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Linking continental.

Sadly, I must tell you that I can't renew my subscription to The $ensible Sound. I'm getting a new education and get only 63% of my last income through this period. As soon as it is possible for me to renew my subscription, I will do it.

So I'm sitting here writing this e-mail. I send you also some comments on your publication. Years back it was pure fun to read your reports on the megabuck systems sounding very poor on several hi-fi shows. By the time I'm missing this fun a little bit in your magazine.

Thank you for the report of the rip-off by Company A [Several company names have been removed from this letter to keep life simple.--KWN]. At the moment you couldn't find any critical reports in hi-fi magazines. Take a look at other mags in the U.S.A, Germany or England. What did they tell you: Everything is fine, consume, consume, and consume.

A lot of companies rip off their customers. Company B, Company C in Italy, and Company D in Germany. Surely there are several other companies that get their gear built in China and sell it totally overpriced. Companies like Company E and Company F started this, if I remember correctly. But these companies sold their products at reduced prices. Those other companies tell fairy tales when they report about the better parts that are thrown in their components. Please do a double blind test with the Company B phono stage and the same product by Vincent of China. On the website of was a news report on the new SACD player by Company C of Italy that has a retail price of more than $3000. They tell you that it took years of investigation for this product. Maybe it took years for them to find out where to place their brand logo on the box. Exactly the same SACD player could be found on Xindaks home page in China. The inner components are exactly the same. Only the stickers on transformers are different. A short time later the prices on the Xindak homepage had gone. This player with the Xindak logo comes in at $500. I'm waiting for the announcement of a western company for constructing the beautiful integrated amp by Xindak with the Rosewood front and knobs for several thousand dollars.

Lots of cable manufacturers get their high-priced products made in China. What is built in China is not mediocre. They use for several products the finest parts imported from western countries. China will be "the" exporter for excellent hi-fi gear in the next few years.

It would be helpful to place a photo of every reviewed record in your publication. Often someone is walking through a record shop and can't remember a title or an artist's name from a review, but mostly can remember when he sees the cover of a record. Not everyone has his wish list by hand in a shop. The reviews could be more widespread, for example, I am missing a lot of great independent records (Rock, Pop, Ambient to name a few). The $ensible Sound is not a mass-market publication, so I think to myself, why report on mass-market records or mainstream?

The record industry is a miracle to me, especially the "Audiophile" companies. Every record from yesteryear will be recycled several times. 180 gram/ 33 rpm, 180 gram/45 rpm, then the same again as mono pressings because of the new Lyra cartridge, CD, gold CD, now SACD. And all is concentrated on these boring old farts (scusi!).

No one is taking care for all those new stuff coming from companies like Chandos, BIS, Dabringhaus and Grimm, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi, Wergo, and of course Naxos.

Why don't they do a license pressing on vinyl of several titles? It's a mystery.

Everyone reviewing records in hi-fi mags is talking about the sometimes excellent quality of SACDs. The players get cheaper and cheaper, no one is talking about the exorbitant prices asked for these products. In Germany a new SACD comes in at 30 US $. In times where every consumer thinks twice before purchasing something (in Germany), the record companies made the false politic. If these records would be offered at the same price as the red book CD it would have been interesting for the masses to buy a player and the records.

Take a look at the XRCDs by JVC. Sometimes they have a run time of 35 minutes, maybe less. At these prices this is a rip-off to me again. I'm waiting for this year's High End show in Frankfurt where these records will be surely offered again at "Show" prices of $30. The pressing of these records can't be much more expensive than normal CDs. The production equipment is surely not cheap, but this is a one-time investment, so why don't they sell it at a price on CD niveau? They'll get the same money back because more people will purchase it and the company will get a wide more acceptance and spreading.

Sometimes it seems there are only idiots working at the marketing offices.

I don't know how many subscribers of the Sensible Sound live in other countries, but you often test equipment of companies that I never heard of. (That makes it so interesting.) You should place one photo of every tested product on your pages.

What I don't understand is the total ignorance to cables of some reporters. Please give these guys a CD player for, let's say, $1,000. Add a power cord from Shunyata--let's take the Black Mamba that comes in at $600. Let them try the CD player with the original cord and then let them try it with the Shunyata. Let them make blind tests. The difference is shocking!

Everyone who will not hear the difference must be sitting on his ears. Now try to top the sound of this player by another one bought new. It would be very interesting to see, in what price regions you will get to receive the same performance. If you ever will do such comparisons please let me know this, I want to order a copy of that issue.

As I said at the beginning, I will come back as soon as possible. Please excuse me for the typing errors, it took a long time to write this mail, haven't got the energy to correct them all at the moment. All the best for you in the future.

Joerg Stanislawski

Dortmund, Germany

My guess is that better CDs will make more of a difference than $600 power cords in CD player performance, but I do have a reputation for being grumpy. At any rate, I hope that when you finish your education you will be back with us. Good luck!
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Title Annotation:Forum
Author:Stanislawski, Joerg
Publication:Sensible Sound
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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