am about to invest a not inconsiderable sum of money on a new system, and after reading
rave reviews I've asked to listen to some Audio Research equipment. I mostly play my
collection of 3000-odd mint and original first-pressing LPs and very little digital music,
although I have recently started to enjoy multi-room streaming (Sonos), which is great. I
can't say I'd have a problem if I never played another CD, because the streaming is really
having heard so many good things about Audio Research, I made a visit to a high-end
dealer. I enjoyed the Reference 5 SE/Reference 75 combo very much, the phono stage being a
budget Nagra unit, which seemed a bit odd in context, because it seemed more sensible
perhaps to listen to an Audio Research phono stage. (The dealer didn't have a demo unit at
the time.) I have set my budget for speakers at 15,000; however, my budget is
speakers on the demo were alternatively Wilson Benesch Cardinals and Crystal Cable
Arabesques They both sounded phenomenal and were out of my price range. However, they have
now been offered to me at somewhere near my budget as they are both seven months old. I
want to know your opinion on this combination and really if I am being sold something that
may not be the best option for me.
is your advice. Which speakers would you go for? Oh, my front-end is a Linn
LP12/Ekos/Arkive/fully Keeled, etc. I should probably change the cartridge as it's getting
on a bit after five years of play. Please give me a bit of a steer, as dealers often only
demo and sell what they have in stock. I really liked this dealer, though. I just wanted a
third opinion before I part with loads of cash.
An all-Audio Research system makes a lot of sense -- and much more than a
mix-and-match approach. Not only are the company's products designed to work best together
electrically, their sonic properties are synergistic as well, making for a uniformity of
sound from phono stage to amplifier, more so than with many other brands.
Regarding the speakers, I've not heard the Wilson Benesch speakers at all, and
the Crystal Cable speakers only at shows. However, Roy Gregory has reviewed both, so I
asked for his input.
the two speakers listed, the best match for the Ref. 75 will be the Crystal Arabesque,
although both of these excellent designs really need considerably more power than the
smallest Audio Research Reference amplifier can provide in order to deliver their best
performance. This is one of those classic audio dilemmas -- the opportunity to buy a much
better product at a very attractive price, even though it's not actually the best solution
in the context of your system. Just because you could, it doesn't mean you should.
Achieving great musical performance at home is all about building your system as a whole.
Audio Research Reference electronics will provide a superb core, but you can diminish (or
destroy) all of their good work with a poorly chosen pair of speakers. I'd be looking at
the Focal range (1038Be or Scala Utopia V2), various ProAcs, or possibly, as long as the
room isn't too large, the Wilson Sophia 3s. All of these would offer a better match and,
as a result, better overall performance.
the system you're assembling, also be sure not to skimp on cables -- and, once again, go
with one brand from stem to stern in order to wring the last bit of performance from the
electronics and speakers you're buying. -Marc Mickelson
sticking with my Keith Monks. . ."
interesting, your review of the Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner and
the subsequent letters. I have been following the threads on audioaficionado.org regarding
the Audio Desk Systeme and Klaudio cleaners, and they are all very keen in the US. I'm
sticking with my Keith Monks for the time being.
". . .are you possibly breathing in the cleaning fluid during the drying
your review of the Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner: here
in Switzerland they're much cheaper than in the US. They are CHF 2650. Two years ago I had
one home to try. The machine was new out of the box. It worked for 20 LPs, then stopped. I
had a second one ten days later and that one started leaking. I decided to buy the
Loricraft PRC6 with which I have cleaned about 2500 LPs with no problems.
friend of mine is on his third machine, but I must say to the credit of Audio Desk
Systeme, they replaced his last machine out of warranty with the deluxe US version.
was also thinking that are you possibly breathing in the cleaning fluid during the drying
message makes me wonder how closely you've read my review -- or if you've read it at all,
perhaps thinking that it was just another rave about the Vinyl Cleaner, of which there are
many. I mentioned the "reported reliability issues with the Vinyl Cleaner." I
also mentioned that I own both a Loricraft PRC4 Deluxe and VPI Typhoon and have cleaned
hundreds of records with them, as well as the fact that "the makers of the various
Loricraft and VPI machines have decades of near-faultless use to cite." Thus, I not
only talk about others' problems with the Vinyl Cleaner, even though I've experienced none
of them myself, but also the reliability of its main competition. I also concede that
"A survey of one user is hardly definitive," meaning that my own success with
the Vinyl Cleaner cannot be considered universal -- a notion that underpins every audio
review, in fact.
I never cease to be surprised by how snarky people can become online or via e-mail. Of
course, it's the anonymity that causes it, disagreement bringing out a need to express
something beyond simply "I disagree." Obviously your experience with the Vinyl
Cleaner doesn't mirror mine. You could have just left it at that. -Marc Mickelson
a Vinyl Cleaner owner
am an early adopter of the Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner. I have had four units in
my possession through time. The earliest would not advance thin pressings reliably. Its
replacement wasnt much better and had some flaky behavior that was probably due to
the firmware. The third labored to handle 200-gram pressings. I got it to work with some
help from Robert Merker, importer of Audio Desk Systeme for Switzerland. He provided
O-rings of varying thickness in cross-section, one of which proved optimal. My friend
encountered a similar problem which was solved after I sent him the O-rings I held in
reserve. Robert also provided a replacement spring made of metal for the originally
supplied O-ring tensioner for the opposing microfiber barrels. The third unit failed
eventually, its motor having gone kaput. I was presented with the option of repairing the
unit at an unreasonable cost or replacing it by spending a little more than the repair
would cost. I replaced the unit. The fourth is working well.
for the mention of the precision top for the Vinyl Cleaner. I will contact
Ultra Systems for the no-cost replacement. Also, thanks for the suggestion of merely
laundering the microfiber barrels to extend their useful life, an excellent tip.
advice regarding topping up the solution in the device may be flawed. I consulted a friend
who is a career chemist. He tells me that the substances held in solution are rarely given
off as a result of evaporation. I would also observe that very little of those substances
are deposited on the record after the process of forced-air drying. I simply add distilled
water to the solution in the Vinyl Cleaner when I notice that the level of fluid is
automated record cleaner worthy of consideration is the Klaudio. The adapters for 7" and 10" records might work with the Audio Desk Systeme
Vinyl Cleaner as well.
sounds like you were one of the people who reported reliability issues with the Vinyl
Cleaner. As I point out in my review, one user isn't a trend, but my Vinyl Cleaner
continues to work perfectly, and I'm approaching 1000 records cleaned.
Regarding the fluid, my recommendation was based on keeping a certain
concentration of water and cleaning fluid in the machine as evaporation took its effect,
but if your chemist friend is correct, and he probably is, distilled water alone will
suffice to top off the machine, saving more money for Vinyl Cleaner users, which is good
I do know about the Klaudio cleaner, which looks to be exceptionally well made,
but I have some reservations about it compared to the Audio Desk System Vinyl Cleaner,
because it uses only ultrasonics to clean records. I've thought, though I have no proof of
this, that the Vinyl Cleaner's effectiveness is mostly due to those microfiber barrels
gently scrubbing records clean. I strongly suspect that they are the reason the Vinyl
Cleaner is so effective on fingerprints.
Klaudio adapters look to be very intelligently designed, but they also look to be slightly
thicker than the record, so they may jam in the Vinyl Cleaner. And even if they will
rotate, the microfiber barrels may not contact the record, cleaning the adapter instead.
If they do work with the Vinyl Cleaner, Klaudio will sell a lot of them to Audio Desk
Systeme owners, but I wouldn't be surprised if Audio Desk Systeme is working on its own
solution. -Marc Mickelson
Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner review
A thorough and
informative review. It's the definitive one now!
me feel a few laps behind with just my Loricraft.
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