Michael Trei  |  Jun 18, 2024  |  1 comments
It has been more than a decade since 2012, when Lyra launched the original Atlas moving coil cartridge as the company's flagship, but in the intervening years, there have been a few updates. First, in 2016, Lyra introduced what they call the SL versions of the Atlas and also the Etna. These cartridges were designed to take advantage of a new crop of transimpedance phono preamps like the CH Precision P1 and the Sutherland Phono Loco, which boast exceptionally low noise levels but work best with cartridges that have very low impedance. Cutting the number of turns on each of the cartridge's two coils in half reduces the moving mass and inertia, allowing the stylus/cantilever assembly to respond more accurately to the tiny groove modulations. This results in improved tracking at the cost of a lower output level, which, thankfully, transimpedance phono preamps are well-equipped to handle.

Then in 2020, both Atlas and Etna versions were updated to new λ Lambda versions, with a redesigned suspension and damper system that Lyra says delivers enhancements in clarity and resolution.

Robert Baird  |  Jun 17, 2024  |  3 comments
Cannonball Adderley: Somethin' Else
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto saxophone), Miles Davis (trumpet), Hank Jones (piano), Sam Jones (bass), Art Blakey (drums)
Mobile Fidelity UD15 2-022 (2 45rpm "Ultradisc One-Step" LPs). 2024. Alfred Lion, prod.; Rudy Van Gelder, eng.; Krieg Wunderlich, Shawn R. Britton, mastering engs.
Performance *****
Sonics *****

For those who care about sonics, the current wave of expensive 45rpm vinyl reissues has made one question urgently relevant: Does convenience trump better sound? Put differently, does the ease of not getting up every 10 minutes to turn over or replace the record offset improved sound quality? It's settled science that a higher rotational speed can result in a better frequency range, better stereo imaging, less frequency fluctuation, and increased low-end response—if a record is well-pressed.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 15, 2024  |  0 comments
My second press day at Munich High End began with an intimate press conference at the Ideon/Baun loudspeaker booth in Halle 3. Benno Baun Meldgaard, former speaker designer for Gamut, Raidho, and Gryphon, was not on hand to discuss the latest developments in his forthcoming speaker line. I didn’t have time to view the latest prototype of those speakers, which I first encountered at the 2023 Pacific Audiofest, but the first speaker in the Baun line-up is due by the end of 2024. Designed to sit very close to the rear wall, the speakers will range upward in price from about $23,000/pair.
Jim Austin  |  Jun 14, 2024  |  10 comments
Photo: John Atkinson

If buying a hi-fi product from an internet retailer is like an arranged marriage, a hi-fi show is like speed dating. Not everyone, I realize, approaches hi-fi shows (or speed dating, for that matter) the same way, and anyway, the analogy between hi-fi and dating is far from perfect. Speed dating is how this year's AXPONA, America's biggest hi-fi show, held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center (above) near Chicago in April, often felt to me as I moved from room to room. Every new system I heard had the potential to become a long-term relationship. Could I live with this one forever?

Michael Trei  |  Jun 13, 2024  |  1 comments
These days, there's a hi-fi show taking place somewhere on the planet pretty much every weekend, but for me, spring is show season. First, in April, comes AXPONA, which is held near Chicago. AXPONA is the largest North American high-end audio show, making it pretty much impossible for one person to see everything during the three-day event. Even with my focus on record-playing gear, I found myself skipping some rooms, telling myself that I could catch them a month later at High End Munich. Munich is even bigger than AXPONA, so we'll have to see how that plays out.

With that in mind, here are a few things that caught my eye at AXPONA 2024.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 12, 2024  |  0 comments
Speaker designer Karl-Heinz Fink’s Fink Team recently bought British loudspeaker brand Epos. “We have changed the Epos designs considerably,” Fink told me about the company’s three speaker models. “Epos loudspeakers are less expensive than Fink Team’s, but the engineering is nearly the same as the Fink Team’s.”
Herb Reichert, Jason Victor Serinus, Stephen Francis Vasta, Ray Chelstowski  |  Jun 12, 2024  |  2 comments
Será Una Noche: Otra Noche; Bela Fleck: Rhapsody in Blue; Mahler: Symphony No.3 & R. Strauss: Death and Transfiguration; Maya Beiser × Terry Riley: In C; Schubert: String Quartet No.15 in G major D887String Quartet No.8 in B flat major D112; Stravinsky: Pétrouchka & Debussy: Jeux, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune.
Thomas Conrad, Andrey Henkin  |  Jun 12, 2024  |  0 comments
Stephan Crump: Slow Water; John Surman: Words Unspoken; Arve Henriksen/Harmen Fraanje: Touch of Time; Charles McPherson: Reverence.
Jim Austin, Ray Chelstowski  |  Jun 12, 2024  |  3 comments
Beyoncé: Cowboy Carter; Various Artists: We Still Can't Say Good Bye: A Musicians' Tribute to Chet Atkins; Old 97's: American Primitive.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 11, 2024  |  5 comments
I cannot recall a single instance where I was less than thoroughly satisfied—thrilled, usually—by the sound Marten loudspeakers made at shows. Given how tricky show set-up often is, Marten’s track record of stellar sound is no mean achievement.