November's review of the Zanden Model 5000/2000 D/A converter and transport four-box system makes my head hurt.
I'm seeing what amounts to a positive subjective review by
Mikey Fremer for thie 45,000 dollar DOG of a system, with
him glossing over flaws that would have had him or other
reviewers ranting and raving about how BAD they would be if
it were many other products.
JA's technical review listed so many flaws and examples of
simply BAD design and engineering that I literally got bored
when I set out to count up the many flaws mentioned.
Why can't you just come right out and admit that this 45,000
dollar pile of four boxes is simply junk that only manages
to do a passable job in the midrange, and be done with it?
Mikey makes "allowances" for fuzzy treble, missing-in-action deep bass, and then manages to fall all over himself praising the overall sonic character of this poorly engineered mutt in the same article. This, coming from a guy who picks nits over the subtle differences in the sound of one type of belt driving a turntable vs. another type, or different record mats?
This is tough for a rational guy like me to take.
Suddenly I'm forced to conclude that the ONLY way to pick
a CD player is to pick the one that you like the looks of
and which gives you the greatest pride of ownership. If
such a substandard dog can get a glowing review from Mikey and get its ass handed to it by JA in the same interview, clearly there's no further need to maintain the pretense that specifications matter in terms of sonic performance, or perhaps another way to think of it is that some people hear the harmonic distortion and think it sounds good as it warms up the sound. And I note that in one test, the Zanden achieved a THD + noise value "ridiculously high at 25.4%" to quote JA's technical review.
One man's "tube warmth" is another man's harmonic distortion.
I want my equipment to REPRODUCE the signal that's on the disc, not subject it to many additional flaws of its own.
Stereophile, for me, you lost a lot of credibility with this one. I suggest that you should, in the future, attempt to reconcile the subjective review with the technical evaluation and then consider carefully whether or not you even want to publish the review.
This should be one of those that wasn't published. I think
nobody who read it is going to want a Zander and it sure
didn't help your reputation, either.