LATEST ADDITIONS

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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 24, 2014 1 comments
With quiet elegance, the Sentec EQ11 phono stage and equalizer entered my expanding world of gramophone dreams. The EQ11 ($2500) is a modestly sized, tubed phono stage with the industry-standard RIAA phono equalization and five other EQ curves. These additional curves are for records pressed by companies that did not fully or promptly comply with the new, supposedly global industry standard introduced by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1954.
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Robert Baird Posted: Oct 24, 2014 1 comments
Musicians whose careers were derailed by personal demons is a very old tale. Write about music and after a couple decades they all begin to have a similar ring: someone got addicted to something and began blowing off gigs, trashing friendships, and generally lying to themselves and everyone close to them. It usually doesn’t end well. And after they’re gone, “far too soon” (to use the usual bromide), everyone thinks about their own issues while tsk tsk’ing about what could have been done and how awash in self-loathing and focused on ending it all the deceased had eventually become.

Every once in awhile an old friend on this path turns it around and I’m very happy to say that my old friend from Tucson singer/songwriter Billy Sedlmayr has done just that. . .

J. Gordon Holt Posted: Oct 22, 2014 Published: Oct 01, 1980 26 comments
We are aware that much of what we have to say about reproduced sound in these pages goes completely over the heads of a lot of our readers, simply because they have not heard live, un-amplified music recently enough (if ever) to relate their own listening experiences to our observations. These are the people who tend to have developed a strong mental image of what hi-fi ought to sound like, and it is not surprising that that image should bear little if any resemblance to reality. In most cases, this image of hypothetical perfection involves a broadly sweeping sense of spaciousness, awesome power, floor-shaking low end and silky, velvety highs—rather similar, one might say, to the sound of a Magnificent Magnavox with a couple of extra octaves at each end.
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David Lander Posted: Oct 21, 2014 2 comments
Both Chesky Records and HDtracks have a pair of co-founding partners, but the music-minded press has perpetually focused on one of them, pianist and composer David Chesky, while ignoring his younger brother, Norman. Mainstream reporters and photographers did converge on Norman Chesky once, when they spotted him rolling a bulky, rough-hewn, wooden artifact from the 2009 auction at which Bernard Madoff's personal effects were sold for the benefit of bilked investors. Leading newspapers ran photos of Norman with the tree-trunk table he'd bought after happening on the sale, and the New York Times identified him as "a music executive from Manhattan." As the exchange that follows shows, that description was a glaring oversimplification.
J. Gordon Holt Posted: Oct 21, 2014 Published: Oct 01, 1983 2 comments
Billy Joel: The Stranger
CBS CD 35DP2 (CD) and JC34987 (digitally mastered, CX-encoded LP).

This is one of four recordings we now have on hand in both the CD and digital-mastered LP formats, and all reviews of these will be parallel reviews. In the case of the CBS discs, there is no "conventional" version, as all of their recent LP releases are CX-encoded. Thus, I will be comparing decoded CXed CBS LPs (footnote 1) with their CD equivalents.

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Robert Baird Posted: Oct 21, 2014 1 comments
I know folks, dedicated jazz fans no less, who cannot be dragged into piano and bass duo gigs. Something about not having a drummer spells boredom for them. Not enough going on I guess. Or more likely, there isn't a horn at work. While jazz virtuosity is most often thought of in terms of the more ostentatious sounds of saxophones and trumpets, and the most common perception of jazz groups is quartets or quintets, it's the duo format, at its most pure piano and bass, that has always inspired a special vocabulary and sonic signature. Just a pair of instrumental voices and musical visions engenders the kind of special chemistry and quiet connections that can be heard on the new Kenny Barron and Dave Holland project, the appropriately named The Art of Conversation.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Oct 20, 2014 3 comments
"Is it wrong to love it for its physical beauty?" asks Michael Lavorgna of Astell&Kern's extraordinary (and expensive) AK240 portable file player, which gets the star treatment on the November 2014 issue's cover. But as he also found it a joy to listen to, the question becomes moot . . .
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Robert Baird Posted: Oct 19, 2014 1 comments
The story is familiar. The British Invasion caused a deadly tsunami in the American music scene. Established stars, from Elvis to John Lee Hooker to Tony Bennett, saw their careers swept away in a matter of months in 1964. Few groups were impacted quite like the Beach Boys, whose resident genius, Brian Wilson, went into an emotional tailspin trying to compete with the Beatles . . .
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 18, 2014 4 comments
Stereophile editor John Atkinson claims the best seat in the house to listen to the system put together by Luke Manley and Bea Lam (top right). Photo: Peter McGrath.

Despite having covered more audio shows than there are angels dancing on the head of a pin, I always look forward to the moment when all preconceptions vanish, the rug is pulled out from under, and I can do is marvel at the mystery of music reproduction at its finest. The time doesn't always come, but when it does, it feels as if childlike wonder has been born anew. Such was my experience in the VTL and Wilson Audio Room . . . this $548,483 system [breathe] was so mesmerizingly musical that it really cannot be discussed in the same space as the other systems I encountered at RMAF 2014.

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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2014 16 comments
When I entered the On A Higher Note room on the Marriott's mezzanine, Synergistic Research's Ted Denney was talking about the sonic benefits of his new Atmosphere ($1995, the vertical black tower between the equipment racks in the photograph). "RF pollution affects how we perceive sound," Ted said," explaining that that is why our systems unpredictably sound good or bad. The Atmosphere, he said, creates a binaural RF field that swamps external RF pollution, allowing our perception to operate correctly. It affects the listener, not the system . . . "Yeah, right," I was thinking.

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