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So far Alan Taffel has created 23 blog entries.

Wilson Benesch Resolution

By | February 28th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Wilson Benesch Resolution

If you live with a speaker for a while, as Wilson Benesch was gracious enough to allow me to do with its new Resolution towers, one of two things happens. Either the speaker’s flaws become increasingly apparent and start to grate on you, or you come to accept those flaws, learn to hear past them, relax, and enjoy the music. The commonality between these two scenarios is that in both cases the speaker’s sound becomes familiar. There is a third possibility, but it’s a highly unusual one.… Read the full article

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Hamilton in High(er) Res

By | January 4th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Hamilton in High(er) Res

Hamilton: An American Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording). HDtracks.com and SuperHiRez.com (44.1/24) The situation on Broadway is lamentable. Theaters increasingly traffic in slick adaptations of popular books, movies, and characters, to which it applies a rigid formula that pervades every element of the production. Musicals, in particular, stick to formulaic stories, choreography, and even chord progressions. Every “new” song is instantly recognizable, which I suppose is the point. Over the years there have been notable exceptions. Once and The Book of Mormon come to mind.… Read the full article

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Bryston BCD-3 CD Player

By | January 3rd, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Bryston BCD-3 CD Player

Why Buy a CD Player? There’s something to be said for doing one thing and doing it well. After all, doing many things well—as, for instance, the dCS Rossini DAC/streamer/player does—gets costly. In the case of the Rossini, $28,000 costly. The Bryston BCD-3 does just one thing, plays CDs, which it does exceptionally well. Further, Bryston offers the BCD-3 at an eminently reasonable price. Still, in this day and age, does it make sense to buy a digital source that doesn’t support hi-res, streaming, USB, or Tidal?… Read the full article

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2018 New York Audio Show Report

By | December 7th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

2018 New York Audio Show Report

Overview The history of the New York Audio Show can best be described as rocky. Decades ago, the show was run by Stereophile magazine, and it was a juggernaut. I remember making an annual pilgrimage from Washington, D.C. to the New York Hilton to experience that show’s endless rooms, each packed with lust-worthy gear and ravenous audiophiles. But after Stereophile pulled out for lack of funding, New York languished for years without a major regional show—an unholy state of affairs for one of the country’s largest high-end audio markets.… Read the full article

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A Roon Primer

By | November 19th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , |

A Roon Primer

What Is Roon? Roon is a music playback and management software suite for digital audio components. There are many such products on the market, including iTunes and JRiver’s Media Center, but what makes Roon special is the unmatched comprehensiveness of its user interface and, believe it or not, its sound. This primer will cover some of the more salient features of Roon’s UI, as well as how to implement Roon in your system. I’ll also describe why and in what ways Roon affects a system’s sound.… Read the full article

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2018 Golden Ear Awards: Alan Taffel

By | October 5th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , |

2018 Golden Ear Awards: Alan Taffel

dCS Rossini DAC/Player with Roon and MQA DAC, $24,000; player, $28,000 When originally introduced in 2015, the Rossini was an immediate hit. Though far from cheap, it nailed features and sound for the money. When you listen to the Rossini, all you hear is beautifully fleshed-out music. The player even manages to elicit from CDs much of what usually distinguishes SACDs. As for value, the Rossini easily vanquishes its little brother, the Debussy, and comes close to the performance of dCS’ Vivaldi flagship.… Read the full article

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Esoteric Grandioso D1 DAC, P1 Disc Transport, C1 Linestage, and M1 Monoblock Power Amplifier

By | April 19th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

Esoteric Grandioso D1 DAC, P1 Disc Transport, C1 Linestage, and M1 Monoblock Power Amplifier

As I learned on my Japanese audio excursion (Issue 279), purity is the country’s overriding sonic goal. But how to achieve it? The answer, of course, varies by price point. With its cost-no-object Grandioso series, Esoteric has sought to eradicate distortions and colorations in two ways: 1) by taking a fresh look at entrenched norms, and 2) by scrutinizing every last design detail—no matter how minute. The result: Even in the rarified uppermost tier of the high end, the Grandioso stack stands out.… Read the full article

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Why Tom Petty Was Great

By | February 27th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Why Tom Petty Was Great

Recently the world lost Tom Petty, a great American rock musician. Appreciation pieces popped up on network nightly newscasts and the front pages of major newspapers; Rolling Stone rushed out a tribute issue; and radio stations played extended homages. Rightly so. But a casual observer of the rock scene could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about. After all, Petty and his band the Heartbreakers clearly didn’t make a mark—musical or cultural—on the order of, say, the Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, or Bowie.… Read the full article

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50th Anniversary Edition of Sgt. Pepper

By | January 9th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

50th Anniversary Edition of Sgt. Pepper

There aren’t many 50-year-old rock albums that have anything new to say. The only reason to give them another listen is pure nostalgia. But that’s not the case with the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. No matter how often you’ve heard it, there’s still more to hear. Sure, you know the words, the tunes, and the arrangements by heart. But have you ever focused on the dazzling harmonies that infuse every track? Or on Paul’s innovative bass playing? Or the classical music elements (counterpoint, modality, deceptive cadences, and much more) that inform the songwriting?… Read the full article

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Bavsound Stage One BMW Audio System

By | January 5th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Bavsound Stage One BMW Audio System

These days most of us buy our vehicles, whether brand-new or CPO, either off the lot or off the Internet. The downside is that choosing from what’s available can limit options, so sometimes we have to settle for something slightly less than ideal. This happened to me when I recently purchased a new BMW 3 Series. The Bimmer I found was perfect in every way: color, interior, and trim level. The car even had all the options I wanted—except one. Wouldn’t you know it, this particular vehicle lacked an upgraded audio system.… Read the full article

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