POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 13
Our readers respond we respond right back!
Maybe, you can give an answer to that.
Very challenging questions, Frank... thanks for sharing them with us.
I have been hearing rumors for months about USA vs. China versions of the Xindak SCD-2. I've never had a Xindak in for review here in PFO Portland, so couldn't comment either way, but different versions of audio gear for different markets wouldn't surprise me. If this is so, our readers will want to be aware of this fact when purchasing a Xindak, so that they can be sure to source the preferred version. Again, I cannot say for sure, since I haven't reviewed the piece personally.
What I can do is publish your queries, cc: my audiobud Jay Bertrand of Bertrand Audio, and see if he can shed some light on the subject. Jay handles the Xindak line, and may be able to answer your questions.
All the best,
Thank you for your fast response, David.
I just got an email from the people in China where I bought my SCD-2 (it arrived yesterday, so I didn't have the time to do some serious listening). They claim that there exists only one model of this player. They suspect that some distributors want to justify their higher prices by telling their customers about some fictitious low cost models. If I remember it right from one of the newsgroups on the internet, Jay Bertrand also states that there are low cost models for the Chinese market which are different from the ones which are (or should be) exported to the US or Europe. BTW, NYSound, also a distributor of Xindak gear says on its website that the SCD-2 will no longer have a copper coated chassis. Again, the interpretation can be that there is only one model and Xindak skipped the copper coating or NYSound only imports the low cost one.
Anyway, even if there is only one model, the fact
that Xindak obviously changes the electronic parts of the SCD-2 very often may
be a cause to worry about. As an example, from what people report there are at
least 4 different types of output tubes (6N3, 5670, 6922, E88CC). The same holds
for the opamps which may be AD712 or NE5532. From the engineers point of view
all these parts may be direct replacements of each other. But can the customer
be sure to get a consistent sound from the various types of SCD-2? I am sure
that you are also interested in this because the reliability of your reviews
Thank you very much for your efforts and all the interesting articles in Positive Feedback.
Frank Decker, Germany
Hello again, Frank
I heard from Jay Bertrand; this is what he has to say on the subject:
For the United States we use Vishay, Dale, Jensen, etc. I have been accused of charging too much because people assume they are buying the same products, and they are not. To stop this confusion, Xindak is going to have a new name for their North American products. This will happen in the next two months. When I get the new product, Dave, I will be glad to send you a unit for you to review.
From what Jay is telling me, there is at least one lower-cost SCD-2 model for the Chinese market. If so, then Xindak's move to brand the US model is a wise one, since it will help to clarify the situation.
Design and distribution in the Internet Age leads to far more complex problems in fine audio, that's for sure.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Frank. I'm going to take Jay up on his offer to do a follow-up on the SCD-2 when the new US model is released. We'll keep all PFO readers informed on our findings.
All the best,
I have been reading a lot about planar speakers. But, I have yet to read any reviews at your site on planar speakers.
I have been hearing a lot about a new company called Silverline Audio and their new line of planar speakers, along with Magnepan and a Danish manufacturer who's name escapes me at the moment.
Anyway, does the Positive-Feedback staff have future plans to review any planar speakers?
Some of the traditional planar designers (e.g., Magnepan) do not seem to be very interested in having a lot of new reviews done. This does put a crimp in things, for sure.
Nonetheless, if we find an interesting design or a willing company (preferably both), and can match them with one of our reviewers, then we'd certainly give it a shot.
Let's see if anyone takes the bait, eh?
BTW: If you're referring to the Silverline Audio run by Alan Yun, they do not produce planar speakers, so far as I'm aware.
All the best,
Thanks for the immediate reply. I want to make a correction. The new planar company I was talking about is actually called Soundline Audio www.soundlineaudio.com.
I think they are located in California. And thanks for the additional info on planars. I really appreciate it.
OK, Julius, that makes more sense.
The Soundline Audio speakers look interesting. Perhaps Dave Clark and the LA Gang can work something up on this.
All the best,
To the editor:
Leaving aside the question of whether reissue LPs are better than the originals because of their quiet surfaces (a can of worms I'd rather not open), Mr. Levi's argument against buying used LPs illustrates the biggest limitation of his position-the fact that if you restrict your record buying to reissues, you limit yourself to musical choices made by others. Even the short list of used records he offers contains five Mercuries that have not been reissued on LP. If you want to listen to Paray's Sibelius Second or Dorati's Shererazade on LP, you're out of luck unless you buy originals. The fact that Mr. Levi paid too much money for substandard copies doesn't mean that these LPs are not worth buying, only that he needs to find a better source for used records.
My biggest problem with his position is that it takes the fun out of record collecting. His way of going about it is to leaf through the latest Acoustic Sounds or Music Direct (or other) catalog and order the records that seem appealing. When I look at these catalogs, I usually fail to find more than one or two records worth buying, mostly because if something is of interest to me, I already own it. When I go to a used record store or the local record swap meet, I invariably see records I've never seen before. I don't always buy them, but is interesting to come across them. The point is that I make discoveries, and learn something, which I never do when I look at reissue catalogs.
I do not mean to suggest that Acoustic Sounds, Speakers Corner, Classic Records, and others, have not done fine work in reissuing vintage LPs. They have, and I have purchased quite a few that I find rewarding. I even have a few that I think sound better than the originals. I simply do not want to restrict my musical choices to the records that these companies deem worthy of attention. This contradicts the reason I pursued high-quality audio playback in the first place-to expand my musical horizons. Bob Levi's way of going about it ignores too much great music.
Thnaks a lot for any help!
This is an interesting question. The best person that I'm aware of for SACD mods in Europe is Allen Wright of Vacuum State Electronics. You can reach him with your inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org; his web site is at http://www.vacuumstate.com. Allen is a first-rate modifier whose work is highly regarded. As a matter of fact, I just received a VSE modified Sony 9000 DVD/SACD/CD player for review just a few minutes ago...I'm looking forward to hearing it, believe me. (I will also be evaluating Richard Kern's latest set of mods to the Sony SCD-777ES... that unit is already here.) By the way, if any PFO reader is aware of other European SACD modifiers, please send along the information to me at email@example.com. We'll publish any updates immediately.
All the best,
"Although it has a killer power supply, I found that the better the AC cord, the better the Mikado sounded. The Blue Circle BC63 was a bit too lean, and the Sahuaro had a bit too much bass bloat, but the Elrod EPS-2 made things juussst right."
"Man, the Cary was the champ in the bass—I mean, people would grin as the room was awash with really deep and powerful bass—but with the Mikado in house, the Cary sounded slow and fat. Too much boom, like what I see in the mirror as I approach fifty—too loose and fat, needing to exercise a bit, to tighten things up and keep from getting flabby around the middle. Admittedly, this was with the Sahuaro AC cord on the Cary, and switching to an Elrod EPS-2 brought the bass much, much closer to that of the Mikado."
While it is an older version, it is what I own and use (actually it is still listed as current on the audioexcellence az website—I am or was using the Slipstream XP). The Elrod is new to my system and while it does cost a bit, the differences are not dramatic (SlipStream XP is priced at $800 and the Elrod was purchased close to two years ago when it was priced at $995).
I have not heard your newer models, except (I think it is) the newer Prethrilla I borrowed from Dan, and I did not find it to my liking with respect to how my system is balanced.
I can certainly publish your comments if you feel I am comparing apples to oranges and as such your company is being slighted, but I see it stating that the better the cord, the better the performance. Simply put the Elrod is better than the Sahuaro I own, though perhaps not better than your newer and more expensive products. That I do not not know, nor did I state that in the review.
"Imagine the reader who makes the assumption based on what you said and purchased an Elrod only to find that in "his" system that power cable “did not do it for him”; now your creditability is questionable."
Ditto, if I said, "Sahuaro is the best," of which I believe I did way back when I reviewed them for audiomusings... and at the time it was the best for me. As to creditability, geesh, you mean people think I am all that! I hope not, as my opinion is just that.
Sahuaro is about to take a giant step forward; it is going to require an open mind and a little trust, but the good news is, the days of component roulette are coming to an end.
Dear Dave Clark