FollowUp RoundUp

When Stereophile publishes followup reviews of various kinds in the print magazine, we add the followup as a "child page" to the full review. That means that they don't appear on the website's home page and might get missed. The October 2020 issue included three followups: of the Boulder 2108 phono preamplifier, the Weiss DAC502 D/A processor, and the IsoAcoustics Gaia loudspeaker isolation feet.

The two-chassis Boulder 2108 phono preamplifier may be very expensive—it costs $52,000—but it is one of the best-measuring phono preamplifiers I have encountered. Check those measurements out here.

When I reviewed the superb-measuring and equally superb-sounding Weiss DAC502 in August 2020, one thing I didn't do was compare it with the dCS Rossini D/A processor, which I had loved the sound of back in the day. As it happened, Jason Victor Serinus is still using our review sample of the Rossini, so I shipped the Weiss to him. You can find his comparison and his thoughts on the DAC502's sound here.

For decades it has been accepted lore that loudspeakers should be mechanically coupled to the floor with spikes. In 1983 I even performed blind listening tests at a hi-fi show where the sound with the speakers spiked to the floor was preferred by a statistically significant margin. But in recent years, an opposing school of thought has been growing: that the speaker needs to supported on a compliant footer that acts as a low-pass filter, preventing higher-frequency noise from being transmitted to the floor. Robert Deutsch's original praise for the Gaia Theis loudspeaker supports was echoed by the late Art Dudley in his June 2019 Listening column and now Jim Austin chimes in. You can find the very positive report on Jim's experience here.

steve@Boulder's picture

John, thanks for the follow up on the 2108! I should mention that while I understand the convenience of stacking the phono preamp directly on top of the outboard power supply...that will skew the measurements especially the hum which you pointed out and the difference in s/n. The manual clearly states not to do this. Regardless, glad you found it to be as solid of a performer on the bench as Michael did in his music system. Cheers!

John Atkinson's picture
steve@Boulder wrote:
I'm not sure why there was a bit of channel imbalance...we checked that unit upon its return and it was dead on.

Thanks for the comment, Steve, but you have me puzzled when you write that I found there was slight channel imbalance. I actually wrote "The RIAA correction was almost perfect, with superb channel matching (fig.1, blue and red traces)." The only difference between the channels that I found was that there was a little more spurious 60Hz in the left than the right, which may well have been due to the proximity of the power supply. Though this was still at a very low level, it did affect the wide-band S/N ratio in the left channel.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile