A very nicely written and encouraging piece!
limitations of show venues
you for the coverage of Pass Labs at the High End show in Munich. Regarding the
line, "The sheer quantity of bass on this recording revealed that sometimes 150
class-A watts may not be enough." Sometimes the Xs 150s only can be used due to
current restrictions at show venues and not the Xs 300s. That was the case at the Venetian
Hotel during the 2013 CES. Pass Labs brought both models, but the hotel's power wasn't
enough for the Xs 300s.
Roy and the others will keep this "limitation" in mind, mentioning that it's
often above and beyond the ability of the manufacturers to do anything about it. This is
in no way a criticism. I know that writers at shows are too pressed for time to think of
all the various ramifications, but the hotel itself can affect the sonic results.
think in this case the comment was generated by the cut "Words of Wonder," which
you have to hear to fully appreciate. It's the most powerful, live-sounding rock track I
know of, and it taxes both amps and speakers, especially when it's played very loud, which
is almost always the case.
your point still is valid. The people who built these hotels and convention centers never
anticipated the power demands of an amp like the Xs 300. -Marc Mickelson
conditioners and power cords
if my amps are plugged into a power conditioner, new power cords for them should make a
difference, right? I mean, can I assume that getting the clean power from my conditioner
to my amps is just as important as any other connection in my system? If I have the amps
connected to the conditioner, that will make the clean power going to the amps even
better, right? My dealer says that if I do that, I will really hear how good my Audience
power conditioner is. Have you experienced that? Have you used aftermarket power cords
that get plugged into a power conditioner and noticed a difference? I want to say that
every link in the chain matters, even if the amp is already plugged into something that is
supposed to clean the power. I hope all that made some kind of sense.
ask a very good question, and you sort of answer it as well. Power cords are not just
about cleaning up the power your components receive. Good ones, like those from Shunyata
Research and ESP, for instance, also address noise your components add back into the power
line or even aid in the break-in of your components' power supplies. Keep in mind that
while for us a power cord seems like the last length of wire (after that of the power line
itself), it's actually the first length of wire, doing its thing right before the AC
reaches the component. Thus, good power cords do what they do even with power conditioners
in use. The two work together; often they are designed to work together. -Marc
use of soft-dome tweeter
Wilson Audio alluded to possibly using the Alexandria XLF's tweeter throughout their
entire lineup of speakers? Or perhaps just specific models? I'm sure that to do so would
result in much tweaking of existing crossovers, etc.
you can see signs of the XFL's soft-dome "Convergent Synergy Tweeter" (CST), as
Wilson calls it, migrating across the line -- it's used in the Alexia, for instance, and I
thought we'd see it in the
Duette 2, which debuted in Munich -- according to John Giolas, Wilson's marketing and
sales director, "it was designed specifically for the Wilson loudspeakers that
feature a separately adjustable tweeter module, such as the XLF and the Alexia. . . , much
of this having to do with working extremely well with the Wilson mid." This means the
single-baffle, two-way Duette 2 will continue to use the Scan-Speak Revelator with a
modified silk dome used for the original version of the speaker "but with the
back-wave absorbent chamber from the Alexia version of the CST tweeter." More from
John and to the point: "I think it is fair to say that the CST tweeter will never
appear in the Sasha or Sophia, although both may get a soft-dome that is more suited to
slanted baffles." -Marc Mickelson
or Robert Koda: "which would it be"?
you were to choose between the Zanden
Model 3000 and the Robert
Koda Takumi K-10, which would it be? I am sort of interested in trying the Zanden and
so was wondering.
ask a tough question, both because the Zanden and Robert Koda preamps are among the best
I've heard, but also because they sound rather different. The Zanden's circuit purity and
simplicity -- there's just one tube -- translate to a very transparent sound, perhaps the
most transparent preamp I've heard. It's fast, open and true to the source. The Robert
Koda, on the other hand, is all solid state and possesses an engaging laid-back quality
that's easy to settle in to. It also has some sweetness in the treble, adding to its
of these two very fine preamps I would choose would depend on what I was seeking in sonic
terms. In qualitative terms, I could easily make a case for either one of them -- and
happily live with either of them as well. I'm sure that's not the definitive answer you
want, but at the high level that these two preamps represent, that's all I can offer.
Steamin', Relaxin' and Cookin'
really like the Tech
InSights section. The info on cables will be helpful.
Productions is producing mono LPs from Prestige, including the Davis-Coltrane sessions Cookin',
Relaxin', etc. I purchased the XRCDs of these titles on your recommendation
months ago. I think they are in stereo. Would you recommend getting some of these mono LPs
too? I noticed that Rollins Plays Bird is another one of the group; I purchased
the XRCD on sale per your recommendation as well.
are you a Holst Planets fan? I have several versions. I don't really need another
unless the new Esoteric SACD is superior to other versions in both sound and more
importantly performance -- as the music sellers seem to indicate. Do you know if this is
the sense that those Prestige titles -- Workin', Relaxin', Cookin'
and Steamin' -- are great music and the Analogue Productions versions are likely
to be definitive (at 33rpm, that is), they are worth owning. I
reviewed a pair of titles from the series and they are wonderful modern reissues that
are also replicas of the original titles. They will also likely sound better than the
originals. As for whether to buy the LPs, you'll have to make that call for yourself. Some
of us -- myself included -- will buy beloved music over and over again in different
formats, while others have no tolerance for owning multiple copies of the same music. With
those XRCDs, which I also have, you own arguably the best versions at CD resolution (of
course, they also also exist as SACDs). If sometimes only an LP will do for listening, the
Analogue Productions LPs will soon be available, and I wouldn't be surprised if they
increase in value over time.
By the way, I don't think the XRCDs are in stereo. All of those recordings from
from the same extended session on October 26, 1956 -- early for stereo jazz recordings.
can't help you with The Planets, although I can tell you that there's a relatively new XRCD24 version of it out too. -Marc Mickelson
older products that still compete today
thank you for giving us the best web magazine in the business. I enjoy it almost daily for
inspiration as well as information.
time there are products that show extraordinary abilities and thus prove themselves
against the competition, even beyond their assumed life span among the "best of the
best." One good example is the Lyra Connoisseur 4.2L SE, which I believe you would
agree on. Do you think it would be interesting for your readers to have a product like
this tested against today's best (or rather, tested against today's standards)? I really
think so, and I can think of other examples, the Audio Research SP10 Mk 2 being one. I can
appreciate that there could be challenges, such as finding examples in good condition, but
I would not be surprised if grateful readers and generous importers would be willing to
lend their gems for a test against the level of quality we see in the greater products of
today. Another example of a product I have owned myself is the Sonus faber Extrema, which
I really loved and still miss. Maybe this is a stupid idea, but please give it some
thought and let me (us) know what you think.
reason for this idea, is a growing concern over the perceived decreasing life span of
really good equipment nowadays. Therefore, taking on and testing older but excellent
equipment may well prove that it's worthwhile giving your purchase decision due
consideration and thought (not to mention testing) and then buy quality products with a
view of giving them a longer life in your system, rather than today's two or three years
that often seem to be the general idea. Or am I just being naïve and going backwards in
to the future?
fact, the Connoisseur remains my preamp of choice and is already the yardstick against
which I measure the current competition. Likewise, I
wrote a blog a few months ago regarding a comparison between the Clearaudio Master
Reference/Master TQI and the current VPI Classic 4/JMW 12.7, so the long-term value and
virtues of the best equipment is something we are very aware of.
has always frustrated me that audiophiles chase a constantly moving target set by
reviewers' references. When I was in retail, I lost count of the number of times a
customer would buy the then "reference" preamp (probably the Audio Research
SP11) only to want to upgrade a few months later because a reviewer had declared something
else to be superior! If you liked what the SP11 did when you bought it, and it was one of
the best preamps then available, it doesn't stop being a great product just because
something else is declared better. More to the point, it certainly doesn't stop being the
best product for you. Yet, no matter how many times you explain (and demonstrate ) this,
audiophilia nervosa means that most customers will still chop in a really great product
for something that may or may not be better, may or may not be better for them or work in
their systems -- all for the dubious reassurance of third-party endorsement. Slavishly
following reviewers' changing opinions is the audiophile equivalent of a child's comfort
blanket, and makes about as much sense.
practice, a great product is a great product today, tomorrow and for some considerable
time to come. "Better" is not only in the ear of the beholder; it is system- and
cost-dependent too. The fact that a reviewer judges product B to be better than product A
doesn't mean that the improvement makes a swap between the two financially sensible. In
fact, if you think in terms of systems, rather than in terms of individual products, then
the right product will nearly always outperform the "best" product, so closely
matched are the units at the top of the performance tree.
notion of revisiting older products is one I've long entertained, so yes, it is definitely
something we should contemplate -- and I think I have just the project to start it with!
. .it was time for me to send this note"
just finished your review of the new Wilson Benesch loudspeaker. Bravo -- what a
wonderfully written and well-conveyed review. I simply loved the opening -- and I kept
reading, and reading some more, even through phone calls and e-mails.
often admire the reviews you produce for The Audio Beat. You are consistent,
easily understood (no small feat with the added complexity of products these days) and on
point all of the time. I thoroughly enjoyed this review as well, and it was time for me to
send this note to you directly. Excellent work.