Letters • September 2015

Vienna Acoustics?

September 25, 2015


I just read Dennis Davis's Sonus faber review. Fantastic! I have heard some small Sonus faber speakers, so the review made me really want to hear the Olympica III.

Do you have any plans to review any of the Vienna Acoustics line? I'd be most interested in a review of the Beethoven Baby Grand, Beethoven Grand or Lizst Imperial.

Arturo Perez

I'm glad you found Dennis's review informative and I'm sure he would say the same. We don't currently have any reviews of Vienna Acoustics speakers planned, but that certainly could change. Perhaps there's a model Dennis might want to write about, which would allow him to make some comparisons to the Sonus faber Olympica IIIs. -Marc Mickelson

Cable upgrading: all at once or a few at a time?

September 22, 2015


I know it makes good sonic sense to keep cables and interconnects in same family. That being said, I’m looking to change my Nordost cables to Kimber, which I really like.   Having just bought a new DAC, I can’t change the whole set -- speaker cables and interconnects -- in one fell swoop. As such, I guess I need to start with the Kimber speaker cables and keep Nordost interconnects, at least for a while. Would there be that much sound degradation? Honestly, it sounds pretty okay. At least, “It don’t sound bad.”

I would imagine a lot of folks do the change piecemeal like this to defer costs, or, in your opinion, would I be better off just saving and going for it all at once?

Sheldon Simon

Your question is more about procedure than sound, it seems to me. I think how you go about changing cables is a matter of your budget, as you will eventually end up with a system of cables that will offer continuity of sound and technology from end to end. Any degradation of sound as you switch will be temporary, so I wouldn't worry about it (unless you simply can't stand the sound you get).

The greater issue for me would be buying, say, half of a new set of cables and then deciding I wanted to go in a completely different direction, costing myself more money in the end. We audiophiles are inveterate upgraders, you know. -Marc Mickelson

HRS or Symposium with Esoteric?

September 14, 2015


A quick one for you, if I may. Would you recommend I try an HRS R1X or Symposium Ultra platform under my Esoteric X-01 LE? There is no way I can get both and do an A/B comparison. Which one would you suggest I try first?

Bill Barotti

Of the two brands of platforms you mention, I only have experience with HRS platforms, and I definitely recommend them, so that's where I suggest you begin. They are well designed, based on real science, and they definitely work. However, I wouldn't be surprised if you hear little or no improvement, given that Esoteric uses proprietary feet on its players and these effectively drain internal resonance and help isolate the players from the outside world. If this is the case and you need something to put your player on, try an IKEA Aptitlig chopping board. I bought a few of these following Roy Gregory's blog, and they do work. -Marc Mickelson

Zanden 5000S "still a good option"?

September 4, 2015


I have a Zanden Model 6000 integrated amplifier with Raidho D1 speakers and would kindly ask you for advice regarding a DAC. Do you believe the Zanden Model 5000S is still a good option (I know it has no USB input and that I need converter)? Is it better than or at least competitive with DACs like the new Zanden Model 500 or the Nagra HD or perhaps Auralic Vega (I know the last one is not in the same league but with great price/quality ratio)? As a source, I have a Mac mini with a Musical Fidelity Vlink2 DAC and perhaps somewhere in the future I will change the source for an Aurender N10 or Auralic Aries, which both have AES/EBU output. Yes, I also have HD music files.

Darko Hrastnik

I still think very highly of the Zanden 5000S DAC -- it remains part of my favorite CD playback combo. However, you hint at the issues with it in today's audio climate: no USB input, so you will need an input/output converter like the Halide Design USB Bridge, and no playback of high-resolution files, because it handles only CD resolution. If you plan to use it in that capacity -- for playing CDs and ripped CDs -- then you'll have a superior DAC in my opinion. However, if you want to use it for playing high-resolution PCM or DSD files, you'll need to look elsewhere. In this case, my first choice would the the Ayre QB-9 DSD, although the Zanden 500 would be interesting too. I just haven't heard it, so I don't know how close it comes to the mighty 5000S. -Marc Mickelson

Reader list

September 1, 2015


Please add me to your reader list.

Neil Kristiansen

Done! If you want to join TAB's reader e-mail list and find out about new articles first, send a message to rl@theaudiobeat.com and you'll be added. --Marc Mickelson


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