Mark Henninger  |  Mar 25, 2024  |  0 comments

Now, before we return to Montreal, here's more from the Southwest Audio Fest.

You won't mistake an MBL speaker for any other. No matter what size MBL speakers you buy, you will get the same unique 360-degree dispersion driver technology. The company's smallest and most affordable entry point into its line of speakers is the Radialstrahler 120 ($26,500/pair), which was demoed in Dallas.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 24, 2024  |  7 comments

The first thing I thought when I spied SPL’s component rack was how nifty its gear looked—neither too large nor too small, with faceplates just the right size to accommodate their features with style.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 24, 2024  |  0 comments

After I witnessed the ribbon cutting-ceremony performed by 20 industry under-40-somethings on Friday morning—a symbolic event meant to jointly celebrate the Montreal Audiofest’s 35th edition and the new generation of audio-industry flamekeepers—I hit the rooms closest to my own room, starting with Corby’s Audio. This Toronto-area retailer was showing a spread of audio gear that offered a visually appetizing mix of rich wood tones and sleek metal surfaces.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 24, 2024  |  2 comments

"I'm back, back in the saddle again"—actually, I'm back at the Montreal Audiofest, held March 22–24 at its usual grand locale, the Bonaventure Hotel.

Martin Colloms  |  Mar 22, 2024  |  28 comments
Based in Bulgaria, European audio company Thrax has been active since 2009. Their ingenious and varied design approaches seen over several product lines have continued to intrigue me with their conceptual originality, innate musicality, and imaginative use of a broad spectrum of technologies. Their products range from valve (tube) amplification to digital audio and, more recently, loudspeakers . . . The range of distinctive high-end electronics has continued to expand to include a loudspeaker, the standmount Lyra, now joined by the smaller Siren ($13,600/pair), also a standmount and the subject of this Stereophile review.
Ken Micallef  |  Mar 21, 2024  |  16 comments
In the early 1980s, I worked in a pop band playing AM radio hits, grooving behind my Yamaha drums and Zildjian cymbals as sweat drenched my body and my ears rang. We danced. We pranced. My shiny silk jumpsuit led upwards to a 2"-high afro, which women ran fingers through in hopes of finding contraband smokes ... Then overnight, everything changed.

At the beginning of the previous decade, Technics had released the SP-10, the first direct drive turntable. That was followed in short order by the SL-1100. Clive Campbell, aka Jamaican-American DJ Kool Herc, pioneered the simultaneous use of two Technics SL-1100s, initially at his sister's birthday party in the Bronx, inspiring "block parties" (rigging streetlamps for power) and hip-hop culture. Kool Herc isolated drumbeats from records by James Brown (with drummers Clyde Stubblefield and John "Jabo" Starks) and the Incredible Bongo Band (powered by master studio drummer Jim Gordon), among others, creating "breaks" for heated dance-floor partying. Soon, Lace Taylor (aka Afrika Bambaataa) and Grandmaster Flash (The Message) took Kool Herc's inventions into the mainstream, and hip-hop went global.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 20, 2024  |  12 comments
Edmund (Ed) Manfred Meitner's name and reputation have long been synonymous with pioneering achievements in the fields of digital audio, especially DSD. In 1971, after designing the first fully automated studio console, Ed identified what he calls "the jitter problem." He worked with Sony and Philips to help create and refine SACD and subsequently designed the first complete six-channel DSD playback system for home use.

In 1998, while developing the eight-channel A/D and D/A DSD converters still used to create most SACDs, Ed founded EMM Labs and became head of design, with the goal of bringing DSD to the consumer realm...

Less widely discussed are Ed's amplifier circuit designs, which are the heart of the EMM Labs MTRX and MTRS amplifiers he designed collaboratively with Mariusz Pawlicki, EMM manager of R&D, and the late Zenon "Zanny" Muzyka.

Mark Henninger  |  Mar 20, 2024  |  1 comments
Von Schweikert Ultra 55 speakers ($120,000 in Porsche Oslo Blue) are the company's smallest flagship-level offering, but still reference-level in capability with a response specification of 20Hz-40kHz. In practice, they delivered a completely enveloping and absorbing musical presentation.
Michael Trei  |  Mar 19, 2024  |  1 comments
Over the last 50 years, I must have installed well over 1000 phono cartridges, but I still remember the very first one: a Goldring G850 I put into the family Garrard Autoslim turntable when I was 11 years old. In 1973, the G850 was the least expensive moving magnet cartridge Goldring made. The change from the flipover-stylus ceramic cartridge that came with the Garrard wasn't an attempt to satisfy a youthful audiophile itch but, rather, a result of my first encounter with a system compatibility problem.

A few months earlier, I had convinced my nonaudiophile dad to upgrade the family stereo. We went from our ancient Monacor SMX-50 tube receiver to a pretty weird but less ancient Sony all-in-one cassette system called the TC-133CS. I failed to understand that the new Sony's magnetic phono input was incompatible with our old ceramic cartridge. Once I figured that out, I tried to convince my dad that what we really needed was a Shure M75ED. After all, that cartridge came from the same company that made the legendary V-15 Type III, widely regarded as the best cartridge in the world at the time. My dad, however, had different plans. Guided by his home-product purchasing bible, Consumer Reports, he decided we should go instead with the less-costly Goldring.

Mark Henninger  |  Mar 19, 2024  |  11 comments
Ken Songer of Songer Audio must be on to something because his demo led me to experience a heart rate of 141 while listening to "Sharkey's Day" from Laurie Anderson's Mister Heartbreak.