Letters

Which Wilson?

August 22, 2016

Marc,

I was wondering if Wilson Sabrinas are too small for my 14.92’ x 21.48’ x 8.63' audio room. After reading your article on them, I'm more comfortable from the photo. Your room seems bigger than mine. Please let me have your advice -- if I should go Sasha, or Sabrina.

Simon Chung

This is an eternal question -- which speaker is best for my room? The interaction between the speaker and room can make or break the sonic outcome. Both the Sasha W/P 2 and Sabrina sounded great in my room, which is large: 20'W x 29'L x 10'H. Wilson Audio's careful setup regimen ensures very good results in different rooms, so I am sure you'd hear either speaker at its best in your room, which is quite large. So your choice here comes down to pure performance versus price. Do you want the extra bass grunt and dynamic prowess that come with the Sasha 2 or does the Sabrina fit better into your budget? I suppose this is another eternal question, and it's one that only you can answer.

I don't think there's a bad choice for you between these two speakers; I lived very happily with both of them. -Marc Mickelson

Gryphon phono stage or . . . ?

August 16, 2016

Marc,

I'm interested in adding a new phono stage to my system. My cartridge is an Ikeda Kai on Ikeda 12" tonearm. My preamp is from Vitus Audio. I've read your review on the Gryphon Legato Legacy. I have a few options, like the new Einstein, Pass Labs XP-25 and ASR. I'd like to know if the Gryphon has a higher level of sound than these others.

Yoni Israelevi

I don't have any firsthand experience with Einstein, Pass Labs and ASR phono stages, but I can say that the Gryphon Legato Legacy makes a very strong case for itself, given its resolution, tonal honesty and great bass. I do wonder, however, if a Vitus Audio phono stage might be your best option. Given your Vitus Audio preamp, one of the company's phono stages -- there are three different models -- would extend the sound you already have and presumably like. You would also know that the two would work together electrically, although that's little concern between a preamp and phono stage nowadays -- the gain your cartridge requires is a greater concern. There are Vitus Audio models above (Signature SP-102, $38,400, and Masterpiece MP-P201, $54,000) and below (Reference RP-101, $11,400) the cost of the Gryphon Legato Legacy. All have XLR and RCA inputs, while the Legato Legacy has only LEMO input, so you would need to reterminate your phono cable. -Marc Mickelson

B.M.C. M2 amps "a few years later"

August 8, 3016

Marc,

I enjoyed your review of the B.M.C. M2 amps. There is a pair for sale now at around half price. A few years later, would you share your opinions? They are very utilitarian-looking in a good way. I have a Muse Two Hundred integrated amp that has a similar look.

Robert Segal

My review of the B.M.C. M2 monoblocks -- and indeed, the entire B.M.C. electronics suite -- from late 2013 still provides my best description of the amps' sound. I will reiterate that I found them to sound much better when used with the B.M.C. DAC1 PRE (HR) preamp/DAC than with any of the preamps I had on hand. The DAC1 PRE (HR) and M2s take advantage of two of Carlos Candeias's circuit innovations: Current Injection and Discrete Intelligent Gain Management. What that would mean for you is that if you ended up with the M2s, you could use them now with your existing preamp, but if you wanted to hear their fullest sonic expression, you could add a DAC1 PRE (HR) later on, in which case you'll also get a full DAC in the bargain. And if you still spin digital discs as well as play LPs, B.M.C.'s BDCD1.1 CD player/transport and MCCI phono stage were designed to be used with the other electronics. The specifics are outlined in my review. More than any other electronics I've reviewed, those from B.M.C. were really designed to be used together, and there are persuasive technical and sonic reasons to do so. -Marc Mickelson

Record-cleaning cloths

August 2, 2016

Marc,

To clean vinyl records, I picked up a bottle of Last cleaning solution.

Is a microfiber cloth okay to dry off the record? It’s basically a CD cleaning cloth. Is there any cloth that may be better for the record? Any thoughts on this?

Sheldon Simon

I have used Last products in the past, and I think they work pretty well -- better than Discwasher for sure. The cleaner isn't the equal of a vacuum or ultrasonic record cleaner, but it does reduce surface noise.

As for drying, a microfiber cloth makes sense, because it can in a small way get into the record groove. I use one for drying when I clean records with one of my cleaning machines. You have to be sure, however, that all fluid is removed. Microfiber cloths are not as absorbent as cotton, but they also don't shed as much, leaving debris on the record. Just be sure that you get the fluid off the record. If it dries, it can leave residue and actually make the record more noisy than it was. -Marc Mickelson

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