LATEST ADDITIONS

John Atkinson  |  Aug 30, 2018  |  58 comments
A highlight of my visit to AXPONA, held last April in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, was the Dynaudio room, where the two-way, stand-mounted Special Forty loudspeakers ($2999/pair) were being driven by a tubed Octave integrated amplifier. "The stereo image was superb," I wrote in my show report; "even more impressive [were] the solidity and believability of the softly struck bass drum that punctuates the Ramirez Misa Criola." I concluded that this dem "illustrated how matching a relatively small speaker to a smallish room can produce optimal and excellent sound quality."
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 30, 2018  |  6 comments
Ever since the Tokyo Electro Acoustic Company (TEAC) founded its Esoteric division, in 1987, Esoteric's slogan has been "state of the art." Given Esoteric's impressive displays at audio shows, which reflect a consistency of ownership, staff, and philosophy of engineering, design, and manufacturing, I have longed to evaluate one of their hand-assembled models in my reference system. Any brand named Esoteric, and whose top line of products is named Grandioso, had better make superior products.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 29, 2018  |  4 comments
James Mallinson confers with Sir Georg Solti during playbacks for Mahler's Symphony No.3 in Chicago's Orchestra Hall in November 1982, from the CSO Archives

Legendary British record producer James Mallinson, whose close to five decades of work with Decca/London, Telarc, and the labels of the major orchestras in London, Chicago and St. Petersburg, died unexpectedly on Friday night, August 24. He leaves behind, in addition to his beloved wife and son, an estimable recorded legacy that earned him no less than 16 Grammy Awards and 49 Grammy nominations.

Art Dudley  |  Aug 28, 2018  |  12 comments
For this month's column, I did something I've occasionally set out to do but never quite managed: I lived with a new power amplifier for nearly two months, used it to enjoy a variety of records, made scads of listening notes, and wrote most of the subjective portion of my review—all without knowing what was inside it.
Richard Lehnert  |  Aug 28, 2018  |  3 comments
Bruckner & Wagner
Andris Nelsons, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Bruckner: Symphony 4. Wagner: Lohengrin Prelude
Deutsche Grammophon 479 7577 (CD). TT: 79:24
Bruckner: Symphony 7. Wagner: Siegfried's Funeral March
Deutsche Grammophon 479 8494 (CD). TT: 76:48
Both: Everett Porter, prod., eng.; Lauran Jurrius, eng.; Polyhymnia International, mastering. DDD.
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½

In works as vast and challenging as the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, near perfection of interpretation and execution can come in different, even opposed forms. The slow meditations of Celibidache, the crisp classicism of Schaller, the precise power of Skrowaczewski: each is uniquely fulfilling and true to the scores, and none sounds anything like the others—or anything like the Bruckner of Andris Nelsons. Deutsche Grammophon has contracted with Nelsons and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra to record, in concert, Bruckner's symphonies 1–9. After beginning last year with a polished if impersonal account of Symphony 3, Nelsons's cycle is rapidly advancing in quality and pace of release.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 26, 2018  |  1 comments
From John McCormack, Kathleen Ferrier, and Dame Janet Baker through today's Bryn Terfel, Alice Coote, and Roderick Williams, some of our greatest English and Irish singers have become indelibly associated with the art of English song. To that exalted list we must now add mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, whose recent recording of 120 years of English song from the Royal College of Music, Come to Me in My Dreams (Chandos 10944), with the superb pianist Joseph Middleton, is so deeply felt and gorgeously voiced that it earns a 5-star recommendation.
Art Dudley  |  Aug 24, 2018  |  34 comments
The 301Wpc Hegel H590 is MQA-ready, and its USB input supports up to DSD256 and PCM 32/384. It's also Hegel's most powerful domestic amp to date: "The idea was to make a reference, a big power amp," the company's Anders Ertzeid said, "but we thought, who really wants just a power amp when we can make an integrated amp?"
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 24, 2018  |  7 comments
The Cable Company's 23rd annual "Summer of Hunger" CARE campaign, which extends through August 31, donates up to 100% of purchase cost directly to the CARE. Made possible by agreements between The Cable Company (1-800-FATWYRE) and 70 of its cable, audio, and headphone brands, the charitable program expects to donate up to $300,000 to CARE by the end of the month.
Ken Micallef  |  Aug 23, 2018  |  24 comments
Designed in New York City, manufactured in Poland, and barely bigger than a thick paperback, the Brooklyn Amp ($2495) is Mytek's first power amplifier. Like all of their products, it's sleek to behold, with a powerful look that suggests the company's pedigree: in addition to high-end consumer electronics, Mytek makes gear for the pro-audio market, where exceptional build quality and space-saving design are the norm.

Consistent with that last characteristic is the Brooklyn Amp's output architecture: it operates in class-D, a technology that remains controversial.

Herb Reichert  |  Aug 23, 2018  |  15 comments
The trouble with a classicist he looks at the sky
He doesn't ask why, he just paints a sky
—John Cale and Lou Reed, "Trouble with Classicists," from Songs for Drella

Left brain/right brain, yin/yang, male/female, Apollonian/Dionysian, classical/romantic, painterly/linear, dark/light, hard/soft, warm/cool...I use these contrasting adjectives in my reviews because I feel some confidence in their ability to convey the nature of what I experience while listening to recordings with whatever new audio box sits before me in the listening studio.

I also use: accurate (I hate that word), neutral (what's that?), colored, clean, transparent, open, musical. Sadly, I have little confidence in their ability to describe my experiences.

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