Since moving to my now not so new abode it has made me realize just how much better my system sounds when i use various tweaks. As the reviewer who first turned the world on to double-stacking the Symposium Rollerblocks, it still amazes me how using three double-stacks really brings out the best in source gear within my system. For those unfamiliar, double-stacking in basically a Rollerblock at the bottom, a ball in he middle, then you invert a Rollerblock at the top. As for the speakers, i place them on my tried-n-true long out of production Target amplifier stands and use the Symposium Svelte Shelf directly under the speakers themselves. It seems to slightly enhance the soundstage and provide better overall image focus. When both of these tweaks are used together, there is a synergy of improvements. You can read my review on both of these great tweaks at this link.
Of course there are many various tweaks, like using Caig ProGold (now called DeoxIT Gold) on connectors. As i have covered Caig products many times, you can read my review of that product at this link. In some ways i wish i could retail this cool special high temperature silicone-like Tube Rings i kinda discovered many years ago. i find they really reduce tube resonance without the drawbacks of using metal. For some reason my ears seem to dislike those mtal tube anti-resonance devices. maybe it has something to do with the metal somehow affecting the tube's electrical performance or ???? Whatever the case may be, i like what is heard and so they are put to good use on small signal tubes.
Kicker iK500 iPod Dock
For those unfamiliar with Kicker, they have been around since the early 1980's when, at that time, they specialized in car audio. During my International Auto Sound Challenge Association (IASCA) as a sound quality judge i was able to hear many top-flight car audio systems. These were not the boom-boom vehicles, these were 1980/1990 dollars $15,000 car audio systems geared to produce the best sound possible within an automobile. As time passed i found that cars with Kicker speakers seemed to have a much higher chance at sound better, to my ears, than MB Quarts and the eventual onslaught of JL Audio. Fast-forward to today and Kicker is still going strong and has diversified their produce line since the 1980's of course. So with that said, how does the iK500 sound?
Whatever you do, do not listen to this thing for the first 20 hours. Ok, that might be a bit harsh so it should be rephrased. During the first 10 hours it was virtually unlistenable to me. Bright, kinda muted bass in spots, uneven harmonics/sound across the frequency range.... The next 20 hours showed much promise and at 50 hours she was cookin'! Nice smooth highs, good usable and tuneful bass and the midrange is quite good to boot! As i sit here now the unit has well over 200 hours on her and she has performed flawlessly, is great for bringing with me to various outdoor parties and my only wish is that it took batteries. When placed on the bookshelf within my home the fullness of the sound is an added bonus as the added proximity effect that tends to enforce lower frequencies. As my ears are so sensitive to anything that produces harsh upper frequencies, i can wholeheartedly say the Kicker iK500 is all day listenable, a joy to use and priced right. Solid build quality too. So if you are looking for a portable audio unit with powered speakers for your iPod or the like, check out the Kicker iK500. Microsoft Zune users should choose the ZK500, as this has a built-in dock for the Zune instead of the iPod plus the same auxiliary 1/8-inch stereo input yet adds RCA stereo audio and video output too.
Anniversaries And New Magazines!
Speaking of the DIY magazine, have just released the Summer 2009 edition and thus begins its second year of publication. While there have been only 20 articles within it to day, my hopes were for more. The main crux being is that it takes time to not only design and construct a DIY project, one then needs to put pen to paper and perhaps give the usual detailed sound quality review on top of it all. Furthermore, step-by-step instruction and/or a schematic is also desired. This is far harder than the usual audio reviewer who just drops in a piece of equipment into their system and listens. If you really think about it, the best high-end audio equipment designers are nothing more than DIY guys. So even if you are not a DIY come have a look at what we are are up to, as you might find yourself building a nice speaker or tube amp kit and learning more about what makes high-end audio components tic.
HIFICRITIC is the other magazine that has recently come aboard Enjoy the Music.com. This independent London-based British magazine is now in its third year of publication and is devoted to high quality stereo sound reproduction. It carries no advertising, so take that you 'ads buy reviews' conspiracy theorists! HIFICRITIC publishes material from a wide range of industry professionals and is not afraid to take on industry giants when they can be shown, through good research and review investigation, that their performance should be improved. They make no concession to popular appeal through dumbing down. Instead, the magazine claims to set a standard comparable to quality journals like The New Scientist.
As for the two new writers, check out our staff of nearly 40 writers and you may note a few new 'faces' have joined our ranks. The bottom line is that Enjoy the Music.com is continuing to expand with each passing year and we look forward to bringing you more announcements in the near future. Growing and maintaining the high quality reviews and articles you have long respected is one of the many goals we strive for. As in the past 14 years, we look forward to being the #1 resource for high-end audio consumer electronics industry news, show report and world premiere reviews. At the same time, our free customized Internet Browser, daily RSS feed and recently created industry news page for those of you who use mobile devices (iPhone, Windows Mobile, etc) site allows you to more easily get the information you so desire.