Morisson ELAD just net-hyped?

I was going to buy an ELAD (used) for 400$ I have heard nothing but extremely conflicting remarks about this product. One of the reasons that made me doubt this product is the fact that got me very interested in the ELAD. gave the ELAD the title of product of the year (2000) for 2-ch preamp when compared to Accuphase, AudioNote etc.
If you notice, a lot of the audioreview favorites are net-based direct distributors. I am not a dealer that I have anything against these institutions. It's just that I am in the IT sector and I have learned that net is a great way to project a much bigger, smarter and flashier you (like the DotCom stocks.)

Am I saying that all the Audioreview reviews for these net based products were sat and filled out by the manufacturers' webmasters themselves?
How can it be that something for $690 sounds better than ML's and Krells (according to reviews!) and if this is true how come best buy hasn't overstocked this by now?
In fact, all the favorites....(with all due respect) on audioreview are netbased
1)Morisson ELAD /____ Not heard. But extremely
\ conflicting reviews.

2) Outlaw 1050 and 750**/____ I've heard these...they're
\ not all that

3) Odyssey Stratos /____ Very nice amp....really nice

4) Newform Research /____ Same as ELAD

5) /____ Conflicting reviews!!

Ah, does someone get my does this pre sound...1 on 1....extremely subjective....I dont want people trying to polite not to offend anyone....offend whomever you want but tell me how good this pre is
See what all this direct marketing does? It makes you write reviews about sales instead of equipment

** I was going to buy the Outlaw 750. I liked their idealogies and consumer reviews. When I was busy researching which amp to buy, I came across a Brand-new review on audioreview which didn't speak much about the Outlaw 1050 or the outlaw family of products. I figured it was someone who had gone sour with bad customer support or a newly smoked transformer. It didn't bother me till the nextday when I noticed the review was simply GONE!!
I swear I read it many times over the previous day. I smelt something fishy and all this has disillusioned me.

Moreover, does audioreview get a cut of the net based sales by the direct manufactures for online orders?? why did that review disappear
Interesting questions and points...

I have owned a Morrison ELAD for over 2 years.
If you can find one for $400, BUT IT! That is a steal.
It is very difficult to find preamplification that is more neutral for less than (retail) $1500 or even $2500.

Why did I sell my Morrison ELAD? I needed more inputs, and I wanted to move to a Sonic Frontiers 3SE preamp ($6k retail).

Always remember that next to no reviews are really neutral. People that review a product online and have paid good money for it will nearly never give the product they bought a negative review. Professional audio reviewers do not have any incentive handing out negative press because they are in the business for promoting audio and audio sales.

Also, and really good product I have found will have some negative press. You really have to read what people have to say in their reviews. Their words can tell you many times how good of judges they are. Also pay careful attention of what they have in their systems... The better the components (that you know are good), the more weight you may want to give their oppinion. I know when I talk to a fellow audiophile, and he says he runs say a d/c/s digital front end... I listen whole heartedly to what he has to say. D/c/s is world class gear, and folks that buy it, know great digital.

Why do great products almost inevitably get some bad press? As you move into higher level products, many times system matching becomes more and more important. Some people tend to buy a great product only to put them into systems that become unbalanced in some way when the product is introduced. A great example of this is Nordost Quattro Fil innerconnect. Look at the reviews at for this innerconnect. The two really negative reviews are folks that use Levinson gear... Nordost Quattro Fil may not integrate well with Levinson gear. There is one other negative review, but it is a silly one that should be deleted. Anyway, all the other reviews were positive.

One thing about the Morrison. If you can get one for $500 used... You can always sell it for that price if you do not like it.

Audioreview will delete a review if they think it is too biased or unsubstantiated. It is rare, but they will delete them (read their rules for posting a review).

Anyway this and $2 will get you a $2 cup of coffee at Starbucks.



"How can it be that something for $690 sounds better than ML's and Krells "

Just because an inexpensive item has a better Audioreview then a Krell/Levinson/Rowland/etc does not mean it is better ... it just means a LOT of people have bought them and really like them. Same with Odessey, Newform, and others.

How many of the people who bought an ELAD could afford a top-of-the line Levinson/Rowland/Audio Research/etc pre-amp ... not many !

I myself have auditioned several > $4K pre-amps and each has is unique sound. I also have had an inexpensive Placette passive, and EVS attenuators, and loved them too. I also bought some Newform's for a second system, and have brought them to a new level with some capacitor upgrades.

A home audition is the only way to know what works for you, your system, and your room, and your significant other !
The reviews on AR are basically good for amusement only ( most of the time ). You can pick and choose amongst those reviews and find some very worthwhile insights. When someone goes into detail about a product, gives ample points of reference in direct comparisons to other "worthy" products, what they used with the DUT (Device Under Test), etc... i'll take those comments into consideration. Otherwise, i find that most of those reviews are done by "new owners" who tend to be SLIGHTLY biased and "overjoyed" with their new toy. Seeing someone's name on a review that i know or recognize as being "hardcore" also tends to add credibility in my eyes.

With all of that in mind, i prefer to go by first hand experience or from someone that i know and can trust. A friend (Ray) of a friend (Lou) just bought an Elad. From talking to Lou, i know that Ray has played with / experimented with enough gear to be pretty well versed in knowing what is out there. As such, i was interested in seeing what Ray thought of this unit.

In order to see if it stacked up with some of his other gear, he did some blind testing with his wife. Lucky for Ray, his wife is open to doing such things and enjoys the improvements to their system as much as he does. The two other pre's that the Elad was competing against were the Audible Illusions 3A and the Sunfire Classic. Obviously, both of these units are tubed and have been known to present a slightly "soft & creamy" sound as compared to most SS or passive designs. While he had the opportunity, Ray also extended the test to doing cable swaps, etc... I'm not completely sure how this was done or if the cable swapping might have confused the "which preamp" issue. After all, I was getting the info second hand from Lou.

From what i can gather, Ray's wife was kept "in the blind" as to which unit she was listening to and simply picked which unit she liked best after several "rounds" of testing. With all of the variables taken into consideration, both Ray and his wife preferred the Elad in every test that they conducted. The AI 3A came in second with the Sunfire Classic coming in third. Ray's wife was disappointed, as she liked the cosmetics of the Sunfire with its "glow window". In terms of cable swapping, they came to no specific conclusions.

This tells me that the Elad is at least a competent product. It can stand toe to toe with some other products that have been well reviewed by professionals along with being loved by end users. Like any other component, it would be susceptible to system mismatches, various loading effects, personal taste, etc... As such, i can see how it might work well for "Billy Bob" but not for "Joe Jim".

After Lou told me of this and stated that he was now possibly interested in the Elad, i did a SMALL amount of reading up. From what i was able to find out, it "measures up" in terms of specs. While i can't say that i put COMPLETE faith in measurements or specs, i am a tech by trade and can't deny that it influences me. After all, something that is well built, well designed and thoughtfully laid out SHOULD measure AND sound good. While there are ways to get good measurements using "junk" circuitry and parts ( i.e. tons of negative feedback, doing tests that only highlight the strengths of the product ), the tests that i saw on the Elad somewhat dispelled that approach.

It appears as if Don Morrison was going for the fast, wide bandwidth, low distortion, etc... "straight wire with gain" approach that was first done (to my knowledge) by AGI and then picked up by Spectral and a few others. Some folks don't like the sound of such products. Some say they are TOO revealing, "stripped down" or "unmusical". My personal opinion is that some people prefer specific "colourations" and these units strive to be at the opposite end of the spectrum. So be it. I guess that's why there are SOOOOOO many different brands, makes, models, designs, etc... out there for all of us to choose from.

With the price of the Elad and Don Morrison's willingness to work with customers, i see no way to go wrong by trying it. My biggest problem with the unit is that it DOES lack inputs. As such, i would think that Don might want to think about expanding the product line to include something that is slightly more versatile in terms of inputs, etc... Then again, his approach of "simplicity" would probably become "tainted" due to the increased amount of wiring, switching, etc... Either way, i'm sure that there are others out there that will ( and SHOULD ) chime in with their comments and personal experience about this unit. I myself am somewhat interested in it. Sean
When we speak about Krell, Levinson, and other "high end" brands it is easy to forget that we have been massaged into thinking they must be better since they cost more. However, most anyone who can unscrew the top off one of the high end pieces will quickly see that the components inside are so grossly overpriced it seems almost not true. Krell has a name to uphold, not a promise to mister customer to kept prices down in comparison to the parts they use.

I am not a basher of high end brands, but I read time and time again where guys are sucked into this Stereophile bull about how great Levinsons, Krells, etc sound. Calculate the price of all the components of a popular Krell piece and let me know what you think of the Krell name. Is it worth it for a name?

I have heard the Morrison and it sounds great with the right gear in the chain. Remember it is about synergy and contentment more than anything. Cables, speakers, interconnects, and small tweaks all play a vital role in synergy.

I don't know how the ELAD sounds nor have I heard any of the Krell gear. I want to respnd to Tomcat55's remarks as I have heard this sort of thing before. If every item's price where directly related to parts cost then video games should only cost a few dollars, most cars should cost less than half MSRP, etc. Most people seem to forget that research and development cost, not parts cost, can be the major factor in determining retail price. Combine that with small production runs and you have high retail prices. I've been in the software industry for over ten years. That CD of xxxx game or software package you own costs next to nothing to duplicate, package and ship. But the development costs can run in the 10's of millions! Development costs include salaries, office space and supplies, and equipment. You also have to add in advertising, marketing, and in some cases the cost it took to win the contract.

Does all of this mean that I think Krell is reasonably priced? My answer is, I don't know. It is easy to question price paid or asked based on parts since that is all we physically get from the transaction. But don't forget the other cost factors I've mentioned. Do you know for a fact that Krell doesn't pay their employees twice what other companies would, gives them nice bonuses, and decent medical coverage? Do you know how much these "high-end" companies spend on research and development?

Disclosure: I do not work, or ever have worked, for a company producing or selling audio equipment. I am a software engineer by education and profession.