Letters • January 2014

Sony or MoFi?

January 24, 2014


I see that one of your guys reviewed the two Miles Davis Mobile Fidelity mono releases. Is there any consensus as whether the Sony Record Store Day/Black Friday or MoFi monos of 'Round About Midnight and Milestones are best?

Jeff Levine

It's not a consensus, but I have both the MoFi and Sony Record Store Day/Black Friday Miles Davis mono LPs, and I definitely give the nod to the MoFi, which sound more substantial and dynamically varied -- less like an LP done from a digital file, which may in fact be the case for Sony's releases. Those records are certainly more than decent, especially in terms of their quiet vinyl, but the MoFi LPs are our 2013 co-Recordings of the Year and deserve the honor. -Marc Mickelson

What was Magnepan up to?

January 18, 2014


I'll be very interested to see what Magnepan was up to in Las Vegas!

Randy Betts

Seeing will be difficult, because I don't think any pictures of Magnepan's speaker system at THE Show exist, but I now know what was being shown and what it cost: the Super MMG with two Bass Panels and the Tri-Center using the MMG W and MMG C for a total of $2375. A truly great-sounding system and one that I suspected had a center channel. -Marc Mickelson

Speakers at Audio Research?

January 16, 2014


You commented on Audio Research’s listening room, but did not mention what speakers they were using. Unfortunately, I cannot make out the speakers in the picture.

Thanks for the report. I found it interesting and informative. I am now considering buying the new Audio Research SP20.

Mike DeNicola

I guess because I was focusing on the Audio Research SP20 in my blog I overlooked listing the rest of the system (or at least that's the excuse I'm using right now). Those are Sonus faber Amati Futura speakers, and they cost $36,000 per pair.

As for the SP20, it's quite a value, given that it's a full-function preamp, and it will save room in your equipment rack as well. We have plans to review it later in the year. -Marc Mickelson

3.7i details, "pllleeease"

January 10, 2014


I hope you have had a great time in Las Vegas. I haven’t heard anything anywhere, not even at The Audio Beat, about the changes in the Magnepan 3.7i. Did you happen to meet Wendell at the show by chance? Pllleeease let me know!

Hasse Jerresand

I did talk with Wendell at THE Show, and I asked him about the 3.7i. There is a good reason you've heard and seen nothing about it: No details are available -- on the speaker itself or the upgrade cost. Magnepan will finalize everything after they return home. About the only thing I do know is that the 3.7i will look just like the 3.7. I wish I had more to tell you, but I don't. -Marc Mickelson

DAC with power conditioner?

January 2, 2014


I have two power-line conditioners. My main one is the Audience aR6, with a lower-end Rotel 1040 also in use. My outboard DAC is plugged into the aR6, but it gives off a slight hum. If I plug it into the Rotel, it's dead quiet. Will keeping the DAC plugged into the lower-end unit degrade the sound at all as opposed to using it with the higher-end one? How much difference would either unit make regarding a DAC? Or put in a more straightforward manner, will the DAC sound better used with the better unit?

Sheldon Simon

The most intriguing thing about your question, at least to me, is that your DAC hums when plugged into one power conditioner and not the other. Many years ago, I owned a PS Audio PowerPlant with the Multiwave function, and depending on the setting, it could make the power supplies of various pieces of equipment oscillate -- and hum in different ways. I'm not sure what's happening with your two units, but my first recommendation would be to use the DAC with the power conditioner that doesn't cause it to hum. You might want to also try using it with both conditioners alone, with nothing else plugged in, and see if it hums then. If it doesn't, then something you had plugged into the conditioner with it was causing that problem. You might also try plugging the conditioner with which it doesn't hum into the one that does make it hum, and vice versa, then plugging the DAC into both and determining if the hum continues in either case.

Your DAC's power demands are probably rather slight, so one thing you really want to ensure is that whatever you have it plugged into doesn't allow any of the DAC's own noise to migrate back to the power line for all of your gear to soak up. In this regard, using it with one conditioner alone makes sense, although depending on its design, it could still allow noise on the power line.

To answer your question more specifically, I would think that the power conditioner that you consider better from a sonic standpoint would improve the sound of the DAC too, but experimentation is always worthwhile. Again, you may find that using the DAC by itself with either of the power conditioners improves what you hear over and above when all of the gear is plugged into just one of them. The kinds of differences you hear may be more across the board and not pinpointed to a specific region, so listening for a few days, then switching will be more beneficial than a quick A/B. -Marc Mickelson


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