SoundStage! Feedback: June 1999

June 29, 1999

Haven't visited for a while. Like your new look very much. Loading seems faster too.

...Ruben Khoo

June 26, 1999

To Marc Mickelson,

Regarding your review of Sarah Vaughan's Crazy and Mixed Up and How Long Has This Been Going On?, I too am impressed with how well remastered they are. However, Pablo was not Vaughan's last label. She went to CBS (Columbia) after her stint with Pablo, and she also did one album for Atlantic in 1981, Songs of the Beatles. Her last solo album was Brazilian Romance, and her last recording is on Qwest (Warners), Quincy Jones: Back on the Block. The thing that surprises me most is the horrible neglect of her Mainstream years; the records she did on Mainstream are exquisite!

I just wanted to let you know.

...Dave Hazard

June 22, 1999


I read your review of the Cromolin damping material. You imply that this is just one way of dealing with resonances, but my experiences are contrary to this. Before discovering Cromolin several months ago, I had been using several more mechanical means applied to the top of the component. These were aluminum boxes filled with lead shot, bags filled with lead shot, and Walker Audio lead pucks that are 1" thick. Of necessity I removed these to take the covers off the TAG preamp and the Dodson DAC to put the Cromolin on, and I left them off for sometime. I heard an improvement using only the Cromolin over the sound I had with the other damping, and it improved over time! I guess that is a setting up of the adhesive.

Much later I thought to add the Walker Audio lead and found a further improvement. All I can make of this is either that they damp in a different range or that greater damping is always a plus. My experience with the Cromolin, however, is that it gives the greatest benefits.

Best regards,

...Norm Luttbeg

June 18, 1999


Regarding your review of Cromolin VC damping material, interesting stuff. I haven't tried it. I have to ask, though, why doesn't anybody pay attention to Marigo dots?

These things have been around for a long time. Ron Hedrick doesn't advertise, so I guess it's word of mouth. I use the big dots on my windows (6' x 9', makes right-side wall of my listening/living room). They made an impressive difference in soundstage size and bloom upon application. They apparently trap or alter feedback resonance. My Resolution Audio CD and Audio Matiere integrated amp are heavily modified (by Rick Taylor, Final Note, Maine), including lots of internal Marigo small dots. All I know is that the modified units are hugely improved.

Ron, by and large, makes damned good products and deserves a lot more recognition. I hope you are using his CD optical fluid (call him and ask how it works) and his Black Orpheus/Crossbow CD mat. (OK, he got carried away with the name.) I wouldn't play a CD without them.

Keep up the good work!

...Dave Sturdevant

June 17, 1999

I was very excited to see the Audio Physic Avanti Century in your list of upcoming reviews. Pardon my impatience, but when do you expect we'll see that review?


...Andy Pao

Hi Andy. I suspect the review will be online 9/1 or 10/1; our reviewer is beginning work now....Marc Mickelson

June 16, 1999

To Todd Warnke,

Based on your review, I bought the new Michelle Willson CD, and I really like it. I have been burned a few times lately with reviewers descriptions that led me to discs that were not anything like I expected, so I was glad to find that you nailed it with this disc! Keep up the good reviews.

...Dave Springberg

June 16, 1999


Love your website. Pretty informative and Canadian to boot, eh? Read the review of the Audio Analogue Puccini SE. I am very intrigued but have no idea where in Toronto I can audition one. Any dealers here that you know of?

Thanks in advance,

...Peter Bakis

According to Ian White, Executive Stereo on Avenue Road in Toronto carries Audio Analogue products.

SoundStage! is Canadian-based, operating from Ottawa, ON. However, our roster of over 20 writers come from Canada and the US along with Jim Saxon in Costa Rica and Robert Jorgensen in Europe....Doug Schneider

June 11, 1999


I have been shocked at the quality of sound offered by the Conrad-Johnson DV-2b CD player. It has a reasonable price point (well, kind of: $2500) and yet sounds astoundingly lovely and musical, so much so that I bought one.

Anyway, I think this is a little-known gem and your audience would be well served by a review of this piece.

No commercial connection; just a happy owner.


...Art Altman

June 10, 1999


Are there any reviews yet on the Oracle CD drive. It looks great, but how does it sound?


...Anthony Mitchell

Hi Anthony. Nothing yet from us, but we'll see what we can do....Marc Mickelson

June 9, 1999

I enjoyed reading your latest issue as well as your Chicago coverage. I noted that the Chicago pictures included one of the Waveform Mach 17 speakers. Your note mentions that this is considered one of the better values in audio. It would seem that this would be a great opportunity for a review. Now that the VR-6s are no longer in production, we need a speaker with similar dispersion characteristics to champion the transparency cause. Could it be the Mach 17s with Harmonic Discovery cables?

P.S., Brighton, Ontario is not that much further from Ottawa than Watertown.


...Rick Harrison

June 8, 1999

Dear SoundStage!,

First, let me thank you for all of the wonderful articles. I have found them to be very enlightening and continue to applaud your efforts to seek out manufacturers not normally found in the glossies.

I did notice that you were planning a Bryston 4B-ST amplifier review. It would be GREAT if you could, in that review, compare the 4B-ST to the SimAudio Celeste 4150se and McCormack DNA-1, both of which have been reviewed in SoundStage! All three are about the same in terms of price. How about performance?


...Eric Ajimine

Hi Eric. We do have a Bryston 4B-ST review scheduled (as well as a review of the upgraded McCormack DNA-1), but the logistics of doing comparisons are often problematic. I believe in the case of the Bryston amp, you'll see a comparison to a pair of solid-state monoblocks. We'll see what else we can do....Marc Mickelson

June 7, 1999

To Doug Schneider,

I enjoyed your article about a dying high end, and I couldn't agree more. I truly believe the present high end is in the best shape it has ever been in: creativity abounds, there are many more products for every type of listener, and more fun to be had than at any other time!

I think Dennis Had of Cary put it best in a conversation a while back when I asked him how business was: "Great! As long as you are make something that people want to buy, there is plenty of business." Well said. Maybe the reason that some are saying that the high end is dying is because their business is dying -- maybe if they made something that people really wanted to buy they would pull it back out.

Great article and website!


...Jeff Day

June 6, 1999

Dear Doug,

Your review of Bruce Rozenblit's book will, I hope, inspire me to sit down and read it cover to cover. I bought it along with the Super Compact 150 monos, but have only skimmed the section on cables so far. As I also own Plinius SA-100 Mk III and a Joule Electra VZN-80 amps, I can state for certain that the Transcendent amp is by far the quietest of the three. The sound is quite good also, not quite Joule OTL-like on the high end (neither is the Plinius), but very big and tight on the bottom end and wonderful in the mids. Anyway, it's nice to see Bruce get a little publicity as I feel his products are some of the best bargains around.


...Mike Jemison

June 5, 1999

Congratulations on your outstanding report of the 1999 Montreal show. Is it possible that you missed the entire seventh floor? There were super sounds there and many were considered the best of the show. You guys missed the Wilson/Omega/Mark Levinson room. There was also a great one the room beside that one: Pathos power amp, Oracle CD player, and ProAc Response 1SC speakers connected with HUGE MIT cables.Too bad you missed that one.


...Francois Thibault

June 4, 1999

To Doug Schneider,

I want to thank you for your comments regarding the demise of high-end audio. I agree that there is still a place for the high-end systems. I have embraced the best of both worlds by putting together a listening system of high-end equipment and also another system for home theater. I can't see how you can listen to some music in anything other than two-channel. Take, for instance, a Diane Krall CD, or someone strumming an acoustic guitar. Plus, anyone live is more realistic using a two- or possibly three-channel (center speaker for vocals) setup. But if you have a great system, you should experience that imaging anyway. So thanks for a good column.

...Mark Niehoff

June 3. 1999

Hi Doug,

I just finished reading your review on the room treatment [RPG ProFoam]. As I am setting up a dedicated listening room, I am curious about what is available and how effective it is. I recently read on Gershman's website that they make acoustic panels called Accutunes, that are 2' by 2' and are about $80 Canadian each ($52 USD). They also sell Accucorners, which are for the ceiling corners and are $40 CDN each ($26 USD).

I believe that the Accucorners go into the four ceiling corners and that the Accutunes go on the side walls and the ceiling at the point of first reflection. Therefore, only a relatively small area has to be treated, keeping the cost down.

As this is pretty inexpensive room treatment, I thought that this would be quite suitable review material as well. It would be a great product for Canadians as we wouldn't have the dollar exchange penalty and customs brokerage fees that drive the price of our purchases higher and higher in cost!

I hope that you can review these in the near future as I would like to know how they relate to other products in their field. Thanks for your time.

...Don Parkhurst

June 2, 1999

Dear Editor,

So far I really enjoy your online publication every month and I believe there's no other that can match you on the Internet. My suggestion is for the equipment reviews: why don't you add photographs of the inside of the equipment, like the one in Stereo Sound magazine, for example? I think the readers will be more satisfied reading your articles.

Thank You.

...Surya Sutantio

Because our lead time for publication is very short and we can't always use photos we take, doing this for every review is not possible -- at least for now. We have included a few internal shots in the past, and we hope to do more of these in the future....Marc Mickelson

June 1, 1999


I don't know if you entertain requests, but I'd be mighty interested in reading a review of the new Sonus Faber Amati Homage speakers, even though, at $20k per pair, reading about them is about all I could afford to do. As I expect you know, a reviewer for your hard copy competitor (I won't say the "S" word here) practically had multiple orgasms while describing the Amatis in this month's issue. I'd be very interested your opinion if you ever snare a pair for review. I have the old Sonus Faber Electa Amatars, reinforced by and a REL subwoofer, in my system and love them.

Best regards,

...Michael Ross

Hi Michael. We have a contact at Sumiko, Sonus Faber's US distributor, and will see what we can do about reviewing the Amati Homage speakers....Marc Mickelson