plugged in where?
question may be from the neurotic side of the fence, but I imagine others have had similar
Audience line conditioner has six outlets. I currently have plugged in two subs, my amp,
my preamp, my DAC and my CD player, so all of the outlets are in use. The issue is, I may
be selling my Cary amp in order to buy a pair of monoblocks, so I would be one outlet
short for the second amplifier. If I disconnected one of the two subs and just plugged it
directly into the wall (a dedicated outlet that the line conditioner is also plugged into)
and plugged the second amp into the line conditioner, would the sub in the wall mitigate
the effect of the line conditioner in any way? Any sonic loss by having just one sub in
the line conditioner and second in the wall? I have a spare line conditioner -- an old
Chang unit --that I could use to accommodate the second sub if that would be a better
think you're right -- many audiophiles run out of outlets for new purchases. How
unfortunate! In your case, I would experiment with the various possibilities you have
available to you: subs into the wall, subs into both power conditioners, and other
products into your Chang unit or the wall. You may hit upon one that's best in sonic
terms. My feeling is that the best combination you have is using both subs with the Chang
unit, leaving you with one open outlet in your Audience power conditioner. As for using
one sub into the Audience unit and one into the wall, that may work just fine, although I
would want both protected from surges and spikes, as subs are easy to leave on when not in
use (I know how forgetful I can be, and I'd leave them on). Therefore, I'd use both into
your Chang unit before I'd use just one into the wall. -Marc Mickelson
came across your article on burning in tonearm cables. I agree 100%, and I recently
experienced a rather long (about two weeks) burning-in period with a Goldmund T3F 'arm
that hasn't been used in about 15 years.
I was horrified to see you destroy a Goldbug Mr. Brier for your burning-in device! Surely,
any cheap, crappy cartridge could have been utilized. These bring a lot of money these
days, even with no stylus. Had I known that you had one, I would have made a decent offer
it had already been destroyed. An ill-advised retip attempt (and I use the term loosely)
not only unilaterally removed the cantilever and replaced it with a boron rod, it managed
to take the coils on one channel OC, resulting in a very pretty but completely useless
piece of audio junk jewelry. Just thinking about it still makes my blood boil, and if I
ever meet the perpetrator in person it will probably result in actions described as
"non-adult" in sociological or behavioral-science terms. -Roy Gregory
or Reference Phono 2 SE?
understand you have both the Allnic H-3000 and the Audio Research Reference Phono 2 phono
stages. Can you compare these two units' relative strengths and weaknesses? I'm in the
market for a phono stage and trying to decide between these two well-regarded units. The
rest of my system includes Magico M5 speakers, Soulution 721/710 preamp/amp combo and a
modded Technics SP-10 Mk II turntable with Air Tight PC-1 cartridge.
had the Allnic H-3000 and Audio Research Reference Phono 2. I now have the
H-3000V and Reference Phono 2 SE. Both are top-flight phono stages that always remind me
why analog is such a sonic wonder. The Reference Phono 2 SE has a big soundstage, which is
one element of Audio Research's house sound, and potent bottom end, which is an
improvement over that of the Reference Phono 2. It derives all of its gain from active
devices, so there is no step-up transformer, which can color the sound. The H-3000V has
the most spookily real imaging I've ever heard -- a bodily presence coupled with copious
air that makes listening to records thrilling.
phono stages have provision for multiple EQ curves; the Allnic is far more flexible in
this regard, while the Audio Research is much easier to use -- just push a button. Both
also have multiple inputs. While it isn't necessary, Allnic makes a companion head amp,
the HA-3000, that allows you to bypass the H-3000V's step-up transformer for the purest
sound possible. -Marc Mickelson
read all your reviews of Wilson Audio speakers with great interest. Most recently, I was
able to hear a used pair of Sophia 2s at a dealer hear in Berlin, Germany, and I liked
them the more listening time I had with them. But I did not have much time, and the dealer
had them playing with Gamut electronics and some pricey analog. Nevertheless, I liked the
sound. The room was very large and far from optimal.
I bought an amp and preamp -- a pair of Nuforce Reference 9V3 SEs together with their P9.
I have doubts whether my current speakers -- Dynaudio Focus 360s -- are the right choice
for the Nuforce gear. And I think I want some Wilsons.
right now I have the chance to buy a very nice pair of used WATT/Puppy 6es for something
like 6000 or a pair of Sophia 2s for 9.000 or the new Sophia 3s for
15.000. After having bought the Nuforce gear and cables and power cords, money is an
issue, although I could stretch to Sophia 3s if I really wanted to.
reading about your time with the WATT/Puppy 6es, I might be fine with buying a pair of
those, especially because the only thing that bothered me while hearing the Sophia 2s was
a lack of bass.
preferences in music is jazz, but I also listen to sophisticated electronic music and some
older rock -- not always high-end recordings. I tend to buy from HDtracks, which I play
via my Linn Majik DS from my NAS drive. My listening room is quite big -- fifty square
meters with not much furniture in it.
love music and musicality with a lifelike character, but I also like to discover detail in
the recordings. I don't like boomy bass, but there should be substantial body, if it is on
the recording. I absolutely don't like harsh highs.
would be very thankful if you could comment on my issues. Is it a stupid idea to start
with the WATT/Puppy 6es, or are the newer Sophia 2s or 3s far better speakers with their
ask a question that many people buying used products ask: Is newer better, and how much
better? In this case, I think the newer speakers are better and by quite a margin. The
WATT/Puppy 6, which I reviewed more than a decade ago, was the first Wilson speaker I
liked -- and I liked it enough to buy it. Since that time, Wilson Audio has made more
progress than most towards a better-realized version of its sound. The Sophia 2 and
especially the Sophia 3 will outperform the WATT/Puppy 6 in a number of important ways,
especially the midrange. With the Sophia 3, this comes courtesy of a version of the Wilson
Audio midrange driver used first for the Alexandria X-2 Series 2. This translates to
better articulation and increased "animation" in the speakers' most vital range.
I can also understand your desire to save money. In this regard, the Sophia 2 would be the
best buy, although if you covet the Sophia 3 and will want to upgrade to it in short
order, you will come out ahead if you simply go that route from the beginning. -Marc
piano and guitar
admit from the start that I dont know much about jazz, but I know what I like when I
hear it. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I know I like the
Wynton Kelly Trio's Piano and Hampton Hawes' The Trio Volume 1, plus
Dave Brubeck's Time Out. I also like Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell. Do you
have recommendations that I should look for that are in this same style? My system is
sounding really good, and I plan a few upgrades in the near future, so I a doing my best
to expand my musical horizons.
for sending a question that I can sink my teeth into! It seems to me that you have two
routes you can follow: discover jazz pianists and guitarists you don't already know, and
explore further the catalogs of the musicians you mention.
terms of the former, you should investigate the two giants of 20th-century jazz piano:
Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. They represent very different but equally important
"schools" of playing. Monk was a rhythmic and harmonic innovator (in addition to
being an important composer of original music), while Evans played in a more internal and
lyrical style. Monk's greatest recordings are those on the Prestige label, especially Brilliant
Corners (1957) and Monk's Music (1957). Evans' best work was on Riverside and
includes Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961), the well-known Waltz for
Debby (1961), and Moonbeams (1962). However, any of Monk's or Evans' later
works will also tell you a great deal about their playing and influence.
regard to guitarists, you've hit upon two of the biggies. I also suggest that you
investigate Grant Green, who recorded throughout the '50s and '60s for Blue Note. His
recordings with Larry Young on organ and Elvin Jones on drums are truly great. They
include Green's Talkin' About (1964) and Young's Unity (1965), although Idle
Moments (1965) is Green's best-known recording.
am a big fan of Hampton Hawes, an under-appreciated West Coast pianist who played in a
sunnier Evansesque style. I really like his trio of All Night Session! LPs
(1956-1959), along with For Real! (1958) and Four! (1958). There are
also two more "Trio" LPs that follow the one you mention. Wynton
Kelly's Kelly Blue (1959) is definitely worth finding, as are two of the
"time" LPs that followed Dave Brubeck's monumentally popular and important Time
Out: Time Further Out (1961) and Time Changes (1966). As for Kenny
Burrell, his simply titled date with John Coltrane (1958) is necessary, as are two Wes
Montgomery live recordings: Full House (1962, with the Wynton Kelly Trio) and Smokin'
at the Half Note (1965).
you may have noticed, all of the recordings I've mentioned were released in the seven-year
period from 1958 to 1965, when bop was giving way to hard bop and experimentation with
modality and free jazz. This was a particularly fertile time, and the music produced
during it was ample proof of this. -Marc Mickelson
first look at the Reference 750s
had a wonderful experience with the new Audio Research Reference 750 amps and would like
to share with you some pictures I
am still waiting to read your full review of Reference 250s. Although my dealer will bring
them to my home and let me try them with my Revel Salon2 and Wilson Sophia 3 speakers at
the end of this month, I would like to read a professional review as well. I don't think I
will go as far as 750, however. I can't deal with such an amount of tubes.
you for the very nice pictures. I've heard about this new amp, which costs $55,000 per
pair, but I hadn't seen it -- until now.
Research has confirmed that the Reference 250s will be shipping to me within a week, so my
review will be in the works very soon. -Marc Mickelson
not in top five?
did not put the Zanden Model 9500 monoblocks on your list of the best amps, although you
mentioned in your review from some years back -- comparing them to the big and very
expensive Lamm amps -- that in a full Zanden setup the Zanden amps are very hard to beat.
Could please inform me why you think the Zanden amps are not impressive enough to make it
on your list? Do you think that they are too colored or nice-sounding in the midrange or
not in some other way as good as some other amps? I am asking this because I getting
closer to a full Zanden setup. I will use the Model 9500 Mk III amps.
The Zanden Model 9500 amps aren't on my top-five list not because of anything
they do or do not accomplish sonically. Rather, it's a matter of the other amps on the
list: Atma-Sphere MA-2 Mk 3.1 monoblocks, Lamm ML3 Signature monoblocks, Convergent Audio
Technology JL2 Signature Mk 2 stereo amp, Ayre MX-R monoblocks, and Luxman B-1000f
monoblocks . This is a tough group to crack, and that's by design. However, the Zanden
Model 9500s would be in the next five, along with the Lamm M1.2s, which are my personal
reference amps, and ML2.2s, which I recently reviewed.
will likely be some shuffling among the top five this year, as I receive a couple of very
promising contenders. -Marc Mickelson
live in the most northeastern Brazilian city. I have a system with Merlin VSM-MXe
speakers, an Audio Aero power amplifier and a Joule-Electra Marianne 300 preamplifier. My
source is an Esoteric X-01 D2. My room is 7 meters by 3.8 meters.
Merlin speakers are fantastic, with so many good reviews, but after listening to the Tidal
Contriva Diaceras, I am in process of buying them. I have one doubt about the amplifier I
should use. You know we have Audiopax in Brazil, and I have been talking with the company
about the new Magiore 100 (which I heard last year at the Munich show). I previously owned
the Model 88 SET monoblocks -- 30 watts, a pristine, transparent and musical sound -- and
the Magiore is also a SET amp, but class A at 100 watts.
has one dealer in Brazil, and I know this person. I began to think of the Lamm ML2.2s.
They have only 18 watts, but I know this is another kind of SET amp that can drive some
big speakers. The price of Lamm amps is lower than the price of the Audiopax. (Maybe I am
wrong, because after the tax of importation, the price maybe equivalent.) After years of
changing amplifiers, I want one that will stay!
review of the Lamm ML2.2s. You wrote that the Tidal Sunray is not right for the amps,
and that's not the speaker I will buy. But every time I see the specifications of the
Contriva Diacera, I can't tell if the Lamm ML2.2s would be a good choice to drive these
don't think the speakers you're considering are a good match for the Lamm SET amps. While
I greatly admire the Tidal speakers I've heard, including the Contriva Diacera SE and
Sunray, as well as the Lamm ML2.2s, the speakers aren't sensitive enough to work well with
the amps' 18 (wonderful) watts. Luckily, you have a very viable alternative to the ML2.2s
within the Lamm line: the 110-watt M1.2 Reference monoblocks. These drove the Tidal
speakers very well in my large room; Jörn Janczak of Tidal remarked when he was here that
the combination sounded especially good. The M1.2s are also far less expensive than the
ML2.2s. -Marc Mickelson