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Stereophile Jan 2021

Stereophile-January-2021

2nd Edition

Gramophone Dreams #45: T+A Solitaire P headphones & HA 200 DAC-headphone amplifier
What I categorize as mainstream, dealer-based, fancy-pants streamers and big-speakers audio is actually only the gold-plated tip of a gigantic asteroid-like monolith that extends (underground) from New York to Hong Kong, from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica.

Zesto Leto Ultra II line preamplifier
What sort of audiophile are you? I think of myself as a critical listener, perhaps a purist, definitely an enthusiast, of music and audio, who enjoys both the journey and the nuts and bolts. I like my hi-fi direct, simple, and personal.

Okto dac8 Stereo D/A processor
For his review of the Pink Faun 2.16x music server in the December 2020 issue, Kal Rubinson needed to use a Linux-compatible multichannel D/A processor. A little Googling uncovered the 8-channel dac8 PRO from Okto Research in the Czech Republic, so Kal borrowed one from the manufacturer.

Benchmark HPA4 headphone amplifier/line preamplifier
I am certain the quality of life I live is determined by two factors: who and what I give my attentions to, and my ability to observe all that I encounter with an open mind. This approach to living has served me well--especially during this review of the Benchmark Media Systems HPA4 headphone amplifier ($2999).

Complicated Stories
In my As We See It column in the January 2021 Stereophile, I wrote about stories we tell ourselves to make our lives and music better--personal stories like the one about my relationship to my Thorens TD-124 turntable, or about hanging out with your dad (or mom) listening to records.

Analog Corner #306: Phasemation, DS Audio, Audio Research, Clarus
I feel compelled to repeat here an eerie occurrence I related a while back on AnalogPlanet. I reviewed, in the February 1999 Analog Corner column, the Cartridge Man's Digital Stylus Force Gauge, which back then sold for $299.

1st Edition

Records to Die For 2021
Records To Live For! In an ordinary year, the name of this annual feature, published every February since 1991, is a harmless, even amusing joke. In last year's opening essay, I evoked a heavily armed intruder perusing your record collection late at night and holding your favorite record in his hands: Would you risk your life by confronting him?

Revinylization #13: Tone Poet, Analogue Productions, ERC reissues
For jazz fans, a new batch of releases in Blue Note's Tone Poet series--vinyl reissues remastered with care and cut from the original analog tapes--is reason for celebration.

David Bowie: Curated
I remember when I first heard that David Bowie had died. I was half-listening to the radio as I prepared for work. I was stunned. I just looked at my partner. To my surprise, a tear ran down my cheek.

Analog Corner #290: The Haniwa LP Playback System
Haniwa's Dr. Tetsuo Kubo is an interesting fellow. If you go to shows, domestic or overseas, you've possibly encountered him in his room a space known for being strewn, shrine-like, with LPs that once belonged to The Absolute Sound's founder, the late Harry Pearson: Dr. Kubo was a fan

Re-Tales #4: Bring service back
Walter Swanbon has had a lot on his mind lately. Like many dealers, he's been busy adapting to changes, but the pandemic has also offered time for reflection.

McIntosh MAC7200 stereo receiver
Recently, I received an email from Editor Jim Austin. "Larry, do you still use your Day Sequerra FM Reference tuner1 to listen to FM radio?" he asked. "Jim, yes, I still listen to FM classical music in the Bay area. Why?"

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