or Audio Research?
am curious if any of the reviewers have had an opportunity to do a comparison of the
Allnic H-3000V phono stage (with the upgraded transformers) with the Audio Research
Reference Phono 2 SE (or non SE). If so, what are the sonic differences between these two
great phono stages?
Allnic H-3000V and Audio Research Reference Phono 2 SE are my two favorite phono stages,
and I have both here right now. They have some important functional similarities,
including multiple inputs and alternate EQ curves (the Allnic is infinitely adjustable in
this regard, while the Audio Research has Columbia and Decca in addition to RIAA).
There are some broad sonic similarities as well, including a unique depiction of
space. Their fullness (especially from the Allnic) gives musicians a kind of palpable
realness that I find particularly appealing. The difference in their spatial presentations
really comes down to the enormity of the Reference Phono 2 SE's soundstage versus the
spooky holography of images within the soundscape of the H-3000V. Both always bring out
the best in analog, never adding crispness to enhance the sense of detail or speed, or
leaning out the midrange.
being what it is, I'm sure one of these phono stages will appeal to you more than the
other. I haven't yet been able to make that call. -Marc Mickelson
add my e-mail address to the e-mail updates list. I'm a big fan of your website and would
love to know when upcoming articles and blogs are published.
Signing up for the reader list is easy. Just send
e-mail to email@example.com. After you join,
you will receive notices of all new content on TAB, not offers for products
guaranteed to [ahem] increase the size of your woofers. -Marc Mickelson
and Tidal or. . . ?
am contacting you because Im looking for a new system, and I have just read your very
interesting review on Ypsilon Aelius mono amplifiers. I would like to know if you
think that Tidal Piano Cera or Contriva loudspeakers would be a very good match with these
amps. The CD player I will connect with my future new system is a suite from MSB
Technology, DAC, clock and transport. Do you think MSB would be a good match with Ypsilon
electronics? Other amplification on my checklist is Convergent Audio Technology (CAT),
Vitus Audio and ASR.
I think the Ypsilon Aelius monoblocks would be a very good match with many
speakers, including the two Tidal models you mention. Both amps and speakers resolve
without sounding aggressive, and the Ypsilons have enough power to drive just about any
speaker. My limited experience with MSB digital gear indicates that it would fit right in
with both the amps and speakers, matching their easy resolution.
also mention CAT, and while my personal preference would be for a CAT preamp and amp (the
latter is also very powerful and perhaps an even better match for the Tidal speakers
you're considering), you might find that the Ypsilon amps bring you closer to your
personal definition of live sound. You should probably try to hear both before buying. I
have no experience with ASR or Vitus Audio electronics, so I can't help you there.
processor that's the equal of a two-channel preamp?
have an important question for you that I think your readers would be interested in. I am
wondering whether the new surround-sound processors are comparable to my two-channel
preamp. You see, my plan is to integrate my two-channel into a five-channel system without
losing any fidelity for two-channel analog. I had assumed that I needed the best
two-channel equipment I could afford for my LPs. I own the top Cary SLP-05 tube preamp for
my two-channel music to go along with two Cary mono tube amps, which power the mids/highs
of my Legacy Whisper XD speakers.
planned to purchase a very good five-channel processor to use with a future Oppo Blu-ray
player, along with a third mono tube amp to power the wonderful Legacy Marquis
center-channel speaker. The issue is that every piece of equipment takes up limited space
on the rack and requires more expensive cables. With very good amps powering my Legacy
Whisper XD speakers, can I sell my two-channel preamp and put the rack space and money
towards a very good surround-sound processor that could service both two-channel analog
and surround digital? Apparently, their are very good processors out now that could
replace my preamp without affecting the quality of my analog rig. What do you think?
number of years ago, one of the principals at Paradigm/Anthem told me that the top Anthem
surround-sound processor (the Statement D2, I believe) sounded as good as any audiophile
preamp when used for stereo music. He was serious and I was seriously skeptical. I was
going to test his claim by reviewing the processor, but the review never happened.
So at least one company, at one point in time, thought its surround-sound
processors challenged two-channel preamps. Bryston also thinks very highly of its
processors, and I've heard them used for two- (and sometimes three-) channel playback with
Magnepan speakers to great effect.
as with anything related to music reproduction, your only way to know for sure is to
audition a couple of units. I would start with Anthem and Bryston, which are fully solid
state. If you're wanting tubes, I think your only option is the Fosgate FAP-V1. If you
don't use a separate phono stage, you'll have to factor one of those in as well.
P-02/D-02, equipment better than recordings?
possibility of reviewing the new Esoteric P-02/D-02 combination, the successors to the
P-03 and D-03? I would enjoy reading this, and how they compare with the P-03/D-03, which
you reviewed six (?) years ago.
a follow-up question, at what point is the equipment so much better than typically
recorded music quality that further great expenditures are not really worth the cost?
working on my review of the Esoteric K-01 right now (it took a long time to get the review
unit), so I don't know if the P-02/D-02 will be in my near future. This combination was at
the recently completed California Audio Show, and it was part of one of the better systems
I heard there.
Your final question is an especially good one -- and one that's impossible to
answer with any surety. On the one hand, we're still so far behind the live event in terms
of absolute realism that there remains a great deal of room for improvement. On the other,
the recording process is inherently unable to deliver that absolute realism, so there's
only so much to be achieved.
listening to a wonderful reissued LP of Dave Brubeck's Time Out right now, and
the improvement over even early six-eye pressings is immense. "Better" is still
clearly possible, perhaps mostly through greater refinement in the processes between
recording and replay, and that may be all we can hope to achieve going forward. -Marc
thanks for a continuous stream of great reviews, articles, blogs and news on The Audio
read the Reference
250 blog and review with great interest. Your comparisons are one of my favorite
parts of every review.
obvious reasons, not least a rivalry going back 30+ years, and the arrival now of a set of
Anniversary/Reference equipment, would a shootout between the Conrad-Johnson GAT/ART and
the Reference Anniversary/Reference 250s or 750s be possible?
be game to do a few compare/contrast sessions with the Conrad-Johnson GAT preamp and ART
amps, but I don't think Conrad-Johnson would be willing to send those products for that
use. In general, manufacturers don't like "shootouts," especially when their
best products are involved. The line between different and better can be so tenuous as to
be nonexistent, and yet readers still come away with a winner and loser in mind. Also,
when you have an entire roster of products to cover in one article, all of them are
if I can get those Conrad-Johnson separates in for review, a comparison within the article
to the Audio Research Reference products would be a natural. -Marc Mickelson
Jayhawks: CD or LP?
for a great review of the Audio Research Reference 250s. No mention of Main
Offender, though. But I did get another suggestion out of it: the Jayhawks' Hollywood
Town Hall. CD or LP?
Both the CD and LP of Hollywood Town Hall sound
very good, especially for such such dense electrified music. The CD is probably a safer
buy if you don't know the music, but the LP's liquidity pushes it ahead sonically. The
Jayhawks' Tomorrow the Green Grass is also available on LP, but Hollywood
Town Hall is the place to start. -Marc Mickelson