WAJ on Audio

- for truth in hifi/stereo/high-end audio

Welcome to Waj on audio...



music by telarc

 CLICK HERE:   FOR MUSIC COURTESY OF THE TELARC AFFILIATED CONCORD MUSIC GROUP -  'JAZZ FAVORITES' is my recommendation as a nice place to start a listening session, depending on your tastes, of course - enjoy!

HIGH-END AUDIO on a BUDGET: getting the very best hifi sound at the least possible cost     ***(revised)***

Click to read:   Top-quality sound doesn't necessarily require top-dollar expenditure. This article shows why.

AUDIO-RESEARCH LS3; active vs passive PRE-AMP OPERATION: 'The Review' 

Click to read   Extracted from, 'System-Building for Lifelike Sound': A 'review' of the Audio-Research LS3 line-stage pre-amp. This pre-amp is also compared with the 'purist' mode of system operation (pre-amp less) where the source-component is directly connected to the power-amp. Surprising findings are in the offing.

 (Part 1) FROM HiFi TO HIGH-END: What's Wrong?

Click to read:   Controversial, but logical: This article questions the mis-placed priority accorded 'low-level detail-resolution', in high-end audio, and suggests the prioritized order of the truly MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS for REALISTIC AUDIO REPRODUCTION. Click to read (above) and....Enjoy.

(Part 2) HIGH-END SOUND; Sweet & Refined-or-Raw & Natural

Click to read   A continuation of Part 1, this piece highlights dis-similar sonic characteristics in high-end speakers of the past and present. Bold, but logical, conclusions are made as to which is the most realistic.     

 (Part 3) PREREQUISITES for SONIC-REALISM - Corroborated

 Click to read   This features instances, in the mainstream audio-press, where the controversial arguments posited in Parts 1 & 2 have been inadvertently substantiated. A greater grasp of the crucial requirements for sonic realism is probable. 


Click to read   Sub-titled, 'THE ROOTS OF EVIL': A quest thru the past to find the roots of the short-comings in the today's speaker-systems.

LINN SONDEK & Turntables You Can Afford: Better Than CD 

Click to read   A look at the Linn Sondek. And a listing of several alternative turntable brands, all of which offer units with better performance than CD-players.

GRADO SONATA & MM vs Moving-Coil Cartridges: Which Is Better?

Click to read   A look at the Grado Reference Sonata cartridge. And a discussion of moving-magnet as a viable, and more accurate, alternative to the popular and expensive moving-coil cartridges. 



 Click to read   Contrary to what most think, the very best source-component is not the turntable (or CD-players, as some believe). This article highlights the absolute BEST!


Click to read:   Really a review of amps in the writer's system: Identified in this piece is a major fault of many amps not readily discernible because of the similar fault in most speakers - as previously highlighted.

D.I.Y. SPEAKER-SYSTEMS: Their Relevance, and An Example

Click to read:   A brief discussion of the relevance of D.I.Y. speaker-systems, and their influence at the cutting-edge of the industry. A step-by-step account of the development of the writers own system is included.


Click to read:    A controversial article alleging questionable tactics, by the audio-press, contributing to a retrogression in general audio standards, and despair (economic & otherwise) for some readers who've been led astray.  Be amazed!


Click to read:    An in-depth description of the components of the writer's audio-system as influenced by the philosophies expounded in previous articles. And a description of the resulting sound of the system as a whole. [This is the mega-essay that started it all. Perhaps around ten articles, including 'From HiFi to High-End... Parts 1 - 4', were spawned from this mega-essay. This is where WAJ on AUDIO began - hopefully this whole endeavor assists and inspires others in their search for sonic realism.]

 THE BASS REALITY; System-Design for Accurate Bass

Click to read:    A brief expansion of the strategies employed in a quest for accurate bass reproduction as it relates to, 'System-Building for Lifelike Sound' - the article, and the system. More to come on all topics - KEEP CHECKING THIS SITE

The Lower-Midrange in; Speakers, Active & Passive Pre-Amps (Pt1) And a Related Look at The Audio Critique Magazine

 Click to read: This revised article looks at the lower-midrange in speakers, active and passive pre-amps in the context of recent discoveries by the Audio Critique magazine. A look at this recommended magazine is also included.

The Lower-Midrange in Speakers, Active & Passive Pre-Amps (Pt2) And a Related Look at The Audio Critique Magazine

Click to read:   PART 2 of the article above.

are costly pre-amps now redundant? the dude is in town; coincident, dodd, and doge too.

Click to read:    A look at affordable pre-amps which, arguably, out-perform mega-buck units. And introducing the Dude line-stage pre-amp, by TRL - a giant-killer!

 GET THE PERFORMANCE of a $20k PRE-AMP for $200; 

Click to read:   UPGRADE YOUR EXISTING PRE-AMP: A very simple, and inexpensive upgrade promises "stunning", "absolutely astounding" results. Apparent performance approaching that of the better passive pre-amps (in their areas of strength) and, therefore, possibly surpassing that of some of the most expensive active pre-amps, is entirely likely - depending on the original quality of the pre-amp so upgraded!

RETURN of a LEGEND - ALTEC A7 Speaker-System

 Click to read short version   ...or...  Click to read the long version         The Voice Of The Theatre' - Home and Studio:        A high-efficiency speaker-system with the potential to contend with the world's best, in terms of realistic sound reproduction.


MOST RECENT ARTICLES  -  Added since February, 2012


The ultimate speakers are within reach

 Click to read short version      Many audiophiles believe that for the very ultimate in speaker performance one needs to spend upwards of $100k - or just drool.Surprisingly, the ultimate speakers may be had for a relatively small outlay of funds. This article provides a listing of some of such speaker-systems. Be advised, though, that those who're inextricably wed to the popular concept of the 'ultimate' speaker (ie; narrow baffles, small cones, and small sound) could possibly be better served looking else where. The speakers listed here are all about absolute SONIC-REALISM - without concession, gimmickry, or compromise - contrary to the popular trend!    :

Recordings & engineers: the evil that men do

 Why hasn't the CD format lived up to its extra-ordinary expectations?

Coincident Statement - Suppressing the greatest-ever pre-amp: power corrupts

Click to read:   The $5k Coincident Statement line-stage pre-amp is perhaps a 'break-thru' component, a landmark, a milestone, a watershed - call it what you will. It's quite possibly the very best pre-amp ever built - in the history of audio. Yet, the powerful mainstream audio mags are virtually silent on the subject. Power corrupts?

High-Fidelity vs 'tastes & preferences': the big lies in audio

Click to read:  This article examines the concept of High-Fidelity sound reproduction, and also the concept of satisfying 'Tastes and Preferences', with a view to determining whether both concepts are mutually exclusive. A related look at the mainstream audio-press' role in the degradation of standards, in audio, and also a specific look at an example of, arguably, questionable practices is also included.

balance: another of the big lies in audio

Click to read:  Mainstream audio magazines like to stress aural balance in speaker-reproduction. But are they actually stressing the correct balance, in relation to actual music? Definitely not - I'd suggest.

the trouble with treble in audio - bass too

 Click to read:  Audiophiles seem to have a love-hate relationship with treble. We love it in proper proportions, but then we also hate it if it's excessive. Yet, many amongst us thrive on its excess, in search of 'detail' and 'air' - the latest trend. Though for those seeking realism, excess is not a desirable option. The trouble for the latter, however, is that apparent treble-excess seems to be the order of the day among the majority of high-end speaker-choices. This article examines the root-causes of this treble-trouble (bass too) with a view to the possible solution(s).

Detail-resolution & sounD-staging: Details on the details in audio

Click to read:  Low-level detail and the sound-stage; these days they're all the rage. But this article (once again) seeks to put them in their proper place(s) in the context of the realistic overall reproduction of music. In this context, WAJ on AUDIO re-asserts that both detail-resolution and sound-staging are highly over-rated, especially in the absence of the vastly more important elements.

Hifi 'superior' to the live sound - some claim

Click to read:  Yep! This was bound to happen. It was inevitable - as sure as the night follows the day. We now have audiophiles who believe their systems' sound is 'superior' to that of the live instruments their systems should be COPYING. No further comment will be offered here, except to say that this is truly depressing, not to mention; pathetic. Read it and weep, I'm sorry to say!


letters to WAJ # 1 - 'Cheap' urei & quad amps better than krell & levinson? 'Che

letters to waj #2:  'Critical' lower-mids corroborated & dunlavy's speakers discussed


help me build; the system you described: The review

 Click to read:          This review by the new owner of a system I designed (including a shortened version of my response) and all related articles were temporarily removed to further insulate, from possible identification, the beneficiary of this audio-system designed by WAJ on AUDIO (it bears repeating) at his request, and free of cost, incorporating all the radical principles and philosophies espoused at this site. The resulting system garnered, from the beneficiary, remarks similar to this:  ... I'm blown away by the realism of the system. ... never had an expectation for this level. Exceeds expectations.....

 ... can't believe that following advice sight unseen could produce something so excellent. A lot of advice out there and lots of opinion . Following yours has produced good results so far....

Apparently, the beneficiary was so enamored with the system, that he sought to claim credit for its design. Note that this is the very task he'd asked me to accomplish for him. And, by his own admission, I did exactly that (according to comments like those of his above). And my only incentive in doing this (apart from merely helping a previously-admitted hifi-novice) was to have the veracity and efficacy of the radical principles expounded at this site verified by a completely independent individual, after his being exposed to the results of same. This was also achieved, admirably. And, subsequently, the fellow turned around to claim authorship of that which he'd previously admitted to being incapable of achieving - to that which 5 months of my time and effort had been dedicated. But, obviously, in such a scenario, one cannot be receptive to false claims and delusions of grandeur. (The full thread - from Part 1 thru to Part 6 - also reveals the utterly ridiculous nature of any such claim). Needless to say; there's no 'fairy-tale' ending to this saga! 

Help me build; the system u described: why this thread was removed

 Click to read:   And why were all related articles and thread removed?

Well, basically, it all turned out to be more trouble than it  was worth, really. Perhaps I should expand: And I have. Be advised; this is no pleasant 'fairy-tale'.  Please click the link above. And a revised version of this thread is below - starting with Part-1. On second thought, perhaps it was all 'worth it', after all.

Letters to waj #3:  Help me Build; 'the system u described' - part 1

Click to read:   This is Part 1 of the thread of our e-mailed correspondence during the 5-month course of the build - published, with his agreement, for the possible benefit of others on a similar quest for audio realism. Though the beneficiary's requests were respected in the previous version of this thread (and tacitly approved by him) the thread was removed to address concerns subsequently raised by him. This new version of the thread addresses all those concerns (and even some he didn't raise). This individual definitely has good reason for seeking further levels of concealment. And now, even more than before and in accordance with his subsequent request, every possible reasonable measure has been taken to ensure his anonymity, in this revised version of the thread. Details of the reasons for removal are linked above. And the continuation of the thread is below.

Letters to waj #3:  Help me Build; 'the system u described' - part 2

Click to read:     Part 2 of the-above.

Letters to waj #3:  Help me Build; 'the system u described' - part 3

Click to read:   Part 3 of the-above.

Letters to waj #3:  Help me Build; 'the system u described' - part 4

Click to read:    Part 4 of  the-above.

Letters to waj #3:  Help me Build; 'the system u described' - part 5

Click to read:   Part 5 of the-above.

Letters to waj #3:  Help me Build; 'the system u described' - part 6

 Click to read:    THE 'REVIEW'  Long version.   Part 6 of the-above  - including WAJ on AUDIO's necessary response (long version). I repeat; there's no 'fairy-tale' ending to this saga - sorry!


why small-coned speakers can never be as realistic as the large:

Click to read:    Introducing; 'The HEADPHONE-EFFECT' - a plague on the small driver.

speakers are the most important for realism - REVISING THE AUDIO-system's hierarchy

Click to read    [a.k.a. HIGH-END AUDIO on a BUDGET; Pt 2: Near S-O-T-A Sonics for $2.3k]

Stereophile's late j.g. holt's 'acoustical-standard' disputed by current editor

Click to read   So here we have the extremely well-learned and esteemed founder of Stereophile merely repeating the fact that high-fidelity is about copying as closely as possible the sound and characteristics of live acoustic instruments - with this; The Acoustical Standard, as the most relevant reference. This is exactly as we've all come to learn, and absolutely in accordance with every bone-fide document on the subject of high-fidelity, as all who know would agree. (It's also in accordance with simple common-sense - even for those only interested in electronic music - since it establishes the standard of performance, on which even many electronic instruments themselves are based).

Yet, we also have the current editor of the same Stereophile magazine (who should really know better) contradicting the founder to suggest, to teach, to advocate a paradigm which devalues and largely disregards the fundamental basis of high-fidelity, and which ensures the further lowering of standards in what remains of concept of 'high-fidelity'. Why?




Click to read      c



Magnavox 93-series vintage amplifier

Click to read:  A $10k 'Magic' Amp vs The Maggie; Potentially One of the World's Best Little Amps?

What a difference a horn makes

Click to read:   Part 2 of "DIY Speaker-Systems - Their Relevance & An Example"

Documenting updates to my own DIY speaker-system.

Are they audio-equipment reviews Or record-reviews?

Click to read:     A Satirical Observation!

bassic issues; poor midbass in hifi: classical music the cause?

Click to read:  BASSic ISSUES Pt-1: Could Combining Different Drivers Be One Avenue to a Solution?

bassic issues; pt. 2: the best speaker crossover is no damned passive crossover!

Click to read:     PT-2:  More BASSic ISSUES

to equalize or not to equalize in audio - that is the question:

[Temporarily inaccessible]      Including a Glance at the Issue of Room-Correction

all hifi amps sound the same?

Click to read:              Examining the Arguments from Quad & from The AudioCritic


"music"                     ---                           a poem  by  walter  de la  mare

WHEN MUSIC SOUNDS, gone is the earth I know **** And all her lovely things even lovelier grow **** Her flowers in vision flame, her forest trees **** Lift burdened branches, stilled with ecstasies. **** WHEN MUSIC SOUNDS, out of the water rise **** Naiads whose beauty dims my waking eyes **** Rapt in strange dreams burns each enchanted face **** With solemn echoing stirs their dwelling-place. **** WHEN MUSIC SOUNDS, all that I was I am **** Ere to this haunt of brooding dust I came **** And from Time's woods break into distant song **** The swift-winged hours, as I hasten along.


More Articles, etc....

Watch this page (above) for new articles added, from time to time. And for relevant articles from other sources, click on 'LINKS' above. (Early articles from this page are also duplicated there, for the time being).