me to the list, following Roy Gregory
add me to your e-mail list.
a quick note to say Im very pleased that Roy Gregory is onboard. I've followed his
reviews from the early Hi-Fi+ days, and he certainly still has the ability to get
to the heart of the matter regarding components.
join the reader list and be the first to hear about new articles on the site, send e-mail
to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm with you regarding
Roy's abilities. I'm glad he's part of TAB -- something about which you'll be
hearing more soon. -Marc Mickelson
really enjoyed your latest blog ["We
Didn't Know How Good We Had It: Thoughts on Maggie Dealer-Direct and the Mini Maggie
System"]. It immediately brought to mind memories of the stereo store at the mall
from when I was a little kid. It was right across from the Orange Julius that, unlike the
stereo store, my mother would bring me to after her shopping was done. The place always
seemed rather mysterious. Waiting in line for my treat, I could spy lots of silver and
black boxes with lights and young men engaged in spirited discussions. The lights were
kept low, the music was loud and the equipment in the windows was always draped in maroon
velvet, as if it was the crown jewels and not just the latest turntable or receiver.
convinced these memories are the main reason I hold onto a Marantz receiver from the late
seventies I acquired in a trade years ago. It still shines bright silver and the lights
illuminate with a midnight-blue glow that can seem both cool and warm at the same time.
The meters and gyro-touch tuning still make it seem like serious business goes on inside
the time I was old enough to go the mall alone, the stereo store had long since closed, a
portent of today's market, perhaps. My memories may be better than the actuality of them,
but that store remains magical and mysterious to me.
I never tire of reading this stuff.
note to readers: please send me your memories of your audio past, so we can all revel in
them. -Marc Mickelson
Blue Note XRCD24s?
you know if there are any plans for a new series of Blue Note XRCDs? If so, do you have
the list? (I know there was a list at one time, but that was put on hold.) Are most of the
XRCDs worth upgrading to from the Red Book equivalents -- for example, the XRCD24 of Diana
Krall's All for You?
second series of Blue Note XRCD24s was announced a little over a year ago, but I suspect
that that is on hold -- or a dead issue -- given that the first series has been coming out
in fits and starts. There are still thirteen titles coming from the first series, and some
very good ones at that. You can see what's available and planned at the Elusive
own over a hundred XRCDs, so I guess you could say that I believe they are worth their
extra cost. For me, the Blue Note titles along with other older mono titles -- especially
the half-dozen of piano trios (led by Hampton Hawes, Red Garland, Ray Bryant, Kenny Drew,
Don Friedman, and Wynton Kelly) -- are the best I've heard in terms of improvement over
standard CDs of the same music. However, I have yet to be disappointed with any of them,
including Diana Krall's All For You, which is her best album in my opinion.
Ypsilon in top five?
Ypsilon Aelius review. Where do these amps fall in light of your amplifier top-five
is a questions I've been expecting. I purposely left this tidbit out of the review,
because I didn't want the top-five list to become expected in every review -- or, even
worse, a cliche. We are also working on a way of making it a permanent part of TAB.
to answer your question, the Ypsilon Aelius monoblocks are definitely on the list, along
with the Convergent Audio Technology JL2 Signature Mk 2 stereo amp, the Lamm ML3 Signature
monoblocks, the Atma-Sphere MA-2 Mk 3.1 monoblocks and the Ayre MX-R monoblocks.
back the bass
read your review of the Track Audio spike kits with great interest. I
recently moved from a dedicated room in the basement with fiberglass-reinforced concrete
floors, to a new dedicated room with hardwood floors above the garage. Obviously, the move
from an unsuspended to a suspended floor (albeit a fairly solid one) has drastically
altered my perceived bass/midbass response (verified through measurement). Speakers are
Coincident Total Eclipse IIs, driven by a Berning ZH-270 -- my equipment has been constant
from one locale to the other. The new room is better in most ways compared to the old one,
aside from the response up to about 250Hz.
I would like to try the decoupling version of the Track Audio kit, I was curious if you or
any of your associates have compared them with the Stillpoint Ultras as a speaker footer.
While the Stillpoints are bit more expensive, were playing in about the same
ballpark. The only other footer specifically designed for loudspeaker decoupling on
suspended floors would probably be the Wave Kinetics 2NS (again, around the same price
question. Many people underestimate the impact of the floor coupling and the nature of the
floor itself on the bass response of speakers. How often do we read the comment,
"This speaker has great bass," or alternatively, "This speaker is bass
deficient"? Under what circumstances and in what environment? The bass delivered by
speaker systems is so utterly dependent on the situation in which they are installed that
it is not unless or until you "enjoy" an experience such as yours that the
reality of the situation really strikes home.
response is simple: try both. I've used the Track Audio spikes with my Coincident Pure
Reference Extremes and also the Stillpoints Ultra SS, both in place of the
Coincident-supplied bras cones. On my (very) solid floor, the Ultras work best, delivering
greater low-frequency transparency and texture, but it's not a make-or-break difference
and either option is a significant improvement over the standard items. I've also
dispensed with the foam decoupling pads between the outriggers and the cabinets. These are
designed to protect the veneer, but they don't protect your sound!
would recommend that you obtain examples of both solutions so that you can A/B/A the
results and then purchase the preferred option. Bear in mind that to do this properly you
will first have to optimize the speaker positioning for each set of feet, mark it and then
when you swap from one to the other, adjust the speaker placement too. Why? Because the
Track Audio feet run out at almost twice the height of the Ultras, and that's a big
difference in the distance between the bass driver and its closest boundary.
the challenge (and the free fitness regime) and let me know the outcome. -Roy Gregory
pleased indeed" with Esoteric
bought an Esoteric Audio AI-10 integrated amp to go with my SA-10 CD/SACD player. I am
very pleased with the sound, very pleased indeed. In fact, the combination showed me how
good my ProAc Response 3s are, especially in the mid-to-upper bass region, where I thought
they were lacking. Previously I was using a Audio Research LS15 with an Ayre amp, and that
combination was weak in the bass region. The Esoteric combination is especially good for
choral music. It is very sweet with male voices, but not quite as sweet with female voices
as my previous preamp-amp combination, but then that is the forte of Audio Research gear.
When done right, it also offers a touch more luster -- or let's say dynamic subtlety --
than the Esoteric combination, but it is a rare preamp-amp that can match Audio Research's
subtlety when all is optimized.
the devil listens that attentively nowadays anyway? If you're into Richard Strauss, you
may very likely notice and appreciate that special sparkle of top-notch equipment. I
cannot say that the Esoteric combination reaches that level of performance, but it
certainly beats the preamp and amp I had before.
this specific topic, I have the Esoteric K-01 in for review now, and I'll have a lot to
say about it. -Marc Mickelson
published a great article about cables and staying with the same brand all around [Tech InSite,
"Cabling Your System"]. In fact, this article answered one of my questions.
I have all Nordost in that I use Baldur speaker cables and interconnects. The only
variance is the digital cable going from my CD player's digital output to my DAC, which is
from Transparent. Am I losing anything sonically by varying only the digital cable?
the past, I would have told you that digital cables were specialized enough to consider
them separate from your interconnects and speaker cables. However, I've come around to
Nordost's way of thinking: "use the same cables right through the system," which
creates a coherency that's easy to hear and appreciate. However, Nordost also mentions in
their Tech InSite that "In practice, each cable in a system will often benefit from
having its topology and electrical characteristics tuned to purpose." Thus, ensuring
that your digital cable meets its specifications is probably more important than using a
cable from the same maker as your other cables. Nordost's digital cables strictly adhere
to the S/PDIF 75-ohm and AES/EBU 110-ohm specifications, so you have no worries there.
Transparent's digital cables almost certainly do as well, although I can tell you from
experience that Transparent and Nordost interconnects and speaker cables sound rather
different. So I guess I'd recommend some auditioning of Nordost digital cables. -Marc
add my e-mail address to your subscriber's list.
the reader list is the best way to find out about new content on The Audio Beat.
Simply send a message to email@example.com and
you'll be added, receiving notice of all new articles we publish. -Marc Mickelson
am a regular reader of The Audio Beat. I fully agree with your
evaluation of the Coincident Pure Reference Extreme speakers, but I have one question
regarding your assessment. About the bass enclosures: Arturo Salvatore and Israel Blume
think that the bass is substantially bettered with the doubling and stacking of two units
per side. Have you tried this option or will you soon consider it?
I'm glad you enjoyed the read.
haven't tried the doubled bass units, although I have discussed that option at length with
Israel. If the opportunity arose, I'd love to give the setup a spin -- although I'm less
convinced about topping and tailing the head units. I'd want to look at lobing and
comb-filtering issues from placing the tweeters so close together. It might work, but I'd
need to hear it.
line when it comes to bottom end: there's no substitute for swept area -- and musically
nothing does it quite like really good, really deep bass. The PREs' bass is exceptional
for quality. If doubling up the bass cabs can add quantity without compromise, then the
potential performance could be amazing. -Roy Gregory