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Stereophile June 2018

Stereophile-June-2018

2nd Edition

John Coltrane's Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album Debuts at Englewood Cliffs
A stunning jazz discovery presented at a historic citadel of recording technology. That event took place June 11, when the new John Coltrane recording, Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, which will be released June 29, was unveiled at Van Gelder Studio, the fabled location where the celebrated engineer recorded many jazz masterpieces.

Anthem Electronics STR D/A integrated amplifier
Stop me if I've said this before (okay, I have): There's much to be said for integrated amplifiers. While separates have long dominated high-end audio, an increasing number of integrated products not only bundle a preamp and power amp, but sometimes add digital inputs of various flavors, phono stages, bass and treble controls (long on life support in audiophile gear), and more.

Music in the Round #92: Digibit Aria Piccolo +
Lovers of high-resolution multichannel sound still don't have it easy. While the two-channel market is replete with snazzy, efficient music servers in stylish boxes, the only multichannel equivalents are Merging Technologies' Merging+Player Multichannel-8, and a handful of stereo devices that are rumored to do multichannel, though no such claims are made in print.

BorderPatrol P21 EXD power amplifier
Back at the beginning of 2017, Greg Roberts, of Volti Audio, devised a clever way to bring his Rival floorstanders up to my penthouse pad, for what resulted in a rave review of those horn-loaded wunderspeakers.

Bricasti Design M15 power amplifier
On the second morning of a recent audio show, I walked into the exhibit room of Bricasti Design. "How about some Mahler?" asked cofounder and designer Brian Zolner. "Oh God. Not at 10am!"

Adams Takes the Violin Up, Down, Around, and Through
Twenty-five years after the premiere of John Adams' Violin Concerto, the music remains as vital, exhilarating, and strangely moving as the day it was birthed. An extremely demanding work, its three contrasting movements present a triathlon challenge of sorts to anyone who dares try to play them.

Listening #187: Shindo Mr. T
In the rural home in Cherry Valley, NY that my family and I inhabited from 2003 to 2017, we had dirty water but clean electricity. Evidence of the latter was seen in the results of tests performed by a technician from the local utility, National Grid, and heard in the sound of my playback system, which rejected as superfluous or worse all of the AC-conditioning products I tried there.

Highway 61 Revisited
'm sitting in a rented Nissan just off Highway 61--yes, that Highway 61--looking out at a Shell station through the bug-stained windshield and across a litter-strewn, not-yet-planted cotton field. It's late March, and I've just left Clarksdale, Mississippi, on my way to Memphis.

Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia Series 2 loudspeaker
One of the benefits of being a reviewer is that, of the large number of products that pass through my listening room, occasionally there are those that I really would like to see take up more permanent residence. One of these was Wilson Audio Specialties' Alexia loudspeaker, which I reviewed in December 2013.

1st Edition

The Sound and the Image
It's not surprising that many people, like me, love nice cameras and good stereo gear. In my worse moments, I attribute this to mere consumerism: We love expensive stuff and the thrill of buying something new, whether for reproducing music or creating visual images. In my better moments, it's clear to me that there's more than that to this common taste for audio and photography, and more to the hobby of so-called perfectionist audio.

Recording of July 2018: Life Of
The sound of Steve Tibbetts's guitar music is unique--one need hear only a measure or two of his new album to identify the distinct tang of his playing. Common wisdom is that a guitarist's sound is in the hands and fingers, but Tibbetts has another trick: his weathered, 50-year-old Martin D12-20 12-string acoustic guitar.

Bernstein's Great Mahler Song Cycles in Hi-Rez
Why should you or anyone care about a 24/192 download reissue of recordings of two Mahler song cycles that were made in Vienna and New York in 1968 by conductor Leonard Bernstein and three of his favorite singers, mezzo Christa Ludwig, her bass-baritone husband Walter Berry, and baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau?

From the Archives: Dick Olsher Dahlia speaker
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) loudspeaker projects are quite common in the UK, where details about several excellent designs, including a recent one by Martin Colloms, have been published for public domain consumption. Stateside, the situation is rather grim, where only an occasional subwoofer project (always popular) makes it into the commercial magazines.

From the Archives: Acustik-Lab SR Bolero loudspeaker & Forte woofer
The Acustik-Lab SR Bolero loudspeaker ($1580/pair) debuted at the 1988 SCES in Chicago. I must own up right from the outset that I know nothing about the Swiss SR Trade (Acustik-Lab) company. I do know, however, that Audio Advancements' Hart Huschens was getting an intensely musical sound from their little Bolero speakers, driven by the German Klimo Kent tube amplifiers, at the 1988 Summer CES.

From the Archives: Conrad-Johnson PV-4 preamplifier
In appearance Conrad-Johnson's PV4 is distinctly plain: a basic black and silver box with a few simple knobs and buttons. The controls are logically laid out, clearly labeled, and work properly. The two channels track well through the volume control, maintaining balance; pushbuttons and control knobs have a smooth, solid feel (except for the noises audible through the system when switching inputs).

Olivier Messiaen: Birds Like You've Never Heard Before
There is music so unique, so colorful, and so potentially challenging for the casual listener that words like "pretty" or "entertaining" go flying out the window. Such is the case with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard's mind-boggling recording of Olivier Messiaen's (1908-1992) Catalogue d'Oiseaux.

Rogers High Fidelity 65V-1 integrated amplifier
"Okay, all you high-rolling audiophile know-it-alls--what is the argument against amplifiers that operate in high-bias, class-A, single-ended mode, with the lowest possible parts count? Is there a better strategy for beauty, rhythm, color, texture, and easy-flowing musical verity? I think not.

Gramophone Dreams #22: Koss, Focal, iFi
Brooklyn, 1979: Fridays were fierce. After a week of doing construction, I would gobble Wild Turkey at the Spring Lounge, then fall asleep on the F train with a fold of cash and a Sony Walkman stuffed in a chest pocket of my paint-spattered Belstaff Trialmaster jacket.

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