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Stereophile Feb 2019

Stereophile-February-2019

2nd Edition

Music in the Round #96: Roon & Dolby Atmos
One of the recurring themes of this column has been my search for servers that will support the playback of high-resolution multichannel files with DSP for speaker/room equalization (EQ), as well as the format conversion and downsampling that are often part of those processes. Because most EQ software is PCM-based, format comversion is needed to convert DSD files to PCM.

Shure KSE1200SYS electrostatic in-ear headphone system
In November 2016, I reviewed Shure's KSE1500 electrostatic in-ear headphone system, which featured a D/A amplifier with both analog and USB inputs that drove in-ear headphones with unique electrostatic diaphragms.

Crazy Cello Shredding from Edgar Moreau
I'm not sure what possessed me to listen to young Edgar Moreau's Erato recording, Offenbach & Gulda: Cello Concertos, with Les Forces Majeures conducted by young Raphaël Merlin. Was the moon in that phase when it appears to be laughing at we earthlings?

Spendor A7 loudspeaker
As Stereophile's lone New York City bachelor, I sometimes search for amore on Internet dating sites. One such encounter led me to Park Slope, Brooklyn, where I met a woman who, I soon learned, was at the top of the food chain of Manhattan's gold-encrusted arts community.

Rogue Audio RP-7 line preamplifier
The core component of my beloved, daily-driver desktop system is a Mytek Brooklyn DAC-preamp-headphone amp. Through this system I play high-resolution files and Internet sources (Tidal, Qobuz, Netflix, and YouTube). One of the Brooklyn's two line-level inputs delivers NPR news and baseball from my Kenwood KT-990D FM/AM tuner.

Listening #195: Ortofon SPU Century & Grandinote Celio
According to the 2018 edition of the UN's World Happiness Report, Denmark is the third-happiest nation on Earth, trailing only its neighbors Finland and Norway.

Q Acoustics Concept 500 loudspeaker
Q Acoustics was founded in the UK in 2006, but has appeared on the radar of US buyers only in the last few years. Until recently, Q has aimed its efforts at the budget sector, earning enthusiastic reviews and commercial success.

John Coltrane's 1963: New Directions
Only a few months after the extraordinary news and release of John Coltrane's Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album on Impulse! Records, which revealed the tenor and soprano saxophonist deep in transitional mode, comes Universal Music/Verve's attempt to cash in on the Trane fever.

1st Edition

Live Coverage From Florida Audio Expo
Jason Victor Serinus reports live from the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore. Great sound and suprises abound!

DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X loudspeaker
In 2008, a pair of DeVore Fidelity's Gibbon Nine loudspeakers arrived at my home for a Follow-Up review. Within weeks, I wrote a check for them. That put me in good company: Several other reviewers who reviewed the Nines also bought their review pairs.

There's No Business like the Audio Show Business
With this year's Consumer Electronics Show behind us, readers of our on-line show reports know the sad truth: that the largest industry-only technology show in North America attracted even fewer "high-performance" audio exhibits in 2019 than it did in 2018.

Listening #194: Sorane ZA-12 tonearm
Peter J. Walker (1916-2003), founder of Quad Electroacoustics and designer of some of the most well-regarded products in the history of domestic audio, famously believed that a properly designed audio-frequency amplifier should have no sound of its own. As for suggestions that his Quad II amplifier sounded better than most, Walker was unmoved: "We designed our valve amplifier, manufactured it, put it on the market and never actually listened to it."

The Pros & Cons of Electrostatic Loudspeakers
The main inherent advantage of the full-range electrostatic loud speaker system is that it allows a single diaphragm to embody the conflicting attributes needed for optimal performance at both extremes of the audio range. Its thin-membrane diaphragm can be made exceedingly light, for superb transient response and extended HF response, yet it can be about as large in area as desired, for extended LF response.

Surround Sound: High Tech Meets the Beast Within Us
It's a tense moment during a suspense thriller. A cannibalistic serial killer has escaped from a maximum-security detention unit and eluded capture for long enough to work up a healthy appetite. Two small children are playing hide-and-seek in an overgrown lot behind their home.

Audio Physic Step Plus loudspeaker
In the 1990s, while putting together one of my early hi-fi systems, I'd often visit New York City audio retailer Sound by Singer to gawk at their top-tier wares. On one such visit I noticed a serious-looking gentleman listening to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring through a pair of Audio Physic's Step loudspeakers (accompanying electronics long forgotten).

CH Precision I1 Universal integrated amplifier
"The sound was to die for," I wrote shortly before my resurrection. I was taking notes about the sound of CH Precision's D1 SACD and CD Drive (now $38,000) and C1 D/A Controller (base price $32,000), in the demo room of Michael Woods's Elite Audio Systems, at the California Audio Show, just three months after the 2015 edition of the Munich High End show.

MartinLogan Dynamo 800X powered subwoofer
In the late 1980s, when I began reviewing high-end subwoofers, they were big and heavy, difficult to move or find space for in a room. Their controls were always on an inconveniently positioned rear panel, and there were no built-in automatic room-optimization options or parametric equalizers.

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