Letters • December 2016

The future of the Alexandria XLF

December 30, 2016


When you met with the Wilsons and heard the WAMM Master Chronosonic, did you asked them about future of the Alexandria XLF? I don’t think it’ll be ceased, but it might very well get a refresh, as Wilson purports to be making a number of driver changes and adding new materials to their lineup.

Larry Phillips

I spoke with John Giolas, Wilson Audio's marketing director, about the Alexandria XLF, and he indicated that an update is not in the works right now, but likely the WAMM MC will sometime in the future "inform an all-new speaker." When you see the WAMM MC, you realize also that the look of Wilson speakers is changing, moving away from the somewhat blockier look of the Alexandria XLF. In my mind, that also signals that a new speaker is probably coming. -Marc Mickelson

In praise of Tim Aucremann

December 26, 2016


I just read the Lamm M1.2 Reference review and wanted to say, Where has this Tim Aucremann guy been all these years? I have been an audiophile for 35 years and his was one of the best-written and best-expressed reviews I have read. What a wonderful writer. The way he put into words what matters to readers when discussing audio equipment was articulate and really hit home.

Thanks for having such a high-quality writer on your staff.

Stuart Montaldo

Placement of Magnepan 3.7i's

December 19, 2016


I took delivery of a new pair of Magnepan 3.7i speakers about three weeks ago. Initially, I have placed the tweeters to the outside because I had read along the way that doing so would provide a broader soundstage.

I read with interest your review, in particular, your comments about being able to hear the tweeters when placed to the outside. In my listening, I have experienced this as well. I also find your comments about the disconnect between the treble and midrange to be of interest. I am going to swap the speakers in a few minutes and look forward to some critical listening.

I wanted to take a minute and thank you for your comments. For what it is worth, I am using the Classé Sigma processor and five-channel amp to drive the speakers. I am certainly no expert at this stuff; I just love music and listening. I am questioning in the back of my mind whether different components would radically improve the sound of the speaker.

Time to go and move the speakers.

Mark Bronder

Shunyata and CAT?

December 12, 2016


Thank you for your review of the Shunyata Research Denali products. Having a Convergent Audio Technology (CAT) SL1 Legend Black Path preamp and CAT stereo amplifier, I am very interested in upgrading from my stock Essential Sound Products power cords. The CAT manual reads, "Do not use filters or power conditioners," so I was ready to get the new Essential Sound Products Reference-II cords and power distributor to upgrade, but with your review I am very interested in Shunyata products and I would like to know more. Did you have any downsides using the Shunyata power cords with your CAT preamp? What about the Denali conditioners?

Cristiano Berera

My experience with the Convergent Audio Technology's SL1 Renaissance Black Path preamplifier was to first replace the entry-level Essential Sound Products MusicCord that came with the unit with a Shunyata Zi-Tron Alpha Analog power cord. Based upon what I heard, the Alpha presentation of frequencies from top to bottom was more naturally integrated, but I would characterize this as a fairly subjective conclusion. Moving from that cord to a Zi-Tron Sigma Analog and then to a Sigma High Current left no doubt in my mind that the unit benefited from each upgrade in terms of its already remarkable transparency and "live" character. Bass became more textural and highs were more extended. I have never compared the Shunyata power cords with the statement cords from Essential Sound Products. For a detailed take on those cords, check out Marc Mickelson's review of them.

As far as power conditioning is concerned, I don't want to contradict CAT designer Ken Stevens, who knows a great deal more about preamplifiers than I ever will. However, I can say that I've spoken to Ken about the great results I'm getting with the CAT SL1 hooked up to the Denali. He's understandably skeptical but open to listening with his own, very well-trained ears. I suggest auditioning Shunyata's Denali conditioners as well as their power cords. Your system will tell you what sounds best. -Vance Hiner

Rega burn-in

December 6, 2016


I recently read your review of the Rega Saturn-R CD player and purchased one a few days ago. I was wondering if you’d answer a question for me a about the burn-in procedure you used.

The last player I bought was close to 20 years ago and I just connected and used it. There seem to be as many opinions about the merits/necessity for burn-in as there are audiophiles. I’d like to make sure I get the most out of the Rega when it arrives next week.

Would you be so kind as to explain the procedure you used? Did you just connect it and leave it playing the same CD continuously with the amp and preamp off (except when you wanted to listen to it) for a few weeks?

Thanks for any information you are willing to provide.

Scott Kalkin

While burn-in is critically important, the Rega Saturn-R doesn't require quite as much exercise as other digital components I've used. The good news for neighbors and loved ones is that all CD players can be burned in with the rest of your system off.

Based upon my experience and some advice I've gotten from several equipment designers, I recommend using a variety of CDs for burn-in, especially those that exhibit a wide dynamic range. In addition to music playback, I use IsoTek's Full System Enhancer & Rejuvenation Disc because it really does shorten the burn-in process a bit and it's one of the more moderately priced discs on the market. For the Saturn, I played the IsoTek disc continuously for two days, followed by two days of music until the unit reached around 200 hours. I think it's a good practice to stop playback for an hour or so every few days just to give the transport mechanism a rest.

I predict you'll hear more subtle but very rewarding improvements in dynamic range and bloom for another few weeks after the initial ten days of burn-in. Finally, each of the Saturn-R's digital inputs also will benefit from about five days of targeted burn-in time if you plan on using those options. -Vance Hiner

Yvette and Alexx

December 2, 2016


So which of you lucky guys are spending time with the Wilson Yvette and Alexx speakers? I am very interested in reading what you hear.

Larry Phillips

Dennis Davis has the Yvettes. Both Roy Gregory and I have Alexxes, and Roy also has a pair of Thor's Hammer subwoofers, which he'll drive with Naim Statement monoblocks. I will write the review of the Alexx and Roy will do a follow-up blog on the whole monstrous system that has invaded his room -- some real audio tonnage, in the best possible sense. -Marc Mickelson

TAB's reader list

December 1, 2016


Please add me to the reader list.

Carl Grant III

You're on the list. For others, send e-mail to rl@theaudiobeat.com to join the reader e-mail list and find out about new articles on TAB first. -Marc Mickelson


© The Audio Beat • Nothing on this site may be reprinted or reused without permission.