LATEST ADDITIONS

Carl Thomas Hriczak  |  Jan 02, 2020  |  6 comments
It's 9:45 on a mid-September weeknight in Greater Toronto. Having spent the evening reveling in the glory of her 9th birthday—candles blown out, presents open, pleasantly full of Wegmans' Ultimate Chocolate Cake—Our Birthday Girl has one additional request:

"Can we please play 'Happy Birthday Polka'?!"

Kalman Rubinson  |  Dec 30, 2019  |  30 comments
The buzz at the 2019 Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York was immersive audio, as it has been for the last several years. I witnessed developments that may have a big impact on the future of multichannel audio.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 28, 2019  |  29 comments
As the decade draws to a close, many of us choose to gather with people we love so that together we can celebrate and give thanks for our blessings. In that spirit, I offer a new hybrid SACD/Download of a perennial favorite, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D minor. Op. 125 “Choral” (BIS 2451), whose memorable finale celebrates the joy of oneness with humanity and the divine.
Thomas Conrad  |  Dec 27, 2019  |  4 comments
Keith Jarrett: Munich 2016
ECM 2667/2668 (2 CDs). 2019. Keith Jarrett, prod.; Manfred Eicher, exec. prod.; Martin Pearson, eng.; Christoph Stickel, mastering eng.
Performance *****
Sonics ****

I just measured the Keith Jarrett shelf in my CD library and it's 25" long: 51 CDs and CD sets. But when I played the new Munich 2016, I felt like I was rediscovering him after an unexplained absence.

Jarrett has been off my radar lately. Apparently I am not alone. The single best indicator of a jazz musician's critical standing is the DownBeat International Critics Poll. In 2017, Jarrett did not make the top 10 in the piano category. In 2018, he did not make the top 20.

Herb Reichert  |  Dec 26, 2019  |  37 comments
No one thinks I have a good memory, but I can easily remember a few sentences from my March 2016 review of Elac's Debut B6 loudspeaker. The sentence I remember best: "I might be able to forgive you for liking Paul more than John, George, or Ringo, but if you don't grasp the genius of Mel Tormé, only God can save you." I felt guilty for bringing God into the story, but I sincerely wanted everyone to experience the wonder of the Velvet Fog (Tormé) and to realize how good Mel could sound on a pair of $279.99/pair upstart speakers with audiophile pretensions.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Dec 24, 2019  |  70 comments
Upon hearing about this new product from Benchmark Media, the LA4, my mind turned to Laurindo Almeida, Bud Shank, Ray Brown, and Shelly Manne—the original L.A. Four jazz quartet. No such association was intended, however: the "4" merely designates change from previous Benchmark designs.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 23, 2019  |  31 comments
High-quality playback of digital audio is evolving in two opposed directions. One is where a smart wireless loudspeaker, like the KEF LSX or DALI Callisto 6 C, needs to be connected to a simple source of data. The other is where a smart amplifier takes the data from wherever it needs and sends it to a pair of dumb loudspeakers. NAD's Masters Series M32 integrated amplifier ($4848 with its optional MDC DD-BluOS module), which I reviewed in May 2018, is a great-sounding example of the latter approach.

In the spring of 2019, NAD introduced the Masters Series M10 ($2749). At first I assumed that the M10 was a stripped-down, less-powerful version of the M32, but the new amplifier offers a unique set of features.

Sasha Matson  |  Dec 20, 2019  |  21 comments
There is change, and also continuity, at Wilson Audio Specialties, the company founded in 1974 by recordist and loudspeaker designer David A. Wilson. David's son Daryl Wilson was appointed president and CEO in 2016. David Wilson passed away in 2018. And in 2019, Wilson Audio Specialties released the Sasha DAW loudspeaker ($37,900/pair), designed by a team led by Daryl Wilson and named in honor of his father.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 19, 2019  |  46 comments
What kind of creature is this? Gryphon Audio Designs' new Ethos ($39,000)—pronounced EE-toss by its Danish manufacturers—is marketed as a CD player and digital-to-analog converter. It's decidedly au courant in that it includes two 32-bit/768kHz ES9038PRO Sabre DAC chips—one for each channel—with each holding eight individual DAC chips; offers optional upsampling to either 24/384 PCM or DSD128; and decodes up to 32/384 PCM and quadruple DSD (DSD512) via its USB input, or up to 24/192 (and no DSD) via AES/EBU or S/PDIF.
Jim Austin  |  Dec 18, 2019  |  33 comments
Subjectivist audiophiles have long maintained that long-term listening is necessary to assess the quality and character of an audio component. Scientific testing methodologies such as ABX, which require quick and conscious evaluation of a change in the sound, have long struck many of us as insufficient, seeming to miss much that affects our enjoyment of music.

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