LATEST ADDITIONS

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2019  |  34 comments
Besides the appearance there of many new components capable of MQA decoding and rendering, CES provided an opportunity to unveil two important MQA developments…
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2019  |  0 comments
A few surprises and delights still awaited on Wednesday afternoon, January 9. That was when I began to realize: save for Harman International's off-site exhibit at Hard Rock Café and two products I encountered on January 10, I would have plenty of time to write blogs and pack on my final day in Vegas.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 11, 2019  |  5 comments
Of all the systems I auditioned at this year's CES, Nagra's was the unquestionable standout. Its sound was full-range and transparent, with brilliant and glistening highs, a totally realistic midrange, astounding low bass reach, and an ability to flesh out complex overtones and undertones without distortion. Had this thoroughly musical system been placed in a much larger room at AXPONA or the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, perhaps even with one of Wilson's larger speakers in place of the excellent new Wilson Audio Sasha DAW seen here ($37,900/pair), it could easily have topped many of the other big rigs that I've raved about in the past.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 10, 2019  |  23 comments
One of several small, wireless speakers unveiled at the Venetian Hotel, Audioengine's A2+ ($269/pair), with built-in DAC and aptX Bluetooth, is manufactured in China, and scheduled to ship at the end of January. I didn't get a chance to hear the A2+, but our niece, who has the wired version, raves about its sound with her Mac laptop.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 10, 2019  |  0 comments
Although I no longer attend the audio pageant that was once the annual Consumer Electronics Show, I now seem to be traveling more, in hopes of recapturing the excitement CES had once provided. Last May I attended High End, in Munich, and found that while it was entirely as advertised, there was, alas, not enough emphasis on the playback of high-resolution files, and hardly any attention paid to multichannel music.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 10, 2019  |  26 comments
As a longtime user of Nordost's cable and AC-power products, my ears opened wide when they released their three QKore Ground Units and QKore Wire at High End 2017, in Munich. While I've never questioned the importance of proper electrical grounding, to prevent problems with safety and noise—the latter including measurable noise generated by transformers, appliances, LED lighting, power supplies, and Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular devices—I couldn't fathom what difference a passive grounding device might make in a high-end system that, in my case, is fed by an 8-gauge dedicated line with its own copper ground rod driven into the terra infirma of the fault-ridden Pacific Northwest.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 09, 2019  |  8 comments
After a few minutes in the VTL/Wilson/Nordost room on the 29th floor of the Venetian Hotel, the challenge I faced in covering CES 2019 was staring me in the face. The good news for me, and the bad news for exhibitors, was that visitor traffic was extremely light. To only two rooms did I need to backtrack because exhibitors were totally occupied with other visitors when I paid an initial visit. But, on the other hand, the sound in some rooms was so good, the musical selections so compelling, and the exhibitors so hungry for attention from someone that I had an extremely difficult time tearing myself away and moving on.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 08, 2019  |  11 comments
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975) was hardly the first composer to run headfirst into opposition from political authorities. In his case, however, the pushback was so extreme that it affected everything he wrote thereafter.

In early 1936, after the style and subject matter of his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk clashed with the so-called proletarian aesthetic of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin (1878–1953), Shostakovich was denounced by the official state newspaper, Pravda. From then on, his symphonies reflected either his defiance of decades of Socialist realism, or attempts to appease the authorities while still speaking his truth.

J. Gordon Holt  |  Jan 08, 2019  |  First Published: Nov 01, 1962  |  2 comments
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch, conductor
RCA Victor LSC-2608 (LP). TT: 48:40

It is easy to forget that the hi-fi movements—the "March to the Scaffold" and the "Dream of a Witches' Sabbath"—comprise barely a third of the music in the Symphonie fantastique, yet when we listen to most of the available versions of this, we can understand why the first three movements are usually passed up by the record listener. Two are slow and brooding, one is a wispy sort of waltz, and all three require a certain combination of flowing gentleness and grotesquerie that few orchestras and fewer conductors can carry off. It is in these first three movements where most readings of Berlioz' best-known work fall flat. Either they are too sweetly pastoral or too episodic and choppy, or they degenerate into unreliered dullness.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 08, 2019  |  6 comments
"They expect 180,000 people this year," the Lyft driver told me as we headed to the Strip shortly after sunset. "That's 10,000 more than last year!"

Does that mean there will be 10,000 more gadgets on display?

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