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Positive Feedback ISSUE 70
november/december 2013


Our readers respond…we respond right back!

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I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your review of the Morrow Audio cables (issue 67). I use Morrow Audio cables almost exclusively in my system. I believe in having a complete loom of the same cables and am slowly getting there.

But that is not the important reason I enjoyed your review. There were several. First, I don't read reviews much anymore. There was a point they served to help educate me, but I have come to distrust them for the most part. Your approach was refreshing for several reasons.

Second, we appear to share two closely-related values in putting a system together: Low cost, and getting the most out of the equipment. I've spent probably over 10 years getting my system balanced in terms of price/quality of the components and only recently achieved this, but I did not spend more than $1000 per component except for one component. However I have spent at least as much as I did on components for the cables (still not expensive), vibration control and isolation, acoustic treatment of the room, and clean power. I didn't do any of that with any expensive or esoteric items, it just adds up over time.

So thanks for a review that was informative, entertaining, and most importantly, spoke to me in terms and values that I find very seldom expressed in most of the industry publications.

Paul Sairio

St. Paul, MN

Thanks for the kind words. Whether based on financial need, practicality, or simply an unwillingness to spend too much money, cost alone shouldn't prevent people having killer, thoroughly enjoyable music at home. I feel the bizarre focus on absurdly expensive equipment really hurts this hobby and industry. It seems to be akin to telling people not to own a car because they can't afford at least a Porsche, if not a Ferrari.

I've actually gone somewhat backwards over the years, starting many years ago with full range electrostatics that cost about $3200 in the 1970s (when an Infinity IRS was only about $12,000). After a ten-year hiatus, I came back, but with a desire to prove that serious, high-end sound could be had without breaking the bank. The Morrow cables fit into that spectacularly well.

Sure, I might take on the occasional slightly more expensive piece, still trying to maintain a $3000 limit for any single component, but I really don't have any interest in having a $20,000 amplifier or a $50,000 pair of speakers in my home.

Steve Lefkowicz

I started reading the latest speaker review but I had to stop and write this before I go back to reading it.

It will most likely be, as all PF reviews, very well written and an informative work of art.

But whenever I read lines in a review of modern audio gear like "where did we go wrong?", I have to start asking questions myself about just what is it with modern hifi gear, that makes some folks hate it so?

Well, maybe hate is a bit harsh. So how about trendy?

I see it cropping up more and more.

One reviewer after the next criticizing a new speaker or amp for not involving the reviewer, for not touching the human side of his psyche.

For not getting his mojo in motion.

Well you know what I mean don't you?

Maybe it's my old ears and their lack of top frequency perception, but I find the newest gear to sound anything but emotionally involving.

I tend to find the overly lush, warm and romantic sound of vintage gear and tubey tubes to be just a bit too human-aka-voluptuous-to be likened to the Rubinesque era females.

Sometime you can have too much of a good thing.

Perhaps those who are still at the forefront of the audio industry are old farts like myself and they too need some uber detail to get things into focus.

My ears already have rolled off high frequencies. I used to be able to hear the 14Khz test tones, now 10K seems to be my upper limit.

Maybe the youngsters (those 30 something's doing most of today's reviews) can't tolerate the clarity and detail that I find so attractive. Yet I can't enjoy wallowing in the muck of systems that only bring me a percentage of what's on the recording.

Maybe someday their ears will age and mellow, and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Maybe then, they will learn to appreciate the great strives forward the present crop of audio gear is representative of.

Or maybe not.

Maybe the MP3 generation just doesn't want the sound to sound good. They're used to only hearing bits and pieces of the sound and short length tracks of the music, so full scale representation must be quite unnatural.

Back when I was a full time musician, one of the old sayings was-"no one knows what good is, they only know what they like".

My fear is that if the trend continues and designers, in order to sell product ,resort to pandering to the lowest case scenarios, future generations will never really hear all the music the way that it was meant to be heard.

In it's full, true, hifidelity humaness.

Chuck & Diane Lee

Hello and good afternoon,
I am looking for a very good integrated for my system:

I just read the Kent Johnson review about the HEGEL H100 and particularly i have been after one of these; the H200 or the H300 from Hegel, but also i have been interested on how the Rogue St's or integrates compare with the HEGELs specially in a system like mine (Auralic VEGA processor and MacMini as a source and a pair of GoldenEar Tritons Two), my taste for music is mostly Rock, Metal, Pop, Latin, soft, reggae and some jazz…

In the review Kent speaks about its Rogue 90 and i would like how did he like the H100 against his Rogue, maybe you can help find my route in which of the two brands could fit better with my system and preferences.

I live in Mexico and for me here to go an Audio store to try these different brands is no chance cause there are not around here.

I would appreciate your kind suggestions and help!

All the best


Dear Mr. Dorsey,
I was understandably disappointed to see that you rated my paper "worst in show," and I'd like to follow up on your review.

You write that I set out to give a comparative analysis of THE various Beatles releases and claim that I fail to do so. It's important to note that my intention was never to analyze all or even most of the Beatles releases, but to compare, simply "various" releases, attempting to determine how The Beatles responded to emerging media platforms, and whether their re-releases took advantage of or fell prey to those formats.

Admittedly, and quite intentionally, my paper is much less technical than others, and instead, I was very much interested in first-hand accounts of how and why Beatles tunes were mastered or re-mastered for release––hence many excerpts from my interviews with masters like Ken Scott.

Additionally, while I could very well have analyzed additional releases and included additional tech specs, I felt it was important to consider more of the cultural and historical implications of ignoring the very real differences in CONTENT between one release and another––for example, last-minute changes to stereo versions of songs originally mixed in mono. As I state in the paper, a library's failure to understand that vinyl should not automatically be replaced by CD, and that even CD releases can be very different, is a detriment to our understanding of an artist's original intent. 

With additional time and funds, I too would love to explore a wider array of Beatles material. But a comprehensive technical analysis of their vast catalog was never the intention of this paper.


Brett Barry

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