Analog Corner #262: CH Precision P1 phono preamp, darTZeel NHB-18NS Mk.2 preamp, Shunyata Research Denali power conditioners

CH Precision's P1 phono preamplifier, which I wrote about in the April 2017 issue, is not going back to its manufacturer. The longer I used it, the more obvious it became that I couldn't part with it, even though I said I couldn't afford it. The cost was stiff even at the accommodation price (at retail, the CH Precision P1 and its optional X1 power supply are $31,000 and $17,000, respectively, footnote 1), but I decided I could afford it, and bought it for myself as a 70th-birthday present. No, I can't hear as well as I did 30 years ago, but my listening is better than ever.

What good was the money doing in the bank instead of in my audio system, where I can enjoy listening to it? Now I happily shuttle back and forth between the CH Precision P1 and the Ypsilon VPS-100 Silver Edition phono preamp.

Maybe it's nerdy, but I love getting e-mails like this one:

Mr. Fremer—I just listened to/watched your YouTube videos of your rig playing the Stones' "Play with Fire" (mono), the Beach Boys' "In my Room," and Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Just one question: How in the world does the music coming out of my outdated, single-speakered iPad 4 sound so open, balanced, natural, relaxed, and liquid-smooth?! I don't get it. I've never heard those recordings sound as good. Simply stunning and incredible. My brain can't comprehend this! Out of my single-speaker iPad?! I've listened to LPs since the late '60s and continue to do so . . . but I must say, I've never been as immediately impressed as I was hearing your YouTube videos. I am now convinced that better equipment plays better. And to think, what I heard doesn't begin to match the experience of being in your listening room. I'm hesitant to say this, but maybe shelling out $35,000 for a system is worth it. I'll never do it, but I can understand why those that can afford it do it. I am floored.

Convincing people that high-performance audio gear makes a big difference by having them listen to it— even when degraded by YouTube (though if you post HD files, the lossy compression is gentler)—is far more effective than haranguing them in print. Even those offended by the high prices of some of this stuff have backed down when they've gotten to hear it.

One thing I didn't cover in my April review was the effectiveness of, and therefore the need for, the P1's outboard X1 power supply, which is almost as big as the phono stage itself. (Both are 17.3" square; the P1 is 5.25" high and weighs 44 lbs, while the X1 is 4.7" high and 55 lbs.) The P1 has its own supply, and both are simultaneously AC powered. With the addition of a second regulation board ($3500), the X1 can also power a second CH Precision device, including CH's D1 SACD/CD transport/player and its C1 DAC.

Adding the X1 did a few things that I didn't notice until I turned it off again. They weren't ground-shifting differences, but they were significant. With the X1 off, the P1's image solidity and pile-driver–like rhythmic certainty, while still superior to those of most phono preamps I've heard, were somewhat diminished, and its velvet glove-like grip lost a small fraction of its considerable authority. But the P1 by itself is so quiet that I can't say that adding the X1 produced even "blacker" backgrounds.

617acorn.Nick-Gulp

What most impresses me about the CH Precision P1 is, still, its chameleon-like lack of an audible personality. With a bright, somewhat hard, primitive, but enjoyable recording like Buddy Holly's first album, The "Chirping" Crickets, from 1957 (mono LP, Brunswick/Analogue Productions APP 109), it sounded bright—but with a rich, warm recording that succeeds in bringing to mind Rudy Van Gelder productions (but with far superior piano sound), like Nick Culp's self-produced The Culprit's Blues (LP, Gutbucket GB-1001), there was no hint of "transistoritis" or etch, or hardness of any kind. The transparency, lushness, and transient clarity of this "semi-retro" recording showed off what the P1 delivered (footnote 2).

If you've gone all in on the P1, don't skimp—get the X1 too. I did. I'll get back to you on that after I've heard every phono preamp in the world.

Finally, if you own a cartridge with a super-low source impedance, such as the Transfiguration Proteus (1 ohm) or the Kubotek Haniwa HCTR01 MkII-6T (0.4 ohm), you need to hear these through a current-amplification phono preamp like the CH Precision P1.

darTZeel NHB-18NS Mk.2 preamplifier with built-in phono stage
DarTZeel Audio, the Swiss company dedicated to listening first and measuring later, has introduced a completely redesigned version of its battery-powered NHB-18NS preamplifier that is vaguely similar to the original in looks and in name (footnote 3). Based on its list price in Swiss francs and the exchange rate at time of writing, the NHB-18NS Mk.2 costs about $38,000.

617acorn.darTZeel-Preamp

I reviewed the original NHB-18NS ten years ago this month, in the June 2007 issue, and bought the review sample (it cost $23,250) without really thinking about its impracticality as a reviewing tool. The original lacked a volume control that could be set to a reference level; its optical-type volume knob just spins around and around, with no stops at the extremes of its range of effectiveness. I couldn't know where I was in terms of level, which meant that I was switching blind between inputs. That could be—and was—harmful to tweeters' health. Lesson learned: Think carefully through everything before buying anything.

Still, I didn't regret buying the NHB-18NS, despite its built-in moving-coil phono preamplifier's less-than-accurate RIAA equalization and the phono section's lack of adjustability (unless you were willing to open up the case and solder resistors to circuit-board pads), and the preamp's transformer-coupled balanced input and output, which had less than flat response. But I was going to use Ypsilon's VPS-100 phono preamp with the darTZeel and avoid the darTZeel's balanced connections.

What I loved about the NHB-18NS was its velvet-smooth yet well-detailed sound, as I described in my review—it bridged the gap between the sounds of solid-state and tubed preamps. Even the too-frequent battery charges, though a pain in the butt, didn't bother me too much.

617acorn.darTZeel-Interior

The NHB-18NS Mk.2 solves all of the original's problems, and then some. It has a digital display on its front panel that shows the volume level in decibels; the balanced input and output are now active, not transformer-coupled; there's a new operating system I won't go into here, other than to say that you can now adjust the balance via the remote control; and the batteries have never run out of juice during a listening session, so the Mk.2 never once entered AC mode for the many months I've had it in my system.

The NHB-18NS Mk.2's new built-in MC phono preamp is sonically far superior to the original, and is more adjustable than many outboard models, particularly in terms of gain. You can select among gains of 57, 60, 63, 66, 69, and 72dB. The loading options are 43, 50, 75, 100, 150, and 300 ohms, or you can solder in your own choice. With a jumper, you can enable 47k ohms, but, as darTZeel's founder and designer, Hervé Delétraz, notes in an addendum to the manual, "Playing with 47k or no load using the 'bonus' setting gave more 'air' at first glance, however it was artificial." There's also a very useful subsonic filter, and a Neumann fourth-pole EQ option, both defeatable. (I switched off the Neumann fourth-pole filter for reasons previously covered). Unfortunately, I couldn't measure the accuracy of the NHB-18NS Mk.2's RIAA EQ (footnote 4).

The NHB-18NS Mk.2's built-in phono section is not the equal of the CH Precision P1 or the Ypsilon VPS-100 Silver Edition or other standalone phono stages. It's neither as transparent nor as dynamic as either of those named, but they are dedicated phono preamps that by themselves cost in the neighborhood of the darTZeel (the CH, at $31,000 without X1 power supply) or a lot more (the Ypsilon, at $65,000). However, the Mk.2's phono stage will more than satisfy casual vinyl listeners, and even enthusiasts who haven't been exposed to the best outboard phono stages might be happy: It produced no obvious additive flaws, while presenting well-organized aural pictures against impressively quiet backdrops.

Input options for the NHB-18NS Mk.2's phono preamp can be adjusted via a single toggle switch, under which are two rows of six LEDs each (since the preamp is dual-mono, there's one of these switches for each channel, directly under each phono input, all on the preamp's rear panel). The operating system is devilishly ingenious and, once you get the hang of it, easy to use—unless, like me, you don't have convenient access to the rear panel once the preamplifier is in the rack. In that case, it's difficult to impossible to adjust the phono input, unless you can at least angle the chassis out, after which you can use a mirror to see the LEDs. I tried my GoPro camera with iPhone app, which accepts the camera's WiFi transmission. I thought that was an ingenious idea, but the bright LED lights smeared on the screen; I ended up using a mirror. Still, it's a far easier arrangement than on the original NHB-18NS. I'm going to try using a filter on the GoPro's lens.

As on the original NHB-18NS, each input has its own module—there are no signal-routing contacts, switches, or relays. Selecting an input routes the signal directly to the volume-control module.

I'm not sure if the NHB-18NS's actual signal-passing circuitry has changed—it still has zero overall feedback, small amounts of local feedback at the inputs and voltage gain stages, and only seven transistors in each input module—but I thought its sound had improved.


Footnote 1: CH Precision Sàrl, ZI Le Trési 6D, 1028 Préverenges, Switzerland. Tel: (41) (0)21-701-9040. Fax: (41) (0)21-701-9041. Web: www.ch-precision.com. US distributor: CH Precision America. Web: www.ch-precision.us

Footnote 2: You can hear the Nick Culp Quintet's recording of "Division St." here, or stream the 24-bit/96kHz file at the bottom of my review.

Footnote 3: darTZeel Audio SA, 2 Ch. Louis-Hubert, CH-1213 Petit-Lancy, Geneva, Switzerland. Web: www.dartzeel.com. US distributor: Blue Light Audio, 4160 SW Greenleaf Drive, Portland, OR 97221. Tel: (503) 221-0465. Web: www.bluelightaudio.com

Footnote 4: See fig.12 at www.stereophile.com/content/dartzeel-nhb-18ns-preamplifier-mk2-measurements.

ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
David Harper's picture

Almost 50 K to listen to records. Hoo boy. And that doesn't even include the astronomically priced TT and cartridge.At the risk of stating the obvious I can think of at least a few other things upon which that kind of money would be better spent. And none of them are related to home audio. In fact none of them are related to self gratification at all.

volvic's picture

I love reading about this gear, any phono/vinyl gear for that matter. For me, it's great escapism. Also, I am always surprised to see regular Joe Blow engineers/doctors in my hi-fi Facebook groups owning this gear. It proves some are passionate about music and are not millionaires, but willing to put down their hard-earned cash for this exclusive gear. To that I say more power to them.

Jack L's picture

Hi

"engineers/doctor" are not "regular Joe Blow" down the road as they normally make much more money to afford buying hi-end audios.

Even many rich/non-rich consumers don't go for audio let alone "millionaires". There are so many other leisure hobbies to go for !!!

Do you mind paying $50K for a phono-preamp ??????

Jack L

volvic's picture

JACK L: "engineers/doctor" are not "regular Joe Blow" down the road as they normally make much more money to afford buying hi-end audios.

This is a very pedestrian and misinformed comment. I am married to a doctor, so like it or not, I hang around in these medical circles and know what they’re making. There are many doctors with varying salary levels. Some wait for NIH funding money to make a living and need to supplement their income by working in the ER or be on call on weekends to make a little more money. These make less than I do. Others are in clinic, see their patients and if they make their allotted goals can get a bonus, they don’t make as much as you think, especially living in a city like NYC. In short, the average salary of doctors who work in clinic is below average of your wall street, hedge fund, commodities guys. The ones that do very well are trauma surgeons, and cardiovascular surgeons and any other type of doctor who does procedures.

A few of these doctors I have met are audiophiles. I met a pediatrician in Pennsylvania who loved Linn gear so much he had a Kairn, Klout, and Kremlin in three bedrooms. That’s around $30,000 before speakers and cables. As a pediatrician in a small town, he wasn’t making huge amounts, but was happy to dabble in his hobby. Another doctor who lives in Brooklyn has a vast collection of jazz records played through pricey Nagra amps and Verity Audio speakers. Again average salaried doctor who spends what is left of his hard earned money to dabble in his musical enjoyment. Not a millionaire.

I have also met engineers in Europe that my cousin knows who after paying their 50% plus income taxes and all other taxes, including VAT on almost everything they purchase, finance their pricey hi-fi because that is quite popular and allows the buyer to upgrade through their dealer when time comes.

My point? These are regular people, everyday people who drive 20-year-old cars, wear Levis Dockers and Land’s End shirts, pay a mortgage, live in expensive cities and who stretch their budgets to buy this gear.

JACK L: Even many rich/non-rich consumers don't go for audio let alone "millionaires". There are so many other leisure hobbies to go for !!!
- WHO CARES!!!

JACK L: Do you mind paying $50K for a phono-preamp ??????
Nope, don’t mind spending that kind of money for hi-fi gear. If it meets certain criteria I would certainly purchase.

Jack L's picture

Hi

So apparently you are making good income much much better than those doctors in USA you mentioned & those "engineers in Europe" to pay $50K for a phono-preamp ! Lucky man !

So your "point" is "there are REGULAR people" who don't mind go broke to own hi-end audio by hook or by crook !

Common sense told us there should not be many such "regular people" ever exist ! Either such 'regular people" are single without companion/family or live with their parents with food/living place provided for free or maybe of limited livetime due to incurable sickness.........

Sorry, I would NOT buy your such extreme rare excuses !!!

Jack L

volvic's picture

I gave you real examples, I cannot give out names, but these are people who have real jobs and real financial demands. No one is going broke buying this gear, but they make sacrifices to buy it. I think it’s rational actors making rational decisions, that we all make with big ticket items. I guess in your case, “reading is not believing”.

There’s more I could say but that will suffice.

Jack L's picture

Hi

YOU miss the point, pal !

I never said you lied. Yet the way you put it "regular Joe Blow ..." alredy gave us the impression that many such people do exist who don't mind go broke to borrow money to buy hi-end audios.

The fact there are only a very few who were 'crazy' enough to do such irrgular thing if any at all.

"That's YOUR problem" as you brought such uncommon special case up as a matter of course !

Jack L

volvic's picture

I don’t miss any points, what I miss is that you are not very good at explaining your positions or counter arguments, because of your weak writing. Like I said below, nuance! You cannot express yourself properly, you make assumptions about my writing that are way off. These people are Joe Blows, educated yes, but regular folk who make choices to buy pricey hi-fi because they love the gear and music. They keep these companies going. I am not sure what else more I can tell you. But you clearly have no concept of purchasing power and how people live and make decisions in some parts of the world.

I will conclude that I find your mantra “hearing is believing” a complete lie, you’ve probably not heard any of this gear to be able to judge, yet are quick to mock these products, made by real engineers, who took a financial chance to build something out of pure passion, and you a person who claims to be an engineer mocks them is not nice pal!

Jack L's picture

Hi

My goodness, more you talk more you get confused ! You need a coffee to wake yourself up ! Pal.

Where in forum I ever mention I ever heard this phono-preamp ?? Show it !

I only responded to David Harper's comment:
"I only wish to suggest that perhaps some audiophiles would do well to reconsider their priorities when it comes to their disposable income."

I totally agree to his comment as any decent thinking person should do.
Never mentioned about the sound of this $5 grander phono-preamp at all !!!!

YOU jumped in to disgree to D Harper's comment using "regular Joe Blow .." would spend 50 grands to buy this preamp !!

Wake up !

Listening music with own ears is believing. But I never listened to this phono-preamp & never "judge" its sound which you claim I did. Give me a break !

Listening to music with own ears is believing

Jack L

volvic's picture

You criticize anything that costs money, including this review, yet you never heard them, then you talk about how you’re a cheapskate and wouldn’t pay this kind of money for this or that, and how smart you are to build your own systems, and then in another post you say how you flew to Japan to listen to Audio Note equipment at great cost. It’s ridiculous, everything you try to say is poorly worded, poorly written and nonsensical, irrational. You should write your own book; “Diary of a Madman; The life of Jack L”. You’re all over the place, you contradict yourself, you make no sense. I am beginning to think you’re not a real person, but a troll account set up just to have some fun. Because no one can be this irrational and dense. It’s truly amazing the level of ignorance.

Jack L's picture

HI

So YOU are even worse than "an idiot" & a "Liar! YOU are too proud to admit the boo-boo you made here & start sidetracking to something else. Shame !

I went to Asian-Pacific countries every year on business in electrical engineering projects procurement. So you did not know at all I am an electrical engineer involving in the electrical power industries in USA/Canada for decades, particular in UHV power transmission. Now you know !

Audio electronics is only my self-learned hobby. Thanks to my electrical backgound, I started design/building my amps decades back. I can tell you I know more & better than many many brandanme designers as I love classical music like addiction. I always use classical music performance as my guideline for my design/builds.

So many brandname designers out there know electronics so much more than they should know music by judging on their design/builds. Like a chef, how can the chef cook best food without being a gourmet itself !!!

Your ignorance is not a guilt as nobody knows everything. But your reluctance to admit thr boo-boo you make due to ignorance is inexcusable !

I hereby give you the opportunity to challenge my knowledge in audio electronics & classical music. I doubt you know how????

Listening is believing

Jack L

PS: Stick your head out your own-built nutshell: Read up my technical comment on Shunyata Denalis power conditioners on Dec 15 just below.
Tell me what you know about the technical issue of those 2 expensive brandname powerline conditioners, only if you really KNOW! If you don't know, read it to learn more. Bluffing can bring you nowhere !

volvic's picture

Sorry, didn't bother to read what you typed, not interested. Just got this beautiful integrated amp for a third system and too busy enjoying it to read your dribble.

Go throw some water on your records, ruin them some more, (you should read what a real engineer like AJ van den Hul has to say about that) and leave us alone. I am in musical bliss tonight. Your ramblings bore me. Bye! Go bark at the moon.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Got complete shut out !!!! Poor helpless old chap !

If van den Hul or whoever else "real engineer" is your "mate", invite him/them to have an open debate here on record playing with me.

Please don't even mention "record" playing with me, you are opening a huge can of worms musically & technically !!!

Rest in peace !

Listening to vinyl music is believing

Jack L

volvic's picture

Just finished listening to it with my vinyl rigs. Simply sensational.

No, your knowledge in classical cannot compete with me, not even close. I got over 6000 CDs and over 3000 in vinyl all classical. Been listening to this for over 50 years. Don’t go there, you’re a chomp when it comes to that. Same with vinyl knowledge, if you think you can debate and know better than AJ van den Hul then once again you’re out of your league. If you think you know about vinyl and don’t know who van den Hul is then you’re a complete neophyte on top of being a complete idiot. You’ve embarrassed yourself enough.

This is why everyone makes fun of you on these pages. Pathological and probably a sociopath. Seek help.

volvic's picture

Huh? Kiss me back? LOL! How childish! No, I have never met the man, but I have heard his cartridges and want one, but the fact you don’t know who he is shows how you claim to know everything but in fact, know nothing about analog and vinyl. Nothing!!!

Jack L's picture

Hi

I design/built all-TRIODE phono-preamp for my vinyl enjoyment since day one many years back using 50-yr young Telefunken tubes for the RIAA EQ phonostage....

Ask yourslf, your "mates" & whoever your vinyl superstar ever know anything about phono-preamp design/build technology ?????

You think every vinyl playing guys in this world is so helpless & naive like you blockhead!

Unless you are blindsighted, Check up my profile picture on top of my every single post in Stereophile, you should see the 3-triode phono-preamp I design/built for my own use, the smallest all-triode phono-preamp on this planet !!!!!

I hereby challenge any brandname phono-preamp makers in this world to come up something to match it musically & technically !!

Listening vinyl with triode phono-stage is believing

Jack L

volvic's picture

Yeah, yeah, we know, you build your own triodes, you never fail to remind us, we already know that. That’s old news, but it seems you don’t know much else. In any event, I don’t like kicking a man when he’s down so I’ll refrain from launching anymore attacks at your lack of knowledge, but honestly, Jack, if that is your real name, a little humility and admitting you don’t know everything will go a long way into helping you make more friends with less ridicule directed at you.

“Learning is believing”

Jack L's picture

Hi

How the heck YOU know I "don't know much else" ? Imagination !

So challenge what YOU know that I don't know !!!!

How about minus 45C deep-freeze icy road driving ?? I do it nearly every winter up here !

FYI, besides classical music & vinyl audio electronics, I love cooking at home: I don't think I want to eat out at all.

I cook organic beef steaks (meadow raised cattle wth no hormones & antibiotic feeds from New Zealand) that no restaurants here can offfer, IMO. New York steak ? A joke !

I cook wild salman fillet burgers that no fast-food eateries can offer !!!! Home cooked food is the best healthy food, period.

YOU know cooking or icy road driving at all ??

Jack L

volvic's picture

Is your vinyl rig home made as well? Because you know so much every other manufacturer is probably garbage in your eyes! LOL!!

Jack L's picture

Hi

Helpless consumer like YOU got no choice but spent your hard-earned money to finance the "vinyl rig" vendors.

Do I give a rat's ass ???

Jack L

volvic's picture

Hilarious! Well you must because you keep responding. I do, I have no shame in admitting, I love my turntables, they’re all spectacular. I would invite you over but since you live in a fly over state and are nowhere near me, I guess that’ll never happen.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Very glad you love your TT !

I love my 2 TTs too, one belt-driven made in Germany for my MM cartridge & one direct-driven TT made-in-Japan with SME S-shaped black carbon-fibre arm + MC/factory matched headamp both made in Japan.

I think I said it here before, one time one channel of the DD TT is gone. I found out one of the hairlike super-fine signal wire inside the SME arm broke !!!

As a die-hard audio handyman, I dismantled the whole SME arm & replaced the whole copper signal harness (which was no longer available from SME) with super-fine computer-grade silver-plated oxygen-free pure copper wires which I got a big reel of same in my parts box.

Thank goodness, I fixed it within only a couple of hours !

Yes, I love my vinyl players !

Jack L

PS: you live in London ? I may come over to visit my younger brother-in-law later if not sooner. I may visit you !

volvic's picture

Son you got a lot learning to do, you is in no position to school anyone on analog if you don’t know who this great man is. Go crack a book and learn. LOL!!!!

volvic's picture

These rebuttals are absurdly amusing.

Jack L's picture

.

Indydan's picture

Jack L. talking out of his ass again!

ChrisS's picture

...of many, many other places you can be, David.

As you say, "none of them related to home audio".

MhtLion's picture

I like reading about $50K phono amp on Stereohile although I cannot afford it currently. Which isn't much different from people watching NFL and commenting yet they cannot run 5 miles, let alone catch a fast flying football. Possibly, that's exactly why we watch or read about these stuffs. If I can afford a $50k phono every month, I won't be reading about it here. If you can play football like a pro, you won't be sitting on a couch with popcorns. High performance, luxury, exotic, and fantasy sell. 90% of anything we watch on Youtube mostly has nothing to do with our day-to-day lives.

Glotz's picture

Your comparisons of the Audioquest and the Shunyata products show an honest reporting that allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.

Grey areas abound and auditioning will direct the listener to their own decisions. That's what a great review is all about. Personally being able to afford them is immaterial in a review. Truthful observations are king.

Self-gratification only comes from the listening satisfied to the music you love.

Briandrumzilla's picture

The video was unavailable.

georgehifi's picture

Test

Jack L's picture

Hi

I would concern the sound I hear more than the test report I read.
This is music audio not any electronic hardwares !

Listening to music with own ears is believing

Jack L

cafe67's picture

Dave H

“ I can think of at least……..” wah wah wah

Why are you even here ?.?

David Harper's picture

to say important things that need to be said. There are worthy intellegent things for each of us to spend money on. 50K for phono preamplification is not one of them. I have certainly wasted my share of money on home audio so I am no better than anyone else. I only wish to suggest that perhaps some audiophiles would do well to reconsider their priorities when it comes to their disposable income. "you get what you pay for" may be true in some cases. It certainly is not in the case of high end audio.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Agreed ! Many consumers may not get what they intended to get with their hard-earned money - all at the mercy of those hi-end brandname makers/vendors. So why go for them ? Vanity or what ???

Just like cars, do we need a Mercedes to go to work ???

Jack L

volvic's picture

On this site, is as nonsensical as it gets. I find it devoid of any intelligence or insight that I am not even going to comment.

BTW, the car analogy is tiresome and pointless.

cafe67's picture

"On this site, is as nonsensical as it gets. I find it devoid of any intelligence or insight that I am not even going to comment."

but you did

volvic's picture

Just a statement.

Jack L's picture

Hi

"Statement" or "comment" were given by YOU, nobody else here.

What a moot excuse !

Jack L

volvic's picture

I realize the Queen’s English is not your forte, but nuance matters. Try and keep up.

Jack L's picture

Hi

WHO cares ! I am not living in a British colony !

Jack L

volvic's picture

You do speak English don’t you? LOL! Or do you prefer American? LOL.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Please update yourself: It should be "King's English" after the passing of the Queen.

YES, we speak American in this part of the western world.

Jack L

bhkat's picture

What percentage is the usual reviewer "industry accomodation" when they purchase?

Glotz's picture

From what I've heard.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Great minds think alike ? May not be in this case !

Nelson Pass' opinion of audio amplifiers: "I enjoy amplifiers with a little personality".

Jack L

cafe67's picture

"to say important things that need to be said."

lol how pompous and entitled of you, as if anybody gives a rats about your opinion

Jack L's picture

Hi

Who cares about "YOUR opinion"? I don't give a rat's ass !

Yet the editor of Stereophile does care about my opinion. Check back before you open your BIG mouth !

Jack L

cafe67's picture

My comment wasn’t directed at you , but I can see why you thought that

Jack L's picture

.

cafe67's picture

No worries, I wasn’t very clear in my posts

Jack L's picture

of >60dB (500kHz–10MHz)—"more than three times the normal noise isolation common to most power conditioners." qtd MF

Hi

Let's talk technical seriously. Save lip service !

For $3,500 to $4,995, the Shunyata Danalis kill EMI powerline noises from 20dB @1MHz & 60dB 500KHz-10MHz. How about EMI powerline noises emitted by switched-mode power supplies (SMPS) from digital audios & cellphones 1G-5G up to 6GHz++++ ?????

Are the Denalis widebanded enough to cover up to GHz zone ???????

Let us compare notes:

The 4 powerline EMI conditioning filters (made-in-England) I DIY-installed in the 4 dedicated powerlines for my audio rig at home for many years now cover EMI nosie bandwidth from 4KHz - 2GHz (way way beyond the published bandwidth chart) :

EMI noise insertion loss: 24dB @ 1MHz (read from the bandwidth chart)
43dB @ 10MHz
52dB @ 32MHz
36dB @ 100MHz

Way better than the Denalis performance !!!!!!!

So would you go for the powerline conditioners I used for the same price of the Denalis in case you were in the market for those ???

FYI, I paid much much much much LESS !!!

Knowledge is the power of cost saving for better performance & save being ripped off !

Jack L

johnnythunder1's picture

your semi-grammatical pseudo-bullshit explanations. Do you build your own televisions too because you think you know more than Samsung? You and Harper are like Siamese twins joined at the ego. BTW, you're commenting on a 5 yr old column. Laughing at your poorly written nonsense is believing!

volvic's picture

Yet, I find him absurdly amusing, as he’s all over the place and his responses make me laugh. He is Stereophile’s village idiot.

georgehifi's picture

When you "read" audio reviews, you want/need both, as parallels between the reviewers "poetic license" and the "measurements" can in many times be drawn.
If you only have just the reviewers "poetic license" to trust you may as well just read Absolute Sounds and "trust" what the reviewer heard/waffled about, and hope there's no payola involved.
(if done right measurements don't lie)

Cheers George

Jack L's picture

Hi

Bench measurement only uses static signals : sinewsave/squarewaves to test, say an audio amp, which is used to process realtime music signals, not sinewave/squarewaves at all !

Whatever "done right" measurement only does "right" with such bench static test signals, but NOT ever-changing realtime dynamic music signals which our ears listen.

Please tell me how you could correlative the bench test data to what the realtime music signals your ears hear using the SAME applifier.

I have gone through this same thing here again, again & again!

How come a 5W SET amplifier measured 5% THD sounded sooo much better than a solidstate amp of measured 0.005% THD using same bench test procedure as per Daniel H Cheever's audio engineering master degree thesis !????

His finding was later verified a few years later by another party using a brandname SET by ABX blind test !!!

That's why I said I concern what my ears can hear more than what I read in the test report ! I never hinted bench measurements "lie", but we are talking apple vs orange.

Listening music with own ears is believing

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

Some clearly don't understand or comprehend results of testing vs listening. All amps are designed using testing measurements and calculations, if not I suggest you stay well away from those (voodoo) amps with 5% distortion.
Just one example and there are many: Measuring "Damping Factor" (output impedance) of an amp can give you an indication of driver control, of very tight, or uncontrolled bass, or in between, depending on the speakers "bass impedance curve" which (guess what) is yet another measurement.

Cheers George

Jack L's picture

Hi

Yes, "an indication" only. Damping factor however high or low can never tell us how it would SOUND to our ears !

So tell me what "indication" of the sound of an amp with a damping factor of say, 2,000 vs one with 1,000 ???

Only by listening we know the different ! Right ?

Listening to music with own ears is believing

Jack L

PS: The 5% SET amp was no "voodoo" at all ! Otherwise Daniel Cheever would not put in in his audio engineering master degree thesiS !

georgehifi's picture

I didn't say you did, I said reviewers "can" depending on kick backs.
I said bench tests don't lie!!

Jack L's picture

Hi

This is a very blunt accusation: "kick backs", my friend though I share the same skepticism of yours.

I would only put it a more lenient way: SOME reviewers may have own undisclosed agenda.

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

I know it goes on as I know a couple of reviewers, even an editor where "kick backs/payola" or whatever you want to call it has happened.

And why I say "my friend" that measurements are just as important as a reviewers "poetic license", they are there, measured and on the graph and can't be bullshitted with.

And if you don't want/like measurements to be published, can I suggest you read Absolute Sounds instead of Stereophile.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Don't get me wrong. I never mentioned I "don't want/like" at all. In fact I am fully supportive of test reports along with sonic appraisals of the same audio components in any audio journals.

My point is, always is, NEVER judge the performance of any audio ONLY on its measuremnet as. again, bench measurements used static test signals instead of realtime music signal. We are given an apple instead of orange which we want !!!

The main issue is HOW can we coorelate the bench measurement data with what our ears hear from the same audio ?

Superb bench measurement data do not warrant superb sound at all, IMO, because such data, again, are not realtime music signals we listen eventaully with the audio under test !!!

Test reports can only serve as a reference, but can never replace our own subjective impression of the audio concerned.

Yes, any "kick backs/payola" given by the manufacturers/agents/vendors to the reviewer involved will surely tarnish the impartiality, integrity & validity of the reviews as well as the journal as a whole as the editorial management already permitted such biased reviews to be published !!! Irreversible damage to the reputation of the audio jounals involved.

The better way to safeguard our decision of purchase is to audition the audio personally in the vendor's showroom to ensure you like the sound of the product as reviewed in whatever audio journals.

Personally, I NEVER take any reviewer's sonic appraisals for granted as sonic is sooo subjective. One's meat can be another's poison !!! I love what I like to hear that is nobody else business. No reviewers can ever touch my own sonic judgement relative to live music performance I only used as my sonic holy grail.

I understand your concern about such "kick backs/payola" which can victimize many many readers which take the reviewers' appraisals as sonic holy grail !

Not for me, NEVER ever take any reviewers' sonic appraisals for granted ! Don't worry.

Listenig to music with own ears is believing

Jack L

windansea's picture

Note that Mr Fremer acquired the phono pre and power supply at an "accommodation price," not the retail price. (He said so.)

I appreciate the reviewer disclosing that he was allowed to buy the expensive equipment at a discount (with his own money). Should the accommodation price be disclosed? In a perfect world, yes. Imagine a price of $10K for a $50K product. That could sway an opinion. Or at least sway a reader's opinion of a reviewer's opinion. OTOH a discount of 10% wouldn't engender such skepticism.

Jack L's picture

Hi

If not "exactly a kickback", please tell us what "exactly" it is ?????

So tell us WHY the reviewer can enjoy a special "accommodation" price from the audio maker/agent/vendor & we consumers cannot get such 'favour' ?

Simply because there is no such thing as 'free lunch'. Favour for a favour !

The timing for solicitating such pricing favour' is crucial !!

If the reviewer concerned request an "accommodation" price from the vendor AFTER the review published, it is a legistimate ! Whatever special price offfered to the reviewer is still legal.

BUT if the reviewer requests whatever "accommodation price" from the makers/vendors in return of a favourable appraisal in the review BEFORE
such review is written, it will constiute as "bribery".

The issue is who can tell which is which ???? So often money overrides morality. This is a real world. That tells us why georghifi is sooo concerned about such vendor/reviewer "kick back" monkey business !!!

Jack L

John Atkinson's picture
Jack L wrote:
So tell us WHY the reviewer can enjoy a special "accommodation" price from the audio maker/agent/vendor & we consumers cannot get such 'favour' ?

The accommodation price paid by a reviewer is typically the product's wholesale price, as paid by a retailer. The manufacturer therefore still makes his appropriate margin on the sale. No "kickback" there.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

windansea's picture

Thank you for the clarification. I agree that if it's the wholesale price, then it's not a kickback.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Thanks for yr info.

Out of curiosity, any idea the typical % discount of such "wholesale price" from retail price ?

Glotz cited 50% discount per his above post dd Dec 15. If he did not lie, this would be very very substantial discount ! Kinda sorta a giveaway, IMO.

Jack L

teched58's picture

Your (Jack L) homophobic comments were (thankfully) deleted by JA2 in the thread on Mullins' "Re-Tales #27" story.

Here, I wonder if your OUTRAGEOUS accusation that former Stereophile writer Michael Fremer took a bribe from a vendor will likewise earn you a deletion.

You are by extension ACCUSING STEREOPHILE OF BEING CORRUPT. (For the record, I think that is beyond the pale.) Yet at the same time you are both Stereophile's most voracious and grammatically challenged commenter. A paradox indeed.

Tagline of the day: Listening to Jack L makes one wonder what to believe.

MatthewT's picture

Now I think Jack is really Ralph Wiggum or Bob and Doug McKenzie's father. Reading his posts in either voice really brings out the clarity and logic.

Jack L's picture

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Jack L's picture

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Jack L's picture

(1) NO post of mine was ever deteted frm JM's "Re-Tales #27 !

(2) It was georgehifi first brought up the issue of "kickback".
I responded to his posts above without pointing fingers !

Wake up & smell the coffee ! Daydreamer !!

With 'friend" like you daydreamer, who needs enemy ??

Jack L

ChrisS's picture

...pompous, Jack L.

Time for you to go.

MatthewT's picture

For your homo-erotic fantasies, Jack.

teched58's picture

Do you not live in the modern world, Jack? It is no longer acceptable to talk this way.

All of us, whether we are overtly aware of it or not, have within our extended families a member(s) of the LGBTQ community. This is a statistical fact.

Those people are human beings, and deserve to be treated with respect.

In addition to being semiliterate, you are a troglodyte.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Don't YOU daydreamer put yr accussation in my mouth !!!!

Show us which of my above posts ever mentioned "STEREOPHILE" !!!!

You need to go back to grammer school to learn your kidde-like English comprehension before you opening your BIG mouth here !

You can't read English correctly & you dare to use "tech" as your pseudo name ! What "tech" you think you ever know ???

Jack L

Jack L's picture

Hi

Either you are a dream walker or got the memory of a goldfish !

Read up again the post dd Dec 17 by windansea above:

"Mr. Fremer acquired the phono pre & power supply for an accommodation price".

Why you involved me in his post, IDIOT !!!!!

Jack L

MatthewT's picture

You need to stop selling it to kids and get back on it.

Jack L's picture

Are you on cheap drug ???

windansea's picture

The mass consumer can get pretty good stuff for cheap prices. But as you go up the line, it costs a lot more to squeeze out superior performance. It's NONLINEAR. Same with almost anything, really. If you want it totally perfect, or customized, or cutting edge, then it's cost-no-object and the cost is astronomically higher. So I'm not going to scoff at $50K for a phono pre.

(I would scoff at a $500K phono pre.)

bhkat's picture

To give people a sense of perspective, people pay $100,000 for Patek Phillipe watches made from stainless steel that just show the time in hours, minutes, and seconds as well as date. And, it is less accurate than the cell phone that nearly everyone carries. I'm glad that these sort of products are available for people who can afford them.

MatthewT's picture

Are all full of the same natering nabobs ranting about cost. I do love a good mechanical watch, though.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Life style is not gauged by nickel & dime, my friend !

Like my wife's Rolex watch, is a token of my love to her. Dollar & cents is not longer a factor any more. Most most women go for style !

Jack L

rschryer's picture

Even at an accommodation price, as a reviewer I'd never spend a dime on a piece of equipment that sounded worse or otherwise less interesting than what I already have.

Who would?

Jack L's picture

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georgehifi's picture

rschryer:"Even at an accommodation price, as a reviewer I'd never spend a dime on a piece of equipment that sounded worse or otherwise less interesting than what I already have.
Who would?"

Ones that flip to make money, and yes that goes on too.
To think otherwise is to be naive.

Cheers George

John Atkinson's picture
rschryer wrote:
Even at an accommodation price, as a reviewer I'd never spend a dime on a piece of equipment that sounded worse or otherwise less interesting than what I already have. Who would?

georgehifi wrote:
Ones that flip to make money, and yes that goes on too. To think otherwise is to be naive.

Stereophile's long-term policy is that when reviewers purchase components that they have reviewed, if they subsequently need to sell those products, they must offer them first to the manufacturer.

We fired a writer for one of our sister magazines who was buying review samples and selling them on an on-line website for profit.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Jack L's picture

Hi

Just out of curiosity, how did you discover that writer selling online to make profit ? That person should not be so naive as to sell it under its own name. Got to be sold by another party on the writer's behalf that would be pretty hard to trace !

Sounded like a Sherlock Holmes story !

Jack L

John Atkinson's picture
Jack L wrote:
Just out of curiosity, how did you discover that writer selling online to make profit?

Manufacturers routinely keep an eye on resale sites like Audiogon.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Jack L's picture

Hi

I see. Now I learn something about the resale markets. Thanks.

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

Almost not worth them buying it even at trade/accommodation price, if they have to do that.
They will loose big time $$$ that way, as the manufacturer is not going to offer much, it has to be lower than the manufacturers cost and even lower specially now as it's second-hand also and most probably superseded.

Cheers George

Jack L's picture

Hi

Too true !

Jack L

Jack L's picture

Hi George

From J.A's very strict policy on Stereophile reviewers' reselling reviewed/demo products that I only just know from J.A, I think we have over-reacted to its rewiewers alleged profit flipping.

Of course, this does not mean reviewers of other audio journals would or would not do such monkey business at all.

I think I owe Stereophile an apology for jumping the gun to this profit flipping issue.

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

Please don't speak for me, I know it goes on.

Cheers George

John Atkinson's picture
georgehifi wrote:
Please don't speak for me, I know it goes on.

But not at Stereophile.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

teched58's picture

I went in yesterday a second time to correct a typo, and the comment then disappeared and I got a message that it was in moderation. Can JA1 or JA2 please go in and review it/push it live? thanks

Jack L's picture

Hi

NO, a 60+ years established audio journal could not possibly permit any monetary monkey business exist inside the establishment to stain its reputation.

Keep it up, John. God Bless !

Jack L

Jack L's picture

Hi

As I said in my above post, this is a grave allegation unless you have already obtained evidence of such monetary monkey business against Stereophile !

Have you ??

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

Sounds like you want to be a "Patron Saint" of Stereophile

I never accused Stereophile of payola or kick backs, I used those words in a general context about many reviewers.
"I said reviewers can" but it was actually JA that said, "they did once".

Suffice to say it goes on, to think otherwise is being naive and "not seeing the forest for the trees"

Cheers George

teched58's picture

Coupla points. People in mags/newspapers all sell their review copies to get a little pocket money to augment their meh salaries. Back in the day, we took them to the Strand.

I don't think reselling gear is an ethical problem. The thought experiment is, if the reviewer didn't get to buy the gear for cheaper, would he write a better review than if not? The answer is a global no. Most (all?) places don't run negative reviews. If something really sucks, it's not gonna get a long feature. More likely, it'll be a product blurb.

[Note that I am NOT commenting specifically on Stereophile. I am talking about the biz as a whole, from a 30,000 ft. perspective.]

I believe that the policing of resales has nothing to do with ethics. Rather, resale of low volume, high priced stereo gear uncuts the manufacturers' business model. Hence their willingness to spend employee time, which equates to money, keeping an eagle eye on Audiogon and ebay.

An analogous example from the software world is that AutoCAD in the old days used to vigorously police ebay. ANY TIME someone tried to sell a copy of AutoCAD, even if they had acquired it legitimately, they were shut down and the listing removed. This was solely to maintain AutoCAD's high price, which was way above industry average. (Dunno if they still do this today; guessing yes.)

All of which logically leads to a blindingly obvious conclusion: We, the readers and posters here, are not the customer. The vendors are. Readers are not chopped liver -- again, not spitting on Stereophile, which I wouldn't come to every day if it didn't provide value to me. I am talking about everywhere. And not just in the audio space -- rather, readers are leads, potential customers for the vendors which keep places like this alive, though since the internet unfortunately came to predominate, only barely.

Perhaps that's why, beg though I did (see my earlier post), I couldn't get my previous attempted post pushed live. (It went into moderation when I attempted to twice correct a typo. A problem Jack L will never face.)

Jack L's picture

Hi

Words are cheap !

Of many CORE VALUES of a person or organization: HONESTY always come upfront first - backrock of foundation of a person or a company.

"I don't think reselling gear is an ethical problem" provided it is carried out HONESTLY. For audio reviewing, no monkey business, like undercutting the purchase price in exchange of favorable reviews nor profit flipping etc.

Stereophile, per John Atkinson, demonstrated its HONESTY core value by firing its writer who acted dishonestly.

Enough said

Jack L

Jack L's picture

Hi

Don't act like a smart ass, please.

No, you did not point the finger at Stereophile specifically. But whoever with sharp eyes read the above yours & my posts know what's yr hidden agenda.

Please don't insult our readers' intelligence, including John Atkinson & yours truly.

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

Whoa! Merry Xmas to you too sunshine. I Think your the one being that, as others have also alluded to.

Once again.
Sounds like you want to be a "Patron Saint" of Stereophile
I never accused Stereophile of payola or kick backs, I used those words in a general context about many reviewers.

"I said reviewers can" but it was actually JA that said, "they did once". (not me)

Suffice to say it goes on, to think otherwise is being naive and "not seeing the forest for the trees"

Cheers George

Jack L's picture

Jack L

teched58's picture

Sometimes I wonder who Jack L really is and where he's coming from.

Seems like one has to work really hard to write comments that are so oddly ungrammatical and antisocial.

Sorta like when a ransom note writer disguises their true identity

Sometimes I wonder if the voice is actually coming from inside the building.

Jack L's picture

Hi

If YOU can come close to the number of technical posts I did in the past, including this very topic right here, you were a "ransom note ghost" not even qualified to be a human "writer" !

I hereby challenge YOU to raise TECHNICAL issue in audio that I may not able to answer !!!! "Tech" "ghost" !

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

Yeah! ya got that right.

Cheers George

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