with Sasha W/Ps?
for the blog
post on the Wilson Sasha W/Ps. Having lived with mine now for a couple of months, I
share your enthusiasm for this wonderful speaker. And I especially echo your comments
about their coherence, which is on par with several different ESLs I have owned over the
years, including Quad 2805s.
you please elaborate on the various amps you used with the Sashas and your preferences?
From the picture, it looks like you have both Lamm monoblocks and what appears to be an
Audio Research stereo amp. Did the tube amp drive them in the bass to the same level of
control as the Lamm amps? Would you also please elaborate a little more on the differences
between the midrange and treble of the two amps with the Sashas? I imagine that these
differences are similar to what you outlined in your
review of the Lamm LL1 Signature preamp when you were using the MAXX 3's, but
since every amp-speaker interaction is different, I'd like to understand the mid and
treble differences too. Also any additional advice on setup tweaks, positioning, etc.?
again for publishing such a great magazine and for being so accessible to your readers.
used both Lamm M1.2 Reference hybrid monoblocks and an Audio Research Reference 110 stereo
tube amp with the Sashas. The Lamm amps definitely dominated in the bass -- they have
powerful, weighty, well-controlled bass themselves. The low frequencies of the Reference
110 were a little softer and not quite as deep as those of the M1.2s. This is the same
with the MAXX 3s, by the way, so while the Sasha W/Ps have that impedance dip in the bass,
both of the amps handle it and retain their intrinsic sonic signatures.
There are distinct sonic differences between the
Reference 110 and M1.2 Reference through the midrange and treble, and they align
accurately with the two amps' differences in technology. The tubed Reference 110 sounds
fuller and rounder through the mids and delicate and airy in the treble. The Lamm M1.2s
are leaner through the mids and slightly lighter in tone, and their treble is more
quick-paced and matter-of-fact. This is irrespective of the speakers. I will say that
either amp matches very well with Wilson Sasha W/Ps, and I've seen Lamm and Audio Research
equipment all over the Wilson factory and in the home systems of the Wilson sales force.
speakers in my listening room were set up by John Giolas, who followed the same routine
your dealer would use. I can tell you that the spots he identified in my room are
generally where all speakers sound best. Toe-in changes for each speaker, however. I know
that some people leave their Wilson speakers on casters, so they can move them around.
I've found that spiking them improves their bass control, so it's worthwhile in every
don't have any specific recommendations for tweaks to use with the speakers, but I can say
that I heard the effects of any I added to my system, such are the Sashas' resolving
powers. -Marc Mickelson
cartridge for VPI Classic
always trusted your recommendations! I had a VPI Classic,
but now have a Graham B-44 Phantom tonearm mounted on a TW-Acustic Raven One turntable.
Yes, you are right -- the Classic is really darn good, and I could have been done with it
had I kept it. Nonetheless, I am buying another VPI Classic soon, so I'll have two
turntables. I realized that going to a higher-end moving-coil cartridge makes things more
revealing. My dad's old LP's don't sound very good on these higher-end moving-coils. The
sound is thin. I would like to keep the moving-coil cartridge on my Raven One. Since you
are experience with the Classic, can you recommend some good moving-magnet cartridges for
it? My short list includes the Grado Sonata series and the Clearaudio Maestro.
not sure that going with a moving-magnet cartridge on your soon-to-be second VPI Classic
will make your old LPs sound less thin. In fact, it may make the problem worse, depending
on the cartridge you choose. I don't have any experience with either of those you mention,
although I note that you have a healthy budget for the purchase -- in the $1000 range. For
less than that amount, I would consider the Ortofon 2M Black, which is not a thin-sounding
cartridge. It is the best of the moving-magnets I've heard. However, my best
recommendation is to stay with a low-output moving-coil, specifically the Audio-Technica
AT33EV, which I used with the Classic. It has an even spectral balance that won't
exacerbate the inherent thin sound of certain recordings, and won't hide it either. Street
price is around $500, and I suspect you won't find a moving-magnet cartridge for double
this amount that will sound better.
course, my recommendation of the AT33EV is based on the fact that you're going to use the
Classic with your existing phono stage, which can accommodate a low-output moving-coil
cartridge (0.3mV for the AT33EV). If not, then the 2M Black is a worthy fall-back choice.
live in the UK but have read and appreciated a number of your reviews in the past. In
part, on the back of some of your recommendations, I have an Audio Research system
comprising a Reference 110 amp, an LS26 preamp and a Reference CD7 CD player, but I am
still using my old ProAc Response 2.5 speakers, which clearly need upgrading.
was thinking of the ProAc Response D38R (with ribbon tweeter), and I am excited by the new
Carbon Pro 6, but I am looking for suggestions. My listening room is perfect for neither
shape nor openness, given the vagaries of old houses with irregularly shaped rooms and
beams and too much furniture! I appreciate this doesn't make it ideal, and I am probably
more an avid listener than an audiophile,
have seen reasonably priced used Wilson WATT/Puppy 8s on offer here. Is this a very
different sound, and should I consider Wilson's other speakers? Do they lack warmth? I
don't play music at very loud levels; often my volume control is around 10 on a scale of 1
to 100. I am really just looking for a couple of suggestions of things to compare with my
current ProAc-attuned ears.
and ProAc are two speaker brands that mate particularly well with Audio Research
electronics. Audio Research has demonstrated with both brands many times, including at
this year's CES, where I heard the ProAc Carbon Pro 6, which was the most-promising new
speaker I heard at the show. By chance, I happen to have a pair of the Wilson Sasha W/Ps
set up here, and they are being driven by a Reference 110, with a Reference 5 and
Reference CD8 in front of them -- a wonderful combination. I think there are broad
similarities between the sound of Wilson and ProAc speakers, including great coherence and
an overall music-gracing demeanor. ProAc speakers are generally a touch sweeter in the
treble, and Wilson speakers have better dynamic prowess -- good for when you're playing
music at low levels, which you appear to do -- and greater bass depth. Given that you
already own a pair of ProAcs, another would seem to be the best choice. If you are looking
for other brands to consider, I certainly recommend that you hear a current pair of Wilson
speakers, if not the Sashas then the Sophia 2s, which always convince me that they
represent David Wilson's best work whenever I hear them. None of the Wilson speaker lacks
warmth, and, as you know, the same is true of speakers from ProAc. -Marc Mickelson
amp for Sound Lab speakers
have corresponded with you in the past. I recently upgraded my MartinLogan speakers to
Sound Labs. I am driving them with a Conrad-Johnson Premier 350 amp and Act2.2 preamp,
with an Ayre C-5xeMP as source. My room is 20'W x 35'L x 8'H and treated with 16 bass
traps in the corners for superb bass articulation. It's a great system! You should review
the Sound Labs. The new PX technology is amazing.
am wondering which tube amps would work with my speakers. I tried the 140W Atma-Sphere
MA-1 monoblocks. They were superb through the midrange but weak in the bass and
treble; they also lacked the panel control the C-J Premier 350 provides. (By the way, the
Atma-Sphere amps were by far the best amps I have heard with my MartinLogans. I
thought the C-J Premier 350 was as good as it gets, but the lower-powered Atma-Spheres smoked
it in all areas other than the bass.)
there any tube amps you would recommend? Would the 100Wpc CAT JL2 Signature Mk 2 work?
The CAT JL2 Signature Mk 2 is always my first choice for a tube amp that will
drive tough speaker loads. While it's rated at 100Wpc, it sounds much more powerful,
probably due to its massive output transformer. Its sound is full, weighty and staunch.
The output-transformerless Atma-Sphere amps are much more load sensitive than the JL2.
you don't have to give up on Atma-Sphere amps completely. If the MA-2 Mk 3.1 monoblocks
are in your budget, you might find that they are the perfect amps for you. With their
greater power output -- and greater number of output tubes -- comes better load tolerance
and better low frequencies. The bass of these amps was never unacceptable to my ears, and
their midrange transparency was unequaled. The MA-2s are truly one of the audio world's
great amps, even with speakers that may seem inappropriate for them on paper. -Marc
110 vs. M1.2 Reference
read that you used both an Audio Research Reference 110 stereo amp and Lamm M1.2 Reference
monoblocks in your review of the Lamm LL1 Signature preamp. Since you have
listened to both amps recently, how would you describe their sound? Would you say that the
M1.2 Reference's 110 watts are more powerful than the Reference 110's? I'm using Magnepan
MG3.6es which, as you know, need a powerful amp.
There are general sonic similarities between Lamm the M1.2s and the Audio
Research Reference 110 -- an inherent naturalness that's very enticing, at least to my
ears -- and some specific differences. What you'll hear foremost from the M1.2s is greater
bass depth and control and a less rounded and physical midrange than that of the Reference
110. The Reference 110 can cast an immense soundstage, both in terms of width and depth,
and while the Lamm amps are very good in this regard, they aren't quite as adept. The Lamm
amps are a bit more incisive on transients than the Reference 110, and they sound a bit
drier in the treble, though they are not inherently dry-sounding.
actual measured output of the Lamm M1.2s was a bit over 150 watts (they're rated at 110).
Even so, I think either amp would drive your speakers well. For a brief time, I used M1.2s
with MG3.6es, and the results were glorious. While the amps cost much more than the
speakers, the sonic outcome made a very strong case for the price discrepancy. -Marc
plug for edenSound
have a question on isolation products -- two in particular. Are you familiar with either
the Herbie's Audio Labs product called the Tenderfoot or Synergistic Research's MiG. Both
go under components for isolation. Any word on either one?
not familiar with Herbie's Audio Lab at all, and while I've visited Synergistic Research
(and still need to write about that visit), I neither saw nor heard any isolation products
let me plug a company I just wrote about and whose products I use, edenSound. I have used
edenSound TerraStone footers under various components, and they worked well, isolating
equipment from structure-borne vibration. They also effectively dissipate static
electricity. The sonic effects are worthwhile: better image focus, greater space, and a
slightly more inky background. Best of all, at $55 each, they are inexpensive compared to
their competition, especially for what you get.
company also makes entire platforms from the same TerraStone material, and they are very
effective too. -Marc Mickelson
Note digital -- what to buy?
review of the Blue Note XRCD24s. Do you know if Music Wave is planning to produce more
than the 25 titles announced? I have about a dozen Blue Note LPs and would be happy with
another couple dozen CDs perhaps. If these XRCD24s are the best available, then I would
like to know whether I should pick the best out of the forthcoming 25 -- knowing there
will be more coming -- or just buy the whole batch because these 25 will be it.
is also a new set of Blue Note SACDs from Analogue Productions. I do not know how the
sonics compare with the XRCD24s', but the titles of this set seem at least as good,
although I am no authority on Blue Note titles.
point is that I want to pick up two or three dozen (to go with my dozen LPs) of the best
Blue Note CDs available.
to Joe Harley, the producer of the Music Wave Blue Note XRCD24 series, there will be more
than the initial 25 titles. As Joe put it, "There may be more, but you can safely say
50 for sure." In terms of which titles, Joe has said that many will be duplicates of
Music Matters LPs, but not all of them will.
regard to the Analogue Productions SACDs, I haven't heard any of them, but I have noted
the titles. They are many of the best known -- Blue Note's greatest hits, so to speak --
though not always the best in terms of music. Joe Harley knows his Blue Note recordings
cold, and so far, with Music Matters and Music Wave, he's made some daring choices, none
of which has been less than terrific musically. So to get both the more common Blue Note
recordings and the ones that are lesser known but significant, you'll have to pick and
choose between the XRCD24s and SACDs. -Marc Mickelson