Now on Newsstands: Stereophile, Vol.32 No.7
The July 2009 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands. You should be able to spot it easily. It's all dressed up in orange and blue (like Colorado's favorite football team, the Denver Broncos) in tribute to the cover model, Boulder's incredible 1021 Disc Player.
Actually, we chose blue to go along with the CD metadata for "Rhapsody in Blue," which cleverly appears on the Boulder's large display, and orange simply because we hadn't used orange in the past. I especially liked the combination of orange and blue for New York Mets-ical reasons. (Even though the Mets continue to break my heart, I love them dearly.)
Steve Guttenberg (no, not that Steve Guttenberg, but CNET's Steve Guttenberg, The Audiophiliac) opens the issue with his pledge of allegiance to stereo and a question regarding multichannel music: What happened to it?
Perhaps Kal Rubinson offers an answer in his "Music in the Round" column. He reports on Oppo's long-awaited BDP-83 Blu-ray player and has some fun with locking HDMI connectors. Meanwhile, Sam Tellig visits McIntosh headquarters in Binghamton, New York, and compares Mac's C220 "control amp" to Conrad-Johnson's Classic Special Edition. Guess what. He likes 'em both! Impossible!
Oh, good grief. Do you know what Mikey Fremer went and did? He issued a no-holds-barred phono cable shoot-out. This was like the Battle Royal of hi-fi: Twelve contenders in the squared circle, vying to be crowned the undisputed DIN/RCA heavyweight champion. And the winner is?
In "Listening," Art Dudley reports from the Salon Son & Image in Montreal. But this isn't your grandma's show report. Art returns from Canada with the really important scoops: "Most disappointing sound," "Best budget system," and "Phrase heard most often in conversation with accessory manufacturers," (Parts 1 & 2!).
We also have a couple of outstanding features in the July issue. Steve Harris shares his conversation with the late John Crabbe, editor of Hi-Fi News during hi-fi's formative years and mentor to our own John Atkinson. Steve Harris tells us:
Under John's editorship of Hi-Fi News there was always a vein of whimsical and rather eccentric humor. Much more important, though, was the way he established a lasting ethos for the magazine, combining technical and factual accuracy with unshakable integrity and a mission to inform and educate.
And Robert Baird talks to my all-time favorite band, Sonic Youth, about moving to Matador Records and recording their new album, The Eternal. Several months ago, when Robert first mentioned the idea of the interview and asked me to accompany him not only to the band's studio but also to Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon's home, I nearly passed out. You see, the members of Sonic Youth are kind of like gods to me, and I sorta don't want to find out that they're actually just human. I have had plenty of opportunities to speak with them: I've been in the same room with Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo lots of times, and I managed to avoid eye contact and generally make myself invisible; I have booked shows in which members of the band have performed, and I hung out at the far end of the bar; I dated a girl who played in a band with Sonic Youth's drummer Steve Shelley, and I never wanted to talk to her about it; thanks to my college girlfriend, Michelle, I did speak to Lee Ranaldo for a few trembling moments, and I got a couple of blurry photographs out of it; I have had friends of theirs invite me to parties, and I have declined emphatically. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Now our music editor interviews the band in Hoboken, minutes away from my own home, and I go to work instead.
I mean, what do you say to your gods? Thanks? And then what? Well, Robert talked to them about their days at Geffen, their homecoming with Matador, their excellent new album, their recording process and studio gear, and their relationships. Hmm, accompanying Robert on the interview might be another one of those many things that I forever regret not doing. Like kissing Susanna Diaz in the hallway to her parents' apartment on Valentine's Day in eighth grade. I should've done it. It's not unreasonable to think that my entire life would have turned out differently had I kissed her. (But I was so scared!) And along those same lines: Just about every woman I've ever loved has recently acquired a new last name (WTF?), which makes tracking them down on the internet a whole lot more difficult.
What else? Oh yes. The July issue of Stereophile.
The July issue of Stereophile is orange and blue and includes something like 40 pages of equipment reports on everything from the $24,000 Boulder 1021 Disc Player to the $200 Grado Prestige Gold phono cartridge to the radical new Minimum Phase firmware upgrade for Ayre's C-5xe universal player. And you know you want it. It's an excellent magazine, and you should buy it because you only regret the things you don't do. Trust me on that.