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Stereophile Aug 2011,2nd Edition


The Fifth Element #67
I think any newish company launching yet another expensive (ie, anything over $2000) digital-to-analog converter on the roiling waters of the audiophile marketplace needs at least two things: a truly great product, and a good story to tell. I think Bricasti Design Ltd., of Medford, Massachusetts, has both.

Listening #104
It wasn't so much a vow as a prediction: After selling my last pair of Ticonal-magnet drivers and the homemade horns I'd carted around to three different houses, I supposed I would never again have a Lowther loudspeaker in my humble house.

Mark Levinson No.532H power amplifier
"Larry, you have too many amplifiers!" exclaimed John Atkinson during a recent visit. This surprised me—I didn't think it was possible to have too many amps. While I'm not going to open an amp museum, I do have a starter collection of Mark Levinson amplifiers from different eras. This either makes me exactly the right or the wrong person to size up Mark Levinson's new No.532H.

Focal & Naim to Merge Operations
Summer's end is traditionally known as "the silly season" in European newsrooms, but there was nothing silly about the bombshell of a press release that arrived on the desks of hi-fi journalists on August 19. Two of Europe's most successful and best-established high-end audio brands, Focal and Naim Audio, announced that they are joining forces to create a new company, Focal & Co., under the chairmanship of Focal founder Jacques Mahul.

AV Options Offers Naim Service
While change follows Stateside change for Naim Audio—the venerable UK firm just announced their third US distributor in as many years—Naim enthusiasts on this side of the pond recently got a bit of good news: Chris West, the tech-savvy Englishman who managed Naim Audio North America for over 20 years, is back in the business of servicing Naim gear.

Hey Elvis! Happy Death Day!
Michele Bachmann, who is now warning us about the rise of the USSR, vowing to padlock the EPA, and saying she will single–handedly bring back $2 a gallon gas—perhaps she and her husband have convinced the heads of the major oil companies to pray away their profits—has now crossed the line as far as music is concerned by wishing Elvis happy birthday on the anniversary of the day on which he died. Mistaking death for birth?

In the Forum: The Problem with Hi-Fi
Forum member “jgrossman” wants to know what’s stopping more people from getting into hi-fi. Is it the high cost of audio components, the hobby’s steep learning curve, the lack of hi-fi dealers, or something else?

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