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.
In his review of the SimAudio Moon P-5 preamplifier and W-5 power amplifier, Kal Rubinson wrote, "something about their aesthetics appealed to me: Canadian ruggedness coupled with a decidedly French panache. I remember that those attributes also characterized the demo's sound, although I can't recall the speakers or the sources involved. At succeeding shows, it gradually dawned on me that the Moon components were the fixed elements in a succession of impressive demos."
Sure, we review a lot of big-bucks equipment in Stereophile, but readers constantly remind us to try the cheaper stuff as well. John Atkinson does exactly that in his review of the Acoustic Energy Aegis One loudspeaker. As JA puts it, "Acoustic Energy has introduced the Aegis One; its price is one-tenth that of the AE1 in its current, Signature guise. Does the Aegis One live up to what its heritage promises? I asked the company's US distributor, Audiophile Systems, to send me a pair so I could find out."
Amplifier of the year? We'll have to wait until the votes are tallied in the December issue, but Paul Bolin reviews the Halcro dm58 monoblock power amplifier and reveals what the fuss is all about. As Bolin notes, "the sheer audacity of Halcro's claims generated much curiosity and interest."
Robert Deutsch says, "There is something special about SETs: a kind of midrange magic, a harmonic rightness that tends to elude other amplifier designs." But how to get more power from a single-ended triode design? In his review of the Air Tight ATM-211 monoblock power amplifier RD discovers one answer.