Time to yank out the old oxygen-free crystal interconnects and gaze into audio's future for 1999. Now that www.stereophile.com has a year under its online belt, we should be able to read the sonic omens with greater resolution, or at least confine our mistakes to minor stumbles. First, we'll see how our prognostications for 1998 panned out, and spin them a little to tune in 1999. We'll add reader predictions at the bottom. Got your own predictions? Send 'em in!
You thought it was crowded last year? The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced last week that, as of the beginning of December, it looks like the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will feature a record-breaking amount of exhibit space, surpassing 1.2 million square feet.
It is with regret that we announce to Stereophile's readers the closing of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, on November 19, 1999. Known to audiophiles since its inception in 1977, the company provided serious listeners with hundreds of remastered LPs, cassettes, and CDs.
We kick off our anniversary collection with 40 Years of Stereophile: What Happened When. Editor John Atkinson recounts the complete history of Stereophile, starting in 1930 when J. Gordon Holt heard his first sound in North Carolina.
"You'd be hard-pressed to find a company more protective of its reputation than Krell," says Wes Phillips, as he heads off to evaluate the Krell KAV-300cd CD player. WP ponders whether that reputation is still intact as the company tries to save its customers some money.
Stereophile's John Atkinson teams up with world-renowned recording engineer Tony Faulkner to create a landmark Mozart recording that has just been released simultaneously on hybrid SACD/CD, and LP. In Project K622, JA recounts the entire process, noting, "The upbeat is the most magic moment in classical music making."
Believe it or not, there are reportedly several "audiophiles" out there who still refuse to accept that an extremely expensive amplifier can justify its price. "For them, the very idea of a $20,000 pair of monoblocks must seem absolutely ridiculous," writes Wes Phillips. "All I can say is that they should steer clear of the Mark Levinson No.33H, or else risk having their tidy little hypotheses shattered into tiny little pieces." For the complete review, take a look at the latest equipment report to hit the Archives: Mark Levinson No.33H monoblock power amplifier.
In his review of the Wadia 830 CD player, Brian Damkroger states: "My take on the Wadia was that: a) it probably wasn't going to sound that much better than the best of the $1000-ish players I had around, and b) even if it did, the differences wouldn't matter enough to me to justify its cost. My audio path took a dramatic turn one weekend, however, when a pair of cable manufacturers stopped by to demo their new products." Read about his journey and the ultimate audio destination will be revealed.
John Atkinson and Arnis Balgalvis audition the Avalon Eclipse loudspeaker, whose quasi-anechoic TDS response prompted JA to exclaim, "Boy, that's flat!" But is flat where it's at? AB thought so: "The sound I heard was truly outstanding."
Brian Damkroger finds that the Magnepan Magneplanar MG1.6/QR loudspeaker and a 1973 Porsche 911 have much in common: "Each has grown out of the vision of a single, brilliant designer. Each reflects the long, steady evolution of a basic design, and the consistent focus on a core set of engineering criteria." BD then listens for the fruits of this approach to speaker design and writes up the results.