Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Bose is a great marketing company that makes mediocre (at best) speakers. First of all, I believe that most would agree that they start their design from a flawed premise. They've always said that 7/8 of the sound we hear is reflected, as apposed to direct sound. This is why most of the drivers in a 901 face in odd directions. Ask anyone from Bose where this number comes from and they can't tell you. This is creating false space as apposed to recreating the space that is actually captured on the recording. Then you have their active equalizer that is there to compensate electronically by forcing drivers past their physical limits to get a "big" sound out of a small box. This MUST create distortion. This is only one of the products, the others are equally flawed.

Then you look at their tendency to sue people for the most goofy reasons. They sued CEDIA (Consumer Electronics Design and Installation Association), a trade association of which they are a member for the use of the word "Lifestyle" with respect to audio. Years ago they sued Thiel because they used that same model number. Which is just stupid because the whole idea copyrights is to avoid confusion in the market place. Who in the world is going to confuse Bose and Thiel? Especially when the speakers looked completely different and were designed from a completely different technical point of view?

The following is from Wikipedia, "In 1981 Bose unsuccessfully sued the magazine Consumer Reports for libel. Consumer Reports reported in a review that the sound from the system that they reviewed "tended to wander about the room." The District Court found that Consumer Reports "had published the false statement with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of its truth or falsity" when it changed what the original reviewer wrote about the speakers in his pre-publication draft. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's ruling on liability, and the United States Supreme Court affirmed in a 6-3 vote in the case Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc., finding that the statement was made without actual malice, and therefore there was no liability for libel." I can't believe that they sued someone for a bad review!

Then you look at their draconian approaches in retail such as insisting that their products MUST NOT be set up where they can be actively demoed against other brands and their Secret Police tacts of demanding that managers fire sales people that say anything remotely negative about their brand ON THE SPOT or risk being cut off as a dealer. Neither of these things are myth, I've seen them happen!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lots to think about

Wilson Audio is one of the pillars of the High-end audio industry. The following video makes it clear that David Wilson, Wilson Audio’s guiding light has profound thoughts about a great number of topics involving the industry other than speaker design. The half hour video addresses such subjects as the difference between a product vs. a commodity, the financial transparency and solvency of Hi-Fi manufacturers, business models, fair pricing, real customers vs. customers of opportunity, perceived quality vs. real quality, De-localization, corporate social responsibility, labor rates, and shop efficiency. Click on the photo below to attend the lecture.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Maybe I'm amazed

My Martin Logan CLS electrostatic speakers are now powered by the Audioquest AC15 power cords that I recently mentioned. Each was broken in by using them to power my Threshold Stasis S550e amplifier for 24 continuous hours. There is no contest between the Monster Cable PowerLine300 that I was previously using and these. The first thing to strike me is how much more quiet the backgrounds are with the AC15s in place. On Belle & Sebastian’s “It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career” the gentle hums and buzzes of the guitarist’s tube amp is clearly audible in the right channel as he waits for his turn to enter the song. The acoustic guitar also has more body behind the strings and the piano sounds fuller too. These cords have also made the soundstage more spacious, increased the shimmer around cymbals, and allowed music with lots of layers to really reveal itself much more effortlessly. They’ve also gotten rid of the extremely slight sibilance that female vocals could occasionally take on.

Gone is a slight muddiness on cello that I always noticed on Jacqueline Du Pre and the London Symphony's transcendent performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 conducted by Sir John Barbirolli. The unwelcome hardness of the dynamic peaks at the very beginning of the second movement have also been tamed and sound much more effortless.

The audible effects of power cords continue to amaze me. How much of these changes are due to the ferrite clamps, how much do the Wattgate connectors contribute, how much of it is just the better wire in the cable. It would be hard to know for sure but the overall effect is nothing short of jaw dropping!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Keep this Train rolling

My love affair with analog FM radio is well documented on the blog. However, the ability of internet radio to bring variety and diversity to everyone around the world is thrilling, even if the sound isn’t. Tivoli radio has been making some of the most compelling and innovative table radios for a couple of years running. Their new NetWorks radio clearly demonstrates that they have no intentions of slowing down. The NetWorks allows the user to listen to internet radio anywhere that there is a wired or wireless internet access. But it doesn’t stop there, this new addition to the Tivoli stable can also find music files on your PC and play those too. It also has a USB port to play songs off of portable media players.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Led Zeppelin's newly remastered "The Song Remains the Same" is being released on four 180 gram LP's. The latest version of the album includes 6 bonus tracks not on the original album including "Black Dog", "Over The Hills and Far Away", "Misty Mountain Hop", "Since I've Been Loving You", "The Ocean", and "Heartbreaker." Also orders through ledzeppelin.com by July 22 have a chance of being randomly selected to receive the release on white vinyl, which is limited to 200 copies. Isn't white supposed to be for virgins?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A good deal for skeptics

It would be hard to find a topic more controversial and debated in high end audio today than the effect (or lack there of) of power cords on sound. The discussion of the contribution of power cords to the overall sound of a system has been discussed many times on this blog. When I first started my forays into this phenomena I didn't want to hear a difference, because I'm cheap and I'm a natural skeptic. However, my brand of skepticism is more of an “open-minded skepticism” so investigation was clearly in order. For those looking for an inexpensive way to do some experimenting HCM audio has a closeout deal on Audioquest AC15 power cords at an unbelievable price, $39.95 for a seven and a half feet power cord. As a bonus, they are fitted with WattGate/Marinco 5266, ends. Much nicer than what Audioquest originally offered as the standard terminations.

The AC15s includes a ferrite bead to help stop RFI and EMI from getting into the components. They will be replacing the Monser PowerLine300 on my Martin Logan CLS speakers. Audioquest has been my cable of choice for a number of years now. In addition to being one of the oldest cable companies in existence, they always make clear what makes one level of cable better than the next. Their staff is more than willing to make custom cables to any specifications and to complete and ship them extremely quickly. Take a couple minutes and read this short interview with Audioquest founder Bill Low.