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Customer Reviews

 

 

Symposium Svelte Shelf with Rollerblock jr. HDSE upgrade

Audience AU-24 SE power cord


You've done it again Robert, 

 I listened for a couple of days with the new power cord while I was waiting for the rollerblocks to arrive.  I had two immediate impressions: the speakers seemed to disappear more and I felt I was hearing more low level information.  The biggest change was after I set up the symposium shelf and rollerblocks.  I was truly surprised  what an overall improvement they made.  I really thought I had reached a point where I couldn't make a really significant improvement but I was wrong.  I find it difficult to put into words what I am hearing.  There is simply greater clarity in everything.  Improved detail.  More music.  Not deeper bass but tighter bass.  Soft passages I can now hear, for example, the opening to Beethoven's triple concerto.  Less aware of the speakers as a sound source.  Not a wider soundstage, but more music within the soundstage.  I think the symposium is making more of a difference than the power cord.  I am definitely going to put the symposium under the preamp as well as changing the power cord to the audience like we talked about.  I wouldn't expect the symposium to make as big an improvement under the preamp as it did under the cd player.  I would certainly recommend to anyone who uses a cd player as their primary sound source to use an isolation platform.  I can see where it would also make a huge improvement under a turntable.  The size shelf I bought fits perfectly and looks really nice.  In a month or two I will order another shelf and rollerblocks.  I couldn't be more pleased.  I am enjoying my stereo more now than I have in a long time. 

Thanks again,

John

 

Harbeth 30.1 with Resonant Woods stands

Hey Bob,     ( Wed. p.m.)

Very nice to finally visit with you - and bring home new audio loot too!

"It's like taking Acid" is not my favorite critical response - I've never used 
it myself in an article. But hey - there's a first time for everything. And 
somehow it pops into my head tripping as I am on these mighty little 
'30.1's"…Jesus! Talk about seeing in technicolor, having flashbacks, - whatever 
'ol hippy metaphor you choose. These things are something else!

Thanks as always,

Sasha M.

REL R-528 SE subwoofers 

 

Bob,  
 
You suggested the use of dual subs to me approximately  6 years ago when I purchased my first REL B-2.  After purchasing the Magico V-2 Speakers  from you it was my long range plan to add dual subs.  The new REL R-528-SE in dual fashion is the finishing touch on a excellent speaker system, as they add balance to the very bottom end.   I enjoy older jazz, in particular Bill Evans.  I find Scott Lafaro's  bass is as good as I've ever heard. The finger plucks are real as well as the resonance of the instrument. So too most all lower bass in handled in a coherent manner from Rock to Classical. Thanks for this and the many other recommendations over our 17 plus year search for great music!  
 
Casey Bradham

 

REVEL F208 Performa 3 model

Dear Bob,

"In this theater that I call my soul, I always play the starring role" - I've loved The Police since high school, and I've always loved this lyric from a heart broken Sting. His bassline drives the tempo changes in "So Lonely" (from Outlandos d'Amour), and the Revel F208s serve up their punk/reggae concoction perfectly - these things really rock! When I first set them up, I was impressed with the sound and in particular, the dynamic capabilities. However, I did not bother with much listening until letting them run in continuously for a couple hundred hours. After the break-in the speakers really opened up and improved across the board. I'm able to position these speakers 5 feet off my front wall (13'/22'), with a wide spread to avoid blocking my theater screen. The boundary control feature is very useful for tailoring the sound to my room. Aesthetically, the F208s are beautifully finished in walnut and the curved cabinet is rock solid - everything seems very well engineered.

I have not seen measurements for the F208s but to me they seem to be very true to the source. Listening to "She's No Lady" from Lyle Lovett - Pontiac shows the F208's capability to cast a wide, deep stage - much more impressively than I've heard in my system previously. This is a good recording and Lovett's voice is beautifully rendered at the center of the stage. Additionally, images pop up all over the stage and seemingly hang in the air. "Paper and Fire" from Mellencamp's The Lonesome Jubilee is another good recording, but can sound bright on some systems. Not on the F208s. This song's production is on full display, and it's vivid as it should be - but not bright. As with "She's No Lady" instruments and vocals are wonderfully reproduced, but this is a hotter jam - very invigorating. What's nice about the F208s is they can do this without shining a spotlight on the music - there no harsh edge, just perfectly reproduced sound. By the way, the dispersion also seems to be very well done - I don't have to sit dead center to appreciate the imaging capabilities. Other songs that demonstrate this are Perfect Blue Buildings and Anna Begins from Counting Crows August and Everything After. On Perfect Blue Buildings, Adam Duritz vocals are reproduced impressively without sounding stressed even at high SPLs. The drum kit sounds perfectly realistic on the intro to Anna Begins (realistic drums are a big deal to me because it's a rock music imperative, and I heard this on recording after recording).

A few other records I enjoyed tonight: Zappa's Hot Rats, Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire, and Warren Zevon Excitable Boy. Zappa's fusion jam "The Gumbo Variations" is a really cool song. It's a long instrumental, but it holds your attention with Zappa's guitar and Ian Underwood's tenor sax sounding like they are right in the room. The F208s really capture all of the texture of that sax. Singer/songwriter stuff like Ryan Adams is equally well reproduced. Adams voice on "Dirty Rain" is huge and life like in the center of the stage - I could listen to this record over and over. Zevon's title track sounds great, and the Mellow Mafia, as it turns out, are a quite the rocking band.

Changing directions completely, the first track from Radiohead Kid A also sounds great. This heavily processed track really puts me in a trance every time I crank it up - totally enveloping. Everything in its right place, indeed.

Thanks again Bob,

Paul G.

Robert,

 

Well now I am sure you hit this out of the park. Just listening to Eva Cassidy's "Songbird". My wife made me turn up the volume!
New sound is awesome!!!! I feel like I've moved forward 20 rows at Symphony Hall. My wife has actually commented on the detail. Hearing the triangle above the orchestra in Brahm's 4th.
Just finished listening to Ruth Cameron's "Roadhouse" (Charlie Haden's spouse) and you hear her every breath and Charlie's bass is deep, tight and clear.
Thanks for the recommendation.
Lloyd T.

 

Hey Bob,

Just wanted to let you know that those Dynaudio speakers are better than
I could have even imagined. Just awesome. They sound SO good that
sometimes they frighten me! No kidding. HAHAHA they are GREAT!!!!! I
thought my little B&Ws sounded quite good, which they do, but absolutely
nothing like the Dynaudios, they are on some completely different plane
of existence. The sound, the detail, smoothness and balance is just
amazing. There is stuff on records I have listened to 1000 times that I
have never heard before.....and with the Dynaudios I have to admit even
CDs sound better than I thought they could. Way way way better. So good
in fact, that I am listening to CDs now on a regular basis! I am sooooo
happy with these speakers!!!!! 

George G.
 

 

Hi Bob,

I have only listened to my Reimyo transport and processor with the new Transparent Ultra XLR interconnects between the processor and the preamp and the preamp to the amp for a few hours. I have already concluded that your were right. They really have made a significant improvement in my system. When you suggested I upgrade my two interconnects as the next step in upgrading my stereo, as you know, I was very sceptical. Until now, I had never heard "wire" make a difference in one's system. When you told me how much the cables cost it took my breath away. Over the past thirty years or so I had always said I didn't see myself spending a lot of money on wire.

After putting off the decision for almost half a year, I am glad I went forward with the purchase. I deliberately avoided asking you what specific improvements or differences I would hear. I did not want what you said to color what I perceived I was hearing. I could tell you that I hear cleaner highs, deeper bass, wider soundstage, greater imaging, etc. (I do hear those things). But, to me that is not the big difference that the Transparent Ultra cables make, it is that the music is more relaxed, smoother, more natural sounding, simply more beautiful. I have never enjoyed my system more. I am really glad I decided to take your advice and I want to thank you for working with me so that I could buy these cables.

Your Friend,
John N.


Hi Bob,

I just want you to know that the Marantz/Harbeth combination still sounds great ... (this system is a keeper). As for additions, I will be buying a REL sub-woofer in September. Also, I love your new website and, as always, you have great products with nice photos. You are still my favorite high-end dealer.

All the best,
Chuck Jackson


Dear Bob,

It was a wonderful and pleasant surprise to find your store. The amount of time we spent talking and the professionalism you showed was truly impressive. I have been involved in this hobby/addiction for nearly 20 years. The time you took to set up the equipment and explain everything demonstrated the care and knowledge you have. This made me feel very comfortable with my purchase. Your shop is a hidden jewel and I hope more people will have the opportunity to have the same excellent experience I had. It was a pleasure to meet you and you have earned my business for years to come.

Sincerely your new customer,
Mike L.


Dear Bob,

My system is now better than I ever thought it could be, and this is due entirely to your knowledge, your thoroughness, and your professionalism. I have never, in our entire relationship, thought you had anything other than my interests at heart, and you should be very proud.

Larry


Weiss DAC202: I Think This Is "The One"

I recently purchased a Weiss DAC202, and I would like to share my first impressions. This is not a formal review (I am neither eloquent, nor smart enough to do justice to the DAC202 in a review). Rather, I offer my 2 cents to those of you who, like me, listen primarily to analog and have been bouncing around from one digital source to another, searching in vain for something satisfying. To you, let me suggest that you run, don't walk, to audition a DAC202. It's that good.

It's not for lack of effort (and $$$) that I haven't previously found something satisfying. I have had my share of CD/SACD players (dCS Puccini, Carey 306, Accustic Arts) and DACS (Wavelength, Bel Canto). No doubt, each of these were outstanding at what they did. Unfortunately, what they did for me was sit on my audio rack, barely used, mocking me for having thought I had finally found "the one" digital player that would get me to shift my listening from analog sources.

I am now using the DAC202 with a mac min 2010 (via Firewire) running itunes with Pure Music. I re-ripped all my CDs to AIFF. Even without upsampling, the DAC202 is hands-down superior to everything else I have owned. 16/44.1 files are very detailed, but at the same time rich, musical, and non-fatiguing. I have downloaded several high resolution files from HDTracks and Linn, and I have found that these are every bit (no pun intended) as stunning as SACDs were on the Puccini (at over 3x the price). But, as I said, the highest praise that I can give the DAC202 is that I finally have found something that will actually give my turntable a serious run for the money.

Happy listening.


Dear Bob and Victoria,

Many thanks for your hospitality during my visit to Victor. I enjoyed meeting you and visiting your store. It is a pleasure working with people who are serious about making great sound, taking care of their customers and having fun. You have a lovely store, the equipment is well displayed, the sound is wonderful, and it is obvious your customers enjoy doing business with you. Thank you for doing an excellent job representing Magico loudspeakers. Having met you, I am not surprised by your success with Magico and expect that our business together will continue to grow. If there is anything I can do to support your efforts, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Best regards,
Irv

Irv Gross
Director of Sales
Magico LLC


Dear Bob,

I have to say that the Weiss DAC 202 is really spectacular. Although I enjoyed the Weiss Minerva, the 202 is more musical and provides a more integrated sound, far more like vinyl. It is also quite striking how much better CDs sound played from a hard disc drive through the Weiss than from a CD drive through the same DAC. Thanks for recommending this upgrade.

M.T.


I'd like to say that the Esoteric SA-50 has been a revelation. Initially it sounded good, but not spectacular. It required a few weeks of regular use to really hit its stride. Since then every listening session has been an adventure in discovering new things in older recordings. It mercilessly unmasks poorly recorded disks and allows you to hear the difference it makes when disks are well-recorded.

Regards,
Richard M.


Hi Bob,

I love the Marantz SA-11S2 that you sold me last week. I've been re-discovering my SACD collection. And it looks wonderful on my equipment rack. The night before I got it, I listened to cuts from several SACDs on my old Marantz SA-8001. Then, the next night, I listened to those same cuts on the new player. They sounded much better, more transparent and with more detail. Then, as I was reading the manual, I noticed that the SACD indicator on the display wasn't lit. I had been listening to the CD layer! So the CD layer on the new player sounds better than the SACD layer on the old one. And the SACD layer on the SA-11S2 sounds even better, although the amount of difference between CD and SACD is much less than it was with my old player. I've also compared CDs played on the SA-11S2 with the same cuts ripped onto my music PC and played back through my 10-year-old Bel Canto DAC. Those cuts sound a bit better on the Marantz, probably because the DAC in the Marantz is better. I wasn't sure about buying an expensive silver disc player at a time when I'm getting into high quality PC audio, but I'm glad that I did.

Regards,
Tom L.


Bob,

A quick note to tell you how much I’m enjoying the Sonus Faber Cremona M's I got from you several months ago. Your assessment of there sonic character was spot on. Because I have no dealer close to listen, I must rely on our relationship and your integrity for the truth. You have been right every time going back to the very first Speaker I purchased from you the GREAT Audio Physics Virgo! Also, the Aesthetix Calypso Pre-Amp has worked well and the ability to change tubes to customize the sound has been fun and quite revealing. Keep up the great work you do for your customers. I’ll always be grateful.

Sincerely,
Casey Bradham


Bob and Victoria,

I just wanted to express my thanks to you for providing me with an exceptional audiophile system. When I was looking to take my 2 channel system to a serious level I visited several local shops. You’re expertise and experience made it easy to choose your shop to do business with. After listening to my needs you steered my towards an Ayre Acoustics matched system along with Sonus Faber speakers. I have to say that once my components were run in and speaker placement was fine tuned, I have a system that rivals my expectations. The resolution and natural ease of music flow makes it hard to stop listening! I really appreciate that you didn’t arbitrarily push me towards “x” or “y” brand, but spent the time and guided me towards what suited my preferences. Well done!

Regards,
Phil Viruso


LINN EKOS SE TONEARM

- Installed By The Analog Shop, Inc.

The Linn Ekos SE is a big step up from the Ittok LVII that I had been using for ages. Bass is more firm and present, and sounds throughout the frequency range are more penetrating and persistent. While I would never have described notes as wavering with the Ittok, there’s more of a palpable sense with the Ekos SE that the fundamental sound of a piano string for example is ringing out at a particular frequency.

I produced some frequency spectra of parallel 20-second samples of organ music from an LP that I had digitized first with the Ittok and then with the Ekos SE, and there was more energy in the low frequencies with the Ekos SE, below about 60 Hz. There was also what appeared to be resonant peaks at around roughly 150 and 250 Hz with the Ittok that were gone with the Ekos SE. I didn’t survey this exhaustively, but that could be a product of the less resonant titanium in the Ekos SE vs. whatever metal the Ittok is made of. But the most remarkable effect of the Ekos SE was in making acoustic instruments sound more nakedly real. Yes, any improvement to an audio system should increase realism, but other improvements I’ve made to amplifiers, cartridges, etc., have produced what I would describe as cleaner and more detailed sound that is more real because it’s cleaner and more detailed, while the effect of the Ekos SE struck me more as an almost disconcerting realism. It didn’t take an effort to imagine a piano or saxophone in the room, it was
rather as though it’s reality had been forced upon me.

With some favorite recordings, this effect took some getting used to. I suspect that the slight resonances of the Ittok had sweetened the sound of those recordings in ways that I actually rather liked and had got used to, while the Ekos SE produced what is presumably a more legitimate sound but one that sometimes seemed a bit cold and dry at first. Fortepianos that sounded lovely with the Ittok now have the gritty complexity of old pianos. There is more of a sound of a fortepiano actually playing in my living room, but it’s not as pretty as I’d thought. This is certainly not the first time that an improvement to my system has changed my view of which recordings are especially well-engineered. With the Ekos SE, the firmer bass made some cherished recordings sound a bit bass-heavy, while others that had sounded thin now sound quite nice. I also toed in my speakers a bit after I’d had the tonearm a few days, to compensate for the increase in low frequencies.

In the first few weeks I had the Ekos SE, I listened to a lot of LPs that had bugged me in the past because of varying degrees of tracking distortion with the Ittok. The Ekos SE solved most but not all of these problems. The slight edge of distortion that some recordings of pianos and voices used to have in louder and more complex passages is now reduced or eliminated, and that’s a huge relief. In fact, I’ve been listening to much more piano music than I had, because there are now fewer tracking imperfections. Organ music also tracks much better, but some of the intensely complex passages still distort a bit.

Tracking distortion in the inner groove of many LPs is reduced or eliminated with the Ekos SE. There’s still a congested sound in the last minute or two sometimes, but less than before, and in many cases it’s gone away almost entirely. When there is still some inner groove distortion, that may in fact be distortion produced in the cutting of the master or wear from the LP having been played with mid-fi equipment. Most of my LPs are non-audiophile releases bought used over the years. None of the bona-fide audiophile releases I have distort at all that I can hear, but then few did with the Ittok either.

The cartridge I’ve been using is a Lyra Helikon, which fit the Ittok headshell fine but is a very tight fit with the Ekos SE. At first, I thought it wouldn’t work at all. But by using Dynavector leads, and bending the tags gently to allow the back corner of the cartridge to fit between the leads for the left and right channels, I was able to align the cartridge with the proper overhang. The only snag is that the stylus cover has to be removed when fitting the cartridge and won’t fit on as long as the cartridge is on the headshell. So it’s not the ideal marriage of cartridge and tonearm, but it does work.

The Ekos SE certainly isn’t cheap, and the price tag did put me off for a few years. But if you’ve got some money to spare and you love the sound of LPs, it’s well worth it in my opinion.

All The Best, J.B.

 

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