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Stereophile May 2017

Stereophile-May-2017

2nd Edition

Gramophone Dreams #16: Sony & AudioQuest headphones
As much as I delight in pagan dreams of sweetly perfumed garden nymphs, I'm embarrassed to admit that my mind also drifts in pleasant reveries whenever I hear the words research and development in the same sentence. I am by nature a greasy gearhead.

Miles Davis' E.S.P. at 45rpm
E.S.P., recorded over three sessions in January 1965, marked a major turning point in the music of Miles Davis. Throughout his life--as a sideman to Charlie Parker in the 1940s, a rock-jazz fusionist in the '80s, and the many phases in between--Davis was a restless spirit, a cauldron of change, the spark of several evolutions in the history of jazz.

A Video VPI Tour with Mat Weisfeld
Last week, I embarked on a nearly three-hour public transportation trek from Queens to Cliffwood, NJ to take a tour of turntable and tonearm manufacturer VPI Industries, with Mat Weisfeld as my host. During the tour, I got to meet every member of the VPI family, learn about each step of the process, and get a firsthand look at a couple of unreleased products!

Garland Jeffreys' New Album
It's a given that anyone who loves records and had the experience of working in a record store has vivid memories of being at work on Tuesdays when the UPS truck would bring the new releases for that week. The ritual was almost always the same.

Volti Audio Rival loudspeaker
If, like me, you're a dues-paying audiophile who's circumnavigated the upgrade block a few times, you've seen a lot of gear and set up many systems. I've carried 80-lb line conditioners up the six knee-crunching flights to my bachelor's penthouse, managed 50-lb loudspeakers downstairs to a waiting van, and made more trips to FedEx than I can count.

PS Audio BHK Signature preamplifier
"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.)

Chord Electronics DAVE D/A processor
Fifteen years? Has it really been 15 years since I reviewed what was then the flagship D/A processor from English company Chord Electronics? In the July 2002 issue, here's how I summed up my review of the Chord DAC64: "While the Chord Electronics DAC64 is undoubtedly expensive, it is eye-poppingly gorgeous. . . . many listeners should find its silky-smooth highs seductive, as well as its slightly larger-than-life lows."

Balance
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.

1st Edition

Shure V15-III phono cartridge
From the J. Gordon Holt arcives: The Shure V15-III is the latest of Shure's top-of-the-line "Super-track" pickups, earlier versions of which we scorned because of their dished-down response in the 6kHz range and their consequent "dead" sound.

Ortofon RS-212 tonearm
From the J. Gordon Holt arcives: The RS-212 is one of the most impressive-looking tonearms we've seen in many a moon. Our first reaction to it, in fact, was much the same as our reaction to the first big, professional Ampex tape recorder we ever saw: it reminded us of one of those precision-engineered and cleanly styled electronic devices you see in hospitals and industrial laboratories--devices which make no attempt to cater to the current fashion in interior decorating or depth-researched consumer preferences, but which are designed simply to do a job neatly and efficiently.

Ella on Record at 100
Ella Fitzgerald, who would have turned 100 years old this year, and so is the object of an avalanche of reissues of her work from Universal Music, has one of the most varied and influential catalogs of recorded music in the history of jazz. Live and in the studio, early in the swing bands with Chick Webb, later as a nimble bebopper, and finally as one of the greatest vocal stylists in all of popular music.

Building a Sound Room: A Personal journey
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.

MQA: Yes or No? An AXPONA 2017 Poll
With any large gathering of people who share a common passion, one is bound to encounter polarizing issues and the fiercely opinionated standing on either side. In the world, it's politics and religion. In our world, it's tubes vs solid-state, whether cables really matter or not, and, most recently . . . Master Quality Authenticated.

Listening #173
The first time I saw Thomas's Sandwich Size English muffins on the shelves of my local supermarket, I thought, This is it: the English muffin has now been perfected, and I need never buy another kind.

Audiophile Humor: Herb & Steve
Some say audiophiles have no sense of humor. One well-known writer for another magazine even lectured John Atkinson a while back that "there is no place for humor in audio!" So here is audiophile humor at its best, brought to you by Stereophile writers Herb Reichert (left) and Steve Guttenberg (right).

Book Review: Kill 'Em and Leave: Searching for the Real James Brown
Comparing James McBride's search for James Brown with the quest depicted in the classic John Ford film The Searchers reveals some dramatic changes in American racial attitudes over the years, along with some consistencies.

First Listen: The 2017 Sgt. Pepper Remix
So why do it? Remix Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 50 years after the album's original release? Giles Martin (above), son of Sir George and the man behind the new remix, said the answer is simple. Because the original tapes are in pristine condition we can.

AXPONA 2017 Show Reports
Jason Serinus and Jana Dagdagan report live from the show in Chicago!

Source Stereophile

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