considering speakers to replace my Usher Be-10s. Two speaker companies whose products I'm
considering are Vivid and Coincident Speaker Technology, and I understand you may have
experience with both. My price range is in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. Can you briefly
provide comments on your experience with the Vivid G2 or G3 Giya and Coincident Pure
Reference Extreme (PRE), highlighting the primary differences. I currently have Modwright
electronics (solid-state amp / tube preamp), a Linn Klimax DS and JPS Labs Aluminata
cabling. I'm curious if the PRE would work well with the Modwright gear. I understand TAB
may have a review of the PRE coming out soon, which I anxiously await.
up the always-informative reviews.
have direct experience with the Vivid G1 Giya but not the G2, G3 or Coincident PRE. I can
say from my experience with both brands at shows that they are rather different in terms
of sound. The Vivid speakers are about unerring honesty to the signal fed to them, while
the Coincident speakers are about the re-creation of the performers in your room. These
are simplifications, of course, but they reflect my general feelings about both brands
(although, again, I don't have firsthand experience with a Coincident speaker).
might want to wait until Roy Gregory's review of the PRE appears and then read it after
reading mine of the Vivid G1 Giya. I suspect there will be ample contrasts.
again I'm writing an audio-review publication because of one of my pet bugaboos: omitting
product comparisons. Here we have an upcoming series of articles on a specific class of
audio gear: the small monitor. You start off with a bang by choosing two ultra-high-end
C1.1 and Crystal
Cable Arabesque Mini] and publishing the reviews at the same time. However, there's
almost zero mention of any comparison between the two products. Yes, I realize there's a
substantial price difference, but both products are playing in extremely rarified company.
While I understand publishers' reluctance to portray any product in a negative light,
comparisons between components can still be made without placing a value judgment on the
differences. And while any reader can read the two reviews and get a feeling for the
differences, an actual direct comparison between specific qualities would be much more
no mistake, I'm not in the market for products of this caliber, nor do I leave it to
reviews to make my purchasing decisions. However, reviews can be useful tools when
for the great work that you all do.
Thank you for your measured and constructive critique. Rest assured, direct
comparisons will be upcoming, but they will incorporate more than just the two speakers
On the agenda are a range of more affordable products, both new and established
models. The two completed reviews set the gateposts on a frame of reference within which
we can examine the other products being considered. Once we have a feel for the
characteristics and requirements of each model, then we will be in a position to assess
their comparative virtues. The intention is to have more than one listener examine at
least some of the speakers under review, as well as organizing some group listening --
multiple listeners, multiple products. By the end of the process, hopefully we will be in
a position to at least discuss the following questions:
How close do the more affordable speakers get to the cost-no-object designs?
How close do the cost-no-object designs get to overcoming their physical
limitations? Could or should we judge them as speakers, as opposed to small
Can the current crop of small speakers deliver genuinely satisfying long-term
Do changes in our understanding of system topology and advances in drive-unit
and/or cabinet design suggest that soon, the advantages of small speakers could outweigh
the benefits delivered by larger enclosures?
Some of these discussions will be general, and some will be specific.
a more general note, direct comparisons can indeed be useful, but not always as useful as
they might appear. As we can only listen to a system, not an individual component, what
you are actually assessing when making such direct comparisons is how well the given
components work in the context of the system surrounding them. Yes, you can identify the
changes in terms of driving electronics, cables, etc., but with the increasing awareness
of the role that system infrastructure plays in the musical results produced, the list of
variables is unmanageably long. Reducing those variables down to simple ABA comparisons
within a single system context (so long the de facto methodology for audio reviews)
certainly produces definitive answers, just not to the question being asked -- unless you
happen to have the exact same system the reviewer is using, not to mention the exact same
room and records.
Hmmm, methinks it's time for an article. Oh, that would be the one that's already
half written. A timely application of boot to backside then!
hope you'll enjoy the further installments in the small-speaker series. As with any such
project, it's as much about the process itself as the products. -Roy Gregory
"Shun Mook madness"
Your Letters page is the
first thing I go to. Endlessly entertaining and informative. However, the latest provides
a special pleasure -- a segue to the Shun
Mook madness I'd earlier overlooked. Why didn't I use my intuition? I should have
hoarded the fabric-wrapped power cords to ancient toasters and such -- those charming,
superannuated gizmos one used to pick up here in Maine for pocket change.
endlessly interesting Mr Ying occupies the outer edge so many of us seem delighted to
approach. My listening room (it doubles rather unconvincingly as our living room) is
festooned with Stein Music Magic Stones and Diamonds. Guests routinely ask, "What the
hell is that thing on the ceiling?" It looks like a giant cockroach. (It's a Blue
Magic Diamond.) Am I willing to give them up? Sooner a kidney!
I sign up for your reader list?
love your site. My favorite article is still the one
about the visit to Shun Mook. Great stuff.
up for the reader list is easy. Just send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you join, you will receive notices of new content on TAB, not offers for
products guaranteed to enlarge your speakers. -Marc Mickelson
was just reading the TAB piece on the Anthem M1 amplifier.
use of cooling pipes has been going on for several years in the computer
industry -- namely, some of the very high-speed graphics cards for gaming use this method
for cooling the chips on the card. Interesting to see it spread across different
is perhaps yet another connection between high-end audio and computers. We'll be talking
with Anthem about getting a pair of the M1s for review, at which point we'll find out
about the fine points of that cooling system. -Marc Mickelson
coverage of the Magico Q7 is interesting, but in order to achieve the sound you
describe, they appear to be using a whole lot of gear that no one is able to acquire.
Moreover, to further my general dismay, they wont even show us what it is
theyre using. Whats the point of that?
much prefer a
display like that of VTL, with the Rockport Avior. Everything in the room is available
to the public to buy and re-create the sound in their own space.
hype around Magico is very reminiscent of that generated by Stereophile when
Halcro first came ashore.
all of this stuff is starting to get a bit silly. For the price of $165,000, one
better be able to design and build a great speaker -- and if one cant, then
perhaps a career change is in order.
you sent your note to me, I didn't write the blurb on Magico; one of the other writers
did. I actually didn't hear the Magico Q7s during CES. -Marc Mickelson
was reading your site and there was lots of conversation about your top-five-amps list.
Can you tell me what amps are on your list?
first mentioned my personal amplifier "top five" list in passing in my review of
the Ayre MX-R monoblocks, and I have been surprised since at how much interest it has
Here is my current list of amps in no particular order:
MA-2 Mk 3.1 monoblocks
Lamm ML3 Signature monoblocks
Convergent Audio Technology JL2 Signature Mk 2 stereo amp
Ayre MX-R monoblocks
Luxman B-1000f monoblocks
The list currently represents a cross-section of amplifier technologies -- from
push-pull, OTL and SET tubes, to high-power solid state. This is not by design. My only
criterion has been overall sound quality, not the technology required to achieve it.
Let me say that there are three
very promising amps that may end up supplanting ones on the list now. They are the Ypsilon
Aelius monoblocks, the Audio Research Reference 250 monoblocks, and the Convergent Audio
Technology Statement monoblocks. I have the Ypsilon amps in for review right now, and I've
talked with the people at Audio Research and CAT about reviewing the others. -Marc
have hesitancy with respect to the Ayre DX-5 because of rather tepid comments made by a
couple of reviewers in regard to its SACD playback performance (the Stereophile
review was one of them; I've forgotten the source of the other). I gathered from your review,
however, that your experience with the DX-5's SACD performance was at least on a par with
that of the C-5xeMP. Do I have that right?
my ears, the DX-5 is superior to the C-5xeMP with SACDs and all other discs. It better
differentiates the sound of all of them. One thing you have to account for when playing
SACDs with the DX-5 is the player's output voltage, especially if you are using it single
ended and not balanced. It's very low, and if you don't have enough gain elsewhere in your
system, SACDs in particular will sound dynamically blunted -- "tepid" would
certainly describe it. I've heard this here, so it's not speculation, and I pointed it out
in my review. -Marc Mickelson
interconnects and speaker cables are all from the same manufacturer, Kubala-Sosna. My AC
cables are from Running Springs Audio, as is my power conditioner. My system uses an
outboard clock for the transport and DAC, and the two timing cables are from Stereolab.
These were selected for their performance as true 75-ohm cables and connectors, which is
most important in this application.
can see where interconnects and speaker cables from the same manufacturer would be an
advantage, as they are directly in the signal path. I am not so sure that having AC cables
and 75-ohm BNC timing cables from the same manufacturer as the interconnects and speaker
cables is as important, or even important at all.
may be a synergy in having the AC cables and power conditioner from the same manufacturer,
which is why I have done this. There may be junctions in a system where it is not
possible, or is less preferable, to have all from the same manufacturer. In my system, the
AC supply is considered a subsystem, the components and speakers another, and the timing
cables a specialized application.
would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the above cable-synergy issues. I am always open to a
better way of doing something. The Tech InSites articles on cabling were very well done. Thank you for
I agree with you in theory -- that signal-bearing cables are different from power-delivery
products -- my experience has been, at least with Shunyata Research products, that using
the same interconnects, speaker cables, power cords and power conditioner does indeed have
a sonic payoff. I suspect that the same is the case with Nordost cables -- using them
everywhere only increases the effectiveness of them all.
I can also say that when I've used Shunyata interconnects and speaker cables with
Essential Sound Products cords and power distributor, for instance, I could discern what
the ESP products were doing and didn't find the presentation lacking, even as it was not
identical to that with the Shunyata power products. I suspect, therefore, that the
synergies between the signal cables and power products are more different than alike and a
unified approach to each is what's most important. For what it's worth, we're
talking with a company now about a Tech InSite on power delivery and distribution, and
it's not Nordost, which sponsored "Cabling Your System." -Marc Mickelson