LATEST ADDITIONS

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Kalman Rubinson Posted: Apr 27, 2017 12 comments
Several years ago, at a Consumer Electronics Show, Bob Stuart, then with Meridian Audio, took John Atkinson and me into a private room to demonstrate something new. He played individual tracks of mostly familiar recordings, twice each: first, straight from the commercial release, and then again, this time after processing with technology he was still developing. The differences were subtle, but usually we favored the second version. It was all very hush-hush, and despite our requests for technical information, Stuart spoke of his new process only in terms of results—as a way to recover the original sound at the microphone by knowing and compensating for the transfer functions of that mike and the analog-to-digital converter originally used, as well as of the digital-to-analog converter used in playback. The process had no name, and there was no timetable for its commercial launch.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 27, 2017 4 comments
The fabled Nelson Pass, whose 160 lb XA 200.8 class-A monoblocks are an essential part of my reference system, has just gone small with the first appearance of the Pass Labs XA25 class-A stereo amplifier ($4900). With a single pair of 700W devices per side, the single-ended amp delivers 25Wpc into 8 ohms and 50Wpc into 4 ohms, and is stable down to 0.5 ohm.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 27, 2017 24 comments
Never have I had to work so hard to convince someone that a product that first surfaced at CES 2017, just started shipping, and was just awarded MQA certification belonged in a new-product show report. Finally, after several minutes of what was beginning to look like a Socratic dialogue, Michael McCormick, President of Minneapolis-based Bel Canto Design, acknowledged that the single-box Bel Canto Black Box ACI 600 ($25,000) was indeed deserving of coverage by the publication that awarded the three-box Bel Canto Black system "Best Amplification Product of 2015."
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Jana Dagdagan Posted: Apr 27, 2017 22 comments
I love tubes and horns. So naturally, when Jason and I were dividing up rooms, I leapt at the opportunity to cover Destination Audio, a company rumored to execute tubes and horns well, even in small hotel rooms…
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 26, 2017 4 comments
If you want to know why Stereophile's John Atkinson, Jana Dagdagan, and Herb Reichert journeyed to Philadelphia earlier this year to conduct two video interviews with Doug White of The Voice That Is, you only had to hear his set-up at AXPONA to understand that their trip was in pursuit of excellence. If what they heard in Philly was anything like the sound Doug managed to produce in a modest-sized hotel room, they must have left elated.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 26, 2017 2 comments
While ubiquity is not necessarily synonymous with high quality, the fact that Aurender's music servers/streamers appeared in at least 12 exhibit rooms at AXPONA 2017 certainly indicates that they're doing something right. In fact, in the third-floor room in which Aurender partnered with GamuT and Grand Prix Audio, their A10 caching music server and player with analog outputs ($5500) was the crucial source of excellent sound.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 26, 2017 2 comments
My second-day new-product coverage began with a visit to the Playback Designs room, manned by the company's president and designer, DSD champion Andreas Koch. There, I found two new Playback Designs products, the MPD-8 DAC ($22,000) and MPT-8 Digital Music Transport (target price $14,000-$20,000). Both are due out at year's end…
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 25, 2017 7 comments
GamuT's designer and CEO, Benno Baun Meldgaard, was on hand in the first room I entered on Floor 4 to introduce the new optional R2R tape playback board ($1990) for the GamuT D3i dual-mono preamp ($8490). Whether the presence of a number of new and old tape decks at AXPONA—the one in this room was a rebuilt Studer—signals a rekindled interest in tape amongst anyone other than confirmed audiophiles is unclear. But what was clear is that the piano on Ben Webster's Gentle Ben sounded beautiful and mellow. The horn, in turn, was appropriately bright, and the presentation distinguished by a nice sense of depth.
Art Dudley Posted: Apr 25, 2017 1 comments
It's the sad realization at the heart of every product review: No matter what the writer has to say, the reader may hear things—or see or feel or taste things—rather differently. I refer not only to physiological differences in hearing acuity from person to person, but also to the no-less-critical differences in the ways we process and prioritize the things we perceive. It's an oft-made point that bears any amount of repetition: In our pugilistic little pastime, the priorities of the listener who values, say, fidelity to the musical timing captured in a recording over fidelity to that recording's timbral truths are no less legitimate than those of the enthusiast whose priorities are the other way around. Both approaches—and any number of others—bend toward the sun of high fidelity.
Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 25, 2017 8 comments
Someone on Audio Asylum wrote, "When it comes to hi-res audio, Herb is a babe in the woods." This is true, though probably not in the way this person imagined. High-resolution master David Chesky has been my friend forever, and I used to write for his website HDtracks.com. Todd Garfinkle, founder of and producer for M•A Recordings, and Kavichandran Alexander, of Water Lily Acoustics, are not only valued friends, but I own most of their stunning recordings. In short, I'm no stranger to SACD or 24-bit/192kHz playback. But compared to most audiophiles, I've been a bit slow in appreciating the intricacies and virtues of hi-rez computer audio.

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