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Stereophile September 2015


2nd Edition

The Next Wave
I began working as a salesman of high-end audio gear in 1978. I was 29, and, as I recall, a healthy percentage of my customers were about my age. Most of the top high-end designers and entrepreneurs, too, were young.

Recording of October 2015: Time Present and Time Past
This razzle-dazzle release is remarkable on several levels, and I wouldn't be surprised if it converted harpsichord haters to harpsichord hipsters. Iranian-American harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, stealing a quote from T.S. Eliot about the relevance--or irrelevance--of time and (while he's at it) the harpsichord, here presents the instrument in works written for it in the 17th and 18th centuries

Red Hook Records
Much as shopping for records in Paris or Berlin or London sounds magical, a recurrent dream of stores stuffed with rare records at bargain prices and new stuff that’s never jumped across the pond, New York City is and may always be the record shopping capital of the world. How did Mr. Berry put it: “Anything you want we got it right here in the USA.”

Soothe The Savage Barrence
While rock and roll may never forget, at least that’s what that now silver fox Bob Seger once told us, the fact is that being past 25 and still playing rock and roll can be damned hard on old flesh. I remember Neil Peart (RUSH nation bow thine heads!) complaining about how draining it is to be a rock drummer at an advanced age.

2015 Recommended Components Fall Edition
Components listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile and have been found to be among the best available in each of four or five quality classes. Whether a component is listed in Class A or Class E, we highly recommend its purchase.

From the J. Gordon Holt Archives: The Missing Specification
In the 1952 edition of the Radiotron Designer's Handbook, long recognized as the "bible" of the industry, the permissible level of IM distortion for a high-fidelity amplifier was given as 3%, with the alternate figure of 2% being cited as a "rather extreme" specification. We wonder what the author of that statement would think of today's solid-state amplifiers with their measured IM of 0.01% and less.

Allnic Speednic Sweepstakes
Register to win an Allnic Speednic universal turntable speed verification system (MSRP $399) we are giving away.

Duke Meets Plank
A great, if not the greatest Krautrock engineer recording Duke Ellington in 1970 at Rhenus Studios in Cologne Germany? Sounds implausible, some fevered dream if not outright fiction. And yet it briefly happened. Upon hearing the results, one enthusiastic Kraftwerk fan was heard to intone, “it’s like Chaucer and Galileo were in the same room.”

Music in the Round #74
It has been a disrupted spring. Late last year, my wife and I committed ourselves to a long-needed renovation of our main living space: an apartment in Manhattan. Articles, books, and TV shows have illuminated the trials and triumphs of home renovation, but as far as I know, none has included a redo of the listening room of an obsessive audiophile, let alone one who is also an audio writer facing copy deadlines.

Bob Stuart gets CEDIA's 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award
On September 8, the international custom-installation trade association CEDIA named J. Robert Stuart, co-founder of Meridian Audio Ltd. and Inventor of MQA, as this year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Stuart will be recognized at the annual CEDIA Awards Celebration at CEDIA EXPO on October 17, 2015.

1st Edition

Audio Streams #7
Despite what big-box stores and lossy streaming services want to sell you, listening to music at your desk does not have to suck. In fact, for not a lot of dough, you can easily build a desktop system that'll feed your head with music's goodness.

Richard Thompson: Daring Adventures
It had been years since Stereophile's last San Francisco Hi-Fi Show, when we'd hired him as a solo act, and yet the conversation was once again instant vaudeville, and I was again the straight man.

Dunnun Kan & Chesky Records Special Deal For Stereophile Readers
From now until October 31, 2015, readers of this website will get a 25% discount on the new 24-bit high resolution Dunnun Kan album and/or anything in Chesky's hi-res catalog on

Vinnie Rossi LIO modular integrated amplifier
My girlfriend, "bb," a 6'-tall Aries artist, always says, "Math, science, religion, and even history, are all simply stories we tell ourselves about our experiences with a phenomenon we call energy."

Acoustic Signature Triple X turntable & TA-1000 tonearm
In a bizarre but happy turn of events, recent consumer trends have given even the most socially awkward audiophile something to talk about at cocktail parties and family gatherings at which normal people predominate: the PonoPlayer and vinyl.

Listening #153
Our small hobby contains many even smaller subgroups, some of them openly hostile to one another—itself a partial explanation for the whole small-hobby thing. I have been a card-carrying member of some of those groups.

AudioQuest JitterBug USB noise filter
I got an early start on computer audio. At the end of the last century I was using WinAmp with first a CardDeluxe PCI soundcard, then a similar card from RME, to play files on a Windows PC.

Capital Audio Fest: the Final Day from Herb
It was quiet when I entered the Resolution Acoustics room and sat down restfully in the chair between the giant Sonus Faber Stradivari speakers. I sat admiring the Meitner MA-2 and the Pass Labs XA100.5s; both of which are some mighty good audio hardware.

Dieter Burmester (1946–2015)
Dieter Burmester founded Burmester Audiosysteme GmbH in 1977 and ran it for 38 years. For me, he was the friendly face of an unusually friendly and outgoing German high-end hi-fi company. He died on August 15, and his company will badly miss him.

RIP Bobby Palkovic of Merlin Music Systems
We were saddened to hear of the death of loudspeaker designer Bobby Palkovic, apparently by his own hand. We had published positive reviews of Bobby's Merlin speakers, including one of his VSM Millennium design and the VSM-MX.

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