It has been another year of great torment and turmoil in the world of recorded music. The loudness wars grow ever . . . well, louder. The confusion and profusion of formats continue to roil buyers of tracks and albums. And streaming services like Pandora and Spotify continue to bleed off purchasers of downloads and physical media. Yet at the same time, the LP, once derided as dead and gone, is back with a vengeance. In short, everyone has had to find their own waythe mix of online and physical that works for them. Fortunately, all this diversity and change have not kept fans from listening, or stopped the truly devoted from still needing their music. And happily, the old adage about audiophilism is still true: If you're willing to invest in quality gear, you probably own considerably more than five records.
At a time in history when the music business seems less interested in making anything of lasting value than in churning out disposable musichits intended to be consumed for a few days via iPod, then left behindthe notion of cherishing the masterpieces, the records to die for, seems a lost art. Yet it's exactly that state of beingas when Lady Gaga's latest outfit commands a bigger spotlight than the recent Pink Floyd reissuesthat makes our annual "Records To Die For" feature that much more essential.
In May 2009, JA gave dems comparing hi-rez recordings against CD and MP3 versions at the three ListenUp! stores in Colorado. This was part of the Music Matters program, in which audio retailers invite manufacturers and the occasional member of the audio press to demonstrate just how great music can sound on a high-end audio system. Before the Denver event, JA sat down with Adrienne Alterman to share his views.
Components listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile and have been found to be among the best available in each of four or five quality classes. Whether a component is listed in Class A or Class E, we highly recommend its purchase.
Each listing—in alphabetical order within classes—is followed by a brief description of the product’s sonic characteristics and a code indicating the Stereophile Volume and Issue in which that product’s report appeared. Thus the September 2010 issue is indicated as “Vol.33 No.9.”
Each monthly issue of Stereophile includes an updated calendar of all the different hi-fi events taking place across the United States. We also maintain this calendar on our Facebook Events page. One of the events that really caught our eye was the Blind Cable Comparison Tests performed by the Audio Society of Minnesota, which took place on Tuesday, April 17th. Here is the report as submitted by members of the Audio Society of Minnesota. The Society reported record crowds for this event. Hopefully, this spirit of questioning, discovery, and fun will spread to other audio events across the country
Hosted by Stereophile's John Marks, on Saturday February 4, the Connecticut Audio Society and the Boston Audio Society held a joint meeting in Providence, Rhode Island at The First Baptist Church in America. The Third Meeting House of the Church (17741775) is a US National Historical Landmark. The Auditorium retains almost all of its original 1775-vintage horsehair plaster, which contributes to its excellent acoustics.
The event was a Workshop on "Making Good Recordings in a Church." Those so interested were invited to bring their own recording gear to the Church; the 48 attendees brought everything from shirt-pocket recorders to imposing surround-sound arrays. Before the formal start of the workshop, those in attendance were invited to participate in a Mid-Side Microphone Technique "Petting Zoo." Minister of Music Stephen T. Martorella, featured in the opening photo, played a Scriabin Prelude on a Steinway grand piano as a sound source.
Each year when I sit down to write this introduction, I get stuck on the whole dying-for-music thing. I get visions of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, swinging from ropes with sacks over their heads. Like '80s hair bands do ya? Pull the trap door! Or Mary Queen of Scots kneeling before the block: A fan of smooth jazz? Let the blade fall! Yes, it's silly on some level, but what exactly is the feeling that would make one martyr oneself for music?