much reclocking bad?
you still recommend the Sensory Power Active Digital Cable? I have an Empirical Audio Pace Car
that also reclocks and would like to know if you think too much reclocking to be
Even though I haven't had the SensoryPower Active Digital Cable in my system for
quite some time, I remember it well and do recommend it for use with the very best digital
front-ends (although I can't say it was a definitive improvement over I2S connection with
the wonderful Zanden separates).
too much reclocking is potentially detrimental is a question I can't answer. I can say
from experience that cascading jitter-reduction devices into each other created some
noticeable improvement. However, your Empirical Audio Pace Car appears to be much more
than a simple reclocking unit, so adding hardware and hoping to improve its performance
seems like a long shot, at least with today's technology. -Marc Mickelson
contacting you because I'm looking for some accessories. I'm interested in HRS Damping
Plates and Shakti Stones, but I need your help because I really don't understand if they
are similar products or where they should be used. I saw that many people use Shakti
Stones on top of electronics with large transformers and that others use HRS Plates with
electronics and on top of CD players. Still others use Shakti Stones on top of speakers.
The more I read, the more confused I become. I have only three components, and I want to
know if you recommend the Shakti Stones or the HRS Plates for use with them: an Audio Aero
Capitole Classic SE CD player, a Silvaweld tube preamplifier, and PMC AML-1 powered
appreciate your recommendations.
HRS Damping Plates, which I use, and Shakti Stones are different products with some
overlap in what they were designed to accomplish. As their name suggests, the Damping
Plates are used to damp vibration in the chassis of audio components. They do this through
the use of different materials, including a special dense polymer, and they work well.
Shakti Stones may also provide some damping, but their claimed main purpose is to absorb
and dissipate electromagnetic interference (EMI). This is likely why people recommend
their use with electronics, especially power amplifiers with robust transformers. I have
no firsthand experience with Shakti Stones, but EMI can certainly have deleterious effects
on audio performance, and anything that dissipates it should improve sound.
your case, I can only recommend experimentation. A Damping Plate on your CD player makes
the most sense because of the player's moving parts, with perhaps Shakti Stones on your
preamp and active speakers. Both the HRS Damping Plates and Shakti Stones should work best
at certain spots on a product's chassis. Luckily, experimentation is easy. -Marc
21 vs. Valve Isis
would like to thank you for and compliment you on a very
useful and informative review of the Rega Isis CD players. I currently own a
Resolution Audio Opus 21 that has the Statement Mod from Great Northern Sound Company. I
have used this player for several years and feel that for its price ($5500) it is an
excellent performer. I am ready for an upgrade. I noticed in your review that the Opus 21
was listed as associated equipment, and I was curious if you would be so kind as to
compare it to the Valve Isis. I am not a wealthy man, nor do I have a dealer near me, so
due diligence is necessary before upgrading.
used the Opus 21 as my reference player until last year and have to say that the choice
between it and the Valve Isis comes down to taste. The Rega player isn't as dynamic nor as
open as the Opus 21, but it has a better sense of timing and a rather more substantial
sound. In a very analytical system, the Rega player is preferable, but if you like the
balance you have now, it's hard to say whether the Rega player will represent an upgrade
for you. But it is different from the Opus 21 in a positive way, and that's very
appealing. -Jason Kennedy
mono with VPI?
want to clarify something. Is a VPI turntable a great fit for someone who wants to play
both stereo and mono LPs without having to purchase two turntables or switch the
headshell, because one can just switch armwands, which is the easiest way? I suppose that
while cheaper than purchasing two turntables, one still has a considerable expense owning
not only a second cartridge but also a second tonearm.
own a VPI Classic, but I will sell it soon (along with my EAR 324 phono stage) to be able
to afford the basics of a new system I am building. Hopefully, in the next few years, I
will be able to purchase another turntable, and I will consider the VPI Classic 3 if you
think it is much better than the original and will work well if I decide to try mono.
a VPI 'table (more specifically, a VPI tonearm) is great for someone who needs to change
cartridges. If you look at the 'arm, you see that everything on the pivot swaps out, which
means you don't have to readjust VTF or azimuth. You only have to account for VTA, which
may be the same (if you use two very similar cartridges) or can be easily dialed in if the
'arm has a graduated VTA tower (I think the Classic 3 does). Aside from a second 'table or
tonearm, this is the easiest way to alternate between stereo and mono cartridges.
arrived the other day. Ive already hooked them up to begin breaking them in.
Strangely, jazz already sounds a little better than with my previous amps, but rock sounds
worse. The MX-R owners manual says 100 to 500 hours of break-in are necessary, so
Im bracing myself for a long, long wait for the magic to come about. Ive got
enough jazz CDs to last me a month, and rock, I suppose, will have to wait until May or
you experience similar out-of-the-box genre selectivity with MX-Rs (or, for that matter,
with any other power amps)? Just curious.
The MX-Rs I reviewed were well-used demos, so they had many hundreds of hours on
them before they reached me. Still, they needed some warm-up before sounding their best; I
pretty much left them on constantly. However, at no point did they favor jazz over rock,
sells a "System Enhancement Disc" that may help you get your MX-Rs into playing
shape faster. It's certainly worth a try, although you will want to play its five-minute
glide tone while you're out of the room, as it will drive you a little buggy if you listen
to it often. -Marc Mickelson
for Thiel speakers?
review of the Ayre MX-R amps with great interest, mainly because I see that among your
review speakers was the Thiel CS3.7. I live in the UK and have not yet had to chance to
hear these, but one thing I have wondered is how Ayre amps would sound partnered with
Thiels, as they are known to be bright. I own a pair of Thiel CS2.3s and like them very
much, but they need a good amp to drive them, which I dont have as yet. Ive
previously considered getting a pair of used Mark Levinson No.33H monoblocks, as their
tone seems to suit Thiels very well.
I did use the MX-Rs with Thiel CS3.7s, the review of which I'm finishing right now. Thiel
speakers need stout, powerful amps, and the MX-Rs qualify. The MX-Rs and CS3.7s were a
very good combination -- highly resolving and spacious, light and lithe -- and certainly
not bright. It has been a number of years since I reviewed a Mark Levinson amp, and I've
never heard the No.33H monoblocks in my system, so I can't give you any worthwhile
feedback there. A solid-state amp I have heard and admired greatly is the Conrad-Johnson
Premier 350, which has been discontinued. I suspect it would be a great match with Thiel
speakers. -Marc Mickelson
an opera review
Bloom's review of Puccini's Tosca and La Bohème is terrific --
informed, helpful, judicious. He talks about the performances, the historical
significance, and the quality of the recordings completely convincingly, efficiently,
without fuss or indulgence. A really great review.
I have to get out and try to find these, not only on CD but LP!
have a question for you. It has to do with turntables and the importance ladder, so to
speak. The way I see it, there are several things that contribute to a fine-sounding
analog playback system: the turntable itself, the tonearm, the cartridge, isolation
products, clean source material and the phono stage. My system is the following. I have a
Well Tempered Amadeus GTA turntable with its integrated tonearm. I am using a Dynavector
XX2 Mk II cartridge. I have the turntable on the top shelf of a Grand Prix Audio Monaco
rack. The phono stage I am using is the Dynavector DV-P75 Mk II. I also use a VPI 16.5
a good source material, it an amazing setup. All I hear is the music -- no snap, crackle
or pop at all. I know that relatively speaking it is not an expensive analog rig, but I
really like it. I do see myself keeping it for a long time. I have read where people have
put cartridges on this 'table that cost way more than the one I am using, and they all say
that they really shine.
for the long intro to the question, but here it is. How important to the overall sound is
the phono stage? What would I gain if I step up to a better" phono stage?
The phono stage is vitally important to the sonic outcome of an analog rig, and
for a few reasons. First, it provides the electrical interface between the cartridge and
line stage, providing the gain the cartridge requires along with proper loading. Without
these, the sound suffers in ways that are easy to hear. Without enough gain, records won't
play at sufficient level and lack dynamics. With improper loading, the music's spectral
balance will be skewed. Second, like any source electronics, the phono stage has its own
sonic personality that, when things are right, enhances the performance of the turntable
you will gain with a "better" preamp is likely more options for loading, perhaps
more gain without an increase in noise, and a personality that will work better with your
system. The upside is potentially immense. -Marc Mickelson