[SoundStage!]Archived Letters
July 2003


Wolcott review?

July 29, 2003


I enjoyed your Wyetech Topaz 572B review, and while it is as good an amp as you say, I'll never have the dough for one since a Taurus slightly used off lease goes for about the same price.

There is another amp I wish you would review: the Wolcott Audio amp. Big push-pull amps from Antique Sound Lab, Conrad-Johnson, VAC, and some of the European makers are pretty much overlooked these days.

Al Norberg

What about the MartinLogan Clarity?

July 28, 2003


I really understand that it's impossible for you to review every piece of equipment in the market. But I would like to know if there's any possibility of reviewing the MartinLogan Clarity in the year 2003. In addition, I have heard some rumors that MartinLogan is preparing its third generation of electrostatic panels and two speaker models about $3000/pair that will use them, to be released soon. What about that? Is it true? I have a picture of a MartinLogan's third-generation panel in one of my magazines, which I can send you if you are interested.

Thanks for the help, and continue the good work!

Michael Michaelidis

We have asked MartinLogan numerous times about reviewing one of their speakers. We've received encouraging responses but no speakers -- yet....Marc Mickelson

From a DV-50 owner

July 21, 2003


I have had my Esoteric DV-50 for about two weeks now, and it seems to be living up to everything you said about it. I think it will continue to improve as it breaks in.

I have found a way to deal with the challenges presented by many DVD-Audio discs. The following four steps seem to work for me: (1) start the disc playing; (2) push Stop; (3) push Display; (4) choose the appropriate "group" from those displayed. This has worked for me without resorting to a video monitor.

Jim Rees

Second thoughts on the DV-50?

July 18, 2003


First, congrats again on your review of Esoteric DV-50, particularly now that Stereophile has gotten around to looking at it two months after you but with essentially the same conclusions.

Second, the DV-50 is now available here in Singapore, so before I order one, I just wonder if, after using the player for some time now, you have any quibbles or follow-up points to note for prospective buyers.

Ray Farris

The only issue I have has nothing to do with the DV-50 itself: You need to connect it to a video monitor to make changes to the on-screen menus and play many DVD-As. However, have a look at our August 1 reviews for a convenient way to do these things.

In terms of its sonics and features, the DV-50 is still my first choice for digital playback right now. I can't recommend it highly enough....Marc Mickelson

Simaudio and B&W?

July 14, 2003

To Doug Schneider,

I read your review of the Simaudio i-3 and was wondering how you think it would partner with B&W speakers. I do not have a dealer near me that has both to audition at the same time, so I was looking to you for advice. I have a Roksan Caspian integrated that sounds great but lacks the bass output I got from using a Rotel integrated with my B&Ws. I heard the Simaudio i-3 and enjoyed its smooth characteristics and think it would be a great partner for my speakers, especially with its power output and large power supply.

Thomas Helton

The i-3 is certainly not lacking for bass. In fact, its low end is one of its strengths. However, bass performance (and your satisfaction) is dependent on exact speaker combinations, too. I'm not familiar with your B&Ws, so my only advice is to try to get an in-home audition some way or another....Doug Schneider

Why no Meridian?

July 11, 2003


I have a question regarding the Meridian 588 CD player. You haven't reviewed it, and it is also not in your planning. I don't want to discuss your review policy. I know you cannot review everything. But what I find curious is that also Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, and other websites haven't published a review of the Meridian 588 either. I found only a short one in Hi-Fi News in the UK.

Well, Meridian is a leading firm in this field, so I would expect that magazines want to publish reviews of their equipment. If I compare this with Musical Fidelity, almost every new product they bring out will get a review in most of these magazines. If you look at Audio Asylum, most people are quite enthusiastic about the 588. Were your findings so negative that you didn't want to publish them?

Herman Evers

We haven't had any luck getting review products from Meridian, who as a company seem to overlook the Internet in terms of editorial coverage. We'll keep trying....Marc Mickelson

Integrated amp for VR-1

July 10, 2003

To Doug Schneider,

After reading your wonderful and truthful review of the Von Schweikert VR-1, I went out and auditioned a pair. I purchased them on the spot! They truly are amazing monitor speakers. Now I need a good-quality integrated amp to drive them. I just finished reading your review of the Simaudio i-3. Since are you very familiar with this amp and the VR-1s, how do you think they would sound together? A great match? What are your thoughts?

Michael Campton

In my review of the Von Schweikert VR-1s, I noted that they worked well with both tube and solid-state electronics. One of the amps I used them during the time they were here was, obviously, the i-3. Was it a "great" match? I'd say the speakers and integrated matched extremely well together. I was certainly happy. Is there a better possible match? That I can't answer because I haven't been able to try all the amplifiers in the world. My suggestion is either try to borrow an i-3 for an in-home audition, or at the very least perhaps take your VR-1s down to a local Simaudio dealer and try them with the i-3 there....Doug Schneider

Explain yourself

July 6, 2003

To Doug Schneider,

In reading your really well-written review [of the Simaudio i-3] I ended up having one question. Perhaps I am thick this morning, but I can’t figure out what the last sentence of this paragraph means:

Shoot the Moon" on Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me [Blue Note 32088] captures the piano beautifully, and when the disc is played back through a high-quality system, it’s conveyed with bell-like purity. This, among other tracks from Come Away with Me as well as various other demo discs I use, helps me to determine how clean and pure a component sounds and how resolving it is. After all, a good integrated amplifier is more than about having lots of power; above all, it’s about delivering power that actually sounds good. I guarantee that you won’t listen at high levels if you don’t want to listen at all.

I would appreciate your thoughts on what you meant and were feeling when you wrote this. I can’t get a grip on the meaning.

Larry R. Staples

Some people buy amplifiers based on power output alone -- if 100Wpc is good, then 200W must be better. If you ask me, that's a recipe for disaster. What is as important to me, if not more important, is that the amplifier is good-sounding -- which is far different than just looking at power output. Certainly power output is critical when you're matching an amp with speakers, but I don't care how much power an amplifier delivers if I can't stand listening to it....Doug Schneider

Which Axiom?

July 2, 2003

To Doug Schneider,

Your reviews are among the very best -- sparkling with wit and originality. Congrats.

I have recently read the Von Schweikert VR-1 review and also the earlier Axiom M3Ti and particularly the M40Ti reviews -- obviously, these are standout speakers and value champions. One review claimed that subjectively the M3Ti was about as good as a minimonitor could get -- the hyperbole is extensive and sincere. The review of the M40Ti says that the M40Ti plays deeper. I have some pretty damn good equipment here, but I have moved into a smaller place, and wanted to know if you thought the M40Ti just might cut it for me, having sold my Dynaudio 1.8s, which were far too much for the 15' x 13' room. How do you feel about the M40Tis with a Bel Canto eVo2 amp? Axiom's new PR guru opines that the M40Tis have a bit of a mellower vibe to them. I get the impression that these two speakers are little mindbenders for not a lot of money. They also have some truly high-end features about them that I like.Your comment about the M40Ti holding its own hooked up to some stellar toys is not lost on me. I would love to know what your off-the-record opinion of the M40Ti is.

Ang Dando

On or off the record, it's all the same. In hindsight, my review of Axiom's M40Ti speakers might have understated their performance by a large margin. Yes, I would agree with the Axiom PR guy that the M40Tis are "mellower" than the M3Tis. They have a fuller, weightier, more relaxed sound overall -- and that's perhaps why I didn't warm up to them in quite the way I did the M3Tis, with their crystalline midrange performance. However, the M40Tis are capable of much deeper bass and sound significantly more fleshed out. For many listeners, these will mean they'll probably like them better -- and all for the current price of $490/pair, quite a steal indeed. Are they right for you? Too tough to say. But Axiom has a 30-day money-back guarantee....Doug Schneider


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