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POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 1
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Our readers respond…we respond right back!

 

  

 

Dear Sirs
In Issue one, Dave Glackin reviews a 45 rpm version of LSC-2603. This recording is not listed in the Classic Records catalog. What recording is this and where is it available?

Ifan

Dear Ifan,
The 33 rpm version is listed in the Classic Records catalog under LSC-2603, and the price has been reduced. The 45 rpm version is indeed not listed. The 45 rpm sets are known to have tremendous sound, and they sell out fast. Chad Kassem at Acoustic Sounds may possibly have a copy for sale.

Good luck,
Dave


Hello, Mr Robinson,
First I would say "great job !" for your Positive Feedback. I’ve read your revue of the Klout/Keltik/5103 system that has been my previous system. Now I have a pair of Klimax, a CD12, 5103, and the new Komri speakers. As you have also revue this system, with great photos, could you tell me what pre amp to choose to replace 5103: in fact, I feel the sound could be warmer.

I live in France, Paris.

Thanks!
Christophe
NB, I’ve you tried other speaker cables with the Komri ???

Hello Christophe...

You have touched upon a very interesting question, one that is of great relevance to me right now. The preamp is the heart...and in many ways, the soul...of an audio system, in my view. The 5103 is a very fine preamp, one that I have favorably reviewed, but I have been doing further audio voyaging, looking for other approaches and designs.

In Positive Feedback Online, Issue 2, I'll be reviewing the Audio Research Reference Two, Mk. II. This will be followed later in the year with a review of the new Balanced Audio Technology VK-51 reference preamp.

The ARC Ref Two is not a "warm" preamp, being remarkably neutral. "Warmth" in a preamp is hard to pin down long distance. You'll want to take a look at tube-based designs for sure; beyond that, it's hard to advise you, Christophe. Tube preamps can very mightily in sound...even a given preamp can change its character, depending on the tubes that you use.

Don't forget your interconnects (which you did not mention). You might give Cardas a try; they impart a musical richness to the sound that can be most seductive in a given system. I'd also check the power cables that you're using; I recommend the Cardas power cables in the Klout-based system, since that is what I went with, after experimentation.

You question about new speakers cables with the Komri is also timely: Jennifer Crock of JENA Labs is making a 2 pair -> 4 pair custom set of JENA Labs speaker cables for me to try with the Klimax/Komri combination. As I said in my review, I have a growing feeling that the standard Linn speaker cables are not quite the thing for bringing out the best in the Linn system.

I'll report on my results by this fall.

Thanks for reading Positive Feedback Online, Christophe...and thanks for your questions!

Regards,

David W. Robinson
Editor, Positive Feedback Online
editorpf@attbi.com


Hello,
I recently found your web site and have been reading many of the articles posted therein.

First, I'm a fan of Clark Johnsen's writings and enjoyed the "new" piece on the Wood effect and the story on the Shakelton expedition.

My main motivation for writing this is Dave Glackin's interview with Stan Ricker and Stan's mention of the great mastering engineer George Piros. I had the good fortune of working with George for many years when we were both at Atlantic Studios in New York. He would often tell me stories of his days with Bob Fine and his other experiences in the record business, usually interspersing his comments with language that would make many "gangstas" blush. It was great to see George remembered. I know I'll never forget him.

One last thing before I conclude: In the reviews of the Aurio and Daruma roller bearings, two things came to mind. First, I believe Vistek is offering ball bearings to be used atop the Aurios now, so contact with the bottom surface of the component is minimized. I wish the reviewers had tried this as I believe it improves performance significantly.  Same for the Darumas. I wish the reviewer got to audition them "topless" (i.e. with only the ball making contact with the component). Here again, I believe performance is significantly improved. The second thing that came to mind in the reviews was the omission of the fact that these devices work by preventing vibrations from ENTERING the gear (primarily those of seismic nature, coming from the ground, through the floor and supporting shelves).

Fun web site. Keep up the good work.

Thanks
Sincerely,
Barry Diament

Thanks for the compliments and reflections, Barry. We're working hard to make PF Online a place of
creativity and community for fine audio; letters like yours help to achieve that goal.

We'll be publishing the other two installments of Dave Glackin's classic interview with the great Stan "The
Man!" Ricker. He's a prince of a fellow, and a real treasure....

As to your comments on the components:  I'll let the aM group respond as they feel led!

All the best,
David W. Robinson
Editor, Positive Feedback Online
editorpf@attbi.com

Bob,

Your points on the Aurios and Daruma are well taken. Thanks for the heads-up! When we originally did the review these were relatively new. With so many end-users having experienced these, it is nice to know that there is more than one way to skin a cat. A follow-up is in order then. Oh, and yes we were aware as to the "design" and "intent" of the devices. Sorry for the omission. We will also have a review of the Townshend Sinks in a few weeks.

Thanks,
Dave Clark
Senior Assistant Editor, Positive Feedback Online


Editor:
I found the remarks on the D'Appolito layout in the Linn Komri review both snide and offhand. As I understand it, the D'Appolito design is a combination of BOTH physical layout AND crossover design to produce a controlled dispersion point source layout with reasonably wide horizontal dispersion, limited vertical dispersion and minimal lobing within the listening window. Properly designed, and many MTM designs do not use the correct crossover parameters and are not true D'Appolito designs, D'Appolito designs I have heard seem to accomplish these design parameters quite well.

I have no problems with what the Linn Komri claims to accomplish. The physical layout looks like, if done well, it could appear as a point source radiator. But a claim that it is superior to another well proven design should include an explanation of why it is superior and some attempt at a logical proof of this superiority; it should not be a couple of words without any explanation at all. Both audio reviews and Joe D'Appolito deserve better.

Please note that this is not an attack on the Linn speaker, a product I have never heard, just an appeal for more objectivity and clarity in the audio reviewing process.

Thanks for listening,
Allen Edelstein
hahax@rcn.com

Hello Allen...
My comments about the layout of the speaker array of the Komri vis-a-vis D'Appolito were not intended as a disparagement, they way that you seem to have taken them. They were intended to make a casual reference to driver array configuration itself, not to make a categorical and analytical judgment as to all parameters. My comments as to the sound of the Komri approach was likewise not an exhaustive and categorical comparison, merely a casual reference.

"Snide"?

No, not at all. Couldn't be further from my mind.

"Offhand"?

Perhaps, but with none of the malice aforethought that you seem willing to attribute. I must confess to no interest in "objectivity," a category that I do not believe exists in human affairs, much less in things audio.

Clarity? I believe that the review is quite clear, so far as it goes.

And so I must refuse your gauntlet, Allen, since I have no interest in the conflict that I never sought in my original commentary.

Regards,
David W. Robinson
Editor, Positive Feedback Online
editorpf@attbi.com
 


Editor:
I'd like to add a couple comments to the article by Clark Johnsen. As a test of Blackburn's ideas, why not flip polarity once before some component or wire or part, then flip it back again downstream of that element? This would eliminate polarity from the source of change and focus that change on current direction. Seems like a simple experiment.

The other point is that, for example, if my flip-pass-flip idea were applied, for example, to a tube preamp, and that preamp was either single-ended (Class A) or push-pull (Class AB), for example, then in the Class A case the tube would have to be perfectly linear over the entire signal level for no-change to occur. Similarly, the Class AB case which uses 2 tubes in push-pull fashion would have to have two perfectly matched tubes for this flip-pass-flip idea to show no change.

Basically, I'm agreeing with Clark about the definitions of polarity and absolute polarity, but I'm also saying that the result of that polarity reversal switch depends on where in the signal path you put the switch.

Russell DeAnna
Senior Member Technical Staff
Movaz Networks, Inc.
Atlanta, GA 30093


Editor:
I'm thoroughly enjoying the new PF Online, and am looking forward to new articles and reviews being posted weekly, rather than waiting for my "fix" once a month. I'm also enjoying the archived interviews and reviews being posted as well, as there were some great ones that deserve repeat attention.

In the interest of community, and our shared love of Music (with a capital M), here is a wonderful link for everybody to peruse. It is an extensive glossary of musical instruments from around the world, and amazing in its breadth. There is so much music and information "out there" that we never see here in the U.S.. For those who love the music of other cultures, an invaluable resource as well. It's at http://www.worldmusicportal.com/Instruments/instruments.htm

David and Dave, keep up the great work.

alan m. kafton
audio excellence az

Thanks for sending this along, Alan! It's a very useful resource, and is hereby recommended to readers of Positive Feedback Online.
David W. Robinson
Editor, Positive Feedback Online
editorpf@attbi.com
 


Dear Sir;
Thanks for your web for giving me profound news and the audio world! I appreciate the reviews of your editors, as I already dropped other webs' comment and stick to yours.

To fuel my understanding and wish to know an equipment: Marantz SACD Player SA14, would you please advise how can I find it from your contents?

With kind regards,
ML
Australia

Hello ML... We're glad to hear that you're find PF Online to be a helpful audio resource. Please drop by regularly! We have not yet reviewed the Marantz SA-14. My very favorable comments on the Marantz SA-12S multi-channel SACD player will be appearing in the near future here on PF Online.

Best regards,
David W. Robinson
Editor, Positive Feedback Online
editorpf@attbi.com
 


Dear Sir;
In reading your review policies on your web site, I couldn't help but notice that you folks are in the no-bad-review camp. The other point of view is the one expressed by John Atkinson of Stereophile, that once a component has been submitted for review, the reviewer will evaluate it, and the magazine will publish his or her evaluation. I'm not talking about the differences in reviewing methodology here, and I even suspect that Mr. Atkinson would agree that your method has merit. It may be impractical for an organization whose members are scattered across a continent, even an ocean, but it's a good idea. I am solely focusing on your relative policy regarding publishing the reviews.

I have written reviews myself, of software packages. My editor was in your camp, and we returned many things unreviewed, often with notes describing the flaws we found, and an invitation to submit revised products for review, without prejudice. I can see the validity of Atkinson's position, as well. His argument would likely be that his policy keeps manufactures honest, since whatever they submit will be reviewed, even if the review is unfavorable.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on these viewpoints, and even to hear what motivated your choice. This is a core question in the reviewing business, and informed debate is a good thing. I myself don't know where I stand, the editor I spoke of was my uncle, and he is a man I have the utmost respect for. But I cannot decide if he is right on this one.

Thank you,
Shannon Menkveld

PS Your website is fantastic. Congratulations, this is web publishing done right, at least on a cable modem. The site renders perfectly in Mozilla 0.9.9, in both win98 and linux. Many, many thanks for the standards-compliant page.

Shannon, thanks for the kind words on the site. As to your concerns to our "no-bad-review" policy, I would like to respond by saying that we are not really part of that camp. Nor are we part of the "if it stinks it is our duty to say how much" camp either. Where we see ourselves standing is more in the middle. I don't feel it is our role to beat-up on products, nor are we here to decide the fate of any company's successlet the market place do that. Besides, for the most part, audio today is a sea of great-sounding products, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Yes, there is the occasional turd out there, but when we select products it is more from what we would like to hear along with what we feel the readers would like to see, then trying to be the "audio police."

Yes, we have received products that did not work for the reviewers involved and ended up not being published, they simply could not find much to say that was positive. Why beat a dead horse? But these are by far the rare exception (I can think of only two over the past 5 years and in each case the maufacturer decided either to pull the product from their line or redesign it). It is our policy that if it is sent for review and I get all the reviews in, we will publish the reviews as they stand. Naturally, the manufacturer can offer any response they feel is warranted. And yes, we have had a few plead with us not to print reviews as they were "raves." This they felt would be a death blow to them as a business. By the way, all are still going strong!

What we feel needs to be said in a review is an honest response to what a component sounds like within a system—meaning you will get the good with the bad. And remember, it is the system you are listening to, not an individual component. Our reviews as are fairly well balanced, in that we make every effort to explain not only why we liked a product, but perhaps why we didn't.

But when we write that a product doesn't do this or that, it does not mean that the product itself is "bad." Just that we preferred something else. On the other hand you may find the product to be the cat's meow. Which is why we use multiple reviewers; while one or two may have loved this or that about the product, the other(s) may not, or vice versa. Please read some of our reviewes in the audimusings' Back Issues section and you will gain a greater understanding of what we are doing.

Dave Clark
Senior Assistant Editor, Positive Feedback Online

Hello Shannon... These are fine questions; I’ll meditate loosely upon them in the order that you asked them.

It is my belief that all audio reviews are, at best, no more than indicative. The comments of even a good writer should be regarded as transitional impressions, expressed as momentary guides for further exploration by the audio seeker who reads them. They are conditional, not relative, not absolute. This means that all reviews should be kept in perspective, and should always be tested by the audiophile in his or her own listening room. The enjoyment of audio and recorded music being an intensely existential moment, arising out of profound spiritual depths, there is simply no other way to validate a response.

You must do this for yourself—an act that requires exertion, passion, and attention to detail—no one else can do this for you. Any attempt to substitute the views of an "audio authority" for your own maturing sensibilities (the education of which is the supreme task of the audiophile) is doomed to die the death of the derivative soul and the dilettante.

The true audiophile is deeply empirical, while understanding that the source of musical ecstasy is far beyond the ability of mere measurement to fathom. He or she is therefore free to try anything, disbelief suspended, knowing that there is much that can only be known by a willingness to try.

We must take the responsibility for the quality of our own audio and musical experiences, for no one but us can carry the burden of our preferences and our choices.

Why "no negative reviews"? For epistemological reasons, really. Every audio system is an interrelated whole, a combination of interactive strengths and weaknesses. Changing a single component—indeed, changing a minute detail—can, in my experience, change the character of the whole thing.

Given the reality of system synergy, the only way that I could in good conscience produce a negative review would be if I had energetically and exhaustively evaluated the component under all possible conditions, and had optimized all aspects of system performance. (Clark Johnsen did an excellent summary of what would be required to do this several years ago in PF; I should re-print it to remind us all of the long list of what that involves.) Then, and only then, could I reasonably conclude that a given component in a given system was "bad"—and even that would be conditional.

The logistics of reviewing and economic considerations would impose this, even if I wished otherwise. I think it best to be philosophical about the limits of what can be done in audio reviewing, and proper to be honest about those limits.

On the other hand, a good impression really means something! We have found something that works, and that should be shared.

In summary, "bad impressions" are inconclusive (because they are not exhaustive—we must not argue from silence here), but good ones are indicative. I should say that I also assume that people want to know "where the gold is," not "where the gold ain’t." Then again, human nature has saddened me more than once. Regardless, I long ago decided for these reasons only to publish reviews of the magical moments, those special times when wonderful things happen in a listening room. Any component or system that is submitted for review that doesn’t "make magic" for one reviewer is often sent to another; if it strikes out another time or two, it is simply returned to the designer/manufacturer/distributor with a polite "no review."

The fact that we couldn’t find the magic doesn’t mean that someone else, somewhere else, might not; we should walk humbly in light of that fact.

Some people do indeed say that the publication of "bad" reviews "keeps the manufacturers honest," or "establishes the credibility/integrity of a review magazine." I disagree; such a practice ensures neither of necessity. There are dishonest designers and manufacturers; there are corrupt/inept journalists; "negative" reviews can sometimes be used to produce the appearance of integrity, without actually producing the fruit thereof.

Every editor is free to pursue his or her own path. John Atkinson and I disagree on the question of publishing negative reviews, but that’s neither here nor there, I think. Positive Feedback Online and Stereophile are two radically different publications, with different worldviews in some important regards. Ultimately, the reader must choose which worldview is kindred, and read accordingly.

Glad to hear that you are enjoying the Positive Feedback Online site, by the way! I give the credit, and real kudos, to Dave and Carol Clark, our gifted web site editorial team. It’s a fine, clean layout, highly compliant with various browsers according to the email that I’ve received…easy on the eyes, no?

All the best,
David W. Robinson
Editor, Positive Feedback Online


Editor:
As a clarification of the SACD mods that I do: All of my modifications are designed to widen and deepen the sound stage and improve imaging. The clarity, detail and transparency are greatly improved. These changes affect both CD and SACD modes.

I should note that I am now also an installer for the Allen Wright Vacuum State SACD mods. See http://www.vacuumstate.com for more information. My prices for installation are the same as those listed on Allen’s web site. Note: There is a waiting list for these boards. Contact me if you wish to be put on the list. These boards can be put in most Sony SACD players.

David W. Robinson mentions Audiocom's Super Clock upgrade for his Sony SCD-1 in this issue of Positive Feedback Online. This is a $248 part that replaces the stock oscillator on Sony's digital board. This add-on board lowers jitter to such an extent that the sound is improved in all respects. The labor to install this mod is $100. This part is HOT! I can’t keep them in stock.

The Super Clock Power Supply that David mentioned is also available. The cost is $263 for the part and $100 to install. This is a good mod for those who don’t have their Sony's modified with black gates in the existing Power Supply.

The Sony modifications listed below come in three different types. The first two modifications are my own. The others are from Audiocom. The first modification I offer replaces 32 resistors in the audio board with Vishay vsh type resistors. I also replace 12 capacitors in the low pass filter section with REL polystyrene capacitors and I replace two Electrolytic capacitors in the power supply with Black Gate caps. The total cost is $460. The labor is $200 and the parts are $260. Parts for this mod are stocked at all times and the turn around time is 48 hours.

The second modification is the same as the first, except I use Vishay’s best S-102 resistors in the audio section. The total cost is $720, labor $200 and $520 parts. The resistors for this mod are not stocked, but I can get them in a few days. These Vishays have the best transparency and detail I have found.

The third modification is the Audiocom modifications from the UK. Check out their web site at http://www.audiocom-uk.com. The mods are listed on their web site and my prices for the modifications are as follows:

1. The complete modification cost is $1982 for the parts. My labor to assemble the complete kit is $450.
2. Audio Board capacitor replacement. $367 parts $120 labor.
3. Audio Board resistor replacement. $476 parts $120 labor.
4. Audio Board regulator replacement. $330 parts $60 labor.
5. Audio Board OP Amp replacement. $201 parts $45 labor.
6. Power Supply capacitor replacement. $410 parts $60 labor.
7. Power Supply regulator replacement. $198 parts $60 labor.

Note: The Audiocom Super Clock and Super Clock Power Supply are EXTRA! They can be added to any mod on this page.

All of the above parts can be obtained in 2 to 4 days from Audiocom's American parts distributor, Reference Audio Mods. Allen Wright Boards take one week to get and they must be ordered 5 boards at one time.

If you have any questions feel free to call me at: 503 - 659 - 6599 or 503 - 490 - 8602

Richard Kern
Audiomod


Editor:
Glad to see the first issue.  Soooooooooo very nicely done. Sincere thanks for another great online resource, and best wishes for a long and prosperous future.

Tom Dressler
Amarillo, TX

Thanks, nice to know that all the hard work on the new site is appreciated.
Dave Clark
Senior Assistant Editor, Positive Feedback Online
audiomusings@earthlink.net


Editor:
All the success to you all....great idea to show future reviews with a pic beside the equipment to be reviewed....great layout....
regards,
lloyd

Thanks, I am trying to offer something just a bit different by the way the site looks and navigates. Wanted it to look more like a print magazine than a web-zine.
Dave Clark
Senior Assistant Editor, Positive Feedback Online
audiomusings@earthlink.net


Mr. Robinson,
Regarding your article "I Don't Drive Stock!" you listed what I consider to be a partial list of all the modification "experts" available.   Although I have a  fairly new company, I offer a modification package that gives my customers the most "bang for their buck."  I prefer to offer modifications for Sony's lower priced players such as the SCD-CE775, SCD-C222ES, and DVP-NS500V which I believe give the best performance for the price.  These players are also technologically more advanced than the SCD-1 by several years.

You might want to consider looking at my website, www.SACDmods.com , to see an alternative for audiophiles with a smaller budget.

Thank you for your time!
Matthew Anker
ca_144@omalp1.omeresa.net
www.SACDmods.com

Ye Olde Editor responds:
You're right, Matthew...I wasn't aware of your site and services. It looks like you've got some interesting upgrades for some of the entry-level SACD players.

PF Online readers with the models of SACD sources that Matthew mentions will definitely want to browse his site.

David W. Robinson
Editor, Positive Feedback Online
editorpf@attbi.com


Editor:
Harvey and his unusual, yet entertaining way of looking at the audio world will be missed. I wonder if now and then he materializes in your listening room by arcing a 300B tube just to make fun and let you know he is listening still?Regards,
Peter Serrano

We’ll hear Gizmo in the whisper between the electrons, Peter....


Editor, Positive Feedback Magazine
Dear Sir,
I want to thank you for your review of the First Impression Gold Series Cables in Positive Feedback, Vol. 9, #2. However there were some omissions that probably left some misimpressions as to who actually is responsible for their design. Your conclusion in wondering "how Winston finds time to accomplish so many brilliant products is a mystery to me" is easily answered. He gets help. FIM is owned exclusively by Winston Ma and produces audiophile CD’s. FIM Cables is a joint venture of Paul Weitzel and Winston Ma.

Paul Weitzel has been producing and designing ultra high-end audiophile components under the Tube Research Labs, Inc. brand name since 1990. Anyone lucky enough to own any of his amplifiers, and other of his products, can only be aware of their exceptionally high quality. His power cables have been available since the start of his company and are second to none. I’ve had some since 1995.

I agree that the sonic merits of the First Impression Gold Series Cables are without question the best I have ever used. I only ask that you give credit where it is due, and that is to Mr. Weitzel. It’s only fair that your readers be aware of the facts in the development of the FIM Cables. I’m certain that Mr. Ma is probably embarrassed at the omission of his long-time friend and collaborator in the creation and production of this fine series of products. I’m sure that it was not your intention to damage the reputation of Mr. Weitzel, or to minimize his part in this project, so hopefully this sets the record straight.

Respectfully Yours,
Rick Rubin

Cc: Winston Ma

Positive Feedback asked Winston Ma to respond to Rick Rubin’s comments; Mr. Ma’s comments appear below:

Dear Mr. Rubin,
Thank you for copying to me your letter to Positive Feedback.

I never told Positive Feedback that FIM Cable was my design. However, the Reviewer has, naturally and excusably, made an assumption that the design was mine since it was developed under the auspices of FIM. Mr. Paul Weitzel did show that part of the review to me, raising a similar query. I told him that I did not tell Positive Feedback that the design was mine. In fact, as far as I can remember, the reviewer never asked me about this. Perhaps, I underestimated Paul’s feeling about the subject at that time. He might subtly wish me to clarify this with Positive Feedback. I did not do so because, on the one hand, personally I did not think it was a big deal, and on the other I was busy and was preoccupied with other things at that time. Besides, it was not entirely wrong. There are so many designs and products out there. Who really cares?

The true background of this matter? According to Paul, he has had years of experience in designing cables, among other things. Some years ago, he did show me a couple of his hand-built cables. I did not pay too much attention to them at that time.

I have also had over 20 years of experience with cable designs through marketing some very high-end cables. I have had numerous opportunities to discuss designs with audiophile cable manufacturers, and have offered suggestions on certain designs.

As for the birth of FIM Cable: initially I did not go into cable manufacturing business because I am semi-retired and have been very busy with the production of FIM recordings. Due to Paul’s repeated encouragement, I eventually agreed to start investigating the design of cables some two and half years ago. Another reason that prompted me to go into this field was that at that time, I was looking for better cables for my music room, and I found that the cables I had did not satisfy me. We started to carefully audition cables by other manufacturers, and finally used Paul’s several prototypes as the basis for R & D. We listened to a good number of various construction formats together. I made suggestions, gave my OK to the final design, and provided funding. We asked an OEM manufacturer to build the cables. Hence, it is a joint design, not a design solely by either myself  or Paul Weitzel.

I hope this is clear. Thank you for bring this matter up.

Yours truly,
Winston MA
First Impression Music
(Via the Internet)

(To which I would add that I wrote the review, I had not actually checked into the ancestry of the design; I simply attributed the work generically to the head of FIM. It was not my intent to disparage Paul Weitzel’s creative work—I was simply unaware of it! Apologies to Paul, who is a very fine fellow, and a gifted audio artist.Ye Olde Editor)


Editor:
To improve the sound of a Denon DCM-370, just unplug the three conductor cable running from the main circuit card to the little circuit card by the headphone jack. Some sort of ESD or over-voltage protection components for the headphone jack cause distortion even at the rear panel output of this CD player. Of course this mod disables the headphone jack, but this is easily reversible.

Of course, it seems possible to change or remove the headphone protection components, but this would be more difficult and perhaps would cause reliability problems. I’m not sure what their purpose is.

If you want to get a quick idea of the sonic effect, use the Denon remote and set the output level down to -6. Then turn up the gain in the amplifier to get the same loudness. Removing the cable as described above is even more effective.

I don’t know if this fix is valid for any other Denon CD players, but judging from criticisms of some of them, it would be worth a look in the case of  recent models.

Charles Miller
Via the Internet


To the readers of Positive Feedback:
Harvey Rosenberg has passed from this mortal coil.  The words hit me like a sledgehammer. Dr. Gizmo has succumbed long before his time, and David Robinson had told me of the news of his passing.

Gizmo was an inspirational messenger of musical ecstasy. He unabashed enthusiasm infected thousands of us audiophiles with a renewed enthusiasm for listening. You didn’t have to agree with his tastes or theories.   Just reading his words or talking to him on the telephone was sufficient to get your audio juices flowing.

Harvey was a free sprit. In both mind and body he had a way of living that made those of us with seemingly less lives to live vicariously through his journeys in life.

Motorcyclist, audiophile and tweaker to the nth degree, Harvey epitomized a soul whose journey in this life was to touch those who were fortunate enough to meet and talk to him and instill them with a passion for their lives and avocations.

I vividly remember spending hours on the phone with the gruff voice that was Dr. Gizmo’s. The discussions were about our journeys towards our own musical ecstasy and audio expression. Don’t get me wrong: we were from totally different audio camps. His was one of tubes and horns; mine was the world of solid state and direct radiators. Yet we found lots of common ground.

The search—and the results—were our area of commonality. It didn’t matter if the subject was single malts, music or women. I can recall a long discussion we once had about Snapple flavors (all of it off color!)

Harvey’s enthusiasm "jump started" many of us who had strayed off the audiophile course. I gave his book, The Search for Musical Ecstasy, Vol. 1:  In the Home to many friends, and the results were always startling. Guys connected with what he was saying, and started their own journey as a result. Harvey was the great enabler of men’s audio journeys.

When a man has passed from this life to the next, those remaining ask themselves what did he contribute to society? What mark has his life made?

With Harvey, the answers are many-fold. His life touched a number of us in ways that only his loss has brought into focus. A passion for living, seeking the highest, and exploring the avenues less traveled were trademarks of Harvey. Being outside of the "box" and reveling in it made Harvey...well, it made him Harvey. Who else could have appeared on the cover of this periodical wearing a kilt, headdress and smoking a cigar? Only Harvey.

So how do we honor his spirit? I would have to think that Harvey would want all of us to carry forward with a zeal for life and music. (Of course he wouldn’t want us to forget about single malts and women either!) Helping others in their audio quest, whatever that might be, is at the heart of this.  

To honor his spirit and passing, I will be pouring two glasses of fine single malt this evening and listening to some great jazz. I will be rejoicing, knowing that Gizmo is wherever he is, looking over all of us while listening to the greatest sound system in the galaxy!

Harvey, you were one-of-a-kind, and I thank you for spending part of your time in this life with us.

Mike Pappas
Lakewood, CO
Via the Internet


Dear Sir:
It was through your publication that I discovered Harvey Rosenberg’s web site;I first discovered Harvey through my budding interest in audiophilia back in the early 70’s. I purchased his book/catalog Understanding Tube Electronics through the mail and was pleasantly surprised and highly entertained by his wit.

I was saddened by the demise of  N.Y.A.L. and the legal battle Harvey was involved in at the time.

Due to life circumstances, a divorce, and addiction issues, I lost touch with the audio hobby, and it wasn’t until I got into recovery in 1998 that I picked up an issue of Positive Feedback and discovered Harvey was alive and well and still fighting the good fight. I remember my sense of loss after it sank in, that no, this wasn’t one of Harvey’s practical jokes. I remember emailing Harvey, offering him my original copy of Understanding Tube Electronics, because I felt it should be included on his web site, and talking a bit about my journey up to then (thinking that "He’ll be too busy to reply." Much to my surprise, later that same day he sent me a reply and gave me some encouragement on my journey.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the eulogy you wrote for the Triode Guild web site, and to add my hearty agreement to your views. I, for one, have no idea where we’re going to find someone to fill his shoes. Kudos to the people maintaining his web site; I hope that something can be done to preserve his writings, both for their humor and the fact that he made me "think" about searching for the grail when it’s been in front of me all along (e.g., my ST-70).                           

Forward to my next thoughts: through Positive Feedback I also discovered Listener magazine, which also carried a column by Harvey. They seem to be publishing on a very regular schedule. I hope that Positive Feedback isn’t going to stop publishing. I personally buy your magazine at my local bookstore and haven't seen a new issue since the end of 2000.

I’d appreciate hearing from you on this. The truth is  important and I believe that Positive Feedback and Listener are about the only alternatives to mainstream audio reviewing that are left.

Please keep up the fight.

Fred Petersen
Via the Internet

(And yet here we are on the Internet, Fred! We’re keeping up the good fight from a place that Gizmo understood all too well—the Net! Stay tuned; we’ll be easier to find, and will be read by far more people online than we ever could have been in print.


The following email came from Jim Susky, cc:’ed to PF, and is printed for reader edification.

To: Mike Dzurko, ACI
From: Jim Susky

Copies: Mssrs. Gardner and Robinson
Positive Feedback Magazine

Mike,
Congrats on the largely positive review by PF. I have time now to make only one quick comment.

Did you not encourage Mr. Gardner to use your in-line RCA male/female R/C network between preamp and power amp? I used this (with the 85hz pole) when I implemented a Sapphire/Titan system in 1998. Mr. Gardner apparently ran the Sapphire full-range filling in the bottom with the sub. I wonder whether this may have impaired the sub/sat blend making the sub constantly audible?

I used the R/C network, and found it a simple matter to remove the electric-bass-like "purr" by tweaking the Titan level and crossover frequency using plucked stand-up bass on Holly Cole (can’t recall the album—Don’t Smoke in Bed?) I was able to achieve a successful blend in both my basement and in the basement of my friend whose money I was playing with (I used a mid-80’s Berning EA230 for the Sapphires).

Anyway, congratulations again, Mike. If I weren’t chasing a bi-amped horn-based system with pro-audio drivers, I’d probably have a pair of Jags at home by now. Maybe later.

Sincerely,
Jim Susky
Anchorage, Alaska
Via the Internet


To Mike Pappas
c/o Positive Feedback

Mike:
Reading your article in the latest issue of Positive Feedback about running the power amps on 240-volt power reminded me that I owe you a "thanks" for a recommendation in this regard a long time ago. There was a CES in Chicago that I attended, 1992 I think, when you were still working for Crown. I talked to you about the Crown Macro Reference amplifier, and you told me that it would sound better on 240 volts. My amp at the time was running on a dedicated 30 amp, 120-volt circuit. When I had put in the 30 amp run I had run it with 3 conductor plus ground, so it was easy to convert to 240 volt. It did make a very definite improvement in the Crown Macro Reference.

I still have the Crown Macro Reference, although it is now sharing its 240-volt circuit with a PS Audio P600 Power Plant, which I also reconfigured for 240-volt input. The Power Plant feeds the rest of my audio and video equipment.

Every power upgrade I have made over the years starting with two dedicated 20-amp circuits to my audio closet in 1981 has resulted in a "not subtle" difference, as you indicate in your review. Thanks again for the long-ago tip.

Bob Tate
Via the Internet

Mike Pappas responds:

Hi Bob,
Ah! Good to hear from you! Glad you like the 240 trick! It’s one of my best ones! Thanks for the kind words, and for reading PF.
Mike Pappas
Via the Internet

 

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