You are reading the older HTML site

Positive Feedback ISSUE 53
january/february 2011


Our readers respond…we respond right back!

Send your comments to either or

Hello Mr. Parks,
I was impressed with the improvements you gained by installing the SilverStar tuning fuses in the Marantz SA-11S2, and am tempted to do the same thing. Are these fuses available in the United States? If not, can you recommend a similar tuning fuse? I live in Maryland, about five miles north of Washington DC.

I am awaiting delivery of the Cambridge Audio 840C CD player, and wonder if it could also benefit from the SilverStars; the same dealer also sells Marantz, so I could change the order easily. Plus, the Marantz plays SACDs (some people believe an SACD player harms the CD playback, and a CD-only model is best, but I would guess it depends on the quality of the execution).


Mark Lombardi



Thank you for the positive comments and feedback regarding my Marantz SA-11s2 article. Yes, the fuses do make a big difference, or at least they did in my Marantz SA-11s2 as used in my system.

Here is a link to a dealer I recommend. Contact Alfred Kainz In addition, here is his phone number.... (760) 490-2410  Alfred is great guy and comes from a very short list of high end audio dealers I recommend.

Regarding your concern that many SACD players make poor sounding CD players, I hear your cry. However, this is not the case regarding the Marantz SA-11s2 due to its design. Please re-read the article, it is all explained within…. J

When it comes to making a recommendation regarding gear as compared to other gear, I try to stay out of that discussion. My focus is reviewing gear. My suggestion is once you have combed over all of the reviews, go to your local high end audio dealer and audition the pieces of gear that make your short list. In the end this decision is yours not mine. Besides, what if I make a recommendation and you hate the gear; then you will think I have tin ears. Again, all of this is about synergy, and what sounds best to YOUR ears.

Happy listening,

Jeff Parks

All emails, letters, comments are considered for publishing unless noted otherwise by the author. Read "The Higher-End" below for our position.

Many of the biggest names in Classical music, Bach, Mozart, etc. leave me a little bored, while since a young boy I have loved the work of many "lesser" composers such as Copland, Dvorak, and Strauss. Your articles The Classical Divide: Absolute versus Program Music and the Basic Power Orchestral Repertoire or Classical music for folks who don’t like Classical music have helped me understand why I did not like music that someone who attends the symphony often is supposed to like.

Thanks for your insights.

Kindest regards,


Very nice and informative review of the Bel Canto and Rogue amplifiers. Just very well articulated and communicated.


Dave and Carol,
Can't thank you enough for your multiple page, very well photographed report on the show. Typically not so long, I just kept turning and turning.

I really appreciate that you do not segregate out the photos of the designers, builders, owners, fanatical devotees and caught them informally, sometimes casually—Jeff Joseph checking out some vinyl. I gives a wonderful sense of the community, closeness and the sense of continuity in the high end.


Say Dave a few notes, how about handing off the camera to Carol every now and then, or is there a reason. Looks like she is a real shiner and knows everyone as well as you. I too like women who are not camera shy. You're a lucky duck, but I guess you know it.

Oh yes what did Steve Norber do to you shoulder. Need a body guard, or were you just doing some heavy lifting.

Thanks again, feel like I was there

Sam H.


Dear Dave and Carol,
Thanks for the showing me CES 2011. I can't afford to go, but looking at your pictures made me feel like I was there.

How in the world does Carol keep such a beautiful smile while dashing from room to room? You guys must have been exhausted.

I wish we were seeing more young people and women as enthusiasts.

Best wishes,

Sean Krogman

Dear Sirs,
On behalf of Masa and Silicon Arts Design, I'd like to thank you very much for your choice of our Si2 Micro Integration Line for the PFO Writer's Choice Awards. We are very proud of these tiny but great-sounding components and extremely pleased that you liked them enough to give us the honor. We are both surprised and excited at the same time!

Masa is working hard to launch several new products in 2011, beginning with the newer, improved "V2" edition of the ZL-120 monoblock amplifier. We are determined to make 2011 an exciting year for all of us.

Thank you again for your enthusiasm and continued support.

Best wishes for the upcoming holiday season.

Hajime Sato
Silicon Arts Design & Concert Fidelity

I have just read Jeff Park’s review of Marantz SA 11 S2 player. Being a happy owner of it I would like to try the fuses he advises in the article. I would like to contact him to know exactly which kind (model) of HiFI Tuning fuses I should buy. Is it possible?

Thank you very much in advance.

Best Regards

Stefano Amico, Livorno, Italy.


Thank you for the interest. The fuses used are from HIFi Tuning fuses. The model is called the SilverStar.

Here is a link to their website. Bernel Ahne is the manufacturer of this fine fuse. As far a values goes, please use the stock fuse values. And be sure to use slow blow fuses.

Jeff Parks

Hello I would like to add if I may several things that substantially make even the Excellent Modwright Modded 5400 CD player at least 10-15% better overall.

One is Dans optional Nichicon Gold series capacitor upgrade for the power supply and analog board, also the Bybee purifiers, NOS Vintage 5ar4 Mullard rectifier tube as well as Sylvanias Chrome dome 6sn7 tubes for the analog section, also hifi-tuning Silver fuses and last but not least

The little know but High increase in resolution as well as every other dept the Audiomagic Pulse generators that eliminate EMI as well as RFI inside the CDP , Audiomagic also has these that go directly on the speaker wires that make ANY System sound much more 3 Dimensional.

Please do mention these system improvements.

Keep up the excellent writings

Paul Letteri.

About the Future of High end Audio...

Interesting point of view. High end audio is more often than not associated with high price. However, the bulk of R&D in audio is done in the low-fi. There was a time when "trickle down technology" had some meaning in HiFi. These days, we should refer to "trickle up technology". Let's face it, much, much more money is spent in audio R&D into wireless, cellular DSP technology, than anywhere else in HiFidom.

Most of the technology found its way into $20 cell phones and $200 music docks and it's all right. It may trickle up to mega bucks systems eventually, if there is still a market for that.

Let's be honest, the world's most advanced DAC chips are not found in uber sound systems. The best DSP technology is not found in High End audio systems. Most High End manufacturers are only packaging mainstream technology into expensive looking boxes. Can you name one CD or DAC manufacturer that actually design and manufactures such chips? Nada. How many amplifier manufacturers repackage digital technology developed for the automotive market? How about a digital cable "manufacturer" advertising a "low-jitter" cable? Did any member of the audio press actually object to the fact that there is no cable induced jitter anyway?

I know most if not all members of the audio press are enthusiasts who want to spread the joy of the hobby in an honest, candid way, and it's OK. However, there is something a little troubling about the association of High End and High Price—because it is just not true. People of my age (I'm 53) are familiar with "source-preamp-amp-cable- speaker" - my kids are not, because the whole chain fits into an iPod. My 13 years old daughter has more—way more—music than I had at her age, and she never, ever bought a single CD in her life, nor did she ever went to a music store.

The HiFi press is acting as if young people are not attracted to music— this isn't true. They are not attracted to irrelevant things such as cables, racks, tubes, resonators, magic clocks, SET, etc. Why should we need power regulators when iPods run off the grid? Why should we even be concerned about Hi-Rez download while Cloud computing makes it obsolete?

The next big thing in audio is being developed right now and it won't make it into HiFi magazines, because the aging readers do not, cannot change what they learned over the years, or perhaps because they find it hard to realize, let alone admit they are wrong.

Active drive speakers never caught on in the audiophile market. Somehow, those same audiophiles marvel at the stupid complexity of a 4th order passive network, or the totally anachronic "phase alignment" of passively driven components. As long as the audio press in general is not opening up to another reality, the market will continue to shrink and isolate not only from the young, but from everyone—because the younger generation is also getting older.

Anyway, I must say I read the article with a tiny glimpse of hope.

Best regards

Robert Gaboury
Montreal, Canada

The Higher End

About the "expectation of privacy" and those emails to Positive Feedback Online

Ye Olde Editor

We do like hearing from you, our readers. It adds a great deal fun to what we do, encourages our editors and writers, provides information we may have missed, and correction that we may need. This is all to the good.

Your communication with us these days is almost always via the highly rational path of email. And we do read it, responding to the constructive correspondence—which is most of it, really—as quickly as possible. (The destructive stuff is routed directly to the bit bucket. Didn't yo' mama teach you better than that?!) Dave Clark and I are generally pretty rapid in getting back to you if a response is needed from us, or in re-directing inquiries to the appropriate person at PFO if it needs to go to an editor or writer.

By the way: please understand that the writers and editors at PFO are helpful folks, eager to assist their fellow audio/music lovers, or they wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Nevertheless, PFO is not an audio consulting service. Please do not clog the gears with complex requests for assistance with the sourcing of audio gear in your personal setting. Remember too that PFO is not, and has never been, an audio ombudsman. If you are having problems with a particular vendor, company, or dealer, please avail yourself of the normal channels for such resolution; no audio publication has the time or resources to take on such a responsibility for consumers. Enough said.

With an increasing flow of emails to Positive Feedback Online, and upon evidence of some recent confusion on the part of our email correspondents, it's become necessary to re-state the ground rules by which we operate here. So gather round the campfire, friends…

Any time an email, or an exchange of emails, is both constructive and of potential wider interest, we exercise the reserved right to publish it in "Reverberations," the letters section of PFO. This is, after all, a publication, a "journal for the audio arts." We are seeking to further educate and entertain our readership in our common love for fine audio, and contributions in the form of emails/letters from our readers are one way that we accomplish this goal. When you write to any of us… our essayists and reviewers included… we assume that you are aware of our nature as a publication, and that you write to us in the light of that knowledge.

This means that—unless you request confidentiality explicitly in your email or letter—there is no expectation of privacy here at Positive Feedback Online.

To put it another way: Any email or letter sent to this journal will be considered fair game for publication, unless you state in the document itself that the contents are private/confidential.

So… our default is PUBLISH.

The reverse is also true: the editors do reserve the right not to publish an email or letter. We are not obligated to publish your letter or comments simply because they are submitted. And hostile, negative, sarcastic, destructive emails or letters are never published.

So…sometimes we DON'T PUBLISH.

Finally, our subtitle for "Reverberations"—"Our readers respond—we respond right back!" is not a guarantee that we will always respond to an email or letter that is published. Often we do; sometimes we don't… usually when we don't, it's a case of res ipsa loquitur.

So finally… sometimes we PUBLISH WITHOUT RESPONSE.

I think that makes things clear. Having said all of this in the name of clarity, keep those cards and letters coming in!

All the best,

David W. Robinson