just wanted to thank you for all of your sage audio advice. I recently watched your
video from the 2012 RMAF for the third time and finally took your advice on reducing
vibration. After three hours of tearing down and reassembling my music server with the
intention of eliminating all vibration as much as possible the payoff was exponential. You
are a true master!
am an audiophile from Hong Kong. Currently, I am using all Nordost Odin cables, along with
QRT power products. What I want to know is if it is important what cable you use behind
the wall sockets, as you always suggest using the same brand of cable right through the
system. I also believe this gives the best performance, but what cable should I use to
feed the sockets, as Nordost do not approve their power cables for in-wall use?
I know you always suggest using the QB8 distribution block. How about the QV2 on the QB8?
Is it a combination you have tried? Currently, I am using three QX4s and one QX2 inline
with the QB8. I find that the influence of the QV2 in this case is surprisingly critical.
ask an important question that has significant implications for system performance.
Irrespective of the type of cables used, the rules remain the same. So, although Ill
apply my answers to your rig, exactly the same logic would apply to a Shunyata-,
AudioQuest- or Cardas-based system -- or any other cable manufacturer. The further back
you can take your optimized AC supply the better. Unfortunately, just how far that is will
depend to a large extent on your individual circumstances, the architecture of your home
and how much freedom of action you enjoy.
it comes to creating a dedicated AC supply for your audio system, there are three
priorities. The first two are:
provision of a clean ground, connected to ground rods sunk in the yard or garden of your
home -- assuming you can access it. These should be connected to the ground terminal on
installation of a dedicated domestic consumer unit (what used to be termed a fuse box)
with a ring or pair of rings to feed just the audio system. Ideally these should terminate
in high-quality, unswitched wall sockets.
on your electrical standards, there are various audiophile-grade sockets available from
the likes of Shunyata, Furutech and PS Audio (amongst others). The widest range of
specialist sockets conforms to the US NEMA standard, but even if your system is running
off an alternative socket type, that only means changing one plug on the lead running to
your first QX or QB unit. Having a different socket type for the hi-fi system also ensures
that someone else doesnt inadvertently connect an alien appliance to your dedicated
brings us to the third priority and the heart of your question. Building regulations are
extremely strict when it comes to the AC supply, and cables used in walls must be
certified as such, or you will probably invalidate your fire insurance! Thats why
most power-cord manufacturers wont recommend their cable for in-wall use. However,
if you look at the blog about my own setup youll see that I employ multiple
different cables to offer a range of dedicated feeds into my listening room. The one I
usually rely on, and that feeds the main system, is based on Nordost Valhalla, so how did
I get a building standards certificate for that? By stringing the cables on the outside of
the building, in purpose-built trunking. Used with the mechanically decoupled Lens
sockets, this also has the benefit of isolating the cables from the direct mechanical
energy generated by the speakers and hitting the inside walls of the listening room -- a
real win-win arrangement.
youll also note that I run rings of both the Chord Co. Power Cord and also a basic
heavy-gauge, shielded AC cable. If in doubt, this latter option is the one to go for. No,
it doesnt sound as good as the Valhalla, but it is still way, way better than the
domestic sockets fitted in the listening room that are there for the vacuum cleaner. Used
in conjunction with the clean ground, it probably represents the single most
cost-effective upgrade you could possibly make.
to your QRT queries, the QV and QX units should be seen as complementary. Different
systems will benefit from different arrangements, but in general, the addition of a single
QX2 alongside a series of QX4s does seem to bring a particular sweetness and natural ease
to the sound. The QV2 is astonishingly effective, bringing out the harmonics, air and
dimensionality in the recording. They work especially well in pairs: two is way better
than one, with four being way, way better again. The ideal place to position them is on
the QB8, but donating four sockets to the cause is probably quite a stretch, so consider
adding a QB4 or other distribution unit in series with the QB8, just for the QV2s.
Thats how I run them, and I find it works extremely well.
final point that applies to every single upgrade or tweak you ever add to your system. The
starting place for system tuning should always, always be the speakers. Unless the
speakers (and your listening seat) are optimally positioned in the room, with level, rake
angle and toe-in all precisely set, you will never be able to judge the benefits of each
change you make. If in turn those changes influence the spectral balance of the system
(for example, comparing a solid-state amp to a tube design), then you will need to adjust
speaker positioning accordingly to achieve proper results. I would certainly expect
changes in the grounding and AC-supply arrangements to require adjustments in speaker
position to fully realize the benefits. -Roy Gregory
was wondering if you have experience with the Allnic Audio M-3000 monoblocks. Just curious
how they stack up sonically against the giants you've reviewed -- Audio Research
Reference 250, Atma-Sphere MA-2 Mk II.3, and Ypsilon Aelius monoblocks.
shopping for a tube amp, and it's impossible to demo the M-3000s. My speakers are TAD
Evolution Ones, with a VAC Signature Mk IIa preamp. Any comments will be appreciated.
reviewed an Allnic phono stage (the H-3000) and line stage (the L-3000), both of which I liked a great deal, but not any Allnic amps.
The M-3000 monoblocks use KT120s to produce 140 watts, and like all Allnic products they
use proprietary transformers. They're intriguing amps, and I'll see about getting a pair
to write about at some point in the future. Based on my limited experience with TAD
speakers, which have sounded great driven with tubes and uneven driven with solid-state
electronics, amps like the M-3000s very well may be perfect for them both electrically and
sonically. -Marc Mickelson
cable or interconnect?
is more important, the speaker cable that runs from my amp to the speaker (center) or the
balanced interconnect that goes from my amp to my home-theater processor (center)?
Replacing the center-channel speaker cable really wont be an issue, but trying to
replace the balanced cable would a major effort. Unfortunately, it is a major rats nest
back there and there is nothing I can do about it. I am afraid to have my installer mess
around back there. Would just upgrading the center-channel speaker cable to a better one
be worth it on its own? I personally think it will. I know changing the balanced cables
also make a difference, but sometimes we have to make some sacrifices, right?
ask a variation on an age-old question: are interconnects or speaker cables more
important? The answer is yes. That is, they both matter, and probably in equal
measure. If, in either case, you're moving from a more generic cable to one identical to
what you're using for your right and left channels, you should experience a sense of
balance among all of your front channels that you don't now. There is also the matter of
your center channel's use for home theater -- it gets a workout, and for that reason
alone, you want to make sure you're getting the most from it by using good cables.
as to which cable you should upgrade, I can't tell you just one. I'd probably replace them
both. It sounds like the speaker cable will be easier, so that's probably the place to
begin. -Marc Mickelson
for TAVES seminar
new year and best wishes for the months to come.
just wanted to write and say thanks for the amazing seminar at TAVES. I spent some time over the holidays and
"voiced" my room. I was surprised at how far off I was with my previous
placement. I had the speakers almost halfway into the room initially and now they are
closer to the rule of thirds. I cannot believe the added impact and enjoyment I am
getting. My system is now so much more engaging and energetic. Previously I had great
immediacy but lacked in the dynamics department. Now I have both.