Trickle-down technology is a grand thing. It's comparatively easy to build an exceptional audio component when there are no constraints on technology, cost, user-friendliness, or lack thereof, but top designers are now packing more and more of the excellence of damn-the-torpedoes components into more affordable and accessible packages. Which brings us to the Aesthetix Rhea, a tubed phono preamplifier of exceptionally distinguished lineage.
With Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio four years old as established media this fall, the two-decades-old Compact Disc medium is still well-established as the primary carrier for recorded music. (Yes, it is experiencing a significant threat from downloadable music files, but that is outside my bailiwick as a hardware reviewer.) Stereophile has therefore been paying attention to the high-performance one-box CD players that are available. In May, I wrote about my positive experiences with the $2950 Ayre CX-7 and Brian Damkroger favorably reviewed the $2999 GamuT CD1, after having followed up his April 2001 review of the $5495 Simaudio Moon Eclipse player in April 2003.
We kick off three speaker reviews from the September issue with Brian Damkroger's assessment of the Audio Physic Virgo III loudspeaker. A perfect meld of minimonitor and full-range bass extension? BD reveals all.
Graham Nash and Frank Zappa will be DTS Entertainment's first artists to debut in Europe on DVD-Audio, thanks to an agreement between DTSE and Cadiz Music, Ltd., a distributor in Greenwich, England. DTS Entertainment is the entertainment division of Digital Theater Systems, Inc., based in Agoura Hills, CA.
More compact discs that attempt to restrict how you use them are coming to a record store near you. BMG announced last week that its Arista Records division will be the company's first label in the US to release a commercial CD using copy-restriction technology.
Audio companies create products that are based on a variety of technologies, provoking lawsuits every once in a while when patents are involved. One such lawsuit erupted earlier this year as Robert W. Carver, designer for and founder of Sunfire Corporation, filed a US patent lawsuit against Audio Products International (API).
Johnny Cash, the 71-year-old American icon, died September 12 of respiratory failure caused by complications from diabetes. The singer/songwriter had been released from the hospital the preceding day after a two-week struggle with an unspecified stomach ailment.
When I interviewed recording engineer Roy Halee (Simon and Garfunkel, The Byrds, The Lovin' Spoonful, etc.) at his home in Connecticut back in 1991, he pointed to his pair of monolithic Infinity IRS loudspeakers and said, "When I want to listen for pleasure, I listen to those." He then pointed to a pair of early-edition Wilson Audio Specialties WATT/Puppys in a second system set up in the corner of his large listening room. "When I want to hear what's on a recording I've made, I listen to those." It was obvious: Halee respected the Wilsons, but he loved the Infinitys. Not surprising, since Dave Wilson designed the WATT section to be a highly accurate portable monitor, and monitors are designed for respect, not love.
I was riding BART home from Home Entertainment 2003, thinking about the day—the new products, the old friends, the rooms with really great sound. It's a long ride from downtown San Francisco to Livermore, so I next got to thinking about all of the hi-fi shows I've attended over the years and which companies, year after year, always seem to have good sound. At the top of the list were Audio Physic and its US importer, Allen Perkins' Immedia.