It starts quietly enough, with a simple falling-fifth motif, but the first movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff's neglected Piano Sonata 1 develops into a work of epic proportions nearly 40 minutes in length, with haunting melodies, massive dynamic contrasts, and lush, sensual harmonies.
This year marks the tenth time I've written an introduction to Stereophile's venerable annual feature "Records To Die For." Looking back, I'm proud that readers always find it useful and entertaining. I'm also amazed, on some levels, that our writers—hardware or software, deadline-phobic or not—manage to find something worthwhile to say, year in and year out, about music—which, after all, is why we became audiophiles in the first place.
Stereophile's seventh CD of Minnesotan male choir Cantus, called with delightful originality Cantus (CTS1207) and recorded at 88.2kHz with 24-bit resolution, is now available from our e-commerce page, for $16.95 plus S&H.
That, somehow, the "absolute sound" of live music is locked up within the grooves or pits of the discs we play and can be retrieved in its entirety if only we had a a good enough playback system is one of the enduring myths in high-end audio. Yet the art of recording is just that, an art, and it is entirely possible that a better playback system will sound worse with some recordings. And with the mainstream press telling would-be audiophiles that low–bit-rate MP3s are of "CD quality" and that even CD is overkill for audiophile sound quality, why would anyone need high-resolution recordings?
The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) Expo 2007 officially opens its exhibition halls Thursday September 6, and Stereophile's Kal Rubinson and Wes Phillips will be there to report the highs, the lows, the in-betweens—everything, in fact, except the bunions.
In his primer this week on compression, Wes Phillips mentions the now-ubiquitous use of "louderization" in CD production, which fills in the musical valleys and flattens the expressionistic hills to make a recording sound uniformly loud. Stereophile editor John Atkinson has long railed against this practice, so when Bob Reina asked John to record his new jazz quartet, Attention Screen, John felt that this would be the opportunity to put his money where his mouth was. He would record the band, which mixes electric instruments—guitar and bass guitar—with acoustic—piano and drums—as though it was a classical acoustic ensemble, with no equalization and no compression. By doing so, he would demonstrate that even so, the sound would still have dynamics and impact, that making an honest recording does not have to be an obstacle to powerful sound quality.
The Home Entertainment Show 2007 held May 11—13, 2007, at the Grand Hyatt New York Hotel in New York City, will be remembered by exhibitors, consumers, and visiting media as a well-attended showcase of some of the finest home-entertainment products available.
A ticket to Home Entertainment 2007—The High Performance Sound & Imaging Show,, to be held May 11-13, 2007 at the Grand Hyatt New York Hotel in New York City, offers attendees a chance to hear live musical performances from some of the great artists of classical music and jazz.
Show attendees at Home Entertainment 2007, the High Performance Sound & Imaging Show of the year, will be treated to several educational seminars and clinics that will help guide and inform them about the choices confronting contemporary music and film lovers looking for better home entertainment experiences.