Positive Feedback ISSUE 63
september/october 2012

 

 

Our readers respond…we respond right back!

Send your comments to either drobinson@positive-feedback.com or dclark@positive-feedback.com


Sirs,
I just want to throw a shout out to Michael Mercer for his Bob Ludwig interview in PFO. This is exactly the kind of stuff I enjoy reading. To me, mastering engineers, at least the ones who are true artists, are the among the most interesting and authoritative of audiophiles because they're the ones who actually hear and, in some ways, create the finished product. I'm also always interested in the gear they use because it's gear that actually works in the professional world, rather than mere hobbyist stuff. And mastering engineers like Bob Ludwig know detail and accuracy when they hear it. Bob says he used to use those massive Duntechs, and he currently uses Eggleston Ivys. I looked those up and they're a little out of my price range. I'm wondering if you have ever heard either of these speakers and if they were ever reviewed by PFO. Again, hats off to you, David, for securing such a great interview for the magazine and to Michael.

Timothy Roth


Lynn,

Based on the recent articles you’ve posted, it’s clear that you’re a

freaking nutcase! Therefore I’m really looking forward to your future contributions to PF.

Russ Stratton

If you'd like more, see the "Beyond the Ariel" thread at the Multi-Way Loudspeaker forum at Diyaudio:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/

It's a very long thread that was inactive for a year or so, and is now active again, now that a prototype is up and running. (But not in the same part of the country where I live, so it's time to build my own.)

As mentioned in the articles, I design my own amps and loudspeakers because there is nothing on the market remotely close to what I'd like. I might commercialize the Karna amplifier or the new loudspeaker, but I'd prefer to license the design - I've done manufacturing before, and it's not something I want to do again. I think trade screcy is destroying the industry, so I share key design features of what I do on the Web.

DACs, though, are another story. I have a general understanding of what's inside, but I'm still researching exactly how Sigma-Delta and DSD devices work - there's a lot of sleight-of-hand in digital terminology, and translating it back into real-people-speak is not simple. For example, what they call "digital noise" is nothing of the sort - it's a collection of digital-feedback errors that appear at the top of the band, and measures somewhat like noise. Unlike analog noise, though, it is correlated with the input signal, but in a very complex way (chaos math is needed to analyze the relationship).

Lynn Olson


Hi Will,
I just read your review of the Hegel HD11 and it really saved my day! My reaction to the HD11 was exactly as you describe it - flat and lacking in dynamics; Boring! I just sold my Theta DSPro Gen Va a couple of weeks ago and picked up the HD11 based on the positive reviews. Boy, did I regret that move. Reading your review I thought I'd give the USB input a go and it did indeed sound better. Still nothing to get excited about, but a definite improvement.

Now we get to the interesting part - reading about what Hegel does to COAX 1 and noting how USB sounded better I decided to give COAX 2 a try and lo and behold - the music is back! I can't stop smiling at how much better it sounds and how it's now quite a bit better than my old Theta (as musical but with more detail and better soundstaging). I don't know if my unit is flawed or if it's Hegel's COAX 1 implementation that's wonky, but for me - changing to COAX 2 made all the difference. I would never have tried this without reading your review so a big Thank You for saving my system!

Cheers,

Jonas

Jonas,

You've uncovered an aspect of the review that I didn't explore. Because Hegel recommended Coax 1 for high resolution sources, I didn't try Coax 2.

Your confirmation of my results is both gratifying and distressing. If we are correct about the sound then it's unlikely that I had a faulty sample.

I was hoping I could redeem the HD11 in a second sample. The $1200 price, though not inexpensive, is a sweet spot considering how much more and how much less can be spent on a product of this type. If you can manage the higher price point, you should check out the Resonessence Invicta DAC at $4000. This DAC has nearly every possible connection option, including headphone output, and is excellent regardless of input or output chosen.

Review forthcoming.

Will Wright


Gentlemen:
2 months ago I was about to send an e-mail to you deploring the editorial direction PFO seemed to be taking, positive reviews of products like Stein Music "Maestro Lacquer", & the Stein Music "Harmonizers, Diamonds & stones" insult my intelligence. I was planning on posting links to those reviews on my website as evidence of the conflict of interest of PFO with the manufacturers of said products.

After all a magazine which derives it's income from advertising the very products it reviews. All I can say if it walks like, and quacks like a duck I guess it must be a duck. 1 month ago I decided, that was it for me, no more PFO, just go back to my Sound Practices & Listener back issues, & my 4 copies of the print version of Positive Feedback. 

Well this month I gave you people another chance, and I'm glad I did because I found something that's been missing from PFO for a long time, some one willing to tell it like it is, some one not afraid to identify snake oil when he sees it, Lynn Olson is back. After reading his review of RMAF 2012, I breathed a big sigh of relief, for once an honest show report bringing to mind the higher standard of the paper format magazines like Listener & PFO before it went online. Adding Lynn Olson to your list of contributors was an excellent move & you need to add more journalists of his calibre to your staff. The other writer I like at your magazine is Steve Lefkowiczs. I also found 2 other excellent articles one by Clark Johansen on the Decline of true acoustic reference in audio magazines, and another wonderful article on audio evolution by Theresa Goodwin.

I know a little bit about how we hear and I'm aware of the sales technique (suggestibility + pseudoscience) used to sell things like music laquer etc. speaker cable etc.

Please more articles like the above and leave the b.s. to stereophile & absolute sound.


Greetings,
This is a quick note to thank you guys (and especially Mr. Levi) for the continued and professional attempt to understand and even rank ultra high-performance interconnect cables. I have found the effort to be very valuable. Who would have known that it is so easy to flush system performance that you paid for in source, amplification and speakers down the toilet so easily? You can’t believe it until you hear it. How long will it be until people realize that cables are arguably just as important as any other hardware component? Yet the subject remains so polarizing in the forum discussions, that it’s so easy to count them all as hopelessly lost and feel so very saddened for their loss of musical enjoyment… I hope you guys don’t! Well done gentlemen!

Sincerely,

Dave Brazzle

PS – Any chance of you guys taking a listen to the Lessloss Anchorwave interconnects sometime soon?


Hi Steve,
I've just recently stumbled upon your writing. We are of the same mind - great sound, sane price! Thank you for what you do...

On that note, I'm about to purchase a Tekton Lore pair, and I would like to try a higher powered (compared to my SE amps) tube amp. I have come down to the ASL amp you are using or a Jolida 102.

Do you have any insight or experience regarding the choice of the Jolida? Current pricing is $660 for the Jolida vs. around $1000 for the ASL. Galen Carol suggested that service would be a lot easier with Jolida.

Do you have any experience, or have you heard from others regarding EL84 vs KT88 with the Lores?

Thanks for your thoughts/time!

Regards,

Michael

Steve,
I reread your review of the Tekton Lores. I really enjoyed it and it got me thinking. First of all a friend of mine bought the big Reference 3A's and is very happy but he still looks for music tht is "Good enough" for them. If something is poorly recorded he wipes it off... I have Newform Research R-8-2's. Frank Ells at Stereo Times reviewed the Lore S and had also heard the Newforms in his listening rooms. He believed the Lore S to be better from top to bottom... a definite step up over the Newforms... Well, I may just have to listen to these Lore S next month. In the meantime I'll see if there is some local interest for my Newforms... oh, by they way. I also listen to the music not the equipment...life is too short for that... cheers and thinks for a great review. Lloyd

Michael and Lloyd,

Thanks to both of you for writing us, and for your comments on my article. I’ll continue to search out lower cost but high quality options for those of us that want our music sounding its best, without breaking the bank. I acquired the review pair of the Tekton Lores, and use them every day.

Allow me to respond to each of your specific comments:

Michael,

Regarding amp choices, one thing I like about the Lore is their ability to play with a wide variety of amplifiers. I switch back and forth between my to two amps (15 watt Antique Sound Labs KT88 amp and 105 watt B&K ST-140 MOSFET amp) at least once a week. They sound different, but each has their strong and weak points, though I prefer the slightly more organic, wholesome and harmonically richer sound of the tube amp.

I like Jolida products in general, and their higher prices amps have certainly sounded impressive with Von Schweikert speakers at recent audio shows. I gather from brief discussions with folks from Jolida that they are not big fans of KT88 amps, using 6550 or EL34 tubes in their higher priced amps. If you had asked me ten years ago about EL84 amps, I would have said I wasn’t impressed, but I’ve seen many good designers using them now, and have heard some good sounds at shows. I’ve never had an EL84 amp at home, so I can’t really comment in depth. For the price of the Antique Sound Labs amp, Jolida makes amps using EL34 tubes, and their hybrids seem interesting too.

As a point of reference about my own biases, I have generally preferred KT88s over EL34s,, but I know many people go the other way.

I’m running the Lores right now with a 200 watt solid state amp (an expensive one, too!) and Tekton designer Eric Alexander may be right when he says you can never have too much power! Nice thing with the Lore is that it certainly gives you plenty of options with your amplifier choices.

Lloyd,

I have never heard Newform speakers, so can’t comment on them. I do admit to having great fondness and respect for the entire line of Reference 3a line of speakers, though they are generally priced out of the range where I tend to focus.

I have not heard the Lore S, though I have spoken to Eric Alexander about them. I also met up with Scott Hull (of The Part Time Audiophile blog) who had a set, as well as the bigger Pendragon, and we discussed the various models. The Lore S is physically smaller than the Lore, uses “high end” SEAS drivers instead of pro-audio Eminence drivers, and is somewhat less efficient (93 vs 98dB). The idea to is be more refined and “high end” in sound quality. Have to wait until I hear a set myself, but I have to admit here that one thing that so impresses me with the Lore is that they don’t sound overly “high end” or refined, and that they have the energy and excitement that make music fun.

Thanks again to both of you for writing to us!

Steve


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

Editor-in-Chief

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