, detail and extraordinary transparency. From what I've heard in the past year the B100 SST is one of the most satisfying integrateds you can buy, and a great value at its price....Philip Beaudette


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