a question for you -- purely subjective of course. Do you have any experience with Vitus
Audio? I'm thinking of their new RCD-100 CD player and RI-100 integrated amp to power a
pair of Wilson Audio Sophia 3s that I recently acquired from a crazy day-trader on Canuck
talked with Hans-Ole Vitus many times -- he's a very friendly fellow -- and we've
discussed a review of his newest phono stage, but that piece has yet to appear. Thus, my
only experience with his equipment has been at shows -- I've not heard anything in my
system. I know Roy Gregory has reviewed Vitus Audio products and thinks highly of them.
I can't be of more help with Vitus. If I were looking to power Sophia 3s with an
integrated, I'd consider one from ARC (tube or solid state) or possibly a Conrad-Johnson
CA-200, whose amplifier was based on the Premier 350, still one of the finest solid-state
amps I've heard. -Marc Mickelson
have a problem with my next step, and I know you are the right person to consult on this
matter. Here in Finland I don't have the opportunity to get any these products for
audition at home. I just have to order blind.
was wondering about a new amp and new preamp. I am considering Lamm M1.2 and Audio
Research Reference 250 monoblocks, the Audio Research Reference 5 and Reference
Anniversary preamps. Which of these do you prefer?
have Wilson Audio Sasha W/P speakers, an Audio Research Reference CD8 CD player, an Audio Research Reference 3
preamp, Audio Research Reference 210 mono amps with KT120 tubes and Transparent Opus MM2
interconnects and speaker cables.
you heard the Reference 210s with KT120 tubes? I really like the Audio Research sound, but
I know that especially with Wilson speakers the Lamm amps are also an excellent choice.
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the products you're considering. However,
staying within the Audio Research product line makes sense, given that you obviously know
and admire the company's house sound. My first recommendation would be to get a Reference Anniversary preamp, but Audio Research stopped taking orders
for them in late April, so you'd have to see if the distributor in Finland has a unit in
stock, which is a long shot. After that, if you can afford it, I would say that a
Reference 5 in combination with a pair of the Reference 250s would be a very worthwhile
upgrade. I have yet to hear the Reference 250s in my system, but what I heard
at Audio Research in the summer convinced me that they are very serious amps. If you
want to save some money, I used the Reference 3 with Lamm M1.2 amps and loved the
combination, and as you note, Lamm amps are great with Wilson speakers (as are Audio
Research amps). I haven't heard the Reference 210s with the KT120 output tubes, so I can't
give you any insight there. However, that change would surely be the most economical for
you. -Marc Mickelson
trying to decide whether to replace my Ayre C-5xeMP with a DX-5, and came across your review.
I'd built a computer-based audio server and have been listening to it in conjunction with
an Ayre QB-9 DAC. Compared to my C-5xe with the MP upgrade, the audio server with the QB-9
was noticeably lacking in transparency on almost all the Red Book program material I
tried. I was hoping that the DX-5, with its USB input, could provide the same or better
experience when playing music through the audio server as does the C-5xeMP.
enjoyed reading your August review and was wondering whether you'd kept the DX-5 and
whether you had any insights that could help me.
did keep the DX-5, purchasing it as my reference, and I've not regretted it. As I pointed
out in my review, the people at Ayre believe that the USB DAC in the DX-5 is superior to
the QB-9 (it has a better power supply and uses better circuit-board material, among other
things), so with it you might achieve what you want -- CD playback that's as good (or
better) than that of your C-5xeMP. I can't tell you for certain that this will be the
case, as I've not done all of those comparisons. As I mentioned in my review, I found the
DX-5's performance playing discs to be superior to that when it was used with a computer
as a source, but my Windows-based computer is hardly optimized for sound quality. Time
permitting, I plan to set up a full-blown Mac-based server in 2012, and I should be able
to say more about this then. -Marc Mickelson
passing of Audio Research's founder
to date, yours is the only e-zine to mention the passing of
William Z. Johnson -- he truly was a giant in the industry, and we all owe him our
thanks for his great contributions. Good for TAB.
is odd. William Z. Johnson's passing is important news within the audiophile
community and therefore deserves mention at least -- and full-blown tribute in reality.
done quite a lot of research with regard to Lamm amps and Aesthetix preamps, and it looks
like you are the only one in the press with this combo. I am considering buying the Lamm
M1.2 Reference amps to use with my Aesthetix Io phono stage with volume control. The amps
would drive Wilson Audio Sasha W/Ps.
just want to hear from you about the characteristics of this combo. I am afraid that the
Lamm amps will sound dark. Unfortunately, my dealer here in Singapore does not stock the
M1.2s for me to audition.
do not find the second-generation Lamm hybrid amps (those with the .2 designation) to have
the residual darkness that the first generation had. I've used the Aesthetix Io very
successfully with the Lamm M1.2 Reference amps and have never found that combination of
components to sound dark. It should also be noted, however, that I have always used
Nordost Valhalla and, more recently, Odin cabling, which have the most extended top end of
any cabling I have heard. -Paul Bolin
Tech InSites, please
found the Tech InSite
Your System" very interesting. It is hard to convince some people that cables do
matter and should be addressed, but oh well.
now my system does not have completely matched cables, but after reading that article, I
am going to match as much as I can. I also plan on getting the Audience aR6-TS for my most
important components. For my front speakers I am using Live Line cables. For my
center-channel speaker cable and center and surround balanced cables, I am using older
Transparent (my first step into high-end cables). I was planning on upgrading my
center-channel cables, but after reading your article I am also thinking about matching
the balanced cables for my surrounds as well. Getting matching surround speaker cables
will just not be feasible, so they will stay as they are. That would a nearly matched
system as far as cables go.
hope you will have more articles like "Cabling Your System."
are talking with other companies now about creating Tech InSites on other topics. We'll
also be adding case studies to "Cabling Your System," so you'll definitely see
more of this kind of content. -Marc Mickelson
important is it to use interconnects and speaker cables from the same manufacturer? I'm
using Transparent interconnects from my DAC to my preamp and a Transparent digital cable
from my CD player's digital output to the DAC, with Nordost Baldur speaker cables. I
replaced my Nordost interconnects with the Transparent, but I still have the Nordost on
deck as spares. Also, is it crucial in your opinion to use interconnects and speaker
cables that all belong to the same family? Is there any advantage?
message dovetails nicely with TAB's new Tech InSite, "Cabling Your
System," especially rule 1: "Treat cables as a component in themselves; make
sure that you use the same cables throughout the entire system." This is primary for
good reason: a unified cable "loom" effects "a huge improvement in overall
musical coherence, rhythmic integrity, intelligibility and musical drama." It's also
the foundation from which the other rules make the most sense. Furthermore, because the
conductors were designed to complement each other (and sometimes are the same conductors),
you will hear similar improvement when using interconnects and speaker cables from the
same line or family.
course, Nordost would make a case for your using Baldur throughout your system, but I
suspect they would also say that using Transparent cables throughout is better than mixing
and matching. -Marc Mickelson
wrote in your
Nordost Odin review, "I have spent much of the last fifteen years reviewing audio
components. In that time, Odin stands as one of the five most important and game-changing
products I have heard."
sure you were asked this a few times when this review first came out, but what were the
other four most important, game-changing products?
what real-world-priced cable line have you come across that you like?
The other products that really changed the way I thought and heard were:
Halcro dm58 amplifiers.
VTL TL-7.5 Signature line stage, original version, the first 21st-century
Wilson Audio Sasha W/P loudspeakers, my long-term reference.
mbl 1511 transport and 1521 DAC, the first great digital gear I heard in my
I speak only of components I have had in my home system long enough to come to
meaningful judgments about them.
for less expensive cables, all in the Nordost Norse series are very good. -Paul Bolin
at Audio Research?
about the Audio Research Reference 250s, the accompanying pictures were with Wilson
MAXX 3s, right? Was that at Audio Research? I have Sophia 3s with Reference 250s and was
just thinking. . . .
are correct on both counts. Audio Research uses MAXX 3s in their big room (which has
recently been remodeled and rebuilt), and they were a wonderful combination with the
Reference 250s. Audio Research also uses Sasha W/Ps for product QC. -Marc Mickelson
for the Tidal
Sunrays? Hey, ten bucks is ten bucks. Were they $155,000, I'd not consider a purchase.
This reminds me much too much of the $199.99 airline tickets (and the like) we've grown
accustomed to seeing.
seriously, ladies and germs, I enjoyed the review. You do a nice job.