Now on Newsstands: Stereophile, Vol.32 No.12

The December 2009 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands. Our final issue of 2009 includes our annual “Products of the Year” feature. People love this feature. We’re already receiving fun complaints from manufacturers whose products are not pictured in the article, complaints from readers because we only vote on products we’ve actually listened to, complaints from angry moms because we didn’t pick their children to play one of the lead roles in “A Christmas Carol.”

Complainers! They are so silly!

For an explanation of our voting process, check out John Atkinson's December 2007 "As We See It."

If you haven’t already read our “Products of the Year” article, be sure to pick up a copy of Stereophile at your local newsstand. We list products that offer extraordinary and enduring quality, products that should provide musical pleasure long after our formal evaluation period. These are products that have the potential of becoming classics. They are products of this year and many years to come. Categories include Loudspeakers, Amplification Components, Digital Source Components, Analog Source Components, Accessories, Budget Components, Overall Product of the Year, and our Editor’s Choice Components, for which each of our writers declares his personal favorite product. John Atkinson’s favorite? He picked two. Can you guess what they are?

On the cover of our December 2009 issue, you’ll see the attractive dCS Puccini SACD/CD playback system. The Puccini will be a candidate for 2010’s “Product of the Year,” for sure. Along with the Ayre C-5xeMP and Meridian 808i.2, JA found the Puccini to be one of the best digital sources he’s auditioned.

In “As We See It,” JA looks back on a year in which too many of audio’s pioneers passed away, and pays tribute to those singular designers who embody the high-end ethos. In my opinion, this is one of the best pieces contributed by JA all year. It gave me chills, nearly brought me to tears. Dammit, JA!

Meanwhile, Art Dudley [as his family refers to him] has some fun with the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Seven monoblock power amplifier. He gives it a very strong recommendation, and calls it “an apparently reliable, obviously wonderful-sounding amp.” JA wonders about Art, though: “The DiaLogue Seven’s measured performance in triode mode was notably worse than in ultralinear mode, yet Art Dudley ultimately preferred triode mode. A puzzle.”

Oh, that kooky Art Dudley!

Mikey Fremer gives a listen to the PMC DB1i loudspeaker. Wait, what? Mikey “MAXX” Fremer listening to a two-way monitor? But Mikey’s colossal reference loudspeakers could eat the PMCs for brunch. Gulp. Even Mikey was skeptical as he replaced the Wilson MAXX 3s with the relatively diminutive PMCs. But, after a brief period of adjustment, Mikey liked them. He really did! Bob Reina, our resident budget-speaker guru, will contribute a “Follow-Up” in a future issue.

Speaking of “Follow-Ups,” we have a lot of them in our December issue. JA takes another look at the ATC SCM 11 loudspeaker, auditioned by John Marks in “The Fifth Element;” provides in-room measurements of the Revel Ultima Studio2 loudspeaker, tested by Fred Kaplan; and runs a full set of measurements on the bargain-priced Musical Fidelity V-DAC USB D/A processor ($299).

In “Sam’s Space,” Sam Tellig listens to the lovely Verity Audio Leonore. I’ve had a chance to listen to Leonore, too, and I agree that she is a “very classy lady,” well worth an audition. Sam closes his column by remembering Pops conductor Erich Kunzel and ripping Telarc for forgetting him. It’s vintage Tellig.

In “Analog Corner,” Mikey covers ground like he’s at CES, all zippity-doo-da-day. In his four pages, he provides detailed reviews of the Benz-Micro LP S and Sumiko Reference Palo Santos Presentation moving-coil cartridges and the AudioValve Sunilda phono preamp, while also extolling the virtues of three overachievers: the Audio-Technica AT-PEQ3 phono preamp ($119 list; $70 online!), Ortofon 2M Black phono cartridge ($669), and the Musical Fidelity V-LPS phono preamp ($199).

In “Listening,” kooky ol’ Artie explores the “Foundation” approach to system optimization, surrendering his system to an extreme make-over with Nordost cabling, Quantum Resonant Technology “scalar field generators,” and Vertex AQ platforms. Sounds like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” What will happen to Art’s high-efficiency speakers and low-power amps? Will Art survive? Tune in to find out.

In “The Fifth Element,” John Marks offers his annual holiday-gift suggestions, this year including everything from Steely Dan’s Aja, Don Breithaupt’s contribution to the Thirty Three and a Third Series of excellent explorations of classic albums, to an $18 million fiddle. Good stuff.

So, start the holiday season right: Light a fire, fill a tumbler with something warm and pleasant, and curl up with the latest issue of Stereophile. And don’t let anyone spoil your fun. Cheers.

Alex's picture

You live in New York. You should be totally used to complainers.

Stephen Mejias's picture

You'd think I would be, surrounded, as I am, by Yankees fans.

John Atkinson's picture

Stephen, Stephen, forget about those Damn Yankees. You know that being a Mets fan involves pain, disappointment, shame, and suffering, all of which, as Dr. Gizmo Rosenberg would have told you, are good for your soul. And speaking about the Mets, didja see that Wally Backman has become the manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones? Could a promotion to Citi Field in 2001 be out of the cards?

Larry aka Poor Audiophile's picture

Us Yankees fans aren't complaining now!!I've just started reading this issue, but so far so good!! Cheers guys!

Larry aka Poor Audiophile's picture

Us Yankees fans aren't complaining now!!I've just started reading this issue, but so far so good!! Cheers guys!

Stephen Mejias's picture

Thanks, Larry.John: I was thinking the same thing. The ownership has brought in several ex-Mets from the glory years. I think this is a great strategy for building a winning atmosphere. I hear that Jason Marquis wants to play at Citi Field, too. So, things are looking up. But, if any team can kill a rally, it's the Mets.My soul is awesome.