LATEST ADDITIONS

Steve Guttenberg  |  Jun 13, 2017  |  100 comments
There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: Headphones sound different from speakers. For different reasons, I like both, but all speakers come with one undeniable disadvantage: the room you play them in. I don't care if you're running pint-size Falcon Acoustics LS3/5a's or giant Wilson Audio Alexandria XLFs—they're at the mercy of your room's acoustics. Losses are inevitable.
Robert Baird  |  Jun 13, 2017  |  3 comments
Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo': TajMo
Concord CRE00432 (LP). 2017. Taj Mahal, Keb' Mo', prods.; Zach Allen, John Caldwell, Alex Jarvis, Jesse Nichols, Casey Wasner, engs.; Ross Hogarth, mix; Richard Dodd, mastering; Bernie Grundman, vinyl mastering. AAA? TT: 45:20
Performance ****
Sonics ****

The blues, that wonderful basis of so much American popular music, has for many listeners grown a bit stale and old-fashioned. It's not much of a draw outside bar bands, and other than Alligator Records, most of the biggest blues labels have folded or gone dormant. Losing many of the music's first- and second-generation practitioners hasn't helped.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 13, 2017  |  4 comments
Stick with me through this introduction, girls and boys, because the wild and wacky music I'm about to discuss is worth it! Scan any "A" list of living American composers, and the names of two Pulitzer Prize in Music recipients with the last name of Adams inevitably appears: John Adams (b. 1947, Worcester, MA), and John Luther Adams (b. 1953, Meridian, MS). Although a third Adams, John Adams' son Samuel Adams (b. 1985, San Francisco, CA) is fast emerging as a major composer, we'll spend the next two weeks exploring new recordings of music by the two elder Johns.
Robert Baird  |  Jun 12, 2017  |  0 comments
"They are simultaneously high-fidelity in ways that are less easy to quantify . . . [and] many of the most expensive pieces of [modern] audiophile gear follow the structures of this early equipment."
Art Dudley  |  Jun 11, 2017  |  7 comments
Don Garber, founder and sole proprietor of the influential electronics company Fi as well as a noted artist, passed away on June 4th, following a brief illness. He was 81.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 11, 2017  |  21 comments
Michael Fremer interviews Acoustic Sounds' Chad Kassem at LAAS. (Photo: John Atkinson)

The first Los Angeles Audio Show, the audio show that may very well supplant the transplanted-to-Anaheim, September-scheduled T.H.E. Show as the Southern California audio show of choice, has just come and gone. Even as exhibitors unpack their wares and begin the multi-month process of assessing the show's impact on sales and brand recognition, some observations on the show's success and otherwise are in order.

John Atkinson  |  Jun 11, 2017  |  1 comments
The first room I went to at the 2017 LAAS was that hosted by LA dealer Optimal Enchantment featuring a system based on Vandersteen's Model Seven Mk.II speakers ($62,000/pair) and M7-HPA amplifiers ($52,000/pair), which I reviewed in May 2016, this time reinforced by a pair of Vandersteen's SUB NINEs operating below 100Hz. It may have been the first room I visited but as good as many other systems sounded, they didn't match what Vandersteen refers as System NINE for its effortless sweep of sound, precise, palpable imaging, and smooth yet detailed high frequencies.
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.

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