SoundStage! Feedback: July 2000

July 28, 2000


I just wanted to thank you and the rest of the SoundStage! crew for putting up a great website! I've really appreciate the insight you have been able to provide over the past few years.

A question about your experiences with the Simaudio W-5 and P-5 combo. In your listening tests, did you connect them using balanced or single-ended interconnects? Did you hear a difference in single-ended vs. balanced modes? I recently purchased the W-5, and I am currently running it single-ended driving a pair of Paradigm Reference Studio 80s. Would I gain a noticible benefit while running it in balanced mode? (My current preamp doesn't have balanced outs, but I am looking to upgrade to a "real" preamp as soon as funds are available).

Thanks in advance; I appreciate any insight you may be able to provide.


...Rodney Cheung

P.S. Would you ever consider reviewing home-theater preamps/processors and how they perform in two-channel mode? Specifically, I'd love to hear what SoundStage! would have to say about a pre/pro such as the Simaudio Moon Attraction as well as the Aragon Soundstage with respect to two-channel audio reproduction.

When I reviewed the W-5, I used it along with the P-5 in its balanced mode briefly and was only evaluating the overall sound. This was an oversight on my part, even given the lengths I went to to evaluate the W-5. According to Lionel Goodfield at Simaudio, "The W-5 is fully balanced. Consequently, there should be (and is) improved performance by going this route; more gain lower, noise floor and more effortless performance."

Your question about home-theater processors/preamps is a good one. In most of our home-theater reviews, we endeavor to say at least a little about the sound playing just music, though most often only two-channel recordings. At some point we should be reviewing the Simaudio Attraction processor, and perhaps the Aragon unit with the fine name will come our way too....Marc Mickelson

July 24, 2000


From reading the Taddeo Digital Antidote Two review, I got the impression that the Antidote Two may not quite be the ticket to convert digital sound to analog. Searching the Taddeo website, I found some other reviews that commented on achieving positive results.

At this point, I was wondering if you had the chance to gain any personal experience with the unit yourself. The strangest thing about the unit (which of course, I am not going to buy at this point) is the claim that the sound is really made to match that of the 24/96 format, which I assume, sonically, should be readily apparent.

Any personal experience?


...Eric Daniels

I am working on a follow-up review of the Taddeo Digital Antidote Two, and this should be posted in August, so stay tuned....Marc Mickelson

July 22, 2000

To Jeff Fritz,

Congrats on an excellent review of the Wilson XS subwoofer. Very interesting reading. I wonder how the relatively miniature Krell MRS stands with the XS. I don't suppose you will be reviewing the Krell as well anytime soon.

Thanks for your superbly written reviews.


...Peter Hodgkins

I have not had the chance to hear the Krell subwoofer, but it does look potent. The Wilson XS has capabilities that are not likely to be taxed in a domestic setting. A comparison between the two will probably only take place at a dealer. Fifteen hundred pounds of combined weight makes the comparison unlikely in the Fritz household....Jeff Fritz

July 21, 2000


Being a frequent reader of SoundStage!, I enjoy it and find it useful due to numerous reviews of components I may purchase in the future. However, I have noticed that some of the usual suspects in the area of affordable, high-quality integrated amps are missing, notably the Bryston B-60 and Classé CAP 101/151.

I currently have B&W CDM 1 SE speakers, and I am gradually upgrading the system upstream, so I am considering Audio Analogue Pucinni, Bryston B-60, Linn Majik, Audio Refinement Complete and Classé CAP 101. It would be of a great help to me and other budget-minded audiophiles if B-60 and CAP 101 were added to your roster. I am particularly interested in the later, since B-60 has been covered in other magazines.


...Dejan Glozic, Ph. D.

Like any audio publication, SS! is at the mercy of the companies from which we solicit review samples. We have inquired about the products you mention, but have not yet been able to procure review samples. Because of your letter, we will contact the companies again....Marc Mickelson

July 20, 2000


I am writing to express my thanks to SoundStage!, Greg Weaver in particular, for publishing articles describing Peter Belt's high-end-audio products from PWB Electronics in England. Several months ago I happened to read some of Greg's 1999 articles on PWB Electronics on SoundStage! and decided to obtain a sample of the Rainbow Foil (which is free to first-time customers). The Foil has turned out to be an absolutely high-end product and has so many uses! I am also using several other PWB products in my home audio setup. There is really no substitute for these PWB products, and I encourage anyone interested in achieving the very best sound from an audio system to give them a try. Many thanks to Greg Weaver and SoundStage! for bringing PWB Electronics to my attention.


...Geoffrey Kait
President, Machina Dynamica

July 19, 2000

To Marc Mickelson,

Quick question: You didn't comment on the sound of the AES Super Amp with the Merlin TSM-SEs. Did it not drive them well? I am interested in going to a tube amp. Have you ever heard the Merlins with a VAC PA-100/100?


...Gary L. Beard

The AES Super Amp drove the Merlins and made good sound, but because of the speakers' inefficiency, the amp, which offers only 15Wpc, pooped out. It's been a while since I heard a VAC amp, so I can't comment on the one you mention driving the Merlins. However, you can buy the Super Amp as monoblocks, which will double their power to 30Wpc. These would be worth investigating for the TSM-SEs, which should sing with the amps....Marc Mickelson

July 16, 2000

To Doug Schneider,

Thank you very much for your very nice review of the Waveform Mach MC in the March SoundStage!. You alluded to the fact that you might review the MC subwoofer in the near future. Would it be possible to review the Mach Solo? It seems to be very similar to the MC combination in terms of components, only integrated. I would really appreciate your thoughts on that speaker. Thanks and best regards,

...John Doyle

This month Waveform is scheduled to bring the MC.1 subwoofer to my listening room to supplement the MC satellites -- the review is forthcoming after that. You will also be interested to know that we're publishing a Waveform factory tour on August 1st. As for the company's other speakers, we would certainly like to review both the Solo and the Mach 17....Doug Schneider

July 14, 2000


I just wanted to convey my thanks to you for the reviews that you and your colleagues at SoundStage! have provided that have affected me in a positive manner.

I recently purchased a new pair of Merlin TSM-SE speakers at an excellent price, but unheard prior to purchase. I reasoned I could sell them if I didn't like them and not lose too much. Well, I like them all right -- they are wonderful! But the biggest surprise was when I bit the bullet and purchased the Osiris Audionics stands. I just set them up last night (replacing some entry-level Target stands), and I simply cannot believe the difference they've made: focus, clarity, tighter bass, and even smoothed out the top end. Incredible.

Just before bed last night I plopped Loggins and Messina's Sittin' In into the CD player and it sure didn't sound like the almost 30-year-old recording I remember. Kenny and Jimmy were like long lost friends over for the evening. Thanks and keep up the good work!


...Gary L. Beard

July 10, 2000

To Doug Schneider,

I am looking for a small bookshelf type speaker in the $500-$1000 range that can be placed relatively close to a rear wall, so the speakers must be sealed or feature a forward-firing port. The NSM speakers you have reviewed sound like very good possibilities, as does the Dynaudio Audience 40 when used with the port plug. I saw that you had a chance to briefly listen to the Dynaudios. I would appreciate any input that you could provide regarding how the NSM speakers compare to the Dynaudios. I am in the process of trying to get a pair of NSMs from a dealer on the East Coast. I live in California, but I don't know that I will be able to directly compare them to the Dynaudios. Consequently, I am interested in what your impressions are of these speakers. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.


...Kevin Kennan

Speakers in this price range are popular among many audiophiles, so I recommend trying not only these but as many others as possible too. Still, I can give you some help here. I reviewed both the NSM Model 5 ($385 per pair) and Model 10S ($995 per pair). Both are very good speakers; however, the 10S is in every way better than the 5, so if your budget can swing it, look to the 10S. Dynaudio's Audience 40 ($699 per pair) also impressed me greatly. It is a very fleshed-out little speaker that can play surprisingly loud with very impressive bass response. In comparison, the Audience 40 is a little more gutsy and dynamic, where the 10S is somewhat more laid-back. Both have outstanding clarity and detail. The 40 is lively and up-front with good imaging and specificity; however, I found both NSM models to be champs in that department, not only over that speaker but over most speakers! They are almost holographic soundstagers. The Audience 40 is definitely the bass champ, but there is also the NSM EXP subwoofer to consider (review forthcoming). Finally, all these speakers need a reasonable amount of power. They're small boxes but need a bit of juice to get going -- make sure to hook them up to a solid-state amplifier of respectable power (at least 50Wpc)....Doug Schneider

July 4, 2000


Happy 4th! I want to compliment you and your staff for being one of the very few publications to write about Speaker Art speakers. I'm looking for a new pair of speakers (I own Meadowlark Shearwaters, but I am giving them to my brother as a gift), and I have "discovered" little ol' Speaker Art. Doug Schneider's review of the Super Clef was well done. I was on Speaker Art's website and saw a new speaker called the Proklaim II. Any chance of getting this speaker for review? It's $10,000 per pair, so a respectable review would be key to me.


...Marc Grayson

We will, in fact, be reviewing the Proklaim II in an upcoming issue, so stay tuned....Marc Mickelson

July 2, 2000


Just finished reading John Potis' interesting review of the WalkAllen Taos loudspeaker. In it, John says he doesn't understand audiophiles' "lack of concern over matched components." He then goes on to review a synergistic system designed by JoLida for just that purpose.

But audiophiles frequently do care about optimizing system synergy! I contend it's simply more fun, albeit difficult, to do so by mixing and matching components from different companies. My current system with Dynaudio Contour 1.3s, Audio Analogue Puccini integrated, and Arcam Alpha 9 CD player is one of the most musical (my prime criteria) I've ever owned.  Believe me, it took a great deal of blood, sweat toil and transistors to get it that way. For me, the Jolida approach is surely safer, but takes a great deal of the passion, the creative experimentation, out of building your own perfect beast. For someone who doesn't have the time, or an audio neophyte, such "package" systems may be the fast lane to hi-fi heaven. But for those of us with the time and experience (and occasionally money), painstakingly putting together the pieces of the audio puzzle to assemble a first-rate system is the only way to go.

...Paul A. Basinski

July 1, 2000

To Doug Schneider,

I am quite out of the loop with the advances in speaker/audio technology. Seventeen years ago when I bought my top-end Technics system, I also bought some DCM Time Window 1A speakers. Time passes, and the speakers are breaking down. I suppose I could repair them, but I figure when one part goes, others follow. So I thought I'd look into what was state-of-the-art today in speakers at $1000-$2000 per pair. I read a review or two of yours, and you appear to be knowledgeable in this area.

Two questions: (1) Where's the best place to get back up to speed on what's hot and what's not, speaker-wise? Is there a gold-standard audio publication out there that fairly reviews mid- to high-range audio? (2) Is DCM worthy of consideration now that they've been sold to Mitek? If not, what would you suggest for a 20'x30' room with 16' ceilings?

I don't believe I have the option of going to a home-theater speaker setup (16' ceilings mean no attic or crawl space from which to run wires, and Southern California homes are on slabs). I don't have the cash to trash my Technics stuff (or the desire, as it still produces darn good non-digital sound, at least in my estimation). So, if I could be so bold: What would you suggest?

...S. J. Peterson

It seems like you are in the same position as a lot of audiophiles -- an older system and now considering an upgrade. My first recommendation is to read as much as possible. Visit our archives. We have hundreds of product reviews always online, and quite a few of them are on products right in your price range. Next, I recommend visiting our other sites under the SoundStage! Network. and are also incredibly valuable sites for this type of information. There is also our Talk Online Speaker forum, where you will get lots of answers from consumers if you decide to post questions.

In print, Stereophile is still a favorite read of mine, and I recommend getting an issue (although as with all print magazines, finding back issues is extremely tough, so you will just get the most current reviews they have produced). Having up to $2000 leaves you a lot of options for speakers, and I definitely think you will find yourself some good ones. Judging by the size of your room, though (which is quite large), you will need some speakers capable of moving quite a bit of air -- these will likely be floorstanding models, and you may also want to consider including a subwoofer. Floorstanding speakers I would put at the top of my list in your price range include Paradigm Reference Studio/100, PSB Stratus Gold and Stratus Bronze, Dynaudio Audience 80, Athena Technologies S2/P2 and S3/P3 and Vandersteen 2ce. Keep in mind, though, that this is just a partial list and you will likely find hundreds more speakers on your journey. Consider these a starting point....Doug Schneider.