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Jim Austin Posted: Oct 20, 2007 0 comments
Most people are familiar, at least in outline, with the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea." In the story, the Queen decides that it's time for her son to marry, and the Prince—apparently a very fussy young man—decides that he can marry only a true princess, as measured by her sensitivity to small discomforts. It's like being an audiophile, but with peas.
Jim Austin Posted: May 19, 2016 3 comments
I was lying on a mattress on the floor of an empty apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Not as grim as it sounds—it's a nice apartment, and the mattress was new, and had just been delivered—but it was hot (no air-conditioning), and my family and my furniture were still in my condo up in Maine, and I was lonely. I needed some cheering up. Which is how I rationalized the decision to buy an Explorer2, Meridian Audio's tiny, inexpensive ($299) digital-to-analog converter.
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Jim Austin Posted: Oct 29, 2016 51 comments
Photo: Jason Victor Serinus

Exactly what did Bob Stuart (above) say at that press event earlier this month at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF)? Stuart—CEO of the company MQA, short for Master Quality Authenticated—made an announcement about the Warner Music Group's (WMG's) transcoding of their catalog into MQA format, a project announced last May. But what exactly did he say?

Eager for answers, I arranged a conference call. Over the course of about half an hour, Stuart (with an occasional assist from Lisa Sullivan, MQA's Director of Marketing) answered all my questions and more.

Jim Austin Posted: Oct 28, 2016 0 comments
When I moved to New York City about a year ago, I was prepared to dislike Brooklyn. Judging it by its reputation as the apotheosis of cool, I envisioned the borough full of good-looking people engaged in pointless acts of mindless, stylish conformity, from man-buns to single-origin pour-over coffee. (Anyone up for adult kickball?) As I've written before, about Portland, Maine—a hipster place much indebted to Brooklyn—I greatly prefer deeply committed idiosyncrasy to mindless conformity.
Jim Austin Posted: Oct 22, 2006 0 comments
At the extreme high end—Halcro, VTL, Boulder, etc.—reviewers gush about a lack of character. If you're paying $20,000, you want a preamplifier or power amp to disappear. At those price points we also want extreme, unfatiguing resolution, and noise that's well below what most people would consider audible. But at those prices, an absence of character is definitely something most people aspire to.
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Jim Austin Posted: Nov 16, 2003 Published: Nov 01, 2003 0 comments
"Imagine a lake," reads the website of the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse (NPC) , "filled with semi-tractor-trailer trucks, magically skimming across the water.
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Jim Austin Posted: Nov 06, 2016 7 comments
The room was small, approximately square, with low ceilings, and—like all the rooms I visited at the show—very yellow…
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Jim Austin Posted: May 23, 2017 2 comments
"Let be."

Those two words, from Shakespeare's Hamlet, express an entire philosophy of life in one of the shortest sentences possible. The quotation may not be familiar, but the concept certainly is—contemporary equivalents, each with its own inflections of meaning, include: Shit happens. Let the game come to you. Keep calm and carry on. (I hate that one.) Paul McCartney wrote something similar, and only slightly less concise, in a late Beatles song.

Jim Austin Posted: Apr 28, 2016 0 comments
Researchers at MIT recently discovered a "music channel" in the human brain. These neural pathways respond to all kinds of music—and only to music. "A listener may relish the sampled genre or revile it," Natalie Angier wrote in the New York Times. "No matter. When a musical passage is played, a distinct set of neurons tucked inside a furrow of a listener's auditory cortex will fire in response"
Jim Austin Posted: Jun 21, 2016 5 comments
Stereophile hasn't reviewed a PS Audio power regenerator since February 2009, when Robert Deutsch tried the company's then-flagship, the Power Plant Premier ($2195). But earlier this year, as I prepared to write my review of PS Audio's NuWave DSD DAC (published in the May 2016 issue), a perfect opportunity to revisit the line came about: I read, in the owner's manual for the PSA DAC, that "power conditioners and the quality of the AC power can make a significant difference in sound quality." Eager to help the NuWave DSD put its best foot forward, I asked PS Audio to assist me in dealing with my AC power, which is marginal here in crowded New York City. They sent me their PerfectWave P10 Power Plant AC Regenerator ($4999)—and John Atkinson asked me to spill some ink on this most recent of the company's clean-power flagships.

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