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gkc
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Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

The recent hooha on Tara (along with its inconclusive conclusion) begs a few questions about interconnecting cables. I can understand Michael's wanting to begin the cable auditioning process with the preamp-to-phono preamp connection -- the phono preamp, as my tiny brain understands the situation, is asked to perform a more delicate task than other links in the chain. Yet, during his review of the Tara "Zero" interconnect, Michael's only mention of the (second most important??) preamp-to-power amp hookup is to say it would cost him a couple grand more than the 15 large for other applications, due to the longer run of that connection in his particular set-up. No mention of degrees of improvement. Now, I can't reasonably ask any reviewer to cover all possible bases in a review of any piece of equipment, but the superlatives strewn about this particular component demand a more detailed description of how the Tara IC's affected the rest of the chain. Especially, since Michael's original experience was expanded to include a system-wide application.

So, all you technically-versed forum denizens out there, what about this preamp-amp connection? A couple of months ago, a state-of-the-art integrated amp (the ASR) was raved up by Michael, and, while its set-up requirements were demanding, there was no need to worry about the amp-preamp link, as it is hard wired inside the main box. Can the Tara improve on a hard-wired integrated link? Many manufacturers build preamps, power amps, and integrateds based on essentially the same designs. Michael, how does your memory see this issue? Why wouldn't ANY integrated amp that doesn't compromise power supplies, or other space-dependent variables, sound as good as it is possible to make amplification sound?

Also, Wes Phillips reviewed another designer's solution to linking source components and the power amp to a central control (the preamp). One has to wonder if CAST isn't a better solution than the Tara "Zero."

It is a shame these questions were not answered (or expanded) while the hideously expensive Tara pieces were "in house," so to speak. Comments, anyone?

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

I forgot to mention state-of-the-art preamps that integrate a phono stage within the preamp chassis (Levinson, Ayre, Aesthetix, and their ilk). Michael, couldn't one of these or similar designs, provided that the integrated phono stage were sufficiently high in quality and comprehensive in versatility, improve on even the Musical Fidelity/Tara/Manley connection? Or, to put it another way, can any interconnecting cable, all other things being equal (I know, I know -- they never are), improve on no cable at all? Michael, Wes, and even Paul Bolin (who raved about the new Audio Research unit without the benefits of the Tara "Zero" in his set-up), isn't ANY interconnect going to befoul the sound somewhat, compared to a hard-wired, integrated approach? I know ALL you guys have heard quality integrateds. If getting the most out of my preamp-amp-phono preamp complex of components means putting out another 50 large just to strap 'em all in, why shouldn't some enterprising genius just build an all-in-one unit that hard-wires everything, especially since the ASR is at the state-of-the-art level? It seems to me that you could design such an integrated unit with the best parts available and still undercut by a large margin the best separates that demand an additional 30-50 grand on state-of-the-art cables.

bengrbm
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

I think a great idea would be to test cables along with reviews, something I used to espouse on this board. Many of these manufacturers make testable claims - and a cable is certainly easier to test than a speaker, which 'phile regularly tests. I would love for the Caltech scientist Fremer cited to cut one of these things open (I know they're expensive) and tell me if there's anything interesting inside. Its important to remember that the vacuum claim has ALWAYS been a joke - its not like this is the first time their advertising has been shady, its a pattern and it exists at MANY other of these exotic cable companies. This won't be the last time this happens. It amazes me that someone would give Mr. Electro 15K after making a claim like that. Call the guy at Caltech, ask him to look at the cable, if its maintaining near vacuum pressure, and what purpose is being served. The review would hold up a lot better.

There is a real loss of credibility on this issue. These companies are cited as "labs" and then about once a year we get a story about them using "regular" wire or the "two posts from the same person under a different name followed by rapid ad withdrawl" silliness in the other thread. It undermines the magazine's good work, the best of the audiophile mags, to test everything but cables and expect us to believe all of these shady claims when they subject everything else to scrutiny.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Yo, bengrbum. It has been around a half-year since I posted this naive question to all the oscilloscope watchers. No replies. What is the problem? If integrateds do away with the need for cables, why design seperates? Why not design a chassis and hard-wire connections that does away with the cable debate?

Fremer has reveiwed a top-class integrated, and also has reviewed (supposedly) paradigm-setting cables.

Yet, he has been conspicuously silent.

If the cable question is even debatable , then why isn't NO cable a better alternative?

Michael? Woodies? Other graphable geniuses? It seems to me, this is a meaningful question. Who needs cables at ALL? Why? Technology has solved the metallurgical/space problems, so why isn't an integrated solution being trumpeted as the be-all-end-all, instead of a compromise?

Repeat. If the state-of-the-art in wiring costs 50 large plus, and amplifier (or even DAC) separates can come in as state-of-the-art at the low 5-figures, why not design a be-all-end-all integrated that eliminates the need for cable concerns?

Maybe DUP is right. Woodies and numbers freaks, I need a little help here...

Michael Fremer
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated


Quote:
Yo, bengrbum. It has been around a half-year since I posted this naive question to all the oscilloscope watchers. No replies. What is the problem? If integrateds do away with the need for cables, why design seperates? Why not design a chassis and hard-wire connections that does away with the cable debate?

Fremer has reveiwed a top-class integrated, and also has reviewed (supposedly) paradigm-setting cables.

Yet, he has been conspicuously silent.

If the cable question is even debatable , then why isn't NO cable a better alternative?

Michael? Woodies? Other graphable geniuses? It seems to me, this is a meaningful question. Who needs cables at ALL? Why? Technology has solved the metallurgical/space problems, so why isn't an integrated solution being trumpeted as the be-all-end-all, instead of a compromise?

Repeat. If the state-of-the-art in wiring costs 50 large plus, and amplifier (or even DAC) separates can come in as state-of-the-art at the low 5-figures, why not design a be-all-end-all integrated that eliminates the need for cable concerns?

Maybe DUP is right. Woodies and numbers freaks, I need a little help here...

I'm not sure what you mean when you say I've been "conspicuously silent." Integrated products do solve the cable problem and the better ones are a great solution to having to connect amps and preamps, but so is the 50 ohm solution darTZeel has engineered between its preamp and amp.

However, an integrated also means if one part goes down, you're without music until it gets fixed. It means you no longer have the flexibility to easily upgrade to greater power without selling the entire product and starting over.

And, depending upon your system's configuration, it may not be a viable alternative. For instance, I have my gear on sidewall racks, with monoblocks on the floor between the speakers. Were I to switch to an integrated, my choice would be to run really long speaker cables from the side wall to the speakers (unacceptable), or place the integrated between the speakers and be forced to run long interconnects from the side wall gear to the integrated (expensive, cumbersome, etc.).

For a reviewer, an integrated is a non-starter if you wished to review amps and preamps. Another non-starter is a loudspeaker with a powered subwoofer such as the Vandersteens. While some reviewers magically manage to review amplifiers with such speakers, I, for the life of me, can't imagine how I can tell readers about the amp's bass performance when the bottom end is provided by the speaker's amplifier.

As for the (supposedly) paradigm setting cables, you ought to hear them. If you remember what I wrote about the Tara Zero's attack, sustain and decay abilities, consider this: jazz recording engineer Joe Ferla visited one evening recently with mastering engineer Greg Calbi. Calbi mastered the Graceland LP and CD back in 1985. I played the LP for him and he said he heard things on the record that his mid-80s system (very good one BTW) was incapable of resolving on the TAPE!

Ferla played a CD-R of something he'd recorded all analog and when it was over he exclaimed that he'd heard that CD-R on many systems, but never had he heard such natural attack, extended sustain and lengthy, natural decay. He'd not read my review and had no idea what cabling was in my system. I think the darTZeel preamp was in part responsible for what they heard, but so was the cabling.

I recently had a pair of Sonus Faber Guarnaris installed for review. The Sumiko rep uses the same CDs repeatedly to voice speakers in set ups. He was visibly taken aback when he played a very familiar CD and hears details he'd never before heard....I know it was those cables...

The Zero cables ARE "paradigm setting." Haven't heard the CAST system....

Monty
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

I think the interaction between cables and the impedance of an amplifier and a pair of speakers is a large part of what people are hearing when they note more detail or things in the music they've not noticed or heard before. All too often I notice more detail in some areas and less in other areas. Of course, that's only one of many areas of audible difference and everybody is going to consider the balance of the whole.

I don't doubt that the Zero cables are everything that you observe them to be. It's like getting the benefits of an integrated and the benefits of separates if your cables can get the heck out of the way.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Love the hair. Who does it?

Thanks for replying. "Conspicuously silent" was from my perspective -- I have never heard a satisfying explanation for why separates outperform integrateds, if cabling is a problem that needs to be addressed when strapping in the separates. The older arguments involved space and heat. Now, since technology has indeed marched on, these no longer hold.

Your point about reliability problems due to repair logistics doesn't convince me. Even with separates, you have to have a back-up unit as breakdown insurance -- why not have back-up integrateds?

Your point about system set-up and the special needs of reviewers is much more convincing, and I certainly defer to anyone's specific system needs, whether they apply to me or not.

I have no doubts about your call on the Tara cables. You listen carefully, go to live concerts, like a wide variety of music, and have the constant variety of set-ups available to all reviewers. Further, I can hear differences among different cables -- why shouldn't you? Your job is to report what you hear, and you do that very well. The economics involved in system choices are always up for grabs, since we all have individual notions about value. I wrote "supposedly paradigm-setting" in the context of "cables vs. no cables (i.e., state-of-the-art integrateds), not "Tara vs. ABC." If you say the Tara cables are the best you have heard, I believe it. I just wanted to know, are they better than NO cables, the hard-wired option provided by integrateds. I'm still not quite sure what you think on that score. Theoretically, given today's technology, and the inevitability of further advances, COULD integrated solutions render cables obsolete, based on your experience with the integrated you praised as state-of-the-art? For those of us who don't need the set-up flexibility you, as a reviewer, describe.

Again, thanks for the reply.

Cheers and happy tunes.

Michael Fremer
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated


Quote:
Love the hair. Who does it?

Thanks for replying. "Conspicuously silent" was from my perspective -- I have never heard a satisfying explanation for why separates outperform integrateds, if cabling is a problem that needs to be addressed when strapping in the separates. The older arguments involved space and heat. Now, since technology has indeed marched on, these no longer hold.

Your point about reliability problems due to repair logistics doesn't convince me. Even with separates, you have to have a back-up unit as breakdown insurance -- why not have back-up integrateds?

Your point about system set-up and the special needs of reviewers is much more convincing, and I certainly defer to anyone's specific system needs, whether they apply to me or not.

I have no doubts about your call on the Tara cables. You listen carefully, go to live concerts, like a wide variety of music, and have the constant variety of set-ups available to all reviewers. Further, I can hear differences among different cables -- why shouldn't you? Your job is to report what you hear, and you do that very well. The economics involved in system choices are always up for grabs, since we all have individual notions about value. I wrote "supposedly paradigm-setting" in the context of "cables vs. no cables (i.e., state-of-the-art integrateds), not "Tara vs. ABC." If you say the Tara cables are the best you have heard, I believe it. I just wanted to know, are they better than NO cables, the hard-wired option provided by integrateds. I'm still not quite sure what you think on that score. Theoretically, given today's technology, and the inevitability of further advances, COULD integrated solutions render cables obsolete, based on your experience with the integrated you praised as state-of-the-art? For those of us who don't need the set-up flexibility you, as a reviewer, describe.

Again, thanks for the reply.

Cheers and happy tunes.

That was how I did my hair in 1969...it just happened that way.... I agree that no cable is better than whatever cable...just as we're seeing fewer DAC/transport combos and more integrated players for the same reason....

Michael Fremer
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated


Quote:
The recent hooha on Tara (along with its inconclusive conclusion) begs a few questions about interconnecting cables. I can understand Michael's wanting to begin the cable auditioning process with the preamp-to-phono preamp connection -- the phono preamp, as my tiny brain understands the situation, is asked to perform a more delicate task than other links in the chain. Yet, during his review of the Tara "Zero" interconnect, Michael's only mention of the (second most important??) preamp-to-power amp hookup is to say it would cost him a couple grand more than the 15 large for other applications, due to the longer run of that connection in his particular set-up. No mention of degrees of improvement. Now, I can't reasonably ask any reviewer to cover all possible bases in a review of any piece of equipment, but the superlatives strewn about this particular component demand a more detailed description of how the Tara IC's affected the rest of the chain. Especially, since Michael's original experience was expanded to include a system-wide application.

So, all you technically-versed forum denizens out there, what about this preamp-amp connection? A couple of months ago, a state-of-the-art integrated amp (the ASR) was raved up by Michael, and, while its set-up requirements were demanding, there was no need to worry about the amp-preamp link, as it is hard wired inside the main box. Can the Tara improve on a hard-wired integrated link? Many manufacturers build preamps, power amps, and integrateds based on essentially the same designs. Michael, how does your memory see this issue? Why wouldn't ANY integrated amp that doesn't compromise power supplies, or other space-dependent variables, sound as good as it is possible to make amplification sound?

Also, Wes Phillips reviewed another designer's solution to linking source components and the power amp to a central control (the preamp). One has to wonder if CAST isn't a better solution than the Tara "Zero."

It is a shame these questions were not answered (or expanded) while the hideously expensive Tara pieces were "in house," so to speak. Comments, anyone?

Once I heard that one piece's abilities, I had the whole system wired so connected. I didn't do it piece by piece. I figured for those who could afford any of the stuff, they'd just get it all done and I've heard from a few such readers who got a length to audition on a return for full refund basis and ended up changing out their entire systems. Obviously this kind of expensive cable should only come into play when you're absolutely thrilled with the rest of the gear and just want to optimize it....

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Okay. Sigh. I guess I'll have to hear 'em. In my cabin in the Sierras I have what aspires to be state of the art, and, God knows, I am a nut case when it comes to getting the most out of my system. It is simply because I aged during an era when improvements in all this stuff came exponentially. Hell, I used to have to worry about whether to buy Klipsch, Altec, JBL (on the, ahem, bright side) or KLH and AR on the more laid back side of the spectrum (or, later, Infinity 'stat hybrids, B&W's, or Quads). Much less about how to rope it all up.

I have two sets of tube preamp/amp combos -- Cary and VTL. And the latest Levinson solid state. I have about 15 large worth of AudioQuest wire holding it all together. Speakers are Triangle Magellans, the speakers that get me the closest to my memory of the live event -- they have the added advantage of high sensitivity (VERY easy to drive), so I don't have to worry about all that impedance crap. Compared to the Triangles, in terms of dynamics, silkiness, clarity, and soundstaging, the Wilsons, Dynaudios, and other pretenders to state of the art I have heard -- all sound electronic and forced. And the tubes get me inches closer to what I want, although you need solid state to be able to leave things on all day.

I can't imagine Taras getting me closer than the AQ's, but, God knows, I am willing to try. Gold is going to go into orbit, so money is not a problem (clowns run our nation's finances -- gold exposes clowns for what they really are...). I have had bad luck with Tara in the past. Comparatively, they have sounded fat and thick. But, maybe this time it is different. I just hate doing all that plugging, unplugging, and listening for the goddam nuances. I hope I can stay sober enough to survive it all. Wish me luck.

Michael, thanks for all your great reviews over the past 10-12 years or so...analog still gets you closest.

Cheers, and happy tunes.

Michael Fremer
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated


Quote:
Okay. Sigh. I guess I'll have to hear 'em. In my cabin in the Sierras I have what aspires to be state of the art, and, God knows, I am a nut case when it comes to getting the most out of my system. It is simply because I aged during an era when improvements in all this stuff came exponentially. Hell, I used to have to worry about whether to buy Klipsch, Altec, JBL (on the, ahem, bright side) or KLH and AR on the more laid back side of the spectrum (or, later, Infinity 'stat hybrids, B&W's, or Quads). Much less about how to rope it all up.

I have two sets of tube preamp/amp combos -- Cary and VTL. And the latest Levinson solid state. I have about 15 large worth of AudioQuest wire holding it all together. Speakers are Triangle Magellans, the speakers that get me the closest to my memory of the live event -- they have the added advantage of high sensitivity (VERY easy to drive), so I don't have to worry about all that impedance crap. Compared to the Triangles, in terms of dynamics, silkiness, clarity, and soundstaging, the Wilsons, Dynaudios, and other pretenders to state of the art I have heard -- all sound electronic and forced. And the tubes get me inches closer to what I want, although you need solid state to be able to leave things on all day.

I can't imagine Taras getting me closer than the AQ's, but, God knows, I am willing to try. Gold is going to go into orbit, so money is not a problem (clowns run our nation's finances -- gold exposes clowns for what they really are...). I have had bad luck with Tara in the past. Comparatively, they have sounded fat and thick. But, maybe this time it is different. I just hate doing all that plugging, unplugging, and listening for the goddam nuances. I hope I can stay sober enough to survive it all. Wish me luck.

Michael, thanks for all your great reviews over the past 10-12 years or so...analog still gets you closest.

Cheers, and happy tunes.

I'm sure it's a "try 'em before you buy 'em" situation given how much $$$ they cost, so after you listen let me know what you think! There's another reader who did just that and ended up buying them in a very nice system....

Jeff Wong
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Clifton - It seems to me comparing the internal non-cable connection of an integrated amplifier and something wired up with a high performance cable ends up being nothing more than a mental exercise of theoretical possibilities. Aren't we talking apples and oranges? There are too many factors to account for with regard to design and implementation. One plus here and one negative there might tip the scales one way. Circuit traces and their susceptibility to noise might make a difference. A big one? It could depend on how the traces or wires are rerouted. I have a DAC that has been modded with rerouted wiring and cut traces to reduce noise levels, and the difference is significant compared to stock (I have the same DAC with different mods without the reworked wiring and it is noisier, until I use a Shakti Stone with it -- I prefer this one in my main rig!) Discrete parts and beefier power supplies in separates might outweigh the negatives of having an interconnect. From my positive experience with Shakti Stones on power supplies, I can imagine having separate supplies far away from each other could be a great thing. I suppose it all depends on the design of what you're comparing. What if the integrated's sections are joined by circuit traces only? What if there is an umbilical inside that uses a less than ideal insulation instead? Would substituting that with TARA be a plus? Maybe. Maybe the trace is best. What if a shielded wire performed better than a circuit trace that was affected by its position near a chip radiating tons of RF? We can't know in general terms.

All we can do is possibly make one substitution at a time to gauge any changes, whether beneficial or detrimental, and even that will be subjective. We listen and we struggle, and hopefully we enjoy.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

I disagree, Jeff, as limited as my technical knowledge is. It seems to me that the obstacles to integration that you mention have already been conquered. Remember, you can have outboard power supplies for integrateds, too, with very high quality captive link-ups. Apparently, the hookup from the main unit to the power supply is less (technically) demanding than the other voodoo (from my perspective) solutions that involve interconnects (shielding, dialectric configurations, the all-important design of the terminals, the balancing of oxymoronic requirements like capacitance and resistance, and, of course, the metallurgy and geometry of the wire itself) and end up creating the endless variety of approaches that now exist in interconnects at the current state-of-the-art claims. You mention problems within the box, but hard wiring, it seems to me, presents far fewer gremlins than box-to-box interconnects.

Michael's concerns are genuine. How do you fight system set-up requirements? His review of the "ultimate" integrated thoroughly addressed those potential problems.

Aside from custom design, I don't see much help for the necessary evils in wiring your speakers to the output terminals of the power amplifier. Speaker hook-ups will remain crucial and compromised until somebody actually recognizes alternate solutions to the problem and attacks them with viable alternatives (soldered connections? Captive output terminal connections, from the amplifier?? Who knows what is possible?).

My query addressed, mainly, the pre-amp/amp link-up, and the pre-amp/phono link-up. I repeat. I see no technical obstacles, in light of steps already taken, to eliminating the vagaries of interconnect cables in these crucial applications. Given, again, steps already taken.

Now, you're not gonna be anti-progess, are you? Notice that DAC's are now being integrated into the pre-amp box. We are just getting started, it seems to me.

Cheers, and happy tunes.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Taking the connector out of the equation seems like it would be a good thing. I'd think the greater contact and reduction of stray fields or whatever detrimental effects associated with connectors being removed as factors would be a plus. But, hardwiring is still going to require some kind of metal, dielectric, and/or routed circuit board trace to join the preamp and amp sections. I think my muddled reply was just trying to say everything would depend on the implementation, and unless we were able to test nearly exactly designed components but for the connection, we can't know what benefits (if any) exist until we listen. Everything else is a thought experiment.

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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

If there was anything different it would be measurable. Electrical propertys involved have all been measured in the dozen or so decades of electrical design....this is how they have improved reliabilty and performance of hi fi over teh years. Measurement tools them selves have improved based on science. Material science, acoustic MEASUREMENTS, etc. Mind babble commonly called hucksterism by marketeers, is also a SCIENCE. Thus large ad agencys, have the scientific abilty to make you think they way they want. that's why companies hire them, to SELL you a magic AUDIO GRADE wall outlet or now even more thrilling a non resonant wall out COVER!!! From the minds of the hucksters, to the dull brains of teh gulliable, modern advertising is SCIENCE too.!!! Hearing the sound of a Leviton versus a P&S versus a Hubbell is mind numbing....

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

DUP, what is a "Leviton"? And what does this have to do with cables?

I now have in my possession the Taras. I am in the process of evaluating them. What a pain in the ass. Instead of closing my eyes and listening to music, I am jumping around, plugging and unplugging, and (gasp!) listening for nuances. What a mortifyin' development. What's worse, I am hearing them. What they have to do with music is stuff for future conclusions.

DUP, I hate to take you back in time, but I do vaguely remember your scoffing at "imagined" differences among transport-to-DAC cables. There are measurable differences. See Harley's assertion in the latest Aboslute Bullshit about being able to, yes, measure jitter differences among different digital interconnects.

Now, since you know all things measured, you ought to be able to sink your teeth into this one. Meanwhile, I'm due back in Tahoe (fortunately, the trout on the Owens River are insatiable) Monday, for another round of cable-tasting.

Michael, Sam, and the rest of you...you don't get paid enough for this bullshit. Still, I promised.

CECE
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Leviton is like P&S and Hubbell. Leviton does have a div that makes..........wire stuff. And Leviton is probably the most commonly used wiring devices out there. From standard grade to commerical all realms of wiring devices, and wires. Without the black walnut box to hold some magic words.

CECE
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

I'm sure you are hearing an improvement, since you know how expensive the wiree is. And the fact that you changed it around. But are you allowing it to stabilize in ckt, since I'm sure you are turning teh stuff on and off as you swap the wire. How does THAT effect the sound, since so many ears, mention it takes a specific number of hours to work right. And everytime you turn off your electronics, now you've changed teh paramters again. don't teh really high end stuff always need warm up, and time to stabilze? Cus teh cheap stuff I use, doesn't. Cheap stuff is more convienet than? Turn it on, it sounds great from the gitgo. Describe these nuances in some flavorfull terminology. Pace, rhythm, what others things change with this wire? Which one did you get, how much$? Made in China labs or somewhere else?

CECE
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Now you also run HR, and payroll..deciding how much the writers at Sterophile get paid to write...how do you know it's not ENOUGH? Have you inside info how much they make...see you are ASSuming. They write OPINONS!!! Like editorials in newspapers. Facts are usually from JA with measuremnts. One finds exurburance in spending $100K on a TT, while someone else finds it to be insanity, and not reasonable. Rember he recorded onto a 10 cent CD-R and teh difference is audible....that means digital is teh way to go..since a 10 cent medium works well. Of course teh technology behind getting teh info onto teh 10 cent disc took millions in development...I bet not much into a platter spinning on a bearing...And how do we know teh levels where exactly teh same for 2 different TT's...the slightest difference usually favors the louder one....same cartridges? Too many vairables to conclude the $100K TT was the dramatic differences that everyone apparantly noticed. the entire idea is very far fetched. so now all them $10K VPI players that where the thing so IT for some years is now ...just another TT. The best or merely teh most expensive, because, just jacking up teh price...could sell better in certain markets....like this one, where wire is sold at absurd prices.

Monty
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Holy smokes! You really went for the Zero cables, huh? Did you go for the ICs and cables?

All the Tara cables that I have had have a very analog/valve kind of sound. Rich in harmonics and decay and a silky smooth top end. They've also taken the longest time to settle compared to others I have tried.

Can I borrow them for about 12 years?

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Yo, Monty. Been a long time since we talked. Good to hear from a music lover.

I haven't "went for" them yet -- but I am in the process of giving them a good listen. Like Michael, I have been wired up with Audio Quest (later iterations than his), so the pre-conditions are (coincidentally, accidentally) there. I am using the IC's only, from phono stage to pre-amp, from pre-amp to power amp, and from line source (CD) to pre-amp. I have 3 1-meter pairs to play with, courtesy of my audiophool buddy in Salt Lake City. I had to buy him a bottle of '87 Pomerol (Petreus, dammit) to bribe him. I get 5 weeks. I am going back and forth between LA and Tahoe twice a week. What a pain in the ass. Still, the trout are hungry, and that makes it worth while.

They are great cables. So far, I haven't heard the kind of epiphany Michael describes. Different systems, I suspect, and different listening criteria. But they are better than good. I am getting mixed results. The Audio Quests I have are good, too.

I haven't listened to them in my "cheapo" LA apartment system, yet. The OLD AQ's (Sterling and Lapis X3) have ruled here in the city, at 1/3 the price of the other wires I have (occasionally and rarely) pitted them against. I can't wait for THAT test, since the cheapo system is supposed to have lower resolution capabilities, according to the audio swamis. The cheapo system is cheap only by comparison -- about 18k vs. 125k (and rising -- shit...This stuff isn't cheap, but I'm determined, and my money will outlast my decrepit old ass...).

So far, I am confused. The only general conclusion I can draw is that the Tara favors solid state (I have 1 solid state system in Tahoe -- Levinson -- and 2 tube systems -- Cary and VTL). I have chosen about a half-dozen LP's and CD's to focus on.

As I said, Michael, Sam, Art, and (soon to be, I suspect), Stephen have earned my respect for enduring this filthy passion, this obsession with nuance.

This is not meant as a tease. I just have trouble listening to "sound," while listening to music was all I ever wanted to do.

More later.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

DUP, I don't give a good damn what it is LIKE, what IS it? If I want a simile, I'll find a poet.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

DUP, whenever I hear from you, my exurburance knows no bownds. Hell, I want to go beyond the exurbs, to the vairables, where angles sing.

Sit tight. I'll be back. Rember the Maine. Or the Alamo. I have to go, love. Her ASS is uming, and the universal grommet is (sorry, EE) internally expanding and externally contracting, awaiting my, er, arrival. Kisses.

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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Went for teh "zero" cables, not me. Vacuum isn't down enough for me, I've found 1 Pa at least to be audible. Without continuous pumping, there is no way to maintain it. Then the vac pump needs to be "audio grade". Wouldn't it be better to build a vac chamber, enclose teh ENTIRE system in a vacuum. NOW you have a system worthy of talking this system really sucks. Having a meiocre vacuum in one wire is useless, evacuate the entire system......A nice Edwards 12 pump should do it. Audio grade foremine trap, audio grade mist filter. Audio grade pump oil...I think I might start a new company....It SUCKS AUDIO. Are you buying in a vacuum, well, do it for real. Listen in a vacuum too. And having the entire system under a vacuum, will eliminate corrosion, oxidation, ozone effects. AND maintain the stuff in a rather stable temp...Vacuum, the ultimate audio TWEAK. My My My

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Unfortunately, DUP, the quasi-vacuum achieved by Mr. Bond at Tara, by his own admission, merely simulates the thin air at 12,000 feet.

If somebody could simulate the space between your ears, now that would be a pure vacuum and a perfect dialectric. Hmmmm. Say, DUP, you wouldn't, um, consider donating your head to science would you? It would be such a small sacrifice, considering the joy you could bring to millions of audiophiles everywhere.

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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Clifton,

I gave you five stars for that one! You did forget however, Carl has been a Stereophile "reader" for 30 years and knows little to NOTHING about the high end. Don't expect him to start reading or understanding anything with technical words in it. It must be beyond his acclaimed 5th grade reading skill.

You could always donate your old cables to Carl if he would simply find a good use for them and a beam in his ceiling at home.

CECE
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Then why do they use the term "vacuum" in advertising? And not just THIN air? Is a vacuum anything less than what is it 14.7psi is atmosphere? I forget the exact number. Perhaps they are confused, just like they where to where some of teh magic cables where made......yup, nothing but audio science going on...yup. Does each piece of wire come with a guage on it, so you know what you are getting for the absurd prices? The vacuum between my ears is not a true vacuum, just enough to let me hear better than most. What's worse, an empty head or one filled with rubbish, nothing worse than a brain used as a landfill. At least a vacuum has space for more information, when a landfill is full, it's closed down, as are many here.

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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Yupper, I know nothing...call me Schultz. But I know enough between nonsense and things that have an inkling of validity. How's that green pen doing on your CD's? Demagnetizing plastic lately? Lifting those wires off the floor, surely you know better about this "high end" stuff. What wall outlet cover you listening to? Does your wall receptacle vibrate, are you hearing it? Now THAT'S high END!!! Got any magic wood blaock, with mystical burned in logos.....voodo is not high end

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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Hey Schultz,

You don't understand. There are many of us who don't do any of those things you claim we do to achieve high end audio...AND WE STILL CANNOT STAND YOU. You do not speak for anyone here other than yourself.

The rest of us read plenty and the words read do make sense...now if you read, we could have an argument on the merits of some of these tweeks but what is the option with a fool who does not read and comprehend even the most insignificantly minute bit of information? You are an uneducated petty FOOL Carl Engebretsen.

I cannot wait to meet you at the next NY audio show. And I hope there are a dozen more like me. I will definitely be looking for you the next show I go to in NY.

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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

I be wearing a large wall outlet as a belt buckle, and a magic cord for a belt. Can I call you Hoooooooooogan?

showflash
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

I know what you look like already. You won't even see me coming. But I promise to introduce myself. I even promise to look for you at the next few CES shows.

smejias
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Showflash, DUP, please break it up. Our man, Clifton, is dealing with some serious stuff, evaluating cables and listening to sounds.

Clifton, I'll be looking forward to your conclusions.

gkc
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Thanks, Stephen. I tried to post my final opinions yesterday but was apparently too verbose -- when I hit the final button, the dreaded "This format is no longer valid" came up and I couldn't save it. 45 minutes wasted. Why stop there? I proceeded to get wasted, myself. After some serious rehab, here I am again. I will do it in a couple of smaller installments, to match the attention spans of the format police.

My system consists of VTL pre and power amps (the 7.5 and the MB 450), Cary pre and power amps (the SLP 05 and the CAD 805), for tubes (which I prefer). I use the Mark-Levinson ML 326 S and ML #436 when I want to leave things on all day.

My speakers are the original Triangle Magellan models, not the newer ones Sam reviewed a few months ago. They are incredibly easy to drive, as Sam noted a couple of years ago, and this may have influenced why some of my conclusions were different than Michael's.

My analog system consists of the VPI Super Scout TT/arm combo, and I am currently using the Benz-Micro Ruby and the new LP Ebony (which isn't quite broken in yet).

Digital is dCS and the new Esoteric (which, at 1/3 the price, I prefer in many ways).

I have a Running Springs power conditioner (and a dedicated line -- 20A I believe), with AQ, Synergistic Research, and Cardas power cords (this latter category spans all price ranges, and the cheap ones sound just as good as the expensive ones, although "cheap" is a relative term, here).

My current wire is all Audio Quest. Sky interconnects, Everest speaker cable. My tuner, the Fanfare FT-1A, didn't figure into the testing. I have an older FM Acoustics phono stage (it cost about 6 grand, new) and the Aesthetix tube model. I prefer the FM Acoustics, strangely, since I usually prefer tubes over solid state.

The room is Chalet-like, with vaulted ceilings that range from about 9 feet to about 12 feet. It is about 25' X 35' and "live," due to minimal furnishings. The best sound treatment I have found has been the Argent Acoustic Lens. I use 5 of those.

Okay. That probably uses up my time. I'll be back with my conclusions, for whatever they are worth.

Cheers, all.

smejias
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated


Quote:
Thanks, Stephen. I tried to post my final opinions yesterday but was apparently too verbose -- when I hit the final button, the dreaded "This format is no longer valid" came up and I couldn't save it. 45 minutes wasted.

Ugh, I am so sorry to hear this. I hate losing work. The same thing happened to me last week. It served as a harsh reminder to save as I go along.

When I saw that you'd posted something new, I became very excited. So, finding this was a little bit of a heartbreaker. I'll look forward to your next post. Thanks for your patience, Clifton.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Here is the second installment. Once burned, twice cautious. I hope nobody thinks I am trying to be dramatic or feign self-importance. I am merely trying to get everything posted without wasting time and patience.

This is what I listened to. Most of it is analog, since my best home music is in that format. I listened mostly to full orchestral (so-called "classical" -- in The Sense of a Classic, Frank Kermode argued that a classic was any work of art that could be accomodated into modern schema, further and further into contemporary contexts, as time proceeds) music that I hear constantly in live concerts, usually at Disney Hall, but in other venues as well.

I listened to a lot of Mahler. My favorite Mahler recordings are the Jascha Horenstein 3rd (Nonesuch analog), the Reiner 4th (RCA analog), the Walter 9th (Columbia analog -- I sent one of these to Michael a couple of years ago, but I don't even know if he received it...), and the Bernstein 2nd (Columbia, the one with Christa Ludwig). Another favorite of mine is the Britten Young Person's Guide (mercifully, without a narrator), on London, conducted by the composter. Also, the Stravinsky ballets, conducted by the composer, on Columbia. Also, George Szell's magnificent Tchaikovsky 5th (Epic), as well as his Beethoven "Eroica." And several Ormandy Tchaikovsky symphonies. This is what I love, what overwhelms me at live concerts, and any home system changes, to be valid, have to get me closer to my memories of this music.

Jazz. The great MoFi reissue of Blues in Time, originally on Verve. A lot of Pablo -- Basie's "88 Basie Street," "The Gifted Ones," and "Basie Jam" (from the Montreux Festival -- the one with "Lester Leaps in" -- 20+ minutes of sheer exuberance). Also, "Take 5" and several Lionel Hampton LP's from the '60's.

I fear my time is running out. CD's next.

Again, I apologize for dribbling this thing out, but it is the only way I can think of for actually recording this onerous task for public consumption.

Cheers, all.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Whenever possible, I tried to duplicate performances that I had recently heard, usually at Disney Hall. Thus, some of the CD's I used a lot were Il Giardino Armonico's recordings of Vivaldi and Teleman, since I attended 2 live concerts with that group performing over the past year. I listened to Andrew Davis' Enigma Variations (Elgar), since I recently heard that piece at Disney. Also various Brahms First Symphony performances, as well as the Brahms First Piano Concerto. I told you all that this is the most difficult thing I ever tried, concerning audio -- ever tried listening to Brahms, over and over, for 3 hours? Still, even though the venues and performers were often different, I felt an underlying advantage from having heard these pieces live. I also used the Haitink Shostakovitch 14th Symphony, a Decca CD that is just stunning in its realism, since I attended a live performance of that piece just last Winter.

Other classical CD's included just about everything Jordi Savall ever recorded, from Purcell to Boccherini, from Carlos V to Anthony Holborne. I have a nigh-perfect CD (originally issued by Chandos, but I bought it through the Musical Heritage Society) of Neeme Jarvi and the Detroit Symphony performing the Tchaikovsky Orchestral Suites. This is a 2-CD set that presents the most realistic (in musical timbres and soundstaging) orchestral sound I have ever heard in my room, on CD.

Finally, since I do occasionally listen to pop, I listened to the superb, and I do mean superb, disc that Stephen Mejias sent me of his band, the Multi-Purpose Solution. This is FAR and away the most enjoyable pop recording I own, in sonics and quality of the lyrics (VERY original poetic images, with instrumentals that always work in tension with the personae presented by the poems) -- this makes Meatloaf and The Band look cliched and dull in comparison. True, these are different genres, but pop is pop, and most of the stuff I own is slicked-down and faked out, pretending profundity while drowning in its own bathos. Stephen and his pals are a very talented group, folks.

Next time, the listening. Cheers, all.

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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated


Quote:
ever tried listening to Brahms, over and over, for 3 hours?

No (thank goodness), but I do think I know what you mean. It's maddening.


Quote:
This is FAR and away the most enjoyable pop recording I own, in sonics and quality of the lyrics (VERY original poetic images, with instrumentals that always work in tension with the personae presented by the poems) -- this makes Meatloaf and The Band look cliched and dull in comparison.

Holy crap, man. I think this is the greatest compliment we've ever received. Wow. Right now, I feel that if we never record another song (and we probably won't), it'll be okay because we touched you in this way. It makes me so happy.

Sheesh. I'm shaking my head and smiling...
Thank you, Clifton.

Alright... On to the listening!

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

History. This is important. Not my history, since I am not a professional reviewer, but yours -- who you are and what you want. You can't get the most out of your system if you don't know who you are, and you sure as hell can't criticize others' opinions without examining your own bases.

My first high fidelity system was waiting for me when I returned from Viet-Nam. I had ordered it in Hong Kong, while on R&R. Altec Lansing A-7's, and Marantz electronics --all tubes, just when Scott and Fisher transistors were becoming the rage. The #1 rated preamp (model 7? I can't remember), and the #1 rated monoblocks. And the tuner. A Dual turntable with the obligatory Shure cartridge. I hooked it up with those skimpy red-and-black RCA's that come in the box, and 20-guage zip cord. It was spectacular but unsatisfying. The massed violins didn't sound right. It was honky and piercing. I read and read, and asked around. My friends thought I was crazy -- they thought it was transcendent. A dealer told me to try 12-guage wire. No help. That is when I first learned rule 1: no peripherals can make bad speakers sound good. BETTER, maybe, but not good.

Flash forward 20 years. In 1985, I bought the B&W 801's, by far the most satisfying home speakers I had ever heard. As I walked out of the store, the dealer said, "Try this speaker cable -- it's only 50 bucks." It was Monster Cable. I hooked up my heavy zip cord first, and it sounded great. A couple days later, I notice the big, copper colored Monsters, still in the package, and thought, "why waste 50 bucks -- I'll take them back." So I called the store and the guy said, "Look, try them -- I'll refund your money even if the package is opened." Wow. Much clearer. More music. More brassy brass and more dynamic bass.

When I bought the Mirage M1-si speakers in 1995, they didn't sound as good at home as they had at the dealer's. He gave me some Tara Labs cables to try. Interconnects and speaker cables. My first real interconnects. More improvement. More definition. More spatial cues. More contrast. MUCH more transparency. Instruments sounded more separated, like you hear live. I couldn't believe my ears. Another $1500 bucks. I shook my head in disbelief that I was actually forking over the price of a decent amplifier for a bunch of wire. But I loved the sound.

Two years later, I noticed I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the Mirage bass. I loved everything else, but a lot of my recordings just weren't tolerable. Enter the Audio Quest Lapis X3, and the Argent speaker cables. Bi-wired. MUCH better. Another 2 grand. Sigh.

So. Cables DO make a difference. And expensive ones usually sound better than cheap ones. They can't fix a lousy system, but they sure as hell can improve one you already like.

Up to now, I have always just played an hour or so of music, when testing a new component (including cables), then taken a 10-minute break, then put in the new stuff and played the same music again. Any differences I can remember are worth pursuing. Any that I can't, aren't. Switching back and forth, 5 minutes at a time, just confuses me. I just want more music, to get closer to my memory of live.

Okay. That's it. You know what equipment I used, what music I played, and how I approached the whole thing. Finally, I get to tell you my reaction to these super-expensive cables, but tomorrow. I feel I'm on the clock and I want to get this posted. Besides, there's a game on the tube.

Cheers, all.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Erratum. I just noticed that, in paragraph 3, I alluded to the version of Britten's Young Person's Guide that I listened to as being "...conducted by the composter." Obviously, I meant, "composer." Somehow, though, "composter" makes sense. I wish I had the wit to do this stuff on purpose.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

The "composter" line was my fave.

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Quote:
I wish I had the wit to do this stuff on purpose.

Ha. You do.

I'm enjoying this report very much.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Here is what I remember hearing.

Timbre. The Tara interconnects were consistently more "burnished," or rounder. With no loss of transparency. This is quite an achievement. There was no sense of highs being pushed into the background, or of murkiness. But there was definitely a slightly more lush texture to all of the music with the Tara wire. However, I preferred this timbre only with software that was definitely at the lean, spare, wiry, or even grating extreme. The DG Bernstein Mahler 2nd (digital) is a bit harsh, and the Tara wire flattered this disc in a way that made me prefer it over the AQ. On the other hand, many Phillips and London CD's have a murky sound. I preferred the AQ's on software that lived in this extreme. In the great middle, concerning software, the two cables simply offered two different perspectives. Neither was preferable, in terms of bringing me closer to memories of the live event. Both were transparent and grainless, but when I listened to those CD's and LP's that occupied the "bright" and "dull" extremes, I preferred one over the other depending on the timbres recorded onto the CD's. The AQ's generally favored my tube amplifiers; the Tara definitely favored the Levinson solid-state equipment. Neither emerged as a favorite, in terms of analog vs. digital.

These same conclusions held in terms of genre. I enjoyed classical, jazz, and pop equally on all recordings, with a favorite emerging only at, again, the bright and murky extremes. Stephen's group sounded slightly better, to me, with the AQ's, but it has a kind of burnished, rounded texture to it (which I love -- most pop recordings are like needles through the brain). Don't get me wrong. The Tara was fine here, too, and the differences were too subtle for me to ultimately give a shit.

Space. On the Tchaikovsky Orchestral Suites recording, there is a definite "hole in the middle," in terms of soundstaging. You definitely want to hear more from the middle-to-rear of the soundstage. When I heard this live, last year (different orchestra, different venue from the recording), I was shocked to notice this same phenomenon at the live event. The AQ presents this sense accurately. The Tara "fills" in the center stage. The Tara is more fun to listen to, the AQ more accurate. I tried this drunk and sober. I tried it loud and soft, night and day, and so on. It drove me nuts. I have no idea how to explain it.

When I heard Il Giardino Armonico in a live performance this year, I was surprised at how "bunched together" the sound was. I had center seats, 12 rows back. Perfect. When I got home (my cheaper system, in my LA apartment) I put on a CD of the same group. Same deal, with my Lapis 3X/Argent wires, and Volante speakers. When I tried this disc with the 2 super-wires under discussion, the Tara, once again, was more expansive, the AQ truer to memory. I was flummoxed, because I liked the Tara better, in my living room. So much for the "live" music purist act, eh?

Noise and grain. No difference.

I can understand Michael's enthusiasm for this product. It is a superior achievement. If I had only solid-state electronics, I would buy it. But I preferred the AQ's with my tube gear, and there wasn't enough superiority in other performance areas for me to opt for the system change. In all fairness, I didn't have the Tara speaker wire, or the star-ground set up. Also, even though Michael's Wilson speakers are spec'd as being very sensitive, I am sure they are not as easy to drive as mine. I can blow out my walls with 50 watts. This may be a relevant factor, in terms of perceived noise and dynamics. I'll never know.

This entire audition drove me nuts. It wasn't fun, overall. Michael, Sam, Art, John, and all you other wonderful reviewers, I don't know how you guys do this month after month. It certainly is nice, now, just to go back to listening to music. Notice I didn't say anything about money. Economic decisions are personal. Both cables represent far better "value," to me, than, say, anything by Nordost, Siltech, or anyone else I have heard.

And, I thank you all for listening, and for your patience.

Elk
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Well done! A great read.

Thanks

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Quote:
Well done! A great read.

I second that. And I especially appreciate your taking the time to conduct these listening tests both drunk and sober. Excellent work.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Of course you gave us a great review. No reason for us to expect any less from you. Perhaps your most important contribution was, "...I don't know how you guys do this month after month. " Guess that sums up why we buy the magazine. Winnowing down your options by reading reviews by someone you've come to trust beats the hell out of doing it all yourself.

Now, on the other hand we've another reason to trust you so..........

Frankly, Clifton, you have to be aware that many of us will never be purchasers of premium cables - they're out of our reach. We can, and I do, however find it interesting to compare your choices of recordings of the Mahler symphonies with my own. Rock bottom, you may be as creditable as many of the professional reviewers of equipment, but you are, first and foremost a lover of music. Thanks for your commentary. Glad you're still around.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Stephen, Cheapskate, and Elk, thanks for the kind words. Cheapskate, your comment brings up a great embarassment -- I didn't include Wes Phillips in the thank-you list. He is, in many ways, my favorite music/music-playback writer. So, a separate, special tribute to Wes is now delivered. You did, however, pick up the main point. Look, when it comes to this stuff, I'm no virgin. I have been chasing the dream for 40 years. I have slalomed Bandini mountain. I have been screwed, blued, and tattooed, as the poet in the back room has written, in all things high-fidelity. I have ascended the heights of ecstasy and spent many nights in the toilet. I have wasted thousands, but I have also spent many thousands well, in this impossible quest. I am grateful for all the very good writers who have, somehow, managed to narrow the list from "impossible" to "doable," with no loss in scope. Now, that's a tough job.

On this site, I have watched as the insults flow, sometimes contributing to the overall rancor of the exchanges (who could resist?). Accusations of bias, bribery, and stupidity have been directed at the staff. Yet, they keep delivering, month after month, the same objective assessments -- I can tell you, listening is easy, but assessment and publication are different matters. Sure, they get paid for the hassle. But, I am quite certain that there are easier ways to make a living. It has to be more a labor of love than a quest for ego fulfillment. I am more convinced of that than ever, now.

Cheers, all, and happy tunes.

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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

None of teh doing it for teh love of teh hobby survived did they. It is a BUSINESS, to SELL stuff. That is what any review is all about. Why do you think Stereophile in it's original format without advertising had to fold into what it is now, advertising supported publication. Just like all teh others!!! To pay rent for an office in NYC, must cost a fortune every month. No love is covering that, it's get PAID baby. I don't think the staff will go into the city for nothing, just getting there, costs a fortune. It's a business, just like teh car mags are etc, meant to sell cars. Hard job? Working in a coal mine is hard work!!! Working the emergency room of a NYC or big city hospital is HARD WORK. Most of these reviewers are CREATIVE WRITINGS Grads...So far only JA has some science worthy of printing. His measurements and and assesments are based on of course his experience in hearing lotsa stuff, but teh meaurements sshow what teh stuff really is. How do you think teh stuff is designed in teh first place? Electrical tests, measurements. It matters. Writers that claim to hear eye glass effects, or wood blaocks changing PACE TEMPO which are in fact what musicans deal with, after it's RECORDED, how is it CHANGED? JS and his plastic demanetizers and other creative imaginary writeups, are exercises in fiction and creative writing. Ain't no science or anything of logical merit done. There are others. So far AD has come through several times debunking some of the incredibly insane tweaks and claims...JA and AD..more of them, less of teh creative writings of teh few other writers.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Fortunately, I wore my rain slicker and hat to the keyboard this afternoon. Another snotstorm sputtered from the DUPster, and it's a good thing I have Saran wrap to cover the electronics.

Dup, you're better at this than I am. The best I could conjure up is composters conducting, but you invoked reviewers demanetizing. I bow before the master.

Elk
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

I still like composters conducting.

It reminds me of a composter with whom I occasionally work. He is a big name and we really want to bring his work to fruition as he envisions. If one of the musicians makes a mistake while rehearsing he is very gracious; commenting that he has no objection to improvisation - just don't impoverish.

I agree with you, reviewing has got to be absolutely exhausting.

gkc
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated

Thanks, Clay, for the kind words. Mahler, for me, is the ultimate test. Sonically, he plumbs the depths and scales the heights like nobody else. Musically and spiritually, he goes further. I have never heard any component or combination of components that sounded right playing Mahler, and sounded lacking playing anything else -- jazz, pop, chamber, instrumental solo, or vocal solo. If the system can survive Mahler, it can survive anything.

As you mention, the only problem is, you keep getting lost in the music.

Once again, I declare my gratitude for all the good folks at Stereophile for listening and writing well. This has been happening to me for 40 years. My first reads of Stereophile were in the late '60's, when there was a dearth of realistic-sounding "kit" (as John Atkinson and Sam Tellig would say...), and everything was compromised. To get excellence in one area of the presentation, you had to suffer mediocrity or even failure in another. The magazine got it right then, and they have been getting it right since.

It really is a tough job, even though I am sure for all of them it is a labor of love. The toughest thing must be submitting your emotional biases to the intellectual pummeling of repeated analytical listenings, month after month after month. Music, as Wallace Stevens noted, is emotion, and the wire thread that coils between emotional fulfillment and judgmental analysis would rub me raw in less than a year.

Happy listening.

Elk
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Re: Tara, CAST, and the ASR EMT Integrated


Quote:
I have never heard any component or combination of components that sounded right playing Mahler, and sounded lacking playing anything else -- jazz, pop, chamber, instrumental solo, or vocal solo. If the system can survive Mahler, it can survive anything.


Cool!

I used LP recordings of Mahler's First Symphony and of Das Lied von der Erde (Frederica von Stade) as my reference/test recordings for a number of years.

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