When a well-respected analog disc-mastering veteran like Stan Ricker says that the Alesis MasterLink ML-9600, a hard-disk-based digital recorder/CD burner, is "the best tool in my mastering bag...done right it can sound better than all but the absolute top drawer analog," you take the endorsement seriously. Progress is possible. Mastering tool, CD burner, 24-bit/96kHz recorder, audio reviewer's best friend—the versatile MasterLink is one of the coolest products I've ever had my hands on.
Kal Rubinson gets in shape for some heavy lifting to review the B&W Signature 800 loudspeaker. "The Signature 800 is part of B&W's Prestige line, which represents the best that B&W can do with present loudspeaker technology," reports Kal, who watched with anticipation as a team of four hefted the 275-pound beauties into place.
Using personal computers to listen to music may be heresy in some audiophile circles, but the practice is definitely on the rise. Recognition of the fact has led at least one maker of computer motherboards to introduce a model with a vacuum-tube audio circuit.
There's no question that restricted-use or copy-protected CDs are finding their way onto retailer shelves and into unsuspecting consumer hands—often with frustrating results. What is in doubt in many consumers' minds is how to recognize a restricted-use disc before purchase.
The entertainment industry has been crying wolf about the impending death of its collective livelihood since the first recording device hit the market decades ago. In spite of those dire predictions, reel-to-reel tape decks, cassette recorders, and VCRs hardly dented sales, and may in fact have contributed to unprecedented world-wide growth.
Sometimes it all comes down to the shape of the side panels. I was smitten by the gentle curves of the Burmester B99 loudspeaker's aluminum side grilles, which have uncommon grace. A love affair with an enclosure? Well, yes. After all, beauty is an intensely personal matter. In the words of Burmester's motto: "Art for the ear."
I once got a fortune cookie that read, "Ask and ye shall receive. This includes trouble." A few years back, shopping for speakers, I inquired about reviewing the B&W Nautilus 802, but it was too soon after Wes Phillips had reviewed the Nautilus 801 for Stereophile. So, other auditioning and reviewing (and buying) other speakers, I asked again, and again was met with deferral. Recently, out of the blue, B&W offered the Nautilus 802—then, in the next breath, asked if I'd rather have the Signature 800s.