LATEST ADDITIONS

John Swenson  |  Apr 20, 2020  |  1 comments
Frank Zappa: The Hot Rats Sessions
Zappa Records/UMe ZR20032 (6 CDs). 1969–2019. Frank Zappa, prod.; Joe Travers, Craig Parker Adams, Jack Hunt, others, engs.
Performance *****
Sonics ****

Frank Zappa's first real solo album (he conducted but did not play on Lumpy Gravy) is probably his greatest recording and perhaps his most uncharacteristic in that his singing voice is nowhere to be heard. The one vocal, "Willie the Pimp," is sung by Captain Beefheart, whose Zappa-produced pinnacle Trout Mask Replica was released the same year (1969).

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 18, 2020  |  61 comments
VAC's Statement 452 iQ Musicbloc amplifier ($75,000 for a single amp; $150,000/pair mono, as reviewed) is tall, young, and lovely, but unlike the girl from Ipanema, it isn't tan. Nor, at 280lb in its flight case, is it likely to "go walkin'." Getting the pair moved into my listening room required considerable effort—fortunately not mine.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 17, 2020  |  3 comments
Located outside Glasgow, in a geographical area that's also home to Linn Products and Tannoy Ltd.—and also near the storied whisky distilleries of Aberfeldy and Blair Atholl—Fyne Audio got off to a fast start. A mere three years after the company's 2017 founding, Fyne already has distribution deals in 50 countries and offers 24 products in seven series.
Stereophile Staff  |  Apr 16, 2020  |  11 comments
AXPONA, the largest high-end audio event in North America, has rescheduled from April to August for 2020, but you can get a sneak peek at the new products audio manufacturers have in store by watching the show's Facebook Live event this Friday, April 17 starting at 10am Central Time—the day AXPONA 2020 was originally scheduled to open at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center in Chicago, IL.
Jim Austin  |  Apr 14, 2020  |  144 comments
The hi-fi world has lost a giant, and we at Stereophile have lost a brother.

Art Dudley passed peacefully this morning around 4am after a short illness. The cause was metastatic cancer.

John Atkinson  |  Apr 10, 2020  |  66 comments
In his review of the three-way, active Dutch & Dutch 8c loudspeaker in the August 2019 issue of Stereophile, Kalman Rubinson concluded that "The D&D 8c demonstrates that active, DSP-empowered speakers are the future." I was equally impressed by the 8c's measured performance—a superbly flat on-axis response and an unmatched control of dispersion over the entire audioband—and asked to borrow a pair so I could experience the speakers in my own listening room.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 09, 2020  |  2 comments
Singer/actress Nancy Priddy's sole commercial recording, a 1968 album titled You've Come This Way Before—originally issued on Dot Records and now reissued by Sundazed Music/Modern Harmonic (Dot/Modern Harmonic MH-8044)—is a period piece. The arrangements, in which strings, flutes, Herb Alpert–esque trumpets, a harpsichord, a Vox Continental organ, and New Christy Minstrel–style backing singers all appear, are somewhat dated. (Indeed, the opening bars of the title song sound like the sort of cheesy electric pop that the producers of This American Life use as incidental music, apparently to express their limitless stockpiles of irony.) And some of Priddy's lyrics make the listener thankful for her poor enunciation.
Martin Colloms  |  Apr 08, 2020  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1988  |  13 comments
Landmarks in speaker design have been few and far between. There are a few certain contenders: in the UK, the original Quad Electrostatic and the ESL-63 qualify, while the Celestion SL600 scored a big point for all small monitors; the Spendor BC1 changed forever the notion that cone speakers were always colored and that big boxes were essential for good sound. In the States, Apogee has taught us much with their surprising mid-treble ribbon-based designs. Other technologies have shown promise but have not achieved real commercial success.
Julie Mullins  |  Apr 07, 2020  |  First Published: Apr 03, 2020  |  56 comments
Social distancing. Flattening the curve. These expressions are embedded in our collective psyche as we to try to keep COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus that causes it at bay. Few of us who live through this will ever forget them.

But life and work must somehow go on, if at a slower pace than before.

Thomas Conrad  |  Apr 07, 2020  |  7 comments
I remember the only time i ever saw Chet Baker. It was at Parnell's, a jazz club in Pioneer Square in Seattle, long since defunct. It was a few years before Baker died under mysterious circumstances, in Amsterdam in 1988, after a life of creativity, notorious dissipation, and addiction.

Emaciated, with a caved-in face, he already looked near death. He played like an angel. I remember something that happened to me toward the end of the night. Sometimes last sets in jazz clubs, when the crowd has thinned, seem to exist outside of time.

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