[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
June 2001


June 25, 2001

To Marc Mickelson,

I purchased Guy Clark's Cold Dog Soup CD on the basis of your review [in E-Mag Vol. 1, No. 3]. Your review was right on! I have purchased other music on your recommendation and find that our musical tastes agree. I really appreciate the work you and your fellow SoundStage! folks do in getting good information out to the great unwashed masses.

...Steven Lefley

June 22, 2001


I am pretty sure I am going to buy a pair of the Magnepan MMGs soon, along with a JoLida 1501 integrated amp. The amp is rated at 100Wpc into 8 ohms. In your opinion, is there a better choice for an amplifier with a similar price ($650)? I am on a budget, but I want the best system I can afford. Right now I am considering the following system: above components with a JoLida 603A CD player, Analysis Plus Oval-12 speaker cables, and TMC White Label interconnects. I want a system that reproduces acoustic instruments well, as well as vocals. Bass is not so important. My living room is approximately 23' by 16'. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

...Dustin Landau

Given the price of the JoLida integrated and its low cost, the only comparable unit I can only think of is the Onix A-60, which is $499 and offers 60Wpc. I know that Onix also makes an A-120, which puts out 120Wpc and costs $699. HCM Audio sells both. The Magnepan MMG speakers will need a fair amount of power, so you'll want to stick with 50Wpc or greater....Marc Mickelson

June 21, 2001

To Marc Mickelson,

It was very impressed with your review of the Mark Levinson No.383 integrated amp. I'm a beginner in the audiophile arena and trying to buy a complete audio system (no upgrade is considered for the near future).

Please recommend a good matching loudspeaker system for the No.383. But please remember I'm living in an apartment building.

Awaiting to hear from you soon,

...Hermann Lee

The first line of speakers that comes to mind for use with Mark Levinson electronics is Revel, which also falls under the Madrigal umbrella of companies. I'm not sure about the size of the speakers you have in mind, but Revel produces floorstanding models and minimonitors along with subwoofers, if you want the extra bass extension of larger speakers but don't have the space. We've reviewed the Revel M20 and named it a Reviewers' Choice, as we did with the No.383 integrated amp....Marc Mickelson

June 20, 2001

To Srajan Ebaen,

This is my third time writing to you, and each time you haven't disappointed me. I inquired about CAL equipment, which you tossed to editor Marc Mickelson, and the Tannoy MX speakers, which you even posted on GoodSound! (cool!).

This time, my inquiry is on classical music because I read from your reviews, especially in the "Y-Files," that you're a classical musician by training.

You see, I read with great interest the recordings used by the SoundStage! reviewers to evaluate equipment (I didn't see your name there). My concern right now is classical orchestral pieces. What are the albums (two or three will do) that you highly prize and would recommend? Necessarily, they would be something like "desert island" discs that will make you happy despite the absence of others -- and one that is guaranteed to make hair stand on end!

Thank you very much in advance.

...J.A. Florendo

I'd recommend:

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 [Sony Classical 64384] with Arcadi Volodos and the Berlin Philharmonic under Levine for the best orchestral piano recording in recent history.

Corelli - Concerti Grossi Op. 6, 1-6 [Harmonia Mundi 907014] with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicholas McGregan for the best recording with massed strings.

Carmen-Fantasie [DG 437 544-2] with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Wiener Philharmoniker under James Levine for the best orchestral recording with solo violin.

Farewell with Mark Gorenstein [PopeMusic 1006-2], which features Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony and Francesca Da Rimini, op. 32, for the best full-bore orchestral recording with extreme dynamic range.

Happy listening....Srajan Ebaen

June 19, 2001

To Doug Schneider,

I've enjoyed reading your reviews on both the Axiom M3Tis and M40Tis. I've ordered an entire surround package from Axiom with the M80Tis as the main speakers. I was just wondering when you think your review of the M80Tis will be posted?

Love the E-Mags. Thanks for your time.

...Scott Schutzer

As for the M80Ti speakers, about which we've received a lot of e-mail, we are tentatively scheduling the review for August 1. I will not personally be reviewing those speakers; instead, the review will be by one of our newest writers, Jason Thorpe....Doug Schneider

June 18, 2001

To Srajan Ebaen,

Most reviews are useless because the "reviewers" don't have the courage to say what they really think. Your "Earmarked!" column on the MSB Link DAC 24/192 was a rare exception. Good job!

...Delaino Tomlinson

June 14, 2001


I'd like to get the back issues of SoundStage! with the annual Reviewers' Choice listings for the last five years. I've looked all over your Internet site for a number or address, and I can't find one.

Please let me know how to get back issues of SoundStage!, if this is possible. Thank you.

...John Kolesar

You can see the full listing of our Reviewers' Choice products on our site of the same name. You might find our SoundStage! Network site, which lists all of our audio/video-related websites, of interest too....Marc Mickelson

June 13, 2001


I currently own a Bel Canto DAC1/Pioneer DV-525 combo, which is my primary source of CD playback. My question centers around whether a Denon DVD-300 player with dual Burr-Brown 24/192 D/A converters would be able to provide equal or superior sound quality during CD playback versus my Bel Canto DAC1, which offers 24-bit/96kHz upsampling for playback of normal CDs. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

...Kent Peterson

Your Bel Canto/Pioneer combination upsamples 16/44.1 CDs, while the Denon player almost certainly doesn't. This means that CDs gain a theoretical advantage when played over your equipment, but this doesn't account for the intrinsic quality of the D/A chips in the Denon player, which may sound better than those used in the Bel Canto DAC1. Ultimately, your ears will have to be the judge....Marc Mickelson

June 9, 2001


Thanks for the great site. I find it well organized and very useful.

If it's not an abuse of your time, I'd like to ask your opinion on matching a pair of Bel Canto eVo 200.2 amps with Dunlavy SC/IV-A speakers; I own the latter and am looking at the former. Since you reviewed both recently, I though you might have some thoughts to share.

I listen to all kinds of music, but only care about the reproduction of classical recordings. I'll take truthfulness over a pleasant mush any day. I am in a position to play my system as loud as I like and, if that's how it's written, that's how I play it!


...Gary Moresky

The eVo 200.2 will have no trouble driving the Dunlavy SC-IV/A speakers, especially running as monoblocks. Another option, to save some money, would be the eVo 200.4 amp with each channel bridged, a configuration that Srajan Ebaen discussed in last month's "Earmarked!." If you value truth, I suspect either eVo amp will make you happy, although I still recommend you try before you buy....Marc Mickelson

June 7, 2001

To Doug Schneider,

I have just read your review of the JMlab Chorus 706es, and I was just wondering how they compared to the B&W 600 Series 2 speakers. I am really interested in the JMlab speakers and have always liked Focal car component sets. My only problem is that no dealer where I live carries the Chorus line. They would have to order it, and then I would be buying a speaker I have never heard before. I have been looking for a good main speaker for my apartment and have been searching for three months for the right one. I have narrowed my choices down to the B&W 602, KEF Q55.2, JMlab Chorus and the PSB Image 4T. I have PSB Alpha Minis right now and they seem to fit my apartment OK. I listen mainly to rock and classical, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions on my selection of speakers. I have also heard that the center-channel speaker is also really good and wondering if you have heard anything about it. Any response will be greatly appreciated.

...David Morris

I have not directly heard any of the new 600 Series 2 B&W speakers. As for your speaker selection, it is good, and I would also add in Paradigm, Energy and Axiom -- if you can hear all those you will have a very good idea of what's available in your price category. As for the center-channel speaker, I take it you are referring to JMlab again. For that I will steer you over to Home Theater & Sound, where Jeff Van Dyne reviewed a complete JMlab Chorus home-theater system....Doug Schneider

June 6, 2001


I have no complaints about SoundStage!. I've been here since the early days. I do wonder why amidst all your great reviews there no Krell reviews. I would love to see what you guys have to say about the KAV stuff. Compare it to its competition, and the FPBs for that matter.

...Dave Meier

We will have some Krell reviews coming on both SoundStage! and Home Theater & Sound. Krell has been filling customer orders, but they have been promised us multiple items for review....Marc Mickelson

June 5, 2001


Hey, just what has Blue Circle got on SoundStage!?

Two reviews in the current issue -- they seem to appear way more often than any other manufacturer. Nothing at all against Blue Circle, but give somebody else a turn!

Thanks otherwise for a great product.


...Ross Penney

Only one of the Blue Circle reviews, of the BC8 amps, is actually new; the other was published in Vol. 2. No.2 of our E-Mag, which was live roughly three months ago. It has only now made it to our archives....Marc Mickelson

June 3, 2001

To Doug Schneider,

Thanks for your excellent review on the PSB Image 2B speakers. I am an audio enthusiast and use the 2B for rear surround speakers, but have also very much enjoyed them as fronts and in two-channel stereo in the bedroom and den -- and all two-channel listening without a subwoofer.

I also have PSB Stratus Bronzes teamed with old Adcom separates for main
two-channel listening and have Century 600is in the bedroom. I have loved the whole PSB line for quality and value. I'm sure there is better sound, but at what price? And with 53-year-old ears who like jazz (Diana Krall, Holly Cole, Patricia Barber, Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong), classical, and contemporary (The Eagles, Don Henley, Eric Clapton, and Joni Mitchell stuff).

Would you consider reviewing Image 5T or 6T floorstanders for future fronts
to complement the Image 2Bs in rear? For home theater, I am now using 15-year-old Polk Monitor 10s as fronts, which are not the last word in detail, but have been wonderful over the years. When I replace them, I would consider either Stratus Bronzes (again) or Stratus Silvers (unshielded) or the Image 5T or 6T.

If not a review, then any suggestions?

...John Dean

I too share your enthusiasm for PSB speakers. In fact, the first pair of speakers I owned were the PSB Avantes. I also wish we could line up all equipment easily. However, in all the years of publishing SoundStage!, we've had all of two speakers sent to us from PSB -- the 2Bs that you note and a home-theater system that was reviewed in Home Theater & Sound. Other than that, unfortunately, we have nothing on slate from the company and no news of anything coming. However, we do have many speakers coming in from Paradigm, Axiom, Energy, Polk and a number of other companies. It's good times ahead for fans of affordable speakers. Stay tuned....Doug Schneider

June 1, 2001

To Doug Schneider,

I liked your "No E-Commerce Here" policy -- well spoken. If you have the time to read this, I have an experience to relate.

I recently purchased a digital projector. I'm a two-channel, tubes and vinyl person, but I also enjoy films. Since projectors are rather expensive, I did a lot of research before buying one (they're difficult to audition). One website in particular seemed to have more information than anybody. Their highest-rated LCD projector, the one I bought, received a GLOWING review. You'd think it could fly. As I was dismayed to discover, it has a lousy line-doubler, the image from an interlaced source contains more artifacts than a product costing several thousand dollars should have. Also, they reported it as being very quiet. Bullshit -- it sounds just like you'd expect a fan moving a lot of air to sound! I'm not sure what the arrangement, is, but the site is a FOR-profit organization. It shouldn't surprise me, then, that they didn't reveal the projector's shortcomings. This kind of stuff has to stop -- it's just plain unethical. I'll be more careful when purchasing a video processor. (Still, it really is an awesome projector, I just wish I knew about it's on-board processor limitations.)

Also in my research, I found the opinions of videophiles to be much more suspect than those of music lovers. Most of these guys seem to be caught up with mere equipment fetishism. They're not searching for ecstasy, just kicks.

...Frank Maiello

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. To me it's amazing that there are websites out there that believe it is ethically responsible to write reviews of products and sell them. Before the Internet, it would be akin to having a store in the front of the building and a magazine-publishing business in the back reviewing products sold out front. Fortunately for all, many of these sites are falling by the wayside. E-Town, for example, was one of the best known for offering editorial information and having an online catalog. They went out of business some time ago. My suggestion to anyone is if they see a review and a shopping cart on the same site, stay clear....Doug Schneider


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