option for Wilson Sashas
the owner of a pair of marvelous Wilson
Sasha W/Ps, I'm motivated by the recent TAB letter [below] and your response
to mention the excellent result I'm getting from my Aurum Acoustics Integris CDP and
NuForce Reference 18 mono amps. However, for me, a profound enhancement emits from a
small, nondescript capsule atop a book tower in the listening room -- the Acoustic Revive
RR-777 Schumann Resonance Generator (a successor to the original RR-77 SRG). It delivers a
generous dollop of verisimilitude to the stereo image. On a few early-morning,
thoughtfully quiet listening sessions (I get up way before my wife) I sensed something
missing. I'd forgotten to turn on the RR-777. The enriched dimensionality and harmonic
texture this little wonder provides defies (my) understanding. But never my appreciation!
very familiar with the Aurum Acoustics CDP -- I once reviewed it and bought the review
sample afterwards. I'm not surprised it's part of a system that works musically, with
"a generous dollop of verisimilitude" on top. -Marc Mickelson
options for Wilson Sashas
am getting new electronics for my Wilson
Audio Sasha W/P speakers and there are three options. I would like to ask your
personal opinion about them. Which do you prefer?
one: I could buy a used Audio Research Reference Anniversary preamplifier, used Reference 250 mono amps and a used Reference
CD8 CD player. My friend has this setup and he would sell it to me. I know that this
is a good setup for Sashas. I had before Audio Research Reference 210 amps and a Reference
3 preamp and the CD8, and it was all superb, but I want a little more bass control and
power and also "life." You know that Sashas need some power because the
impedance drops to 1.8 ohms at 90Hz, if I remember right.
two: I could buy new Lamm M1.2 Reference amps and pair them with a Reference Anniversary
preamp and CD8. This is your longtime reference setup, I know, and also nice match for the
three: I don't buy now and wait to see if there is new model of Lamm M1.2. Do you know if
there is an upcoming update for these amps?
can personally attest to the wisdom of either option one or two, as I've listened to all
of that gear in my own system with Wilson speakers. I think the Audio Research stack makes
the most sense, given its extreme synergy and the fact that you're after better bass
control and power, and greater "life," than with the Reference 3/Reference 210s.
You'll get everything you seek, and you obviously have experience with an all-Audio
Research system. However, if one amp could fit comfortably within that grouping, it's the
Lamm M1.2, which matches particularly well with Audio Research electronics, especially the
for option three, Lamm has no replacement for the M1.2s in the works. Vladimir Lamm is
very careful regarding his product line, replacing units slowly and deliberately, not
simply because he wants a new product to sell. Of course, the M1.2 will be updated at some
point, but I've not heard when that might be. -Marc Mickelson
am in the midst of trying to optimize my speaker setup and would appreciate your sending
me the link to the "voweling in" process you said you had previously written
about in your review of the Wilson Alexandria XLF.
wrote about Wilson Audio's "voweling in" routine many years ago, but I don't
know where you'd find that article now. I can summarize the process, however.
goal is to find the best places in the room for the two speakers, the "zones of
neutrality," as Wilson Audio calls them. This involves walking around the room and
speaking, listening for the spots where anomalies -- standing waves, slap echo, comb
filtering and the like -- have the least effect on what's heard. The process happens in a
systematic way. Start at the front wall, walk, speak, and listen -- then do the same at
the side walls. You may have to do it a few times, just to become attune to the changes in
what you're hearing.
the "zones of neutrality" are identified, stand in them, move a foot one way or
another and speak again. It should be easy to hear the difference, as you are within and
then outside of the zone. Place the speakers in the zones, the spots where the room has
the least influence, and then move them forward and back, in and out, in small increments
-- fractions of an inch. Once you find the exact positions where the speakers sound best,
install the spikes. You're done. -Marc Mickelson
difficult for me to hear Ypsilon electronics, and Ill have finally decided not to go
with a CAT preamp and amp, because they have only RCA connections. I prefer XLR to match
with my MSB DAC.
would be easier for me to listen to a Luxman M-600A and C-600F or M-800A and C-800F.
Indeed, a dealer can bring these to my home. but hes far from where I live. So
before asking him to come, I just would like to know if these Luxman products could be an
interesting match with Tidal loudspeakers (Piano Cera or Contriva Diacera).
you know these Luxman products? It seems Luxman amplifiers have gotten good reviews, but
are Luxman preamplifiers transparent? Finally, do you have an opinion on a Luxman-Tidal
know the Luxman products well through the brand's US distributor, Philip O'Hanlon at On a
Higher Note. I've had the top Luxman mono and stereo amps as well as the preamps in my
system, and they all performed very well. I've not listened to the preamps at any length,
but I reviewed the M-1000f mono amps, which are scaled-up versions of the stereo amps you
mentioned, and they were undeniably powerful and neutral-sounding.
would they match with Tidal? I can only speculate there, because I never heard the Luxman
electronics with the Tidal speakers. I don't see a downside to Luxman's tonal neutrality
except with speakers that need some taming, especially in the high frequencies, and that's
not the case with Tidal speakers, which are very evenhanded and possess rather refined
treble. I don't think pairing Luxman and Tidal would be a bad move, but perhaps not the
most right one you could make. However, only experimentation with various brands of
electronics could prove this. With this level of equipment, you really do need to do
in-home auditions, so you get the most for your money.
I can't be more definitive, but even with brands and products I've reviewed, I can't
always make informed judgments on compatibility, as I just can't use everything together.
JL2 Signature Mk 2
am interested in the CAT JL2 Signature Mk 2 amp, and I read your take on it. How do you
rate it as of today? Do you think it will mate with a good solid-state preamp like the
Vitus Audio? Any feed back would be appreciated.
reviewed the CAT JL2 Signature Mk 2 over five years ago, yet CAT still makes it unchanged
from the version I reviewed. It would just miss being on my personal top-five list of
amplifiers (which currently includes the Ayre MX-R, Lamm ML3 Signature, Ypsilon Aelius,
Audio Research Reference 250 and Atma-Sphere MA-2 Mk 3.1 monoblocks), but it remains the
best stereo amp I've heard. The CAT is a tremendously powerful amp, and one that's
tremendously refined as well. I'm sure it would mate well with a solid-state Vitus Audio
preamp provided that the preamp has enough gain for the amp -- in the CAT product range,
the high gain of the preamps is offset by the lower gain of the amps. Most active preamps
will work in this regard. -Marc Mickelson
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the only ones who find out about special offers and other site news. -Marc Mickelson
read with some interest your piece on using various tools to demagnetize an audio system. Some
moving-coil phono cartridge makers, especially, but not limited to, A.J. van den Hul, say
in no uncertain terms that demaging their cartridges may cause damage to the cartridge and
that they do not think it is needed.
in the day I had a demagnetizer but stopped using it when I began using a van den Hul
there something new about the way these new machines work, or is van den Hul just wrong?
moving-coil cartridge manufacturers warn against any demag device that puts current
through the cartridge coils. That I can understand! However, the Benz Micro device shown
in my article, a free-standing unit based on the Aesthetix circuit included with that
company's phono stages, doesn't do this. While both Clearaudio and vdH frown on the
practice, I can report that, as a user of both cartridge marques as well as the Benz
demagnetizer, I have experienced no problems at all while also enjoying considerable sonic
benefits. I also spoke to Aesthetix about this and they have never had a reported
incident of cartridge failure after demagnetizing.
in doubt, then the Cardas sweep LP offers an alternative method of degaussing cartridges
-- and that definitely doesn't put a current through them!
word of caution: don't use a demag device like the Benz or Aesthetix with a moving-magnet
cartridge. That will result in damage. -Roy Gregory
Audio Research amp?
am done searching for a new amp to pair with my Audio Research Reference Anniversary
preamp. My new amp will be one from the Audio Research Reference series. I will keep my
powerful solid-state Simaudio Moon amp for some specific purposes and will alternately use
the new tube amp for light music playing.
come the questions.
When playing at low volume, or low power of around 20 watts or below, are there
any sonic differences between Reference 75, Reference 150 and Reference 250s?
The 8-ohm taps are the correct ones to use with Wilson Audio speakers, right?
can't definitively answer your question about the three ARC Reference amps you mention,
because I've had only the Reference 250s in my system. There are slight parts differences
among the three, including the number of tubes and amount of power-supply capacitance,
that will account for some sonic differences. However, I think it could be said that the
three amps will sound very much alike within that 20-watt window. But, and this is pure
speculation, I suspect that even at low power, the Reference 75 might sound slightly
better than the other two, because it has fewer parts, including fewer output tubes. I've
heard this amp at ARC, and it was glorious at whatever level we played it. My guess is
that among the current Reference amps, the Reference 75 will be the one that listeners
still covet a decade from now.
the output taps, my experience is that Wilson Audio speakers, which are rated at 4 ohms
nominal impedance, sound best when connected to the 8-ohm taps. That may be the case with
other speaker brands as well, but experimentation is easy. -Marc Mickelson