Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 13, 2023  |  0 comments
Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos.2, 3, 12 & 13
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, cond.
Deutsche Grammophon 4864965 (3 CDs) (reviewed as 24/96). 2023. Shawn Murphy, Nick Squire, prods.; Murphy and Squire, engs.
Performance *****
Sonics *****

Auditioned with the bloody conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East as a backdrop, these riveting, superbly recorded performances confront listeners with the inescapable ravages of war. They also open a window on the shifting political convictions of one of the greatest composers to emerge during the early years of the Soviet Republic, Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich.

Jim Austin  |  Dec 12, 2023  |  39 comments
In the midst of his December 2023 Gramophone Dreams column, Herb Reichert presented the results of an experiment. He was listening to the most recent version of Zu Audio's Denon DL-103, installed on his new-old Lenco. He hooked it up to the moving coil input of his SunValley SV-EQ1616D phono preamp, which apparently is intended for use with low-output MC cartridges since it loads them down with a 50 ohm shunt resistor—a heavy load for all but the lowest-impedance MCs. The rough rule of thumb for loading an MC cartridge, as many readers are aware, is that the load resistance should exceed the cartridge's internal impedance by about a factor of 10.
Jason Victor Serinus, Stephen Francis Vasta  |  Dec 08, 2023  |  5 comments
Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein: Oklahoma!; Postcards From Italy: Italian Music for Film; British Piano Concertos: Works by Jacob, Addison, and Rubbra; Bruckner: Symphony 7; Tan Dun: Buddha Passion.
Robert Baird, Phil Brett, Ray Chelstowski, Tom Fine  |  Dec 08, 2023  |  0 comments
The Beatles: Now & Then (single); Teenage Fanclub: Nothing Lasts Forever; Devendra Banhart: Flying Wig; Ariel Posen: Reasons Why.
Thomas Conrad  |  Dec 08, 2023  |  0 comments
Johnathan Blake: Passage; Mark Turner Quartet: Live at the Village Vanguard; Darcy James Argue's Secret Society: Dynamic Maximum Tension.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 07, 2023  |  2 comments
I first met Musical Fidelity's founder, Antony Michaelson, in 1978, when he was running tube amplifier manufacturer Michaelson & Austin. I still have an M&A TVA-10 amplifier, which was designed by the late, great Tim de Paravicini. Soon after Antony founded Musical Fidelity in 1982, he employed de Paravicini to design the A1 integrated amplifier.

The A1 was a slim solid state design with a class-A output stage that output 20Wpc into 8 ohms. By contrast, the massive, dual-mono Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 800 integrated amplifier, which Michael Fremer reviewed for Stereophile in November 2015, featured nuvistor tubes for its small-signal circuitry, coupled with a solid state, class-AB output stage that could deliver 330Wpc into 8 ohms.

Michael Trei  |  Dec 06, 2023  |  1 comments
About four years ago, the stand-alone tonearm market went through a bit of a crisis. First, in December 2019, SME announced that it would stop selling tonearms separately, effective immediately. From that point on, SME tonearms would be available only in combination with SME turntables. . .

Five months later, in May 2020, we received the second blow in this double whammy of bad tonearm news. That's when the Ichikawa Jewel Company of Japan, maker of Jelco tonearms, announced without warning that they were shutting down operations, closing their doors for good. They blamed a combination of an aging workforce, worn-out tooling that needed to be replaced, and the coronavirus pandemic. . .

We lost two key players all at once, but it's not as if we suddenly had nowhere to turn for tonearms. Turntable manufacturers like Acoustic Signature, Clearaudio, Origin Live, Pro-Ject, Rega, and VPI all sell their tonearms separately . . . A number of smaller tonearm specialists have popped up in recent decades: Acoustical Systems, Graham, GrooveMaster, Kuzma, Reed, Schick, Schröder, and at the ultrahigh end, Swedish Analog Technologies. Now we can add Korf Audio to the list.

Herb Reichert  |  Dec 05, 2023  |  13 comments
My adoptive mother, Lily Mae, was a retired businesswoman and former fashion model turned stay-at-home mom and artist-painter with famously good taste in everything. She raised me to have good manners, an "active awareness of color and texture," and "an eye for form." She expected me to critique her paintings, her decorating, and her wardrobe, urging me constantly to develop "good taste in everything."

In Lil's world, a perfect day was for me to skip school and go with her clothes shopping at Marshall Field's, where it was my job to sit in a plush chair offering comments about which outfits had the best fabrics and best "complimented her form." She always said "form is bones" and fashion is about "how fabrics hang on people's bones."

Tom Fine  |  Dec 01, 2023  |  2 comments
Saturday, August 18, 1962, was quite a day in music. In England, Ringo Starr made his first appearance as a full member of the Beatles, at a Horticultural Society dance at Port Sunlight, Merseyside. In Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, two jazz giants met in a recording studio for the first time. Duke Ellington showed up with a streamlined, potent ensemble: Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Ray Nance, Lawrence Brown, Aaron Bell, and Sam Woodyard. Then tenor sax legend Coleman Hawkins arrived.

Ellington and Hawkins had never recorded together, so there was an atmosphere of energy and something grand and long overdue. Producer Bob Thiele and engineer Rudy Van Gelder stayed out of the way and let the music unfold while making sure not to miss anything. The result was a spectacular, loose, joyous, perfectly played album: Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins (Impulse! Records, AS-26, A-26 in mono).

Stereophile Staff  |  Dec 01, 2023  |  0 comments
Register to win an AudioQuest Cobalt portable USB DAC (retail value $349.95; limited-time $199.95) we are giving away.

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