At present, the recording industry is based on a variety of analog and PCM digital audio formats, putting proponents of Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD, which is based on the Direct Stream Digital, or DSD, format) in a tough place when it comes to creating pure DSD works for showing off the format. To date, labels have had a limited number of options for creating, mixing, and mastering pure DSD projects.
We kick off our anniversary collection with 40 Years of Stereophile: What Happened When. Editor John Atkinson recounts the complete history of Stereophile, starting in 1930 when J. Gordon Holt heard his first sound in North Carolina.
"The monthly miracle," it's called in publishing: that magical moment when the new issue of your magazine arrives in the mailbox hot from the printer. And with this issue of Stereophile—No.274, or Vol.25 No.11—we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the start of our "miracle." With the 20 pages of Issue No.1, Vol.1 No.1, cover-dated September-October 1962, "Ye Editor & Publisher" J. Gordon Holt introduced both a new audio magazine and the philosophy that an audio product is best reviewed by doing exactly what its purchasers will do: listen to it. On that small rock of an idea was founded not only Stereophile but the entire high-end audio industry. Here, reprinted from a 1974 anthology of the first 12 issues, is J. Gordon Holt's description of the events that led up to the founding of Stereophile:
And I used to think our annual "Records To Die For" issue was difficult. Whew! When it came down to choosing the 40 most influential rock/pop, jazz, and classical records of the past 40 years, during which this magazine has been the most honest and enjoyable source of high-end audio journalism, my initial list contained more than 200 choices. A painful paring-down process ensued, with input from every member of the Stereophile staff.
"Most important." That was the phrase I used when I e-mailed the members of Stereophile's extended family of reviewers and writers to ask for suggestions when I began to compile this list. I didn't want to be more specific because I wanted to cast the net as wide as possible. But there are many factors that make an audio component "important": design innovation, sound quality, sales figures, influence on other designers, influence on the evolving market, influence on system synergy.
CARTER, COBB, COLEMAN, STERN: 4 Generations of Miles George Coleman, tenor sax; Mike Stern, electric guitar; Ron Carter, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums Chesky JD238 (CD). 2002. David Chesky, prod.; Barry Wolifson, eng.; Nicholas Prout, mastering. DDD. TT: 67:06 Performance ****½ Sonics *****
The latest figures for the music industry remain grim: Online sales of recorded music have dropped 20% through the first half of 2002 compared with the same period last year, losing ground faster than the overall US music market, which lost 7% during the same period, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). And the trend is accelerating. The latest numbers show online sales down 25% in the third quarter over last year.
Folk wisdom has it that fools lock the barn door after the horses have escaped. They also chase all over the countryside trying to catch them. The music business is doing some of both in legal action brought against file-sharing service Madster.
John Atkinson and Arnis Balgalvis audition the Avalon Eclipse loudspeaker, whose quasi-anechoic TDS response prompted JA to exclaim, "Boy, that's flat!" But is flat where it's at? AB thought so: "The sound I heard was truly outstanding."