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  2. The late Julian Vereker, the sharp-minded former racing driver who founded Naim Audio and designed its first products, did so because he wanted audio amplification of a quality he felt no one else was making at the time, reasoning that if he wanted such a thing, so might others. Thus came about Naim's first domestic-audio product, the distinctive NAP200 solid-state amp (1973). Tue, 03/19/2019 View the full article
  3. High Performance Loudspeakers: Optimising High Fidelity Loudspeaker Systems, Seventh Edition, by Martin Colloms. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2018. Paperback, 696 pp., $95. Available as an eBook, $79.99. "Listen to that—that's what I mean by 'cone cry!'" It was 1979. I'd been taking part in a blind listening test of loudspeakers organized by Martin Colloms (footnote 1) for the British magazine Hi-Fi Choice and, after the formal sessions had ended, had asked Martin to explain something I'd heard. A drive-unit's diaphragm produces cone cry when it resonates at a frequency unconnected with the musical signal it is being asked to produce; we had been using an anechoic recording of a xylophone, and one of the loudspeakers we'd been listening to was blurring the pitches of some of the instrument's notes. Tue, 03/19/2019 View the full article
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  5. Don't be fooled by Definitive Audio of Seattle's intentionally understated exterior. In my five years covering the annual four-hour Music Matters showcases, I have never heard such stellar sound from the store's six showrooms and head-fi listening area. In fact, four of the exhibits at Music Matters 14, held on Thursday March 7, together offered the finest sound I have ever experienced at any show or store event. And I'll swear by that statement. Sun, 03/17/2019 View the full article
  6. Components listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile and have been found to be among the best available in each of four or five quality classes. Whether a component is listed in Class A or Class E, we highly recommend its purchase. Each listing-in alphabetical order within classes-is followed by a brief description of the product's sonic characteristics and a code indicating the Stereophile Volume and Issue in which that product's report appeared. Thus the May 2018 issue is indicated as "Vol.41 No.5." Thu, 03/14/2019 View the full article
  7. The dichotomy between what is measured and what is heard has resurfaced in recent months. Jon Iverson discussed it in his "As We See It" in our December 2018 issue, and I followed up on the subject in my January 2019 "As We See It." These further thoughts were triggered by an e-mail exchange I had last December with Stereophile's longtime copyeditor, Richard Lehnert. Tue, 03/12/2019 View the full article
  8. David Crosby: Here If You Listen BMG 538431461 (LP), 538429532 (CD), none (FLAC 24/48). 2018. David Crosby, Michael League, prods.; Fab Dupont, prod., eng., mix; Josh Welshman, eng.; Greg Calbi, mastering. ADD/DDD. TT: 45:08 Performance **** Sonics ***** In 1967, the year the Byrds would fire him, David Crosby sits in a room—a small space, from the sound of it—with a cheap microphone and a recorder of dubious merit. He's improvising some jazzy, open-tuned acoustic guitar strumming, adding nonlexical vocables on top. He then files away the resulting tape—clearly ahead of its time and of no use to his bandmates—for 50 years. Tue, 03/12/2019 View the full article
  9. Our 180-page April issue is hitting newsstands, mailboxes, and tablets this week and, as always with Stereophile's April issues, it includes the revised and updated edition of our "Recommended Components" feature—capsule reviews of the best-sounding gear available. And featured on the April issue's cover is Klipsch's RP-600M speaker, which features a horn-loaded tweeter. Read Herb Reichert's report to see how he felt about this little gem... Mon, 03/11/2019 View the full article
  10. Given its engrossing, frequently radiant score, unflinching look at its timely subject matter, and superb cast of singing actors, Pentatone's live hi-rez recording of the premiere of Mason Bates and Mark Campbell's opera, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, fully deserves the Grammy recently bestowed upon it by the Recording Academy. Fri, 03/08/2019 View the full article
  11. Publisher's note: The following article, from the early days of Compact Disc, is presented with no claim for absoluteness. (In fact, just as we go to press in the spring of 1986, we received a manuscript from Philip Greenspun, Product Review Editor of Computer Music Journal (Cambridge, MA), who had precisely the opposite result when comparing CD to analog versions of the same recording, though it was unclear that his test procedures were as thorough as in the tests by these authors.) The tests described are neither single- nor double-blind, and the author's decision to forego conversation while listening to the same products does not by any means guarantee lack of mutual influence—especially because their musical tastes are so well known to each other. Moreover, repeating the test with different phono equipment, a different CD player, and a different replica of the master tape would likely yield somewhat different results. Nevertheless, I think the basic conclusion is sound: good CD reproduction is remarkably close to a fairly good version of master tape sound; there's a good chance that it's more accurate than what you'll get from the average cartridge, tonearm, and turntable. Sun, 06/01/1986 View the full article
  12. Ask anyone in the street what they think of when they hear the word "loudspeaker" and odds are they'll describe a wooden box with moving-coil drivers sitting in its front. But ask a Stereophile reader and it's quite possible that he or she'll describe a large, flat panel reminiscent of a room divider: in our 1989 reader survey, the most widely represented brand of loudspeaker was Magnepan, with a significant lead over Infinity and Vandersteen, the second and third most common speaker brands. This represents considerable commercial success in a generally conservative marketplace for a company whose products are so different from the norm. Fri, 11/01/1991 View the full article
  13. Got a pair of these delivered last night, from Best Buy. On sale, at a bargain price with free delivery. I have been breaking them in over the last 24 hours. I am shocked at how good these sound. Almost on par with my larger, and much more expensive VMPS Towers. The lower octaves come through with full authority, much better than a pair of 8” woofers have any right to! The upper range such as bells, horns, trumpets, etc., are clear, and vibrant, never muddied. These speakers are are very dynamic, and the 1812 Overture really makes these shine. To call these speakers a bargain is the understatement of the century! These rival the other speakers in my collection, most of which are higher priced by several multiples. Go get a pair...you’ll be glad you did. And your checking account will be glad too. edit: After more listening, the overall balance of these speakers, from top to bottom, is extremely smooth. While they go deep, it does not detract from the upper end clarity that is there in spades. My reference speakers are the much more expensive (and larger) VMPS Tower II SE’s. These were about 1/5th the cost, yet the 820's perform nearly as well overall. I keep listening, and I keep getting blown away at the performance of the 820’s. At this price point, almost anyone can put together an audiophile system, and on a budget that will not break the bank. And that should keep the wife happy too! View the full article
  14. Hello I appeal to you because I do not know which central speaker to choose between these two models: Klipsh RP-404C Klipsh RP-500C Their characteristics are quite close. I doubt that the model with 4 speakers should be better but is the difference really significant for a room of 22 square meters? Thank you View the full article
  15. Sorry I've been away from this space for so long. My day gig (national-security columnist for Slate) has kept me busy (as you can imagine), and I've got a tight deadline on a new book. Still, as Congreve observed, "Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast," and there's plenty of breast-beating savagery out there, so I've continued to listen, and here is my dispatch on the Best Jazz Albums (10 new and two historical discoveries) of 2018. Mon, 12/17/2018 View the full article
  16. Terpsichore, the Greek goddess of dance and chorus. How appropriate that her delight in dancing should be honored in Terpsichore: Apotheóse de la Danse baroque (Alia Vox), the latest beautifully produced and packaged Alia Vox SACD from Jordi Savall and his baroque orchestra, Le Concert des Nations. Filled with high energy orchestral music by Jean-Ferry Rebel (1666–1747) and the even longer-lived Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767), the recording exalts the exuberant French style of instrumental dance music that became popular during the rise of the baroque orchestra in the courts of Kings Henry IV and Louis XIII in the early 17th century. Sat, 12/15/2018 View the full article
  17. My Russian neighbor's blind grandfather, Vlad, has very discriminating ears—but only when I tell him what to listen for. If I don't, he just bitches about my choice of music. And he refuses to listen to "weak" American orchestras. Not surprisingly, Vlad worships Mikhail Glinka. "Herb! Play Russlan and Ludmilla!" When he asks for "Pyotr Ilyich," I groan and quietly put the vodka back in the freezer. Thu, 12/13/2018 View the full article
  18. I needed one black tiddledywink (not provided) to use Dr. Feickert Analogue's three-speed, two-motor, two-armboard Blackbird turntable. The tiddledywink was for covering the Blackbird's painfully bright power-on LED so that it didn't blind me when I cued up a record. The first night, in my dark listening room, this tiny indicator sprayed the wall behind and the ceiling above with more light than a bright-emitting 845 vacuum tube. Thu, 12/13/2018 View the full article
  19. Friday December 14, at 3pm and 6pm, Fidelis (460 Amherst Street, Nashua, NH 03063) are presenting "An Afternoon with Michael Fremer" (above). Saturday, December 15, 11am–3pm, House of Stereo (8780 Perimeter Park Ct #100, Jacksonville, FL 32216) are hosting their 2019 KEF Product Launch event. Wed, 12/12/2018 View the full article
  20. Wayne Shorter is 85. His mind moves at warp speed, a million miles from Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, who rescued him from Newark, New Jersey—or the Miles Davis's second great quintet, for which the saxophonist wrote the compositions that would establish his genius. Shorter's constellation of classic Blue Note recordings from 1964–67—Night Dreamer, JuJu, The All Seeing Eye, ETC, The Soothsayer, Adam's Apple, Speak No Evil, Schizophrenia—is now but a dim cluster of stars in his ever-expanding musical galaxy. Tue, 12/11/2018 View the full article
  21. Keith Jarrett: La Fenice Keith Jarrett, piano ECM 2601/02 (2 CDs). 2018. Keith Jarrett, prod.; Martin Pearson, eng.; Christoph Stickel, Manfred Eicher, mastering, exec. prod. DDD. TT: 97:47 Performance ***** Sonics ***** This July 2006 concert, performed in Venice's Gran Teatro La Fenice, is Keith Jarrett's seventh recording of the shorter solo-piano improvisations he's explored since the early 2000s, after chronic fatigue syndrome robbed him of the stamina needed to improvise for unbroken stretches of nearly an hour. Despite their many high points, none of its six predecessors—Tokyo Solo, Radiance, Carnegie Hall, Testament, Rio, Creation—matched the cumulative power and depth of his best long-form improvisations: Köln, Sun Bear, Bregenz München, Paris. This one does. Tue, 12/11/2018 View the full article
  22. Yes, the January 2019 issue of Stereophile is hitting newsstands, mailboxes, and tablets this week. And to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our going from a digest-sized publication to a full-sized one, we have recreated the cover of the January 1994 issue, the "musicality vs accuracy" debate as strong today as it was a quarter-century ago. The 25th anniversary edition of the same Cary tube amplifier is featured on the cover and in this issue's review section, but instead of the solid-state Krell we had on the 1994 cover, we have the solid-state Cambridge Edge A integrated amplifier which is also reviewed in this issue. Mon, 12/10/2018 View the full article
  23. First came the press release, from San Francisco Symphony, announcing: • Esa-Pekka Salonen is the Music Director Designate of SFS, to replace Michael Tilson Thomas when he voluntarily steps down after the summer of 2020. • EPS will lead SFS in a program on January 18–20 that includes the SFS premiere of Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Metacosmos, Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, and Sibelius's Four Legends from the Kalevala. These led me to explore Thorvaldsdottir's music in two recent hi-rez releases from Sono Luminus: Aequa: International Contemporary Ensemble Performs Anna Thorvaldsdottir (DSL-92224), and Nordic Affect: H e (a) r (DSL-92227). Sun, 12/09/2018 View the full article
  24. Although my house is now home to a borrowed pair of DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93 loudspeakers—a loan I gratefully accepted early this year, when my 1966 Altec Flamencos proved a bit too large for my new listening room—it's a matter of pride that I own almost everything else in my playback system, cables included. So it's with no small discomfort that I acknowledge having nearly $30,000 worth of borrowed phono cartridges scattered around my living and dining rooms. (The former is where I listen to them, and the latter—the sunniest room in the house—is where I install them.) Thu, 12/06/2018 View the full article
  25. German manufacturer Elac had a significant North American presence in the 1960s and '70s, primarily with its Miracord automatic turntables. While it eventually disappeared from the US market, Elac never ceased to be a player in Europe, where it eventually shifted its primary focus from turntables to loudspeakers. When Elac decided to reenter the US market a few years ago, its success was hardly assured. Faced with hundreds of brand names and thousands of models fighting for attention, it hired veteran speaker guru Andrew Jones to improve the odds. In his previous work, first for KEF and then for TAD and Pioneer, Jones had built a solid reputation on designing well-received, cost-no-object speakers as well as high-value budget designs. Tue, 11/27/2018 View the full article
  26. I promise not to tell you that the 40th Anniversary Edition Harbeth P3ESR loudspeaker sounds like a bigger speaker than it actually is. It does not. Likewise, I won't suggest that it offers a large portion of what Harbeth's bigger, more expensive models do—I'll leave that to the happy owners on the Harbeth User Group. But can I tell you it's good value for the money? The current, non-anniversary version of the P3ESR costs $2195/pair (footnote 1), while the souped-up, tarted-up 40th Anniversary Edition goes for $2890/pair—prices I think are chickenfeed, considering all the timeless virtues and musical satisfactions I have discovered in both versions. Tue, 11/27/2018 View the full article
  27. Wednesday November 28, 5–9pm, Suncoast Audio (7353 International Place, Unit 309, Sarasota, FL 34240) will be hosting an event featuring products from Magico, Audio Research, and Chord. Thursday, November 29, at 6:00pm, Blink High End (129 Franklin Street, Cambridge, MA 02139) will be demonstrating and discussing Technics' flagship introduction for 2018: the Reference Class SL-1000R/SP-10R turntables. Mon, 11/26/2018 View the full article
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