Since 1992, Stereophile has recognized components that have proved capable of giving musical pleasure beyond the formal review period by naming its "Products of the Year." These are the components that can be recommended without any ifs or buts, that will grace any system in which they used.
In a sense, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist are music historians and preservationists. In "The Hard Sell," they take us on a scratching, mixing, looping journey through musical genres and fads, from the wildly obscure to the completely commercial, while employing not one, not two, but eight turntables and a collection of original 45rpm seven-inch singles that would make Mikey Fremer's hair go straight.
It’s been an unusually stressful couple of months here at Stereophile, thanks in large part to a succession of unusually demanding endeavors. Preparing our October issue was difficult for the usual reason (“Recommended Components”) and our November issue was particularly exciting for me, as it includes my first full-length review (VPI Traveler turntable), but nothing could prepare us for the intensity that came with producing, in a single month, both our December issue and our annual special issue.
Really, one issue per month is enough fun; two is cruel and unusual. In previous years, we created a Buyer’s Guide, but this year, we opted for something a bit more extravagant: 10 Years of “Recommended Components.”
First of all, I’d like to point out that, though I probably should have, I did not take this picture. This picture was taken by VPI’s young Mathew Weisfeld, who is way cooler than me.
Now, the turntable is VPI’s Traveler, which I review in our November issue. What turntable, you ask? That turntable therethe one behind the girl in the red glasses. (The red glasses, she told me, weren’t hers, but instead belonged to Music Hall’s Leland Leard. But that’s another story.)
It’s difficult to tell from my poorly shot photograph, but Audio Electronics’ range of affordable products seem to offer the same high level of fit and finish one would expect from their more ambitious parent, Cary Audio.
Though I was exhausted from a long day of walking through enormous casinos and down seemingly endless halls, I couldn’t resist the allure of flashing lights and loud dance music. I walked into the room and was startled by red-and-white-striped jump ropes spinning dizzying patterns to the music.
I heard a surprisingly engaging, well-balanced sound coming from SkullCandy’s new Navigator on-ear headphone ($99.95), a smaller, lighter version of the company’s popular Aviator ($149.95). I brought along my own review sample of the Aviator and enjoyed the attention it garnered from showgoers and exhibitors, but these headphones aren’t just about fashion. Stay tuned for reviews of the Navigator and Aviator in upcoming issues of Stereophile.