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Positive Feedback ISSUE 27
september/october 2006


Thinking and Feeling, a Riposte to the Estimable David Robinson's Side Bar on the Boulder 2060

Dr. Sardonicus

This is one of those very curious situations where David and I agree completely but reach somewhat different final conclusions.

Make no mistake, on any basis you wish to use; the Boulder kit simply cannot be bested in the current rarefied top of high-end audio. It has no downside, period. No compromises, no limitations, no euphony.

But, and like mine, this is an extremely large butt ...the fact that "best" is interchangeable with "favorite" unless specific, measurable criteria are established, means that we must use a subjective process of reaching a conclusion. And here we have such rich grist for the mill in positive, convivial discourse.

See, David and I are the best of friends, and we both respect and admire each other. But, we are quite different as people, and as audiophiles, and the Boulder versus BAT, and Lindemann versus EMM Labs debate, completely and clearly define our differences as audiophiles.

And we both walk a somewhat rocky path, in that neither of us is of a pure faith (the intolerant zealotry that provokes the all too often audiophile jihad). We mix tubes and transistors, vinyl and digital, with seeming abandon. This is because we are music lovers first and audiophiles second.

And here comes another butt ...but, sometimes we are ultimately moved in different ways.

I agree with him about SACD. I agree with him about Lloyd Walker's incredible turntable. I agree with him about the Bobby Fuller Four and a host of things.

I don't agree about Linn, or Von Schweikert, or a host of other things.

These are the polarities. They are easy, because they are clear.

The EMM/Labs Lindemann, Boulder BAT discussion is not clear and not simple and not black and white.

As you can readily discern from our writing styles, the good Dr. Robinson is very much the cool, reflective, intellectual. Me, I am the kinesthetic, volatile, emotional sort.

He reached a conclusion that the Boulder is the best amplifier he has ever heard (hum, or did he?), in much the same way he concludes the EMM Labs is the best digital system extant.

I admire both of those products without reservation. They are essentially flawless for all practical purposes.

That being said, I am more emotionally satisfied, more MOVED, more engaged at the visceral level by the Lindemann and BAT equivalents. He is visual, I am kinethestic.

So, which is best? Without objective criteria to be tested (and frankly, all of these pieces are so beautifully designed and executed that any measurement you might use will produce equivalent findings) gets down to preference.

And perhaps there is some redemption here. David and I can disagree without rancor, see the other's point of view as valid and reasonable, but reach different individual conclusions. And we can do so, without throwing poo at each other in the process.

I need a little more (not a lot more) richness and romance than I get from Boulder or EMM Labs; David needs the additional clarity and resolution they offer.

Viva le difference!