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Kalman Rubinson Posted: Mar 27, 2013 18 comments
There has been a lot of buzz lately generated by show demonstrations of DSD recordings played directly from files and as the opportunity to download DSD files is expanding. The reactions of our writers have ranged from "impressive," to an "epiphany," to my own delight reported in the upcoming May issue of Stereophile. The hardware used has been mostly professional (Sonoma workstation) or semi-professional (Mytek Stereo 192-DSD) or, at the very least, costly enough for the unconvinced to hesitate. Now, in one fell swoop, Oppo has made this possible at no cost at all for those of us who own an Oppo BDP-103 or BDP-105.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 17, 2013 16 comments
Alan (left) and Simon (right) Zreczny of Audio Consultants

When a retailer entitles his two-day open house, "Innovations in High Fidelity," it's essential that his staff know their stuff. For Audio Consultants, there was no question. With four stores in the greater Chicago area, Audio Consultants is, save perhaps for Magnolia, the largest as well as longest established audio dealer in the region.

Audio Consultants was also the only Chicago area high-end store to abstain from exhibiting at Axpona Chicago. When asked why, Simon Zreczny, who runs the store with his son, Alan, replied, "I don't like to be at shows. I don't enjoy doing them. I'm happiest with my customers. I attend 50 live concerts a year, and I always see my customers next to me."

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 17, 2013 2 comments
Visitors to Montreal's annual Salon Son et Image (SSI) high performance audio show will notice some changes when the three-day event opens to the public on Friday March 22 in its customary location, Hotel Hilton Bonaventure. For starters, instead of the approximately 100 exhibit rooms encountered in 2011, and the approximately 85 last year, visitors will discover 70, including two dedicated to home theater, as well as 370 brands.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Mar 03, 2013 3 comments
There's been a lot of concern expressed about the difficulties experienced by bricks-and-mortar audio retailers, and I guess these concerns are well founded, but some retailers continue to not only survive but thrive.

One such retailer is American Sound of Canada, located in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill. Owned and managed by Angie Lisi (known to all her customers as just "Angie"), American Sound was founded in 1970, and has recently opened a second location a few miles up the road, called Angie's Audio Corner, specializing in their higher-end lines. Angie's very capable assistants, Leyland and Arnold, now look after the Richmond Hill store, and Angie's Audio Corner is Angie's baby. Converted from an old residential property, Angie's Audio Corner has a more sophisticated upscale boutique vibe than the Richmond Hill store, but, with Angie in charge, the atmosphere is still welcoming rather than stuffy.

Angie's Audio Corner had an event on February 28 to introduce some of their new lines, including Joseph Audio speakers, the latest Meridian Sooloos music server, Brinkmann turntables, and Zesto Audio line stage and phono stage.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 03, 2013 6 comments
It's not just the first audio show in Chicago in 14 years, since Stereophile's Hi-Fi ’99 at the Palmer House. It's also the first in a millennium where computer audio is changing every aspect of the music and audio industries.

Nor is it a minor effort. AXPONA Chicago, which runs March 8–10 on five floors of the Doubletree by Hilton O'Hare Airport, promises 90 separate exhibit rooms, 74 table displays in approximately 30 different booths presenting 100 or so brands, and equipment from over 400 manufacturers. Dealers exhibiting number 26, with 15 from Chicago, and others from New York, California, Florida, and other states. That's a lot of show.

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John Marks Posted: Feb 24, 2013 0 comments
Image courtesy the Berklee College of Music

Since its founding, Boston's famed Berklee College of Music has marched to the beat of its own drum section, preferring experienced working musicians over credentialed academics as instructors, and emphasizing practical knowledge over disembodied theory. In collaboration with Coursera, the online learning company, and starting March 1, Berklee will be offering at no charge the course Introduction to Music Production, taught by Berklee instructor Loudon Stearns.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Feb 11, 2013 5 comments
Sonos's Geoff Marks talks to attendees about networked music

If ever one needed an object lesson on how to put on a successful demo, the team at AudioVision San Francisco provided. At an evening entitled "A Sonos Wireless Event," held on the evening of February 7, at least three demonstrations were held simultaneously: the first in the store's main "High-End System" room, which in itself involved two different systems; a second in the store's smaller demo room, again including a switch of Triangle loudspeakers, Bel Canto Design electronics, and Nordost cabling; and at least one more in the hallway. Representatives from Sonos Wireless Audio, Bel Canto Design and Nordost conducted the demos with an able assist from AudioVision staff.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Jan 31, 2013 1 comments
Vladmir Lamm flips the record. The LP1 is on the top of the shelf to his left.

On Wednesday January 29th, 2013, Innovative Audio Video Showrooms hosted the NYC premier of the Lamm LP1 Signature phono preamplifier ($32,790).

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John Marks Posted: Jan 28, 2013 2 comments
Photo courtesy the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

I certainly am no stranger to the idea that a "student" orchestra can turn in a performance undeniably superior to those offered by many "professional" orchestras. After all, my favorite commercial recording of Mahler's Symphony 6 is by the orchestra of The Manhattan School of Music, conducted by Glenn Cortese.

But what a special treat it was to hear Daniel Barenboim conduct the orchestra he founded with Edward Said in Weimar in 1999, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, in a program of Beethoven's Second and Third ("Eroica") Symphonies at Providence's Veterans Memorial Auditorium on January 26. The concert was presented by the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown University. The communication between the conductor and the orchestra members, who obviously revere him, was a wonder to behold. Further, when the carefully-nurtured dynamics finally opened all the way up, the near-stunning sound was a rapturous feast of tactile tonal richness.

My advice: If you live in Big Apple-Land, do whatever it takes to hear Maestro Barenboim leading his young charges in all the Beethoven Symphonies at Carnegie Hall, January 30 to February 3.

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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 27, 2013 4 comments
Bill Thomas at CES with the ground-breaking coaxial HF/MF unit designed by Jim Thiel (Photo: John Atkinson)

We reported last November that Thiel Audio Products, the Kentucky-based speaker manufacturer founded by Kathy Gornik and the late Jim Thiel, had been had been acquired by a private equity firm based in Nashville, TN, and that Gornik was no longer with the company. At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, held January 8–11 in Las Vegas, the Thiel display at the Sands Convention Center was packed. I met up with Thiel's new CEO, 55-year old Bill Thomas, and asked him what had led him and his two partners to acquire the company.

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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jan 03, 2013 0 comments
Saturday, February 23, 1–6pm: The Capital Audiofest and DCAudioDIY will hold a listening party at Capital Audiofest founder Gary Gill’s home, in Fells Point, Baltimore.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 02, 2013 5 comments
David Manley, 73, founder of VTL, Manley Laboratories, and the ViTaL record label, died of a heart attack on December 26, 2012, at a hospital near his home in Varrennes-Jarcy, France. Famously described in the pages of Stereophile by Robert Harley in a 1991 interview as expressing "his strongly held beliefs with a passion and conviction that the printed word does not adequately convey," Manley leaves behind a rich legacy that continues to grow under the leadership of, for VTL, his son Luke Manley and daughter-in-law Beatrice Lam, and for Manley Labs, his fifth wife, EveAnna Manley.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Dec 24, 2012 7 comments
Just in time for the New Year, Cookie Marenco of Blue Coast Records has released the first-ever DSD (Direct-Stream-Digital) download of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra's recording of Mahler's Symphony No.1. Recorded live in Davies Symphony Hall in September 2001, shortly after 9/11, and first released as a hybrid SACD in 2003, the recording is one of the only four Mahler symphonies in SFSO's complete Mahler cycle that were recorded directly to DSD.

The Mahler 1 files, available in four formats, are all derived directly from San Francisco Symphony's master, not from a copy of the SACD. The formats include two DSD formats: DFF and DSF. For those whose computer playback software or DACs are not equipped to play DSD files, 24/96 and 16/44.1 PCM files in WAV format are also available.

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John Atkinson Posted: Nov 29, 2012 22 comments
Thiel co-founders the late Jim Thiel (left) and Kathy Gornik (right) at the 2009 CES

We received the following press release last night. No more information was available and there was no word when this story was first posted on whether or not Thiel cofounder Kathy Gornik will remain with the company. Since then, however, CEPro.com has reported that Kathy and her daughter Dawn Cloyd, who was director of international sales, will both leave Thiel. Why the sale? Our suspicion is that while Thiel remains a great brand, it is too small a company, with no access to a significant source of capital, to be able to compete effectively in today's market.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Nov 23, 2012 7 comments
At the 133rd Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center, a full house flocked to aptly numbered Room 133 on October 27 to hear Stereophile's John Atkinson and four other major audio professionals deliver a two-hour presentation, Loudness Wars: The Wrong Drug? Sharing the stage were the panel's chair, Thomas Lund of TC Electronic A/S from Risskov, Denmark; Florian Camerer of ORF of Vienna, Austria; fabled recording and mastering engineer Bob Katz of Digital Domain in Orlando, Florida; and the equally fabled George Massenburg, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, who engineered, among other things, that audiophile favorite, Jennifer Warnes' "Bird on a Wire."

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