May 25, 2005
To Doug Schneider,
I have always found your speaker reviews informative and entertaining. I purchased a pair of Ascend Acoustics CBM-170s after reading your glowing review of them. I'm still loving 'em!
Well, it seems you're partial to minimonitors, as I am since my room is 15' x 20'. I just wanted to give you a heads-up on a new speaker made by Eminent Technology. You've probably heard of this company -- they make panel speakers similar to those from Magnepan. I owned Magnepan MMGs at one point. The new speaker is called LFT-16, and it has a planar midrange panel and a 6" bass driver in a sealed enclosure. It's a simply awesome speaker. I would love to read your review of it someday.
I've certainly heard of the company, but I haven't heard this new speaker of theirs -- sounds interesting, though. We'll keep our eyes out for them, and if the company wants to send us a pair, we'll be happy to review them....Doug Schneider
Wants 6.1 system
May 16, 2005
To Jeff Fritz
I read one of your columns on the Energy act6 speaker system. Though it is a little over my budget, I really like the Energy product, but the act6 is 5.1. Im working on a $400 budget and trying to identify a 6.1 surround-sound speaker system for myself. I need satellite speakers because of space requirements. Have you any recommendation? The JBL SCS200.7 can be had for $330 on the Internet.
The JBLs look like a deal. For $330 I know of no other legitimate 6.1 speaker systems. With seven satellites you could even run two centers -- one above your monitor and one below -- a technique I've heard works well with small satellites with limited output. JBL has a good reputation, though I have no experience with the product you mention. But as I have no alternatives at that price, I'd say you've found what appears to be a bargain....Jeff Fritz
More LP reviews!
May 13, 2005
I want to see more vinyl reviews on SoundStage! You do very good LP reviews, and there are more new releases coming out all the time. However, the quality is spotty at best, and I would like to read what SoundStage! has to say. Equipment reviews are all well and good, but in a column called "The Vinyl Word," well, you get the idea.
You'll be happy to know that we have some "Found on Vinyl" installments planned for our "The Vinyl Word" column in the next few months. We just have to fit them in around reviews of analog equipment. Stay tuned....Marc Mickelson
Mk III coming?
May 12, 2005
I auditioned the Audio Research CD3 Mk II the other day, and I all I can say is that this machine is stunningly good. I was just wondering if ARC has mentioned anything about a successor to the CD3 Mk II. I'd rather wait and buy the Mk III if this will be available in the near future.
I talked with someone at Audio Research this morning. There are no plans to change or update the CD3 Mk II "for the foreseeable future." So you can buy now and know that your CD player won't be superseded anytime soon....Marc Mickelson
A "sane perspective"
May 11, 2005
To Jeff Fritz,
I just wanted to say thanks for the last sentence in your darTZeel review -- "However, when considered against its current competition, the darTZeel NHB-108 Model One simply costs too much money for what it offers" -- and the thinking behind it. The copouts, fear of offending manufacturers, lack of concern shown for price/performance ratio, and lack of suitable and sensible comparisons in audio reviews has been bugging me forever. I enjoyed (and was informed by) the whole review, but I really appreciated that last sentence. Please keep that kind of sane perspective, and continue commenting on price/performance ratio and comparisons with similarly priced components sans the BS found in so many reviews. It was refreshing.
Pondering power conditioning
May 10, 2005
To Doug Schneider,
I have been doing a lot of thinking about power conditioning. I have decided to go with the ExactPower EP15A. Your review and a great price helped out.
I do have a question that maybe you can help me with. I know ExactPower makes a unit that will output balanced power. Would there be an advantage for me to connect one of these to the EP15A? I guess my understanding is that balanced power cancels out noise and other line problems, but if I have a pure 120V/60Hz wave coming from the EP15A, then what possible gains could be had from running balanced power?
You've made a good choice with the EP15A -- I think it's a fantastic product, and I still use one. ExactPower makes the SP15A that is designed to be used with the EP15A and is said to reduce "common mode and inverse noise by 10dB or more...." The question you have is, "Is something like that worth it?" The answer is, "It depends." It depends on how bad your power is already; it depends on how sensitive your components are to power-conditioning devices; and, finally, it depends mostly on how great the improvement it makes is to your ears. The only way you'll know is if you try, which is what I hope to do in a future review (although nothing has been scheduled yet, so don't wait for me).
My only suggestion is, then, to try the SP15A if you can, and certainly before you buy it. However, the EP15A is a fantastic product. If your experiences mirror my own, you'll be quite happy with it on its own....Doug Schneider
Why no Home Entertainment coverage?
May 6, 2005
In an article on 6moons.com, Jules Coleman says that SoundStage! didn't cover the Home Entertainment show in NYC because of competition with Stereophile. "Soundstage [sic] treats covering HES as supporting the competition and discourages it." He also wrote, "The attitude of being unwilling to support the competition is naïve and counterproductive at best; childish and immature at worst."
You guys do the best show coverage anywhere, and I always thought you decided to cover other shows, like the one in Montreal, instead of the Home Entertainment show. True?
Jules Coleman, who used to write for our Ultra Audio site, decided to base his discussion of our reasoning for not covering the Home Entertainment show on conjecture rather than doing a little research and finding out our exact position.
It is true that we don't want to support the Home Entertainment show, but not because of competition with Stereophile. First and foremost, exhibiting at the Home Entertainment show places a great financial burden on the companies that attend, and this hurts the audio industry in our opinion. We have heard from many manufacturers that do not exhibit at the Home Entertainment show because of the cost, and we don't want to encourage participation by promoting this show through our coverage.
The high-end-audio industry is made up of small companies, and small companies have to allocate resources carefully. We are also small and have to use our limited financial resources wisely. For this reason, we decided a few years ago to cover the High End show in Germany instead of the Home Entertainment show; that the two often run almost concurrently meant that we had to choose one or the other. High End is larger, showcases products not often seen in North America, and is more cost effective for manufacturers. And believe it or not, it's cheaper for us to send two writers to Germany than it is to send those same people to New York City, even though we are based in North America. Doug Schneider and Jeff Fritz are in Munich right now covering High End 2005. Also, our sites are read all around the world, so it's rather myopic to believe that a show in New York City is somehow more important than one in Europe.
To discover all of this Jules would only have had to write an e-mail message to me, as you have done....Marc Mickelson
Subscription to SoundStage!
May 5, 2005
I'm interested in a subscription to SoundStage! Can you tell me the cost?
We're completely online and free. Just visit www.soundstage.com on the 1st and 15th each month to read the latest content. Visit www.soundstagenetwork.com to see a listing of all our sites....Marc Mickelson
Paradigm Signature S2 or Studio 20 v.3?
May 4, 2005
To Doug Schneider,
I read your reviews of the Paradigm Reference Signature S2 and the Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v.3 speakers with great interest. I want to buy a good pair of bookshelf speakers and wanted to know if my current setup would be suited to the S2 or if this system would be a gross injustice to the speakers. Presently, I am using an NAD C372 integrated amplifier (150Wpc), an NAD C542 CD player, and AudioQuest cables.
I realize that my amp has enough power to properly drive either the S2 or the Studio 20 v.3, but would I be missing a lot of detail the S2 has to offer by not powering it with a more sophisticated amp? My local dealer told me that my current setup would be best suited to the Studio 20.
My question for you is whether I would be overspending on speakers (if I were to buy the S2) given my current equipment? I haven't the money (nor the desire) to upgrade my components. I personally think they sound great.
The reason I ask this is because I noted in your review of the PSB Platinum M2 that you said it performed very well even outside of your reference system. Do you think the same holds for the Paradigm S2?
In my opinion, your dealer is giving you bad advice, providing you have the money and inclination to buy the S2s (theyre more than double the price of the Studio 20 v.3s). The Studio 20 v.3s are "good for the price," whereas the S2s are "just plain good, period!," no matter what amp you pair them with (providing the amp can drive both speakers properly).
Your dealer is simply falling for the old audiophile myth that in order for a speaker that costs "X" number of dollars to sound good you must pair it with an amp that costs "X" number of dollars, too. Thats 100% B.S. If your amp will drive both speakers just as well and you love the sound of your amp (as well as the sound of the CD player, which you indicate that you do), then why in the world do you have to shortchange yourself on speakers? It makes no sense, particularly because speakers tend to make the biggest difference in any system.
So, if the S2s are what you want (and can afford), then the S2s are what you should buy because theyre better than the Studio 20 v.3s, and in your current setup theyll sound better than the Studio 20 v.3s, even though your amp and CD player don't cost as much....Doug Schneider
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