Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

SoundStage! TV




On This Site

Please send all questions to All questions sent to this e-mail address will be replied to online. If you do not wish to share your e-mail with other readers, please do not send it. But if you have a question, chances are others are wondering the same thing. Therefore, you will be helping not only yourself, but other readers as well when your question gets answered here.

To Doug Schneider,

I am currently putting the finishing touches on my system and have a question regarding speaker cables.

My system will be consisting of an NAD C 325BEE integrated amp, a Wadia 171iTtransport iPod dock, Monitor Audio RX1 speakers, plugged into a Torus BX2.5 power conditioner. My current interconnects are TARA Labs Vector 1.

My local dealer carries TARA Labs and I was doing some research online regarding Kimber Kable 8TC and AudioQuest Rocket 44 speaker cables. The cables will be biwired. My question is: Since I can’t demo the Kimber or AudioQuest speaker cables, would I be better buying TARA Labs cables, which I can demo, or the other two brands I can buy online from Audio Advisor for a really good price?

Please offer your opinion on how the AudioQuest or Kimber would suit my system.

Ryan Walker

I’d never recommend buying something without hearing it, but since Audio Advisor offers a money-back guarantee on the products they sell, you have a good way to minimize risk. (You should check the exact conditions of sale for these products by calling Audio Advisor directly in case there is something that would prevent them from being included in their return policy.)

It’s been a long time since I’ve tried TARA Labs or Kimber Kable cables, so I can’t help you much there, but I’ve long liked AudioQuest because of their reputation for offering high-quality, no-nonsense cables at sensible prices. If I were you, I’d definitely want to at least try out the AudioQuest cables, and possibly the Kimber Kable ones, because you have obviously taken great care in assembling your system so far and shouldn’t leave the last piece of the puzzle to chance. If I were in your shoes, I’d get at least one of those brands in from Audio Advisor (probably AudioQuest if getting two sets isn’t possible) and then compare them to the TARA Labs cables your dealer carries and keep the ones that work best with your setup. . . . Doug Schneider

To Doug Schneider,

I have a pair of Boston Acoustics A100 speakers from way back when. They’ve pretty much stopped working and I have to replace them. What do you suggest?

Kurt Rogers

They certainly are from way back when. I don’t know which series you have, but they’re decades old and even though they've obviously served you well, it’s a good idea to replace them. It’s impossible to recommend specific speaker models since there’s little information provided, but I will recommend some brands that make excellent, well-priced speakers: PSB, Paradigm, Aperion, Focus Audio, and Amphion. There are many more I could recommend, but that’s a good start and you can find reviews of models from most of them on this site. Send us another e-mail anytime if you have more questions. . . . Doug Schneider

To Colin Smith,

I just read your article on sources, "Audio 101 Part 6: Sources Continued," and I'm actually in the process of watching for a good deal on a new Mac Mini. I have a handful of SACDs and was wondering how I would go about ripping a hi-rez copy to the Mac. Any suggestions?


The problem SACDs have always faced is that they require a proprietary drive to read them, a fact which really limited their mass appeal. Unfortunately, I've never heard of an SACD drive for computers so I doubt you can rip your discs to a PC or Mac. At this point the only way to get high-resolution music onto a computer is to download it or copy it from a DVD disc or other drive, if the files are in a computer-readable format like WAV or FLAC. . . . Colin Smith

To Doug Schneider,

I have a question about the Bryston 2B SST2 power amplifier. I never see any reviews on it. Is it any good? 

Robert B. 

You’re right, there aren’t many reviews on the 2B SST2, probably because it’s Bryston’s least-expensive power amplifier and reviewers tend to gravitate toward the more expensive components in a line. That’s actually unfortunate because there are a lot of budget-conscious audiophiles in the world. But we actually reviewed it, just not on this site. The 2B SST2 was reviewed by Bob Wood on SoundStage! Hi-Fi, our sister site. We even measured it too. I just looked up the price and the 2B SST2 retails for $2750 today.

Is it any good? I’ve never heard it, but I suspect it is, not only because of Bob's review. Bryston says that all their amplifiers share the same circuit design and build quality, so, therefore, they tend to sound the same. The biggest difference is the power output, which has mostly to do with how loud you can play the speaker it's partnered with. The 2B SST2 is said to deliver 100Wpc into 8 ohms; the larger and more expensive 3B SST2 is rated to deliver 150Wpc into 8 ohms; and the still larger and even more expensive 4B SST2, which I have here, is rated at 300Wpc, again into 8 ohms. There are more powerful Brystons yet. In a nutshell, the 4B SST2 is excellent, so if the 2B SST2 sounds just like it and simply delivers less power, it must also be very good. You can read a recent article about the 4B SST2 on SoundStage! Hi-Fi. . . . Doug Schneider

To Doug Schneider,

I’m curious if you guys have any reviews of the newest Aperion speakers coming up. So, are there some Aperions lying around that we’ll learn more about? 

Donald P. 

You’re likely referring to the new Verus line. It’s not a formal review, but Jeff Fritz did write about the new Verus Grand Tower on our sister site, Ultra Audio, in an article called “Benchmark Systems, Part 3: The $5000 Full-Ranger.” A full review of the Grand Tower is coming March 15 right here. Currently, we’re trying to bring in-house the Verus Forte Tower, which is released this month and sells for $990 per pair. We’re pretty confident we’ll get a pair for review. . . . Doug Schneider

To Doug Schneider,

I read about the PSB Imagine Mini and am wondering if you’ll be reviewing it. I’m looking for a bookshelf speaker that’s less than $1000 per pair and I noticed it. Anything you can tell me?

Jordan R.

It’s funny you should bring the Imagine Mini up. We covered it in our CES 2011 report on SoundStage! Global and it’s been a hot topic since. I was talking to PSB’s Paul Barton today and he’s going to try and supply us with one of the first samples. The speaker is actually not on the market yet, but we hope that our sample will arrive here next week. What we don’t know at this time is if we’ll publish the review here on GoodSound! or on SoundStage! Hi-Fi, our sister site. Either way, I have no doubt that you will see a review of the Mini on the SoundStage! Network fairly soon. . . . Doug Schneider 

To Doug Schneider,

How do I know what makes a good-quality speaker and how much it will cost? I need speakers for an expo. It will be busy and noisy, so they need to be good quality. They can’t be too loud, just clean and crisp and clear. It would be great if I could get some help! 

Elsa H. 

What makes a speaker “good” varies depending on the situation. Your situation is different than that of a home. If you’re going to be using the speakers at an expo where it’s noisy, they will have to play quite loud to overcome the sound around them, and they’ll also have to be very durable as well as easy to carry around. With that in mind, I’d recommend looking at speakers from companies that cater to the pro-audio/public-address side of things such as Peavey, Roland and Yamaha. I looked up what they’re currently offering and found some powered speakers in their lines that aren’t too expensive and would likely suit your needs quite nicely. . . . Doug Schneider

To Doug Schneider,

Have you ever heard of the NAD 3140 integrated amplifier? I saw one at a garage sale and I am wondering if it’s any good.

Shawn R.

Have I heard of it? I used to own one -- in 1981. It was considered a great amp for the price back then; however, that was 30 years ago, so I’m not sure how it would stack up today. My biggest concern nowadays wouldn’t be how good it is, but, rather, if it still works. Integrated amps last a long, long time, but many of the components in them do deteriorate and wear out. . . . Doug Schneider

To Doug Schneider,

[I need a] sound system for my husband’s 1986 Ford F150 truck. He loves the old truck, but it only has an AM radio and one working door speaker in it.

Cathy B. 

We don’t deal with car audio, only home audio, but I can tell you this: pretty much any half-decent car stereo is going to be better than what your husband has now. My suggestion is to go to a car audio retailer and ask them for the cheapest system they can recommend and have them install it. Chances are it will have an AM/FM radio, a CD player, and something to connect an iPod to. I suspect that if your husband likes the truck as much as you say, he’ll find a way to keep it running and the small investment you make in his sound system will be worthwhile. . . . Doug Schneider

To Doug Schneider,

I bought a pair of speakers just over a year ago and the wood veneer is starting to come loose and peel away. Is this normal? Is this covered under warranty? What should I do?


It’s not normal and it should definitely be covered under your warranty. First, contact the store that you bought them from and they should take care of it. If you can’t get satisfaction that way, go directly to the manufacturer. If it’s a reputable company, they’ll get it straightened away. . . . Doug Schneider

To Doug Schneider,

Are you still recommending the NAD C 565BEE CD player?

Bill Grant

Yes, of course -- in fact, I own one. The only thing that’s different between now and when I reviewed it (on SoundStage! in December 2009) is that there are probably some other competitors on the market that can be considered. But if you get (or have) the C 565BEE, you can rest assured that it’s still an outstanding player. Also, be aware that it’s capable of accepting high-resolution audio up to 24-bit/192kHz through the TosLink digital input on the back panel in case you want to hook it up to your computer system (your computer would have to have a TosLink output or you can use a USB-to-TosLink converter, which is what I use). . . . Doug Schneider