Letters • September 2011

Quicksilver Messenger Service

September 28, 2011


No argument with you on the merits of the first Quicksilver Messenger Service (QMS) album. But your statement, "was one of many bands to follow the successful path paved by the Grateful Dead -- which would acquire legendary status in a few short years -- and come off the worse for it" is puzzling in its apparent reinterpretation of the history of the San Francisco sound of that era. I would hardly say that QMS followed the Dead. They pretty much co-existed and were both equally successful during QMS's heyday in the late sixties. In any case, why would you say that they came off "the worse" for following the path of the Dead? How so?

Dino Valente joined the band after the third album, at least two years after the release of the album you are reviewing. I don't believe he had anything whatsoever to do with that first release. He was talented and the band was good with him in it, but it really wasn't the same band anymore.

Dan Rubin

Thanks for reading the review, and doing so as closely as you have. As a baby boomer and sixties survivor myself -- albeit an East Coast version -- I too am happy to see albums reissued that were neglected in their day but worthy of a second listen. When I said QMS "was one of the many bands to follow in the successful path paved by the Grateful Dead," I was referring to their being a wonderfully talented band that excelled in live performance, as did the Dead. When I added that they "came off the worse for it," I was referring only to the end result. The Dead did go on to capture the hearts, minds and ears of a cross-section of the nation's youth both in concert and in terms of album sales, but QMS did not. Not that they were less good, just less lucky. But now, 40+ years on, we can listen again to a band that had the talent, and reevaluate them for who they were, as opposed to who they were not.

As I noted, I'm from the East Coast, and to be honest, music lover that I was (and still am), I'd never heard of QMS until I received this reissue from Pure Pleasure. The band just never made an impression on this coast -- whereas the Dead did. That again is why I wrote that QMS came off the worse. Whether it was talent -- though after listening to this album I doubt that -- or management/publicity, or just bad luck, QMS just never captured the majority of attention here.

Regarding the reference to Dino Valente, that was an editorial addition meant as background on QMS, but, as you correctly point out, he didn't play on the album reviewed.

I hope this clears up what I meant by my comments. -John Crossett

Reader list

September 26, 2011


I would like to be added to your reader list and have enjoyed your articles very much so far.

Nathan Klassen

To join the TAB reader list, send an e-mail message to rl@theaudiobeat.com. Those on this list are notified of new content, upcoming reviews and other articles, and special offers for the site's readers. -Marc Mickelson

Connecting dual subs

September 21, 2011


I am running dual B&W subs -- the ASW650 with 12" drivers. I have one cable from my preamp directly to the subs -- same for both subs naturally. Is this the best way to go? People often talk about speaker-level connections. Is one better than the other? Also, if I choose to use a Y adapter, does the Y end go in the preamp and one input to the sub or the other way around? I heard that a Y adapter will add a bit volume to the bass. Is this accurate and recommended?

Sheldon Simon

Driving the subs at "speaker level," meaning from the outputs of your amp, not only adds extra circuitry before your speakers, it means that the signals will be subject to the effect of the subwoofers' crossovers. This is preferable only if you want to limit the frequency range sent to your speakers, something you'd do if they have very small woofers, for instance. Connecting your subs at line level, which is what you're doing, is ideal in almost all cases.

Regarding the Y adapter, you would use one of these only if you have one set of outputs from your preamp, which doesn't seem to be the case. This splits one output into two, so you can connect subs and your amp when you don't have a spare set of main outputs. As long as you have those extra outputs, you don't need a Y adapter. -Marc Mickelson

SRA and Esoteric reviews? Appreciation for Galen Carol Audio

September 15, 2011


I am still hoping that you will post reviews of the Silent Running Audio Scuttle rack and the Esoteric K-01 CD/SACD player sometime soon.

Also, thank you for the recommendation of Galen Carol Audio. Galen is an outstanding person to work with. I have made several purchases from him, and I am very pleased with his helpfulness and service.

Brian Alberts

Tim Aucremann is working on his Scuttle review, which we should be posting soon. Silent Running is anxious for it as well. Esoteric hasn't yet sent me the K-01, but they've promised to as soon as a demo unit becomes available. They've told me that I'll be the first to hear it, and I hope that remains the case.

As for Galen Carol, I also found him very helpful and prompt when I purchased products from him in the past. I've also talked with him a few times at CES and value his opinion. -Marc Mickelson

Mira mentioned

September 10, 2011


Just a quick note to say that I was flattered to be able to provide usable test material for your insightful and entertaining review of the Ayre DX-5. It made my afternoon, actually.

Andreas Fliflet

Reference 250 tubes

September 7, 2011


Regarding the Audio Research Reference 250s, in case one of the KT120s failed, do we replace all eight of them together or just replace the failed one? At $100 each and 2000 hours lifetime, that is a big running cost for me. That means I will have to spend $1600 every two years to run the amps, and there are driver tubes too. Right now, the 6550c in my Reference Anniversary preamp is approaching 1200 hours -- or past half its life.

With the Reference Anniversary preamp, all other electronics feel not quite listenable. I read somewhere that the Reference Anniversary goes very well with D'Agostino Momentum amps, but they are so expensive.

Wiratorn Ruk

Unless the failure happened within a couple of hundred hours of service, I think Audio Research would recommend replacing all of the tubes, although I suspect they are biased individually. I believe that the driver tubes last longer -- 4000 hours -- than the output tubes.

As for cost, have you considered pairing your Reference Anniversary with the Ayre MX-Rs or Lamm M1.2s? Both are wonderful and only the Lamm amps require retubing, and then only a single 6922, which lasts for many years. You could buy both pairs of amps for the price you'd pay for the D'Agostino amps and be able to rotate them. I'm using M1.2s with the Reference Anniversary preamp right now, and the sound is glorious. (I would still like to hear the Reference 250s, however.) -Marc Mickelson

"Thanks for..." x2

September 4, 2011


Thanks for the work and beautiful writing you do. It's a vanishing breed in high-end writing.

Israel Smith

Thanks for the kind words about the site. All of us here are grateful that people appreciate what we do. -Marc Mickelson

New from Shunyata

September 1, 2011


I read your review of Ayre DX-5 and saw that you have the new Shunyata Research signal cables. Are you planning to review them as well?

According to Grant Samuelsen at Shunyata, the new line of cables are "something special," so I'm trying to sell my Antares and Andromeda and will buy Python (or Anaconda) cables later. I just thought it would be fun to see what you (the pros) think about them.

Stefan Lindström

Yes, I plan to review Shunyata Research's newest interconnects and speaker cables, which I've been using for some time -- first the Python and now the Anaconda. That review is still weeks in the future, however, as I finish other writing projects, but it is coming, so stay tuned. -Marc Mickelson


© The Audio Beat • Nothing on this site may be reprinted or reused without permission.