LATEST ADDITIONS

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 02, 2017 Published: Jul 01, 1995 0 comments
When I requested the Snell Music and Cinema Reference System for review, plus the new Snell Type A Music Reference System for evaluation, little did I know what I was letting myself in for. I lost count of the number of large shipping cartons delivered to my garage—though I'm sure the delivery man didn't. Except for the subwoofers, all the individual pieces are relatively small. But together they form a system that definitely demands both attention and a large room to sound its best and to keep it from visually overpowering the space.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Dec 31, 2016 19 comments
What better way to say goodbye to 2016 than to pop the champagne and blast your way through to the Trump Years with the latest version of a double-whammy warhorse pairing, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain, from Gustavo Dudamel and the Vienna Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon)? After all, there's no getting around the fact that fireworks are fireworks, and that New Year's Eve is a night for same.
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Kalman Rubinson Posted: Dec 29, 2016 11 comments
Bang & Olufsen's revolutionary BeoLab 90 loudspeaker, which I examine in greater depth elsewhere in this issue, has had some profound effects on me, not least of which is that the review pair prevented me from listening in multichannel for nearly two months. Additionally, I and a few friends found that the two BeoLab 90s delivered an absolutely stunning and convincing soundstage. So when the time came to relinquish them, I was anxious. Would my reference 5.1-channel surround system now disappoint when I played two-channel recordings? Would I still find multichannel to be a substantial advance over stereo, or no improvement at all? Would I need to come out of retirement and find a new day job so that I could afford the BeoLabs' price of $84,990/pair?
Herb Reichert Posted: Dec 29, 2016 5 comments
When I applied for this fabulist audio-preacher gig, John Atkinson protested, "But Herb, aren't you a triode-horn guy?"

"No, that was decades ago! Today I'm still a bit of a Brit-fi guy, but my mind remains wide open."

However: As a professional reviewer, I am biased toward affordable, lovingly engineered audio creations made by family businesses with traditional artisanal values. I enjoy solid-state as much as tubes—often more!

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Dec 28, 2016 13 comments
Just in time for the New Year, Audio High has released a new set of 23 of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas, performed live by Robert Silverman and available in MQA, hi-rez, CD-quality, and MP3 formats. If the prospect of one of Canada's most feted pianists offering his mature thoughts on Beethoven in superb sound is not, in and of itself, sufficient reason to tempt you, the fact that the MP3 files can be obtained for free, with the others available for a donation to the Silver Linings non-profit charity, certainly will be.
Art Dudley Posted: Dec 27, 2016 6 comments
In 1999, when I first heard a Super Audio Compact Disc, I felt certain that the new format was destined for commercial dominance. Ten years later, when I first played PCM music files through a USB DAC, I felt certain that the SACD was deader than Julius Caesar's dog.

In 2016, it's apparent that I'm not qualified to predict how anything will perform in the marketplace. In my defense, I'm not the only industry bigwig who's made those mistakes; on the other hand, one happily notes that technology and commerce, those inseparable sweethearts, carried on anyway, heedless of our thudding wrongness. The results are hundreds of new SACD releases, scads of new downloadable Direct Stream Digital music files—DSD being the technology on which the SACD is based—and at least one new machine that can play them both: Luxman's D-06u SACD/CD player and USB DAC.

Ken Micallef Posted: Dec 27, 2016 14 comments
Roughly half the size of a breadbox—remember those?—the Trenner & Friedl Sun ($3450/pair) is arguably the smallest stand-mounted loudspeaker presently available for serious home listening: only 8.5" high by 6.25" wide by 5.5" deep and weighing just 7.5 lbs. The Sun is the entry-level model from this Austrian loudspeaker manufacturer, and its ported, solid-birch cabinet is designed and built to golden-ratio proportions (footnote 1) It has a single, coaxial driver from SEAS and a crossover made by Mundorf. The Sun boasts a frequency response of 55Hz–25kHz, +0/–3dB; friends of mine have heard the speaker plumb remarkable depths when paired with the right amplifier. And though they're barely bigger than a pair of Audeze LCD-4 planar-magnetic headphones, the Suns do play louder!
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Jana Dagdagan Posted: Dec 27, 2016 9 comments
Aloha, Stereophile Readers! I write to you from my childhood home on the tropical island of Oahu—my birthplace and present vacation spot until the start of CES. As Stereophile's resident Hawaii-native, I felt inspired to make a list of Hawaiian music albums. Here's a quintessential mix of five old and new favorites from the 50th state, in no particular order:
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Dec 24, 2016 5 comments
With 2016 almost behind us, there's just enough time to speak of two of the many recordings issued this year to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Equally commendable, albeit radically different in the way they honor the Bard, are Shakespeare Songs (Warner Classics) from tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist Anthony Pappano (available in 24/96 from HDTracks), and Take All my Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets (Deutsche Grammophon) from Rufus Wainwright and friends (available in 24/44.1 from HDTracks).
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Dec 23, 2016 3 comments
I took another look at the blog I posted on December 21 ("The Best Jazz Albums of 2016"), a few more thoughts came to mind. With one exception (#5, Brad Mehldau Trio, Blues and Ballads, on Nonesuch), the big labels (or even labels big by jazz standards) are absent from the list. . .

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