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Positive Feedback ISSUE 9
Our readers respond we respond right back!
I will be very direct... a cable review, eg., are these as objective as possible... or like other publications...are these reviews pleasant comments for a fee from product vendor...?
I hope my directness has not been too harsh... if you were Stereophile magazine... I would not care to ask...!
You're right that many people consider reviews before choosing a fine audio component... this has always struck me as very wise. There are more sources than ever for such reviews, ranging from traditional print to online publications like PFO, good online groups like Audio Asylum (http://www.audioasylum.com), some of the Internet rec.audio.* newsgroups, and various web sites hither and yon. Provided that the comments provided by any of these sources are based upon real knowledge and experience, and provided that integrity is maintained (i.e., commentary is not skewed by commercial, "political/religious", or corrupting influences), then a reader can sift through reports, balance impressions, and use them as assisting information in coming to a decision.
This is particularly important when evaluating a component/system that is not available locally, and thus not subject to easy personal listening impressions.
The integrity of the review process must be maintained, therefore, since so many readers may be functioning on the trustworthiness of what we say.
To answer your question, which seems to be addressed at the above points: PFO does NOT publish reviews "for a fee"... never has, never will. There is no quid pro quo in our reviews. If we like a component, we will say so regardless of the advertising stance of a manufacturer, and we'll say so for the reason that any audio lover of integrity would: *we like it because it sounds good in our listening room.*
If we can't get any magic out of a component, that doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't good...just that we couldn't find a point of synergy in our reviewer's room. The next reviewer may find it to be a fantastic design! For that reason, we do NOT publish negative reviews; *I believe that negative reviews to be broadly valid would have to be exhaustive, which no review is.* In that case, we simply ship the component back without comment.
On the other hand, if a component has magic in our rooms...if we strike gold...we say so in our review. A "hit" is indicative that something very good is going on, and we'll flag our readers' attention accordingly.
Throughout, the integrity of the process is vigilantly defended, and always has been. We publicly published our "Big Ten" back in Positive Feedback Online, Issue 6 (please see http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue6/bigten.htm) so that our readers would be aware of our internal policies on matters like these. That article is based on a memo that I sent out to all editors/contributors to Positive Feedback Magazine back in 1997... and was my informal policy before that going all the way back to the founding of PF in 1990.
In other words, you may trust that PFO operates on principles of integrity and trustworthiness in its work, and would never knowingly mislead, nor allow the corruption of the review process via quid pro quo.
I hope that this clarifies the matter for you, Joseph. Don't worry, your question was not harsh at all...and I don't mind answering this extremely important question from time to time.
All the best,
A few comments:
I note the use of high quality copper cables in your reviewwe also have found WAVAC designs work very well with silver cables including silver AC power cables.
tmh audio is very honored to represent WAVAC Audio Labit becomes very easy to market as we are so passionate about the WAVAC designs and sonics. Not only the state-of-the-art HE-833 SET, but the more affordable products which also have received rave reviews. These allow more people to experience the WAVAC purity and use the products Steve Hoffman uses in his mastering system.
Again, thanks for the great comments and the professional way the review process was handled.
Yes, I remember CES 2001 with a great deal of fondness... the main down side to that event was that my digital camera wasn't working properly. No photographs!
Thanks for the clarifications on the WAVAC line. I suspected that your points were true, but without researching the entire line, I wouldn't have been able to say so authoritatively. WAVAC seems to be onto some very special developments; I can see why you're pleased to be distributing their work.
All the best to you and the fine folks at WAVAC...
Greetings, and sorry for the unexpected email but I had to make a comment on the new Meitner DAC6 and DCC2. If it is as good as you and others claim it to be then cheers! However for the asking price a single box design would have been more practical for consumer use and probably more profitable to EMM labs. Thanks for your time.
Beyond the evaluation of different cables products, the greater issue that Max has attempted to address is thought provoking. As much as we know in our advanced (?) state of civilization, there is more that we either dont know or dont fully understand.
While I am glad that our cables floated Max's boat, I hope the article will lead others further down the road on their own quest.
But, in the end, we may all have to "go ask Alice".
Yes, I thought of that quote of Einstein's myself, Mike, when I read Max's article. I'm re-reading Ronald W. Clark's excellent biography of Einstein right now, in fact; this is one of those fine aphorisms that people like Einstein, Twain, and Churchill coined on a gratifyingly regular basis.
The point that Einstein made is of major epistemological significance, of course...a necessary qualification of Occam's Razor, in my opinion.
All the best,
A point very well taken! One of the early decisions that Dave Clark and I made as we developed the concept of Positive Feedback Online was to shed the restrictions of print publication, and go with the strengths of this new medium. (As in, "Yes, I can teach you to fly, but that cocoon has got to go.")
We went the idea of having dynamic issues, with ongoing development of an issue during a bi-monthly period, and fluid boundaries for "issues." You're right; the result has been a form of publication in which "issue" is a rather general way of labeling a period of flux, rather than a hard and fast designation of finished content. The intent is to serve our readers, and give ourselves a greater artistic freedom to pursue ideas, without the tyranny of concrete time frames. This is the nature of the medium, and I am happy as an artist to use its plastic nature as a source of creative power.
"Issue" still works for me, but its new context means that its nature has changed.
Thanks for the stimulating comments!
All the best,
Everardo de Armas
Clark is always exceptionally thoughtful, incisive, and provocative in his writing, Everardo; he's one of the very best writers in fine audio.
You may be sure that as long as Clark chooses to write for us, we will continue to publish him.
All the best,
I know that Clark appreciates hearing from those who enjoy what he does!
All the best,
In addition, Creative Labs offers a 60GB model that is the equivalent to the IPOD (if less sexy).
By the way, great mag!
Thanks for the addendum; glad to hear that you enjoy PFO!
All the best,
However, good as the 2.1x balanced is in my experience, has their been any talk of how the 4.1x balanced compares to lesser models? How much better can it get from the 2.1x balanced? And how important is the AN transport? Right now I'm using an Electrocompaniet EMC-1 Up as a transport, my former CDP of choice. Is there a real synergy with the AN products?
Thanks for the feedback. I am as curious as you are about how well the less expensive Audio Note dacs perform and have at least two more reviews in the pipeline, each setting a less expensive dac into an appropriate system: the 1.1x Signature and a 2.1 balanced, both using the CDT-1 transport.
my reference gear is Blue Circle electronics and Reynaud speakers, I will be using that
equipment in the reviewsthe 1.1x with a Blue Circle CS integrated amp and
Reynaud Arpeggiones (floor-standing versions of the Twins) and a Blue Circle BC3 Galatea
II/BC28 combo with Reynaud Evolution 3's. Stay tuned.
No harm in askin' is there?
Yep... no harm in asking!
You don't see much on the Rotel or Mirage lines because we haven't gotten anything in from those folks. If we ever do, and if it's worth commenting on, we'll do it.
All of which means that I can't tell you anything about tweaking them, either. We'll publish your query in "Reverberations"; if any of our editors/writers can help, or another PFO reader, we'll be sure to publish it there for you.
Of course I have no idea what I am talking about, not having heard the Meitner, but I was so impressed with the sound quality that I thought that you ought to seek it out.
I know you're interested in mods and you've done usthe hi rez communitysuch a good service writing about it. Just wanted to pass the message on
Very interesting report, Joel... I'm always interested in what's being done with SACD mods.
I know the work of Dan Wright with the SACD-1000 (excellent!), but I'm not familiar with Peychev. I can well believe that the stock SCD-1 can be bested by either the Vacuum State Audio mods or the Peychev mods; the stock SCD-1 is good, but can be seriously improved, as I've documented. Richard Kern's work with the SCD-1 has been extraordinary; he's really wringing all sorts of improvements out of that Sony model.
Dan Wright's modded SACD-1000 is the only one that I've heard...it's very good indeed. He's done some things with the mods to the 1000 since I last listened to his work, but he and I haven't been able to schedule a listening session... dueling daytimers, there!
I'm slated to do an interview with Allen Wright at VSAC 2003 in just a few days; I'm looking forward to meeting him personally, and sharing his views on DSD/SACD and the modification of same. Should be of interest to all PFO readers!
As to Meitner being "worried"... personally, I doubt it. Once you hear the Meitner, it's clear that it is the reference standard in SACD playback... I haven't heard anything that bests it, or even comes too close.
Meanwhile, if you can send Peychev's vital stats along, or have him email me, we'll see if anything can be done to arrange a review of a modded player.
All the best, Joel... drop us an email any time.