Letters • December 2014

Amp for Sasha W/P Series 2

December 26, 2014


Thank you for your great online magazine.

I have a question. I can see you will come out with a new review of the Wilson Sasha 2, and I will get them in a few days. Do you think I will get a better synergy with VTL MB-450 III or Lamm M1.2 amplifiers?

Cristiano Berera

You've actually picked two amps that are especially good mates for the Sasha W/P 2, and I think you would achieve fine results with either of them. Both can handle the load and have ample power as well.

As for synergy with the speakers, both amps definitely have it -- Wilson shows so often with VTL and Lamm for a reason. Both amps sound broadly similar, so your choice will really come down to your preferences. I think the Lamm amps have weightier bass, while the VTL amps (depending on the tubes you use) have a bit more midrange presence and treble sparkle.

This is one of those instances where an audition is absolutely necessary, given the cost of these amps. I honestly don't think you'll go wrong with either of them, but I'm sure you'll discover that one is more right for you than the other. -Marc Mickelson

Amp for Sound Labs?

December 18, 2014


I have read your great review of the Atma-Sphere MA-2 Mk 3.1 amps, and I was curious if they have held up against any tube newcomers that have more than 100 watts. Do you still have and use them? I have been looking at a pair of Sound Lab electrostats, and an amplifier like the Lamm ML3 just cannot power them correctly.

Earl Zausmer

I don't have the Atma-Sphere MA-2 Mk 3.1 amps here any longer. They went back to Atma-Sphere a while ago. If you are considering (or own) Sound Lab electrostatic speakers, Atma-Sphere amps (and high-power OTLs in general) are an especially good mate for them -- "a match made in heaven," according to Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere. The amps produce the same power throughout the speaker's entire range, because there aren't the big impedance peaks and valleys of dynamic speakers. As you discovered, the Lamm ML3s, which are very good lower-power amps that can drive a wide range of speakers, are not suitable. They simply don't have enough power for the Sound Labs.

As for other amps, I love the VTL Siegfried IIs, and they would have no trouble driving Sound Labs, even in triode mode. VTL's MB-450 III and Audio Research's Reference 250, both monoblocks, would be good choices too. -Marc Mickelson

Experience with DEQX

December 10, 2014


We corresponded a little while back about the DEQX. As you may know, the DEQX is a multifunctional device that effects time-domain corrections and also does room EQ. Rather than bore you with the details, I suggest you look at the DEQX website, which will provide a more robust and accurate description of the unit's considerable functionalities.

I auditioned the DEQX PreMate for two weeks, courtesy of the DEQX national sales rep., and wound up buying the device. Some have described the DEQX as making a transformational sound improvement. In my opinion, that’s a bit of an overstatement. But I wouldn’t have put down the cash if I didn’t think the DEQX PreMate effected significant improvements. Just off the top of my head, imagining, soundstaging and sonic coherence are significantly improved. There’s an improved sense of realism. Maybe another way to describe the presentation is that it is more logical.

I suggest that TAB review the DEQX for the benefit of its readership. I do not think it’s snake oil, and in my opinion the DEQX squeezed every bit of juice out of my Paradigm Signature S8 v3 speakers. Part of the fix involved moving stuff around in my basement/sound room to achieve the hoped-for improvements. In addition, the DEQXpert tech setup guy cut off my S8s at 120Hz and let my powered subwoofer do the lifting below 120Hz. Of course, the setup involved a lot of EQ smoothing and time alignment between the sub and the S8s to achieve the final result. The DEQXpert tech setup guy spent over three hours making the various adjustments. This was all done remotely via Skype and remote "mic’ing" via the internet.

Some would say that the DEQX is a DIY device. In my opinion, if you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound. One should pay for the DEQXpert to set it up. The DEQXpert made a number of adjustments based on his considerable anecdotal experience. And no, my speakers are not perfectly time aligned, nor is the frequency response at my listening position ruler flat. As the DEQXpert said, "It would have been a fool’s errand" to twist the signal or the S8s’ drivers to achieve that result. But he did manage to "tame" the sound to the point that I can discern a real improvement.

Again, I resist using words like transformational or game-changer. But I think this is a very important and real way to extract the most out of one’s stereo system. I reiterate my suggestion that TAB review this device.

Bruce Feinstein

Rockport review?

December 2, 2014


I couldn't remember if you have ever reviewed a Rockport speaker before. They seem to have an heroic cabinet design with impeccable finish like the Wilsons. It would be nice to read a review, your take of Rockport.

Tracy Hill

I've heard Rockport speakers extensively at shows, where they've always sounded very good (at least). I agree that Andy Payor puts a lot of thought and work into his cabinets, and they are, as you say, "heroic," seeking to maximize the sound of the speaker components and minimize the influence of the cabinet. I've not reviewed a Rockport speaker, but it's on my reviewing bucket list to be sure. -Marc Mickelson


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