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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 15, 2013 0 comments
Sonus faber mated its Olympica 3 loudspeakers ($13,500/pair) with Audio Research’s Reference CD9 CD/DAC player ($13,000), Reference 75 amplifier ($9000), and SP20 preamplifier ($9000). Heard through AudioQuest Redwood cables, the system uncompromisingly conveyed the take-no-prisoners nature of the demo CD that was playing during my time in the room.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: May 09, 2013 0 comments
Sony's Yuki Sugiura adjusts the controls in Music Lovers' Reference Room

"Sensational" is an adjective far overplayed in "fine audio" circles (to borrow a phrase that Bob Levi of T.H.E. Show Newport Beach has been using). But I know of no better word to describe the jaw-dropping sound of a dCS/Boulder/Sony set-up at a May 4 demo in the Theater 2 room of Music Lovers Audio, San Francisco. With the assistance of a full complement of Transparent Audio cabling, save for an all-important active USB cable from Synergistic Research, the MacBook Pro/Audirvana-source system, featuring the Sony SS-AR1 speakers that so impressed Kal Rubinson in July 2011 was nothing short of sensational.

For me, the demo began when John R. Quick of Tempo Sales, distributor of digital equipment from UK-based dCS (Data Conversion Systems, Ltd.), ran up to me upon my arrival. Enthusiastically greeting me and my two remarkably well-behaved terrier mixes, Daisy Mae Doven and Leo Gleesun, he declared, "Jason, I have great news for you."

"I can hardly keep hold of the leashes, John," I said, quivering with anticipation. "Tell me, please, before I lose my grip."

"The new Synergistic Research USB Active SE cable blows every other USB cable I've tried out of the water. You've got to hear this thing."

Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2013 2 comments
Sony’s new SS-NA2ES loudspeakers ($10,000/pair, to be reviewed in the September issue of Stereophile) are hardly huge speakers. Yet in a ballroom system that included Pass Labs’ highly prized X600.5 monoblocks ($22,000/pair) and XP-20 preamplifier ($8600), the Sony speakers delivered an amazingly large soundstage further distinguished by an exceedingly beautiful, warm, and clear sound.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 24, 2014 11 comments
On Thursday April 24, Sony announced a new round of reasonably priced products, all of which are capable of high-resolution audio playback. Sony's unequivocal embrace of high-resolution audio—the acronym HRA seems to have become the mutually accepted, industry-wide term—was the main order of business. Defining HRA as everything greater than Red Book CD (16/44.1k) Jeff Hiatt, the company's Director of Home Audio (above), began by stating, "We have sacrificed quality in order to get convenience. MP3 has been degrading the quality of music, and was a quantum leap backwards. The young generation doesn't even realize that they're not listening to music as the artist intended it be heard."
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2014 0 comments
Excellent bass, speed, and a distinctly solid-state signature of high-end three-dimensionality were the hallmarks of a Sony system that paired the TA-A1ES 80Wpc integrated amplifier ($2000) with the new HAP-Z1ES hi-res music player with 1TB HDD ($2000), SS-NA2ES loudspeakers ($10,000/pair), and Kimber Select copper speaker cables and copper power cables. This was my first opportunity to experience the much heralded "audiophile grade" HAP-Z1ES, which plays back a full range of file formats, including DSD; includes a 1TB hard drive for playback and storage; has built-in Wi-Fi for app control and music transfer; and, shades of far more expensive dCS, includes a DSD re-mastering engine that converts all signals to DSD.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 15, 2013 1 comments
In the room set up by Holm Audio of Woodridge, IL, Sony SS-AR1 loudspeakers ($27,000/pair) dominated a system in which Nordost Odin cabling—Odin power cord ($15,999/2.5m), interconnects ($19,999/2m) and speaker cable ($25,999/2m)—transmitted signals from a Rega RP6 turntable ($1990 with Rega Exact cartridge), Hegel HD25 32-bit DAC ($2500), Manley Chinook phono preamp ($2250), Hegel CDP2A ($2650), Hegel P20 preamplifier ($2900), and Hegel H20 amplifier ($5750). On Randy Crawford's CD, We'll Fly Away, the sound was very smooth and non-fatiguing, but lacked sparkle.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 29, 2014 1 comments
Show attendees have grown accustomed to hearing Sony's SSAR-1 loudspeakers ($27,000/pair) and other components mated with Pass Labs electronics. This time, however, their appearance with Rogue Audio's Hera II preamp ($8995) and Apollo Dark monoblocks ($14,995/pair), with Nordost Valhalla 2 cabling and power treatment, made for a unique and most successful pairing. This room sponsored by Holm Audio of Chicago was a definite best-of-show contender.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jul 08, 2007 0 comments
Treasured as much for her bubbling personality and administrative acumen as for her extraordinary voice, coloratura soprano Beverly Sills died of lung cancer on July 2. One of the finest high-flying sopranos of the latter 20th century, she leaves behind a rich legacy of recordings and an opera scene revitalized by her tireless efforts on behalf of American singers.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 14, 2007 10 comments
In Hebrew, the number 18 is called "chai," which also means "life." As my final (and 18th) blog entry from Day One at RMAF, I was happy to report how thrilled Jeff Wilson and I were with the sound in the Gill/Art Audio/Daedalus room.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: May 30, 2015 5 comments
The ribbon had been cut and the trumpets sounded. THE Show Newport Beach, whose 2015 installment had moved a mile or two up the road into Irvine, was underway. Doing the honors at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were, from left to right, a gold chain-bedecked Steve Rochlin of Enjoy the Music, accompanied by his wife, Heather to his left, and an unidentified woman to his right; Michael Fremer of Stereophile and; David Robinson of Positive Feedback, Robert Harley of The Absolute Sound.


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