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Stereophile Nov 2018

Stereophile-November-2018

2nd Edition

Elac Adante AF-61 loudspeaker
German manufacturer Elac had a significant North American presence in the 1960s and '70s, primarily with its Miracord automatic turntables. While it eventually disappeared from the US market, Elac never ceased to be a player in Europe, where it eventually shifted its primary focus from turntables to loudspeakers.

Harbeth P3ESR 40th Anniversary Edition loudspeaker
I promise not to tell you that the 40th Anniversary Edition Harbeth P3ESR loudspeaker sounds like a bigger speaker than it actually is. It does not. Likewise, I won't suggest that it offers a large portion of what Harbeth's bigger, more expensive models do--I'll leave that to the happy owners on the Harbeth User Group.

Currentzis Turns to Mahler's Sixth Symphony
The utter devastation and hopelessness conveyed by Teodor Currentzis' recent Sony Classics recording of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.6, "Pathetique," was so shattering that I could not wait to hear what he and his MusicAererna orchestra of Perm, Russia would do with Mahler's Symphony No.6 in a, "Tragic."

Stereophile's Products of 2018
Since fake news is on everyone's minds these days--I would say it's been in the news a lot, but that kind of reasoning is too circular even for me--it's worth keeping in mind that there's also such a thing as fake praise. Then there are fake awards.

Sonatas as Mozart Might Have Heard Them
How to encompass the myriad delights in Mozart's multiple Sonatas for Violin and Fortepiano? Judging from the three chosen by baroque violinist Isabelle Faust and period instrument/modern music keyboard specialist Alexander Melnikov for their November 23 release, Mozart Sonatas for Violin and Fortepiano, Vol.1 (Harmonia Mundi 902360), we will be fortunate enough to struggle with that question for some time to come.

Recording of December 2018: Where the River Goes
Wolfgang Muthspiel of Austria has been active and respected on the European scene for 30 years. But like so many of the best European jazz musicians, he began to get famous only when he began recording for ECM: His Travel Guide (2013) and Driftwood (2014) were endorsed by critics and embraced by guitar junkies.

Musicians as Audiophiles: John Escreet
Even newbie audiophiles can be smitten with the vintage hi-fi bug. Keyboardist and composer John Escreet was once a streaming kind of guy. Then he heard the Fisher 500-C/Falcon LS3/5a-endowed system of bassist Matt Brewer, partner of former Stereophile editorial coordinator Jana Dagdagan.

From the Archives: Counterpoint SA-4 monoblock power amplifier
Some audio products deliver truly superb sound of a kind that really makes all the frustrations of building a high-end system worthwhile; they also require exceptional attention and care. The Counterpoint SA-4 is a case in point. With the right speakers, it competes for the title of "Most Transparent Amplifier Available at Any Price."

1st Edition

Sunday at the NYAS with Jim Austin
The last time I covered the New York Audio Show it was not, frankly, a great experience. The show was really small. It seemed like everyone was playing Diana Krall or some pop-classical piece from an audiophile label. Nobody, it seemed, dared to play interesting music.

Sasha Reports from the NYAS
"We want the Beatles! We want the Beatles!" the packs of teenage girls screamed as they chased Herb Reichert down the halls of the Park Lane Hotel, grabbing for his still-ample hair. Stereophile's Fab Four--Ken Micallef, Jim Austin, Herb Reichert, and myself--hit the halls early for the first day of the New York Audio Show.

Herb's Friday at the NYAS
A fun fixture of every audio show is the hanging badge-on-a-lanyard we all acquire at the registration table. I'm glad for these things--at least the large-print editions--because they help me overcome the steady embarrassment I feel because I can't remember any names. If you know me, I am sure you have talked to me while I've stared at your belly trying hopelessly to memorize your name.

A Modern Witches' Sabbath
This review and its companion that will follow next week spotlight two very different and equally recommendable recordings of contemporary music with a common theme: the quest for freedom and justice in perilous times.

From The JGH Archives: Recording of June 1964: Joan Baez In Concert, Part 2
The "jacket notes" for this are an embarrassment, though. The whole thing is devoted to a very long poem by Bob Dylan (another, slightly less-known young folk singer) about how he found Faith through "Joanie." It's all very touching, but it belongs in Miss Baez's desk drawer, not on a record liner.

From The Archives: Nestorovic Alpha-1 power amplifier
The great debate that has long separated audiophiles is tubes vs solid-state. Other topics, CD for example, may temporarily steal the spotlight, but year-in and year-out no other subject is the cause of as much controversy as whether tubed or solid-state circuitry produces the more accurate sound. As is typical with long-standing feuds, the split runs deep, and tempers often flare.

From The Archives: NAD Monitor Series 1300 preamplifier
By far the most complicated of the three preamps i review in this issue in terms of facilities offered, NAD's "Monitor Series" 1300 ($398) provides two buffered tape loops, an external processor loop (which can also be used as a third tape-recorder loop), a headphone output, a "null" switch, switchable bass equalization to extend the low-frequency range of small loudspeakers, and treble and bass controls, each with a choice of three turnover frequencies: 3kHz, 6kHz, 12kHz, and 50Hz, 125Hz, 250Hz, respectively.

From The Archives: Luxman M-05 power amplifier
Japanese audiophiles venerate American high-end audio components, paying huge sums for vintage Marantz tube amplifiers, racks of Levinson ML-2s, and early Audio Research tube preamplifiers. The balance of trade, at the high end anyway, hasn't been reciprocated: Japanese high-end amplifiers and preamplifiers have not received as positive a reception in the US.

A Capital Wrap-Up
"I've got six hours to get ready for 30 hours of show time so an attendee can listen for 10 minutes." Thus did Doug White, proprietor of the Philadelphia-area dealer The Voice That Is, describe the challenge of setting up a system for a show such as Capital Audiofest.

Source Stereophile

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