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Stereophile Mar 2023


2nd Edition

Re-Tales #31: Tektonics Design Group, a Continuing Education
Probably the biggest group of audiophiles right now are still "Boomers": members of the "Baby Boom" generation, which by most definitions puts their minimum age at close to 60. Boomers are aging and won't be around forever. So bringing new blood into the hobby is more important than ever.

Gramophone Dreams #71: Heretic AD614 loudspeaker
I remember a Saturday morning around 30 years ago, when I just happened to be at Sound by Singer, the New York City audio salon, watching this wizardy German fella named Joachim Gerhard unbox the newest speaker in his line, Audio Physic. I remember how bright the sun was as it streamed in through the windows, forming a wall of light behind him and silhouetting two implausibly thin box speakers.

Klipsch La Scala AL5 loudspeaker
There's a good case to be made that the world's greatest--and strangest--audiophile culture resides in Japan. Probably the most important notion the Japanese have introduced to our hobby is that home audio isn't merely a way of heightening the musical art of others but can be an art in itself.

The Spaces Between the Notes
At the beginning of the 2022 novel Checkout 19, by Claire-Louise Bennett, I encountered some ideas that resonate in interesting ways with my recent experience of recorded music. The first idea is expressed in the quote above:

Recording of April 2023: Stravinsky: Violin Concerto & Chamber Works
You might think that by 1931--the year Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) completed his unforgettable Violin Concerto in D Major--orchestral instruments were the same as those used today. Far from it.

Boy Meets Blues: Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Little Walter, Chess Records
Most of us were not born with musical tastes intact. Tastes develop over time as we learn and experience new music and other things.

1st Edition

Rachael and Vilray: Carrying a Torch
As Vilray Bolles marched down Manhattan's Second Avenue on a rainy afternoon late in 2014, participating in a demonstration against police brutality, he slipped on the wet pavement, fell hard on his right hand, and broke his pinky.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 noise-canceling, wireless, in-ear headphones
You won't see many Apple products in these pages, and for good reason. As Stereophile Editor Jim Austin wrote to me recently in an email, "Apple may have the best acoustic-design facilities in the world, but its products are designed by engineers who don't seem to respect perfectionist sound--which is appropriate for a company that aims for the vast middle of the bell curve." Has that changed?

Zesto Bia 200 Select power amplifier
Like many other industries, audio has its power couples: behind-the-scenes movers-and-shakers who shape the trajectory of the industry and who also happen to be, well, together. Angela Cardas and Josh Meredith of Cardas Audio come to mind, as do Dave and Carol Clark of Positive Feedback, Eli and Ofra Gershman of Gershman Acoustics, Luke Manley and Bea Lam of VTL, Carl and Marilyn Marchisotto of Nola Speakers, Edwin and Gabi van der Kley-Rynveld of Siltech and Crystal Cable.

Thinking of You: Terry Hall & The Specials
A few weeks before Christmas--the time of year when all public spaces are required by law to play Mariah Carey on an endless loop--this writer was pushing a trolley idly around a London supermarket. I was over by the fresh veg when the distinctive, Hammond-driven intro of the Specials' "Ghost Town" was piped through. Heads nodded. Some shoppers started to sing along.

Revinylization #39: New Reissues of Classic Ella and Billie on Verve and Decca
Decades after their deaths, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday loom large over the American music landscape, inspiring every jazz vocalist, especially the women. Fitzgerald and Holiday's contributions are vast, their work timeless, their joys and sorrows expressed in songs both thrilling and crushing.

A Funky Donald Byrd, Live from Montreux
At this point in the vinyl revival, it's hard to believe there are many undiscovered masterpieces left that are worth discovering. Record Store Day (RSD), a much-ballyhooed source of unique and unreleased music on vinyl, has been a major spur in the drive to plumb the vaults, but even though it has an excellent reputation, most RSD unearthings have turned out to be less than essential.

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