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Stereophile Jan 2019

Stereophile-January-2019

2nd Edition

Live Coverage From CES 2019!
Jason Victor Serinus reports live from Las Vegas on what will likely be the last Stereophile CES show report covering high-end audio.

Did Music's Bad Boy Ever Really Reform?
That's the question raised by Antheil: Orchestral Works (Chandos 10982), the latest anthology of symphonic music by composer/pianist George Antheil (1900-1959). This second Antheil title from John Storgards and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra finds Storgards exploring music written on both sides of Antheil's successful Symphony No.4, which can be found on Vol.1 of what looks to be an ongoing Antheil series.

Recording of February 2019: The Beatles-50th Anniversary Edition
The Beatles, aka the "White Album," was first released on November 22, 1968. On November 9, 2018, in honor of that event, Apple Corps Limited issued the new 50th Anniversary Edition. My comments here refer to listening to the two-LP edition of the newly remixed The Beatles, pressed for Apple by Quality Record Pressings. Also included in three other varying editions are 27 of what are now known as the Esher Demos, 50 out-takes and alternate takes, and a 5.1-channel hi-rez surround mix on BD.

_Best of, Vol.1
It happened 30 years ago, but I remember it as if it were yesterday: My best friend's brother's friend showed me his record player--an AR turntable equipped with an SME 3009 Mk.III tonearm and a Shure V15 Type V-MR cartridge--and offered to sell it to me at a price that, until that moment, I would never have considered spending for a complete system. "It's audiophile gear," he said with a knowing smile.

Music in the Round #95: Wolf & NAD
Although I no longer attend the audio pageant that was once the annual Consumer Electronics Show, I now seem to be traveling more, in hopes of recapturing the excitement CES had once provided. Last May I attended High End, in Munich, and found that while it was entirely as advertised, there was, alas, not enough emphasis on the playback of high-resolution files, and hardly any attention paid to multichannel music.

Nordost QKore system grounding accessories
As a longtime user of Nordost's cable and AC-power products, my ears opened wide when they released their three QKore Ground Units and QKore Wire at High End 2017, in Munich. While I've never questioned the importance of proper electrical grounding, to prevent problems with safety and noise, I couldn't fathom what difference a passive grounding device might make in a high-end system.

Shostakovich's Devastating Impact
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was hardly the first composer to run headfirst into opposition from political authorities. In his case, however, the pushback was so extreme that it affected everything he wrote thereafter.

The First ROTM Ever(!!): Recording of November 1962: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
It is easy to forget that the hi-fi movements--the "March to the Scaffold" and the "Dream of a Witches' Sabbath"--comprise barely a third of the music in the Symphonie fantastique, yet when we listen to most of the available versions of this, we can understand why the first three movements are usually passed up by the record listener.

iFi Audio Pro iDSD D/A processor/headphone amplifier
On the first page of the owner's manual for iFi Audio's Pro iDSD tubed/solid-state multibit DAC and headphone amplifier, the British company unabashedly describes it as "a 'state of the art' reference digital to analog converter" and "a wireless hi-res network player or the central DAC in an expensive high-end home system."

1st Edition

Sponsored: Crazy Last-Minute Deals on Polk Speakers For Our Readers
New York-based retailer Adorama is offering some crazy deals exclusively to our readers on a half-dozen speakers from Polk Audio. Discounts range from 58% to a whopping 67% off and include free shipping. Here's a rundown on the deals . . .

Listening #193: Nordost Flatline cables
Among the many bits of audio lore that never have and probably never will be aired in public is the story of the amp that ignited the reviewer's curtains. (I assume that at least some of you hoped I was going to say "pants.")

Recording of December 1962: Britten: Noye's Fludde
This musical setting of the Chester miracle play about Noah, his ark, and the problems attendant thereof, if one of the most movingly beautiful recorded works I have ever heard. Its simplicity and sincerity are a stinging rebuke to those contemporary composers who have forgotten that music is basically an expression of emotion.

Recording of March 1963: Mahler: Symphony No.1
This is one of those rare combinations of a superb recording and a stunning performance. As far as I'm concerned, it is the best Mahler First that Bruno Walter committed to discs during his lifetime, including the last one that he made with the New York Philharmonic.

Chesky Raps It Home for the New Year
Many of us enter the New Year with a mixture of sorrow for our losses and hope for what lies ahead. While there's no right way to celebrate 2019's symbolic new start, one approach to creating space for the new is to pause long enough to acknowledge our lives and environment for exactly what they are at the present moment.

Chord Electronics Qutest D/A processor
Back in the mid-1990s, I believed that the design of D/A processors was fundamentally a solved problem. The resistor-ladder, multi-bit DAC chips of the 1980s, with their linearity errors, had been replaced by sigma-delta types that had minimal linearity error down to the lowest signal levels.

Bill Charlap: Life, Love, Songs, and Pianos
Autumn in New York--watching Central Park change colors. Also time to catch the Bill Charlap Trio during their annual residency at the Village Vanguard: Charlap at the piano, Peter Washington on bass, and Kenny Washington at the drums in the Church of Jazz.

Cambridge Audio Edge A integrated amplifier
One summer in the mid-2000s I purchased a pair of Cambridge Audio components for my red-headed, tango-dancing Texas girlfriend. She quickly saw through my ruse to install some solid hi-fi in her New Jersey home away from home--but eventually she acquiesced, and soon Michael Martin Murphey (she), the Beatles (me), and Miles Davis (us) filled our weekends with music.

Cary Audio CAD-805RS monoblock power amplifier
There's no place for fashion in epidemiology, aeronautical engineering, or the mining and storage of uranium. Fortunately, domestic audio is less serious, its goals more scattered and ambiguous, than those and a thousand other pursuits.

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