Dear Walter:This letter is long overdue. I have enjoyed the several products purchased from Underwood Hifi very much; thought you would like some feedback on their application. As former VP Sales with two well known audio companies (McIntosh and Infinity) and a long career in the business, you might suspect that I am critical in the evaluation of system performance. The preamp is a C-200, the amplifier a 2102, both from McIntosh Laboratory. A Velodyne subwoofer also supports the system. For analogue, I am using a JA Michell Gyrodeck SE with SME V are and a Sumiko Celebration cartridge. In our many discussions, your input was invaluable to make the most of a high resolution two-channel system.
1. The Quad 988 loudspeakers are better than any review can really say. After years as an owner of planar loudspeakers (several different models), the Quads simply are the best I have heard. The time alignment, dynamics and attendant imaging capabilities are remarkable. Also of note is the high quality physical packaging - the best I have seen in any loudspeaker either at or near this price. I never thought I could say this: This may be about as good as a planar loudspeaker under $10,000.00 per pair can get. I am delighted with the purchase.
2. Your advice on a CD player was spot on the value target. The fully modified Jolida player is exactly what this system needed: a musical presentation that takes full advantage of system synergies. It replaced a $7,000.00 Sonic Frontier DAC/transport. I do not think anything under $3,500.00 can touch the musicality of this player. After about 100 hours, female vocals are in the room. A careful comparison of the same source material on vinyl compared with the CD version is tangible compliment to the player. The modifications are exactly as you described and the build quality of the player is noteworthy given the price.
3. As important to get the system really right was the upgrade to power handling: the silver power cords and conditioner from BP were the sonic upgrade this system needed. The BP 2.5 fully equipped coupled with the power cords was simply unbelievable in the difference made: the noise floor dropped remarkably and the system got much more coherent in the presentation. The feeling of the system "locking into" the room and making the music sound in the room - -not from the equipment -- is simply magic. Your customers would be well advised to start here and work forward in building their systems with you.
Walter, I wish you well. The equipment is great fun and each weekend a new discovery.
Thanks again for your insight and excellent service. Your business model is lesson for the industry.
And by the way, the Jolida tuner just arrived: it is a killer. Image stability is remarkable and it operates like a sports car. I am using a Radio Shack amplified antenna (cheap and good!) and get 16 FM stations loud and clear. The NPR classical broadcasts are more interesting than ever expected on a tuner under $1,000.00. This is another winner.
Talk with you soon,
Ed Brown, former VP of sales for McIntosh and Infinity
This AudiogoN buyer satisfaction index shows not a single negative or even neutral comment but 1215 highly satisfied customers. But don't take our word for it:
Terrific products, knowledgeable, fast shipments. One of the best audio dealers.
Positive by Marjon (39) on 09-12-03
Simply an outstanding Hi Fi dealer. Fair, knowledgeable, and fantastic products!!!
Positive by Mjnorf (14) on 09-12-03
Fantastic transaction and follow-up with Walter. Highly recommended. Thanks!!!
Positive by Jbasic (12) on 09-11-03
Extremely knowledgeable, pleasure to work with, shipped equip the same day.
Positive by Thumbkin (3) on 09-11-03
First rate transaction, highly recommended. Thanks Walter
Positive by Rh (39) on 09-09-03
Great guy to deal with. Recommend using Wally!
Positive by Chimpsrock (3) on 09-09-03
Product as good as promised, delivered ahead of schedule for a great price. A+!
Positive by Cec (6) on 09-06-03
I am VERY satisfied with product and service from Walter. highly recommended.
Positive by Congalocke (6) on 09-05-03
Underwoodwally for President !!! Here's my vote !
Positive by Thebrock (78) on 09-03-03
Super reseller; always informative, quick shipment, great value! A++++++
Positive by Jodoyle (9) on 08-29-03
Great to do business with - I will be back - Thanks
Positive by Richt19 (21) on 08-25-03
Another flawless purchase. honest, fair and fast. will continue to buy from.
Positive by Flht1550 (6) on 08-24-03
Very professional and is quick to resolve any issue.
Positive by Dollar2 (3) on 08-22-03
Smooth transaction, very prompt communication. Highly recommended dealer.
Positive by Hiten (0) on 08-21-03
Walter is excellent to work with. Great knowledge, service & product. AAA++++++
Positive by Oceanlight (6) on 08-18-03
Walter has helped me along the way, good service and good stuff at good prices.
Positive by Kkeefe (3) on 08-17-03
Second purchase from him. Great price and packing. Strongly recommended+++
Positive by Silvmoon (9) on 08-16-03
WOW....Great advice and service. Shipped double boxed. Doesn't get any better!
Positive by Mikesiowa (6) on 04-11-03
Great dealer, resolves any issues immediately. Highly recommend to all, 5 stars
Positive by Pricer (3) on 04-08-03
Very helpful, right $, good products, no fear.....A++.......thanks
Positive by Bat21 (12) on 04-07-03
Walter is the man. Great service, great products, great prices. 5 star rating
Positive by Rwaugh (0) on 04-07-03
My 3rd FLAWLESS transaction with Walter. VERY highly recommended. A+++++++++
Positive by Bruiserwy (195) on 04-04-03
No nonsense...no BS...got exactly what he promised...and quickly, too...5 stars!
Positive by Akeyboard (0) on 03-31-03
First rate dealer! Great pricing, communication, & packing, Walter is a gem! A+
Positive by Daleda (153) on 03-31-03
Outstanding seller, excellent to deal with A+++++. HIghly recommended.
Positive by Patriot (15) on 03-29-03
Walter is informative, has great prices, outstanding products. Will use again.A+
Positive by Tomr (9) on 03-29-03
Another wonderful deal from Wally, and again product was better than described
Positive by Audiojerry (226) on 03-28-03
Oustanding, first class, FAST. Will do more business with.
Positive by Jppellet (6) on 03-27-03
Experience you can trust. Our short slogan means exactly what it says. If the above excerpts culled verbatim from AudiogoN aren't enough, we invite you to log on and search their archives under "Members... Read Feedback" by typing "Underwoodwally" when prompted for the member's user name.
Owner Feedback on Audio Zone units
What the hell have you sold me? This thing is absolutely F#@*%$g awesome... For something so small, this is how music should be! I have been wondering through the audio world on my evolution looking for music nirvana - and this little jewel has opened the door. I wish I had found the Amp-1 when I started this hobby; I would not have spent all that money trying to find the grail. The attributes that the Audio Zone Amp-1 offers can't be put into words - it does it all. (Also resolved the phase shift on my crazy ribbon tweeter :-)
Walter, I appreciate the recommendation for the Amp-1, should I have never doubted you? What makes it even better is it sounds great out of the box and I have about 25 hours on mine, knowing it is going to only get "better". The Audio Zone Amp-1 is definitely a winner and thanks ever so much!!
Owner Feedback on BPT units
The BP-1 arrived yesterday as you promised. I wasn't sure what to expect other than some of the reviews I have read. Now I understand the comments people make about this type of upgrade. This thing is unreal. Absolutely NO background noise. Some CD's have sounded so different its as if the BP is putting its own sound or coloration into the music. Then I catch myself and trace the chain of sound; the damn thing is just an electrical junction, it cannot color the sound. I have never really grasped the idea of a deeper sound stage, until now. The music comes out and envelops you, the Maggies disappear, the bass is tighter, no background noise, to the point of being eerie.Turn the Unico up to three-quarters with no music, put your ear to the ribbons, dead silence. Weird. I think for a mid-fi system I may be about there now. I bi-wired the Unico, two cables from each speaker, using Monster Z3 cable and disconnected the internal jumpers for speaker protection. All this made for much cleaner, crisper sound. Then the BP arrived.The music this system produces is amazing and most satisfying. You just want to keep listening. Appreciate your input and advice. Everything has arrived as promised. Look for my comments on AudioGon. I am finished - for a while. Thanks again. We will talk again soon.
System as it now stands -
- Unico integrated
- Music Hall CD-25- fully modified/op amps
- BPT 1 Ultra
- Magneplanar 1.6 QR
- Musical Design interconnects
- Monster Z3 speaker cable
"Wanted to let you know the BPT-1 arrived and is an amazing piece of equipment. Where my Tube AMC stuff was unlistenable before, there now is no noise at all. Well done. My highest recommendation. I will be posting positive remarks over the weekend about you, your knowledge and your products. Please let me know when you start production on the modified Denon 2900 universal player!"
"Just wanted to let you know I got the BPT 3.5 and it's very impressive. I thought some of the descriptions on the BPT website were typical sales hyperbole, but they are actually pretty accurate. In the brief time I've spent listening, it would probably be easier to mention what didn't improve versus what did. The nice thing is that the improvements in virtually all areas are obvious and easy to detect.
The BPT website says something to the effect that the 3.5 will make you forget about the equipment. I think this is accurate, but I noticed a paradox where the BPT seems to help you hear your equipment better, too. For example, I was also trying different power cords (like the new BPT Litz which is also very nice). The differences in PCs were surprisingly more evident with the BPT than without. Also, if I changed CDP, the difference seemed greater than in the past.
In short, I would equate getting the 3.5 to upgrading from an average preamp to a reference quality preamp. The most impressive thing is that the BPT doesn't cost $4000+ like I would expect for the level of improvement. The only downsides I can see thus far are that it runs fairly hot and has a slight buzz when everything is connected and turned on. I suspect the buzz is normal given the size of the transformer and a little heat doesn't bother me much.
All in all, this is an exceptional product and the best power conditioner I've heard to date. I probably haven't even heard it at its best yet because I suspect the new power cords could use some break-in time.
Anyway, thanks for the recommendation. I know you don't need anymore positive feedback on Audiogon, but I will give you some well-deserved praise. If you are still going to San Francisco for the show, perhaps we'll run into each other. If not, I hope you enjoy the show."
"UPS dropped off the CPC yesterday and I'm a happy guy. It's definitely a help in my system and, of course, no buzz. The soundstage is much more enveloping/distinct/apparent, voices and instruments are more distinctly sized and placed; overall, the system is just more fun and involving."
"The Balanced Power boxes got here today, as foretold. I'm glad you double-boxed the BP-2 and bubble-wrapped the BP Jr., both outer boxes were a bit worse-for-wear on this end due to UPS handling.
Installed both, verified operation, and yes, even with my 6-ch NAD gear into ProAcs, it's true, more detail and improved soundstage when I'm playing stereo.
I've left you positive feedback on AudiogoN, would ask you return the gesture, as I'm still a newbie there. Thanks for a truly outstanding transaction. I'll have to let these purchases settle in my wife's mind, then I do want to improve the 2-ch source and amplification-- I'll definitely give a call."
"The BPT-1 arrived yesterday. I'm very, very pleased. I worked the retail end of the business for 9 years and have heard a lot of PCs in my time - I'm hugely impressed with this unit.
CPC received and installed. This thing is amazing! The hiss I normally hear through my speakers with no source playing is virtually undetectable! I updated your feedback on Audiogon, too. Thanks for all your help."
"The BPT arrived today and I am very pleased. In the first five minutes I notice better 3-D separation, less digital highs and increased bass slam. I can't wait now to hear what the silver cable can do!"
Owner Feedback on Jolida units
Posted by danlaudionut on May 08, 2003 at 16:19:11
I purchased a Jolida JD202a and JD100A with upgrades from Underwoodwally through Parts Connexion with upgrades including Audiocom Clock and I have almost 200 hours on them. I ran them 24/7 for 8 days now. I call it a pseudo-review because I did not listen to these units separately - only as a system.
I am connecting them with HT's Pro-Silway2 interconnects. My speaker wires are crappy Radio Shack 18ga solid core wires (soon to be replaced) and my speakers are DIY Dynaudio D260, Audax 4" and 5.25" Aerogel(parallel)and Dynaudio 2-15W75Ext(also to be replaced with Totem Arros as soon as I can afford it).
I will say they sounded like crap when I first hooked them up but now, WOW. The highs are the most extended that I have ever heard them. The mids are smooth and liquid. The bass I cannot tell because these speakers are bi-amped (the 15W75's are powered by another amp).
I tried them with my brothers Maggies and them were massively underpowered by these, but that was to be expected. Nothing under 75Hz came out of them, but what did come out of them was awesome.
What impressed me most about the Jolida system is the delineation of the individual sounds. Each sound was distinct from each other - no blending of the sounds. The cymbals are clean and distinct from the trumpets and they're clean and distinct from the drums. It is like each individual instrument and voice were made by a different speaker. Like the ships bell on John Denver's Calypso, it sounded so real that I could picture the bell as it rang. Also on Fly Away, Olivia Newton-John sang back-up and most of the time on every other system I've heard it on if I didn't know that it was her I would have never guessed. Some systems I could identify her on her loudest passages, on the Jolida every word she sang I could identify her voice easily. On Supertramp's Breakfast in America album the Logical Song, the trumpet was so real it is breathtaking. On MoFi's self-titled Heart album, each track is a trip to sonic nirvana. The cymbals on What about Love, the xylophone on Never and the drums on All Eyes are particularly impressive. There was a song I heard yesterday that I don't remember what it was but I heard a triangle that I always assumed it was a cymbal - It is definitely a triangle. Also-the back-up singers were groups of individual singers on each album I played.
Of course, the staging is impressive but I must admit my speakers stage very easily. What I was worried about was dynamics, I've read and heard that most tube amps aren't very dynamic. Sooo wrong - these babies are very dynamic no compression on these babies. Another concern was noise level, which is a known weakness in tube gear look at any specs and they'll cause you concern. This system is as quiet as any that I've listened to, which brings up another strength of this system - low level detail. Compared to my Cambridge Audio DiscMagic/Sonic Frontier's SFD1M2/Aragon8008 System, the Jolida has much more low level detail, which I think adds to the ability to differentiate between each component of the music being played.
To sum it up - I am impressed and pleased with the Jolida's. I can't wait to hook them up to Totem Arro's. The details of the Jolida's and the speed of the Arro's should be impressive.
I am thinking of bi-wiring the Arro's from separate windings of the OPT. The tweeter between 0 and 4 and the woofer between 4 and 8. Has anyone done this? It would be bi-wiring the OPT so I would think that it would work great. Just a thought.
I just wanted to take the time to tell you how unbelievably pleased I was with the service I got from you. The Jolida 302B (modified) is wonderful. It has spurred me on to doing some tube rolling just to see what comes out of the box now. I replaced the 12AT7s with a set of Mullard CV4024s and the difference was enormous. I listened for some time and allowed for them to burn in before going to the next step. This was the replacement of the 12AX7s with a set of NOS (from 1961) Sylvania's. The smoothness that came is yet another improvement. Now the imaging is precise and the soundstage incredibly wide (the Sylvanias took things a bit upstage relative to the change offered by the Mullards but with the imaging what it is, it's marvelous. I'll be listening to this for a while in this configuration then I plan on rolling in a matched quad of Svetlanas for the EL34s. That ought to really make the whole thing marvelous.
This would not have happened had I not discovered you and the mods you apply to the 302B -- which is just about the most impressive "bang-for-the-buck" thing I have ever found.
Moreover, the courtesy, attention and customer service you provided me were all truly outstanding. I cannot say enough about what you did for me. The home situation is odd and the funding limited but you truly offered the best I could have hoped for. Even before the tube rolling I was hearing things in the music I played that I'd never heard before. Thank you so very much.
My new 202 arrived yesterday, it's in great shape and sounds wonderful. I've been doing some comparisons between the un-modded 202 and the new one, there's really quite a difference in sound. I think the soundstage is expanded and the midrange is even more luscious with the modded version. I have to admit I was a bit worried that the sonic differences wouldn't be great, the modded 202 has laid my fears to rest!
Thanks for all your help,
Hi. I received the modified Jolida 1501RC last night. The sound improvement is "stunning." The regular one sounds excellent, but the mod is worth every penny. I just wish I had ordered directly from you instead of driving up to Annapolis Junction. I'm sure I'll want to upgrade my CD player soon too.
I shipped the trade in amp this morning. It is scheduled for deliver this Friday, 21 November.
Owner Feedback on Music Hall CD-25
Walter, I received the CD player on Thursday afternoon. When I saw the box, I was worried a little bit because it was smashed. But when I got the box open, the player was in good shape. I went home that after noon and listened to the player and was in shock. Everything improved from the stock unit I had before: CLARITY, MID-RANGE AND TREBLE SMOOTHNESS, SPATIAL RESOLUTION, BASS EXTENSION AND TIGHTNESS, SOUNDSTAGE ETC .I'm very happy with this player and will recommend it to all my friends.
Thanks, Edgar L..
As we discussed, I have been listening to the unit that you had modded for me (incl. the opamps) and the difference is night and day. I feel like I went out and bought a whole new cdp. I hear a whole lot more detail in the music while being able to keep the volume lower at the same time. Thanks again,
I was an English/Journalism major and I am at a loss for words. I will write again when I come to my senses. Not feeling too well tonight, may have to take the day off to listen to my new CD collection. I think this is the way Magneplanars were meant to sound.
I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how happy I am with the CD player. It is working beautifully and the sound improvement over my old NAD is like the difference between night and day. It is very transparent and I now notice the quality of the recordings to the point that some poorly recorded CDs sound harsh and strident, while others soar in their sonic perfection.
I am upgrading my amp to a Sunfire series II from the Bryston 4B this weekend and will likely upgrade speakers from my Thiel CS2s to the CS2.4s or some other high end bi-wirable speaker. Since, the Thiels are not by bi-wirable, I cannot take advantage of the Sunfire’s dual speaker outputs for current and voltage source. Any suggestions on your end?
my modded cd-25 arrived today. Wow. What a difference. I've been listening to Daniel Lanois' new cd these past few nights and tonight when I played it on the mod I jumped when the vocal came in - it sounded so present in
the room. Everything I've played so far is dramatically clearer and sounds more immediate. Thanks again for working out the trade and for the ultra fast delivery. I'll post some feedback sometime this week on AudiogoN,
I received the Burr Brown OPA-627 opamp upgrade yesterday morning. I am amazed at the performance improvement the opamps provided to an already great player with the Level 1 Mod. I not only got the additional warmth wanted, but also deeper incisive bass, deeper, wider, taller sound stage with increased dynamics. The most significant unexpected improvement is that each voice and instrument is now full, rich, three dimensional, and temporally correct. Hands down the best under $200.00 upgrade I have ever made.
Received the CD-25 in good shape. Hooked it up and wow!!, was I shocked to hear how much better it sounds than the AH! New Tube 4000 (w/upsampling & Siemens 7308s). The amount of detail is phenomenal, but it doesn't sound harsh or clinical at all. The trailing edges of notes just linger and gradually fade (like vinyl). The air between instruments is much improved and the soundstage is layered in 3-D textures of sound. Your ad is correct, it kills the AH! (which itself is a pretty darn good CD player). Thanks also for the prompt shipment. If you have the time for leaving feedback, my Audiogon user name is "marjon".
Thanks - John
Owner Feedback on Shanling SP-80
Walter, HOLY SHIT!!!! WOW!!!!,I have never heard the Klipsch's sound this good! Now I know why I was using the volume control in the T100, I am feeding the sub a signal that has to be attenuated the same as the amps from the solid state outputs. For now I have to adjust sub level as I do amps. We need to discuss getting a custom volume control, maybe the same as what’s in the amps, that will run up and down with amps(respond to Shanling remote).This could be placed in the signal path to the sub? Did I say WOW!!!!....I am happy as shit with the sound and it's not even burned in yet! Hey let me know what you think on this matter.
Owner Feedback on Shanling T-100
I've got to tell you - Those new BurrBrown opamps (OPA627) are unbelievable!!!!! I spoke to Chris and had them installed and running in 10 minutes! It's like a NEW player! I thought the Shanling was great with the first upgrade. I would put this up against anything right now. Unbelievable
I had to write and let you know what an incredible difference you have made in my life! ... ;-) ... well ... my system really! The new modifications to my Shanling CD T-100 have brought a touch of UN-reality into my system!! I simply cannot believe how much better every single aspect of the sound has changed! ... and all for the positive!!!
You took an already fabulous and world-class CD player (with your level one modifications) to a height that I've not heard anywhere else at any price. No kidding ... I would put this player up against any in the world right now and you KNOW that I've heard most of the so called "best". This player simply smokes them with it's sheer unbridled musicality. Sure it has an astounding ability to recreate a soundstage in every dimension ... and to articulate the instruments within that soundstage ... but now! ... holy op-amps batman! ... you guys should issue a challenge to all comers ... if they dare ... anyone who listens to a lot of live music would jump on this player over any I've ever heard at any price in a heartbeat ... it's THAT good!! Thanks again for reminding me that real musicality IS possible at home. (and I don't mean with just my piano!!) Kudos to all involved.
Received the unit on Friday in excellent shape. Plugged in the unit and grabbed my wife's "Indigo Girls Live" CD to start the burn-in process. I ended up listening to the whole disc. OH.......MY.......GOD.......what have you folks created????? I sat on a coffee table, without moving, in front of my system for the full 70 minutes or so in utter astonishment. I think I shed a tear or two at some point. I can give all the adjectives to describe what I heard but I am sure you have heard them all. This is the best CD player I have ever heard, and I have not yet plugged in the West Electric tubes. You said to burn-in for 2-300 hours. I am curious as to how much better this thing will get. I have noticed that the low-end is opening up more and more. Probably due to my new AQ Python interconnects, as well as the player.
I have the unit going straight to the Sunfire amp. It has plenty of volume with most all my CD's. I have only run into one CD that was recorded at pretty low levels where the volume needed to go to about 95. Toad the Wet Sprocket, Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews are being experienced with new appreciation. Even heavier rock like Creed and Rage Against the Machine sound just phenomenal. The unit shines with the before mentioned groups, as well as some Windham Hill that I have played. I am excited to start hitting my classical collection.
HOLY SHIT!!!! WOW!!!!,I have never heard the Klipsch's sound this good! Now I know why I was using the volume control in the T100, I am feeding the sub a signal that has to be attenuated the same as the amps from the solid state outputs. For now I have to adjust sub level as I do amps. We need to discuss getting a custom volume control, maybe the same as what’s in the amps, that will run up and down with amps(respond to Shanling remote).This could be placed in the signal path to the sub? Did I say WOW!!!!....I am happy as shit with the sound and it's not even burned in yet! Hey let me know what you think on this matter.
Owner Feedback on Shanling T-200
Well the T200 is spinning some James Taylor as I write this... Wow! I'm still waiting on some Nordost speaker cables to properly bi-amp my maggies, so for now, running the WE tubed output to my Odyssey monos (via Nordost SPM).... in turn driving the maggies full range via some Acoustic Zen Satoris. Just awesome!
My T200 continued to break in after the 200 hours! It now sounds better than any player I have ever heard. I am very happy with it now. I do still though want to get the clock upgrade, which I will hopefully be able to do soon.
I received the T-200 level-1 demo and it is outstanding. I've been playing it through a Manley Stingray integrated tube amp and Proac 3.8 speakers. It has a better soundstage than and is comparably resolved to existing Sony XA777ES SACD player and much more musical.