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Stereophile November 2015

Stereophile november 2015

2nd Edition

GoldenEar Triton Five loudspeaker
With each review I've written for Stereophile, I've redoubled my efforts to choose my adjectives prudently--to curb my penchant for overstatement. I've been feeling a need to speak more concisely and maturely about what my ears, mind, and heart experience while listening to music through a component that's new to me.

Listening #156
Just as John Atkinson has a special telephone on his desk, by means of which the late J. Gordon Holt expresses his displeasure at this magazine's continuing decline into latitudinarianism, my own desk is littered with a dozen or so windup timers, each set to remind me how long it's been since I last wrote about this or that hi-fi eccentricity.

Stereophile's Products of 2015
Only once every 12 months do we set aside our complaints, our contentions, our niggling criticisms, and simply declare: Here are seven products that kicked righteous wads of ass and made it worthwhile to be an audiophile this year. And precisely half of our top-place winners are priced within reach of the average consumer.

From the JGH Archives: Two More Channels?
Four-channel stereo is here, but for how long? By the time this gets in print, it is extremely unlikely that any of our readers will have escaped being told that 4-channel stereo is here. "Two channels brought us direction," the announcements trumpet. "Now, four channels bring us dimension."

We Don't Get No Respect
It never fails. Browse Stereophile's Facebook page, scroll through the comments to an article that refers to life as an audiophile, and splat--appearing like bird droppings on your glistening screen are anti-audiophile wisecracks pointing out exactly how far off the "normal" track our hobby has derailed.

Recording of December 2015: Divers
It's hard to imagine a more auspicious debut than Joanna Newsom's The Milk-Eyed Mender (Drag City DC263): Her songs on that 2004 release were imaginative, memorable, and almost uniquely literate, and her performances of them--she sang as distinctively as she wrote, and on most of them, her full-size Lyon & Healy concert harp was the sole accompanying instrument--were effective and thoroughly charming.

Shindo Aurieges Equalizer Amplifier
The first Shindo Laboratory product I ever had in my home was the Aurieges preamplifier, which I wrote about in the July 2007 issue of Stereophile. The Aurieges, which in 2007 sold for $3895 and is now priced at $5495, was and is the company's entry-level line-plus-phono preamp, with separate enclosures for its signal electronics and power supply--a unique and somewhat smaller-than-average size in Shindo's product line--and both are painted green.

1st Edition

New York Audio Show 2015 Full Report
Art Dudley writes from the Rye Hilton in Westchester County: "There are shows that raise our expectations and there are shows from which greatness is not expected. And yet . . . "

TAVES 2015 Show Report
Still more audio show coverage! Robert Deutsch reports from Canada's biggest three-day consumer audio in Toronto, Ontario.

Allen Toussaint
Yet another towering figure in the music world is gone, as Allen Toussaint died on Monday of a heart attack in Madrid, Spain at age 77. For many years the centerpiece around which much of New Orleans music revolved, he was the last in a long line of New Orleans piano professors.

Music in the Round #75
Outside of the listening I do for this column, I always audition, assess, and review components without using any equalization or room correction--primarily because I assume that most Stereophile readers listen in two-channel stereo, and that most aren't all that interested in EQ.

Audio Streams #8
Unless something is broken, the bits from your computer will be delivered to your DAC intact; the claim behind three new products I recently listened through is that each can reduce noise within the DAC--noise that could otherwise corrupt the analog signal and thus make our music less musical.

UpTone Audio USB Regen
UpTone Audio's USB Regen is a powered, single-port USB 2.0 hub that takes the USB signal from your computer, regenerates (ie, reclocks) the data, provides cleaned-up 5V power from a built-in, ultra–low-noise regulator, and sends an impedance-matched signal to your DAC.

Ghosts in the Machine
It’s all about the power of the mix, in this case a mix of two voices. There have been times when the pairing of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings has been a bit too funereal for my tastes. As the one time managing editor of Stereophile’s Guide to Home Theater Michael Metzger once blurted out during a quiet moment at a Welch show, “Who died? I didn’t know I was going to a funeral!”

Parasound Halo Integrated integrated amplifier
Like baking bread or watering my garden, playing records in my monk's cell is an expression of my devotion to living mindfully. It is part of my search for identity and comfort. It shows me how my thoughts, feelings, and poetic imagination fit in with yours, Keith Jarrett's, and everyone else's.

Benchmark Media Systems AHB2 power amplifier
I first saw Benchmark's AHB2 stereo power amplifier at the 2013 Convention of the Audio Engineering Society, in New York City. On silent display in Benchmark's booth on the convention floor, its compact size and comprehensive features made the amp immediately attractive, and the design was described as a departure from traditional analog and digital amplifiers.

Tenor Saxophonist Kamasi Washington: Giant Steps
Tinseltown. La-La Land. Smell-A. First, of course, there's the climate. No way to hate sunshine and ocean breezes. And if you were somehow able to erase all the people in Southern California, the land itself--rising from the blue Pacific to high desert to timbered, sometimes even snowy mountaintops--is gorgeous.

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