[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
March 1998


March 29, 1998

To: Doug Schneider (SoundStage!), Bob Gross (Speaker Art)

Well I am the proud owner a pair of Clef's,  Serial numbers 000133 and 000134 which I purchased from Deetes Sound Room the first part of April.  Deetes had these in his Sound Room and they were broken in so the day that I brought them home they sounded great. 

The speakers are connected to the Tube amplifier with Apature speaker connectors also the inter connects are also Apature.  The amplifier is a JoLida model 502 integrated stereo tube amplifier that puts out 60 watts per.  Needless to say this combination can and does play music, I don't know all techie terms but the bottom line is the clean clear music that the tubes delivers to the Clef's.  It is simply wonderful.

I read the article that was published by Doug Schneider and agree on some things and disagree on others.  I feel they are way under rated in their reproduction of clean music, one of the comments that Doug made that I very much disagree with is that they take LOTS of power..this simply is not the case with tube amplifiers.  I play Jazz, pop, and some classics..and the Clef's play clean clear music.  I don't need a 10,000 amplifier to get good sound. 

They are great sounding and the soundstage is as big as life.  This speaker needs to be marketed very heavily they are just so good.  It would give the other manufacturer's something to try and duplicate, IF THEY COULD.

Thanks for developing the Clef.

...J. Hollak

I am glad to hear that you are enjoying the Clef and find them 'underrated.' I do like the speaker a lot and feel it tremendous value. I hope that was reflected in the review.

Regarding your comments on power. I found that getting the Clef to listening levels that would satisfy most was not difficult and even a moderate amplifier would suffice. However, I found that getting them to play beyond that level -- I mean LOUD, took considerably more power. Phoning Bob Gross at Speaker Art confirmed just that. He recommended a high-power solid state amp to do the job. However, that is not to say that a lower powered amp won't suffice under 'normal' conditions as you have found...DAS

March 26, 1998

As a hardcore audiophile who reads most of the high-end paper audio literature, I think SoundStage! is great! I admire the vision behind it, and the quality brought to it. Layout and accessibility are very good!

My biggest suggestion is, make sure equipment reviews COMPARE to similar 'reference' products. Next, I'd like reviews of competing products, either in one review or in sequence. For example, + or - $1000 integrated amps -- what's hot? Or $2000 monitors -- how about Merlin TSM, Condor SC-7, Speaker Art Clef Signature, Nova Ovation, ProAc SC1. For an interested individual to set ears on a group of components like this is almost impossible -- you can help!

And think how much fun this would be!

...D. Sturdevant

March 25, 1998

First, my compliments on your virtual magazine. I find it both extremely informative and enjoyable to read. There is, however, another virtue to reading an on-line magazine, one that I suspect many of your readers can appreciate.

I don't know why this should be so, but it has been my experience that, except in rare instances, high end stereo stuff and spouses don't generally mix. I know my wife gets visibly nervous when she sees me engrossed in a high-end audio magazine, fearing that it may mean I'm on the verge of buying something more. With your magazine, however, it takes but a click of the mouse when she walks into the room to spare her such needless anxiety.

You may not have thought of it in this way before, but your magazine promotes marital as well as musical harmony!

...M. Ross

March 19, 1998

For us frequent browsers, a "what's new" button would be convenient, saving us from having to sift through articles we have already read.

By the way, thank you for the great mag and keep up the good work. and a special thanks to Greg Smith, Greg Weaver and all who are responsible for the entry-level, budget reviews and tips/tweaks.

...R. Teano

March 19, 1998

You guys are already great. Freely sharing valuable information through the web is unfortunately a rare thing. There are only two websites that I regularly visit: SoundStage! and Wine Spectator.

<tears welling up>
"I love you man!"
<sniffle, sniffle>

Alright, if you can afford to do more equipment and music reviews, then I'll read 'em.

Keep up the great work, and make sure that I win that CD player!!!!

...R. Ruben

Well, we can't guarantee you'll win, but we're sure glad you entered! Fine wine and audio? Not a bad thing at all. Thanks for the feedback...DAS

March 18, 1998

Just a quick Hi to say that I like the "new" format! Each issue is getting better than the previous.

...A. Gram

March 18, 1998

Although having a major website such as SoundStage! obligates you to provide an international forum, it is obvious to me that you are Canadian-based, which I think is great!!

I am very interested in any Canadian manufacturers and how they compete in the international marketplace. All things being equal, I would definitely support our local high-end audio industry.

Keep up the good work in showing our great talents to the world!!

...D. Bristow

The SoundStage! head office is located in Canada -- Ottawa, to be exact. Of all the writers, only myself and John Stafford in Toronto are Canadian residents. For the most part the others live in the U.S. and as far away as Costa Rica and Singapore.

Although I used to consider SoundStage! a North American publication, I now consider it a worldwide publication. Feedback indicates that we not only have North American readers, we have readers in Russia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Italy, England, Turkey, Brazil, Finlad, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Australia and a whole lot more countries than I ever could have imagined. The Internet has truly brought a world-wide audience together and our goal is to find the best of what's out there -- anywhere...DAS

March 17, 1998

I visited the Montreal show...got in from Ottawa about an hour before to purchase a ticket and beat the line-up. Unfortunately this was prohibited...resulting in a 2 pm lineup that wrapped around the whole ground floor of the Delta.

Once I did get in, I found many rooms to be either closed (but presumably occupied) or under some form of construction/assembly.

In addition, many of the rooms were shoeboxes and not particularly conducive to any movement, let alone listening.

Fortunately, there was one room where I had an opportunity to listen. The totem room had a Rega Planet/SimAudio Celeste electronics/Totem Arro speakers set-up which produced superb music...staff were helpful with questions and those Arro speaker sounded spectacular.

Probably be my last show, however.


...R. Roberts

p.s. great mag...Smith's articles are intelligent...DIY interconnects work fine...more projects, please!

Hi Mr. Roberts, thanks for writing. I definitely recall the room you mentioned and I agree it was very good. Regarding the room sizes, one thing did change in Montreal this year. Unlike last year the large "suite" type rooms were not used. Therefore, some very large speakers were used in some very small rooms. However, as one manufacturer said to me, "these rooms are about average for a house, if a manufacturer can't get their equipment to sound good here, how will it sound in your home."

March 10, 1998

I was curious about your plans to review the AtmaSphere M-60 mk II OTL amps. Last October I heard from John Upton about a possibility and most recently your mention of it in the Talk Online "OTL Revolution" thread from last week. Is it coming up in the near future?

Please keep up the great work. Your site is by far the most useful and entertaining of any that exist.


...K. Mersereau

Thanks for your interest.  Yes, we have scheduled John Upton for a review of an AtmaSphere product.  Although we have not yet received the product, AtmaSphere has informed us that they are ready to ship.  We anticipate John having the product shortly and a review in the upcoming months.   We'll try and keep you posted...DAS

March 9, 1998

To: Greg Weaver [re: Synergizing, February 1998]

Thanks for your article on making interconnects. I made a interconnect cable 36" using copper magnet wire but am not sure of the gauge.  Compared to my Kimber Silver Streak (3 years used) the sounds is very, very close. The Kimber (being silver) seems to have a slighty better high end. But soundstage, dynamics, and bass is a toss up. I was wondering if it would get even closer after proper breakin,which by the way, how long would you recommend to truly evaluate?

The other question I have is, though the wires are separated, there remains a chance that the wires may twist and touch,is the varnish coating adaquate protection if the wires did happen to touch?


...K. Basar

Thanks for the letter.  To answer your questions, let me start with the break in thing. You will probably see the most significant change within 10 hours, but I would wait 100 hours before making any judgment. On the issue of the magnet wire, if you followed my directions, there is no way they can touch. I also don't know how else to properly maintain the correct distance between wires which would have a significant effect on the resultant sound. If you didn't, magnet wire is FULLY INSULATED so you shouldn't have any problems unless the wire has rubbed clean somewhere.  However, please use your own judgement and if the wire is not magnet wire, insulation is missing or the interconnect has not been created in the exact same way, as you mention it is vitally important to ensure that the wires DO NOT touch.   Otherwise, as with any interconnect, damage to equipment could result from shorting...Greg Weaver

March 6, 1998

I see no specific place for improvement. The fact that you exist, and that you are the greatest online audio resource is enough for me. Also, your writers are so down-to-earth  that I can actually distinguish what the product under test sounds like!

Thanks very much,

...Ross F.

March 5, 1998

Hi guys. I truly appreciate your web site. It seems to be a labor of love and it's heartening to be offered so much free, valuable content on the audio scene.

I believe SoundStage! mentioned an upcoming review of the VR-4 Gen II   speakers? Is this true? If so, can you tell me when it will appear on your site?

I was on the cusp of purchasing the VR-4.5s when the Gen II was announced. It sounds like the Gen II might have edged into the 4.5s level of sound quality while offering a 'friendlier' foot-print. Since there are no VR dealers close to me, I look forward to your review to see if this speaker is worth traveling for.

Thank you.

...R. Harkness

Hello and thanks for taking the time to inquire.  We gave the world the first look at the VR-4 Gen. II in our CES 98 show report.  The one at the show was a production prototype and VSR was ready to swing into full production full time.  At that time we also had arranged with Von Schweikert Research for a review pair to be sent to Mr. Greg Weaver when production commenced.  We'll be updating further the more we find out.  I know many readers, like yourself, are interested...DAS

March 4, 1998

Here's another great application for Black Diamond Racing Cones. I placed three BDR Mk3 cones under my Braun 12 cup, points down, and the result was smoother, richer, coffee with mellow high notes and increased depth. For more clarity and bite, try Mk4 cones. I do not recommend double-blind testing, though. It really stings.

...P. Buch

March 3, 1998

Comment on the "Homebrew KILLER Interconnect" article [Syngerizing by Greg Weaver, February 1998].   I built the Signal Tape and WOW, it works. I used 0.6 mm wire NOT 30 AWG (0.25 mm) wire - still the result is STAGGERING!  What are the arguments behind the "thinner is better" - idea? I learned in school that the THINNER the wire the BIGGER the resistance.

...P. Kruse (Denmark)

March 2, 1998

Just finished reading your review of the Von Schweikert Research tour experience. I must say that although I enjoyed your commentary on the VR 8, they too are out of my price range, and I'm sure my wife would probably react as you stated your wife would react.

Although I am content with my 4.5's, my dealer said the VR 6's blow them away. Sales jargon: I'm not sure, but I do look forward with anticipation to justify a new purchase if there is a chance you might review them sometime soon. Thanks and keep up the good work.

...T. Anspach

March 2, 1998

Have just recently discovered your site and have been here almost every day since. Currently I subscribe to Stereophile, Stereo Review, Audio, Sensible Sound, Absolute Sound and even a few more I can't even think of right now.

SoundStage! is truely a breath of fresh air. . . unpretentious, informative, credible and relevant! And, most amazing, FREE!

I am impressed. Thank you.

...S. Campanile

March 1, 1998


In the past, SoundStage! has always been organized, thorough and concise. This CES report seems to be nothing more than a random sampling of reviewer recollections. Disappointing to say the least.


...John L.

Hi John and thanks for your feedback.   It has been our goal at SoundStage! to cover each show with a unique perspective and try to leverage the power of the Internet.  Our past show reports were extremely well received with the exception that people always wanted more!  So, this time we made a deliberate effort to offer everything we could -- more text, more pictures, more of a feel of being there.  We chose to do that by dividing the show into contributor sections and have them write about their experiences.  The result?  A comprehensive show report from a variety of perspectives that we feel gives readers insight into almost everything high-end audio related at CES 98.  The fact that your thoughts reflect this shows us that we succeeded in that regard.  On the other hand, I understand and hear your concern for a more cohesive and concise presentation.  It is reader feedback like this that helps guide us.  Thanks for taking the time to write in...DAS


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