The First Issue of 2016 Has Arrived

Technics’ little gem of a speaker, the two-way SB-C700, signifies both the Japanese brand’s return to the high-performance audio scene and the start of Stereophile’s 54th year of continuous publication. Paradigm’s Prestige 95F tower speaker also gets the full review treatment, along with an idiosyncratic two-box CD player from the UK’s Audio Note, BAT’s cost-no-object Rex II tube preamplifier, and Apogee’s affordable but great-sounding Groove D/A headphone amplifier.

On the vinyl front, Michael Fremer reviews the new SME Model 15A LP player and Art Dudley auditions the unique Siberian Tzar DST phono cartridge, while Michael Lavorgna goes digital with the Totaldac-d1-mk2 processor and Kal Rubinson plumbs the bass depths with the new version of JL Audio’s Fathom f113 subwoofer. And John Atkinson kicks off this 156-page issue with an essay discussing how recent research proves that hi-rez digital audio sounds different from CD.

Stereophile, reaching the parts of the audiophile experience that other magazines can’t—or won't!

volvic's picture

Enjoyed Dudley's review of the Audio Note CD player but again, something I have written about so many times on these pages; hate it when manufacturers charge so much for CD players that use those plastic DVD trays. Yes, I know good quality ones are not readily available but you want to know your money not only went towards great sound but also good construction. I make no comments on sound as I am sure it sounds lovely.

tonykaz's picture

$1,700 per pair USA.

dalethorn's picture

The original (Large) Advents I bought in 1970 for $204/pair would be about $1250 in today's dollars. They got a rave review then, spectacular even. Given that quality electronics today are generally cheaper than 1970 in constant dollars, I would expect Large Advent sound (with solid response to 33 hz) for less than $1000 today. Alas, we appear to be nowhere near that, at least on the bass end of the curve. Could it be because the large Advents really were large, and material costs for speakers that size are prohibitive?

tonykaz's picture

I doubt it, not for these things.

$1,700 will buy a pair of Genelec or Emotiva Active Monitors
having Pro Level performance.

Tedrick's picture

The little Technics are coming into a price-point that is already populated with a number of very strong contenders. Wonder how these speakers would stack up against the KEF LS50's, for example? One's things for sure, the Technics are going to have to do something pretty special to stand out.

eriks's picture

I enjoyed Art's review of the Audio Note CDT and DAC Signature, but Art, the characteristic of a speaker being able to breathe into a, are you sure it's not your speakers and / or amp breaking in? In my experience, I've really only heard this twice. Once with the Snell A/IIIs and then ONLY when driven by very good amplifiers. Any lesser amp on those speakers and poof, it was gone.

K.Reid's picture

C-NET's Steve Guttenberg in his Audiophiliac column thought the Technics were more dynamic and much like a studio monitor. I think he liked them better.

rmeyer52's picture

I just unboxed my Reference 95s when my new issue arrived with a review of these Paradigm gems. As typical the review was hard to understand and I'm not sure if the author really liked them or not. The bottom line is I could care less as to me they sound amazing. I first auditioned the Golden Ear co-speakers of the year and thought they were horrible.

When reviewing products perhaps it's better that authors actually listen to music that we listen to?

On new note, the new Yamaha Natural Sound amps and CD players are amazing and like Technics they seem to be on the right road to getting back into the audiophile market. Technics to seems to be on that road. The Yamaha amp has a soft sound reminiscent of tube amps and has great headroom. I'm one of the people who loves great sound but cannot afford to max out credit cards to get it.

K.Reid's picture

First, I strongly recommend John Atkinson place the Technics SB-C700 in Class A. Its performance was worthy of that classification to my ears and apparently Herb Reichert. Personally, I agree with Herb that dynamically they exceed the KEF LS50. I can't wait to get my pair.

Now Tom Norton's review of the Paradigm 95 was spot on and from my read he did enjoy his time with them. I am curious why Paradigm opted not to make the speaker a 3-way design. Personally, I thought that the Golden Ear Triton One was superior given its extended and powerful low frequency. It sounded nice driven by tube gear. It is all about what you like in the end. The Paradigm excels in several areas, but it is not the speaker for me for the long term.

rmeyer52's picture

I too auditioned the Golden Ears and did not care for them at all. I have the 95s placed 8" from the wall and the bass is excellent. Chosing speakers is a personal experience. What sounds good to me might be so-so to someone else. As I write this I am listening to some Stan Getz on a Yamaha 2100 Natural Sound CD player and the headroom and detail is amazing. If I had one complaint the speakers are a little bright but after I break them in I expect that issue to go away. Again, it's a matter of personal choice.

rmeyer52's picture

It's great to see Technics making a comeback into higher end audio. I went to their website and the products look exceptional. However, having only 12 dealers in the US is going to be an issue. Yamaha and Technics are both Regina their lines to focus on quality and it seems that once again Sony missed the boat.

Ladokguy1's picture

I noticed Michael has the Devore X loudspeakers. I know his area of focus is computer audio but it would be nice if he could do a mini-review (or even a full review) of these speakers. I currently own the O/96 and before that I had the 9s, it would be great to know how the X stacks up.