and line conditioners
critical is it to use my outboard DAC with my Audience AR-6 line conditioner? Will the DAC
actually improve when connected to line conditioner, as opposed to plugging straight into
the wall? I haven't AB tested it, but I was curious from a conceptual standpoint anyway.
DAC will probably benefit from being plugged into your Audience line conditioner, as
cleaner power will improve its sound, but the greater benefit may be to the rest of the
system, if your line conditioner has isolated outlets, which is almost certainly the case.
Digital gear especially can contaminate the AC line when it's plugged directly into the
wall, but a good power conditioner should isolate it within the system, so any grunge it
adds is kept from the other components. This also explains one reason why dedicated
circuits work so well for audio purposes: They separate the system from the rest of the
house and all of the appliances, lights and whatnot plugged in. -Marc Mickelson
compared to. . . ?
am writing to inquire about the Audio Research SP20 you recently blogged about. I know you probably cannot make definitive
statements about it, given that you heard it somewhat briefly on a visit to Audio
Research, but I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on where it falls
relative to Audio Research's line stages (LS27 or the Reference 5 SE) and phono stages
(PH8 and Reference Phono 2 SE) in terms of its sonic capabilities. I am still running the
Reference 3 as my line stage and a Nagra BPS phono stage (amp is the Reference 110), and I
am wondering if this single-box solution would represent an upgrade from what I have right
now. Any chance you will be reviewing this one anytime soon?
When I was writing my blog, I wondered how long it would take for someone to
write and ask just what you have. The answer -- not very long at all!
wish I could offer something definitive, but I can't, having heard only the SP20 during my
visit, so I have no context for comparing it to any of the other Audio Research preamps or
phono stages in that system. I will say that Warren Gehl had only glowing things to say
about the SP20, his thoughts being reminiscent of his effusive praise for the Reference
75, and he has heard all of the Audio Research products you mention, of course. The SP20
shares some of the circuitry and parts of the Reference products, so I am convinced that
it is more than a mere one-box alternative to the separates. I will say that its sound is
completely consistent with that of the newer Reference products and I suspect that you
would find that it sounds faster and more detailed than your Reference 3. I don't have any
plans to write about the SP20 (I have the Reference 10 for review right now), but that
could change if enough people express interest in a review. -Marc Mickelson
Verve reissues to buy?
need some advice, as I am about to make a large purchase of LP reissues.
so many Blue Note 45rpm reissues by Analogue Productions and Music Matters, I went ahead
and purchased more than a dozen to go along with my dozen or so '60s and '70s Blue Notes.
You also recommended to me a few of the 50 Prestige mono and stereo titles just released.
This is a great help to me -- along with your reviews -- as I don't have the time or money
to purchase entire sets. But this leads me to the 25 Verve 45rpm titles mastered at
Sterling Sound, the reason for this e-mail.
does one choose 25 titles from so many greats on the Verve catalogue? They are described
as the 25 choice titles. Is this true? If so, should I consider purchasing the entire set
because I have a hard time believing all of these titles are absolutely must-haves. What
do you think? Can you recommend a bunch of these or is this really a must-have set?
is true that those 25 45rpm Verve titles are "choice" -- that is, among the
label's best known. I don't think they are all must-haves, however. Some of the Oscar
Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald titles are not nearly as musically important as, say, Ben
Webster's Soulville or Bill Evans and Shelly Manne's Empathy, both of
which are included and worth buying. That said, for me, the first title to pick is Ella
and Louis, a masterful pairing of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong that bristles
with vitality and personality. And while it's unlikely that you don't already have it in
some form, Getz/Gilberto is also rather necessary, and it sounds great at 45rpm.
I also like the two Johnny Hodges/Duke Ellington pairings, Back to Back and Side
to Side, and Billie Holiday's Body and Soul and Songs For Distingue
Lovers are classics. As you may be able to tell from these titles, the sessions chosen
for reissue rely heavily on star power, so some of the most interesting (and obscure)
Verve recordings are overlooked. One must pick and choose when it comes to reissuing LPs,
and Analogue Productions has definitely taken the "greatest hits" route here.
just finished watching the system setup presentation on the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest
website. I was absolutely impressed with what you guys found that improved the sound of
the audio system on demo. Many thanks for passing down this knowledge to us. However, I
have two questions for you. Where can I purchase the acoustic panels mentioned? Where can
I purchase the steel-point isolators as well?
two products that you are interested in are the Stillpoints supports and the LeadingEdge
Acoustic Panels. Stillpoints products are widely available in the US and you can learn
more about them at the Stillpoints
website, as well as locating a local dealer. The LeadingEdge Acoustic Panels are
available in the US through Audio Vision in San Francisco. I'm sure that they will be able to help
course, don't overlook the coverage of both the seminars and also the Stillpoints products
on TAB. We also presented the seminar, in a longer and more detailed form, at
TAVES in Toronto and the presentations are covered in some detail in blogs on
the seminar and results. In addition, there is both a blog
and also a full review of the Stillpoints support system.
if you read that lot you'll be in need of some serious musical relaxation! Hopefully these
contacts and articles will add to your knowledge and help in the decision-making process.
reviews and accurate. Well done.
e-mail from Mike Doukas [below] and your response regarding silver's place in
good-sounding audio put me in mind of movies and TV dramas in which high-end systems --
doubtless replete with silver and gold -- are part of the décor. These rigs invariably
feature elegant vinyl playback setups and, in the case of Suits, a show on USA
Network, a wall of LPs in a main character's tony office. I trace this practice to the low
opinion many audiophile journalists held, and hold, regarding CDs. These opinions from on
high have become of necessity received wisdom in the face of so much contradictory
evidence. On TV or the big screen, a high-end system without a vinyl front-end would look
In ten years will we be seeing on TV those same systems backed by large
collections of CDs, as they become the next format to make a comeback, after people decide
they actually like digital but also want to own something physical? Correspondingly, will
some former vinyl collectors (myself included) be selling off their collections (again!),
as some did during the advent of CD?
It's all just a dream. -Marc Mickelson
Audiophilia on TV
would have thought that a comment from me would originate from the TV show Pawn Stars.
A guy brought in a whole mess of silver coins and bars. If you've ever watched the show,
the main guy normally gives an intro to whatever the person brings in. Well, in this
episode, when the guy brought in all that silver, the shop owner said that silver was used
in sonic devices and it was very good at transmitting sound. That made me say, "Hmmm.
My cables, Live Line, have precious metals in them." They say they have a copper core
for the "hot run" and a silver core for the "return run." Then, at the
very end, it has a mixture of all of the metals that are used in their resonators.
just found it interesting that the guy on the TV show mentioned silver's audio properties.
suppose it's good to know that some people outside the audiophile community know about
things like silver being a good conductor. In my experience, however, when anything
audiophile related is mentioned on TV (especially the value of records, which are often
wildly inflated), it's apparent that the general public still doesn't get what we're
about. Appreciation comes with experience, and most people just haven't experienced music
reproduced well -- unfortunately. -Marc Mickelson