LATEST ADDITIONS

Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 04, 2014 28 comments
Entering the first of four rooms sponsored by Brian Berdan's Audio Element of Pasadena felt like coming home. Not only was I among familiar friends—Wilson Audio Sasha Series 2 loudspeakers ($29,950/pair); mighty VTL Siegfried Reference monoblocks Series II ($65,000/pair), accompanied by VTL's TL-7.5 Reference line preamplifier Series III ($25,000) and TP-6.5 Signature phono stage ($12,000); dCS four-stack, state-of-the-art Vivaldi Digital Playback System ($108,996 total); Transparent Opus MM and Reference cables ($105,500 total); Grand Prix Audio Silverstone 4-shelf Isolation system ($19,175), Monaco-5 shelf Isolation system ($8400), and Formula Platforms ($6900); Audience AdeptResponse aR12TSS power conditioner ($11,545); and, a bit less familiar, Grand Prix Audio Monaco 1.5 turntable ($23,500) with new Tri-Planar SE tonearm ($7500) and luscious Lyra Etna cartridge ($6995)—but I also finally heard a quality of musical presentation that decades upon decades of attending live performance have led me to hunger for.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 03, 2014 3 comments
Friday morning, May 30, was Day One of T.H.E Show Newport Beach. With the opening bell struck, as it were, by a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the lobby of the Hilton that I miss due to a very slow kitchen at the adjacent Atrium hotel, I dash from hotel to hotel to discover, instead of a frayed red Mylar ribbon or a row of hot, class-A amplifiers, a line of audio hot-rodded classic and contemporary cars.
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Robert J. Reina Posted: Jun 02, 2014 0 comments
When I began my journey into audiophilia, I was in awe of the Audio Research Corporation's flagship SP preamplifiers. As I sat there in the early 1980s with my modest Apt Holman preamp, all of my friends had ARC SP6Bs. By today's standards, the SP6B was colored, did not portray a realistic soundstage, and lacked sufficient gain to amplify the low-output moving-coil cartridges of the day. But it had an intimacy in the midrange that was intoxicating. (Still considered a classic design by many, the SP6B's price on the used market has remained virtually unchanged for 30 years.) Then, still in the early '80s, ARC raised the bar with the SP-10 ($3700). It had 15 tubes and an outboard power supply, and set a new standard for delicacy, drama, and authority. (John Atkinson still has the SP10 he bought in 1984.)
Brian Damkroger Posted: Jun 02, 2014 1 comments
Audiophiles spend a lot of time thinking about the law of diminishing returns. We'd all agree that spending $1000 to replace an iPhone and generic earbuds with one of Stephen Mejias's "Entry Level" systems is in the early, steep part of the curve: a huge jump in performance for relatively small investment. We'd also agree, or at least suspect, that after you've spent that $1000, the curve gets a lot flatter. What we don't agree on is the shape of the curve between these points. The ideal situation is to find the knee: the point at which the curve's slope changes dramatically. At the knee, we've gotten most of what we want, and the next increment of performance improvement is disproportionally expensive.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: May 31, 2014 0 comments
Paul Bley's Play Blue: Oslo Concert (on the ECM label) is a bracing solo piano album. Think Keith Jarrett, with less Rachmaninoff and more Monk, but the distinctions sway on the margins. Bley too is a romantic improviser, immersed in jazz idiom but classically trained (and he lets it show, though less showily than Jarrett).
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Robert Baird Posted: May 30, 2014 7 comments
Before there were jam bands, before the term even existed in fact, there was a fabulous, funky assemblage called Little Feat.
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John Atkinson Posted: May 30, 2014 16 comments
For Jason Victor Serinus, one of the highlights of the 2013 T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, California, was the public debut of the Sopranino—a horn-loaded, self-polarized, electrostatic supertweeter from EnigmAcoustics. In his report, Jason wrote about the sound of a pair of Sopraninos used atop Magico V3 speakers: "only folks with severe hearing loss would have missed how the sound opened up when the Sopranino was switched in." Well, as you can read later, I don't have hearing loss, and I did also hear an improvement with the Sopranino. So when I visited the Californian company's dem room at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, I asked for review samples.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 30, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 5 comments
In response to my review of Music Hall's USB-1 turntable, that company's founder and president for life, Roy Hall, noted my detailed explanation of the product, diverse taste in music, and keen attention to minutiae. He then offered six words of final observation that will, if there is any justice in this world, go down in Stereophile lore: "The kid has gotta get laid."
John Atkinson Posted: May 27, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 5 comments
A year or so ago, in my review of the Pass Labs XP-30 preamplifier, I wrote that the heart of an audio system is the preamplifier, in that it sets the overall quality of the system's sound. But it is the power amplifier that is responsible for determining the character of the system's sound, because it is the amplifier that must directly interface with the loudspeakers. The relationship between amplifier and loudspeaker is complex, and the nature of that relationship literally sets the tone of the sound quality.
Art Dudley Posted: May 27, 2014 11 comments
Ten years ago, the average consumer was unaware that he or she needed an e-book reader. Since that time, neither those people nor the authors whose books they consume have changed very much. But the people in between have grown restless and unsatisfied, and it is they who call the tune. Consequently, many of you have gone from owning books to sort of, kind of owning books (and sort of, kind of not).

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