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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 4 comments
"For Unto Us a Boy is Born" was playing when I looked into MBL’s suite at the Venetian and the sound—open, spacious, uncolored, full-range, musically communicative—on MBL's unique 101E omnidirectional speakers was so appealing, I settled down in the hot set for the rest of the piece from Handel's Messiah. The speakers were being bi-amped by preproduction samples—US availability is scheduled for March—of new models from the German company’s Noble line...
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 0 comments
When he visited the Vandersteen room at CES, Graham Nash said that what he really liked “was the midrange of that speaker system, that sounded like my voice. There was plenty of natural detail." Graham was listening to the new version of Vandersteen Audio’s Model 5A speaker, the 5A Carbon, which features the midrange unit from the Mk.II version of Vandersteen Model 7 speaker.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 1 comments
In its main room, YG was making great-sounding music with its Sonja 1.3 speakers ($106,800/pair), driven by a Boulder music server and amplification via Kubala-Sosna cables. I had loved the Sonja 1.3 when I reviewed it for our July 2013 issue, but the big news at CES was the Sonja XV, one channel of which was on passive display in a side room. A four-tower system, with the midrange and tweeter tower resembling a '1.3 on steroids and intended to celebrate the Colorado company’s forthcoming 15th anniversary, the 'XV will be priced at a whopping $265,900/system.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 1 comments
Graham Nash auditioned the new gibbon X speakers in the DeVore Fidelity room, which featured an LP player with the longest Well-Tempered Tonearm made, at 18". It was great to see veteran designer William Firebaugh at the 2016 show, 30 years after his unique tonearm made its debut at CES, and still actively involved in high-end audio.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 2 comments
“Bruno Putzeys designed a switch-mode power supply for our new headphone amplifier,” enthused EveAnna Manley, when I bumped into her in one of the Venetian’s corridors. The tubed amp, which doubles as a line preamplifier, costs $2950 and is drop-dead gorgeous in Champagne & White, Titanium & Bronze, or Copper & Black finishes.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 2 comments
In our March 2016 issue, Art Dudley loved the sound of Metronome’s CD8 S CD player, which has USB and serial digital inputs, though I found some issues on the test bench. At CES, the French company was showing this elegant server, the Music Center 1 (price tba), which plays CDs, music from a USB stick, a NAS drive, or from its internal RAID3 array (1–6TB available).
John Atkinson Posted: Jan 04, 2016 Published: Sep 01, 1990 0 comments
You can blame Casey McKee for this one. I found myself sitting next to Casey, who works at Brooklyn high-end dealer Innovative Audio (footnote 1), in the Phoenix rain last March, watching the first Formula One Grand Prix of the 1990 season. A month later, in New York for the High End Hi-Fi Show, I therefore thought it appropriate to visit Innovative and say "Hi." Audio pleasantries over, Casey enthused about this new Italian turntable stand he was setting up as I walked into the store, the oddly named ArchiDee.
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John Atkinson Posted: Dec 15, 2015 Published: Jan 01, 2016 97 comments
My spirits sank as I read the comments on Stereophile's Facebook page. In the November issue, we had published reviews of UpTone Audio's USB Regen device by Kalman Rubinson, Michael Lavorgna, and myself. Michael and Kal had enthused about the positive effect the USB Regen had made, but I could detect no measurable difference. On Facebook, Dan Madden had written, "I think a device like this would need a blind listening test to verify that a listener could hear the difference in a statistically measurable way, in a very high percentage of times."
John Atkinson Posted: Dec 01, 2015 4 comments
The 2015 T.H.E. Show in Southern California clashed with my having to be in the office to ship our August issue to the printer, so I wasn't able to attend. But in devouring the online coverage on www.stereophile.com and its sister sites, on InnerFidelity.com I found a report by Tyll Hertsens about two new hi-rez portable players that made their debuts at T.H.E. Show: Questyle Audio Technology's QP1 ($599) and QP1R ($899).
John Atkinson Posted: Nov 25, 2015 6 comments
For me, one of the highlights of 2013 was being able to live with the Sonja 1.3, the flagship loudspeaker model from Colorado-based YG Acoustics. I reviewed this tall, massive, three-enclosure tour de force of a design, which costs $106,800/pair, in July 2013, and was not surprised when, for the December 2013 issue, Stereophile's writers voted it one of the magazine's two Loudspeakers of the Year. So when I was asked last spring if I wanted to review the new version of the smallest and least-expensive model in YGA's lineup, the request fell on receptive ears.

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