Letters • July 2014

Allnic L-5000 DHT: "Why didn't the review get published?"

July 27, 2014


I'm currently looking for a preamplifier to use with my Mola-Mola Kaluga monoblocks. I was already settled on the Mola-Mola Makua preamp but got a recommendation to match the Allnic L-5000 DHT to the Kalugas from someone who is using other Hypex N-core 1200-based monoblocks, saying that they're great match. So I started looking around and couldn't find any reviews of it, except one on Audiogon from one owner. I heard the Allnic room at the Munich High End show and liked the sound there, but obviously I can't tell how the L-5000 DHT sounds from that demo.

I came across this letter that you published on your site. Regarding Allnic L-5000 DHT, you said that you had it in for review, but I couldn't find any review of it. I saw that you reviewed the L-3000 and liked it and wondered if you eventually got a chance to hear the L-5000 DHT, and if yes how did you find it? How was it compared to the L-3000 and to the Audio Research Reference 5 SE? Why didn't the review get published?

Guy Hacham

Yes, I did have the Allnic L-5000 DHT in for review, but the demo unit I had was, it turned out, very early in the manufacturing run and had some tube issues, so it was returned to the manufacturer with the idea that another more up-to-date unit would replace it. Given that the letter you cite is from 2011 and I haven't received another preamp from Allnic, that probably won't happen, although your letter reminds me to take this up with the manufacturer. So perhaps you will see that review at some point. -Marc Mickelson

Audio Research and KT150s

July 17, 2014


I'm close to pulling the trigger on Audio Research Reference 250s. I know Audio Research is life-testing KT150s in the Reference amps but hasn't officially approved them for use. Do you have any insider info? Can I just roll them without damaging the amp? I'm afraid after my purchase that Audio Research will release an SE version for KT150, and I'll have to pay big bucks for the upgrade.

King Ng

I reported on this -- somewhat -- as part of TAB's THE Show Newport Beach report. Nola used a Reference 75 with KT150s, and the sound was terrific. What I know about the KT150s is that they are drop-in replacements for KT120s, with no modifications needed to the amps (or so someone at Audio Research told me). They also appear to have much longer lives -- up to double -- which helps defray their added cost, as does the increase in power. So, as far as I know right now, the Reference 250s are KT150-ready, and I suspect you'll see Audio Research giving their blessing to this marriage at some point in the near future. -Marc Mickelson

Stillpoints positioning

July 8, 2014


After checking out your seminar on system optimization at TAVES, I picked up a set of four Stillpoints Ultra SS feet. I want to try them under my Simaudio W8 dual-mono power amplifier. Do you have suggestions as to where to place them under this component to get the best results? Did you experiment at all before your seminar?

I know you mentioned to place them under the parts of the opponents that cause the most vibration (e.g., power supplies, CD transport mechanisms, etc.). I guess this would mean trying to place two Stillpoints under the two big transformers in the front of the amp and using the back two to balance the unit.

I also heard others say you get softer more liquid sound when they are placed closer to the center of the component and harder more precise sound when they are placed closer to the outside of the component. I wonder why this would be.

Cameron Baskey

Your proposed positioning for Ultra SSes under the W8 is spot on. As to the inner/outer positioning, this is an urban myth. I think it originated in one instance, probably involving a product with a flexible base, and got extrapolated into a general rule without any checks or balances. In general, the inner/outer theory simply doesn't apply, something that is easily demonstrated. -Roy Gregory

". . .true giant-killers do exist"

July 1, 2014


I just saw your April 20th correspondence with a reader about matching up Audio Research gear. Based on my own experience, I happen to agree with you.

You also wrote, "The Audio Research Reference electronics will provide a superb core, but you can diminish (or destroy) all of their good work with a poorly chosen pair of speakers. I'd be looking at the Focal range (1038Be or Scala Utopia V2), various ProAcs, or possibly, as long as the room isn't too large, the Wilson Sophia 3s. All of these would offer a better match and, as a result, better overall performance."

So my question is, how come no mention of Paradigm Signature S8s? I thought you loved the S8s. Not to say of course that the speakers you suggested aren’t great. Just curious why no mention of the S8s. Don’t you love them anymore? By the way, you may recall some time back I asked about the Focal 1038Be IIs. Roy Gregory spoke well of them, but wasn’t sure if the Focals would best, or be bested by, the S8s.

Bruce Feinstein

The words you quote from the response to the letter are actually Roy Gregory's. I asked Roy to chime in because he knew the two speakers the person who wrote the letter named: the Wilson Benesch Cardinal and Crystal Cable Arabesque. I've only heard the Crystal Cable speakers at shows, and I've never heard the Wilson Benesch speakers, but Roy has lived with both, so it only made sense to get some input from him.

I still do admire the Paradigm Signature S8 v.3s a great deal. However, in the context of the other speakers the letter writer is considering, the S8 v3s' price wouldn't fit in -- they're too cheap. Some people who are looking to spend, say, $50,000 on a pair of speakers won't seriously consider one that costs less than $10,000, even if it's competitive sonically. Various amps, preamps, turntables -- examples abound -- suffer from this same perception: too inexpensive to be considered, no matter their performance. Magnepan speakers also fall into this category, and the company has for years demonstrated their speakers behind scrim cloth, promoting the notion of listening with your ears, not your eyes.

This is not to say that high cost rarely delivers high performance -- in so many cases it surely does. The very best speakers and amps I've heard cost a bundle. However, true giant-killers do exist, and in my experience the Paradigm Signature S8 v3 is one of them. -Marc Mickelson


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