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Reader Feedback: 2004

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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The Publisher and staff values all of the feedback sent by you, the reader. We value it so much, we never throw it away.

To view reader feedback comments dating back four years, use the links on the left.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the linbrook review. I have had mine for 4 days now and
they are still breaking in. I find them to be very dynamic and image
beautifully, but they still lack a little warmth and bottom end. Does
that increase with more break in and time? I am using them with a CJ
Premier 11 tube amp and rogue 99 tube preamp.

I listen to mainly jazz, blues, and instrumentals. Do you think they
will have enough bass for occasional rock music?


Dave Steinberg

Hi David,

First, thanks for visiting our website. We truly enjoy hearing from our

The drivers that Ty Ashbrook of Tyler Acoustics uses, particularly that
Millenium tweeter, is notorious for needing long periods of break-in (the
pair I had really bloomed after about three weeks). But when it does it will
take on more of the character of your electronics.

I was more than satisfied with the level of bass that I got from the
Linbrooks and bear in mind that I have a lot of R&B in my music collection.
Besides, I was using my Talon Audio Peregrine X speakers as a reference and
they go down to about 19Hz!

That sounds like a really sweet combo you've got. I've always thought the CJ
amps sounded more powerful than they were rated and that Rogue preamp is one
of the most under appreciated preamps around.

Happy Listening!

Dave Thomas


Hi Clement,

I've read your stuff for several years now and find it VERY interesting. Because of what you and others have said I've decided to go for a Tact setup.

I probably won't go as far along the stereo "continuum" as you have, but here's my plan ...

I'm going to get the RCS 2.0S and 1 S2150 amp - at least for now. Will use a pair of Spendor SP1s speakers - at least for now. Then will give some serious thought to getting another S2150, and possibly the Tact floorstander speakers (not the big ones). Don't know if I'd go for the subwoofer stuff.

I plan to run a CD transport into the RCS 2.0S. Just the bitstream. No D/A and A/D involved in things. Straight D/D setup.

The Tact guy I've talked to, named Tommy, thinks an AES/EBU cable from the transport to RCS, then to amp, would be a decent way to go.

Any comments on this? You've been there, seen it, bought the Tact T-shirt, and I'd value your feedback if you have the time and inclination.

All the best and keep up the great work!


Kelly M.
Omaha, NE

You are going with a very "truthful' setup choosing the TacT gear. Don't know what your previous setup was but I'll tell you that this is going to something quite different. You might want to go with the 2.2X instead as it gives you a worthwhile upgrade path when the need to add subs becomes essential. And with equipment like the TacT adding a sub becomes a consequential necessity. Personally, you will be able to do things that you never thought possible due to the correction filter for subs. Be safe and get the bigger version. You're only going to thank me. I just went through this exact same scenario with someone else and they still haven't stopped thanking me once they purchased a subwoofer only one week ago. I would consider that before going out and purchasing a TacT loudspeaker that's for sure.

The new loudspeaker we reviewed in the HPS-938 from Hyperion Sound is quite a fascinating design. You might want to look into something like this first. TacT makes great digital components but only very good loudspeakers. Nothing great or enchanting. Though, with their room correction done right, their loudspeakers will outshine most loudspeakers using conventional methods.

Going balanced is the way to go. I'm using balanced cable through and through. If you've got the dough also consider purchasing yourself the Apogee Big Ben. It's quite a nice digital interface and solves a ton of problems associated with "digititis" and other digital issues that make long-term listening less than spectacular.

Tommy is a personal friend and someone that is relatively new at Tact but is well aware of the sound quality they are capable of. Call and ask him again  He's heard quite a bit and I don't think he will tell you he's heard better than the all TacT approach...yes, with a T-Shirt to match!
Clement Perry
PS - what was your previous system composed of?             


The Tact guys must owe you a box or two of free Tact T-shirts. Tommy would probably be very happy to work with you on the deal.

In fact, your articles and response to my e-mail are the main "push" that's getting me to use Tact gear. I'd considered getting the Bel Canto stuff but eventually got it in my head the difference between a "digital" amp and a "true digital" amp. Your comments in the M2150 review were very convincing.

And for some reason, the importance of room correction and bass problems finally dawned on me. I'd read about RCS but it just didn't register.

The digital amp + RCS ideas of course led to a Tact solution.

My previous system was: a modified Sony ES CD player (long in the tooth - very, very long). Audioquest interconnects to a modified Mark Levinson No. 27 amp. Audioquest speaker wires to Spendor SP-1 speakers. CD player and amp sat on Bright Star Audio sand boxes, speakers sat on stands I designed and had a welder build.

From where you're coming from, it was a rookie system. Nevertheless, the sound coming out of it had a purity that was just amazing. Then the Sony gave up the ghost and went to the dump. This was several years ago. I've done a lot of traveling for work and was away from the house most of the time. Just didn't get my stereo act together. Now I'm ready for the new system.

I wonder ... any advice on a CD transport? Maybe something $1,500 to $2,000? Don't own any SACD discs, but wouldn't rule them out either. That would be the only source for the system.

Thanks, I REALLY appreciate the feedback.




I have an AR-2000 that I won from Stereo Times a few years ago. I have noticed lately that one of the channels is losing some of it’s output, mainly the midrange and lower treble. I have swapped interconnects from right to left channels and removed the unit and have verified that it’s the AR-2000 and not something else in my system. I really like the piece and was wondering if you know someone who could fix it and possibly upgrade some of the internals at the same time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Art,
Thanks for emailing me on the possible failure of your beloved AR2000. Please contact their North American distributor at

I'm certain they would replace this unit free of charge or for a small fee.
Hope all else is well.
Clement Perry


Hi Clement,
I've been an avid follower of Stereo Times, from the beginning, great work keep it up! I always look forward to your new entries to the equipment report column.

I emailed you some time ago asking whether you would be reviewing the Bel Canto PLayer, which you said you would look into. Obviously due to it receiving a 'most wanted' award, you obviously did look into it! I am wondering how long until that review will go up... i'm also interested to know when the other digital amplifier reviews will be posted such as the eAR. As i am interested in TacT gear, i will eagerly await the results of the other digital amps, although i realise there is a special synergy between the 2.2x and 2150.

I will leave it till another time to pick your brain, but thankfully i'm almost ready to purchase an entire new system. I am either looking at the Perigee FK1-s Ribbon Hybrid, or since i read your review the Von Shweikert 99db. As for the rest i will either go 1. a full TacT setup (2.2x RCS, 2x2150 amplifiers, 1xSDA2175 amplifier, 4xW210 woofers) possibly running audio from my mac through firewire into the apogee big ben then to the 2.2x. Of course i'd include all the nice mods such as linear power supplies, HDSB, and ERS cloth! 2. Bel Canto PLayer> Pre 6> 2x bridged EVO 2 ampifers. Of course i'm open to other suggestions but the decision wil probably come down to whether i will really have the ability to work the TacT system well enough to achieve a better outcome, than say a simple setup such as the Bel Canto one that i have outlined. I do like the idea of the integrated subs in the TacT system though...

Anyway enough for now, thanks again Clement.
Jeremy Ryan

Sounds like you're into making some big changes. Congrats. Are you now using anything from TacT Audio? The reason I ask is because you obviously are a member of the TacT Audio Users Group. I've not heard of the Perigee FK1's but anything that supports the Ribbon technology has to be very good in my opinion. Don't forget to also take the opportunity to audition the Ascendo line up. They've got a pair that doesn't cost an arm and leg plus they've got a sound that in my opinion is magical with the TacT amplifiers.

The VR dB99s are quite an astonishing loudspeaker as well. Von Schweikert says he's got a Ribbon super tweeter that I should have in a few weeks. I'll give you the lowdown on that configuration when it arrives. Hope all is going well. Keep me abreast of your progress and good luck
Clement Perry

Hi Clement,
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately i do not own any TacT gear... yet! I've been following the TacT user group for 2-3 years now so have a pretty good feel for what the equipment can do, without actually owning it though. I am just waiting for Peter Lyngdorf to get back to me as the only supplier here in Australia is negotiating with Peter whether to actually stock TacT anymore. If they decide not to it would mean that i would have to purchase directly from either Europe or US from here in Australia and i'm not really sure how successful that might be. I got the impression though that the store located in Sydney (i'm down in Melbourne) has no idea how to really get the most out of the equipment, unlike the UK TacT stores that are seeming to really be moving forward in terms of their setting up and support of the equipment, which is great if your living there. That sort of leaves me out in the wilderness here.

Regarding the Ascendos i would love to hear them but i don't think they are stocked over here. Albert Von Schweikert emailed me that he would send the db-99's to Australia with a 60 day trial period, with no extra charges from the retail price, definitely a nice offer. The Perigees are made by an ex-pat of the UK, Graeme (Graz) Keet who also is responsible for repairing and replacing the ribbons on all Apogees from the past. Ken Kessler who own an immaculate set of Scintilla's heard the Perigees and was blown away, he wrote a piece a year or two ago on the last page of Hi-Fi News about them. They have twin 8" cones mated with a ribbon tweeter, so sort of like your ascendos being ribbon hybrids. They are about 4000 pounds i think in the uk, but here in Australia i think i can get them for about the equivalent of 5500-6000US. They sound amazing and go deep as well, but probably not as low as the db-99's. I would love to compare the Peri's and the db-99's. As for the db-99 super tweeter i can't wait to read your follow up.

You never mentioned how far off the Bel Canto Player review is, are you keeping it a secret? As i mentioned, if the TacT avenue is difficult i might opt the full Bel Canto route....

Thanks again for your time Clement, and keep up the great work.
Jeremy Ryan

P.S. Check out this link it shows the initial pics of Graz's soon to be released statement speakers (3-way planar ribbon speakers housed in full corian), the Perigee Definitive's... Awesome! This is from my usual forum, the apogee user group where there are also some TacT users who know you as well. I believe you will be testing some of Henry's ICEH20 amplifiers soon...


Dear Clement Perry;
I like your online magazine & its contents. The only wekpoint though is that I cannot save the reviews without the whole page's layout plus it is impossible to print the whole review. Is this normal?

PS>Please add a link in your menu: Printing Version. This will generate more readers for your magazine.

Hi Clement,

I have read with great interest your review of the VR DB 99 speaker. I myself had until few years ago the VR6 and it was your review in Planet Hi-Fi which convinced me to buy them. I enjoyed them very much until I moved to a new place with a very large and lively room. In this room a wide dispersion speaker didn't work well even with Tact RCS.

Learned about the importance of high efficiency I decided I need something with a narrow dispersion and high efficiency. I then got a pair of Avantgarde DUOs which are 104-5 dB efficient. I never looked back! I drive them with the recently upgrade Tact Millenium MKIII which is a fantastic match IMHO. If you still have a MKII you should get the upgrade kit from Peter. Acc. to him MKIII is much better than 2150!

Few weeks ago we had a brief exchange at the tact forum about VD master series cables which I'm using throughout. Heard from Dan Evert that you also got a full set of Rick's cables. I hope to read the review on ST soon.

Yours sincerely

Michael from Jakarta/Indonesia


What timing! How did you know I was in the market for a good amp stand? I've been researching stands for my Gryphon Encore so Frank Peraino's Review of the Silent Running iso base came just at the right time. After reading Mr. Peraino's review I was amazed of how much engineering goes into these stands. It's now at the top of my list.
Also I should mention that I enjoy Mr. Peraino's style of writing. Good illustrations, excellent technical details and he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously.
In fact I've decided to give Frank my Tony The Tiger Award. GRREEEAAT!
Keep up the good work of your on-line magazine.
While I'm at it, I should also mention that I enjoyed Greg Petan's review of the Talon Firebirds since I also own the Firebirds but I had mine upgraded with the Accuton diamond tweeters and bybee silver filters. If you ever have the opportunity (not counting shows) to hear the firebirds with the diamonds you'll be very impressed. The diamonds take full advantage of my EMM labs front end like nothing else.

Regards, Frank Gortz


Hey guys,

Thanks for Don Dixon´s account of his visit to the Munich High End Show.

It took me 33 years to realize that i live in a town full of racist dumbf...s !
If it was true this place would not be crowded by American tourists all the time.
And by the way, Mr. Smarta.. Dixon: By writing"... the famous Hofbrauhaus, which besides having good food, was historic because this very location was where a figure of great infamy came into prominence." you show your absenence of knowledge in history. Please do us a favor and write about things you know about: HIFI !
`Cause the "very location" he talks about had been the "Buergerbraeukeller" and never the Hofbräauhaus. Can´t be visited by american tourists anymore. Has been bomed out in ´44 . Sorry for that ;-)

You take care

Axel Gruening


Dear Mr. Perry,

I was talking to Rick Schultz at Virtual Dynamics about his cables
strengths, weaknesses, etc.  He told me that he had submitted some samples
of his Master Series to Stereotimes for review.  I was wondering if and when
that review might be posted by Stereotimes.  Also, if not to premature, I
was wondering if the reviewer might be able to give me some "unofficial"
feedback on these cables.  I have also been considering the Argent Pursang
IC and SC as well.  I would be delighted if the reviewer would be willing to
help me understand the comparisons of these cables in case a comparison was
made directly or indirectly.

I'm thanking you in advance for your help.


Andrew Oliviero
Senior Product Manager,  Multimode Optical Fiber


All I can tell you at present is the review will be out shortly and you're going to want to try them both out because they are both very good cables. So much in fact, one is the best cables to have graced my system while the other is among the best I've heard. This is all I can share at present.  Thanks for writing. CP


Dear Clement,

My name is Jimmy Lau. I'm what's know to be called in our circles, an audiophile living in Hong Kong. Your Thank You note is immensely inspiring. Puts one on track on how important it is in life to truly find oneself. Thank you for sharing your journey through these years and here is to wish you all at Stereotimes, Happy 5th Anniversary!

Stereotimes, in my opinion, is by far the best review website for audiophiles. Take care and all the best in future!

Yours sincerely,
Jimmy Lau


What's there to say except thank you. We at ST try hard to please and that may be the reason for our success, plus I don't think we ever take ourselves too serious. After being so close to the destruction of the World Trade Center many of us at the mag basically grew wiser quite quickly. Both Greg Petan and Key Kim  live only a stone's throw from the Towers. I happen to live about 5 miles away. There are no words to convey the humility we experienced that day.


April 2004


Congratulations on Stereo Times 5th anniversary! May you celebrate many more to come! You have worked (hard, I'm sure) to make it (IMHO) the very best High-End e-zine, period.

I can see you were toughing it out in RIO...what a view.

Very best,

Jaime Ballester


I see you know your stuff. Rio was a wonderful trip. The view as you can see was also breathtaking. Don't take too much notice of my belly bulge. I ate way too much while there. The food was so good and inexpensive I didn't know when to stop. I'm still trying to lose the weight.  Thanks for your support.

Clement Perry


Mr Perry,
I'm very proud of you. You step out on Faith and followed your heart and dreams. I read the reviews on Stereotimes and I enjoyed them. Stereotimes serves as a guide to hi end for me, I would love to own the best that money can buy, I do however have the best that my money can purchase. It very nice to read about hi-end and the way the stereotimes write is reviews is user friendly, very real. Very real lends to a sort of "being there" feeling.
Please continue the good work, always enjoy what you are doing, and share the love with others

May your power always be clean & strong
peace & blessing
Cecil McDonald


Thank you for the kind words and the support. Stepping out in faith I must say wasn't just a thought or feeling as much as it was a sense of purpose after coming through the horrible events of 9/11. I wish I could say I just woke up one day and said "I want to do this." It happened after many months of doubt, suffering and pain. Some of that pain still lingers today and keeps me strong in the commitment I have towards keeping this publication strong. I thank you for the kind words of support.

Clement Perry


April 2004

Dear Clement Perry and Stereo Times' writing staff,

The jet lag has long come and gone but the memories of that wonderful evening will stay with me for quite some time.

Thank you for recognizing my work and those of my peers during The Stereo Times' Most Wanted Awards and Fifth Anniversary Party. It was great to see so many friends and meet new enthusiasts.

Congratulations on the Fifth Anniversary of Stereo Times.

Our industry and community of audiophiles continues to move forward. The rapid growth of Stereo times in becoming one of the pillars of our high-end community is attributed to the  hard work, perseverance, dedication and the vision of the magazine.

Stereo Times, along with our community's other magazines, have given us valuable insight into the hi-end industry itself. The importance of these different viewpoints, opinions  and perspectives cannot be overlooked. It provides for a fluid, dynamic and enjoyable community.

To this and among many other things, we express our sincere "Thank You".

Congratulations once again on your anniversary -- here's to the continued success of
Stereo times

Emmanuel Go
First Sound







James May
Music Lover
Seattle, WA


Thank you. Your email was a surprise and touches us all at the magazine. We're proud to know someone out there appreciates what we do as much as you do.



April 2004

Hi Clement:
I just recently found your internet magazine Stereo Times and enjoy it
immensely. I am a high end audiophile at heart but a mid to low end in the
pocket. I would like to ask you what is a reasonable cost to enter the high
end arena for the first time. And can you recommend a system (CD player,
amp, speakers, etc. Thanks for your help. I realize you are a busy person
but I wasn't sure who to contact first.

Thank you
Errol McAllister



You sir are going to have to ask yourself what how much do you plan on spending. Three, five or ten thousand? More? Should you go with separates or go with perhaps an integrated approach? I'll tell you now that a D to A converter from Electrocompaniet would be a good start on your front end (list around $1000), to go with your existing CD player. Then I would go with the Portal Audio Panache integrated. Both have been reviewed here and I'm very impressed with Panache as I own one. Also, the Von Schweikert Audio's VR1's sound like a steal at only $1000. Good luck!

Clement Perry


               Jersey City, NJ… Clement Perry… and Music!

On a stormy Tuesday shortly before Thanksgiving, I found myself getting out of bed at 4AM, getting in my automobile, driving to the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport right in the midst of the going-to-work traffic, finding parking, going through security, taking off my shoes, belt and coat, emptying my pockets, surrendering my business case with a dozen of my most favorite music CD’s, and finally boarding a flight for… I hate to tell you this… Newark, New Jersey. Say where? Yes, Newark, NJ… the place that we used to describe in the cockpit of those Delta jets… “the armpit of the nation”! You’ve got to be kidding me!

Now, why in the world would I do that, especially since I would be returning back to Alabama that same evening with even worse weather and tornadoes in the forecast for north Alabama and Georgia? For two simple and good reasons: to make the acquaintance of a guy I’ve never seen before and to listen to music. Now, you understand more better. Even my wife understood since she has lived with this crazy audiophile for 40 years!

You see, a few weeks before this crazy jaunt, I read a review written by the editor and publisher of this e-zine, and I needed to ask a few questions and share a few of my thoughts with Mr. Clement Perry. I don’t remember exactly how long we talked that day, and who said the most or least, but I enjoyed it immensely. And, evidently, Clement did also, as he later asked me if I would consider reviewing and writing for The Stereo Times.

This I had to think about for awhile. I’ve often been very disgruntled after reading reviews in The Absolute Sound, Stereophile and other such audio journals. I’ve had to question what kind of supplemental extraneous imbibing had they been doing when reviewing that equipment or album? Or, what kind of room were they listening in? And to think that sometimes a review has broken a manufacturer of lesser means, who couldn’t overcome it… even when his product was legitimate. And, yet, if his link in the audio chain had been reviewed in the right synergism, or with different ears, it could have been a different story.

But, I had to think about Clement’s offer. It doesn’t pay much!  But, as we also used to say in the cockpit of that beautiful B-757 and 767: “And, we are getting paid to have this much fun?!” There are some things we have to do for pure enjoyment… for the pursuit of happiness. And, this might be one of those things!

I love music! I love what reproduces music in my listening room! And, I’ve been pursuing this ever since I put my first system together in the summer of 1956. I was an engineering student at Auburn University, and I had to work to put myself through school. I had just finished my freshman year and was working that summer so that I could go back in the fall. Even with money being tight, I had to have music!

My first system consisted of a Garrard record changer with a G.E. cartridge and ruby needle, a Sherwood 20 watt mono integrated tube amp, a University 12 inch coaxial speaker, and 16 gauge zip cord for speaker wire. I made the cabinet for the driver in a friends woodworking shop after work each evening, and I was proud of the results. It was music to my ears! I don’t know how Harry P. or Clement P. would have reviewed this system, but I couldn’t be discouraged, even if they had. Sadly, I had to sell my system the following spring so that I could finish paying for my room and board.

The Summer of ’57… the year stereo became a reality… I put together another system. But, it was not a stereo system, as I wanted to have better fidelity this time, so the money went into one channel. It consisted of another Garrard turntable, a G.E. cartridge, but with a diamond needle instead of ruby this time, a Marantz 40 watt integrated tube amp, two Bozak 12 inch coaxial speakers mounted in one cabinet, and of course, 16 gauge “speaker” wire from the local hardware store. And, of course, it was better sound! I was moving up in the world of Hi-Fi.

The next summer I moved up into “Stereo Hi-Fi,” and even into transistors. I had to go with the new and high tech… leave those old tubes and go solid state. And ever since, I have pursued the unreachable goal of real live music coming from electronics and speakers. I’ve gone from tubes to transistors, and back to tubes. I’ve gone from Bozak Concert Grands and all of those cones to double KLH 9 electrostatics, Magnaplanar Tympanis, and back to simple cones and domes. And, I went from turntables, tone arms and cartridges, and all of those necessary adjustments and tweaking, to the first big Wadia three piece digital front end.

In the midst of all this, I went from 16 and 12 gauge speaker wire to Bob Fulton’s “welding” cables. Wow… his Gold cable was so thick I couldn’t hide it out… it had to lie on the floor, and people coming in would ask, “What in the world is that?” “Speaker cable? You’ve got to be kidding me!” And, I can even remember reviewers, and amp manufacturers, putting Bob’s cables down as just something that a “nut has produced.” “Wire is wire!” Well, do tell!

I sure do miss Bob Fulton. He had to be one of the nicest men in this field that I have ever met. But, I will continue to enjoy the results of the revolution he started. If there is one thing that has revolutionized the world of music reproduction, it would have to be cables. That’s just my humble opinion thrown in at no extra charge.

Lest you think that I did not make it to Newark, let me put your mind at ease… I did. And, Clement Perry was there in his big gold colored Ford Expedition to pick me up. I had emailed him pictures of myself walking with rhinos in Kenya, so that he could find me in the crowd. And, in return, he told me to just look for “a black man who resembles Denzel Washington”. Well, not quite, but he is black.

After being treated to lunch at a high end Japanese restaurant (I hate sushi!), we drove to his place in Jersey City. We first made a stop in the dining room of his house where he had several pieces of exotic looking audio gear set up on one side his dining room. For all I knew, this was his reference system, but I was dismayed in thinking that he listened from across that big eating table with its reflecting surface. He put on a CD, and asked me to listen.

There were the large German Europa loudspeakers that Dave Thomas did an admirable review of in the midst of all the components, and also the Xavian small mini monitors on Osiris stands just inside the Europas. When the music began, it sounded nice and sweet, as I sat with my arms on the dining table. I wanted to ask Clement if he would mind us moving the table so that I could have a better listening spot without the reflections. But, he said, “No, just tell me what you think, from right where you are.” And, I had come to New Jersey for this?

I really thought the Europas were playing. The soundstage was wide and deep. The midrange was focused and tube-like sweet… and, I am a midrange nut. That part has to be right! I can live without the last octave of bass, and even with a slightly rolled off upper end. But, I must have a good honest midrange! You know, the kind of sound that once came from William Zane Johnson’s D79 tube amp driving the final versions of Bob Fulton’s Premiers… with his Gold and Brown cables, of course. That D79 could not go real low with any authority and it rolled off a little too soon on the upper end. But, what it did was make music! It had the warmth and sweetness you die for. It had the slobber factor… you could hear the gal’s saliva as she “purred out” the lyrics. You could count the freckles on the face of the red haired kid on one of Bob Fulton’s records, as the kid sang “Tom Sawyer.” If you ever had a D79, you know what I’m saying.

It turns out that I was listening to Xavian Electronics MIA mini-monitors in Clement’s dining room with the big table in between me and the speakers. Boy, would I like to see what those little babies could sound like in my room! That was a pleasant surprise. And, more surprises followed.

After wanting to move the table to get a better listening position, Clement informed me that this is only where equipment gets burned in and listened to under real world conditions. He then took me upstairs to his “real” dedicated  listening room. I believe, if I counted correctly, we went up to the third floor of his three story brick a nicely sized (21 x 17 x 8) attic. Even looking at his reference listening room left me feeling kind of like the time I visited Harry Pearson’s listening room in his old house on Long Island. Both rooms gave me the impression that “I’m never going to really hear the music today.”

As I looked around the room, I was in awe of all the high-end equipment, especially the build quality of the Ascendo System M loudspeakers. Some workmanship there! And, then I saw the two Tact 2150 amplifiers… digital amps?! They are small, but appear of very good external build quality. Maybe I’ve a little negative block here about driving speakers with digital amps. But I can remain neutral, if necessary, and listen before reaching conclusions.

And, in the Acoustic Dreams 4 tier equipment cabinet, were the front end pieces… the Electrocompaniet CD Player (tweaked by Tierry Budge, and used solely as a transport) going directly into the Zanden Model 5000 Mk III DAC, and then to the TactT RCS 2.2X room correction preamplifier where the signal is room corrected and digitized, and then sent digitally to the 2150’s. All cabling is Analysis Plus Gold which, as Clement puts it, “is awfully expensive but makes up for so much of what you here.”

I did not make this trip to swap and tweak, and compare one product to another, but rather to listen… just to listen to Clement’s reference system with my CD’s. I needed to know if we are on the same wave length. So, I sat myself down in the sweet spot while Clement played the maestro and fed the discs to the Electrocompaniet transport. For four hours I sat and listened, and I never tired. I could have gone on forever, except that I had to catch a Delta flight back to Atlanta at 8PM.

What I heard, in a nutshell, were some of the most revealing and pleasing sounds that I have been pleasured to listen to… period! The synergism of Clement’s system provides a soundstage of music that makes you sit and listen, and then ask for a curtain call over and over. I’ve never wanted to total up just how much money is involved in that system, because I don’t want to be influenced in what I heard. Let me just savor for a little while the sound that so enamored my ears and audio/visual perceptions. The sound created beautiful pictures, as if I was there.

I was there. I was in the midst of Clement Perry’s sound system. The soundstage was wide and deep. The density of the individual pieces was right. The sound was oh, so transparent… layers and layers of musical instruments, each in their place. The dynamics had authority with shape and resolution. And, the subtleties were so delicate and well defined. In voices, I could hear into their throats… yes, the slobber factor was definitely there! It’s a system to have and enjoy, if you have the cash to buy it.

Clement is to be applauded. He, both with knowledge and trial and error, brought about twelve different components together to form this system. Not one of the pieces defines the sound. It is the totality of the parts… the synergism… that caressed my ears and mind for those four enjoyable hours. As audiophiles, we must understand that it’s not how good each component is… how well it is designed or made… but, how well these components interact with each other, with the room they are placed in, and with the ears that are listening. Synergism is what it is all about!

After all these years of flying in and out of this not-so-attractive city, I found out that Jersey City, New Jersey makes music! And, to top it off… I’ve made a new friend. It was a good trip!


February 2004

Dear Clement,
I was very fascinated by your review of the Flying Mole DAD-M100 pro
HT monoblock amplifiers. In the beginning of your review, you indicate
that the Mole was developed specifically for high efficiency horn speakers.
I have a pair of AER MKII speakers in a rear-loaded horn speaker. I am
currently using a Midwest Hifi 2A3 amplifier which I like except for the
hum. I have been looking at other SET amps but your review perked my
curiosity to consider the Mole. Have you heard the amp on a horn speaker
and have you compared to any SET amps? Also, does one have to order
directly from the company or are there dealers in the U.S.?

Thanks and keep up the good work at Stereo Times,
Jim York

Thanks for the kind comments and your feedback regarding the Mole amplifiers. Unfortunately, I have not heard them on horns but have been told that they perform quite well with highly-sensitive transducers such as horns.
There was a review in a Japanese hi-end magazine that also wrote very highly of pairing the Flying Mole's with horns. They certainly give the impression of SET without that extra sense of syrupy sweetness in my setups. That's the only they lack in direct comparisons against my reference Zanden Model 7000 SE ($15,000!). Again, the Zanden will outperform the Flying Mole monos but when you consider the price differential, then you can understand why.

I know of no dealers here in the US. But if I were you I would simply contact them via email and find where you can purchase here in the US. I know their distributor is located in Los Angeles, CA. Good luck and let me know what happens if you decide to buy a pair.
Clement Perry


December 2003


I am looking for information on DCM Timewindow speakers. I have a pair that is close to 20yrs old and am looking to replace them. If you have any knowledge of or information concerning this company (if it still exists) I would be most grateful. I apologize for writing to you as this is likely not your priority position but I do appreciate whatever help you can provide. Thanks so much,

Tad L. Saunders

I Tad,
I'm never to busy to help. That's what so exciting about this sport.
DCM is still alive and well after some restructuring. You can find DCM Timewindow's website at

Clement Perry


December 2003

Mr Nack,

Since you did some reviews on Harmonic Tech products ,and I use their IC's
(the lower end) of their line Precision & Harmony Link to be exact I am always interested in experimenting with different IC's...

My question: I have come across a couple pairs of Monster's M1500 IC's which I found out were discontinued about 4 or 5 years ago, and have been trying to find a review or input from end users. So far I have found nothing. It's like they never existed. Have you or anyone on staff done a review on these cables OR can you point me in the right direction of someone who did at one time, or where I can find out about them..

They look like they are one heck of a cable, and I would like to do some testing but I do not want to waste any money in purchasing them if they really never made the cut. The one's I would like to have (Pro-Silway III ) are way above my price range, and I figured that the Monster M1500 (since they were their Flagship) IC might be above the Precision & Harmony Link IC's I am using now. Your help is greatly appreciated in this matter. Looking forward to hearing from you

Doug Lang

Hi Doug,

I can see you have a bit of a quandary, and I'm afraid I don't have much info to give you. I have not tried the Monster M1500 and so cannot venture an opinion as to it's quality. I just did a quick search for M1500 on WWW.MONSTERCABLE.COM but no luck there either.
Apparently these cables never made waves, and 4 or 5 years is a long time in the cable world. Personally, I would hold off and look into something more current.
Happy hunting,
Marshall Nack


December 2003

Dear Sir.

I am eddy and want to buy Xavian xn-125, but really want to know what amplifier match these speaker.(under US$1500 best) Becoz i am living hongkong, not many place have these speaker, so i cant test with this.I love pop song and band sound.

Sorry for my poor English , hope you understand:)
Thank you very much~

Hello Eddy,
Thank you for seeking my support in your purchase of the Xavian loudspeaker. You will not be disappointed with it's performance. I think a good integrated amp like perhaps the A300S from BV Audio, or the Portal Panache Integrated will both do well. Both of these amplifiers have been reviewed on our site.

Don't forget to look into the $750.00 amazing little digital amps from the company Flying Mole. I think you'll get a kick out of these as well. Hey, thank you for being courageous and writing. English is tough even for the me.
Clement Perry


December 2003

Hi Mr. Perry,

I've just read through your review of EC CD player. In that article you mention that the best performance was achieved via the balanced analog outputs. My question is: was there an audible difference between the balanced and single-ended outputs? More precisely, would you have reached the same conclusion on that CD player had you used the single-ended outputs exclusively? I'm wondering if your findings would apply to the DAC also.....? Hmmmm....


Larry Phillips

The Electrocompaniet is a better CD player when its balanced outputs are used primarily because it is a truly balanced design through and through.
Its single ended performance isn't no slouch and would probably give a lot of other units a good run for the money. But it's balanced output is remarkable and I think it is what separates it from the pack.

The transport mechanism is really good as well and has a lot to do with it being a superior player. I've tried using different transports now since I use it with the Zanden DAC. No matter what I do, I seem to enjoy its transport better than any other I've compared it to. That said, you'd be on a serious journey attempting to beat the transport mechanism attached to its dac which probably makes it a better player than Electrocompaniet DAC.
Happy Holidays,
Clement Perry


December 2003

Hi Clement

Would you recommend the Soliloquy 5.0 with a Tripath amp as a small, killer combo? Do you have any other suggestions for me to look at for my new smaller place? I would really appreciate your impressions there. thank you, Angela Dando San Diego

Thank you for contacting me on what perhaps would be suitable as a small reference system. I've just recently reviewed the new amplifiers from a Flying Mole. These little amplifiers are amazing in both their sound quality as well as power rating (100 per channel), and get this...they weigh a mere 1.6 lb. I spelled it correctly ONE POUND AND SIX OUNCES!

My review will be coming in the next few weeks detailing what I have come to admire and respect about this newly designed digital device and why I think it will be a smart choice particularly when space becomes paramount. These amplifiers are no bigger than a deck of cards. The loudspeakers I would match with these are the Xavian MIA's that retail for $425.00. Oh, btw, the Flying Mole amps retail for $750.00 per pair. Stay tuned here for both reviews and thank you for writing.
Clement Perry

December 2003

Hi Clement,
Thanks for your great site and information. I have been following Stereotimes for some time now. I enjoyed your review of the Tact 2150, and am aware of your ownership of the 2.2x. I have also been following the Tact user group for a couple of years now so have been up to speed on Tact's products, and your participation in the group.

The reason I am emailing, apart from the pat on the back!, is that I have heard via the Apogee user group that you may have an upcoming review of the EAR two mkII coming up. Is this correct? I am very interested as I am starting fresh on a new system, and besides the speakers, I have an open mind for amps, pre, and source. The EAR is on the top of my list for demos, aside from the 2.2x/2150 combo, and the bel canto evo2's/pre6. From all accounts so far, the EAR is blowing everyone and everything away. Cant wait for your report if it is in the wings....

I'm also wondering if you have any intent on reviewing the new Bel Canto Player. Feedback so far has been excellent (as has been feedback on the pre6). I'm thinking a BC Player fed into a pre6, then into biamped EAR two mkII might be an interesting combo, this would be a nice way to have quality two channel with the ability to play all formats including a quality dvd-v signal in surround (with the addition of furthe amps). What do you think???

Keep up the great work, and I look forward to your response
Jeremy Ryan

Hi Jeremy,
Thank you for taking up the time to write me such an extended and informative email on the upcoming review of the eAR amplifier. Yes, I have it in-house, and though it is amazing, so is the Tact gear and I don't know who thinks it "blows everything away" I would love to read these comments if you can point me to them. But there's no mistaking the qualities the eAR possesses. I've still a lengthy burn-in ahead of me as well, so stay in touch and I'll let you know what's what in the coming months.

The Bel Canto is still a champion in its own right as well. There's still something about it that makes accepting digital as the future easy to swallow. So does the eAR. The Tact makes life a little more difficult because of its incredible resolution, it will offset your system and make it sound "cold" or sterile, so tweaking it will be the first order of the day. Lots of people don't like tweaking their system while many others think the problem is inherent in the Tact when it is not. Believe me, read the letter from the New Jersey Audio Society member about what he thought digital was "supposed" to sound like in the feedback letters below.

I think I stated in the Tact 2150 review that even I think the Tact can use a tube's warmth somewhere in the chain. Nothing wrong with placing the best attributes from both worlds into one. That is what I think I've accomplished. I really believe that the approach whether going digital or analogue, is still for me via the Tact... at least until further notice. It simply sounds that good

I will admit that I am having lots of fun with the eAR however and we'll see what happens as time and burn-in allows. Hopefully, this will allow me to really hear what this impressive sounding device can really sound like.
And thanks for the pat on the back!
Clement Perry


December 2003

Dear Clement:

I recently purchased a pair of the Ascendo Z speakers and have an opportunity to purchase the Zanden 300b 7000. I hope you don't mind my asking you a few questions. Is this a combination you would recommend? I am setting up the Ascendos in triamped fashion with 3 Electrocompaniet AW 220s but am considering alternatives. I know you have used the Tact amps to good effect but I am hesitant to reconvert the analog signal back into digital in order to use the Tact (I am using the Emm Labs DAC 6 + dedicated Phillips transport).

I appreciate any advice you can offer.

with regards,

Sam Laufer

Hi Sam,
Thank you notifying me of your purchase of the Ascendo loudspeaker and possible purchase of the Zanden Model 7000 employing that fabulous 300B. I own both of these and as good as the Zanden is, Its 8 watts per channel unfortunately doesn’t allow me to get into the music in a way that Tact does and can when strapped to the only moderately efficient (88dB) Ascendo System Z. There’s a variety monitors I use in a second system that exploit the beauty of the Zanden. Surprisingly, I also use the large Isophon that were just reviewed here by Dave Thomas and they seem to better match the Zanden than the Ascendos.

In respect to the quality of the going analogue to digital and back, trust me, there’s a lot more parts in a conventional amplifier that harm the signal than going A to D and D to A.—output devices being the most troublesome. Believe me, I’ve fought with this idea for a long time and now have embraced this philosophy for its sonic superiority over virtually everything else I’ve had to compare it. And as publisher of this publication, there’s been plenty I've had to compare. The journey has been one of frustration but in the end it proved very enlightening. Learn to trust your ears and not  specifications.  

Lastly, when I talk of this sound quality I defer to the abilities of the Zanden in the signal chain. The Tact isn’t perfect sounding. What is?
Partnered with the Zanden and the Ascendo System M there’s a magical synergy that can't be denied.


November 2003

I just wanted to send a thank you, to you and your reviewers. In a world where it is terribly difficult to listen to every desirable high end component, the listening skills of reviewers and their ability to describe what they hear in a relevant and empathetic manner becomes crucial. Based on your reviews of the Bel Canto digital amplifiers I took the plunge. The reviews were accurate. (thank God!) Having recently acquired a pair of Apogees, I required an amplifier that would do what SETs and OTLs did best, communicate music. The Bel Canto is a revelation. It matches or betters the best of tubes at their strongest suits and simply delivers much more. The arguments of tube vs. transistor become a moot point. The next King has arrived. Digital. Infant technology, yes. But already in full command.

Many thanks,

Glen Wagenknecht

Thank you for believing in what we write about, and ultimately purchasing the Bel Canto eVo. You should thank yourself for having a system composed of components that meshed with both the Bel Canto fine attributes and what you were hopefully seeking. The digital technology is moving  full steam ahead and there's plenty more to write about in new amplifiers that boast even greater resolution than the mighty Bel Canto and Tact. We should have more reviews by the years end on these new and exciting products. In the meantime, happy listening.                                 
Clement Perry                                                                                    


November 2003

hi Clement,

I just finished reading your article on the Tact 2150. Great review. I
like how you talk about other components and how they mate up.

How do you like the Zanden DAC so far? Have you had a chance to listen to
the 47 Flatfish/Progression combo? If so, would you say it is far beyond
the 47 gear?

I have the 47 labs digital front end, I've actually gotten the aftermarket
Pure Power DC battery power supply for the Flatfish/Progression and I'm
pretty pleased with the huge difference in sound going to DC battery.
Somewhere down the line I would like to see how the Zanden sounds in

Sounds like you have a pretty good digital front-end as well in the Flatfish/Progression dac. I've never compared them or even had the pleasure of hearing them side by side. But there's a lot to admire in the Flatfish particularly when strapped to a battery supply. The Zanden MkIII is still my reference after a long day of comparing equipment. That should tell you something on how good it is. If you get a chance give it a listen.

Clement Perry


This letter is from the NJAS (New Jersey Audiophile Society) Newsletter. It is printed with permission. Clement Perry


                       Preconceived Notions
               (and how not to let them get in the way)

by Izzy Marrone

I have been around hi-end audio for over 20 years now, and have quite a bit of diverse experience. I'm thoroughly familiar with "live, unamplified" music (as a former trumpet player) and hear live music played nearly every day by family members. I was trained to record professionally, have sold retail hi-end audio and have manufacturing knowledge of hi-end gear as well. I've been told by associates that I'm "too candid" about the shortcomings of some very high priced home playback systems.

OK, so what? Some of you probably have as good or even better credentials. Why am I telling you all this? Well, it's inevitable that along the way, you develop certain attitudes and opinions about what does & doesn't "work". And those attitudes can get pretty entrenched, keeping you from finding out about ways that do work that you normally wouldn't even consider.

Which brings me to the system I'm writing about now-the one assembled by Stereotimes publisher Clement Perry. I won't describe the equipment in detail-I'll let him do that. Suffice it to say it's rather formidable. But it's going to be a challenge for those "die hard" analogue types to accept. It takes full advantage of all that digital processing can offer (read: room correction). Not just digital based, not even "hi-resolution" digital: just plain old 16 bit CD, albeit upsampled with a $10,000 DAC, but wait…then the analogue out of the DAC gets re-digitized in order to get room corrected (see what I mean about those attitudes? Why, this can't possibly work as well! You're adding a whole extra conversion cycle!) Yes, there are a number of idiosyncrasies and apparent contradictions here….but fortunately my attitudes are subject to the ultimate arbiter: my ears. After all, in the end it's the entire system & room that you hear. And that's what I'm commenting on now. I can't say for sure what part of that system is accounting for the ultimate performance level I'm about to describe, so I won't even try. Maybe it's just a great synergy….who knows. (Please note that the following positive comments describe the sound of the digital source exclusively, as the LP sound didn't come close to that of the CD). (Oops! More preconceived notions challenged!)

Anyway, all this leads to the following: This is probably the highest level of sound reproduction I have ever heard anywhere. There are several performance areas I could analyze into their component pieces, but I'll try to put it into a musician's perspective. Now, I've always been disappointed with the reproduced sound of the instrument I play: the trumpet has heretofore sounded canned, lacking in that effortless dynamic "pop" a live one displays. Well, this system gets that trumpet sound right. Effortless…instantly dynamic….and (of course) tonally perfect, with tremendous purity. I didn't think it was possible to get it like this before. I could believe that a live player was in the room…that's how convincing it was. And it was that way with other instruments too….bass, organ, vocals, you name it. I'm describing the trumpet in detail only because I'm so familiar with it. The same can be said for at least one large-scale classical work I heard (that I can't remember the name of). As for soundstaging & imaging, I'll just say how little I paid attention to those "audiophile" artifacts, as all the music naturally came together to form a very convincing aural picture. (Which also happens when I'm listening live-get the connection?).

So, why did I use the qualifier "probably" to start my comments in the last paragraph? Well, I did not get to hear a large variety of source material, nor any of my audiophile favorites or even familiar recordings I know well. Perhaps some of these would reveal shortcomings in some areas. Maybe "regular" recordings would be less enjoyable, I don't know. But I did get to purchasing the recording with the trumpet, and after hearing it days later on my own system, I can say that it sounded very good…..but not OH MY G*D REAL like before. So I know there's something really special happening up there at Mr. Perry's place.

[p.s. the trumpet recording referred to is: The Roy Hargrove/Christian McBride/Stephen Scott Trio, titled "Parker's Mood"; Verve 314 527 907-2, recorded in 1995 by the extremely talented engineer Jim Anderson, direct to 2-track. He's the same guy who did those Patricia Barber "audiophile" recordings].


October 27, 2003


$30k for a DAC...gulp, insanity! No wonder this dumb-ass hobby is dying! This is the most insanely priced bullshit the world has ever known and if these companies go out of business...GOOD! Adios.

Tim Emons

My Response:

Dear Mr. Emons,

Thank you for your email. I feel that the more of the high-end audio companies going out of business, the less healthy this industry will be as product choices and competition diminish.

Although the enjoyment of the high-end audio hobby can be highly personal and private, and the benefit of it highly abstract and objective, the manufacturing of the products is nonetheless highly methodical and technical. In general, we often have no problem figuring out if a product is worth our money or not, as many of us are becoming increasingly selective on both the sound and the competency of its design and execution. Therefore, it is ok to disagree with the legitimacy of a product’s existence; but let’s not make ill wishes against others in the industry, be it a fellow hobbyist or manufacturer.

Part of my reviewing goal is to gauge how good a company’s best effort is, and if permissible, how it stands against the best from its competition. There are companies that make itself known in initial offerings of economically priced products, and then progress to creating the state of the art from what they’ve learned. Some well-financed companies start out by bringing the best talents on board to create a tour de force statement product as the company’s first offering. As audiophiles, we often wonder how much further those companies offering economically priced products can and are willing to go, while waiting in excruciating anticipation for companies like Wadia to offer more economically priced products.

For either of the aforementioned companies to succeed, it needs to create value in the eyes of its target market, whether the product is a $1,000 “state-of-the-art” design or a $10,000 “statement” product. Although most of us can never afford some of the products, I believe it is important that they exist, whether or not there is a market for sustaining such efforts.

Mr. Emons, as I can relate to an aspiration shared by all audiophiles’ on this earth, I hope some of us will hit the Jackpot of whichever State we are living in, then we can all find out from someone we know what an optimally set up system costing $100k can sound like.


Constantine Soo

October 27, 2003


I generally enjoy your reviews and being a friend of Joe's at JC Audio, I know from things he says that you work hard on your reviews.  It's not that I disagree with anything you concluded in your review of the Audio Note DAC, but that I think to compare a $30,000 DAC (that still needs more money spent on a transport and interconnects, digital cable, and power cord) with a $2500 Sony SACD player is insane, unless it is to make the point of the potential of SACD.  Can you imagine the sound from a $30k $40k SACD player designed and built with the kind of care and ability that the AN is built?

You should at least get a Mietner in for such a comparison though it only cost a third as much.

Well thinks for listening to my comments.  I enjoy your reviews including this one.  As an owner of the Audio Note AN E/SE speakers and a WAVAC amp, I appreciate that you make an effort to review equipment that most magazines don't.

Thanks for listening,
Jack Roberts


My Response,

Thank you for reading my articles, and for your kind words and comments.  I also appreciate your suggestion of a review on the Mietner DSD DAC.  I am happy to let you know that one of my colleagues at Stereo Times is already reviewing the Meitner unit.  We all wait in excruciating anticipation of his findings.

 Although I am yet to locate a comparably priced SACD front end for review purposes, I have the pleasure of informing you and our cherished readers that I shall have the opportunity of reviewing the $37k Goldmund 20M Millennium DAC.  Stay tuned. 


 Constantine Soo


Dear Mister Perry,
Who told your contributor that Vincent amplifiers are Swiss-made. They are designed and build in Red China.
I myself am the owner of the Vincent stereo-power amplifier SP 331. This is a hybrid design of 2 times 150 Watts, doubling at 4 ohms to 300 Watss. Driving with ease my Carver Amazing Dipole loudspeakers. Introduction price a few year back 750 US dollars.
Over here in Europe they are imported from China by a German trade-firm.
Greetings from Kees van Woerden  (The Netherlands, Europe).


Mr. Van Woerden,
I just got off the phone with Peter Saenz of Symcore Technologies and he did say that he was incorrect when he initially told me that the Vincent Electronics were Swiss-made and that they are in fact " ... designed and engineered in Switzerland, but manufactured in China." Thank you for bringing this to our attention and for visiting our website. Your feedback is welcomed.
Cheers, Dave Thomas


October 9, 2003

Dear Dave,
Your fine review of the Chesky C1 speaker left me with a few questions vis-à-vis the Talon, Peregrine:

1.  Does the Talon Peregrine X's voicing sound similar to the C1 in the upper frequencies?

2.  Which speaker sounds as if it has more upper frequency "presence"; Peregrine or C1?

3.  While the Peregrines most likely have a greater sense of bass extension and weight (larger drivers), do the C1's have perhaps a bit more speed and dynamic life?

I ask because while I find much to like about the Talon speakers I have heard (Raven, Khite, and Firebird), I still find the over-all Talon sound to be a little too polite and subdued to really conjure a credible resemblance to live music with all its startling, (and often) clanging impact.

Your thoughts on this are much appreciated, and I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Kirk Midtskog
Seattle, WA

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner and we sincerely appreciate your interest in the reviews on Stereo Times. I understand your questions but the only thing these two designs have in common are the same builder. They are voiced completely different. As I said in my review David Chesky voiced the C-1s based on his listening preferences which of course are for live acoustic music. If you ever talk to Mike Farnsworth you'll know by his infatuation with deep bass that he loves speakers that rock.

But if I had to compare the two I would say that the Cheskys cannot match the Peregrine Xes in scale and depth of soundstage in my rather large listening room (approximately 20' x 25'). But in an average sized room they are closer in scale and maybe even a bit quicker in the treble and at least as musical. My listening preferences are sort of a hybrid of both Farnsworth's and Chesky's. I love both live jazz and large-scale, synthesizer-rich new-age music (Andreas Vollenweider, Vangelis, etc.).

Having said all this, you should also remember that the C-1s cost less than half the Talons and are better suited to an average sized room.

Hope this helped.

Dave Thomas


October 6,2003

I find many of your comments concerning the new TACT amp mirror my experience with the Acoustic Reality eAR Two amp. Other amps sound like, well, amps. I have owned McCormack, Innersound, ARC, modified Quatre GC-300 amps. (Guess which one of these  I liked the best)

See this link for their web site and check out the consumer comments.
My system includes ModWright/EVS modified Pioneer DV-47A, PS Audio PCA-2, Samson rack with desprung GyroDec/SME, Walker Signature Phono, VMPS RM-40s, wires by TRT,  PS Audio, Absolute Power Cord.
Good Listening
Bob Wilcox


October 6, 2003

Good Morning Clement,

I very much enjoyed reading your review of the Tact M2150 digital amplifier. I too was surprised by the level of resolution, silence, transparency, and naturalness that the Tact amp is capable of producing. However, it wasn't until recently that I came to realize just how great this little amp really is.


About two months ago I began working with Lloyd Walker of Walker Audio. Lloyd is the distributor for Omega Mikro and Silent Source cables, Velocitor Power Conditioners, Valid Points Tuning Kits, Vivid CD Enhancer and the renowned  Proscenium Gold Signature Turntable. Now I've been an audiophile for a number of years and God knows I have tried more cables and components than I would care to mention, but none have impressed me as much as Lloyd Walkers.


Recently I replaced my Shunyata and Elrod power cords with Omega Mikro and Silent Source cables. This resulted in a noticeably quieter and more relaxed presentation. I also replaced my digital and speaker cables with the top of the line Omega Mikro Ebony series. Wow, the improvement in clarity and resolution was like nothing I have ever heard. These cables are capable of retrieving the finest low-level details and presenting them in the most natural manner.


However, with all of this clarity and resolution, I noticed that some CD's sounded a bit lean and as you mentioned in your review, half-decent recordings suffered somewhat under such scrutiny.

As such, I began searching for a ways to improve the sound of my system in order to provide a more balanced presentation free of the harsh realities that seem to haunt the solid state and digital domains of high-end audio.

Bring on Lloyd Walker's Valid Points. What the Valid Points and Tuning Discs did for my system and especially for the Tact amp was nothing short of amazing. My system now sounds more balanced throughout the entire frequency range and is much more CD friendly. Honestly, I couldn't be happier with the sound. We'll I haven’t tried a tube DAC yet! 

In any event, I would like to add that I have truly come to admire and respect Lloyd Walker for his knowledge and craftsmanship in the area of high-end audio. This guy really knows his stuff! If you can find the time, I would urge you to give him a call and at the very least try a demonstration of his Valid Points Resonance Control System with the Tact M2150. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Walker Audio
1139 Thrush Lane
Audubon, PA 19403


PH: 610-666-6087


Thank You

Michael Andrukonis
Vineyard Sound
(508) 457-7977



Thank you for your comments and further affirmation on what the Tact does in your setup as well. I will get in touch with Walker Audio.


Clement Perry


October 6, 2003



I want to again thank you for the attention that you gave me last week in Germany, and upon reflection, admit defeat! You were right…I really am ten years behind the times! What I heard with you, although it’s difficult to admit, left my old $75k system in the dust! Ouch!


That “dollar sign / vacuum tube mentality” of mine, coupled with all the “wisdom” of the retail stores here in the city, really did me in. Those damned Ascendo speakers were absolutely the finest speakers that I’ve ever heard in the forty years that I’ve been playing, even with that old jaundiced ear of mine; particularly if you factor in their price. Although I didn’t just come out and say it to you in Frankfurt, the Ascendo room was wonderful, and I have now decided that your recommendation was correct. In other words, I’m going to ditch the old Goldmunds and buy a pair of their System E’s or M’s.


But even more difficult to admit, when you took me up to hear your set-up, with the Tact digital stuff, it absolutely “blew my mind!” Needless to say, I loved the Ascendo room, and notably the room that was using the System M speakers with the Orpheus electronics but your combination of the Ascendo and the digital amp with room correction was unsurpassed! I also liked the Gryphon set-up, and of course the Swiss guy that was so “laid back” and who had such a gorgeous sound and simplicity to his stuff. What was their name? But how can you compare your set-up to any of it?


Man, I’ve gotta admit…you’ve made a believer out of me, even if it took ten thousand miles to do it!


Thanks again, and please keep in touch. I’ll invite you into the city to hear my Ascendo/Tact system in a few months!


Best Regards,

Don Dixon 


October 5, 2003

Hi Clement

 I was wondering if you or any of your staff have heard the most recent upgraded version of the museatex bidat, and if you have what are your thoughts?  I just purchased a bidt from Stuart Mcreary and I am sending it to John Wright for the plus upgrade.
 What I was hoping to find out was weather or not something like the capitole mark 2 player or such may be a better option than using the bidat and a good transport. I was thinking of maybe the Audiomeca Mephisto II X or Wadia WT200.
Any comments would be greatly appreciated.  By the way I decided to write you because Stuart mentioned you may know about the Bidat.
Thanks Steve

I've not owned the Bidat since 1998 when I first got the new Sony's new SCD-1 SACD player. Therefore, as much a I liked the Bidat, I found the Sony to be better in many areas audiophiles crave: transparency, dynamics, spatiality and musicality. The Bidat is softer, albeit a more analogue sounding processor- I must admit. But, at the time, I guess the Sony seemed the logical way to go. Funny, the Sony has long been replaced by Electrocompaniet's latest CD player, which I think is an excellent player and something you might not regret if heard. It also serves as an excellent transport. Good luck.
Clement Perry

October 4, 2003

I have to say that I agree with your review of the Tact M2150. I own the S2150 along with the RCS2.0S. I can honestly say that I cannot think of any system regardless of price that is more accurate. Pity about the quality of many CD's though.

I find it particularly good on anything involving the human voice. It is the first time that I can listen to opera without covering my ears in pain. Trying Telarc Cd of HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan for instance, comes across so real, that I forget that I am not five rows back in the theater!! Tact room correction along with the digital amp makes other systems seem no-fi and grossly expensive by comparison.


Peter Heathcote


August, 2003


I was reading your article on the Hydra this afternoon and noted the similarity in our systems. At this moment, I’m trying out the PS -500 and must admit to being very disappointed in it.  It is the first “line conditioner” I have tried and it has not lived up to its reputation.  I will be returning it. Now, my questions is, since your article was written back in 12/01, have you found a device that you feel displaces the Hydra in utility? I would appreciate your guidance on selecting a line conditioner for my system: Sony SCD 1, Tact 2.0 RCS, Art Audio Jota with KR 300BXLS tubes, etc. Avantgarde Duo’s Speaker cables are Silversmith’s – two pairs run to each Duo.

Thanks in advance.

jack Brady

DeckTools (tm), 

PS:  I would be happy to share what I’ve learned with the Tact and Jota tube experiments if you have an interest.

August, 2003

Dear Mr. Perry,

I'm a big fan of your magazine and would like to tell you about my experience with the H-CAT, which, I feel, you should make your readers aware of.

I ordered the H-cat preamp on a 30 day in-home trial they offer. I didn't like it and returned it. It is now over 4 months and they haven't refunded my money. The company does not have a listed phone # and e-mail is the only means of communications. These go unanswered until they are threatened and then they say a credit will be issued on the next credit card statement. It is not and this goes on month after month.

It is important that your readers are aware that the 30 day money back guarantee is bogus.

Yours sincerely,

Tariq Osman

August, 2003


I just wanted to let you know  that I really enjoyed the new review on the Kharma midi-grands.  I thought  it was an excellent review.  Even though it was longer than most reviews, I felt for a speaker of that price, it deserved  the longer review.   Best regards,  Cyrus

August 20, 2003

Mr. Perry,
I just wanted to let you know how much I thoroughly enjoy reading the review, "A Match Made In Heaven: The Kharma Grand Ceramique Midi 1.0 Loudspeakers and Tenor Audio Classic Series 75wp OTL Monoblock Amplifiers / A Love Story In Two Acts" by Frank Peraino 18 August 2003.

What I have normally come to expect from a review is a usually too technical piece that seems to always lose my interest and fails to really answer my questions and give me a true idea of the product. I will usually pick through an article and attempt to find little fragments that will hopefully satisfy my curiosity. Not only do I want useful information but an honest and human opinion given to the point.

With this said, I want you to know that after reading the review by Mr. Peraino, I consider it to be one of the most enjoyable pieces I have come across in a long time. His review was both informative and a pleasure to read. His style of writing was more of a piece of entertaining literature than a review of audio equipment.

I commend and thank you for sharing Mr. Peraino''s writing talents with us. I look forward to his next contribution.

With much thanks and regards,

Eugene Mann


June 2003

Mr. Perry -

Your very extensive review of the KR Enterprise VT800MK appears in a web ad. Would it be possible to discuss with you on the phone your opinions and address some questions I have regarding this intriguing unit?
Your review was in itself quite amazing as is your Stereo Times in general.
Hope you can find the time to speak.
Thank you very much.
Maurice Schmir


June, 2003


Mr. Perry,
I have emailed before and here is another question. My current system uses a Cal Audio CL-15 CD player that has been highly modified, no preamp now directly into a Spectron digital amp as reviewed in your mag. with all Magnan wires signitures into Dynaudio Confidence 5 speakers { very similiar to the Karma sound}  Now my question. I have a digital input into the Cal 15 and would like to find an all Digital tuner that also sends a digital signal out so that I can listen  to FM stereo thru the excellent Cal dacs.
 Do you know of any such tuner?
 Thanks in advance.
 Hunter mattocks


No. I am not aware of a tuner, or any tuner for that matter that will output a digital signal. I'll contact some people that may know different and get back to you. Regards, Clement



June, 2003

I just thought I should point out that isobarick speakers do not move more air as stated in the Chesky review. Only one 6 1/2" driver moves air and the second driver behind it adds nothing to it's ability to move air. The second driver allows you to have a box volume behind the second driver that is half the size you would need for the same performance with one driver, i.e. same damping and rolloff. Of couse there is a price. You lose 3db of efficiency. Half the energy goes to the back driver which is effectively producing no output so that power is wasted soundwise. 

By the way there is a second potential problem in using an isobarik high up in frequency. The driver spacing becomes significant dimesnsionwise above 1 khz and if the cone is at all sonically transparent, out of phase sound from the back driver can pass through the front cone and muddy the sound. When Dynaudio built their first isobariks they countered this danger 2 ways. First they rolled off the back driver earlier than the front one. Secondly they front loaded the inner driver with a damped port that absorbed the shorter wave lengths.
Allen Edelstein


June 20, 2003

Hi Constantine,

I noticed you picked up the Flatfish/Progression as a reference CD player. During your review of the 47 Lab system, you talked about being careful to match speakers that can handle Emphasized CDs and staying away from ribbon or piezo speakers. So in the other cases of using regular tweeters, there's no worries? Is there a way to tell if a CD is Emphasized or not? Would there be any indication on the CD jacket?


Dear Jim,

Thank you for your inquiry and for reading my review.

"Emphasized CDs" have audibly peaky, altered sonics from 10k Hz and up progressively, which are supposed to be flattened via the de-emphasis circuitry embedded in most CD players. Mr. Kimura of 47 Laboratory sacrificed such functionality in pursuit of a level of fidelity attainable only though extreme simplicity, with the removal of the de-emphasis process being one of the many measures he adopted. In speaker selection, 47 Lab does recommend caution in using the very delicate ribbon for reproducing the concentrated high frequency energy, and in the case of piezo speakers, the resultant extra, undesirable sound pressure from the aforementioned lack of frequency filtration. Speakers using dome tweeters will have no problem playing emphasized CDs at judicious volumes, even though the artists and recording engineers never intended the sound thus produced.

In addition, please note that my case with the 47 Laboratory Flatfish/Progression CD System's lack of de-emphasizing circuits centers on the two-dozen or so CDs I bought outside the U.S. during the early 80s. Had I the access in acquiring the re-issues of these CDs in their native countries, the F/P's omission of de-emphasizing circuits wouldn't have mattered to me at all. Luckily, I have been able to buy a few of the American re-issues which have better, re-mastered sonics and are priced even lower than the original 1980's versions. In retrospect, among the affected CDs in my collection, only contemporary music was emphasized and none of those from the classical labels, such as Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, London, Orfeo, Philips and Telarc, for example, was ever produced with emphasis.

Since emphasizing a CD was a standard practice in the early 80's, no record companies ever enlisted such information anywhere on the packaging; but the increase in high frequency output is unmistakably audible. Since I own a few such CDs, I am now resorting to a Z-systems RDP-1 digital reference preamplifier to de-emphasize these CDs; although I relied on the treble control of my Genesis VI speakers to attain proper frequency balance during the time of the 47 Lab Review.

Most DACs that are circulated in the marketplace incorporate the de-emphasis circuitry that is part of the digital filtering process. In the 47 Lab's case, as long as the majority of your CD collections from the early 80s are of American origin, the Flatfish/Progression system will prove its value. Otherwise, you may want to purchase the re-issues of your favorite, emphasized CDs.

Last but not least, watch out for a review on the 47 Lab PiTracer/Gemini Progression CD system, as well as a pure Audio Note System Experience consisting of superior equipment from each of the company's product lines.

Best Wishes,

Constantine Soo

March 7, 2003

Ivor Tiefenbrun's Manufacturer's Response to the Linn Klimax Twin Review

It was great to read about Constantine Soo's experience driving such a wide variety of loudspeakers and reporting how well the Klimax Twin performed with each type. On behalf of all the team that developed this product I would like to thank him for his penetrating review and his keen interest in Linn and our new technology. Anyone thrilled by the performance of the Klimax Twin should also audition the Klimax Solo which delivers twice as much power and superior performance. It would be good to read Constantine Soo's experiences of the Klimax Solo performance.

Ivor Tiefenbrun

February 17, 2003
Hello Mr. Soo.

I enjoy your contributions to The Stereo Times. Your review on the Audio Note AN-E/D's inspired me to purchase a pair of the AN-E/L's and I couldn't be happier.

As fate would have it, you have experiences with TMC interconnects and also possess the two interconnects that I wish to replace them with: Audio Note AN-Vx and Granite Audio 470's.

My system for your info:

Canary Audio CA-706 Power Amp (4 X EL34 40 Wpc)
Sonic Frontiers Line 1 preamp
EAD Ultradisc 2000 CD player
Audio Note AN-E/L speakers
van den Hul Inspiration Hybrid Speaker Cable (goes very well with the AN-E/L's)
TMC Yellow and White IC's
Custom Power Top Gun PC on CD
Custom Power Model 11 on Amp
WireWorld Aurora III+ on preamp

The TMC's are pretty good IC's for the price, however my system has outgrown them and I believe that I can enhance it's sound by using either the Audio Note Vx's or the Granite Audio 470's. My question to you is, what are the relative merits of the Audio Note and the Granite Audio cables? What do these do that the TMC's do not? I know that these things are system dependent and as such I am not looking for absolutes, just an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses relative to each other. Any information based on your experiences with these would be appreciated.


Frank Albanese

P.S. I replaced my TMC Gold Reference speaker cable with Van Den Hul Inspiration Hybrid and the results are excellent. The cables complement the smoothness of the AN-E's and improve the depth of soundstage. Overall sound is more natural.

Note: I will also audition the Van Den Hul Integration Hybrid IC. If you have any experience here it would be appreciated. It is cheaper than either the Audio Note or the Granite however my experience so far tells me that there is always a price to be paid.


Dear Mr. Albanese,

Thank you for your inquiry and your kind words. I feel tremendously gratified that my Audio Note AN-E/D review helped in your search for loudspeakers. I hope to share my future findings with you and all readers in many years to come.

While I am not familiar with the equipment you mentioned, with the exception of the Audio Note AN-E/D speakers, I am inclined to encourage you on a cable upgrade simply because you are using the AN speakers, whose efficiency and transcending sonic excellence will reflect upstream equipment finesse.

The TMC interconnects were a good investment in the presence of other sub-$500 competition. If equipment in a reader's audio system is not of the exotic type, then the TMC cables should do fine in conveying details and dynamics. For systems capable of higher resolution, the Audio Note AN-V and the Granite Audio #470 possess progressive strengths in preserving signal integrity. Admittedly quite expensive, the $950-per-meter Granite Audio #470's are more resolute in the midrange and above than the Audio Note AN-V, and thus are my reference for cables below $1,000.

Frank, I also noticed you are using the EAD CD system. If you don't mind my bringing up something totally unrelated, I would like to suggest trying SACD. My Sony SCD-777ES SACD player with SACDs still outperforms my 47 Lab Redbook CD digital front end, and the Sony SACD player can be had for less than $1,500 in the used market. Why not give the format an audition?

Happy Listening!

Constantine Soo

February 27, 2003
Dear The Stereo Times,

In the Zen Triode Monoblock Amplifiers review, Constantine said,

"In my earlier look at the Decware SE84C Zen Triode amplifier, I examined and recognized the petite amplifier's subtle but efficacious tonalities and excellent contrasting dynamics during low to medium volume levels in the company of the Klipschorn. Still, the persistent dynamic compressions and loss of soundstage coherence during higher listening levels reflected its unsuitability to drive most speakers."

I had to look up efficacious in the dictionary. It means, "qualities giving the power to produce an intended effect," "producing an intended result," or "having a striking effect."

What could be a better compliment than that? To produce tonality as it is intended was certainly one of the designer's goals.

The reviewer is very persistent in trying to overshadow all of the Zen's plusses with its lack of power. At 1.8 watts, the Zen is so obviously not intended to provide "higher listening levels" with "most speakers" that many of his statements are laughable. And, overall the Zen reviews sound negative. Many on the Decware Forums believe the review is too harsh, especially considering the low price. Reading between the lines, you can see that not much bad can be said. Maybe he had to leave himself an out. This way, other products have a chance for favorable reviews. I noticed that lots of companies advertise on Stereo Times; and also that Decware isn't one of them. : )

Thank You,
Brett Manning

Dear Mr. Manning

Thank you for your inquiry and comments. The dilemma I was faced with when reviewing the Decware SE84C Monoblocks was to consider its strengths and weaknesses in both the context of the MSRP and in absolute terms. My finding was that the SE84C Monoblocks were absolutely not the best amplifiers for instances I experienced, but were otherwise a match of exemplary proportion with the Loth-X BS1 speakers.

Your comment that many of my statements are laughable notwithstanding, I do appreciate your comment that future products could receive favorable reviews were I to "leave myself an out." It will be up to my publisher to decide when I will be out. Nevertheless, it is my earnest hope that reviewers everywhere not give in to pressures of any kind in his ongoing endeavor except those of refining his reviewing methods and sharpening his written presentation skills.

Of course, it is truly regrettable that Decware has not yet contracted Stereo Times with advertisements, but that may not be indication of discontent from Mr. Deckert. I believe Decware and Stereo Times respect each other's principles in their endeavors even in the light of my Review as indicated in Mr. Deckert's posted Manufacturer's Comment on both their website and ours.

Last not least, I welcome disagreements from readers and manufacturers on my findings and opinions, as they are just as relevant and revelatory as any reviewer's words, because there may not be absolute truths. As a famous saying goes, "The Beauty exists in the eyes of the Beholder."

Happy Listening!

Constantine Soo

Good Afternoon Greg,

I ran across your site today during lunch. I had never heard of the
Stereo Times before. I found this a little surprising because I consider myself an informed audiophile. I guess I'm not as informed as I thought. Are you strictly a web source? Or do you also publish in paper? Does one subscribe to the Stereo Times or do we just wait for the next installment to show up on the web? If you are web source only, how do you pay for your overhead and your contributors. If I'm not mistaken, I was able to enter and use your site without any fees?

At any rate, I wanted to let you know that I was very impressed with the depth and the expertise that I experienced during a short browse. I will return again soon to enjoy the fruits of your work.


Rob Lootens
Utica, Michigan

Hello Rob,

Thank you for taking the time to write us and share your kind words. To answer your questions, we are strictly a web-based publication. You are able to read us for free as our sponsors (the advertisers) pay the bills. That is the reason for the proliferation of advertising on or pages. However, if it keeps our product free to you while getting their message in front of you, we feel it is worth it.

As to your comment about "the next installment," you should come back often. We try to put up new content every couple of days rather than once a month. This makes it more useful to you and keeps you coming back to see what is new.

Thanks for exploring our publication and for finding the merit we work so hard to provide; we are very proud of it.

Greg Weaver

Executive Editor - The Stereo Times