Wes Phillips  |  Jan 15, 2006  |  0 comments
There was at least one story we missed at last week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and that was the announcement of two new plans to provide 5.1 music surround: XM Satellite Radio announced the addition of two 24-hour surround channels to its line-up and download service; MusicGiants announced its intention to add 5.1-channel "high-definition" audio files to its premium subscription service.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 15, 2006  |  0 comments
For 14 years now, Stereophile has recognized the components that have proved capable of giving maximal musical pleasure with its "Products of the Year." Based on a vote by the magazine's reviewers and editors, the 2005 winners were announced in the December 2005 issue and the awards were presented by Stereophile editor John Atkinson at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held January 4–8 in Las Vegas.
Michael Fremer  |  Jan 14, 2006  |  0 comments
Part New Jersey diner, part Wurlitzer jukebox, with a snakelike tonearm that at certain angles looks vaguely lewd, this boxy, man-sized creation from Australia seems to have been built around its distinctive looks rather than for any functional purpose. Combine that with its sky-high price—itself almost obscene—and the result is apparently the sort of product that envious, cynical, self-loathing audiophiles love to hate, and reviewers love to write about.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 14, 2006  |  1 comments
Conceptually, the preamplifier is the bottleneck in an audio system. All sources pass through it, and it influences every sound you hear. A system comprising great speakers and gutsy amplification will sound uninspired if that's the character of the preamplifier. Conversely, a great preamplifier will allow through so much information, so much of the music, that the listener can forgive the shortcomings of lesser speakers and amplifiers.
Richard Lehnert  |  Jan 14, 2006  |  0 comments
WAGNER: Tristan und Isolde
Plácido Domingo, Tristan; Nina Stemme, Isolde; Mihoko Fujimura, Brangäne; René Pape, Marke; Olaf Bär, Kurwenal; Jared Holt, Melot; Ian Bostridge, Shepherd; Matthew Rose, Steersman; Rolando Villazón, A Young Sailor; Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Antonio Pappano
EMI 5 58006 2 (3 CDs, 1 DVD). 2005. David Groves, prod.; Jonathan Allen, John Dunkerly, Roland Heap, engs. DDD. TT: 3:46:29
Performance *****
Sonics ****½
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 13, 2006  |  10 comments
"It's a romantic amp," he says. "Just right for you."
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 13, 2006  |  0 comments
Of course, being cats, Huckleberry and Bagheera said it to my luggage, not me.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 13, 2006  |  1 comments
Sleep inertia is a wonderful phrase, one I'm sure to add to my personal lexicon. "We found the cognitive skills of [some] test subjects were worse upon awakening than after extended sleep deprivation," researcher Kenneth Wright said. That's because in some of us, the cortical areas responsible for problem-solving take longer to wake up than other parts of the brain—as much as 12 hours, in my case.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 13, 2006  |  0 comments
One of my most pleasant memories from living in Santa Fe was cruising the back road to Albuquerque to visit Brian Damkroger for the first time in John Atkinson's classic Mercedes ragtop. Naturally, it started to rain and we had to pull off the road and wrestle his roof back onto the car. All this Mercedes mechanical sophistication and we still have to do this by hand? I thought.