The May 2014 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands. With High-Resolution Audio poised to go mainstream, the issue features Sony's $2000 HAP-Z1ES file player on its cover. Kalman Rubinson takes the Sony through its paces summing up that the "audiophile quality" Sony "has the potential to become a gateway product for the mass market of portable-player users."
The Jazz Journalists’ Association announced its 2014 awards this week. I don’t think I’ve disagreed with so many of its picks. In most cases, I’d simply rank others higher than the JJA balloteers; in some cases, though, I part from their judgment pretty vigorously. Here are some of the JJA winners, followed by my choices...
Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Posthorn Serenade
Prague Chamber Orchestra, Charles Mackerras conducting.
Telarc CD 80108 (CD). Robert Woods, prod., Jack Renner, eng. DDD.
Holt's First Law of Recording states: "The better the performance, the worse the recordingand vice versa." It's true; really fine recordings of superb musical performances are so rare that the discovery of one such gem is cause for rejoicing. Well, you can rejoice: this is one of them.
While Clearfield Audio may be a new name to many of you, it represents the marriage of two well-established members of the high-end community: Counterpoint and designer Albert Von Schweikert. Counterpoint had been working to add speakers to its product lineup for some time. The partnership with Von Schweikert, whom Stereophile readers will remember as the designer of the Vortex Screen favorably reviewed by Robert Harley in July 1989, fills out Counterpoint's high-end product line from sourcethe company showed a CD transport at the June 1993 CESto speaker.
The developmental history of Vortex speakers provides a meaningful framework for the design of the Clearfield offerings, especially the Metropolitans, or Mets. Like the Vortex designs, the Mets are three-ways with transmission-loaded bass. Like the Kevlar Reference Screen (reviewed by Robert Greene in The Abso!ute Sound's "double-issue" 83/84, December '92), the Mets use Kevlar-coned midrange units from Focal that cover a broad range from 125Hz to 2kHz. What's dramatically different is the overall driver layout.
Meridian Audio's co-founder Bob Stuart (above) journeyed to Audio High in Mountain View, CA on April 8 for the US unveiling of Meridian's new Special Edition DSP Digital Active Loudspeaker. The tantalizing time I spent listening to the top-of-the-line DSP8000SE ($80,000/pair) convinced me that Meridian's slogan, "Redefine the Possible," is anything but hype.
OK, this isn't jazz, but it's such a crazy bargain, I couldn't resist shouting it from my rooftop: Decca Sound, The Analogue Years 54 albums (and bits of several more) from the Decca label's heyday of classical recording (the mid-'50s to late-'70s), pressed in a boxed set of 50 CDs, selling for $129.
In case you're too stunned to do the math, that's $2.58 per disc!