SoundStage! Feedback: April 1999

April 24, 1999

To SoundStage!,

Are any upcoming reviews planned for Anthony Gallo Acoustics speakers? I was intrigued by them after seeing the ad that pops up whenever I go to your site. I noticed that only a couple of reviews (not counting those on the Audio Review site) exist on the Internet.


...Dan Eisele

Hi Dan. We do have plans to review the Nucleus Micro system sometime very soon, and perhaps other products thereafter....Marc Mickelson

April 24, 1999

To Greg Weaver,

As one of your regular readers, I've enjoyed employing the various tweaks that you've recommended in your column and experiencing the gradual improvements in my stereo's sound. First there was Harmonic Technology wires, and then Vibrapods. My system never sounded better.

Now you tell us about tiny bits of foil that, once stuck to CDs, will
further improve the sound -- not the actual signal or resulting air waves, but
the way we PERCEIVE the sound. Hmmm.

Having a healthy curiosity, I took up May Belt's offer to forward a sample
of the Rainbow Foil to me, just for giggles. While I waited for the foil to
arrive, I began researching P.W.B. Electronics and their associated products
and theories. I read about putting photographs in plastic bags which were
then placed in the freezer -- not to preserve the images, but to IMPROVE MY STEREO'S SOUND. I read about creams, alligator clips and yellow tweezers, bags of wool, not to mention other assorted foils, all of which, when properly used, would improve my stereo's sound. I read about domes, red and violet pens, and writing messages to my equipment on my CDs as well as the bags in the freezer. My first thought was that Greg Weaver has either checked into the twilight zone or I've somehow become involved in a bizarre Dave Barry prank.

Then the sample of foil arrived with a note from May Belt and instructions
as to how to install the foil on my CDs. Someone was going to a lot of trouble for this prank.

I got out one of my favorite CDs, with which I was extremely familiar, and
listened to it intently for 20 minutes. Damn, it sounded good. Then I
carefully applied two skinny strips of Rainbow Foil per the instruction's
diagram. I hit the play button on my transport's remote.

Son of a bitch -- I mean, SON OF A BITCH. I was stunned. The soundstage had just gotten deeper and very three-dimensional. The resolution was incredible, allowing me to hear things I'd not heard before, similar to the other tweaks, except magnified. I tried another disc. Same result. I tried an HDCD. Same result. I listened to an unfoiled disc and it sounded muffled and unexciting. I added the foil and shazam, the liveliness of the music returned and my speakers disappeared.

I'm perplexed. I'm confused. I don't know what to think. But my stereo
sounds ungodly -- as long as I play only the CDs that have been foiled. I told
a friend of this experience and he looked at me like I had just farted. His
amusement stopped when we went to his house and experienced the same
phenomenon on his $25,000 system.

So Greg, we're on board with you on the P.W.B. express. The question is, how far does it go before we get off? I have ordered some more of the Rainbow Foil, which I now consider a requisite for CD playback, as well as a few of the other "mundane" products. We'll see how it goes, and I will report back to you on the results we PERCEIVE. Without a doubt, you have some interesting decisions to make for upcoming articles. However, when you recommend that during our next listening session we stand on one leg while swinging a dead chicken over our heads, I may have to reassess our relationship. We'll communicate again soon.

...Tim Kirkpatrick

April 20, 1999

To Greg Weaver,

After reading your (ranting/rave) review of Peter Belt's technological innovation I, of course, had to try the foil. May Belt was gracious enough to send me a sample, and my reactions were similar to your own. The idea of counteracting an energy field resonated within my logic circuits, but the significant change in the sound was certainly not commensurate with the size of the change element (or the retail cost). To say that I was impressed is an understatement.

I did experiment with the foil by placing a strip on the stable platter of my Pioneer CD deck. Again, there was an improvement in the ease with which music was propagated by my system. Curiosity still piqued, I cut a final sliver and put in on the transfomer of my tube amp, and again, focused increased, and the music seemed to have a little more of the breath of life.

Belt's devices were vilified by Brits and Yanks in the '80s as audio quackery. Of course, in those days, the most well-known critics from both continents probably would have crushed Shakti Stones and splintered Mpingo disks with their vituperative comments (this does not include TAS -- remember Enid Lumley's thoughts on system enhancements? Many of her techniques are commonly used now, but she was really dissed by the baggy pants nabobs of audio in her day).

Thanks for taking the high ground and turning me on to a technology that truly is an enhancement (and this is not the first time that a product brought to my attention in SoundStage! has really delivered the goods). I'm ordering more foil and the cream too!

...Mark Blackburn

April 19, 1999

Is there a website, phone number, or address available for the Final electrostatic speakers? Great show report (Montreal). Thanks.

...Tim Munro

Hi Tim. Take a look at the Hi-Fi Forum website. They are the North American distributors for Final speakers....Marc Mickelson

April 18, 1999

I would like to take this opportunity to express my kudos on the very professional and informative product that you and your staff have assembled. I have been with you since SoundStage!'s inception, and there is no finer group of writers in the industry (in my opinion). Keep up the good work, and I am eagerly awaiting upcoming changes that I am sure will make your product even better.

Thanks from a loyal reader,

...Scott Small

April 18, 1999

To Greg Weaver,

Despite your assurances that your April Synergizing column was no "April Fool's" joke, I was inclined to think it really must be. What you described makes no scientific or practical sense. As a research scientist, I'm skeptical of anything that defies logic. However, never having been one to pass up a free offer, especially when it's related to audio, I sent an e-mail to P.W.B. Electronics requesting a sample. The sample arrived yesterday.

By the time I got around to opening the envelope my kids were in bed. So as not to wake them, I first tried the foil out on my portable MiniDisc using headphones. I listened very carefully to the first tune on Tom Petty's Wildflowers, popped out the MD and affixed a small strip of the foil to it.

Wow! The difference is unbelievable! The first thing I noticed was that the
music was actually louder -- or should I say more dynamic. The bass notes were stronger, and Tom's voice seemed to be much richer. At that point, I was too excited to care about waking the kids. I pulled out the most recent Shawn Colvin CD and listen to "Sonny Came Home" before and after foil treatment. Again -- shocked and amazed! The soundstage seemed to widen, and the bass notes seemed richer and more dynamic. The weirdest thing is that the localization of Shawn's voice seemed to go from a vague spot between the speakers to right there in front of me. Even my wife, who barely noticed when I hooked up my ACI Titan subwoofer for the first time, could tell the difference. I tried it out on a few more CDs before my wife insisted I stop before waking the kids.

Currently I'm testing a $450 interconnect cable from Audio Magic (the
Sorcerer II). I would have to say that the Rainbow Foil improved my system at least as much as, if not more than, the interconnect. Again, I'm amazed. Can't wait to try this on more CDs.

I can't thank you enough. And if this is some elaborate "April Fool's" joke,
please don't tell me. I'd rather live with the fantasy.

...Brian Curran

April 17, 1999


Is the Frankfurt hi-fi show really happening the exact same weekend as the Stereophile show? Is this not going to crimp the style of both shows? It's hard enough for a manufacturer to ship to and staff ONE show, let alone two simultaneously. Is this hurting the US HI-FI '99 show? Thanks.

...Art Altman

Hi Art. Yes, the two show are happening at the same time, and my sense is that this will affect HI-FI '99 more than High End '99, which draws on the base of European audio manufacturers that wouldn't probably come to show in the US anyway. SoundStage! will be covering HI-FI '99 live from Chicago, and we will have a post-show report from Frankfurt too....Marc Mickelson

April 12, 1999

Greg Weaver,

I hope that you do not mind fielding questions from a stranger. I read on
another site that you have some good ideas on tweaking Acoustats. If so,
could you share them? I have a pair of 1+1s. I have replaced the caps
with Solen/SETI/MIT (for the smallest cap), replaced the power cords and the internal wire with van den Hul. The fuse is bypassed. The sound is pretty good, but a little "artificial" or transistory. I use a Melos 180Wpc amp. I wonder if the MIT or SETI is guilty. Any other ideas? Thanks.

...Barry Gershon

Hi Barry. Where should I begin? I did the mods in 1992 or 1993 and was lucky enough to run them all by either Jim Strickland, the engineer who designed and built the Acoustat SPECTRA and TransNova gear; or George Stasky, Acoustat's lead technician.

I did the following modifications on the 2+2, which should have interfaces fairly similar to the 1+1, which had the MK 121 - 2As. Looking back at my notes reveals that I did the following:

The 220uF cap mounted to the capacitor terminal strip was removed and replaced with a 47uF metal-film cap. All other internal caps were replaced (same value and voltage rating) with metal-film caps, including all the additional shunt-value (like .01uF) caps. The original power resistor (I've forgotten the brand and value) was replaced with an Ohmite 10-ohm 25-watt resistor to terminals 3 and 6 on that same strip. I replaced ALL internal 16-gauge wire in the signal path with 10-gauge OFHC copper wire, bypassing the internal audio fuse. I replaced the power cords with some heavy-duty Belden types and the stock binding posts with high-quality, gold-plated five-way posts.

If there was anything else, I didn't make any notes on it. But, you know
what? This sounds like a great upgrade piece, complete with photos, for an upcoming Synergizing. Thanks, Barry!

April 6, 1999

To Marc Mickelson,

Since you are the editor, I would like to express appreciation for James Saxon's articles.

...Michael Pittarelli

April 3, 1999

This was my first year at the Festival du son et de l'image. Coming from New Hampshire made for an economical trip. It was great to see so many products that I've read about and many more I've not heard of. It was a great show, and I am looking forward to next year. Hope you comment on the KR Enterprise tube products.

...Mike Andrews

April 1, 1999

To Doug Schneider,

[Regarding your review of CDs by Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor] Now that is  the best review I have read on those two CDs, and I have read hundreds of reviews.

You have really captured the talents, spirit and styles of Cuddy and Keelor. And you describe them so vividly!

It is so refreshing to read your honest review these two distinct CDs. Most reviews I have read on Cuddy's and Keelor's solo efforts have shown the need to put down one CD (usually Keelor's) in order to give a favorable review to the other. I don't see why reviewers have to pick and choose the better CD. I guess it's an easy way to write the review.

Anyway, thank you! I really enjoyed reading your work.

...Joanne Smith

April 1, 1999

Hi guys,

I'm just so darn curious about the Shun Mook Belle Voce review. I am seriously considering ordering a pair of either the Signatures or the References to check out, but I'm waiting to hear other's experiences with this rare speaker.

I keep checking out SoundStage! hoping the review will be there. Can you tell me when it will be on your website? If it won't appear soon, then I'll tone down my anticipation (but, of course, I'll still visit your site frequently).

Thanks again for your terrific online mag. It's a gift to us die-hards.

...Rich Harkness

Hi Rich. I'm currently working on the review of the Bella Voce Reference speakers and hope to have it online for our May 1 update....Marc Mickelson