[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
September 2001


September 25, 2001


I am trying to find out the date of this year's Toronto high-end show. I recall going to this show two years ago during the month of October, and the show was, I believe, at a Holiday Inn. I am wondering if you know if there will be a show this year. Thank you for any information.

...Greg Nawrocki

The dates of the Toronto show are October 19-21, 2001. It will be held at the Holiday Inn on King Street. Here is the show's website: www.cdnshowproductions.com....Marc Mickelson

September 23, 2001

To Doug Schneider,

First let me give a big thanks to you and everyone else at SoundStage! for your great work. It has been invaluable in my education on hi-fi.

I had a couple of questions about the Athena setup. It seems to my untrained eyes that the NRC measurements for the S2 were impressively flat, especially for such a reasonably priced speaker. It appears notably flatter than the Axiom M3Ti. Did you listen to the that speaker also?

My room is such that using a separate subwoofer is impractical, so I was debating the value of a powered tower like the Athena S2/P2 combo (with S2s as surrounds) versus an unpowered full-range speaker like the Axiom M60Ti with smaller M3Tis as surrounds. I am much more interested in music than home theater. Also I won't have the luxury of placing the speakers more than a foot or so from the wall (dogs and children in the house). Do you have any thoughts? Would you recommend something completely different like the Paradigm Monitor 9 setup or something from PSB?

I wish SoundStage! would dedicate articles comparing the speakers that they listened to in NRC's blind tests. In fact, about the only thing missing (IMHO) is What Hi-Fi-like "super tests" of similar products in a similar price range. The M60 vs. the PSB 6T vs. Paradigm Monitor 9 vs. the Athena S2/P2 combo for example. Or the S2 vs. the M3Ti vs. B&W DM303 vs. the Wharfedale Diamond 8.2. You get the idea.

It seems like you already do this in the blind-listening tests at NRC, but no one ever mentions what products you are comparing. For example, Ian Masters said the Axiom M3Ti came in second in a comparison but never mentioned the competition. You mentioned the solid performance of the Athena S2, but not what it was compared to.

Thanks again for all your hard work and effort in bringing new products to the attention of budding audiophiles everywhere!

...John Henahan

In terms of the measurements, yes, the Athena S2 is impressively flat and also has fine sound that seems to correlate with these measurements. But don't base all your impressions on just a couple measurements. In order for sound to truly be judged by measurements, a great number have to be done and a person has to have great skill in interpreting them -- something that rarely happens. It's a combination of many measurements that matters. Instead, you're probably going to have to let your ears decide. You're right about Ian Masters not mentioning the comparison product, but our whole test that involved five speakers was written up in a past E-Mag issue (unfortunately, no longer available online, but we're hoping to have a CD soon). The other speakers were the Paradigm Atom, PSB Image 2B, Oskar Heil Aulos, Athena S2 and an older, discontinued Paradigm model that the NRC had kicking around....Doug Schneider

September 19, 2001


I have a pair of ProAc Response 1SC speakers that I enjoy very much. I currently have them on a pair of end tables which have glass tops. Two questions. The first is if is it possible to get wonderful sound with the end tables as speaker stands? If so, would the speakers be enhanced by placing something between them and the end table such as Blue-Tak, Vibrapods, cones, points, etc.?

The second question is relevant if you think that I absolutely need speaker stands. I have heard that Target R series stands mate well with the ProAc speakers. Are there other (less expensive) options that I could consider?

...Vondell Clark

The first job of a speaker stand is lifting the speaker to the correct height, usually so the tweeter is at ear level when you're seated. The second job is to provide a firm foundation for the speaker, hopefully one that helps drain, damp or dissipate unwanted vibration.

My guess is that your ProAc speakers would need 24" stands at the very minimum, so if your end tables are at least this high, they may perform job one adequately. In terms of helping with vibration, they may not be as effective. I use Osiris Audionics Osiris speaker stands with a pair of Merlin VSM-SEs, and they work like a charm. Although these stands are no longer made, Signature Sound still has a stock of them. Target stands are supposed to be very good too, and like the Osiris stands, you can fill them with sand or lead shot to add mass and help with damping. Audio Advisor carries a large array of speaker stands too, and they may be the best place to begin looking because of their selection....Marc Mickelson

September 13, 2001


I have been reading your online magazine for some time now, and I have a question for you regarding your coverage of CEDIA and the HDTV Garden shootout. I belong to an online AV Forum (AV Science Forum), and we are interested in making a group purchase of 50-inch plasmas. Various reports have come back regarding which 50-inch plasma looked best. We are interested in absorbing as much information as possible before making our purchase. If you could, off the record, tell me which 50-inch plasma you observed at CEDIA looked best to you at the HDTV Garden shootout? It would be very much appreciated. I will add a link on the Forum to your excellent coverage.

...Eric Brahms

I consulted with Jeff Fritz, Roger Kanno, and Doug Blackburn, and we all agree that the best plasma set we saw at CEDIA was the Pioneer Elite PRO-1000HD, a 50" set that costs $17,500 and will be available in October 2001. However, the CEDIA HDTV Garden showed that the direct-view sets still offer much better blacks than the plasma displays we saw, and the prices for these HDTV-compatible sets are dropping too....Marc Mickelson

September 11, 2001


[Regarding your CEDIA Expo 2001 coverage], good job. Concise reporting with all the pertinent facts, including MSRP, nice sense of humor, great photos. I especially liked the one of Marc in the recliner. Too bad you don't have a shot of him in full snooze.

...Jim Saxon

Editors don't sleep!...Marc Mickelson

September 4, 2001

[Regarding your editorial, "All That's Wrong with the Internet"], most interesting, and well thought out. I've read a number of criticisms of  the Internet by high-end-audio writers (of the paper-and-ink variety) bemoaning the explosion of opinions the Internet has brought about. And while I can see their points (but only to a point, as they seem to be more worried about their "reputations" and "paychecks" than anything else) they fail to look at both sides fairly, as you did.

On the plus side, the Internet can offer much information that would be unobtainable (or, at least, no where nearly as easily obtainable) elsewhere. On the debit side, it offers too much information at times. These may seem contradictory, but they are not. One can always find "too much" information on a subject if one wishes to search long enough. It's what one does with all the information he receives, how he puts it to use, that separates the intelligent person from the insecure one.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is perfect. And the Internet is no exception. But, I would hate to think where we might be today without it, for all its problems. Thanks for the "look-at-both-sides" perspective.

...John Crossett


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