of the Audio Research Reference 250s.
Audio Research has upgraded the Reference 210 to the Reference 250, is the company working
to upgrade the Reference 610T to Reference 650T anytime soon?
not heard from Audio Research that such an amplifier is in the works, but it seems natural
that it would be. However, when the 610Ts were introduced, they were the first of the new
Reference-series amps, while in this case they would presumably be the last of them.
Gehl, Audio Research's chief listener, has told me that the Reference 250s are the best
amplifiers that Audio Research has ever made, improving on the 610Ts in a number of ways.
Based on what I heard at the factory, he's right, and it's difficult to believe that they
can be improved upon to any great degree -- or at all. -Marc Mickelson
noted the contribution of Roy Gregory to your website. Any chance he will be reviewing
hi-fi components for The Audio Beat?
glad to publish Roy's work on the site, and it's safe to say that you'll be seeing more
from him regarding equipment in the future. We'll announce his further involvement to our reader list. -Marc Mickelson
Tidal or new Wilson?
for your great, insightful reviews of both the Wilson
Sophia 3 and Tidal
Contriva Diacera SE.
currently have a Nagra CDP, Nagra PLL and NAGRA VPA as my main rig. My current speaker is
the DeVore Silverback, which makes great music. I am looking to improve dynamics and add a
bit more top-end resolution. I do get great coherence and a very natural, organic musical
have the opportunity to purchase an older Tidal Contriva Diacera (the three-way, but still
with the diamond tweeter) or a new Wilson Sophia 3 for about the same price. I prefer a
non-fatiguing presentation with delicacy but also impact.
would welcome your thoughts regarding a comparison between the two. I realize that the
Tidal review model was the newer version with an extra driver and improved crossover.
Nevertheless, any insight from you would be greatly appreciated.
considering an early model of the Tidal Contriva Diacera without the second woofer and
other changes from the speaker I reviewed. Given all this, I honestly can't comment of
what that early speaker might sound like; I would bet that it will present the music in a
"non-fatiguing" way, but knowing nothing more about it, I can't say more.
course, I can offer a great deal of feedback on the Wilson Sophia 3, which will surely
help you achieve that non-fatiguing presentation, along with great coherence and
naturalness, which your current speakers possess. However, given your Nagra electronics
and desire to "improve dynamics and add a bit more top-end resolution," I would
urge you to save your money until you can afford a pair of Wilson Sasha W/Ps, which will
satisfy you in ways the Sophia 3s can't quite achieve -- and in other ways you won't know
until you hear them. As I point out in my Sophia 3 review, "...the Sashas have the
potential to reach greater sonic heights, given partnering components that can deliver on
that potential." I think you have that partnering equipment. -Marc Mickelson
still uses Fulton Gold! Allen Edelstein still uses Fulton Gold?
Yes, I still use Fulton Gold speaker cables from the late 1970s. There are a
number of reasons.
speakers are a long distance from my amplifier, in different rooms, and resistance can
become a factor in amp/cable/speaker response. The Fulton Golds have extremely low
resistance due to their very large gauge.
Fulton Golds are configured to improve their performance. The positive and negative
connections to each speaker are spaced apart, reducing high-frequency inductance and
improving high-frequency performance. And the cables are damped with a soft-foam wrap to
decrease microphonic feedback.
finally, they were a gift from Bob Fulton, and there's a bit of nostalgia involved also.
or replace No.383?
recently purchased Wilson Audio Sophia 3s as our MartinLogans died. They were paired with
a Mark Levinson No.383 integrated amp and a Linn Unidisk digital player. The Levinson went
to the hospital yesterday, diagnosis pending. An Ayre AX-7e was sent as a loaner. I don't
know if it's broken in or not, but it sounds pretty good to us.
thoughts or recommendations on yes/no repair vs. replace the No.383? And if replace, Ayre
vs . . . ? I realize the former is primarily driven by cost to repair, but I would welcome
last datum: I am 60 and have excellent hearing in my right ear only. I lost substantial
hearing in my left ear over a decade ago and live with it. I love classical music and jazz
equally, and folk will always be part of my DNA.
message is the second in two months to reference the Mark Levinson No.383, which I
reviewed and owned a number of years ago. If I were in your shoes, I would definitely get
the No.383 fixed, unless it's a nearly hopeless and therefore very expensive cause. It
remains one of the finest integrated amps ever made, both sonically and especially
functionally. The Ayre AX-7e is a worthy replacement, as is the solid-state Audio Research
DSi200. Both cost considerably less than your No.383 did in its day. My instincts would be
to try some tubes as well. In this regard, the Audio Research VSi60 is worth considering
if you can get by with 60Wpc. It may may enliven your music in important ways. -Marc
Signature S8s and "HEAI"
have a question, but perhaps its really a deep-seated case of high-end-audio
insecurity (HEAI) that would best be directed to my neighborhood shrink. Okay, my front
speakers are Paradigm Signature S8 v2s with beryllium tweeters. I recall reading your
May 2010 review of the S8 v3 model, which presumably would be roughly the same as the
v2 model. (I understand that the v2 and v3 are voiced the same except for "mods"
to the midrange drivers and woofers that increase overall sensitivity from 89dB to 92dB. I
believe the tweeters were not changed.)
sense from your review was that the S8 v3 performed way beyond its price point, even
challenging speakers that retailed in excess of $20,000 or more. I have owned the S8 v2s
for about two years now. My impressions are very similar to the ones you articulated in
your review. In fact, I even rounded out my front speakers with the Paradigm Signature
Servo subwoofer, which I find to be a good match for the S8 v2s.
follow the threads on Audiogon. I generally respect the views of many of the contributors
and have bought from and sold to the site's members for quite some time, never once having
been disappointed. I mention this because it has come to my attention that the S8s, in any
version, have gotten very short shrift on the Audiogon website as compared to other
popular high-end models from Vandersteen, Wilson, Magnepan and so forth and so on. In
fact, theres a thread with over 1300 posts that captures members favorite
speakers. I dont think the Paradigm Signature line has attracted more than a couple
dozen posts. More recently, I was trading posts with another member who suggested sua
sponte that I consider upgrading my front speakers. That member owns Vandersteen
for the long wind up. Heres the pitch -- or actually the question: why do you think
the Signature S8s attract so little positive attention on high-end websites like Audiogon?
Do you think its because the S8 really doesnt stack up well against the other
more popular high-end models? Or, conversely, do you think that Paradigm is dragging
around an old reputation as being a middle-of-the-road brand, possibly in light of its
past history of catering to the masses? If the latter alternative is the case, then I
surmise that the S8 is the best-kept secret in high-end audio, considering what you get
for the bucks.
opinion (and HEAI assurance or consolation) is much appreciated.
my review of the Signature S8 v3s, I touched upon a couple of reasons that Paradigm
speakers don't get the attention they deserve from music-loving audiophiles. These include
Paradigm's vast lineup of speakers and subwoofers, which can obscure any one model, and
the company's reputation in the home-theater realm. Perhaps the biggest reasons, however,
are that much of the audio press either ignores Paradigm speakers or covers them as though
their prices can't possibly make them competition for models from smaller, more specialist
manufacturers, whose speakers often cost much more money.
done my part to address all this. In addition to writing my review, I've also recommended
the Signature S8 v3 to a few electronics manufacturers for use at shows (to my knowledge,
none has followed up, however). I don't recall hearing any of the Signature speakers
outside Paradigm's own demos, and some wider exposure would help the press understand and
convey that these speakers are not just for home-theater use or somehow compromised
musically because they don't carry five-figure prices.
you state, "...I surmise that the S8 is the best-kept secret in high-end audio,
considering what you get for the bucks." I couldn't have said it better myself.
the reader list
I be added to your weekly distribution list? I liked all of what I browsed and read in an
hours time -- certainly not enough for all of the data you have amassed and one new
to the hobby.
join TAB's reader e-mail list and be alerted to all site updates, send a message
to email@example.com. -Marc Mickelson