Letters • December 2017

Amp recommendation?

December 18, 2017


If at some point I decide to move out of my McIntosh MC601s, do you have any recommendations for solid-state monoblocks that would be a definite improvement, will work with an Audio Research preamp and phono stage and won't break the bank? I looked at the MC1.25kw amps from McIntosh, but I don't know if that would change anything. I'm looking for something slightly more dynamic. It might help when my Audio Research Reference 10 breaks in -- it only has 120 hours right now.

Herb Dawson

I do have a recommendation for amps that are almost solid state: Lamm M1.2 Reference monoblocks. They will work well with the rest of your electronics, and they have solid-state-like reliability (their one tube lasts for many years and is common, so not expensive to replace). Best of all, I've used them with many Audio Research products, and they match well electrically (they have both single-ended and balanced inputs) and sonically. -Marc Mickelson

"Are headphones this costly worth it?"

December 12, 2017


Are you familiar with Grado headphones and Schiit Audio amps? Grado says the combo is great. Grado considered their latest Statement Series GS2000e to be their best headphones to date, even surpassing their Professional Series PS1000e, until they recently upgraded this to the PS2000e, which is now their best. But at $2700, it costs about double the $1400 GS2000e. Are headphones this costly worth it?

Jeff Levine

You have to remember that I'm someone with a very expensive audio system, so obviously I believe that extra money can certainly buy better sound. On the other hand, I am a fan Sennheiser headphones, especially the relatively reasonably priced HD600s and HD650s, which continue to astound me whenever I listen with them (I have other 'phones that cost far more as well). They have a more loudspeaker-like tonal balance and a bottom end with real weight and power. If you want to know if the Grados you mention are worth their price, my advice would be to try the Sennheisers I mention first -- if for no other reason than to calibrate your ears and wallet. -Marc Mickelson

The B-52s

December 6, 2017


I am intrigued by the large-scale reproduction of The B-52’s album cover in your listening space. (What a system!)

Can you please let me know if this is a reproduction or painting, copy or transcription -- and if available commercially?

Kevin Hauff

The large-scale image between the speakers is a commercially available graphic display. It consists of a fabric screen that is edged by silicon strips that press into an aluminum extrusion. The dimensions and proportions of the frame can be adjusted to suit, although I believe it needs to have 90-degree corners. The supplied image is printed directly onto the fabric and is designed so that it can be backlit as well as easily changed or updated. In this case, the aluminum frame is mounted on wooden standoffs that space it in front of a bank of RPG Skyline diffusers, the fabric acting not unlike a speaker grille cloth, relatively transparent to acoustic energy while hiding what’s behind it. The fabric is also available with a black opaque backing that is more effective when used as the front covering for a bass trap. I actually have a range of different images based on LP cover art that can be interchanged according to taste, whim or acoustic requirements.

I bought my graphic panels from an office-interiors and exhibition company in London, but I suspect that any similar specialist suppliers could source them or something similar. -Roy Gregory

Reader list

December 1, 2017


Please add me to The Audio Beat subscription list.

Neil Shade

You'ven been added to the e-mail list. To join TAB's reader list and find out about new articles first, send e-mail to rl@theaudiobeat.com. -Marc Mickelson


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