E-mail comments or questions to feedback@soundstagehifi.com.

A 24/7 Mohican?

To Garrett Hongo,

I just read your most excellent review of the [Hegel Music Systems Mohican CD player]. Can you advise if it should be powered up 24/7? I have always been advised that this is the way to go with digital products but wondered if you had any input.

Thanks,
Martin Taylor
United States

Aloha Martin, thanks for your appreciation!

I’d heard that same thing about digital components back when I first got into audio. And I kept a player on 24/7 until I got a nasty sound from it some time down the line. I guessed it was a capacitor discharging and the retail seller I bought it from said my guess was good as any. There was no damage or other malfunction, but, after that, I just turned my players off when not in use. . . . Garrett Hongo

Legacy Signature SE Up Against the Magico A3

To Doug Schneider,

I’d put the Legacy Signature SE up against the Magico [A3], any day, bromigo.

Terry
United States

As I wrote in my first A3 article, which appears on SoundStage! Global, by entering the sub-$10,000-per-pair speaker market, Magico is competing with many companies they weren’t pitted against before. Prospective purchasers would be wise to compare. . . . Doug Schneider

Naim and Magico

To Hans Wetzel,

Thank you for your superb and meaningful review of the Magico S1 Mk.II. It may be the best, most useful speaker review I have read in the past 50 years. One question if I may: Do you think my Naim NAC 552 [preamplifier] and Naim NAP 300 DR [amplifier] have enough power to drive these speakers? I rarely listen to anything other than classical, favoring chamber, baroque, and a lot of Mozart and Beethoven at relatively low volume. I live in an apartment and wish to be sensitive to the comfort of others. Thank you again for this meaningful review.

Charles Fisch
United States

The short answer is yes. With a sensitivity of 83dB, the S1 requires more power than your average loudspeaker. Given that you generally listen at low volume, however, your Naim amp’s 90Wpc into 8 ohms should be more than enough for your needs. If you start listening at high volume with any regularity, I would definitely think about investing in a more powerful amplifier. . . . Hans Wetzel

The Validity of Doug's Sonus Faber Olympica III Review

To Doug Schneider,

I have just read your review of the above speaker. All very fine but your actual examples were not real music, not real live music. So your comparisons are actually completely invalid.

Sorry, but I get tired of reading reviews where there is never a single example of comparison to a real live musical instrument. How can you know how good a speaker is if you don’t compare it with the real thing? No amplifiers, no speakers, no electronic processing.

How about a symphony orchestra or a string quartet? They are live and they don’t use amplifiers and speakers, etc.

Best wishes,
Richard Goulden
Austria

In some ways I agree with you, but in other ways I don’t. While audio systems should be able to faithfully reproduce the sound of acoustic instruments in live settings, they must also be able to reproduce electronically amplified instruments, purely electronic instruments, and, oftentimes, sound effects as well, particularly if they’re going to be used for movies. Furthermore, even spare recordings of unamplified instruments in a live setting won’t all sound the same, whether that’s due to acoustics of the venue, the placement of the microphones and instruments, the equipment used to record, or something else. Granted, these simpler recordings are usually more natural sounding than most modern studio recordings where plenty of processing usually goes on. Still, no recording will sound exactly like actually being in the venue. As a result, there’s no actual recorded reference that can be truly used as a baseline -- the recording process, regardless of how elaborate or simple it might be, changes the original sounds in some way. For these reasons, I think a variety of music is best. It must also be music you know really well.

That said, I agree with knowing what the “real thing” sounds like and what I like to use is for reference is the human voice, which is why many of my musical selections have singers prominent in them. Why voices? From a very early age, we all learn what voices sound like. Think about it: a voice is one of the first sounds a baby hears after being born. Therefore, someone who listens to a stereo system, regardless of whether he or she is an audiophile, knows if it sounds realistic or not. . . . Doug Schneider

The Whereabouts of the Yamaha NS-5000 Loudspeaker

To Doug Schneider,

I was intrigued by your enthusiasm for the new Yamaha NS-5000 speaker that you heard at the 2016 Tokyo International Audio Show. Since that time, I have been searching the web and even tried contacting Yamaha USA about when these speakers will come to the USA. I believe they are available in parts of Europe, Asia, and Australia. It seems rather strange that they have not arrived to the USA, nor any feedback from Yamaha about the timeframe for USA sales.

Since you probably have more sources of info in the audio business than readers like me, would it be possible for you to give your readers an update on the status of this speaker? If/when it will arrive to the USA and whether there will be more models using the new drivers? Specifically, smaller models for smaller rooms.

Regards,

Manoj Cooray
United States

I haven’t looked that hard for the NS-5000 since Tokyo since we’re always on the lookout for something new for our show coverage -- it was new to me in Tokyo, but not after. We also haven’t sought to review it, because, even for us, Yamaha isn’t all that easy to get in touch with in North America, which is too bad. Now that you mention it, though, I can’t recall seeing this speaker in the United States, though that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been around somewhere. I do recall seeing it at Poland’s Audio Video Show 2017, which I was at last week, so it’s certainly out there. But, like you say, maybe it’s only in select markets.

I agree that seeing the ideas for the NS-5000 trickle down to other designs would be a good idea, but since the NS-5000 is clearly inspired by the NS-1000, a classic from the 1970s, I’m not sure it makes sense to try to create another model from it, particularly if it’s just a smaller version. Instead, maybe Yamaha will come out with an updated NS-10, which is also from the ’70s. It was much smaller and was very popular for studios, but I’m sure could also do well in a home. . . . Doug Schneider

Revel's Salon2 -- Still One of the Best After All These Years?

To Doug Schneider,

Despite its age, I think the Revel Salon2 is still one of the best-sounding speakers you can buy at any price. In a recent shootout against its much-lauded stable mate, the JBL M2, the Salon2 was a clear winner (see AVS Forum thread). The [GoldenEar Technology] Triton Reference probably goes lower, but aside from that, do you think it matches the Salon2?

Regards,
Ian
United Kingdom

It’s funny you should bring the Salon2 up in that way. Just the other day, I was mentioning to editor-in-chief Jeff Fritz that the Salon2 is one of the best values in high-end loudspeakers in the last ten years (I think it was released in 2007), and that it is still competitive with many speakers today. In a nutshell, I agree with you. (I haven’t seen the AVS thread yet, however, but we linked it in your text and I will certainly look at it.)

Insofar as the Triton Reference goes, you’re correct that it goes deeper in the bass than the Salon2 does. As far as the rest of the frequency range goes, I’d still give the nod to the Salon2, though the Triton Reference gets pretty close in many ways. Mind you, that’s not a slight against the Triton Reference. As far as I know, the Salon2 is still current and sells for about $22,000 per pair, whereas the Reference is about $8500 per pair. What that tells you is that the Reference is a tremendous value as far as sonic performance goes and that the Salon2 still holds up sonically, despite being ten years old, which is a testament to truly great product design. . . . Doug Schneider 

The Music Matters

To Doug Schneider,

Recently read the GoldenEar Technology Triton Reference review and wanted to offer my thanks and appreciation for the mention of several recordings used in the write-up. Kudos in particular for: Reminding me how much I love Poetic Champions Compose. It’s been too long since I last listened and your comments got the record back on the turntable again. Wonderful music, well recorded, and good for the soul. Turning me on to Glen Hansard. I streamed Rhythm and Repose on Tidal and very much enjoyed it. Will be listening to more of his music and ordering a few records. The mention of Bruce Cockburn’s The Charity of Night. He’s another artist I’ve neglected lately, so I streamed your reference, then pulled Humans off the shelf and enjoyed both so much I ordered four more of his records. While I’m not in the market for a new pair of speakers, I’m always looking for new or renewed musical discoveries and your review provided excellent recommendations.

Thanks again and best regards,

Ray
United States

P.S. If you haven’t heard Lizz Wright’s last release, Grace, you may want to give a listen . . . seems like something you might appreciate.

The equipment is important, but the music is what matters. I’m glad the review helped in that way, because I do often try to pick music that readers might find interesting.

I’m going to check out Lizz Wright immediately after I finish writing this response. As for Bruce Cockburn, I’ve been a fan of his since I was 15. As I mentioned in the review, Poetic Champions Compose is my favorite Van Morrison release. Likewise, Humans is my favorite Cockburn release, although its sound quality isn’t up to that of The Charity of Night. Insofar as Glen Hansard goes, everyone I recommend his music to ends up a fan, though I have yet to pick a favorite album of his. . . . Doug Schneider

Some Impressive MQA Testing

To Doug Schneider,

Thanks for the great article.

I have had an MQA-certified DAC for over six weeks now. Like you, I was skeptical about any comparisons using Tidal and chose to base my judgements on the 2L samples. To be thorough, I downloaded the MQA, hi-res, and CD versions.

My observations:

1) The production on these tracks is excellent and they do sound like they were derived from the same masters.

2) It is indeed hard to hear any differences. To me, the hi-res and MQA do sound slightly better than the CD quality, but only slightly.

3) I heard no discernible difference in the hi-res and MQA versions.

I have revisited these files numerous times and my results are always the same.

I will also point out that I participated in Archimago’s “blind” MQA vs. PCM test and scored three out of three. Each time I preferred the sound of the PCM file. The pseudo-MQA files had slight distortions, which admittedly were minor and took a lot of concentration to pinpoint. The overall presentation (musicality?) of the PCM versions was just a little better. I do not fully understand the process Archimago used to “unfold” the MQA versions to PCM containers, and cannot comment if it is a valid test of MQA. I only mention my “perfect” scoring as a testament to my listening ability.

Mark Brauer
United States

I am impressed by your skepticism about doing comparisons using Tidal masters, as well as the approaches you have taken to determine if MQA is better, worse, or different -- you’ve put more thought into and done more legwork than many audio journalists have. And, yes, it certainly appears you can hear! It also appears that you are not afraid to be honest in your assessments. After someone buys a new piece of equipment (in your case, the MQA-compatible DAC), bias comes in and they do everything in their power to believe it sounds better. It is a hard pill to swallow when it is not. Good for you! Thank you for writing in. . . . Doug Schneider

"The MQA Balloon"

To Doug Schneider,

I read with great enjoyment your newest update on the MQA balloon. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. I would be worried about the effect of those false high-frequency distortions in my playback system. All of my system was designed before MQA and are we playing with another “comfortable” distortion like we enjoy with tubes? Just wondering.

Regards,
Lloyd
Canada

I certainly enjoy the sound of some tubed gear -- so you could be right! . . . Doug Schneider

What If MQA Succeeds?

To Doug Schneider,

Good analysis without writing a polemic [“Mismatched Masters and False Frequencies -- Is MQA Better, Worse, or Just Different?”]. I’m also suspicious of the DRM possibilities of MQA -- what if it succeeds? Will the record labels get rid of all the non-MQA versions of albums and make hi-res available only in MQA? Will they start to tier pricing and quality of playback according to how much “extra” you are willing to pay? I’m pretty sure the labels aren’t turning their catalogs to MQA out of altruism, so when is the other shoe going to drop? I don’t think streaming MQA hi-res will be “free” vs. CD quality forever.

Thanks,
Danny
Israel

In my opinion, MQA hasn’t made significant enough inroads to guarantee that it will even be around in a few more years, let alone a roaring success. I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Yes, it’s on Tidal, which is where most audiophiles get their files, but you’ll find little elsewhere. Furthermore, I think when people learn more about MQA and how it works, they will see there are likely much better options for true high-resolution playback. . . . Doug Schneider

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