Letters • March 2017

Contacting Magnepan

March 27, 2017


I recently read your article on the Magnepan 3.7i and the dinner with Wendell Diller in particular, where he spoke about value. I’ve been trying to contact Magnepan; however, they don’t publish an e-mail address. Would you be kind enough to pass Mr. Diller's e-mail to me; alternatively, can you pass my e-mail to him, requesting that he contact me?

John McMahon

Magnepan doesn't publish an e-mail address, because they prefer to answer questions via the phone. I personally prefer this too, as you never know if e-mail sent to an info@ address actually goes to someone. You can find phone numbers on this page from Magnepan's website.

When you call, you will probably talk to Wendell Diller, who knows more about Magnepan speakers -- current and older models -- than anyone. -Marc Mickelson

Ayre and Atma-Sphere in one?

March 21, 2017


Whew. I consider the Ayre MX-R Twenty amps world class -- a combination of drive and restraint, a combination of clarity and realism. But, to be really, really critical, the highs are slightly rolled off. The mids are focused but not really, um, warm.

Having heard at length the Atma Sphere MA-1 3.3s, I can say that they achieve a level of purity in the highs and presence in the midrange I've never experienced. I thought piano through the Ayre/Wilson Alexia combo was the best I've heard, until I heard the Atma-Sphere amps. That said, the Atma-Spheres render about half of my music collection wanting, unsatisfying. Why? No bass line.

I could, literally, divide my music collection into two piles: one I prefer with the Ayre amps and one I prefer with the Atma-Sphere.

In your experience, is there an amp, at any cost, solid-state or tube or hybrid, that combines the overall top-to-bottom excellence of the Ayre with the purity of the Atma-Sphere?

John Leosco

Boy, you don't want much, do you? The Ayre and Atma-Sphere amps are very distinct to me -- equal in quality, but certainly different in their sound and drive characteristics. I don't know of any amp that somehow combines the best of both of them, but I do know of a few amps that are of equal (or even slightly greater) overall quality and thus are worth investigating.

The first would be the VTL Siegfried II monoblocks, which have all of the muscle of the Ayre monoblocks along with the ease and fullness of tubes. The second would be the Jeff Rowland Model 825, which has some Atma-Sphere-like purity but also solid-state muscle. Third, while it has been a while since I've heard any Convergent Audio Technology amps, I suspect that Ken Stevens' top monoblocks might also fulfill some of your wish list. Finally, given that you heard the Atma-Sphere MA-1s, it might be worth investigating the latest MA-2 monoblocks, which I found to sound better than the MA-1s. -Marc Mickelson

Alexx and WAMM MC

March 13, 2017


How is your review of the Wilson Alexx coming along, and do you have any idea when you may be publishing it? I understand that Michael Fremer is also doing a review.

Also, I read your report on the WAMM MC with great interest. Hearing those speakers must have been a great experience. What amps and preamp was Dave Wilson using for your session? I can see VTL and D’Agostino amps in the photos, and I think he has a VTL preamp too, but I'm not sure.

Ash Varma

I am finishing another review and the Wilson Alexx review will come after that. Roy Gregory will also be writing about the Alexx, although with a pair of Thor's Hammer subwoofers in his case.

I heard the WAMM MC in Dave Wilson's listening rooms with VTL electronics: TL-7.5 III preamp and Siegfried II monoblocks. For digital, I think he also used the dCS Vivaldi DAC straight into the amps with no preamp. I'm sure Wilson Audio is rolling out WAMM MCs now, so I suspect we'll read some thoughts from owners at some point soon. -Marc Mickelson

VTL TP-6.5 Signature review?

March 5, 2017


Any chance of a review of the VTL TP-6.5 Signature phono stage? Myself and many other audiophiles find it pretty strange that this component has never been reviewed. I'm curious to see how it compares to the Pass XP-25. Everyone jumped on the TL-7.5 III preamp to review, but not the TP-6.5. Anyway, it might not happen. Audio politics?

Clive Williams

I've discussed a review of the VTL TP-6.5 Signature phono stage with Luke Manley and Bea Lam of VTL more than once, and it will happen when I have the room in my schedule to do the listening and writing. I suspect the review will be underway later in the year. We certainly want to produce the review, because the TP-6.5 Signature has helped produce the best sound we've heard at many shows. So stay tuned. -Marc Mickelson

Reader list

March 1, 2017


Can I please subscribe to your e-mails?

David Whitton

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


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