"It costs as much as a car—and not a used jalopy, either," remarks Michael Fremer. "That's what goes through your head as you contemplate this magnificent $20,190 piece of audio jewelry." The jewelry in question is the Jadis RC JP80 MC Mk.II preamplifier, which MF compliments for "breathtaking" workmanship and parts quality. He also listens to the thing and reveals what some might consider the most important part: how it sounds.
While decidedly "niche products," as Martin Colloms describes them, single-ended (SE) tube amplifiers have still found a happy home in many audiophile systems. But a trap awaits those who wish to evaluate the differences between an SE and a solid-state or push-pull tube amplifier, or between two SE amps. In "The Unseen Variable," Colloms digs to the bottom of this complicated matter.
John Atkinson finishes his survey of pricey floor-standing speakers with a review of the Dynaudio Confidence C4 loudspeaker. JA notes that, "despite its $16,000/pair price, the C4 has much in common with its cost-no-object cousins in Dynaudio's Evidence line."
At the start of his review of the Balanced Audio Technology VK-D5 CD player, Jonathan Scull observes, "Man, has Balanced Audio Technology come a long way in a short time." Scull goes in-depth with the VK-D5 to explain just what he's found.
In his review of the Music Reference RM-200 power amplifier, Michael Fremer claims, "Reviewing a vacuum-tube power amplifier is like having your pants pulled down in front of a large crowd of people." MF explains why he reviewed the RM-200 despite the inevitable public humiliation.
Kalman Rubinson didn't expect to complete a full review of the Revel Ultima Studio loudspeaker, planning instead to investigate only the company's F30 (also available in the online archives). But after the Studios ended up spending several months in his home, there was only one honorable option available: 'fess up and submit his true feelings.
Sam Tellig and Lonnie Brownell both provide trenchant analyses of the Bryston B-60R integrated amplifier. Tellig notes, "With Bryston gear, you get solid engineering and impeccable—I was going to say unimpeachable—build quality. This is what you pay for; not bulletproof faceplates, gold-plated name badges, or the like."
Several months back, Stereophile editor John Atkinson asked David Rich to investigate the technical merits of SACD. With Super Audio CD: The Rich Report, DR discovers that there is both more and less than meets the ear to the new format, including why it is being promoted in the first place.
John Atkinson gets his mitts on the PSB Platinum T8 loudspeaker and remarks that "talented loudspeaker engineers do not stand still, and neither do the resources and technology available to them." Does PSB's new flagship design live up to JA's expectations? All is revealed.
John Atkinson has found himself swept away by the expensive speakers from Wilson Audio Specialties, so he set forth to put the company's new, modestly-priced Sophia loudspeaker to the test. JA writes, "The Sophia is all new, from its handcrafted enclosure to its custom-built drive-units."
Back in 1997, DVD-Audio was still miles away—and it may still be! But, as John Atkinson writes, "After a decade of stability, with slow but steady improvement in the quality of 16-bit/44.1kHz audio, the cry among audio engineers is now '24/96!'—meaning 24-bit data sampled at 96kHz. Not coincidentally, DVD offers audiophiles a medium with the potential for playing back music encoded at this new mastering standard." The dCS Elgar D/A processor was one of the first consumer units able to decode 24/96, and still stands as a benchmark product. JA gives the details.
They've been around for years, under a variety of guises and from an evolving list of manufacturers and distributors. But the BBC LS3/5a loudspeakers still cling to their legendary status. We provide not only J. Gordon Holt's original 1977 review for Stereophile, but also follow-ups from 1984, 1989, and 1993. Read about the little speaker that could.