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Stereophile Aug 2017


2nd Edition

Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty D/A processor
Throughout the summer and fall of 2016, I worked on a project with Stereophile contributor Sasha Matson, recording, editing, mixing, and mastering--for release on 180gm LP, CD, and high-resolution download--an album of works that Sasha had composed for various chamber ensembles: Tight Lines.

Sutherland Engineering Duo phono preamplifier
"Saying that Sutherland Engineering builds a nice line of phono stages is like saying that the Porsche 911 Carrera is a nice line of sports cars." So began my review of Sutherland's PhonoBlock in the January 2012 issue.

Charles Ives' Prescient Impressions in Hi-Rez
Judging from Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot's latest recording of the orchestral works of Charles Ives (1874-1954), much of his totally iconoclastic oeuvre sounds as if it could have been inspired by present day events.

Kronos and Trio Da Kali
Much as the idea of them is usually enticing, cross-cultural musical mashups often fall short in execution. Chinese hip hop,, Jazz ragas, even Renee Fleming singing rock tunes. Something is usually missing...

Kii Audio Three loudspeaker
At the risk of offending nearly every designer and manufacturer of loudspeakers, I think we have not seen anything really new in a long time. Casting a gimlet eye at Stereophile's "Recommended Components" reveals some electrostatic and planar-magnetic models, a few horns, and lots and lots of cones and domes in boxes.

Recording of the Month: Hudson
Sometimes, a successful recording is not about the material, the studio, the producer, or even the players involved. Sometimes, it's about a shared feeling that grows among the players and conjures a groove.

40 Years Ago: The Day Elvis Died
Forget if you can, the hips, the hair, the pills, and the whole grotesque circus his life eventually became and remember that Elvis Presley, who died 40 years ago today, was in the beginning a hillbilly cat who could genuinely sing.

Mytek HiFi Manhattan II D/A preamplifier-headphone amplifier
In equipment reports, I use the phrase forward momentum to refer to something a little deeper and more encompassing than what's meant by that well-worn Brit-fi expression pace, rhythm, and timing (PRaT).

Not-So-Giant Steps
"[We] know the truth of this: We would likely live happily ever after with a system from nearly 60 years ago. An idler-drive turntable, some Marantz electronics, and Quad ESL-57s can be very satisfying."

Art Dudley and Herb Reichert are back!
Art Dudley and Herb Reichert are back! In this third (and final) video conversation that I shot in Art's living room, Art and Herb have a friendly debate about stereo imaging and talk about what matters to them when it comes to the reproduction of music.

1st Edition

Wayne Shorter on Piano
In critic speak, "fascinating" is a word that can go either way. On one hand there's the fascinating which translates to a polite way of saying that as ideas go it had potential, but in execution it's really only for diehard fans of the artist. Or maybe, it's not really for anybody.

Controversy:The Single Speaker Dem Myth
Bill Sommerwerck: The more intelligent you are, the less you know. I don't mean just the obvious use of "know," where one rigidly holds certain beliefs as absolute. I'm also suggesting that the properly disciplined mind replaces a lot of specific facts with a few generalities.

Recording of June 1980: Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on Bald Mountain
J. Gordon Holt Archives: This is unquestionably the best recording Telarc has done to date. It is almost impossible to fault. If I were to pick nits, I would complain about a slight lack of air in the strings. The rest is, simply, superlatives!

Video: Art Dudley and Herb Reichert on Listener Magazine
A couple of weeks back, we posted a video profile of our Deputy Editor, Art Dudley, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback for Art--and deeply nostalgic comments about Listener Magazine, which he founded in late 1994, and which ceased publication after the September/October2002 issue.

Mahler's Great Song Cycles Beautifully Performed
With so many great studio and live recordings of Mahler's three song cycles for solo voice readily available, any new contender has to offer something very special.

Krell KST-100 power amplifier
There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of amplifiers; it's hard to choose which ones to review. Big-name operators are difficult to ignore, while smaller outfits often complain of neglect.

Recording of October 1980: Growing Up In Hollywood Town
From the Archives: This is a gorgeous recording. And would you believe, it's multi-miked? Sheffield's first since 1975, according to the notes. Ms. McBroom has that purity of intonation that once distinguished Julie Andrews' voice. This, plus a predominantly-string backup orchestra delivers a rich, warm sound.

William Parker Quartets, Meditation / Resurrection
William Parker, Bronx-born bassist-composer extraordinaire, is one of the few jazz musicians who came up through the avant-garde (making his first big marks as a sideman to Cecil Taylor and David S. Ware) yet manages to fuse its techniques and innovations with standard rhythms, a sense of blues that might have wafted up from the Delta, a dash of wit, and a seemingly effortless swing.

RIP New Vinyl (because the WSJ says so)
"Why Vinyl's Boom Is Over." Neil Shah's doom-laden piece with the booming headline in the July 22 edition of the Wall Street Journal triggered some thoughts.

Listening #176: MusiKraft Cartridge Bodies & EMIA Phono Transformer
How can you tell a classic product from the hi-fi hoi polloi? One sure sign is when third-party developers spring up around the thing, offering parts and service intended to maximize its performance--or just to keep it on the road.

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