Letters • January 2018

VTL or Gryphon?

January 22, 2018


In the past, you've written very highly of VTL amplification. Being a bottom-feeder, I've been patiently waiting for a deal on a VTL S-400 Series II Reference to drive my Wilson Alexia speakers.

I recently had an audio dealer suggest that I abandon the VTL idea, because the Gryphon Antileon Evo is the way to go. I've never had the chance to hear Gryphon electronics at length. Have you? Thoughts?

John Leosco

It's no secret that dealers want to sell you what they offer for sale, and in most cases of recommending a solid-state amp over the VTL S-400 II tube amp, I would say the suggestion is rash at best. However, it makes some sense with a Gryphon amp, which will have the tonal density and sweetness of tubes. While it would be a given that the solid-state Antileon Evo would control a speaker better and provide greater bass drive and weight than a tube amp, that may not be the case compared to the S-400 II, which is a rather stout and powerful tube amp. Given that you're considering both amps, I don't think you would go wrong with either of them driving your Wilson Alexias, because they share more in sonic terms than most other solid-state and tube amps. But, of course, one of them will be more right for you than the other. Both amps are expensive, so choose wisely -- and try to hear the one you don't pick, if you can handle the potential disappointment. -Marc Mickelson

New Aptitlig

January 16, 2018


I just happened on an article of yours from 2014 about using IKEA's bamboo cutting boards under components. I looked up the largest of them online, and it appears it's no longer a three-layer construction, but uses a simpler two layers. I don't know if that'll make a big difference, but I wonder what you think.

Bob Beamesderfer

As you can see here, the current Aptitlig board is made out of two layers of bamboo board, but each layer is made from short strips of bamboo laminated together. It’s this random structure and the fiber-matrix nature of bamboo itself that make the Aptitlig such an effective support platform. The original Aptitlig did use three layers: a central core of vertically arrayed strips with single horizontal layers top and bottom. l haven’t compared the two versions, but, thinking about energy passing through the board, I suspect that the paired vertical strips of the new version will be even more effective. I’d better get a couple and try them out. -Roy Gregory

Vibration control?

January 10, 2018


What are your thoughts on vibration control for components if one is using a good, solid high-end audio rack? Do you feel it's still necessary if a high-grade audiophile rack is in place?

Sheldon Simon

An effective equipment rack can make a big difference, sometimes highlighting the difference between okay and exceptional sound, as your electronics are finally able to achieve their full potential when vibration and resonance are fully addressed. But your question is predicated on what's meant by "a good, solid high-end rack." Racks from Silent Running Audio (one of which I use) and HRS certainly qualify as better than "good," and they are designed to not only isolate from airborne and structure-borne vibration, but also aid in dissipating microvibration within the components themselves, and they are effective with source components, especially turntables, which are adversely affected by vibration. Lesser racks often address vibration from outside the components themselves but do not drain off that energy once it's already within the components. Thus, they are only addressing half of the problem, which is certainly better than ignoring it completely. -Marc Mickelson

Reader list

January 1, 2018


Please add me to reader list.

Larry Goodwin

You'ven been added. 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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