for the review
of the Ayre MX-Rs. I own them and have a similar opinion as you. I also tried the
KX-R. Curious you didn't make a comment or two on the preamp. Do you plan a review of it
as well? I've had it in my system (along with a BAT VK-51se and currently using a Nagra
PLL with the MX-Rs).
am curious about changing preamps. The Nagra seems to do a lot right. Others better it in
some areas, like the KX-R has lower noise floor, allowing more detail to come through, but
it seemed a touch cooler versus the Nagra. The Audio Research Reference 5 is something
else I am curious about.
e-mag you have. I enjoy it immensely.
I didn't have the KX-R in my system long enough to come to any conclusions that I
would have been confident to include in the MX-R review. I did think it was impressive,
and it seemed like a great match for the amps in terms of low noise and treble sweetness.
I don't have any plans to review it, because I just don't have the time (in the short
term, that is; perhaps something could be arranged for later in 2011).
preamp I used most with the MX-Rs was the Audio Research Reference 5, and it was a
wonderful match, adding some body to the midrange and into the bass. I could certainly be
happy with that pairing.
very satisfying to know that you enjoy the site. We sure put a lot of work into it. -Marc
are your thoughts on the Vandersteen speaker line, in particular the new 2CE Signature II
that came out fairly recently? I know they are time and phase aligned. Have you auditioned
these speakers? I know in the literature that Vandersteen speakers seem to be highly
rated. I am considering trading in my B&W 804s for these Vandersteens. Any thoughts? I
was also wondering if my Cary 120S tube amp will drive them adequately. I think they are
86dB sensitive, as compared to 90dB for B&Ws.
I once owned a pair of Vandersteen 2C speakers, and I have heard versions that
came afterwards a few times. However, I can't remember the last time I heard any
Vandersteen speaker other than the Model 5A or 7 -- they are what's used most often at
shows. I've always thought the Vandersteen 2- and 3-series speakers were exceptional at
their prices -- singular in some ways, including their low-end weight. I don't know if
they will represent an upgrade for you, as I'm not familiar with your B&W speakers and
don't know what you're hoping to achieve.
amplifier power, your Cary 120S delivers 60Wpc in triode and 120Wpc in ultralinear. I
don't think you'll experience any issues with Vandersteen 2CE Signature IIs and either
amplifier mode, unless your room is very large or you like to play your music very loud.
In the latter case, just switch your amp to ultralinear and you should have no problems at
all. Vandersteen recommends 40-160 watts for the 2CE Signature IIs, and I've heard earlier
versions of the speakers driven by puny stereo receivers, and they sounded far better than
I thought they would. -Marc Mickelson
enjoyed reading your
recently released Silent Running Audio Craz² review. I know you have used SRA
equipment racks for some time now and are very familiar with them. The rack that would
work best for my system is a Craz² Six, with space for six components. Is it possible to
reply with your opinion of how close their new Scuttle might come to the "Six"?
In your opinion, would a Craz² Six perform as well as two single-width Craz² Three
does SRA sell through dealers or only direct?
is impossible for me to guess how close the performance of SRA's new, lower-cost Scuttle
rack is to that of the Craz². Kevin Tellekamp of SRA says the two are "close."
"The only competition that Craz² has comes from its little brother Scuttle,"
according to Kevin. TAB will be reviewing the Scuttle at some point -- hopefully
sooner rather than later.
In terms of which Craz² configuration to buy, a Craz² Six, with room for six
components, would be functionally identical to two Craz² Threes, which would accommodate
the same number of components spread over two separate racks. The cost of the two Threes
would be much higher than a single Six, however -- nearly double, in fact.
vast majority of SRA products are sold factory direct, although the company does have
distribution in foreign countries and dealers located all over the world. Direct sale
makes it mandatory for buyers to communicate with SRA regarding their purchases and
ensures that SRA gets the best data about the buyer's system from which to build each
rack. -Marc Mickelson
and subs with MX-Rs?
you very much for your recent accidental review of Ayre MX-Rs!
thinking of replacing my Parasound JC 1 monoblocks with MX-Rs. The trick is that, in
addition to a pair of speakers, Im using a pair of REL Stentor III subwoofers. The
good thing about the JC 1s is that each amp has two pairs of speaker binding posts, so I
use one pair to connect the speaker and the other to connect the sub. As I understood from
your nice review, a single MX-R has only one pair of binding posts, plus it has that
unusual Cardas knob. If I bought the MX-Rs, would I be able to properly connect both a
speaker and a sub to a single MX-R? If so, how would I accomplish that?
you bless my plan to switch my Parasound JC 1s for Ayre MX-Rs? Would the MX-Rs sound much
better? Unfortunately, theres no chance for me to audition the MX-Rs before buying
them in my country. Hence, I can only rely on the independent opinion of experienced
professionals like you.
(or should I say, "in my experience") subwoofers used in two-channel systems get
their signals at line level from the preamp. Your subs, however, are getting their signal
at speaker level from your amps. While each Ayre MX-R has a single pair of speaker binding
posts, you can still connect two pairs of speaker cables to it by stacking the spades for
both and then tightening with the knob. The Cardas posts allow you to tighten by hand, so
this would probably be easier than with other amps that have single pairs of traditional
binding posts that require a wrench or socket driver for tightening.
I have no experience with the Parasound amps you mention, so I can't give you any insight
regarding if MX-Rs would represent an improvement for you and by how much. However, if the
sonic personality I describe in my review -- "unrivaled transient fidelity, acute
rendering of space, extreme quietness, and treble sweetness" -- appeals to you, I
doubt you'd be disappointed with the MX-Rs. They are special amps. -Marc Mickelson
you by chance have experience with the following phono stages: Aesthetix Rhea, Lamm LP2
Deluxe, and EAR 88PB? Concerning the LP2 Deluxe, do you find the gain on the low side?
have a great amount of experience with the Lamm LP2 Deluxe -- I'm listening to it right
now -- and no experience with the other phono stages you mention. An analog-playback
system doesn't only get gain from the phono stage -- although that's where the lion's
share comes from. The Lamm's moving-coil gain is around 58dB, which may or may not be
suitable, depending on the output of your cartridge, the gain of the rest of your system,
and the sensitivity of your speakers. I'm using Lamm M1.2 amps, which have 32dB of voltage
gain, so I don't find the LP2 to be lacking with my .25mV Dynavector cartridge. However,
using an amp with 20dB of gain may result in truncated dynamics and lower ultimate
loudness. A higher-output cartridge may fix this, as may a speaker with sensitivity in the
my answer to your question about the LP2's gain is that it depends on the rest of the
system. -Marc Mickelson
Hoping for an Ayre DX-5 review
Is there any hope at all that you will review
Ayre DX-5 sooner or later?
I mentioned the DX-5 at the end of my MX-R review,
but I failed to say definitively if I would be reviewing it. I will be, although not until
sometime in early 2011. -Marc Mickelson
short article on a brand unjustly forgotten in our American audio hobby. Both Cabasse
and Elipson have a first-class history of research in sound reproduction, and I remember
fondly, back in the late '70s, my visits to a typical French audio dealership on "a
quiet street" to listen to the Elipson floorstanders that briefly appear at 00:38 in this movie.
technology is already filtering down in size and price. It is called the Baltic Evolution,
a stand-mounted triaxial satellite costing less than 10,000.
at CES: "Would you please be my ears...?"
news from Lamm! The new Lamm ML2.2 mono amps will be demonstrated at CES 2011. I was
reading the official announcement at the Lamm website. Lamm will be biamping Verity
Lohengrin II speakers with two pairs of ML2.2s. Now that's anti-recession thinking!
cannot possibly attend CES, so, Marc, would you please be my ears at this particular demo?
After living with the Lohengrin for some three years now, the old cliche is truer than
ever: it's the first watt that matters most. With 95dB sensitivity, my speakers never
require more than a couple watts, so 18 watts are a comfortable thought.
me if I need to save up when you get home.
have known for some time about the two formidable systems Vladimir Lamm is going to
demonstrate at the CES, featuring Verity Lohengrin II and Wilson Audio Alexandria X-2
Series 2 speakers. I also knew about the debut of the ML2.2 mono amps, which incorporate
some of the mighty ML3's technology. I'll be getting a pair for review immediately after
be covering CES while the show is going on, and you can be sure I'll hear both of the Lamm
systems at length. You won't have to wait until the show ends to read my impressions or
see the systems. Just follow TAB's coverage of the CES and THE Show beginning
January 6. -Marc Mickelson
Ayre KX-R review?
Great review of
the Ayre MX-R amps. Will you be reviewing the KX-R preamp as well? Any hints as to
what you thought of it? By itself and also coupled with the MX-Rs?
are the first to ask about the KX-R, and I expect there will be others as well.
Unfortunately, I have no plans to review it, because I just don't have the room in my
schedule. When I had it here, I was concentrating on the MX-Rs (and didn't have the DX-5
player to complete an all-Ayre system), so I didn't listen with the KX-R for very long.
What I heard was very impressive, however. It was as quiet as the MX-Rs and as sweet in
the treble. It had an inherent liquidity and the sort of transparency that all great
preamps display. It worked very well with the MX-Rs, never editorializing to the point of
obscuring what the amps do so well. In sonic terms, the two seemed matched strength for
strength, which I'm sure was the goal. The KX-R was a joy to use and just as attractive
and well made as the MX-Rs. -Marc Mickelson