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Stereophile May 2018

Stereophile-May-2018

2nd Edition

A Preamplifier Faceoff: Ayre & PS Audio
In the March 2018 issue, Art Dudley admired the sound quality of Ayre Acoustics' KX-5 Twenty preamplifier, but didn't love some of its operational aspects (footnote 1). I've staged this Follow-Up as a putative face-off between the Ayre and my current reference preamplifier, the PS Audio BHK Signature, which I reviewed in the June 2017 issue.

Steve Albini: Serve The Servants
Notoriously opinionated and obstinate Steve Albini, a guy ever vigilant and vocal about the wicked ways of the music business, showing up in Austin, Texas, at the annual South by Southwest festival? This I had to see. After a near-miss at his Austin hotel, we spoke the next morning on the phone.

Au Revoir Dave Wilson (1944-2018)
Wilson Audio founder, Dave Wilson, 73, died of metastatic bone cancer on Saturday evening, May 26. Dave was receiving hospice care at his Utah home, and took his leave with his beloved wife and partner, Sheryl Lee Wilson, and other family members at his side.

Scintillating Sonatas by a Man Named Bach
Two of America's finest baroque musicians, flutist Stephen Schultz and harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, have teamed up to record J.S. Bach: Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord (Music & Arts). Available in both CD and hi-rez 24/96 formats, this sparkling collection of four sonatas was recorded in Skywalker Sound's "The Scoring Stage".

EgglestonWorks Viginti loudspeaker
Viginti is Latin for twenty. It's also the name of a new loudspeaker from EgglestonWorks, to be produced in a limited edition of 250 pairs in celebration of the launch, 20 years ago, of the company's original Andra, on which the Viginti is based.

Aqua Acoustic Quality Aqua Formula xHD D/A processor
At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, when John Atkinson and I entered the room shared by Lamm Industries, Aqua Acoustic Quality, and Kharma room, we were looking for two things: good sound, and digital products for me to review.

Show Reports From Munich 2018!
Join Art Dudley, Herb Reichert and Kal Rubinson for complete show coverage from the modern halls of Germany.

Listening #186: Miyajima Saboten L phono cartridge
In the early 1960s, young people who were anxious see the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show had to first sit through a seeming eternity of bad comedians, bad puppet shows, and acrobats spinning dinner plates to the tune of Khachaturian's Sabre Dance.

Bryston BP-173 line preamplifier
Each equipment report in Stereophile focuses on a single audio component. When listening to a component for review, I leave unchanged all other components in my audio system. Other Stereophile reviewers experiment with different interconnects, speaker cables, power cords, or stands.

High-Fi?
"No one thing turned more people into audiophiles than the '60s counterculture," said Bruno, arm flung over his cash register. "It opened up the doors of sonic perception. Even the great audio designers of the day were countercultural mavericks!"

1st Edition

Art Dudley's New Listening Room: a Binaural Video
The real star of this video is my dog, Chatter Dudley, an 8-year-old Jack Russell Terrier with a fierce fondness for Herb Reichert (they had met once before), and who had Jana Dagdagan saying, by the end of the day, "I wish I had a dog."

Los Angeles Audio Show Cancelled!!!
The Los Angeles Audio Show (LAAS), scheduled for June 8-10 in Orange County, opposite the John Wayne International Airport at the former sites of T.H.E. Show, seems to have been cancelled.


"Do you know the HoloAudio Spring DAC?" I told him I didn't, but obviously should. "It's a ladder DAC, and a lot of my customers use either it or the Schiit Yggdrasil."

Luxman L-509X integrated amplifier
We're well past the day when the sound of top-tier tube amplifiers can be described as "syrupy" or "too warm" or producing "soft bass." Equally true, solid-state designs have reached a level of maturity at which "sweetness," "fluidity," and "flow" are similarly applicable descriptors, thus smashing the cliche of "cold transistor sound."

Miles & Trane, The Final Tour: Copenhagen on LP
The Final Tour, Volume 6 of Columbia Legacy's Miles Davis Bootleg Series--documenting Miles' quintet, featuring John Coltrane, live in Europe in March 1960--is one of the most revelatory new-old jazz albums in recent years.

Mark Levinson No.534 power amplifier
When I reviewed the Mark Levinson No.536 monoblock, I said that its sound quality was second to none. However, its stratospheric price of $30,000/pair unnerved me--only seven of the 35 top-rated solid-state power amplifiers listed in the April 2017 edition of Stereophile's "Recommended Components" cost more, and a similar number (not the same models) deliver more power into 8 ohms.

Music in the Round #91: Parasound Halo A 52+
For some years now, I've tried to free myself from playing physical media and get all my music organized on a server. It's not that I don't enjoy handling and playing discs, but it's almost impossible to keep track of them.

NAD Masters Series M32 DirectDigital D/A integrated amplifier
When I asked NAD for a sample of their Masters Series M50.2 digital music player, which I reviewed in the December 2017 issue, they also sent me a Masters Series M32 DirectDigital integrated amplifier, which had also been introduced at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show.

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