SoundStage! Feedback: September 2000

September 28, 2000


I don't know if you plan on covering the show in Toronto this week, but if you do, you might want to check out the Osborn room. I purchased a pair of the Osborn Epitome speakers about three months ago, and I feel that they are the best speakers I have owned. They are very dynamic, have a fantastic top-to-bottom tonal balance and great bass. I am quite impressed with the Osborns, and I think it may be worth your time to check them out. I think that they are a good value, considering the speakers they compete with.

Best regards,

...Ken Hartz

We've talked with the North American distributor of Osborn speakers, and we should be doing a review soon. We first saw and heard the line at the Festival du son et de l'image in Montreal in March....Marc Mickelson

September 26, 2000

To Marc Mickelson,

The mention of me and one of my albums in your article about one heck of an amplifier/speaker arrangement flatters me very much. Next you hear of me in your area c'mon down and lemme buy you a beer. By the by, where is that? I'm pleased as I can be to be associated with great sound and the equipment that makes it that way.

...Vince Bell

I had your album Phoenix on my list of CDs to buy for a few years, and I finally found a copy via eBay. I loved it and then went out and bought Texas Plates. Both are in regular play here; as with Robert Altman's movies, there's always something new to "see" in them....Marc Mickelson

September 25, 2000


I don't know if you accept any suggestions on what to put to test, but I`ve come across some loudspeakers that I think are worth listening to, The Anniversary by HECO.


...Geir Norway

September 21, 2000


Just curious, but did you get to hear the First Sound Presence preamp that Todd Warnke raved about? Do you share the same opinion about the unit? Also, what makes a component a Reviewers' Choice? Do a panel of reviewers have to agree on this, or can one individual reviewer designate it as such?

...Mike Javenes

I haven't heard the Presence preamp, but we may do a follow-up at some point, just to get another take. In terms of RC products, I will defer to our online explanation:

"The Reviewers' Choice award recognizes products that offer superior sonic performance and/or outstanding value."

So in general, we're talking about state-of-the-art products without regard to cost, or products that perform far beyond their cost. The First Sound preamp seems to skirt both categories.

When it comes to what is chosen, we let the reviews speak for themselves, but I have the final say -- and often will hear a piece of equipment before it gets named a Reviewers' Choice. For the list to have any worth it has to be exclusive, and that's why even pieces of equipment we own and use as references don't make it. Personal preferences need to be minimized in favor of choosing products that we think are universally extraordinary....Marc Mickelson

September 14, 2000


I read about your recent visit to the NRC and the blind testing that you performed.

I am a bit puzzled about the goal of this exercise and why you found it useful. I assume you performed the tests in mono to reduce the complexity of the exercise, but you end up making conclusions about products that were not used the way they were intended. In a real evaluation you would have gone to great pains to ensure that the system was set up to provide the best room/speaker interaction. This could lead to several speakers sounding similar based on the effects of the room.

A CD player test should be lot more productive since it is easier to swap around players than speakers. Maybe this should have been your first exercise.

Very interesting and stimulating website. Keep it up.


...Richard Kelly

I personally found the blind listening interesting because I'm used to doing sighted listening and evaluation. Yes, the speakers were in mono, only one of each pair used, but it was easy to discern tonal quality, frequency extension up and down, even the overall enjoyability of each speaker. Because the NRC's listening room is up to IEC standards, interactions would be kept to a minimum -- this would be required for a proper blind test....Marc Mickelson

September 13, 2000


I know that each product has its merits and is attempting to do different things, but if you had to live with the Taddeo Digital Antidote Two or the Ortho Spectrum AR-2000 after your digital source, which would it be?


...Mike Javenes

We will be publishing a follow-up of the Taddeo device that will address this question. It will be online on 9/15....Marc Mickelson

September 11, 2000


I noticed that SoundStage! has not reviewed the Sony SCD-1 or any SACD player. It would be quite interesting to read a comparison between SACD and standard CDs played with recent outstanding equipment such as the Bel Canto DAC1. I'm tempted to buy an SCD-1, but at $5000 new, it's hard to justify when compared to a $1500 combination like the Pioneer/Bel Canto, which may sound just as good.


...Rob Packenham

We've tried to get a Sony SACD player for review, but we've not tracked down the right person because we haven't been able to solidify anything. We'll keep trying....Marc Mickelson

September 6, 2000


Just downloaded issue 4 of the SoundStage! E-Mag. Looks great! Can I still get access to the first three issues? How do I make sure I know when the next issues are published? Is there a site I can bookmark that takes me to the latest issue? Where's the best place to go to get music reviews?

Thanks for all the info. Great job!

...Steve Crisp

Due to bandwidth/space limitations, we can't keep back issues of our E-Mag online for now. You can order all four issues on a CD-ROM for $9.95, however. Future issues are scheduled for 10/15 and 12/15 this year, with quarterly issues after that. You can check our front page for indications that a new issue is online, or just bookmark:

We publish a dozen or so music reviews every month, and you can see these at:

...Marc Mickelson

September 5, 2000


It has been interesting and enjoyable to follow the growth of SoundStage!. While I enjoy all of your reviewers, I especially like following Wes Phillips, Jon Gale, Doug Blackburn and Doug Schneider. Chuck Moe, in particular, has pointed me to some great music, and I look forward to his opinions. The "Standout Systems" column is my favorite. It's the type of column I wish print mags would have done consistently throughout the years. The online site of a leading audio publication (tee hee!) recently asked if readers would pay for published web content. Well, before they go there, maybe they need to spend some time reviewing your site, which, in IMHO, is the one getting it right. Thanks for the efforts of you and your colleagues!

...Terry Rusch

September 3, 2000

To Doug Schneider,

Just a note to let you know I thoroughly enjoyed your review of the Verity Audio Fidelio loudspeakers. The review was a complete package -- rich with interesting design and technical info, which lead into an excellent portrayal of the Fidelio's sonic performance. I've heard the Fidelios (and Parsifal) several times, and your description was bang on. A reader who has been led to the Fidelio by your review should be pleasantly surprised to find that the speaker matches your description to a "T." That is exactly the result I'm striving for in my own reviews. Well done.

...Rich Harkness