2014 Recommended Components Fall Edition How to Use the Listings
2014 Recommended Components Fall Edition
Components listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile
and have been found to be among the best available in each of four or five quality classes. Whether a component is listed in Class A or Class E, we highly recommend its purchase.
Each listingin alphabetical order within classesis followed by a brief description of the product's sonic characteristics and a code indicating the Stereophile Volume and Issue in which that product's report appeared. Thus the May 2014 issue is indicated as "Vol.37 No.5."
Mark Levinson HQD loudspeaker system
We wrote a long, rather unkind report on the HQD, pointing out that, if that was typical of the way it was supposed to sound (And why not, after Mr. Levinson had installed and tweaked it?), then it had to be the most expensive bomb ever to be made available for civilian use. Mr. Levinson responded with a phone call during which he:
1) Told us we had not heard it at its best, but refused to address himself to our specific criticisms;
2) Claimed that many practicing professional musicians felt the HQD to be "extremely realistic";
3) Informed us that, since he sold very few HQD systems and would soon be discontinuing them anyway because Quad had ceased making those speakers, the "sensible" thing to do would be to kill the report; and
4) Mentioned, just in passing of course, that he was currently writing a feature article for Time on the subject of "underground" audio magazines.
Sutherland Engineering Insight phono preamplifier Specifications
Sutherland Engineering Insight phono preamplifier
Veteran phono-preamplifier designer Ron Sutherland has been partial, of late, to battery power. Getting off the grid can produce superb results, as demonstrated by his Hubble phono preamp ($3800), powered by 16 alkaline batteries.
I favorably reviewed the Hubble in the February 2010 issue, and remember loving most everything about itparticularly its drop-dead-quiet backdrops, its solid, weighty bottom end, and its fully fleshed-out instrumental textures. I was less enthused by its somewhat soft, muted high-frequency transients, though of course tastes and associated gear will differ. I need more grit, particularly for rock; you may not.
SME Series V tonearm Specifications
SME Series V tonearm Thomas J. Norton 1991
SME Series V tonearm Anthony H. Cordesman 1986
SME Series V tonearm
Once upon a time, SME made "the best tonearm in the world
." That claim may have been justifiable through the 1960s and early '70s, but then something happenedSME failed to keep pace with their competition in coping with the increasing popularity of low- to medium-compliance, highish-mass, moving-coil cartridges. I had just about written SME off as a serious high-end company when, at the 1984 Summer CES, I saw the first prototype of the Series V.
Acoustat Spectra 1100 loudspeaker Specifications