Letters • June 2016

Source components on the same shelf?

June 26, 2016


I read somewhere that it's best to have all source components on same shelf. Any thoughts on that?

Sheldon Simon

On first thought, the notion of placing source components on the same shelf and next to each other seems pointless and like it couldn't possibly make any difference. However, after further thought, I have to say that it could make some sonic sense. Any shelf that's isolated well enough to improve the sound of your turntable, for instance, should conceivably benefit your CD player as well. The top shelf of many equipment racks is just such a support, sometimes resting on spikes or isolation pods. So in this sense, having your source components on the same well-isolated shelf certainly could improve the sound of both your analog and digital playback. -Marc Mickelson

Belief in audio cables

June 24, 2016


Due to circumstances that I will not get into, I had to buy new speaker cables. I ended up with the AudioQuest Castle Rock cables. They are being installed on Sunday. My dealer no longer sold what I was using.

As I have said before, I am a cable believer. But there are a ton of folks who are not. Personal stories of double-blind tests all the way up to Audioholics have claimed that it’s BS and snake oil. The electrons cannot be messed with, so it does not matter what the conduit they move through is. I have to admit that this time it was hard. I almost said "screw it" and went with something like Monoprice cables or something like that. But in the end I did not.

You have people with EE degrees calling BS on this stuff, that it’s just another way for the companies to rip the people off. And some of these people have very high-quality, high-dollar systems where the changes would be heard. So who is right? Do we hear a difference because we want to justify what we spend? I have heard vocals and musical parts of songs that I did not hear before when I went up in scale in regard to cables. I don’t think my mind said “Yeah, that bass line was always there, but I really only heard it now because of my cables." Or I don’t think I am getting tricked into hearing vocals that I never knew were there or are more clear when the singer sings low.

I don’t know. I just wish that there was a way to try and convince these people that we are not crazy or stupid with our money. I just needed to rant a bit. But that site Audioholics is the worst about saying cables don’t make a difference. I don't know. All I do know is that I am a believer, whether it can be explained or not.

Mike Doukas

Many years ago, when I was someone who loved music and was becoming interested in hi-fi, I was a cable skeptic. It wasn't that I so much didn't believe that different cables sounded different, but that distinctly better sound from cables was illusive, if not impossible. I thought all of this through then, but I didn't do the listening, using generic interconnects and speaker cables, because that's what I could afford, while telling myself that I was right.

That changed, first, with the purchase of some early AudioQuest interconnects -- I don't remember the model -- and even more so with the audition of Kimber PBJs, a budget-level interconnect that effected improvement so profound that it was impossible to ignore. Belief had nothing to do with it.

The point of my story is that the sonic efficacy of cables is not something you have to think your way into; however, you definitely can convince yourself that audio cables don't have a beneficial sound of their own. Fortunately, a single demo can change that opinion. That it has been thoroughly debunked is without question, given the number of successful cables manufacturers there are.

The way to convince cable naysayers is, first, to urge them to be open-minded (which some of them definitely are not) and then audition and listen for themselves. That people like us hear improvement from cables is not somehow negated by others' beliefs that cables make no difference. Facts don't require belief; they are facts with or without belief. And perception isn't a constant across a group of people, meaning that we don't all recognize things that exist, even when when we're trying to do so. Ultimately with cables, you can lead audiophiles to them, but you can't make them hear what exists, even when it most certainly does. -Marc Mickelson

Lamm tubes

June 9, 2016


Do you use the factory tubes in your Lamm M1.2 Reference amps? Or do you use some NOS stuff?

John Leosco

I have used only the Lamm stock 6922 tubes in my M1.2s, mostly because Vladimir Lamm has told me that they sound best to him (and who would know better?), but Tim Aucremann has done extensive experimenting with new and NOS alternatives. You can read his results in the sidebar to his M1.2 review. -Marc Mickelson


June 2, 2016


Please add me to your e-mail circulation list.

Robert Bernstein

You're on the list. For others, send e-mail to rl@theaudiobeat.com in order to join the list and find out about new articles on TAB first. -Marc Mickelson


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