[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
July 2002



July 22, 2002


I am looking for subscription information and costs for the printed version of SoundStage! magazine. Also, is it possible to receive a complimentary copy?

Dennis Foley

We are online only, so all you need to do is point your browser to www.soundstage.com on the 1st and 15th each month to read our newest content....Marc Mickelson

Great reviews

July 21, 2002


I really enjoy reading your reviews, and I go to your archives quite often. Please keep up the good work, and my only beef is, I wish that your articles came out more often. You have a lot of reviews coming up that I am really looking forward to reading. Some of the products are of importance to me, as I am considering buying some of the products involved. I hope that I don't have to wait too long. Thank you very much.


Robert Shimomura


July 13, 2002

To Bill Brooks,

Thanks for the entertaining "Audio Hell" column: "The Miracles of Minimonitors." But aren't you going a little overboard with this minimonitor thing? Minimonitors are great. I love their disappearing act, etc., etc., but -- and it is a very big but -- if the foundation of the music is missing, there develops a big hole in my listening pleasure. Bad bass is bad, and it is a good thing to get rid of.

Your argument was perfectly valid up to perhaps five years ago. In fact, I spent my college years and the five years thereafter enjoying my two-ways. Expensive European minimonitors were all the rage, and I lusted after Sonus Fabers and the like.

Today, however, anybody who spends $2000 on minimonitors should listen to a properly executed full-range loudspeaker and weep. There is simply no substitute. I have what is essentially a minimonitor sitting atop a bass module, and it works rather well. It has all the virtues of a minimonitor plus the low end produced right. And these designs are becoming increasingly available at lower prices from a number of manufacturers (I am not talking about sub/sat systems, but strictly a pair of stereo loudspeakers). In my opinion, the advice to switch to minimonitors is a little out of date.

Vivin Oberoi

Silverline SR11 review

July 11, 2002


SoundStage! has been one of my audio yardsticks for the past many years. Most of your evaluations have stood out because of your experience and proper system matching, which has brought out the strengths of the equipment under review.

A recent review on the Silverline SR11 speakers really caught me by surprise. Simply put, the reviewer did a bad job matching the system to the product, and his inexperience really showed. I could not agree with any sentence in the review. Then comparing the SR11 to the Linn Kan was totally out of line. It would be better to compare to nothing rather than the wrong thing.

In my system, the SR11's vocal performance and soundstaging are absolutely stellar. People who have experience with Silverline Audio know the validity of this review. For others, it will cast serious doubt on the company's products. End of my rant.

Edwin Tsun

We hope to arrange a follow-up review of the SR11, which would be written by Doug Schneider, whose experience with minimonitors is great....Marc Mickelson

Ethera Vitae review

July 10, 2002

To Doug Schneider,

I enjoyed your review of the Ethera Vitae speakers. As always, you are the champion of the minimonitor, and that's fun for us readers. I was surprised that in your "Comparisons" section you didn't mention the JMlab Mini Utopia; I would have thought it a logical comparison. Both the Vitae and the Mini Utopia are in the high end of the price range and in terms of performance for stand-mounted speakers, and both have very similar NRC measurements (the Mini is 89.5dB sensitive compared to the Vitae's 88.5, and has an almost identical frequency range to the Vitae). So why didn't you compare them? How do the bass and room-filling abilities of the Mini Utopia compare to those of the Vitae? Which would you keep for your own personal use?


David Vair

The answer about the comparison is simple: It has been a well over a year since the Mini Utopia has been in my room. For comparison's sake, that's just way too long to provide anything meaningful or reliable. Therefore, the Mini Utopia had to be left out. The only question I can answer reliably is that the Mini Utopia does not have the bass extension the Vitae does. The Vitae simply goes lower, and that's reflected both in the review and the measurements we've done.

Which would I keep? Either!...Doug Schneider

For Now review

July 7, 2008

To David J. Cantor

Thanks for taking the trouble to review my CD For Now -- it was an intelligent and insightful review that I found interesting and helpful. Obviously I would wish that the songs went further for you. My intention was to create mood and atmosphere, but like you, I do like lyrics which say something, and I agree that one can have too much enigma. So onward to the third CD!

David Lewis

Cultural imperative and better sound

July 6, 2002


I just read your July editorial, "Goal!." Interesting stuff. Still, I think there's a point you miss regarding interest in sports, namely cultural imperative. In other words, the reason so much of the rest of the world likes soccer is that it's embedded in their culture. This is the same reason why Americans like baseball and Canadians like hockey. None of these sports is inherently more interesting than another; it just happens that a variety of cultural influences have conspired to make a particular sport more of an imperative in a particular culture. (All this said said, it still floors me that people watch golf.)

As to high-end audio, there is simply no cultural imperative for most people to participate. Most people regard music as background noise most of the time, and a random distraction at best. The fact that so many public-school music programs were dismantled to make way for computer education in the 1980s had a decimating effect on music appreciation. People (especially the young, but pretty much everyone) simply don't want to listen to challenging music. The music that most people like sounds just fine through mass-market minisystems and car stereos, which is what most people listen through (as you know, most pop music is mixed to sound "good" on these types of systems).

Young people spending money on audio equipment today seem do so on car stereo systems. This seems to be reserved for attaching 1000-watt amps to 18" subwoofers inside compact cars, to make for very loud, very awful-sounding sonic-boom machines. Of course, when you're listening to Eminem and you've already gone half-deaf due to incredible SPLs, what difference does it make?

Still, I'm not trying to decry today's youth (who are probably very little different from yesterday's youth). I have met a few young people who are through-and-through, dyed-in-the-wool music lovers. Getting them to listen to jazz, blues, and world music is not a problem, but convincing them to spend any money on a better stereo equipment is damn near impossible. I've been told more than once that MP3 sounds just dandy, and that "I'm quite happy with my $39.99 computer speakers, thank you very much." All I can do is let people hear better sound and gently prod them to reconsider. This has been to very little avail.

Home theater may well provide slightly better sound for many people, but I sincerely doubt it will make for many converts to quality audio. Most people want an all-in-one home-theatre-in-a-box (the surround-sound equivalent of a minisystem). If dealing with a stereo separates system is too complicated, a five-, six- or seven-channel home-theater-separates system is way too much.

To my way of thinking, better quality sound will come to the masses not because they want it, but because it will become financially expedient for the big Japanese consumer-electronics companies to provide it. Digital amplification, higher-sample/bit-rate DACs, and good cheap two-way minimonitors may yet make quality sound the norm.

Travis Cunningham

Blue Circle review?

July 3, 2002


WHEN,WHEN,WHEN are you going to publish the review of the Blue Circle CS integrated amp? I have been waiting for this one for months!

Thanks for ALL the great reviews.

Don Cooper

As things sit right now, the review of the CS integrated amp should appear on 8/15....Marc Mickelson


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