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In the August 1988 issue's "Audioclinic," Wayne Warren asked advice on buying an AM/FM tuner with a good AM section ("Long-Distance AM Reception"). He was advised to buy a separate shortwave receiver for AM and a separate AM/FM tuner for FM. Bad advice! There is one manufacturer who makes wonderful AM/FM tuners and receivers which have superb AM sections, some with AM stereo: Carver.
With only a short wire antenna, my Carver unit outperforms all of my very expensive shortwave sets in sensitivity and audio quality on the AM broadcast band. It has a switchable wide/narrow bandwidth control. I receive distant AM stations from Louisville, Atlanta, Chicago, etc. in full stereo and with excellent fidelity, and this really enhances talk shows.
Let's encourage good American-owned companies, like Carver, who make high-quality, innovative audio products.
-Bill Pope Jackson, Miss.
I have been reading Audio for about a year and really enjoy your articles on stereo components. Nevertheless, I do have some complaints. I believe that you should publish more "Equipment Profiles," as I consider them to be the best part of your magazine. Also, in your equipment reviews-particularly those on speakers--I constantly read about classical music being played on the speakers under review. A lot of "Equipment Profiles" don't even mention how rock and pop music sound on the speakers. There are people out there who prefer rock 'n' roll and want it to be reproduced with audiophile quality. I know I do, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
-Gordon Pyzik; Toldeo, Ohio
Have you noticed that shopping for audio equipment is like shopping in a coal mine? Audio displays are unlit caves wherein one needs a flashlight to differentiate between types of components. It's all bituminous and all looks the same. When will digital audio move out of the Model-T phase? Are audio plants underground? Do the employees wear lighted helmets? Somewhere along the way, the digital music guru decided against wood tones, bronze, and brushed aluminum.
Even magazine ads look totally drab in their varying shades of gray. Try identifying the controls on the equipment in some of the photos. In one ad, even the beach and ocean are blackened in an effort to enhance the looks of the components.
Eureka! Some manufacturers are adding wood tones to their high-end lines! Maybe, as is usual with new ideas, the price of wood tones and other colors will come down with time.
Come on, folks, do you really put that ugly stuff in your living room?
-Phillip E. Ahrens; El Paso, Tex.
The Price Is Still Wrong
The November '88 letter, "The Price Isn't Right," is right on. Compact Discs cost too much. Recent television ads of youths triumphantly purchasing $15.98 CDs reveal the "buck is all" approach taken by the recording industry. Yet these same companies cry against the evils of home taping and DAT. I credit the Japanese for their attitude that a dollar in an American pocket is a potential dollar to be spent on Japanese products. On this side of the Pacific Ocean, music distributors tell most of us that we haven't enough money to buy music.
-Richard Stevens; Phillipsburg, N.J.
A Gas of a System
I would like to thank you for the November 1988 Range Rover feature article, "4 x 4 By Two." Being an audio enthusiast--mobile audio, specifically-- I am always happy to see mobile audio systems covered in your magazine. Even better than the story was my privilege in hearing that system.
I manage a service station in Lakeville, Connecticut and was lucky enough to have the very same Range Roger drive in before the article appeared. I was inside the station doing inventory when I heard glorious jazz coming from outdoors. Going outside, I told the Range Rover's driver that his stereo was obviously not a stock unit.
Just then, the passenger emerged from the vehicle saying, "This sounds pretty good for $16,000 worth of stereo equipment." While still in awe, I received my November issue and was able to visualize the whole system while looking at the article layout. That system looked and sounded incredible. Needless to say, I will be keeping my issue for years to come.
-William R. Thomas; Lakeville, Conn.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
I am pleased to see an article in Audio calling attention to the hearing-damage risk of modern rock concerts ("Earning a Deaf Ear," January 1989). Leigh Silverman's article is both scholarly and pertinent.
However, she seems conservative in her stated concert sound levels. Silverman says, "Rock concerts expose most audience members to about 105 dB .... " When I was researching a magazine article in the early '70s ("Live Rock: How It Is," db magazine, October '71), I measured such powerhouse groups as Iron Butterfly and Chicago, playing in a relatively small but live auditorium, at levels of 110 to 113 dB. These levels weren't just occasional peaks, but a steady, solid wall of sound, remarkably uniform throughout the listening area. Lacking ear protection at the time, I wore undriven headphones in an effort to reduce distortion generated within my ears and to protect my hearing from damage. And this was before the rock groups commissioned their own sound companies to provide audio systems approaching megawatts of output! It's ironic that much of Silverman's article concerns various forms of ear protection for musicians. It's a bizarre comment on today's professional performance values when the ears of musicians and audiences need protection from sounds generated for the express purpose of being heard. Fifteen years ago, I entertained the hope that audio professionals would exercise responsibility, risking the rancor of rock performers and audiences by enforcing reasonable concert levels, if not for the sake of the audiences' ears, at least for their own. Instead, their quest for ever greater technical achievement continues unabated, putting the hearing of several generations of rock concertgoers at risk. Perhaps we should all invest in hearing-aid manufacturing firms, which promise to have a prosperous future.
-R. H. Coddington; Richmond, Va.
Buying in the Boondocks
I'd like to comment on the relationship between audio equipment, manufacturers, and the consumer.
I live in a rural area that is about two hours from the nearest city of any consequence. If I want to expand my selection, the ante goes up to 3 1/2 hours.
Because of this, I have done a lot of my shopping by mail. Things such as functions I want the unit to perform, specifications (within reason!), appearance, and user-friendly ergonomics can often be evaluated with the aid of a brochure that's well thought out. But one of the most important things I look for among the glossy photographs is a listing of dealers. Without knowing where I can see the equipment, all the brochures in the world do nothing but make a nice fire. I am amazed at the number of manufacturers that fail to include this-even though I always request it. I've been surprised by the number of well-known audio companies that do not even respond, despite four or five requests.
I've almost reached my goal of saving $7,500 to buy my new system. The manufacturers I'm considering are not just of good reputation but have demonstrated the desire to meet the needs of the individual consumer--out in the boonies though he may be.
-Ken Olson; Kelseyville, Cal.
Old Business, New Business
Some of your readers may be confused about my relationship with New York Audio Labs and the audio industry, so I am writing this letter to clear up any misunderstandings.
I was chief engineer and the designer of the Moscode line of audio products for New York Audio Labs from 1983 through October 1986. In October 1986, I left New York Audio Labs to go out on my own and have now founded Classic Audio, Ltd.
We recently introduced the Classic Audio Model CA 260 dual mono amplifier. This is a 50-watt/channel unit that uses actual McIntosh output and power transformers from the 1960s that were obtained, brand new, through a special surplus purchase. These units are available factory direct and are in stock at this time.
Now that New York Audio has been declared out of business, many customers want to know where to get support and service. Through Sound Services, our service division, we can fix and/or modify any Moscode, Futterman (Julius or NYAL version), and NYAL products. We are happy to help out anyone in need.
I have developed modifications for the Moscode 300 and 600 that I consider to be major improvements. These are not capacitor/jack/wiring upgrades but a total reworking of the main circuit, complete with Gold Aero tubes.
We can also modify any NYAL product and make it sound better.
Both Classic Audio, Ltd. and Sound Services are located at 238 Liberty Ave., New Rochelle, N.Y. 10805; (914) 633-3039.
-George Kaye; Classic Audio, Ltd./Sound Services New Rochelle, N.Y.
The Sporting Audiophile
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anthony H. Cordesman for his informative and well-written review of the Audio Research M-300 amp ("Auricle," November 1988). One of the strongest points of the review was the conclusion. The "sport of high end" is an enjoyable one, given participants do not lose sight of what it is all about. I would like to end my letter similarly to the way Cordesman ended his review: "For a precious few, however, [the sport of high end] will be their introduction to a game that can be almost as enjoyable as listening to music."
- Steven O'Neal St. Louis, Mo.
(Source: Audio magazine, Mar. 1989)
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