Letters • September 2010

Reference 110 with Signature S8 v3?

September 25, 2010


I have Paradigm S8 v3 speakers, and I am currently driving them with a Pass Labs X3 amp.  I am very interested in trying the Audio Research Reference 110. Since you have a Reference 110, do you feel it did a great job with the S8 v3s, or is it better to have a little more power?

David Keys

The Audio Research Reference 110 is a fine mate for the Paradigm Signature S8 v3s -- perhaps the perfect mate among stereo tube amps. It has plenty of power for the speakers, offering a true 110Wpc, and the speakers' transparency will let you hear everything the amp does so well. The Reference 110 has only XLR inputs, so you'll need a preamp with XLR outputs. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend more on the amp than on the speakers -- in this case, 25% more -- the Signature S8 v3s perform beyond their price class and therefore invite the use of the best amp you can afford. -Marc Mickelson

"...audio buddies across the pond"

September 22, 2010


Keep up the good work. TAB is a delight to read. It feels like audio buddies across the pond.

Ron Ploeger

We're glad you like what we do. TAB writers Jason Kennedy and Chris Thomas live in the UK, so we're not all "across the pond." -Marc Mickelson

The greenness of battery power

September 20, 2010


Your "Off-the-Grid Audio" blog suggests, albeit none too emphatically, that battery-powered audio is the greener way to go. But let's do recall that batteries' contents are themselves environment-hostile. Shaving a couple of bucks off one's utility bill does not always equate with good environmental strategy. Sad to say, there's really no way for us to enjoy our toys in total innocence.

Mike Silverton

The NiMH batteries that Gilbert Yeung uses in the power supplies of his BC703 phono stage and modified Technics turntable are considered environmentally friendly. They are not lead-based, although their small amount of nickel is considered semi-toxic. They can, however, be recycled, just like all other kinds of batteries. -Marc Mickelson

Reader list

September 17, 2010


I just wanted to write in and tell you that The Audio Beat is great. I look forward to the reader-list e-mails!

Sheldon Simon

Because of the growth in the site's staff, everyone who has joined the TAB reader list will be getting more e-mail announcing new articles in the future. -Marc Mickelson

Which Music Matters titles to buy?

September 16, 2010


I'm going to order some of the Music Matters LP reissues. If you would do me a favor and shoot me a list of the ones that you think are essential to have, it would be greatly appreciated. Monos are fine if they are especially good musically and sonically, but I'd like to focus on the best stereo picks. Maybe you could limit it to 20 or so picks. Already on my must-have radar are Grant Green: Matador and Talkin' About, Donald Byrd: The Catwalk, Tina Brooks: Back to Tracks, and Horace Silver: The Cape Verdean Blues.

Warren Gehl

It's difficult to limit myself to any subset of Music Matters titles, because all of the music Joe Harley and Ron Rambach have chosen is great in its own way and thus worth owning. However, you've named a few of my favorites already, including the great Grant Green recordings that represent some of Music Matters' very best work. I would also consider these, which are ones that really stand out to me: Hank Mobley: Soul Station, Art Blakey: A Night in Tunisia, Jackie McLean: Bluesnik, Tina Brooks: True Blue, Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch, Lee Morgan: Search for the New Land, Larry Young: Unity, and Horace Silver: Song for My Father. These are all stereo recordings, and some are listed as "out of print" on the Music Matters website, but they are still available through some vendors.

In terms of mono recordings, these are essential, both for their music and sound: Lee Morgan: Candy, Sonny Rollins: Vol. 1, and Thad Jones: The Magnificent Thad Jones. The Thad Jones title also has one of Blue Note's greatest album covers, and the Music Matters gang has reproduced it in resolution equal to that of the LPs. -Marc Mickelson

RSS feed?

September 9, 2010


I just found your site -- looks great. Is there an RSS feed anywhere? I would like to subscribe to make sure I don't miss anything.

Israel Smith

We have no RSS feed for The Audio Beat, but I do maintain a reader e-mail list to which I send out notices of new content. Just write rl@theaudiobeat.com to join. The list increases by a few names each week, so it continues to grow, just like TAB's readership. -Marc Mickelson

10.5 tonearm on Raven AC

September 6, 2010


Just to share with you, I recently heard the TW-Acustic 10.5 tonearm side by side with the Graham Phantom II. It's very good indeed -- faster and more dynamic, with a wider, bigger soundstage, and very easy to adjust. A few of my friends who have a long list of highly rated 'arms feel that it's the best right now for the Raven AC turntable.

Noli Tan

Ron Rambach of the Music Matters label has told me a great deal about the TW-Acustic 10.5 tonearm. He has a Raven AC 'table with two of them mounted on it (he also has Dynavector XV-1t and XV-1s Mono cartridges). I will contact Jeff Catalano of High Water Sound, the US distributor of TW-Acustic products, about reviewing the 10.5 sometime in 2011. -Marc Mickelson

H-3000 versus Reference Phono 2

September 2, 2010


I appreciate your review of the Allnic H-3000. I am on the hunt for my final phono stage. I am using a Hovland HP-100 preamp with internal phono now, but I am hoping to move up just a notch or two. I like the Hovland, but it is not as quiet as I would like. It is good, but not as good as the Audio Research Reference Phono 2 that I auditioned several weeks ago. The Reference Phono 2 trumps the Hovland all around, except perhaps in the bass, where bass guitar and drum whacks live. I thought it could get a little loose and fat in that region in direct comparison against the Hovland.

In any case, I believe I like the Reference Phono 2 better than the Hovland in my rig. Considering that you guys just completed a review of the Reference Phono 2, I was surprised and a little disappointed that you did not comment on its performance versus the H-3000's. I am working on getting a loaner of the H-3000, but I am not sure if it will actually happen. Is it worth my time and effort? How would you compare the H-3000 to the Reference Phono 2?

BTW, I love your site, the music reviews especially as well as all the other stuff. Thanks!

Howard Strader

The reason Tim Aucremann didn't compare the Audio Research Reference Phono 2 to the Allnic H-3000 is that he didn't have access to the latter. I had both, however, but I didn't want to take the spotlight from Tim's fine review by introducing the Reference Phono 2 into the Allnic review.

It is definitely worth your time and effort to hear the H-3000 before buying another phono stage in the same price range. It's special in so many ways -- as is the Reference Phono 2. The main differences between the two are in terms of soundstage size/specificity and tonal character. The Reference Phono 2, like all Audio Research equipment, sounds big, presenting the music with a grand sense of scale, from small to large. As I note in my review, the Allnic H-3000 has "spooky" imaging, placing performers front to back with amazing specificity. The Reference Phono 2 sounds lighter than the H-3000, which is a bit fuller, especially in the midrange and into the bass. Both offer lots of gain; the Reference Phono 2 has Columbia and Decca EQ curves, which I've found to be very useful. The new Allic H-3000V offers alternate EQ curves of its own.

I'm glad you like TAB. It's a labor of love for all of us involved, and we appreciate that you and others like the music reviews. -Marc Mickelson


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