LATEST ADDITIONS

John Atkinson, Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 11, 2017  |  26 comments
MQA's Bob Stuart comparing PCM and MQA recordings in the Sunny Components room

Despite there now having been many opportunities for audiophiles to compare MQA-encoded recordings with the PCM originals—as well as comparisons at shows and dealer events, the Norwegian 2L record label has offered downloads of MQA/PCM files for quite a long time—there are still members of the press who insist that no-one, other than some reviewers, has been able to perform such comparisons. At the 2017 LAAS, not only were some exhibitors demonstrating MQA—Aurender, Meridian—Covina, CA retailer Sunny Components devoted the show's Saturday afternoon to specific comparisons hosted by MQA's Bob Stuart and Wilson Audio's Peter McGrath.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 10, 2017  |  3 comments
"Natural" doesn't only describe the finish of Tocaro Model 42 speakers in the Austin Hifi room.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 10, 2017  |  1 comments
In the first of two floor rooms from Elite Audio Systems of San Francisco, Viola Audio Labs' Paul Jayson partnered with Elite's Michael Woods to pair the Viola Bravo 2 amplifier ($58,000) and Viola Sonata preamplifier ($35,000) with Kharma DB9 loudspeakers ($37,500/pair), Linn Klimax LP12 turntable ($25,000), Viola cabling (produced by ZenSati), and an Isotek Titan power purifier ($4999) with matching power strip ($1500). Paul's choice of the Speaker Corner reissue of Michelangeli's live 1979 performance of Beethoven Piano Concerto 1, with Giulini and the Vienna Symphony, enabled me to hear the system's lovely shine and ability to convey extremely rapid timpani rolls with minimal smudging and utmost credibility.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 10, 2017  |  1 comments
I tend to be skeptical of tweaks. Too often in the past, I have heard an astonishingly audible difference when the whatever is demonstrated by its promoter, only for any difference to stubbornly disappear when I try the same thingamabob in my own system. But listening to the difference when Isotek's Bjorn Hegelsted replaced the cheap power strip and stock AC cords in a MoFi Distribution system using the impressive but affordable Wharfedale Diamond 225 speakers ($449/pair) driven by a Quad Artera Play CD player ($2199) and Artera Stereo amplifier ($2299) with a star-wired, 6-outlet Isotek Polaris conditioner ($495) and Isotek Premier AC cords ($149 each), the improvement in image palpability and dimensionality, the elimination of "shoutiness" on female voice, was extraordinary.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  0 comments
"Ampsandsound is a startup with big promise!"—a text message like this from Herb Reichert and I knew what I had to do.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  2 comments
How to conduct a successful MQA demo when the person requesting same already has made up their mind? That question, or some variation thereof, must have run through the mind of Meridian's SW regional sales manager, Courtney Careccia, when the sole attendee (besides me) in her room on a slow Sunday asked for a non-MQA/MQA comparison on her all-Meridian system. After no more than 45 seconds—it could have been less, but certainly not more—the man asked to switch to the MQA version, listened for a much shorter time, stood up, declared the whole thing was a sham, and marched out the door. It was almost as if the comparison had never happened.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  4 comments
Following my keynote speech at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning, my beat at the Los Angeles Audio Show was the Sheraton Gateway's 1st and 5th floors. Even with just the two floors, this was a daunting prospect—considering that this was the show's debut, it had a larger number of exhibitors than any of us had anticipated. So without further ado, here's the first of my three reports.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1989  |  0 comments
The Monitor Audio R300/MD ($669/pair) debuted at the 1988 SCES in Chicago. English company Monitor Audio is one of the pioneers in spreading the use of metal-dome tweeters in relatively low-cost loudspeaker systems. The tweeters they have designed in conjunction with SEAS and British manufacturer Elac may have now found their ways into a number of designs from competing manufacturers, but there is no doubt that Monitor leads the way. The new R300/MD features a new ¾" version of the SEAS 1" aluminum-dome unit Monitor introduced with their R652/MD (reviewed in Vol.10 No.5), in conjunction with an 8" doped paper-cone woofer.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  7 comments
First stop on the show's final day, a return to the High End Zone/Perfect8 Technologies room on the 2nd floor. I couldn't cover this exhibit on opening day because the visually striking Perfect8 Technologies Point Mk.III loudspeakers ($125,000/pair), a point-source dipole design with Symmetrical Radiation house in propriety "super silent glass," got trashed—badly trashed—in transit, and their replacements did not arrive in time.
J. Gordon Holt  |  Jun 08, 2017  |  First Published: May 01, 1974  |  0 comments
The Decca Mark V is the latest version of that English firm's unique "tip-sensing" stereo-matrix-ing pickups. The "matrixing" apellation refers to the fact that the Decca pickups do not use 45°–45° sensing coils, but use instead a combination of vertical and lateral-sensing coils. There is a single coil for lateral sensing, with its pole pieces brought down next to the tip. This is the tip-sensing feature, whose major attribute is that the stylus motions don't have to be conveyed along the length of an armature before reaching the transducing pole pieces. Thus there is virtually no possibility of the stylus vibrations being modified through flexing of the armature prior to their transduction into audio signals.

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