[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
August 2008

Room for the Synchrony One?

August 29, 2008

To Doug Schneider,

I read the PSB Synchrony One review. My room is about 12' x 14' feet with hardwood floors -- pretty live. The floor-bounce thing is interesting. Will the speakers work well in my room?

Aaron Millar

Obviously, my answer here is pure speculation -- it's impossible to know exactly what will happen until you try them there. However, I do have experience with the Ones, obviously, so I will give you my opinion on what the main issues my be.

Your room is not the smallest out there, but it's not the largest, either. There's no way you're going to use anywhere near the speakers' output capability in terms of how loud they'll play. But the Ones are capable of delivering deep, deep bass and that might cause you problems -- overloading, primarily. If that happens, it's not an easy thing to get under control. I once put too big of a speaker in too small of a room (10' x 12') and no amount of passive room treatments would ever fix the bass bloat.

However, that's just a guess, and if that happens in your room, one solution might be to look at the smaller Synchrony products that don't deliver quite as much bass....Doug Schneider

HRS and TW-Acustic

August 27, 2008


In your review of the TW-Acustic Raven AC turntable you mention using a single Harmonic Resolution Systems Coupler under the motor with beneficial results. But checking the HRS website, the Coupler only has a 3" diameter and the footprint of the motor seems bigger than this. Were you referring to another product from HRS?

Neville Taylor

No, it's the Nimbus Coupler, the NS-080, which is .80" in height. It is a smaller diameter than the Raven AC's motor, which means it fits perfectly in between all of the feet, but the motor rests very solidly on it. You can see how I use it in this picture from my review. Be sure to use Nimbus Spacers -- the polymer pads -- above and below.

By the way, the HRS Analog Disk record weight is also a worthwhile addition to the Raven AC....Marc Mickelson

"...the speaker to get right now?"

August 21, 2008

To Doug Schneider,

I liked your review of the PSB Synchrony One. From what I can tell, you're saying that this is the speaker to get right now. Do I have that right? Is there anything you can tell me that's not in the review?

Chris Fusco

The review is about 3000 words, so I said pretty much everything I needed to say about the speaker. As for your comment about the Synchrony One being "the speaker to get right now," let me say this: Many audiophiles think in the simplest of terms, such as that at any one time there's only one product worth buying. This is what breeds the "flavor of the month" mentality and why there are so many products flipped so fast on sites like Audiogon.

The Synchrony One is a great speaker and a bargain at $4500. However, it's not the only, er, one worth considering. I suspect that there are many other options. In fact,another might be the Monitor Audio Platinum PL100, a stand-mounted two-way design with a ribbon tweeter. I'm reviewing them right now. However, you'll have to wait until September 1 to find out what it's about....Doug Schneider

Duette or Sophia 2?

August 19, 2008


I was wondering if you could please give me your opinion on the Wilson Audio Duette and Sophia 2, as you have lived with both. I'm about to start some listening evaluations on both speakers. I have had a good listen to my friend's Sophias and they are great, but I have heard a few people in the industry say that they prefer the Duettes on their dedicated stands. The bass isn't as deep, but the mids and high are nicer. And with a WATCH Dog subwoofer added it's a very good combination. It's expensive too! But it's an upgrade option for the future.

My wife thinks the Sophia 2s look like pointy bar fridges -- I totally disagree -- but she likes the look of the Duettes. Of course having a good listen to both will be the true test, but your opinion would be greatly appreciated.

My room is 15' x 16', and I use an Accuphase DP500 and a Gryphon Diablo.

Phil Colvin

In a room of appropriate size -- and yours should qualify -- I would choose the Sophia 2s, which, after you factor in the Duettes' stands, cost only a little more. While I think highly of both speakers, the Sophia 2 has the kind of top-to-bottom coherence that few speakers at any price possess, and they aren't particularly tough to drive. The reason to buy the Duettes over the Sophia 2s would be if your listening room doubles as your living room and you need to place the speakers on bookshelves or near the wall behind them -- situations for which the Duette was built. Yes, the Duettes sound very good in free space, but the Sophia 2s were built to be used this way and they better the Duettes in terms of bass depth and they are slightly more transparent through the midrange. I don't think you have to add a subwoofer with either speaker, but this is less of a consideration with the Sophia 2....Marc Mickelson

Shotgun or biwire?

August 14, 2008


I've read your review of the Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval speaker cables, together with your reviews of many other cables. Very insightful writing with complex info presented in a usable fashion.

Because of price, I am leaning toward the Analysis Plus Oval 8 speaker cables. Was your analysis done in a biwire scenario? I understand that the shotgun configuration results in 11-gauge conductors versus 8-gauge conductors for true biwire.

Since my Krell FPB-400cx amp has two sets of binding posts per channel, my thought was to have the cables configured with four spades on both the speaker side (B&W 802Ds) and the amp side.

My question is also affected by the philosophy of the Cardas Golden Reference cables. I understand in the four-spades-on-each-end configuration, the Cardas cables would use a heavier conductor for the bass and a lighter one for mids and highs, unlike the Oval 8s where the bass and mids/highs would both use 11-gauge conductors.

Does the Cardas approach present any real benefits over the Oval 8 in the four-spades configuration?

James Caputo

You ask a tough question for me to answer, given that I haven't used the Analysis Plus speaker cables you mention, and in shotgun configuration at that. Theoretically, using a large conductor for the bass does carry some advantage, especially with an amp like yours that can deliver a healthy amount of current.

Frankly, I'd try biwiring with two single runs of the Oval 8, which won't quite double your cost (shotgun configuration adds some to the price) but will give you peace of mind along with delivering the full capabilities of your amp. This is how I've biwired in the past (when I've had accommodating speakers), and I've always preferred the results over a shogun pair of speaker cables. With two sets of binding posts, your amp seems made for this....Marc Mickelson

Bryston or Simaudio?

August 12, 2008

To Philip Beaudette,

I need your help. I would like to replace my very old Accuphase E206 integrated amp. My target is the Simaudio Moon i5.3 or Bryston B100 SST. I noted that you have reviewed both of them. Could you kindly give me some comments in terms of their transparency (highs and midrange), width of soundstage and bass performance? My favorite music is female vocal/light music, acoustic guitar and rock as well. My current speaker is a KEF Q-series bookshelf speaker (it is very old and I even forget the model number). I noted in your comments on the B100 SST its excellent deep-bass reproduction and dead-silent background. Is it really better than i5.3 in these two areas?

Anthony Choy

I've been asked to compare the Simaudio i5.3 integrated and the Bryston B100 SST integrated by several other readers since those reviews first appeared. My first response is typically that I never had the two integrated amps here at the same time, so I was never able to make a direct comparison. My second response is that I really liked both of them. However, to answer your questions regarding deep-bass reproduction and transparency, I'd tip my hat to the Bryston. I reviewed the B100 SST about two or three months before the i5.3 landed on my doorstep, and as much as I liked the i5.3 I remember thinking the B100 SST had the most see-through sound of any integrated I'd heard (that still holds true for me today). Obviously I don't mean to suggest that the Simaudio isn't transparent. It performed beautifully and was great at delineating the soundstage with its low noise floor. Its bass was also fast and punchy, sweeping you up in the rhythm of the music. But ultimately I thought that the Bryston dug a touch deeper and played with more authority down low. Again, these comments are based on memory, not direct comparison.

My only advice to you is to audition both. These are both serious integrated amps, and this purchase will be an investment you'll want to enjoy for years to come. If you buy without hearing both, you might wonder whether you made the right decision, and the last thing you want is the feeling that maybe you should change or upgrade your purchase. Time is better spent listening to music....Philip Beaudette

Thiel review, please

August 8, 2008


I am a fan of your great website. Now may I suggest you review a pair of Thiel CS 3.7 speakers? I own CS1.6es and I am curious how much better CS3.7 is to my baby '1.6. Please get a well-broken-in pair.

Wiratorn Ruk

We have a standing request for a pair of CS3.7s for review and measurement, and Thiel has assured us that we're at the top of the list. I can't tell you when a review of the speakers will appear, but I do think we'll publish one at some point....Marc Mickelson

Von Schweikert sub with Von Schweikert minimonitors?

August 4, 2008

To Doug Schneider,

Thanks for the review of the Von Schweikert VR-1. You helped me make up my mind on the little gems. My wife has agreed on a little upstairs-sitting-room analog system. I have purchased a Rega Brio amp, Rega Apollo CD player and the VR-1 speakers. My dilemma is the VR-S1 sub. I heard it when looking at the speakers and originally liked the added bass; however, it seemed like it was hardly on. This sub is being discontinued, so the dealer has one left at a good price -- $1700 -- and I am having a hard time with the decision of whether or not to buy it. Is it really worth the cost, or is it minor or even distracting for the system?

Bobby Thirsk

There are a number of things to consider when adding this sub, or any sub, but I can first see some pros and cons with the VR-1S itself.

First, the pros: Visually, it should match your VR-1s quite well, although I do wonder if the wood color will match exactly. That's one problem with wood-veneered speakers -- matching from one time to the next is difficult, sometimes impossible, as there are usually differences in production runs. Also, it looks like a pretty good sub.

Now the cons: $1700 is a lot of money for that sub. Perhaps it was worth it when it was first introduced -- just like the VR-1s were at their original asking price five or six years ago -- but today there's plenty of competition in the subwoofer market. For example, companies like Paradigm, Axiom, Hsu Research and SVS, among others, are offering impressive subs at lower prices. In my opinion, then, $1700 is no deal, and I'd be looking at other options before I settled on the VR-1S.

The final consideration has to do with any sub, not just the VR-1S. Whether the sub is worth the extra money and enhances your system or becomes, as you say, "distracting" has a lot to do with how well you integrate it into your system. Frankly, this isn't easy, as it's just not a matter of plopping it somewhere on the floor and wiring it into your system. Making it work with your main speakers properly takes time and effort, and also often other equipment to make it work well, like a crossover that provides a seamless blend so the sub doesn't stick out sonically. My suggestion is that you look at Jeff Fritz's article on Ultra Audio called "Integrating Super Subwoofers into an Ultra System." In there he discusses how he integrated two JL Audio subs into his system. Those subs are much more expensive, but the principles in integrating them are largely the same. See if you wish to spend that much time....Doug Schneider


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