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.
A common question in the audio newsgroups these days is, "Have you tried the new PS Audio Power Plant, and what did you think?" Stereophile's Robert Deutsch takes a seasoned look at the new product in his review of the PS Audio P300 Power Plant. Does it live up to all of the hype, and is it true that the P300 is "audaciously original in concept, yet makes so much sense that you wonder why no one ever thought of it before?" Mr. Deutsch explains.
Robert Deutsch warms up the Audiopax Model Eighty Eight monoblock power amplifier to hear what famed Brazilian designer Eduardo de Lima has to offer. Deutsch notes, "The Audiopax Model Eighty Eight represents the latest refinement of de Lima's thinking about power amplifiers."
From the March 2004 issue, Kalman Rubinson files his report on the Adcom GFA-7805 five-channel power amplifier. KR notes, "It was easy for me to decide on their top-of-the-line five-channel powerhouse, the GFA-7805, because it embodies the same spirit that the GFA-555 did in its time: lots of power, no frills, good value."
From the March 2001 issue, Michael Fremer finds that, although homely in appearance, the Herron Audio M150 monoblock power amplifier has several endearing qualities. As Fremer explains, "Herron approaches the marketplace in a cautious, stealthy manner, working from the ground up to grab the ears of audiophiles." MF tells us where this amp grabbed him.
Want to start an audio newsgroup fire-fight? Just put the three letters "ABX" in the subject line of your post, sit back, and watch the pros take over. Read where it all started 15 years ago in "The Highs & Lows of Double-Blind Testing," which John Atkinson has compiled from the years 1985 and 1986, when an argumentative thread ran through Stereophile's pages discussing the benefits (or lack of) of double-blind testing methods in audio component reviewing—all triggered by J. Gordon Holt's review of the ABX Comparator.
One of the more popular monthly columns in Stereophile these days is Jonathan Scull's "Fine Tunes." To keep our online readers fit and tweaked, we are going to be adding Scull's columns to the online Archives section on a weekly basis, starting with the first column he wrote for the magazine, back in July 1998: "Fine Tunes #1." "I think I just got 2000 bucks' worth of difference," writes a reader about the value of the advice contained in J-10's first installment.
Spring typically sees Stereophile release its coveted "Records To Die For" feature, wherein everybody working for the magazine gets to make like a music critic and add their two cents about what gets them excited (musically speaking). R2D4 2000 is on newsstands right now, in the February issue of Stereophile; to commemorate its publication, we add the 1999 "Records To Die For" to the online archives.
The marque may be gone, but Proceed's PAV audio/video preamplifier is not forgotten. In 1994, Thomas J. Norton examined the breakthrough the PAV represented, stating, "It was inevitable that traditional high-end audio manufacturers would begin producing equipment for the fast-growing home-theater market."
Listening room not up to snuff? Kalman Rubinson fires up the Rives Audio PARC 3-Band Parametric Equalizer to see whether it can tame a wild acoustic beast. KR reports that at "low frequencies, electronic EQ can be implemented without introducing significant distortion or noise in the midrange, where the ear is most sensitive."
Tonal accuracy vs. soundstage? "Achieving an optimum balance between the two philosophical extremes of recording is where much of the art lies. It also begs the question, of course, of why it's impossible to have both: a recording with a virtual-reality sense of imaging that also captures all the sound without any coloration." While recording the Sonata CD for Stereophile, John Atkinson wrestles with every recording engineer's dilemma. Read about the struggle to capture Robert Silverman performing Liszt's monumental B-Minor Piano Sonata and the ultimate solution in "Fate, I Defy You," added this week to the archives.