Pay $350,000 for an amplifier?!?!! Michael Fremer takes a deep breath and plugs in the Wavac SH-833 monoblock power amplifier in order to hear for himself what he might get if he traded in his house. "When tmh's Jim Ricketts asked me if I wanted to review this eight-box assemblage," says MF, "the first thing I did was laugh at the ludicrousness of the situation. Then I said, 'Why the hell not?'"
In his second installment of "Fine Tunes," Jonathan Scull writes: "I met a chap the other day whose wife said to me, 'Oh, you suffer from the same audiophile disease.' I hastened to inform her that I am the disease." But J-10 is also the cure, as he proves in this ode to building the perfect listening room.
Martin Colloms reviewed the Sonus Faber Guarneri Homage loudspeaker back in 1994, finding that "Sonus Faber provides a fascinating and challenging insight into the art of high-quality sound reproduction." But does the diminutive Guarneri breathe real music? Colloms reports.
Winter had just touched down in Santa Fe two days before the recording sessions were to begin, leading Wes Phillips to wonder if the damp air would wreak havoc with tuning. But he needn't have worried, writing that violinist Ida Levin "played with such intense concentration that sometimes she seemed about to levitate off the floor as she chased a melodic line into the ether." In Duet: And Two to Carry Your Soul Away, Ida Levin and John Atkinson join Wes Phillips in chronicling the recording from both musical and technical perspectives.
We kick off three speaker reviews from the September issue with Brian Damkroger's assessment of the Audio Physic Virgo III loudspeaker. A perfect meld of minimonitor and full-range bass extension? BD reveals all.
With multichannel DVD-Audio just around the corner, the surround-sound debate among audiophiles is starting anew. But how far have we come with surround sound in 30 years? J. Gordon Holt wrote "Bye Bye, Quadrifi?" back in 1971, in which he explored the same dilemmas faced by today's audiophile.
After a frustrating late-night duel with evil recording gremlins, JA called it a day. But the next morning he was back at the controls to record Canadian pianist Robert Silverman for what would subsequently become one of Stereophile's popular audiophile recordings: Intermezzo: Works for Piano by Brahms. In Intermezzo: The Santa Barbara Sessions, writer Thomas Norton runs down the key events that finally resulted in a completed analog master tape, with engineering from Water Lily Acoustics' Kavichandran Alexander.
Chip Stern writes, "There is something enduring and reassuring in the classic audio verities." The Vandersteen 2Ce Signature loudspeaker is certainly considered one of those timeless classics. But how does a speaker released in its first incarnation more than 20 years ago hold up by today's standards? Stern lends his modern ear to the task and includes notes from Richard Vandersteen himself.
"No doubt about it—Linn's top-of-the-line Komri loudspeaker is a queer-lookin' duck," says Jonathan Scull as he set up a pair in his listening lair. The claimed frequency response for the Komri extends out to 40kHz. "Why even bother going out that high, where even the most beautiful of women cannot hear?" J-10 explains why.