ULTRA AUDIO -- Archived Article

Letters -- September 2004

Gryphon and The Music Palace

September 27, 2004

To Jeff Fritz,

I read your Gryphon column -- I am an owner of the Sonata Allegro preamp. I also have an FM Acoustics 266 preamp and 801A power amps, and Kinoshita/JMF power amps. I am a mixing engineer at my recording studio, www.TheMusicPalace.com. I use this gear to monitor my recording console's mix buss.

May I ask how would you compare Gryphon to FM Acoustics? Have you ever heard the JMF/Kinoshita power amps?

I have mixed many records through the Gryphon preamp, including the Ramones' new release. I have found it very dynamically accurate. The same with the FM Acoustics preamp.

I also just bought Rey Audio's MSP-1 preamp (www.reyaudio.com). I will have it in a month. It is being hand-built by Shozo Kinoshita of Rey Audio Japan. I believe this will be the best preamp to date. But I am always interested in the best gear. Please let me know if you have any other products I should try.


I've been fascinated with FM Acoustics as well, although I've not had the chance to hear any of their products in my system. The Gryphon preamp, as you have found out, is wonderful, but I can't tell you how it compares to an FM Acoustics preamp. I also have no experience with Rey Audio, nor the Kinoshita/JMF power amps. You've obviously searched out some extremely high-quality, esoteric gear for your studio. Regarding recommendations, my next two installments of "TWBAS" will be centered on Blue Circle Audio, a specialist manufacturer of tube and hybrid electronics in Canada, and Boulder Amplifiers, of the United States. I think both of these companies are worth looking into....Jeff Fritz

Hold the line on price, please!

September 15, 2004

To Ross Mantle,

Thanks for loving the Song Audio SA-34 amp so much. I actually read your review after hearing the amp at a local store, and was tremendously impressed by it. I agree with everything you say.

Except one thing: What the hell are you doing, telling the manufacturer to raise the price? Good for him, perhaps, but not so good for would-be audiophiles. Whose side are you on, anyway?

Eric Wredenhagen

Sorry about that, Eric. I guess I got a little carried away….Ross Mantle.

"Real Physics" and Ross

September 10, 2004

To Ross Mantle,

I recently read your article on high-end cables. We have two life-long technical people here, both having practiced in high-tech before audio. For two years we have been studying cables, and I brought in Jim, a physicist specializing in electromagnetic theory, strictly for this purpose, cables. What interested me was the detailed explanation in your paper which, on this subject, is more to the point than I've seen from any audio cable guys. Such depth in a subject is something we do not see enough of in the print industry. I applaud some real physics for a change! Again, thanks for doing your research and presenting some real technical points (well founded at that) in this all-too-often "voodoo" industry. 

My best regards,

A.J. Conti
Basis Audio, Inc.

If only my mother-in-law felt the same way about me. Thanks A.J.…Ross Mantle

No vinyl in "TWBAS"?

September 6, 2004

To Jeff Fritz,

I read your column, the "The World's Best Audio System." I have no doubt that your system sounds very, very good. How can you honestly spend that much money on hi-fi and not have any investment in a top-class turntable and LPs? I think then your enjoyment of music would be greatly enhanced.

Shane Ryan

You have a valid question. I, like many audiophiles, have heard a number of outstanding vinyl-based systems. I'm sure that adding that playback capability, with the appropriate level of equipment, would enhance my system greatly. The flip side of that coin, however, is noise and inconvenience. I am typically bothered by the ticks, pops, and the surface noise I hear with LPs. I'm also a convenience junkie. I'd probably not buy a preamp that was not remote controlled, for instance. The ritual of cleaning vinyl records just holds no appeal for me. So, at the end of the day, vinyl playback is just not something I'd choose to do for those reasons....Jeff Fritz

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