SoundStage! Feedback: October 1999

October 29, 1999

Loved the E-Mag! Keep it up! I hope it continues to remain free of charge to us readers. I'm looking forward to the next issue already. You should minimize the graphics though; they practically drained my printer's toner cartridge. Either that or use lighter backgrounds for advertisements.


...Christopher Lim Kien Heng

October 25, 1999


I just wanted to get an idea of when the Silverline Sonatina will be reviewed. It is mentioned in the upcoming section.

If I may offer a suggestion, it would be cool if the components that are currently being reviewed are marked in the upcoming section. This would give us an indication, and frequent users (like myself) need not ask the question I asked above.


...Jay Raja

The Silverline Sonatina review is earmarked for our next E-Mag, due on December 15th. In terms of marking products in our Coming Soon list, you can assume that all products listed are currently under review. They are on that list because we have physically received them. We learned long ago never to post products that have only been promised because they don't always materialize in a timely manner....Marc Mickelson

October 23, 1999

To Jon Gale,

Great review on the MIT cables. I just upgraded to the 330 Plus IIIs and the 750 Series IIIs. What an improvement! I could relate to some of the descriptions you used in your review. Nice job.

...Jerry Ward

October 19, 1999


I fail to understand how the last few feet of a connection can be helped by a $500 power cord when there may be 50 feet of house wiring that is not as high-quality. Are homes with high-end systems wired differently?


...Jason Fritton

Your question gets asked a lot, and it seems to me the answer is the same as for a power conditioner: it's the last few feet before the power gets to the component that make the difference. The ESP cords, for example, offer a kind of passive filtering that standard household wiring does not. What would be an interesting experiment is to use something like the ESP power cord inside a house and then a cheapie cord on a component. I would guess (which is all I can do) that the effects would be negligible....Marc Mickelson

October 17. 1999

To Jon Gale,

I really enjoyed your review of the MIT MI-330 and MH-750. I am in the process of re-cabling my rig. I noticed in the review you used a McCormack DNA-1 and Vandersteen 3A speakers. I am interested in the interface with these cables using the DNA-1 driving the Vandersteens. This is because I use a DNA 0.5 to drive a pair of Vandersteen 2CEs. Any insight on the sonic combination using the MIT cables, the McCormack amp and the Vandersteen speakers would be very much appreciated.

I dig the work you all are doing at SoundStage! Keep it up!

Thanks for you time.

...Craig Trocino

While I never had the chance to use the DNA-1 with the Vandersteens, my hunch says this would be a match worth investigating. The MIT cables should ameliorate the faint upper midband highlighting the DNA-1 has (IMO), and they will help dramatically the already superb bass from this amp. If you can't pop for the big stuff, I have had wonderful results with the lesser speaker cable from MIT. I think it was called the T2 bi-wire (which is what I started with)....Jon Gale

October 16, 1999

Dear Editor,

I think your magazine makes a deeply flawed assumption that any of the CD replacements will achieve mass acceptance. The problem is that the sound quality of most existing CDs is not close to the capacity of the format. On my modest system (Denon/Arcam/Carver), I recently started thinking that the sound was really lifeless. On closer inspection, it turned out that my newest discs were flat and lifeless recordings, and a change of material was all that was needed. While audiophiles will appreciate the new formats, most Top 40 and rock discs (the residents of most mass-market CD players) will sound exactly the same since these discs don't reach the limits of the current format. The transition from tape to CD in the mass market was based on a large and easily perceivable improvement in quality. That improvement will simply not exist for most recordings in these genres, thus ensuring failure of the new formats to catch on in the mass market.

...John Stafford

We are, at best, cautiously optimistic regarding DVD-Audio and SACD. Yes, we would love to have a new format that offers better sound, but we also realize that audiophiles didn't make the CD into what it is, and anything less won't do for those backing the new formats. We have also found that CD sound is pretty good right now -- right at the time when something new is around the corner. Again, more reason for cautious optimism....Marc Mickelson

October 12, 1999


Congratulations on your E-Mag innovation. Downloading the compressed .PDF file was very quick (admittedly through our network's T-1 line) and this might be a more attractive place for advertisers to display their stuff. This is a lot cheaper way to publish than a paper magazine -- your subscribers buy the paper (if they don't want to read it on the screen) and pay the "postage."

Your reviews are -- at the very least -- up to the standard you have set in the webzine. I have one comment about Srajan Ebaen's review of the Triangle speakers. Ebaen writes that "Triangle's mastermind...[designer wants] to push crossover points far beyond the critical vocal range...." I don't think M. de Vergnette did so on this speaker, since the woofer-to-midrange crossover is specified at 300Hz middle C is 440Hz, so the crossover point is a little less than 1/2 octave below that -- approaching the top of a tenor's vocal range or the lower end of an alto. There are a lot of music fundamentals in that range, and our ears are quite sensitive there. That's why, IMHO, every speaker reviewer should include in his/her audition portfolio some well-recorded solo female vocals, preferably classical. There are any number of Cecilia Bartoli recordings that serve the purpose very well -- nothing but Cecilia and a piano. If there's anything not right in that key midrange area, you will definitely hear it. The difficult woofer-to-mid crossover is why there are so many more good-sounding two-way than three-way speakers. The two-way's crossover is well out of the range of most music fundamentals, in a place where our ears are less sensitive to anomalies. The Triangle speaker may, indeed, sound good. If it does, it's due in part to the designer's successful implementation of a crossover at a very difficult and sensitive point in the audio band.

...Bruce Beckner

October 11, 1999


I was wondering why there are no reviews of NAD products on SoundStage!. They are included in the directory of manufacturers, but no reviews, not even in the archives. In other words, I want to by an NAD amplifier, and I was hoping for a review!

...Ryan Reilly

NAD is listed as an advertiser, but up to this point, we have not reviewed any of the company's products. We have a review of the T770 A/V receiver in the works, however....Marc Mickelson

October 10, 1999

To Marc Mickelson,

I have a question that I couldn't find the answer to in your Bel Canto DAC1 review. In  the review you mention that "I also used a melange of power cords from API, JPS Labs, Audio Magic, and ESP." I am interested in knowing if the use of any of these power cords improved the performance of the DAC1. By the way, I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles about digital equipment, and based on your comments about the DAC1, I am awaiting delivery for my own personal unit. Thanks for giving us some truly insightful and fun-to-read reviews.

...Robert Dent

I like the JPS Labs Digital AC and ESP cords on the DAC1 the most. Both made its character a little more reposed. I would recommend experimentation, however, because some may find the DAC1 reposed enough as it is....Marc Mickelson

October 6, 1999

I would like to congratulate the entire SoundStage! staff on the new E-Mag. It is so good that I will drop my Stereophile subscription. Please do not go hardcopy; let's save some trees. Keep up the good work, and thank you.

...Cesar Vega-Lassalle

October 5, 1999

To Doug Blackburn,

I believe you are on the right track with your discussion of phase. I have a Wadia/Classé/Dunlavy system and have pressed the polarity button on the Wadia remote many, many times. Every time I purchase a new CD, I compare polarity settings. Never once have I noticed even a subtle difference. I have now stopped using that button!

Keep up the good (and controversial) work.

...Joe Bridge

October 3, 1999

In regard to your CEDIA coverage, is that it? I've heard of a dozen products I would have liked to have seen covered. And a picture doesn't give much info. And who cares about seeing the ugly guys who designed the things? I want to see rear panels, close-ups, product information. I'm starting to lose faith in the whole web thing!

...John Ashman

October 2, 1999

I agree with Doug Blackburn’s great review of the Channel Islands Link DAC mods and Monolithic Sound HC-2 power supply. This is a very sweet combination. I have had it for six weeks and love the smoothness and dynamics. It certainly is an improvement over the stock Link DAC. I'm not sure why MSB didn't do all of these upgrades themselves.

...Bill Crane

October 1, 1999


I greatly enjoy your website. The reviews, comments and articles are informative and thoughtful. Congratulations on such a professional job.

I corresponded with Bill Cowen after reading the Sonata review. It was well enough done to make me seriously interested in the speakers based on the review alone. I had not heard of the speakers before. He has been gracious enough to respond to all of my inquiries and provide an in-depth discussion of the issues that I raised.

I wonder if Bill is reviewing the Sonatina, which might be more appropriate for my listening room. Do you know when the review might be published (I realize that you will need to caution me that you cannot always control how well your reviewers stick to deadlines!)?

...Richard Gordin

Thanks for reading and the kind words about our work. I will be reviewing the Sonatina, and I have the Sonatas here now for comparison. The Sonatina review is at least a couple months away....Marc Mickelson