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Stereophile July 2017

Stereophile — July 2017

2nd Edition

Industry Profile: Kate Koeppel, Record Dividers
Kate Koeppel (pronounced kep-ul) is a San Francisco-based graphic designer. Her product design studio, Koeppel Design, is most well known for producing clean, minimally designed record dividers made of European Birch. They can be found in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, at Seattle radio station KEXP, and in local businesses in San Francisco.

Brinkmann Audio Nyquist D/A processor
What? Johnny-come-lately turntable manufacturer Brinkmann Audio now makes a DAC? Are they desperate? What sampling rates does it support--162/3, 331/3, 45, and 78? I guess the vinyl resurgence is over! Why else would Brinkmann make a DAC?

Bonus Recording of August 2017: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: Anniversary Edition
Even VIP visitors to Abbey Road studios are allowed to only peer down a dimly lit hallway to the vault where the Beatles tapes, arguably the UK's most valuable crown jewels, are meticulously stored. Given the value of the band's recorded legacy, it was only a matter of time before we would get behind new stereo mixes and the long-awaited official release of alternates and outtakes.

Fischer's New Mahler Symphony 3
The latest installment in Ivan Fischer's near-complete Mahler cycle for Channel Classics, the Symphony No.3 (CCS SA 38817), renders the myriad beauties of this most wondrous of symphonies into an unforgettable experience.

Artful Dodger
Back when electric-guitar rock music was still the biggest game in town, when boys were still gathering in garages and basements to emulate heroes like The Stones, The Beatles, and in some cases, The Faces, hope sprung eternal.

Bryston BCD-3 CD player
The English saying "putting the cat among the pigeons" has an obvious meaning in a general sense, but when applied to commerce it conveys something more specific: bringing to market a product that will make mincemeat of the competition, presumed complacent by comparison.

Emotiva XPA Gen3 two-channel power amplifier
Have I told you about my objectivist friend--the left-brain audiophile who puts a lot of trust in measurements? He has a high natural intelligence and is an extremely experienced listener, but once he knows a component doesn't measure well, he can never again experience it impartially.

Rockport Technologies Avior II loudspeaker
Following my review of the floorstanding Magico S5 Mk.II last February, I spent some time with two-way stand-mounted speakers from Aerial Acoustics, Bowers & Wilkins, and Dynaudio.

Gramophone Dreams #17: Abyss AB-1266 Phi headphones
Recently, a friend played me a masterpiece: Ike & Tina Turner's River Deep--Mountain High, arranged by Jack Nitzsche and produced by Phil Spector (LP, A&M SP 4178). It sounded terrible: murky, distant, with badly booming bass. Even before the first track was over, we both laughed and called it a night.

Reviewer Video Profile: Art Dudley
Who is Art Dudley? A devout Listener, a friend to all bunnies--and some humans--John Atkinson's right-hand man, and an invaluable voice, not just within Stereophile, but within the industry as a whole.

1st edition

Quad ESL-2912 loudspeaker
If Stereophile gave an award for Loudspeaker We've Most Frequently Reviewed, the hands-down winner would have to be the Quad ESL. The list of past and present Stereophile contributors who've written about the ESL's various incarnations includes John Atkinson, Martin Colloms, Anthony H. Cordesman...

Book Review: The New Analog
Defining noise is tricky business. In high-end audio, noise is often defined as the enemy--of music, beauty, truth. Engineers and enthusiasts alike spend significant amounts of time, energy, and money attempting to minimize or control noise so that it has the least possible impact on the source signal: music.

Blackie Pagano: Audio Artisan
In this video I profile New York-based tube electronics technician Blackie Pagano, who fixes and upgrades "anything that makes or passes music and utilizes vacuum tubes." I first learned of Blackie when looking for a repairman to take my Fisher 800-C to. JA, Herb, and everyone I asked said--without hesitation--"You have to take it to Blackie. He's the best for the job."

The Stones Filmed Live in 2016 and 1972
To avoid disappointment and save yourself literally hundreds of dollars, it's a fine rule of thumb to remember that seeing solo acts, rock bands or even aging jazz stars that you might have loved in the 1960s, '70s, or '80s (can the '90s be far behind?) is almost always an exercise in frustration. That's the beauty of recordings.

Jason Visits VTL: A Video Report
One day before the Los Angeles Audio Show, Jason Victor Serinus, his fresh haircut, and I visited VTL Amplifiers, Inc. in Chino, California. We were given a tour of the factory by Bea Lam and Luke Manley, who were featured in this 2017 interview by Jason.

Palmer Audio 2.5 turntable & Audio Origami PU7 tonearm
Palmer Audio's 2.5 turntable, with its laminated plinth of Baltic birch and metallic features, looks Scandinavian but is made in the UK. It shares a few conceptual similarities with the turntables made by Nottingham Analogue, another British brand. The review sample had the optional side panels of cherrywood veneer.

Cables & the Case for Solder
When you graduate from mass-market hi-fi to high-end audio, one of the first things you notice is that audiophile gear dispenses with the gadgets and gimmicks that clutter up the front panels of most stereo receivers and integrated amplifiers. The dominant philosophy in mass-market design is that features sell products: the more functions a product has, the more desirable it will seem in the store.

The Los Angeles Percussion Quartet Moves Beyond
Imagine almost 86 minutes of superbly recorded percussion in which the traditional notions of steady beat, driving rhythms, and attention-catching melody rarely take center stage. Welcome to Beyond, a mind-bending /time-distorting three-disc percussion tour de force from Sono Luminus on which the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet plays a dazzling array of percussion as it explores the eloquence and beauty of color, texture, sustain and decay.

A Video Tour of AudioQuest
Before the Los Angeles Audio Show, I spent a few days in southern California, and was able to schedule a visit to AudioQuest's massive facility in Irvine. In this video, Bryan Long (VP Operations), accompanied by Joe Harley's dog Pumpkin, gives a condensed version of his usual tour, which is normally well over an hour.

Source Stereophile

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