LATEST ADDITIONS

John Atkinson  |  Jan 24, 2020  |  8 comments
On a snowy day in March 2019, the first room I visited at the Montreal Audio Fest, hosted by retailer Audio by Mark Jones, featured the world premiere of the Magico M2 loudspeaker. The soundstaging produced by these elegant towers was palpable, the full-range tonal balance superbly uncolored. Both aspects reminded me of my experience of Magico's S5 Mk.II loudspeaker, which I enthusiastically reviewed in Stereophile's February 2017 issue. Accordingly, I made a note that the M2 was going on my "must review" list. Seven months later, Magico's Alon Wolf and Peter Mackay visited to set up a pair of M2s in my listening room.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 23, 2020  |  23 comments
In my personal life I prefer the minimalist, one-box architecture of integrated amplifiers. Always have. Before I started writing for Stereophile, my only audio system consisted of a pair of 15 ohm Rogers LS3/5a loudspeakers (with factory wall mounts) and an ancient Creek integrated amplifier, connected to my computer via a Halide DAC HD, and to an Oppo CD player. That system had pitch-perfect tone and was satisfying with all types of music.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 22, 2020  |  18 comments
For a decade, the sound of the Vivid Giya loudspeakers, which I had heard only at CES in private demonstration suites, beguiled me. My positive impressions were completely consistent from one show to the next—but then, so were the host and the surroundings. I had to wonder how much those factors contributed to my impressions.
Jim Austin  |  Jan 21, 2020  |  26 comments
This, our February issue, is the first Stereophile issue to arrive during the year 2020, which marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Audio Research—in my view one of the key events in the history of high-end audio. So it makes sense for this issue to include an Audio Research review—in this case, of the $20,000 Reference 160 S stereo amplifier.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 20, 2020  |  16 comments
Even as digital/analog processors were becoming a hot product category in the early 1990s, audiophiles were also learning that timing uncertainties in the AES/EBU and S/PDIF serial datastreams—jitter—would compromise any improvement in sound quality offered by these DACs. Some companies therefore introduced products to reduce or eliminate jitter—in the November 1994 issue of Stereophile, Robert Harley reviewed three such products: the Audio Alchemy DTI Pro, the Digital Domain VSP, and the Sonic Frontiers UltrajitterBug. I still have Stereophile's review samples of the UltraJitterBug and VSP, along with two contemporary DACs: a PS Audio UltraLink and a Parts Connection Assemblage DAC-1.

As our reviews of these products were published before Paul Miller's and the late Julian Dunn's development of the "J-Test" diagnostic signal, I performed J-Test jitter measurements to bring that 1994 review into the 21st Century. You can see what I found here.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 17, 2020  |  23 comments
B>Cecilia Bartoli: Farinelli
Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano; Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini, cond.
Decca 4850214 (24/96 download). 2019. Arend Prohmann, prod. and editor; Philip Siney, eng.
Performance: *****
Sonics: ****

When I first heard mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli in person some 29 years ago, at her West Coast debut in the "Cal Performances" series at Berkeley's Hertz Hall, she was just 24 years old. Along with the rest of the audience, I was astonished at her ability to ally phenomenal coloratura technique with an out-of-the-box range of expression—unheard since the prime of Maria Callas. It was clear why Decca had already signed her and released her first recording the year before, when she was just 23.

Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 15, 2020  |  83 comments
It's 3am. You're lying in bed. Something woke you up—you don't know what it was. You pull back the covers, get up, and tiptoe out to your listening room.

There, standing by your record rack, thumbing through your prized LPs, is a man in black (no, not Johnny Cash—a different man in black). You see a bulge in his pocket; it could be a gun. Something shiny catches your eye—there's a switchblade knife between his teeth! At his feet, leaning against your record shelf, is a cudgel. Oh, and it looks like he might have some infectious disease. You, of course, are in your PJs.

You notice, at the top of the stack of records that he holds under his arm, that one record, the one you love the most, the one you can't live without.

Jim Austin  |  Jan 14, 2020  |  4 comments
My first exposure to current-mode phono preamplification was maybe a dozen years ago, when such products were new. The one I received, though nicely packaged, was not ready for prime time. I never smelled smoke, but I never heard sound, either: If it wasn't DOA, it was at a minimum DSAA—Dead Soon After Arrival.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 13, 2020  |  67 comments
On Friday, January 17 from 5-9pm, Innovative Audio in New York City will debut the Wilson Chronosonic XVX, Wilson's flagship loudspeaker.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 13, 2020  |  2 comments
In September 2019, I made an afternoon visit to National Sawdust, a vibrant, innovative performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to attend a demonstration of the new Constellation and Spacemap systems installed there by Meyer Sound. According to Meyer Sound designer Steve Ellison, the two systems permit control of the space's acoustics (Constellation) and empower performers and sound designers to construct a soundscape (Spacemap) in which voices, instruments, and other sounds can be located virtually anywhere within as well as beyond the confines of the performance space.

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