Oh, I talk a good game when it comes to the whole music-lover-vs-audiophile thing. But I admit that when it comes to record players, I'm just another hardware junkie. I love turntables and tonearms for more than the musical enjoyment they give me. Turntables and tonearms are my favorite toys.
The very last review I wrote for Hi-Fi News & Record Review (these days just plain Hi-Fi News)—before crossing the Atlantic to take up the reins at Stereophile in May 1986—was of KEF's then-new flagship speaker, the Reference 107. That rave review appeared in the English magazine's July 1986 issue, and was followed by equally positive reports from Stereophile's writers.
Consider the coelacanth. In 1938, a healthy specimen of this Paul Simon-sized fish was pulled from the Indian Ocean, not far from the mouth of South Africa's Chalumna River. But prior to that happy event (depending on your perspective, of course: the sight of the coelacanth's long, fleshy fins probably made for some very unhappy creationists), the scientific community believed the animal in question was extinct, and had been for 65 million years.
Thirty years ago, the upstart audio company NAD revolutionized the manufacturing of consumer-electronics components by "internationalizing" the process. Instead of physically making products, NAD hired a project team in one location to design a product that was then built at a sub-contracted factory located elsewhere. The arrangement allowed NAD to go into business with relatively little capital outlay and low overhead. Other companies have since copied this ingenious business model, and, as transportation and communication have improved, doing so has become easier and more efficient. It has brought prices down and quality up—mostly in the low and middle segments of the high-end audio and video markets.
Kalman Rubinson fires up the Sonic Frontiers Line 2 line preamplifier, commenting, "I began this review grudgingly because I'd made a decision a while back to no longer pursue vacuum-tube electronics." But it's where KR ends up after months of listening that counts.
One area where DVD-Audio so far has an advantage over SACD is on the computer. To date there are no SACD-compatible personal computers on the consumer market, allowing the playback of a single-layer stereo or multichannel DSD format disc. One can, however, play a DVD-Audio disc on a PC using, for example, a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 sound card.
The Swedes have found a new way to kill time on those long, cold Scandinavian winter nights. On February 7, Swedish Radio (SR) announced that it had begun multichannel test transmissions from the Sirius 2 satellite, utilizing DTS's Coherent Acoustics compression/ decompression algorithm. The tests are intended to run until the end of April 2003.