LATEST ADDITIONS

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 23, 2023  |  45 comments
One of the finest chamber music performances I have ever attended took place this past August under far from ideal circumstances. The venue was one-month-old Field Hall in Port Angeles, Washington, a city of fewer than 20,000 people known more for its port and proximity to the Olympic National Forest than for its rich culture. Perhaps that reputation will soon change, because the performers in the concluding concert of the Music on the Strait chamber music festival included its two local founders, violinist James Garlick of the Minnesota Orchestra and violist Richard O'Neill, the newest member of the Takács String Quartet. These excellent musicians, who have been friends since high school, were joined by the superb pianist Jeremy Denk and cellist Ani Aznavoorian. These are world-class musicians who attract eager audiences to New York's 92nd Street Y and Carnegie Hall, London's Wigmore Hall, and other prestigious venues. . .

What was true for that live performance in Field Hall is also true for performances reproduced on audio systems: A system can be less than technically perfect yet still transmit with eloquence every iota of care and feeling that artists and engineers put into recordings. Perfection is not an essential component of musical truth. Inspiration is.

Lest readers think this preamble is intended to suggest some shortcoming in the component under review, the Accuphase A-300 monophonic power amplifier ($51,900/pair), let me reassure you at the outset: Time and again, the A-300, like Jeremy Denk's artistry, inspired a state of wonder. The more I listened to the A-300 monoblocks, the more I wanted to listen. In my too-busy life, every occasion for listening was an occasion indeed, a special event.

Julie Mullins  |  Nov 22, 2023  |  1 comments
Years ago, as a side gig with a friend, I started a small business importing and distributing high-end women's garments from European makers: swimwear, hosiery, bodysuits, underwear. At the time, the consistent fit and finish, comfort, and manufacturing quality we appreciated was hard to find stateside.

I never thought I'd see these two interests—women's undergarments and hi-fi—converge, until I started researching this review of the $4500 Audeze LCD-5 headphones, the company's current flagship.

Mike Mettler  |  Nov 21, 2023  |  0 comments
Photo by Laure Crost

We all have at least one cherished album that takes us back to the exact time and place we first heard it. Whenever we hear any of the music from that special album—regardless of whether it occurs months, years, or even decades later, of whether we hear it in the grocery store, on a car radio, or on a friend's playlist—we instantly reconnect with the feelings the music originally evoked within us.

Some of my old gear is boxed up in an offsite storage space, but almost all of my old LPs are within reach. I can reconnect with them and how they make me feel in a flash, with the drop of a needle.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 20, 2023  |  1 comments

Voxativ's Ines Adler and Christopher Cunningham brought the full Voxativ experience from Berlin to Rockville, including the new and revised Voxativ Ampeggio back-loaded horn with AC-1.9 full-range driver loudspeaker ($12,900/pair).

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 20, 2023  |  0 comments

It was hard to find focus in Victor Kong's room. Between the nearly invisible AER BD3B/650mm full-range open-baffle speakers ($9800/pair) and the various amps on static display—Sun Valley SV-1616D 300B integrated amp ($2450), or the Elekit TU-8900 ($3050) or Elekit TU-8850 ($1850) power amps—my palms felt sweaty, my head, dizzy. Is this SET-amp lover’s heaven?

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 20, 2023  |  0 comments

Japan’s Technical Audio Devices Laboratories, Inc. (TAD) brought several products to CAF, including the US debut of the TAD Grand Evolution One (GE1) floor-standing speakers ($65,000/pair) and new TAD C1000 preamplifier ($24,950).

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 20, 2023  |  2 comments

Dan Wright of ModWright Instruments Inc., partnered with Cardas Audio, Acora Acoustics, and Woodsong Audio to bring his new compact, affordable 9-series products, which are "based on our Reference Designs," Wright told me in a preshow email.

John Atkinson  |  Nov 17, 2023  |  0 comments
When we introduced Stereophile's Product of the Year awards in 1992, we decided that, unlike some other publications' awards schemes, we would avoid what the late Art Dudley once described as the "every child in the class gets a prize" syndrome. We decided to keep the number of categories to the minimum. That way, in Loudspeakers, for example, high-value minimonitors would compete with cost-no-object floorstanders. In Analog Products, turntables would compete with tonearms, phono cartridges, and phono preamplifiers. And in Amplification, single-box integrated amplifiers would go up against separates. In Budget Product of the Year, we lumped everything together, recognizing products from every category that offered the best sound for the buck. The overall Product of the Year, meanwhile, would be the winner of all the winners—a single product, unless the voting resulted in a tie.

To be considered for our 2023 awards, products must have been subjected to a full review or considered in a column published from the November 2022 issue through the October 2023 issue. Each product was subjected by the reviewer to a thorough evaluation over a period of weeks or months—plus, for regular reviews (not columns), a session in my test lab.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 17, 2023  |  2 comments

Fast-talking, smooth-walking, Brit-expat Robin Wyatt is one of the best setup men in the game. Showcasing unique gear that he operates to perfection, his rooms typically capture best-in-show performance.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 17, 2023  |  5 comments

Walter Swanbon of Fidelis AV Distribution brought not only the Harbeth loudspeakers and Pure Fidelity turntable I raved about in recent Stereophile reviews, but also a couple brands I was unaware of until now. Walter always gets great room sound, so I was looking forward to a discovery.

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