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March 2011 issue - Page 4

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March 2011 issue
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MB845 Mk2s AND BENZ WOOD CARTRIDGE

With reference to the MB845 Mk2s. I found that triple shielded interconnects like the Cambridge Audio 70 efforts are almost totally silent. I think it’s the big expensive transformers. Like anything expensive (and big), they tend to be noisy, and these monsters are no exception. I tried all kinds of interconnects, mainly expensive, and came down to these Cambridge Audios.

 

Will you thank Tony Bolton for his review of the Benz Wood cartridge. I ordered one straight away on the review and it sounds fantastic: I don’t like glopping around the countryside auditioning hi-fi when I don’t know about the ancillary equipment such as noise limiting devices. I’d much rather stay home and let you geniuses figure it out.

Anyway, the cartridge turned up the following day, without payment, the cheque having crossed in the post. That man is really trusting. He rang me up the same day and asked me if I liked it. I was deeply touched – thanks for recommending them.

have a great time

Best wishes,

James & Cath Gould

 

benz-wood-sl-cartridge

Benz Micro Wood "sounds fantastic", so thanks to Tony Bolton.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND HI-FI SHOW

Hello to all at Hi-Fi World. Just thought I would drop you an e-mail to say that the above event was great. It has been over ten years since the last hi-fi show in Northern Ireland and I think this one was better. There was 35 stalls over three rooms, including Krons, Lyric, Living Space and of course Paul and Matt from Diverse Vinyl with plenty of vinyl to sell. On Saturday the 6th after 12 noon, Eleanor McEvoy popped in to sign copies of her new album 'I'd Rather Go Blonde'.

David, didn't you interview her for the December issue of Hi Fi World? I found her to be very charming, a real nice lady. I got my copy signed of course.


Anyway, back to the show. There was plenty of hi-end gear to drool over, some of which had never been shown in the UK before.

I was disappointed that you could not come over to give your backing to a great weekend. I came away £200 plus lighter but a very happy vinyl person. Anyway, I hope this event was a success and that it will not be another 10 years until the next one. It really was a great weekend.

All the best,

Andy

 

Hi Andy, yes I did interview Eleanor and found her as charming as you did. Thanks for an upbeat report of the Northern Ireland show; we'll try and make it over to the next one! DP


eleanor-mcevoy

Eleanor McEvoy - charming and talented says David.

 

OLDE WORLDE V NEW ORDER

As a lover of hi-fi for many years I finally stopped changing gears due to fact that I completed a system which suits my musical tastes, sound and environment. It consists of Yamaha NS-690 II loudspeakers,  Aragon 24k+ips AV preamp/2004 II power amp, Sony CDP-XA50es CD player moded,  Thorens 145 turntable VdH moded, various hi-end cables and accessories.


My question to you is can retro hi-fi be in real terms comparable with new one? So if I may suggest that you in your Olde Worlde column test similarly priced systems from £70 or £80 and some newer ones, so we will see are only design has been changed or we are missing something?


Anyway your magazine stands out from crowd. Please keep going.

Best regards

Goran Obrad

 

Hi Goran – if you've read us over the years you'll know we've done a lot of classic reviews, and even sometimes slipped classic kit into modern group tests! You'll also know that we all use a combination new and classic kit in our reference systems; Noel the Garrard 401 turntable and me the Yamaha NS1000M loudspeakers, for example. As for Tony Bolton's system, well I struggle to find anything modern in it at all sometimes! Of course, some classic hi-fi is superb, and absolutely up to par (or indeed better) than the best of what is available now. But it depends on what it is; for example, turntables have moved on apace in the past twenty five years but CD players have only improved significantly relatively recently, and still the difference is less pronounced.

 

Cartridges are generally far better than of yore but most top modern loudspeakers aren't substantially better if at all; in fact they're just different. One thing's for sure, though. Budget hi-fi is far superior than the entry level stuff of yesteryear; there's never been a better time to buy your first system, I'd wager. DP

 

PRO AUDIO & HI-FI

The review of the Weiss DAC in your December issue prompted me to write to you. For many years I have enjoyed music using a whole range of hi-fi equipment. As I became better paid I took pleasure in assembling systems with loops of ever thicker cable in an effort to hear music as I thought I wanted to hear it.


Naturally, I have had some good pieces and some less convincing ones but I think my recent experience of pro-audio has made me question some of the apparent barriers in the two worlds. I carried out research online about pro-audio before becoming involved and in particular I was interested in studio monitors. I have always used stand mounted speakers, as to me they offer the best compromise of accuracy, size and clarity and avoid monoliths in the lounge.


Studio monitors come in all sizes but most are the same size as lounge friendly stand mounts. Some forums were describing studio monitors as rather cold, clinically detailed and fatiguing to listen to. I felt I needed to let my ears decide.


I am lucky to own two of Audio Aero’s fabulous Capitole CD players; an earlier Mk I 24/192 and a current Capitole Reference. Both have an excellent valve pre output although to use studio monitors all anyone would need is a pre-amp with XLR out.


I demonstrated the older Audio Aero with a number of studio monitors including Focal, PMC and Adam. The pro-audio centre was not used to seeing a hi-fi person arrive but they were interested, welcoming and served coffee just like in a hi-fi shop. What they did know about was music. They were in the business of creating, recording and mastering music and they know how it is meant to sound.


What I heard was a sound which was without the niceties of hi-fi. The monitors were open, detailed but not fatiguing (maybe the valve stage on the AA helps) with proper bass despite diminutive size. Prices are incredible. Focal do a monitor with beryllium tweeter for less than £1400 a pair and with magnesium tweeter for less than a grand. With built in matched power amps., that is incredible value and a tweaker’s delight if they want to tune the monitors to their rooms. Why wouldn’t you explore that?


What I bought were Adam Audio S1Xs, a small monitor, £1500 a pair which, when teamed with the AA are just stunning and 2x7.5m Vovox matched pro XLR cables, at £340 a fraction of what similar high end hi-fi cables would cost but these are reference quality cables that are stunning. Less than 2k for top quality active studio monitors and pro cables.

Since I am unlikely to buy another CD player I see no reason to return to a stack of pre and power amps and esoteric cables to get high end sound. The worlds of pro and home audio need not be so far apart. Studio monitors offer a different active path to quality, high fidelity sound without the artifice of marketing, matched veneers and hype that sometimes afflicts the industry with another wonder product. It is refreshing to get back to the music and depart from the convention that exists in the different worlds. Manufacturers like Adam, Focal and Weiss seem to be prepared to straddle both and I think it is worth a listen. It is working for me.

With regards,

Karl Podmore

North Yorkshire


adam-tensor-gamma

Adam Audio make quality studio monitors and domestic hi-fi loudspeakers.

 

There is no magic in Pro kit Karl. Often, the same components and design techniques apply, it's just there is a difference of outlook. Costs, however, where they vary, are due to various factors. Mass market pro gear is often cheaply made and just not up to scratch.

 

Pro loudspeakers commonly have midrange domes that, whilst in theory have certain strong benefits (dispersion), also break up badly, giving a sharp piercing sound at high levels – and studios seem to like this.  But then they listen at very high levels from giant loudspeakers just 2m or so away; it's quite frightening. Domestic hi-fi is, generally, better honed. NK



 

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