John Atkinson  |  Jun 01, 2024  |  16 comments
Jon Iverson (right) shares a Big Sur sunset with John Atkinson in 2017. (Photo by Corrina Jones.)

After 27 years, yesterday was the final day AVTech's webmaster Jon Iverson was responsible for overseeing the company's websites, including this one. Now in his mid-60s, Jon felt it was time for him to retire while he still had the energy to explore his other interests.

Rogier van Bakel  |  May 31, 2024  |  42 comments
There was a period in the 1970s when many pop ballads that should have had understated arrangements instead turned grandiose and even maudlin. Take Gilbert O'Sullivan's sensational single "Nothing Rhymed" (a track that went deep for a pop hit, referencing famine, duty, and morality). Soon after the start, O'Sullivan's piano is overshadowed by a loud, saccharine string section.

Another example is "Lotte," German singer Stephan Sulke's portrayal of a dying love affair. The devastatingly wistful chanson is burdened by a mawkish orchestral track—the equivalent of glitterbombing an Edward Hopper painting.

Contrast this with Roberta Flack's definitive version of Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Apart from Flack's voice and her emotional delivery, the gently strummed guitar and quiet piano do all the heavy lifting. An unhurried double bass and a couple of minimally bowed string instruments leave swaths of negative space, helping to give her interpretation its hushed, reverent character.

I reflected on all this after spending several months with Balanced Audio Technology's REX 500 solid state power amplifier ($25,000), which has more in common with the Roberta Flack track than with the bombast of "Nothing Rhymed."

Ken Micallef  |  May 30, 2024  |  24 comments
Evaluating a loudspeaker that would become Stereophile's 2011 Product of the Year, Art Dudley, at the time the magazine's editor-at-large, wrote, "The Voxativ Ampeggio went beyond sounding good: More than once, with too many records to mention, I found myself stopping to marvel at its brilliantly good pitch certainty. In terms of being able to simply nail a note, whether in isolation or tucked within a whole string of the little bastards, I've heard few other speakers this accomplished. And while it's one thing to focus on such a characteristic for a moment at a time, it's quite another to bask in it subconsciously—and the Voxativs allowed me to do just that."

"I've now encountered a single-driver dynamic speaker I could live with," Art concluded. "In most audio reviews that's faint praise, but in this one it's a revelation."

Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 30, 2024  |  First Published: May 28, 2024  |  4 comments
Steinway Lyngdorf, the only speaker company that’s allowed to use the Steinway name, compared the sound of its two “new” speakers. The Model S Soundbar is designed for rooms that cannot contain floorstanders. Sold as a complete, full-range on-wall system and usually chosen for custom installs, the Model S contains three AMT tweeters, three midrange drivers, and two woofers. Total amplification power is 1600W, and the specified frequency response is 40Hz–20kHZ –3dB. With machined, solid-aluminum front and back panels, it has MDF frame that contains five acoustically separate chambers. Available in matte black, high gloss black with gold details, or custom finishes, it weighs a substantial 106lb.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 30, 2024  |  First Published: May 28, 2024  |  4 comments
As it has done in previous years, Dynaudio opted for a huge ground floor foyer area that, in addition to a huge, divided space in which to exhibit new and forthcoming models, offered a large meeting room for distributors and press. Ably assisted by Michael “Mike” Manousselis and John Quick of Dynaudio North America, I spent a dizzying half hour or so receiving an overview of four forthcoming models.
Ken Micallef  |  May 30, 2024  |  First Published: May 29, 2024  |  5 comments
High End Munich is a global stage for established audio brands, already heavily covered by the international press. How do smaller manufacturers get noticed in this crowded, high-profile event? I made it a mission to seek out hidden gems and share my discoveries.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 29, 2024  |  0 comments
In a large Atrium showroom, Sonus Faber introduced their five new Second Generation (G2) Sonetto loudspeakers. Though I didn’t have an opportunity to audition any of the new models which comprise the company’s most affordable and popular series—speakers that are priced far, far lower than Sonus Faber’s Suprema flagship ($750,000/pair—I was privileged to end up face-to-face with Florian Marmisse, the acoustic engineer who designed the line’s drivers and crossovers.
Ken Micallef  |  May 28, 2024  |  1 comments
High End Munich continued to unveil new (at least to me) names in the world of hi-fi; amplifier manufacturer hARt Labs was another fascinating discovery.
Ken Micallef  |  May 28, 2024  |  0 comments
Manically energized after watching Dua Lipa’s “Illusion” video on repeat for all nine hours of my flight from Newark to Munich, I was ready for some calming turntable action. The off-white colors of Luphonic Labs’s turntable line caught my attention, their curvy design aesthetic and retro appeal comforting my jet-lagged brain.
Ken Micallef  |  May 28, 2024  |  1 comments
Ypsilon Electronics’ James Michalopoulos seemingly brought the entire Greek-made line of electronics to Munich, beginning with a product the company’s founders, Demetris Baklavas and Fanis Lagadinos, don’t make, from Japanese turntable manufacturer, TechDAS.