Music and Recording Features

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Lewis Lipnick  |  Aug 29, 1987  |  0 comments
When I decided to write a piece on the subject of concert-hall acoustics, I realized that almost all discussion concerning this topic is based on the viewpoint of the listener in the audience. While this is important (since the primary purpose of any hall is to bring audience and performance together), the criteria that musicians employ in concert-hall evaluation address sonic parameters that are probably not obvious to the casual listener, and may often be at odds with conclusions reached from the other side of the footlights. Some readers might feel that any discussion of concert halls has no place in a publication such as Stereophile; they may have a point, especially if their sole aim through audio is to produce sonic spectacle, rather than to recreate an artistic event. I believe, however, that there are some readers who would like to gain some insights into the specific problems and acoustical considerations presented to performing musicians, and possibly come away with some fresh ideas to incorporate in their listening criteria.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 21, 1997  |  0 comments
There has been much argument in audiophile circles about whether an LP or a CD is a more faithful representation of a master tape. Although we recorded Robert Silverman's thrilling performance of the Liszt B-Minor Piano Sonata for CD release, we also had in mind to issue an LP. As the source for both would be the same, the question we can answer is: Will an LP cut straight from a 20-bit master tape via a Class A 20-bit DAC sound closer than a CD noise-shaped to 16 bits from the same 20-bit original?
Richard Lehnert, Meg Seaker, Merridee Shaw  |  Sep 03, 2019  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1981  |  1 comments
Years before I moved to Santa Fe, where I eventually became Stereophile's copyeditor, assistant editor, and first music editor, I lived in Boston, Massachusetts. There, I'd spent a year as the in-house typesetter, copyeditor, and book-review editor of East West Journal, an eclectic monthly magazine devoted to nutrition, spirituality, cooking, gardening, conservation, and other subjects. Two years after I'd left EWJ, managing editor Meg Seaker called to ask if I wanted to interview Keith Jarrett for the magazine.
Fred Kaplan  |  Oct 01, 2013  |  1 comments
The world is catching up with Darcy James Argue. Two years ago, he was known mainly for having the strangest name in jazz since Ornette Coleman. Now he's a double winner in Downbeat's 2013 Critics' Poll—the top pick for Best Arranger, and tied with Maria Schneider for Best Big Band Leader.
Phil Brett  |  Jan 06, 2021  |  2 comments
I remember when I first heard that David Bowie had died. I was half-listening to the radio as I prepared for work. I was stunned. I just looked at my partner. To my surprise, a tear ran down my cheek. I had always been rather sniffy about people who got emotional when famous people died, people they had never met, who had never heard of them, who had lived lives of wealth.
Wes Phillips  |  May 06, 2002  |  0 comments
People are wrong when they say the opera isn't what it used to be. It is what it used to be. That's what's wrong with it.—Noël Coward
John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2019  |  3 comments
"Got a match?" ("Uh-uh")

"It's a fabulous party! . . . Look at all the fabulous people."

"You wanna dance?" ("Yes I'd love to . . .")

"Let's party a little bit." ("All right . . .")

Kalman Rubinson  |  Apr 02, 2006  |  First Published: Jan 02, 2000  |  0 comments
I had been with Stereophile only six months and feared my tenure was over—I thought I was losing my hearing. There was pain, ringing, and stuffiness. I couldn't listen to anything.
Sasha Matson  |  Apr 09, 2018  |  8 comments
There I was, at my son Peter's thirtieth birthday party at Black Flamingo in Brooklyn, staring at a large. floorstanding speaker cabinet. Then it hit me—young people are gathering in groups to listen and dance to high-quality music playback. Just like we used to do!
Sasha Matson  |  May 02, 2019  |  3 comments
Don Was is a music lover. Looking at his extensive discography as a record producer and musician, one is struck by the variety of artists he's worked with: from Iggy Pop to the B-52's, from Roy Orbison to Elton John, with over half a dozen stops along the way as producer for a little band called the Rolling Stones. In 2017, Was produced Gregg Allman's final studio album, Southern Blood (Rounder 610005). And when you include all the music he's had a hand in since 2012, when he became president of Blue Note Records, you're talking about one busy little red hen helping to bake a lot of bread.
Denis Stevens  |  Feb 28, 1990  |  0 comments
The hidden theme of Elgar's Enigma Variations has been sufficiently investigated over the past 90 years to deter all but the most intrepid researcher from tackling the problem yet again. I would not venture to do so unless I were convinced that a well-argued attempt to solve the mystery once and for all had not been unfairly brushed aside, even ignored, a dozen or so years ago.
Robert Baird  |  May 05, 2000  |  0 comments
"Here's somebody who just loves to sing." Over the telephone, Peter Guralnick sounds sad, incredulous. "But he's unable at the end of his life to force himself into the recording studio—the fear of completion, fear of exposing your untrammeled idea to execution. What a terrible thing to lose that ability, that faith in yourself."
Robert Baird  |  Oct 10, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2012  |  9 comments
It's the first rule of being a stereophile: sound quality is serious business. Simon Gibson, one of the engineers at Abbey Road Studios who worked on EMI's new Signature Collection of hybrid SACD/CDs, knows the drill: remaster and change the sound of a much-loved classical recording from the label's glorious back catalog and you risk becoming a target of blogs and forums. Gibson's aware that the more hallowed the recording, the more quickly knives come out at the mention of remastering.
Robert Baird  |  May 30, 2017  |  1 comments
For fans, of course, he's never been gone, not even for a minute. A jazz pianist who played from the heart and spent a tumultuous life fighting his demons while searching, as singer Tony Bennett has often said, "for truth and beauty," Bill Evans is now the subject of four previously unheard, recently released titles, on LPs, CDs, and downloads, of live recordings of his music. There's also, from Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, a new and superlative One-Step Process vinyl reissue of his classic Sunday at the Village Vanguard. Finally, there's a wonderful new documentary, Bill Evans: Time Remembered, a labor of love by a fan and titled for one of Evans's best-loved tunes. And, unlikely as it sounds, the demand for Evans's music is still strong enough to inspire a controversy over rights and clearances, 37 years after his death, in 1980, at the age of 51.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 25, 2012  |  3 comments
Photo of the author in Bayreuth: Paul Hyde

For audiophiles, the acoustic of the Bayreuth Festspielhause in Germany, home of the annual festival of Richard Wagner's operas, vies with Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Vienna's Musikverein as one of the most fabled for recording as well as listening. As a participant in the Music Critics of North America 2012 institute at the Festival, I had the opportunity to not only explore the venue from a near-ideal seat in Row 25 Center, but to also visit the fabled "covered pit" from which many of the greatest Wagner conductors of the last 136 years have led exalted performances.

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