[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
June 2008

Totem The One?

June 27, 2008

To Doug Schneider,

I've been following your work at SoundStage! regarding the review of various minimonitors for some time now. After having read your review of the Paradigm S2 v.1, I went for an audition and eventually bought them. That was nearly three and a half years ago, and recently I’ve made some changes to my system, replacing the Paradigms with the new Totem The One, which is a so-called limited-edition, elaborate execution of the Model One. Have you heard it? If so, what is your impression of this version? How does it compare with the Model One? Do you have plans for a full review on SoundStage!?

Kris Chantanotoke

I always like to get comments and inquiries about products we should perhaps be looking at, especially speakers. Every time I do, I take an in-depth look at what's being mentioned.

In the case of Totem's new The One, I have to admit that before your e-mail came in, I never knew it existed. So I went to the Totem website and checked it out. Certainly, it looks interesting. In fact, it looks so interesting that despite the fact that I haven't had much interest in reviewing Totem products before, this one interests me. Therefore, I'm going to put a request in to review it. Obviously, there's no guarantee that Totem will actually send it, but there's always the chance....Doug Schneider

Atma-Sphere and Quad?

June 23, 2008


I was recently fascinated to read a glowing review of yours about the Lamm ML2.1 amplifiers, in which you also mentioned Atma-Sphere OTL monoblocks -- particularly where you expressed the view that the Atma-Sphere amps were "the reference" as far as midrange transparency was concerned, even compared to the Lamm amplifiers. Within a reasonably limited budget, I am, rather late in life, trying to enjoy the music in my 3000-CD collection that I have so far failed to hear with my present hi-fi system, and I am about to purchase the best Atma-Sphere amp I can afford -- the S-30 Mk III, playing into my beautifully restored Quad ESL-57s, which incidentally I bought new from Peter Walker for $120 the pair!

I have been led to believe that the Atma-Sphere amp will be a wonderful match for the Quad '57s. Can I expect to hear the same midrange transparency and clarity you talked about, even from the less expensive S-30 Mk III? I will certainly audition the amplifier before purchase, but a quick note from yourself would be hugely reassuring. If you could spare me a one-line reply, I would be hugely grateful. I have no hi-fi affiliations at all; I am just a lover of good music and a chorister for the last 35 years in the London Philharmonic Choir, which I joined in 1973.

Aidan Jones

In order to give you the best advice, I asked Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere about using your Quad ESL-57s with his S-30 Mk III amp. He said that you would have no problems if your speakers were original -- that is, completely unmodified -- while you may need to use the amp with a pair of Speltz Zero-Autoformers if your speakers have been changed over the course of time. The Zero-Autoformers make the speakers an easier and more uniform load for the amp, raising and evening out the impedance the amp encounters. The amp's 30Wpc power output shouldn't be a concern, according to Ralph.

Sonically, I expect you'll hear much of what I heard with the MA-2 Mk III amps -- including that amazing midrange transparency....Marc Mickelson


June 16, 2008


As Jenving's US importer and distributor, we want to thank Colin Smith for his recent "D-I-Why" column on Supra Cables products.

We think Colin hit all the right notes -- chief amongst them that the Supras aren't about hyperbole or gee-whiz features, but rather are intended to "disappear" into one's system. In other words, the cables are all about a "no nonsense" approach (the theme of our new marketing campaign), not getting in the way of accurate reproduction of music and manufacturing high-performance products that the average guy can easily afford.

While the Supras have been available in America for quite some time, we've been on an aggressive campaign during our six-month tenure as Jenving's importer to get the word out. Thanks to Colin and SoundStage! for an invaluable assist!

Lars Erickson
Managing Director

Mat 1 to the rescue?

June 9, 2008


I was glad to see your review of the Boston Audio Mat 1 in SoundStage! because I have been considering one. I saw that your TW-Acustic Raven AC has a copper plate as the platter surface. I have a VPI 'table that had a solid-acrylic platter, and the top end sounds hard and brittle to me. Do you think that the Mat 1 would help tame this sound? I am not using any mat at all now, just the record on the acrylic surface.

Aaron Carter

I know why manufacturers use acrylic for platters and other large turntable parts -- it's relatively cheap and easy to machine -- but, from my limited experience, it often sounds as you describe: "hard and brittle." I think the Mat 1 would help with this problem, though because my 'table uses no acrylic, I can't say how much improvement you'll realize. If it's not enough, perhaps a sorbothane mat would do the trick, although I'd worry about changing the sound in the other direction -- toward inert lifelessness. Austin Jackson at Boston Audio can give you definitive feedback on using the Mat 1 with your 'table, as I'm sure there are many Mat 1 users who have VPI 'tables....Marc Mickelson

Where the heck...?

June 3, 2008


I read Uday Reddy's review of the Esoteric A-100 four times, and I could not find any mention of the speakers he used, nor any of the associated gear other than a Wadia 830. Perhaps I missed it. However, my conclusion is that the review is of little value without the context of the associated equipment, especially the loudspeakers.

Grant Johnson

Thanks for noticing this and letting me know about it. This was entirely my mistake; I forgot to add the Associated Equipment box before posting the review. It's there now. That's the beauty of the Internet -- you can correct your mistakes!...Marc Mickelson


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