There has been much argument in audiophile circles about whether an LP or a CD is a more faithful representation of a master tape. Although we recorded Robert Silverman's thrilling performance of the Liszt B-Minor Piano Sonata for CD release, we also had in mind to issue an LP. As the source for both would be the same, the question we can answer is: Will an LP cut straight from a 20-bit master tape via a Class A 20-bit DAC sound closer than a CD noise-shaped to 16 bits from the same 20-bit original?
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: The Great Prestige Recordings Includes: The New Miles Davis Quintet, Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', Steamin' Miles Davis, trumpet; John Coltrane, tenor sax; Red Garland, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums. Analogue Productions APJ 035 (5 LPs). 1996. Bob Weinstock, original prod.; Rudy Van Gelder, original eng.; Chad Kassem, reissue prod.; Stan Ricker, mastering eng. AAA. TT: 3:11:09 Music ***** Sonics *****
THEATER OF VOICES: The Age of Cathedrals Paul Elliott, Alan Bennet; Theater of Voices: Neal Rogers, Mark Daniel, Hugh Davies, Tom Hart, Boyd Jarrell; Paul Hillier, dir. Harmonia Mundi France HMC 907157 (CD only). Robina G. Young, prod.; Craig Silvey, eng. AAD? 1996. TT: 77:18 Performance ****** Sonics *****
One Saturday afternoon in August 1990, a number of Stereophile's writers—John Atkinson, Arnis Balgalvis, Robert Deutsch, Larry Greenhill, Robert Harley, J. Gordon Holt, Richard Lehnert, Guy Lemcoe, Lewis Lipnick, Peter Mitchell, Tom Norton, Dick Olsher, Don Scott, and Bill Sommerwerck—gathered together in the magazine's Santa Fe, NM listening room to discuss the "Recommended Components" listing that was due to appear in the October 1990 issue. To add a little Tabasco to the proceedings, JA had invited AudioQuest's main man Bill Low to give a short talk on whatever subject was uppermost in his mind that weekend, to be followed by an open discussion.
Dateline: late August 1989. The scene: my palatial office in the Stereophile Tower. Present were the magazine's official technowizard Robert Harley, Circulation Kahuna Michael Harvey, and myself. The subject under discussion was the program for the Stereophile Test CD, launched in this issue, and Bob had been dazzling Michael and myself with a description of the sophisticated signal-processing power offered by the Digidesign Sound Tools music editing system with which he had outfitted his Macintosh IIX computer. (He had to fit it with a 600-megabyte hard-disk drive!) "It'll even do edits as crossfades as well as butt joins," enthused Bob. "Let me tell you about the crossfade I once did when editing a drum solo for a CD master that lasted ten seconds..."
When I first heard about "Records To Die For," I had to laugh. "Desert Island Discs," maybe, but Records To Die For? Laying down your life for a record? World-class hyperbole. Throw yourself on a sword for a glob of petrochemicals? Not me. If your house was burning down, would you a) grab your child, b) grab your photos and other irreplaceable items (cats, loved ones, etc.), or c) grab your records?
Astute readers will note that although my name appears under the "hardware" heading of Stereophile's masthead, I have rarely written about specific products, and, apart from secondary comments or Follow-Ups, have never written a formal equipment report. For years I resisted reviewing because I was usually connected in some way to audio manufacturers and/or retailers, and felt very uncomfortable with the conflict of interest. The other reason I was disinclined to review is that the critical listening required of reviewers is work, and after a long day or week of working on, or with, audio equipment, the only thing I wanted to do when I came home was relax. But since I have hung up my soldering iron and oscilloscope probe for what I hope is the last time, and am cleaving instead to my word processor (or, as playwright David Ives dubbed it, my "verboblender"), you may see more of this—WP, JA, and God willing.
DON BYRON: Bug Music Don Byron, clarinet, baritone saxophone, vocals; Steve Wilson, alto saxophone; Robert DeBellis, tenor saxophone; Charles Lewis, Steve Bernstein, James Zollar, Trumpet; Craig Harris, trombone; Uri Crane, piano; Paul Meyers, banjo; David Gilmore, guitar; Kenny Davis, bass; Pheeroan akLaff, Billy Hart, Joey Baron, drums; Dean Bowman, vocals. Nonesuch 79438-2 (CD only) 1996. Don Byron, prod.; Danny Kapilian, assoc. prod.; Tom Lazarus, eng.; David Merrill, assist eng.; Alan Tucker, mastering eng. Carol Yaple, exec. prod. ??? TT: 51:07 Music **** Sonics ****