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COINCIDENT STATEMENT - Suppressing the Greatest-Ever Pre-amp:

Power Corrupts.


by W.A.J.

'Power corrupts', it is said, 'and absolute power corrupts, absolutely'.

From all appearances, one can't help but to wonder whether this old saying applies to the all-powerful mainstream audio magazines which rule their domains with iron fists, guided by their own 'infinite wisdom'.

A previous article here, "Audio Magazines' Sinister Practices: Let the Reader Beware", has addressed several of the seemingly nefarious tactics employed by such mags. Allegations, from several sources, have also pointed to the probability that these mags are motivated by monetary gain from the patronage of favored manufacturers/distributors/advertisers, and that these mags will employ pretty-near any means necessary to promote or protect the interests of their favored benefactors.

If this is so, then logic would suggest that such entities would also have an interest in suppressing any product which is good enough to challenge the 'supremacy' of those produced by their favored benefactors. This scenario seems to grow more sinister, the closer we look at it.

However, let us recognize, for the sake of argument, that ARC, VTL, BAT, and Lamm produce very excellent and very expensive pre-amps at the top of their lines. And let us also recognize that Stereophile and The Absolute Sound are two of the most powerful and influential of mainstream audio magazines. We cannot fail to notice, either, that both mags (and others in the mainstream) are heavily supported by virtually all these manufacturers. Nothing wrong with that, in itself.

Note, also, that all the products in question routinely receive glowing rave-reviews from these mags, time and again. Nothing really wrong with that either - these pre-amps are undeniably among the best there is. (Though we're never ever informed as to which is better than which - it's all a matter of 'tastes and preferences', we're told. Or could it be a ploy to avoid offending any of the favored benefactors?) The afore-mentioned mags go to great lengths to ensure that we're kept abreast of every development having to do with these and others of the favored manufacturers, and products there-of.

For example, one of  T.A.S.' writers is so much a fan of ARC that we may reasonably expect to be informed of whenever W.Z. Johnson sneezes, or the very moment he even contemplates contemplating a new design. And we're kept up-to-date on the progress of the product from then, and thru-out its production-run, right up to the time contemplation of its replacement is even contemplated - if you catch the drift. Nevertheless, let's be generous in saying that there's nothing wrong with this either, per se (even though such a practice, which they all employ, does absorb space which could've gone towards featuring lesser-known outstanding products which are mostly ignored and left to rot in oblivion).

And let's also consider that the preceding applies to all products from all manufacturers favored by these, and other, mainstream audio magazines.

But in contemplating the above scenario, let us also consider the following.

Better Than the Best: There are other pre-amps in existence that, by their performance, challenge the 'supremacy' of those mentioned above. Yet, these pre-amps seem not to be accorded anything approaching similar prominence in coverage, by these mainstream audio mags, as that afforded the products of obviously 'favored manufacturers'. The implications are absolutely disgusting!

For example, and specifically; there was a mild debate (now settled) which surfaced, from time to time, as to which of two pre-amps was/is better. This mild debate took place at Audiogon; a major audio-forum which hosts some of the world's most knowledgeable audiophiles. These audiophiles, along with others at the Audio-Asylum, Audio-Karma, etc., own some of the most sophisticated audio equipment in existence. Their knowledge of such equipment rivals that of some of those who make a living writing about said equipment - after all, they actually own them. The debate alluded to involved Tube Research Labs' 'The Dude' and Coincident's Statement line-stage pre-amps.

Members of Audiogon have relatively recently discovered The Dude (costing anywhere from $3500 to less than 5-grand) which they claim offers better performance than the best of those from the elite manufacturers, some of which are mentioned above. For instance, one Audiogoner asserts that he has owned such pre-amps as ARC's Reference 3 and the latest Reference 5, and VTL's top-of-the-line T-L 7.5, among other top-echelon pre-amps. He also asserts that The Dude totally outclasses these esteemed representatives of the mainstream mags' favored manufacturers. (Here are links to some of these 'reviews'; here, here, here, here, and here).

But The Dude is in short supply - pretty-much made to order - so let's not be too judgmental of those like The Absolute Sound and Stereophile for not featuring this Dude which betters their apparent favorites. The latter has a stringent criterion, regarding qualification for review, tied to the products' availability. Though the former has no such policy, so far as I'm aware and, therefore, no such excuse. Especially since they've featured such outrageously one-off products as Magico's Ultimate speaker-system, from another of their apparently favored manufacturers. And if little WAJ on AUDIO can find and delve into the outstanding achievements of The Dude, then what's stopping TAS, and other major mags from doing the same and proclaiming their findings to the world, for the benefit of all audiophiles? The too-frequent occurrence of instances like this (among other things) necessitates the question: Are they operating on audiophiles' (their readers') behalf, or...? But let's not make a big deal about even that.

The trouble is, though, that Coincident's Statement qualifies in every way for such coverage - and then some. Yet, we see no evidence of it being featured by these mags with the prominence accorded the much more expensive products, from the seemingly 'favored manufacturers', which offer less quality in performance.

Perhaps we should expand on 'less quality in performance', and on why this pre-amp merits much more attention:

The Statement has so far been reviewed by several of the better web-based magazines; StereoMojo, Enjoythemusic.com, and the Audio-Critique. (WAJ on AUDIO has also chimed-in with our own two-cents worth of commentary). They all, more or less, opine that the Statement is amongst the very best in the world. One or two have gone so far as to intimate that it is the very ultimate. And, for several reasons, this argument holds a fair amount of credibility.

Referring, again, to our experts at Audiogon; one member actually did a comparison between the Dude and the Coincident. The outcome is that, though both are excellent in all aspects, the Coincident betters the Dude with a lower noise-floor and slightly more transparency. In other words; the Coincident is better than the pre-amp which has already proven itself (to former owners - no less) better than several of the 'world's best'.

Suppressing a STATEMENT: I'll say it again; according to former owners of the best, The Dude is better than some of the 'world's best'. And the Statement has proven to be better than the Dude - settling the afore-mentioned minor debate. In light of all this, one could reasonably conclude that the Coincident Statement is, indeed, the very best line-stage pre-amp in the world - several levels superior to the previous standard. (There're also other reasons which would merit such a conclusion). And The Dude is also above that  previous standard, and possibly second to the Coincident, tentatively at least, until proven otherwise - the likes of Audio-Note, darT Zeel, Shindo, etc., notwithstanding. (The Statement's position as the very best, in my view, is not tentative however, due to one main feature of its design, which we'll briefly highlight shortly). 

The following I've said before, but it bears reiteration if only to stress the magnitude of the injustice, the double-standard, currently being perpetrated in regards to the pre-amp(s) that have raised the long-stagnant standard of pre-amplifier performance:

If my instincts are correct, then the Coincident Statement is not just another 'flavor of the month, variation on a tired theme' line-stage pre-amp. Its achievements are ground-breaking. Prior to now, the very best, though flawed, passive pre-amps were always more transparent than even the most expensive active pre. The passive was king of high-frequency clarity.

The Coincident is the very first, and only, active pre-amp which virtually equals the high-frequency clarity and transparency of the very best passives.

No other active had ever achieved such a feat, as far as I'm aware. Several unique factors account for its unprecedented abilities, in my view. But most important are its employment of one of the very best means of volume-control (TVCs) and its lack of even a single resistor in the signal-path. I agree with the Audio-Critique magazine's assertion that any other pre-amp which uses even one resistor in line with the signal will be inferior to the Coincident - it's only logical. (Even the best resistors degrade the sound - this is a fact). I believe this is (along with superior V-Cs) the main reason for its edge over The Dude, and for its more significant edge over any other pre-amp in current production.  

Because of this unique feature, the the Coincident's performance cannot be bested by any other pre-amp currently in existence, or by any that have gone before, regardless of cost.

I strongly believe, that the Statement is the best production pre-amp of all time, at this particular point in time.

As far as I'm aware, every other pre-amp employs resistors in the signal-path and is, therefore, pre-destined to provide less stellar performance than the Coincident. This is the main reason we can state with confidence that the Coincident is THE VERY BEST.

But this is apparently a well-kept secret. Thanks to the actions of the mainstream audio-press, how many audiophiles know this?

The Coincident, for the first time ever, offers the very best of both worlds; the high-frequency clarity of a passive, and the fuller more realistic lower-midrange tones/details of the active pre.

No other pre-amp, that I'm aware of, can make such claims. Therefore, the Coincident Statement must be recognized as the very best line-stage pre-amp ever built, in the history of audio. And it cost only $5k.

And now we come to the main point of this reiteration:

This pre-amp should be plastered on the cover of every major and minor audio mag, with articles articulating the magnitude of its achievements - after all, it's history in the making. (If this were the product of one of the more 'favored manufacturers' I've no shadow of a doubt that this would be the case).

Yet the opposite is true, as this pre-amp is barely acknowledged, in the most lukewarm of fashions (virtually as another 'wanna-be') by the mainstream audio press - 'the powers that be'.  

With the foregoing as a back-drop, it would be interesting to hear these mags' excuses for according their relatively scant coverage of the history-making pre-amp that has raised the standard of pre-amp performance to unprecedented levels.

The situation, as it stands, is ABSOLUTELY disgraceful. It STINKS to high-heaven!

[I Declare...: With such a vehement defense of the Coincident, I realize that I've put my neck, and 'credibility', on the line. I have no qualms about doing so. But perhaps I should declare the fact that I have no affiliation with that pre-amp's manufacturer, or any other. My respect and affinity for that brand's pre-amp is, coincidentally, commensurate with my lack of enthusiasm for their speakers (though I've acknowledged the fact that they're among the best of their kind, and better than most in dynamism - yet, it's still 'the kind' that I have a problem with) and this is also documented elsewhere on this site.

I do not even believe that, for the best overall performance, one actually needs the very best pre-amp, or any other of the ultimate best components - as long as one's components are reasonably among the best available. Sure, I strive for the very best whenever it's convenient - call it a 'buffer-zone', after the minimum requirement is met, especially since that 'minimum' is already very high. But I have a stronger belief in system-synergy, and an even stronger belief in the choice of the right components.

For instance; the choice of speakers which are the very best in imaging and upper-frequency detail (as is the popular trend) aligned with the very best pre-amp, and other 'A-class' components, may well be out-performed in outright realism by a system which incorporates uncommon speakers, which are more realistic overall, allied to 'B-class or even 'C-class' components. The former system may well be the better at certain relatively minor aspects; 'pin-point'-imaging and high-frequency detail/air (ideal for the analytically oriented) but the latter may present a closer facsimile of a truly 'live' performance, overall - the essence of high-fidelity. This has been my experience.

However, I also recognize that many (the majority?) do aspire to the very best of each component. And if Coincident's Statement is, indeed, the very best pre-amp in the history of audio, then it should be declared as such. And I cannot agree with the practices of mainstream mags which would hide this fact pursuant to protecting the interests of their favored advertisers.

Perhaps I should also declare that I do not have a problem with mags which carry ads, per se. This would've been hypocritical of me as this site has carried 'ads' since days after its very inception, and I'd have no qualms about facilitating more - a donation-slot is even being contemplated. Nevertheless, it's a fact that I'm mainly motivated by my love for this hobby - the first ten articles, or so, were of-shoots really of one mega-article inspired by the joy derived from finally achieving the closest approach to the sound of the live instruments I've always compared my systems to - nothing but pure love for the hobby, and elation in regards to the level of performance now luckily achieved, could ever have motivated such an undertaking. (I get goose-bumps thinking about the system's uncanny resemblance to those live instruments even as I write this passage - I'm intoxicated with excitement, even now).

My unpopular route to this end is what I wanted to share with those few who might be interested. (Pointing out, at the same time, that the more popular route, even at the state of the art level - such as which I'd wasted an eternity on, and as dictated by the status-quo - is really a dead-end road, if lifelike realism is the goal. The popular route, especially regarding speakers, is infinitely  more suited to audiophiles who hold analytics at a higher priority than overall-realism. No problem there - all due respect to those too - and to each, his own). If I can be compensated for my time, effort, and resources, in the process, then I welcome it, in fact I'd encourage it (since I harbor no pretensions to being rich, with time to squander). However, this is not my main focus, obviously. And no advertiser here will ever have an influence on the content of this site - this would defeat the whole purpose of this endeavor, not to mention the burden it would place on my conscience, and the blemish to my own integrity. This would be like diving into a cesspool to swim in filth since this is how I've always regarded, and despised, such behavior in audio-magazines from some time before my teens, to the present.

Indeed, without a hint of doubt, this is where I have a major problem with sites/magazines which adjust their content to suit the interests of their advertisers, at the expense of the readers, myself included - and others; businesses which are more drastically affected. Such behavior is absolutely reprehensible. I think this specifically should be deemed a criminal offence, with substantial prison-sentences among the consequences. At the very least, the spectre of the withdrawl of their licences to operate should be held over their heads as an incentive for them to operate within the bounds of common decency. (A vigilant regulatory-body should, idealy, be closely monitoring their nefarious activities). Only then will such despicable acts be curbed.

If there are strictly-enforced laws against 'insider-trading', then why can't there be more strictly-enforced action to deter the unscruplous tactics of some of these mags? Perhaps there're more similarities than differences between the two, with similar consequences to people's lives - from the level of the individual, to the level of the promising company that's put out of business. These entities have the power to make or break businesses, and they wield that power with impunity, guided by warped interests. This is no trivial matter.

But then, that's only my opinion.] 

Shoot-Out:  Though I'm reasonably sure of what the outcome would be, it'd still be great to see one of these mainstream mags fairly staging a 'shoot-out' between the Coincident and several of the other so-called 'candidates' for the undisputed no.1 spot - those that cost over $100k. (Anything less would be a waste of time, and unfairly biased in favor of the Coincident, in my view, since the Dude and, by extension, the Coincident have already bested the best of those, as we've already been made aware of by those experienced Audiogoners). This would be an interesting way of proving that one does not have to consider the most expensive components to be assured of the ultimate in performance.

It would also assist in exposing the $5k Coincident as a mile-stone, a landmark, one of the most significant components in the history of audio.

But I'm also reasonably sure you'd never see this in any of our mainstream mags. Because of their convoluted interests, they'd never want to acknowledge, let alone prove, the obvious. They'd prefer to ignore the Coincident, as much as they can, and hope we all don't take notice, while also hoping it'll just go away.

Believe it or not, this article was not intended to have been so much about a pre-amp. This started out under the simple heading of; 'Power Corrupts', seeking to highlight several aspects of apparently corrupt practices by some powerful mainstream audio-mags. But perhaps consistent with my natural tendency to fight injustice, my passion for the 'plight' of  that outstanding pre-amp has led me in this direction. Life's reality demands that we also look in other directions, however.

A Lesson in the Excercise of; INFINITE WISDOM: Stepping away from that situation - though not too far away - let us look at another: Let's see if we can find a clue as to how or why outstanding products are victimized by 'the powers that be'. Wouldn't it be nice, for a change, to hear their excuses for victimization, from the 'horse's mouth'? (And though we may cover aspects of this segment in a slightly light-hearted manner, the issue, overall, sure ain't no laughin'-matter).

It'd be great to be a fly on the wall, so to speak, as editors and writers (and accountants) of our mainstream audio mags meet to discuss the reasons why, and how, they should go about suppressing any promising product which may threaten the positions of those from their favored advertisers.

Sorry to disappoint, but we may never get that opportunity.  

But the next-best thing may be the opportunity to peruse the threads of a discussion forum where one of the representatives of the 'high and mighty powers-that- be' seeks to defend the indefensible.  

Apparently, in regards to the 'powers that be', infinite-wisdom' is in infinite supply, and is generously dispensed on behalf of the masses who're incapable of thinking for themselves - this seems to be the main pillar of the defense's case, in this instance. Let's see what transpires:

Recently, Stereophile's editor (astute, bold, and fearless) had been making favorable statements regarding Zu speakers. Nothing wrong with that. At least one review of Zu speakers by a Stereophile writer is also now in evidence. Nothing wrong with that, either.

But what is not very obvious is that Stereophile's fearless leader is actually in the process of relenting after fighting, to the bitter-end, to exclude Zu speakers from any such exposure by Stereophile - as the evidence will show.

By the way, this segment has been prepared very carefully, despite the carefree writing-style. The accuracy of the facts presented are steadfastly supported by the evidence, and even the 'good-natured' comments have been carefully worded - all perused and passed by legal-eagles. Wouldn't want to be freely dispensing any potentially successful 'actionable-causes' now, would we? Even so, I'd happily consider removing any passage that can be shown to be inaccurate, with apologies. Though I really can't imagine what that would be. (Regardless of that, since publishing, I've already deleted bits  that I believe to be excess to requirement, regarding the conveyance of the facts). I sincerely am not seeking to be unfair to any individual or entity.

Let's set the stage: For quite some time Zu speakers had been garnering rave-reviews from several sources. 6moons webzine was/is particularly enthusiastic about these speakers, and had reviewed a few. Many audiophiles seemed to have agreed that these speakers warranted their attention, as they voted with their cheque-books. The 'Zu-fever’ was wide-spread, and gaining momentum, threatening epidemic proportions. (For the record, I may not a very big fan of Zu speakers - since I prefer other similarly efficient types - however, I recognize and respect their abilities and potential, and the fact of their appeal to many others).

Zu-fever’ eventually invaded the arena of Stereophile's own discussion-forum. Bold attempts were repeatedly made by the ever vigilant fearless leader as he valiantly fought to exclude outstanding 'undesirables' (unique high-efficiency speakers from Zu) and preserve the 'rightful order' of the status-quo (as exemplified by the popular types endorsed by the mag, obviously). But audacious members of Stereophile's forum just wouldn't leave well-enough alone. They kept on raising the issue, they wanted to know why their beloved mag was so stubbornly resisting the prospect of a review of the speakers everyone-else kept talking about.

I now present to you links to the relevant Stereophile threads (Dec, '07 and Feb, '08) inclusive of the fearless-leader's responses to the members' incessant queries in relation to the apparently inexplicable 'restraint' regarding proposed reviews of Zu speakers by their beloved mag. (The fearless leader also alludes to another similar thread where he fielded similar questions about Zu in September of '07, however I omitted to search for it - the above is more than enough).

Anyway, here's a snippet of the fearless leader's response to the fold's annoying queries as to why their beloved mag would refuse to review speakers from Zu - accurately paraphrased, of course:  He asserts that having heard some of the Zu speakers at Shows, and with some of his writers having heard the speakers under more familiar circumstances, he thinks the things they do well are not as relevant to the magazine's readers as the things they don't do as well. He see's no point in organizing and publishing a review that he knows in advance will be negative. He would rather devote the magazine's resources to reviews of products whose balance of performance aligns with what he believes to be his readers' needs and tastes...

Another reader similarly wanted to know what is it about Zu speakers that prevents them from being reviewed by Stereophile.

The fearless leader, in his response - posted February 29, 2008 - exuded an air of patience (bless his soul). He pointed out that he'd answered the same question in a thread last September ('07). To recap, while he has enormous respect for the guys at Zu, from having listened to some of their speakers at Shows, he believes Zu's design goals for their speakers are sufficiently different from the consensus at Stereophile that he's not sure what would be gained by arranging a review.

Still another reader was insistent. Much further along that thread this reader wanted to know; when the leader said that the speakers are "sufficiently different", what does he mean by that? They don't timbre properly or they don't have the dynamic range or what? 

[Apparently the leader has a concept of what the 'right' sound should be - nothing wrong with having a personal opinion. But the question is whether an editor should censor equipment based on his personal opinion (and/or those of this writers) or whether he should present the information and allow the readership to decide on what appeals to them. Wouldn't such a practice of 'censorship', by mags, be tantamount to channeling the readers' attention and subsequent purchases in the direction that the mags want to influence? Is this the role of a newspaper or magazine? I point this out because this bolsters my argument that the mainstream audio-press has played a very major role in the lack of realism in systems today, among other things, by promoting the products which manufacturers find more convienent and profitable to produce, not the products which acutally sound more realistic.

But my instincts tell me that there may be other reasons the leader would have been resisting the prospect of reviewing Zu speakers. (I'm sure I needn't point-out the obvious - so we'll leave that at that. And be assured that all of this has everything to do with the Coincidents and the Dudes of this world - what happened to Zu perhaps serves as only an example of what likely transpires as a matter of course, the tip of the iceberg, so to speak).

Zu certainly would sound "sufficiently different" from the popular brands, such as those endorsed by Stereophile - certainly more dynamic (with superior PRaT thanks to the lack of a x-over thru most of the spectrum) more 'full-toned', and  more like real music. But this would be to their disadvantage today since the current trend, as promoted by the popular manufacturers and mainstream mags in unison, is all about lean-toned 'neutrality', ultra-soundstaging, and ultra-details - a generally thinner, sweeter, and much less dynamic sound than that apparent at live performances.

The late J. Gordon Holt was the founder and editor of Stereophile years ago. I'm amazed and humbled to find myself with apparently similar thought-patterns (even if very-much less well-developed) to this gentleman's, as I too-recently discovered - the similarities are scary, quite frankly, in this particular instance especially. A more honest and honorable individual is difficult to find - and encountering one more knowledgeable, in all things audio, is pretty-near impossible. Here's a link to an article he wrote about the sound of modern speakers, and I'll paraphrase a passage from it here: He felt that  many of us audiophiles have become so preoccupied with the minutiae of sound reproduction that we haven't even noticed that it doesn't sound like music any more. We marvel at the soundstage presentation, lose our continence over the detail, and climax over our system's ability to rattle the lighting fixtures and scramble our otoliths. But ask your average audiophile if his super system reproduces instrumental sounds realistically and he'll give you a blank stare or, worse, tell you that it must because it's so accurate.

He also felt that somewhere along the line we lost track of what audio is all about: the reproduction of music.

The standards and practices of the original Stereophile and the original TAS, are sadly missed today. Men of the ilk of a younger HP, and the true-to-the-very-end JGH, are also sadly missed. The popular sound, as it existed when JGH made those comments (Spendor BC1, B&W 801, etc.) and the popular sound that exists today are the very same - but even more so today - if you catch my drift. It's such a pity that Stereophile's iconic founder/editor isn't around to guide the current fearless-leader along the right path, in more ways than one:

By his own utterances here, and elsewhere in those threads, the current popular sound, as supplied by the manufacturers of such speakers as the mag endorses, is what the fearless-leader is seeking to preserve and promote (for his readers sake, he tells us). This would seem to be a fair interpetration based on such speakers as the mag frequently recommends, and on a close facsimile of his own words; He would rather devote the magazine's resources to reviews of products whose balance of performance aligns with what he believes to be his readers' needs and tastes...  - those percieved needs and tastes would logically be catered to along the lines of the mags recommendations, which do supply the current popular sound. Therefore, we may reasonably conclude that the assesment is a fair one.

O.K...on to the next point... For his readers' sake... I see, now. He's catering to what he believes to be his 'readers' needs and tastes'. This is important. Very important. So, let's see if we understand correctly: Infinite wisdom, it seems, deems this sound to be the sound ideal for exposure to his readers - exclusively - apparently. Therefore, featuring a "sufficiently different" alternative is a waste of effort and 'resources'. Logically apparent, then, is perhaps that readers cannot be trusted to make the 'proper' choices for themselves, they must be shielded from alternatives that are 'sufficiently different'. Have I misunderstood, or would this be a reasonable interpetation?

Well... I must say....  if this is really so, then this may be quite a noble gesture on the part of the fearless leader. Very noble... and very considerate... indeed. If this is really true, then such motives are absolutely honorable. (This would mean that channeling the readers' focus in the direction of those products some mags seem to have an interest in - and eliminating alternatives - would NOT have been a factor in this case).

It must truly be quite fulfilling to be in a position to render much-needed assistance to those who need the 'proper' choices to be made for them, regarding the alternatives they're even exposed to.This ranks right up there with helping a blind woman across the road, or taking a knife away from a child, or a mentally handicaped person, for instance, to preclude any such harm as this person may inflict upon his own self. I'm flabbergasted at the very thought of the magnitude of such a gesture, and at the weight of the responsibility the fearless-leader seems to have taken unto himself. Quite commendable. What do you think?

But hark! Even some of the mag's own die-hard readers, members of the forum, seem not to have been in agreement with the fearless-leader's noble practices, now exposed. How totally ungrateful is that?

Apparently, some folks just don't know what's good for them.]

Prior to his last question above, this reader (who seems to be another fearless-reader) expressed to the fearless-leader that; quite a number of other publications reviewed Zu speakers and wrote their impressions. He would think that Stereophile would want to contribute their impressions regardless of how differing they may be from everyone else. As a reader, what is he supposed to infer from Stereophile's silence? Is Stereophile not reviewing their speakers because:

a) They're bad
b) They didn't get to them
c) They don't satisfy the reviewing criteria vis-a-vis the number of dealerships available

He thinks it's Stereophile's responsibility to its readers to publish even those reviews that are not glowing and he thinks it's Stereophile's responsibility to its readers to review products that are gaining momentum in other review outlets. Stereophile is one of the most important if not THE most important voice in audio and if that voice is silent on a particular product that's gaining momentum, then it's Stereophile readers that are getting shafted.

Getting Shafted:  If I may add; it's not just about Stereophile's readers getting shafted. Nor is this only about Zu, or TRL, or Coincident, for that matter - many other companies, families, and hifi-buffs are affected. Stereophile and The Absolute Sound cast their influence over the majority of the world's audiophiles - certainly in english-speaking regions, and beyond. If they both, along with other mainstream mags, behave in a similar manner, as is apparent, then the majority of the world's audiophiles are perhaps being shafted, and have been for a very long time.

But it's even more than that, as alluded to earlier, the the behaviour of these mags have a bearing on whether a promising company survives, flourishes, or folds. If they abuse this power, as seems long-apparent, then outstanding products get suppressed, promising businesses fold (with manifold consequences to many families) and audiophiles are deprived of these outstanding products - without even being aware of what they've missed. Indeed, how many promising and outstanding products and businesses have died, over the decades, at the hands of the powerful mainstream audio-press? (The very best, most realistic source-component today; the 2track/15ips reel to reel tape-machine is effectively dead, thanks to; the cheaper to produce compac-cassette deck, the efforts of some influencial manufacturers, and the mainstream audio-press, for one example). The foregoing could well be regarded as a glimpse of the darker side of audio that has long existed. 

Audiophiles the world-over should perhaps be grateful to the fearless-leader for giving us a rare opportunity at witnessing the machinations, the inner-workings, of the mainstream audio-press, and at the hard work, dedication, and infinite-wisdom involved in ensuring that they continue to give us exactly what they want. Indeed, how could we ever want for anything less? 

No further comment on that.

Kudos to Zu - with the hope that they keep on doing what they do.

And let's wish for TRL's The Dude, and for the world's most significant and best-ever line-stage pre-amp; the Coincident Statement, all the recognition and success they truly deserve - despite the odds.

Thanks for joining!

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