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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: May 21, 2017 2 comments
Twenty-four years after The Hilliard Ensemble and saxophonist Jan Garbarek recorded Officium, the first of their three haunting, century-crossing collaborations for ECM New Series, Trio Mediaeval has done something similar with trumpeter Arve Henriksen. On their latest ECM New Series album, Rímur, the vocal trio of Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fugiseth, and Berit Opheim teams up with Henriksen to produce timeless versions of chants, hymns, folk songs and improvisations based on Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish sources from earlier times.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: May 16, 2017 15 comments
Balance is certainly a lovely concept, as well as a lofty ideal. But achieving an optimal sonic balance in a high-end audio system—whose final sound is determined, in part, by interactions among any number of components and that great bugaboo, the listening room—while maintaining some semblance of psychic equilibrium can be the hardest goal of all.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: May 14, 2017 9 comments
Given the pedigree of its three artists—cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, and bassist Edgar Meyer—this new recording of Bach Trios is destined to become a best-seller. That the hour-long recording is available in multiple formats, including as a Nonesuch CD, 24/96 hi-rez download, LP, and MQA stream via Tidal Masters, and is filled with glorious music graand MQA stream via Tidal Masters, and is filled with glorious music grants it potential appeal to all music lovers, including audiophiles eager to compare formats.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: May 12, 2017 51 comments
In anticipation of this week's Munich High End, which takes place May 18–21, MQA has announced several breakthroughs. The first involves its hardware partners, who have expanded to include AudioQuest, CanEver Audio, dCS, Esoteric, IAG, Krell, Lumin, Mark Levinson, Moon by Simaudio, Pro-Ject Audio Systems, TEAC, and Wadax. These are in addition to its existing partners, who include Aurender, Bel Canto, Bluesound, Cary, NAD, Brinkmann, Meridian, MSB, Mytek, Onkyo, Pioneer and Technics. All of the latter are expected to demonstrate MQA at the Munich show, with yet others showing at the Los Angeles Audio Show June 2–4.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: May 07, 2017 67 comments
By the time we had finished the house tour and admired the quiet beauty of the fir-canopied neighborhood, we sensed that we would follow our hearts from unsafe and increasingly unaffordable East Oakland, CA to the serene hamlet of Port Townsend, WA. We also knew that the only suitable place for my reference/review system would be in the 22' x 22' detached garage
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 30, 2017 4 comments
David Chesky's The Spanish Poems packs a lot of infectious, dance-like energy into a three-song, 24/48 (or 16/44.1) download. Available at a price commensurate with its 21:28 length, the short cycle sets "The Girl from Guatemala" by José Marti (1853–1895), Sonnet No.5 by Garcilaso De la Vega (1501–1536), and "The Romance of Love" by an unknown author. All dance away in a catchy style that makes ample use of bells, triangle, and other high-pitched percussion instruments.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 27, 2017 28 comments
See the smiling woman in this photo? That's Liz Miller, Conference & Programming Director for AXPONA…
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 27, 2017 9 comments
The most astounding and baffling system I encountered at AXPONA—I'm not sure which of those descriptors should come first—was in the Raidho/Aavik room, which used Ansuz cabling to join Danish-made Raidho Acoustics D-1.1 Black speakers ($23,000/pair) with sister-company Aavik Acoustics' C-300 control amplifier (preamp) with two phono stages ($42,000) and brand new M-300 300W class-A mono power amplifier ($48,000). At first, I was completely wowed by the sound…
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 27, 2017 4 comments
The fabled Nelson Pass, whose 160 lb XA 200.8 class-A monoblocks are an essential part of my reference system, has just gone small with the first appearance of the Pass Labs XA25 class-A stereo amplifier ($4900). With a single pair of 700W devices per side, the single-ended amp delivers 25Wpc into 8 ohms and 50Wpc into 4 ohms, and is stable down to 0.5 ohm.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 27, 2017 24 comments
Never have I had to work so hard to convince someone that a product that first surfaced at CES 2017, just started shipping, and was just awarded MQA certification belonged in a new-product show report. Finally, after several minutes of what was beginning to look like a Socratic dialogue, Michael McCormick, President of Minneapolis-based Bel Canto Design, acknowledged that the single-box Bel Canto Black Box ACI 600 ($25,000) was indeed deserving of coverage by the publication that awarded the three-box Bel Canto Black system "Best Amplification Product of 2015."

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