[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
May 1998


May 30, 1998

You should review a wider variety of equipment. I notice that you don't review equipment from some of the "biggies" in the industry such as ARC or Krell. That makes it difficult for the average person to place your reviews in context w/ those of other publications that seem to measure other products against the established "powerhouses."

...Andy Pau

Hello Andy and thanks for the feedback. You are correct in pointing out that we have not yet reviewed any equipment from Krell or ARC. This is by no means deliberate and we would certainly welcome a review item. Over 95% of the products we review are supplied by either the manufacturers or distributors of those products. In other cases our reviewers may actually own the product. In the case of Krell and ARC, they have not yet supplied any to us and none of our reviewers currently own any of those pieces. Acquiring review samples from these, and other companies, is something we plan to pursue this year...DAS

May 28, 1998

I'd just like to say that Jay Piriz has to be the first reviewer that I can say is dead on! I've been searching and searching for someone whose word I can take for gospel, and I think I've found him! I've purchase four of his recommendations and have been pleased all four times. I know I never would have discovered Lisa Ekdahl otherwise.


...Karen Denning

May 28, 1998

I sure would like to see a review of the SimAudio Moon Series I-5 integrated amplifier. It's probably already in the works, huh?

I've always been a fan of "integrateds," both CD players and amps. I like simplicity. And now that it's clear that cables equally are components (AC cords, interconnects, and speaker), the case is very strong. You're well aware of the cable cost factor for integrated vs. separates. For the audio nut who wants a clean and neat system, I think the "only way to go" is good integrateds with good cables.

...Dave Sturdevant

Hi Dave and thanks for your suggestion. Currently we have one SimAudio product in-house and that is the Celeste 4150-SE stereo amplifier. Expect a review from John Stafford in the near future. The Moon series products certainly look appealing and we plan to inquire about possible review samples from that series -- the I-5 certainly looks to be a good place to start...DAS

May 27, 1998

I am disappointed as I watch SoundStage! become like other audio magazines in reviewing products like Lamm ML1. The amplifier contains parts worth $500 and is priced at near $20,000. Get real when you heap adjectives to products as this. The review should keep in mind the cost vs. performance ratio.

No doubt Lamm is a great product, but for the price, Vladmir is laughing all the way to Moscow.

...Yogi Saxena

Thanks for reading. First, your claim of $500 worth of parts is not accurate--and I know this for a fact. The custom-made output transformers alone cost much more than $500 each. Second, I feel completely at peace with my estimation of the ML1s' sound. It was my goal in the review--as I stated in the opening paragraph--to describe what the amps sound like, and a few other readers who have also heard the amps have let me know that I accomplished this--with minor quibbles.

Regarding cost vs. performance, this is certainly as subjective as reviewing itself. In my opinion, the Lamm ML1s justify their hefty price based on the sound they deliver--as those who have purchased the amps would agree. Others would disagree, as you have. Luckily, we can all vote with our dollars...Marc Mickelson

May 21, 1998

To: Greg Weaver

You Da' Man

Truly, you are. Although, I suspect, if word gets out, certain companies manufacturing audiophile cable will want you rubbed out. You are a dangerous person. After digging through the SoundStage! site yesterday I uncovered your February article on Magnetic ST and SST homebrew interconnects. I RAN TO RADIO SHACK and built my first pair (Mag wire) in about an hour and a half, not including shopping time. I AM ASTOUNDED by the improvement to my system.

For some time now, I have become dissatisfied with the articulation and pace/rhythm in my home system. I was remarking the other day to my girlfriend that while you could hear the full spectrum of audio in much greater detail in my home theater setup and is very dynamic, even my lowly car stereo seemed more snappy, rhythmic. Well, this new interconnect has increased the transparency, articulation, soundstage, rhythm, and most every other parameter by SEVERAL orders of magnitude. To be honest, I can't think of any single tweak, accessory, or even component that has made a more dramatic change in the system (including a Musical Fidelity linestage buffer, several interconnects from Tara, Kimber, and Monster, the seemingly dramatic improvement from using my LD player as a transport rather than my CD changer, bi wiring my speakers, etc.) I was about to purchase new speakers ( I am using B&W DM601's, and a Sunfire Sub), but my speakers have just began to talk to me and show me what they can do. For the first time, I can see/hear some of the virtues that they have been lauded for. Moreover, having recently done the comparison between the cheapo CD changer and the LD player as a digital transport, and hearing a clear improvement (despite Toslink on LD, coax on the changer) with the more massive changer, the improvement with the interconnect only between the DAC and the amps is about three times as much. So much so that I can enjoy and become involved with music on the changer, unlike before.

I would recommend that a music lover try your homebrew before investing in more costly equipment/tweaks. Plus, it is so much fun to do this yourself while thinking about the hundreds of dollars some audiophile cable company won't get.

Drawbacks: only two, very minor. They are very susceptible to noise, especially voltage spikes and occasional buzzes/RF. I have just ordered RF blockers as you suggest this month. Second, there is a very slight amount of upper midrange prominence: not quite glare - I don't know whether removing this would remove the detail so, I can certainly live with it.

I can't wait to try the silver SST's; I am ordering the wire today. Any chance you will apply your homebrew genius to speaker cable? Regarding digital cables -- have you tried the ST/SST in this application? We can only hope, for we're not worthy.

...Cotie W. Jones

According to the Synergizer himself, the glare is a bi-product of insufficient 'burn-in'. Give 'em some time he says. Greg Weaver is currently working on a digital cable, check upcoming SoundStage! issues for the results!

May 14, 1998

Can you improve the best online audio magazine? Only time will tell.

...Michael Grosz

Thank you for the compliment!  Time WILL tell...but right now I can tell you that we have some exciting plans for our future that I will spill the beans on.  Our new SoundStage! LIVE site is now open. This is or daily visit site that promises something new all the time for our readers.  Talk Online, our discussion forum, is now part of this.  Hi-Fi '98 reporting will also be there.   In Summer 1998 we plan to open News Online where we promise relevant, interesting news items that we're sure our readers will enjoy.  As well, we are planning to produce the REVIEWERS' CHOICE component listing where we pick the 'best of the best' that we've reviewed.  There are even more plans, including some that will be announced over the next couple of weeks.   Thanks again for your response...DAS

May 14, 1998

Seeing that SoundStage! has reviewed both the TDS-II the SCE Harmonic Recovery System, I will add another product that might prove interesting. The company--Tritium Electronics (Tritium@execpc.com). The product--Triphasers (not certain on the exact spelling).

The reputed effect of the items--cleaning up midrange distortion, extended high and low frequencies, via 'alteration of the spectral density of complex waveforms' (don't ask me what it means, I'm just playing parrot). Do they work? I can't personally say, having not had an opportunity to trial one. But if what folks have said about them has a basis in fact and not fiction, they may be something worth looking into. Not that there isn't enough on everyone's plate already....

...Dave Derrick

May 11, 1998

To: Doug Schneider

I have been going the rounds seeking out new loudspeakers to replace my KEF 101s. Was considering the B&W 803s until I heard ribbons for the first time, this very morning at VMPS in El Sobrantie, across the bay from where I live.

I am contacting you because on returning home I remembered a buried catalog from Newform Research, and their 'Update' flyer contained a review of the R8-1-30 by none other than you. I've some questions to which I hope you are willing to respond.

You refer to the R8-1-30 (now known as R830s) in the context of home theater. Would your opinion of these loudspeakers change if you were reviewing them in a context of pure high-end stereo, particularly with a classical programme? There is also a new loudspeaker, the R630, using a ScanSpeak carbon fibre pulp driver instead of Peerless driver. Probably doesn't go down low enough to suit me. More generally, did you find you could play the R8-1-30 really loudly, for example pipe or gan music or a piano concerto at realistic levels, and still get fine performance? Hard to believe a single woofer can remain linear at these extreme excursions.

One of the things I do like about the 803s (which I am trying out over the weekend) compared to my 101s is that I can jack up the volume and they don't radically change character (the 101s get distorted and unmusical, and the soundstage blows to pieces). Can one expect anything of this capacity from the NFR? Lastly, do you know the VMPS line? The model I am considering, which hasn't even been built yet, uses two Vifa ribbon tweeters (they are round like domes), two rectangular, metal encased midrange ribbons, a 12" woven carbon fibre woofer and a smaller passive radiator. Same price range as Newform Research speakers.

Any advice will be gratefully received.

...Russell Lichter

I'll start with the VMPS questions. I don't know the lineup of speakers very well and cannot comment on them. Regarding the Newform R8-1-30 loudspeaker that I personally reviewed some time ago. As the review stated, I felt it to be a strong performer, particularly for its price, but in the end I was not completely satisfied with the bass driver/ribbon driver integration for a pure audiophile speaker. With regards to home theater, I was able to overlook this limitation and applauded its deep bass and ability to play loud. Is it loud enough for you? Hard to say, but I know that it was loud enough for me with strong impact and control.

Following the review, Newform's designer John Meyer announced a forthcoming model, based on a smaller woofer driver that would offer better integration between it and the woofer. This design is intended to appeal to the audiophile/music crowd and the result is the current model R630 with the ScanSpeak woofer as you indicated. We have already discussed reviewing this speaker with Newform Research. Reportedly we will be receiving the speaker in a relatively short time and I must say that I am excited to receive it. We will keep you posted. As for the VMPS, we wouldn't mind getting those in house too, but at the moment we have had no such contact with that company.


May 11, 1998

To: Greg Weaver

I was just directed to your article about cleaning with Lysol Direct, and am wondering if this stuff is safe to put in a VPI Record Cleaning Machine? Also, is it necessary to rinse the record after this procedure? Thanks for your input and your article!


...Harold Goodman

As to your first question, the active ingredients in Lysol Direct are considerably less corrosive to plastics than alcohol. And, as Harry Weisfield himself says that he would use the 25% alcohol concentration, if not for the HazMat rating for shipping, I see no problems at all. But, why not call VPI and double check?

Rinsing is not necessary, but surely would not hurt at all! Thanks for reading SoundStage! and taking the time to write...Greg Weaver

May 10, 1998

To: the SoundStage! Readers

In June of 1997 Doug Schneider & John Stafford gave the Blue Circle BC83 Power Line Pillow a major "thumbs-up" review. Boy were they right!

I brought one home for an audition in my system, which is not particularly expensive by audiophile standards (between $4000 & $5000 and that's Canadian bucks). I have auditioned high priced pre-amps & power amps that provided less musical improvement than the BC83! This thing should not be considered an "accessory." It is definitely a major component in reproducing the musical experience. I don't know how it does it, since it's not in the signal path, but I would recommend that anyone who is looking for a relatively inexpensive upgrade that supplies a major impact on the music should check out the SoundStage! Archives and read the review mentioned above. Then go to Blue Circle's website at www.bluecircle.com and find out who's retailing in your area. Give it a listen.

Oh yeah, the one that I was auditioning never made it back to the store.

...A. Whyley

May 8, 1998

I have not visited your website for some time. I was directed to this site by Kevin Deal of Upland Audio to learn more about tubes. The article "Tu-be or Not Tu-be" was fantastic and provided me with information that I was looking for regarding tubes. I think you should have more articles like the "Tu-be or not Tu-be" on other issues that might be of interest to your readers, maybe on different tweaks that do the same thing - like vibration cones of different materials. Or maybe the different types of CD mats on the market.

...Frank Cheng

Hello Frank and thanks for the feedback. I am certainly proud of that article. The author, our own John Upton, did a first rate job and we're appreciative of Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio for his involvement.

May 6, 1998

You guys are doing a great job. Writing is definitely first class and thought provoking. Don't always agree, but if I did it would be pretty boring. Your editorial on advertising was right on the money. I rely on my ears for final judgements so ads just let me know what's out there. You have a group of advertisers who I was unfamiliar with until I saw them at your site. When I am in the market I will most likely consider buying from them, so their methods work as intended.

Keep up the good work.

...Beau Ranheim

May 5, 1998

To: John Stafford

Just wanted to say I enjoyed your review of the Rega Planet [May, 1998 issue...Ed.]. It's been one of the more even-handed reviews I've read, and provided the reader (me, at  least) with enough data to decide whether or not the player was worthy of serious consideration.

...Doug Asherman

May 3, 1998

Yesterday I went to pick up my Super Clef's at Deetes sound room. I had Bob Gross of Speaker Art modify them from Clef's to Super Clef's [Speaker Art Clef reviewed in March, 1998 issue...Ed.].   Both Deetes and I previewed these ultra fine speakers for about 4 hours -- they were connected to a modified Jolida 801, and also to Quicksilver M60's mono blocks. 

The Clefs in their original form are exceptional, however, when Bob Gross of Speaker Art finished with the conversion it is an experience that everyone should have.  The sound stage opened up and it is tremendous -- much larger than before.  The depth is layer after layer of exceptionally clean clear audio, from the bass thru the high end.  The mids and highs just keep flowing and the dynamic range is just overwhelming.  They have so much unrestricted freedom that the speaker itself just disappears and is not even in the picture anymore, it is completely transparent. I am now hearing things that before I did not hear or that were blurred.  The highs of the Super Clef's are much cleaner and higher thanks to the new tweeter that is now installed (the same one that is used in the $8,000.00 Proac). The highs of cymbals are very clean and crisp.  At one point when we were listening Deetes was off axis (from center) by about 20 feet and could still hear the right channel as separate from the left.

If someone is looking to spend $3,000 to 4,000 for a set of speakers then my suggestion to them is take half of your money and put it back in your pocket for something else and find yourself a Speaker Art dealer and purchase the Super Clefs.  For those of you considering the upgrade from Clef's to Super Clefs, you could never go wrong, even with the shipping charges, it is a bargain.

...Joe Hollak

Thanks for the feedback on the transition from Clef to Super Clef. As stated in my March, 1998 review, I was very impressed with the performance of the Clef and feel it offers outstanding value at $1299. These same Clefs are being boxed and readied for shipment for THEIR upgrade to a Super Clef. Stay tuned for a followup review in the months to come...DAS

May 2, 1998

I'll toss an idea out and see if it can swim: Readers' capsular reviews of products.

I understand that a forum like that would not provide the more rigid and less biased assessment provided by the established cadre of reviewers. There would be countless frames of reference. And as one might rationalize, there is always the danger it could turn into a 'lovefest' of little practical value..."it's what I own, so it must be great," etc. -- not to mention the possibility of a flame war..."Mr. X doesn't know what he is talking about, component Y is trash, unit Z is obviously better" and so forth.

But, given the quality of the responses on the Talk line, there would appear to be a lot to share and a lot to learn. If all capsular reviews followed an established scheme (e.g. listing of associated equipment; description of certain salient points; pertinent comparisons; etc.), and if all readers understood the nature of the beast, perhaps there might be a way to tap into the experience of the readership in a constructive fashion.

Just a thought....

...Dave Derrick

It's a very good thought at that! We have had numerous requests along this same line and we are, in fact, looking at ways that it may be implemented properly. Your note has some very good ideas.

I believe that the Internet allows us the ability to share information the world over! That is something no other medium offers and it is something that can offer worthwhile information. Talk Online and our Readers' Synergistic Systems are successful examples that prove people do wish to share their experience with other audiophiles.

Thanks for taking the time to write in...DAS

May 1, 1998

I own Gallo Nucleus Solos and I think they are one of the best speakers below $10,000. I'm anxious to know your opinion of them.


...Arismar Pereira
audiophile from Brazil

We are in contact with Gallo and will be reviewing their speakers sometime soon. We'll be reviewing both the Nucleus Solo and Nucleus Reference speakers.


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