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About Jon Iverson

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So far Jon Iverson has created 1323 blog entries.

Remaster Clase: Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery

By | May 24th, 2019|Categories: Sound + Vision|

Brain Salad Surgery, Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s grand progressive opus of November 1973, was the one LP I knew I could play for my fraternal grandparents to show them rock music was as legitimate an aural artform as classical or jazz. When I first cued up the original Manticore/Atlantic vinyl on their stereo console during an early-1980s visit, I began with the one-two tandem of ELP’s reimagining
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Elac Navis ARB-51 Powered Loudspeaker Review

By | May 23rd, 2019|Categories: Sound + Vision|

Performance
Build Quality
Value

PRICE $2,000


AT A GLANCE

Plus

Top-tier tonal accuracy and dynamic ability
Amazingly compact for performance level
On-board EQ offers flexible placement options

Minus

Relatively tight sweet spot
No on-board streaming, digital inputs, or DSP


THE VERDICT

Elac’s powered-speaker is highly compact, yet capable enough to satisfy serious listeners.


Active loudspeakers, or speakers with built-in amplification, have long been box-office poison in the U.S. market. That’s because we Americans like our big receivers, choosing them based on power ratings, and then hooking them up to conventional, passive speakers using garden-hose speaker wire.

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Balanced Audio Technology VK-56SE power amplifier

By | May 23rd, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

I had never been alone with a Russian-manufactured 6C33C tube. At least not at night, in the dark. The first night Balanced Audio Technology’s VK-56SE tubed amplifier was in my system, I sat on the floor studying the unusual shape and dark orange glow of its four 6C33C-B output tubes. I noticed their brightly lit, cathedral-like innards. My Russian neighbor told me they were used as regulator tubes in MiG jets during the Cold War. I could believe it—their exposed cathodes were the exact color of the Soviet flag.… Read the full article

Gramophone Dreams #28: PS Audio & HiFiMan

By | May 23rd, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Every time I review a digital-to-analog converter, my memory drifts to the spring of 1983, when the first Compact Discs arrived at Tower Records in New York City. They appeared in the opera section. Sitting next to big, thick boxed sets of opera LPs, these new discs looked truly compact. A few months later, boxed sets of popular opera LPs, in almost untouched condition, began selling in the Tower Annex for $1/disc.

I was shocked. I could not believe people were actually trading these luxurious, linen-covered, rag-papered, thick-librettoed boxes for chintzy, verkakte plastic “jewel cases.” I saw no alternative: I began collecting opera LPs.… Read the full article

Star Wars: A Home Theater Adventure

By | May 22nd, 2019|Categories: Sound + Vision|

Most of us remember the first time as a kid that seeing a movie had a profound impact on our young mind. For plenty of kids who came of age in the 1970s, that movie was the first episode of the original Star Wars trilogy, which was released in 1977. For Kelly Sterne of Flower Mound, Texas, a fascination with Star Wars led to an obsession…
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Listening #198: IsoAcoustics & Audio-Creative

By | May 21st, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

It’s a toss-up: The house where my family and I lived for 15 years was bigger than the one we have now, and had a much nicer view. On the other hand, we now live in a less economically depressed region, as suggested by the relative scarcity of inflatable lawn decorations. During the last year I saw in my neighborhood far fewer leprechauns, reindeer, Easter Bunnies, purple-and-green Draculas, and turkeys wearing pilgrim hats (which makes about as much sense as Russian soldiers wearing lederhosen).… Read the full article

Exposure Electronics XM5 integrated amplifier

By | May 21st, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Audiophilia is nothing if not nostalgic—in fact, it’s doubly so. Listening to recorded music is an act of looking back, often with the hope of re-creating some wistfully recalled wonder. On top of that, the zeal to perfect the playback experience, whether by means of better-quality recordings or better hardware, is far less common than it used to be among middle-class consumers. Although in recent years our pastime has surprised with its resilience, we’re surely nearer the immolation scene than the Prelude to Act I.… Read the full article

Green Book

By | May 17th, 2019|Categories: Sound + Vision|

Picture
Sound
Extras

If your crystal ball predicted that someday the writer/director of There’s Something About Mary would take home an Academy Award for Best Picture, let’s hope you bet big and didn’t smash the thing. Peter Farrelly’s Green Book is an emotional smorgasbord, one that would no doubt be appreciated by its ever-famished “hero,” Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen). He’s a gleefully ignorant yet strangely lovable tough guy (what my people would call a cavone), albeit one who needs to learn a thing or two about race relations.

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Pass Laboratories XP-22 line preamplifier

By | May 17th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

For those who listen with their ears and not their brain, perfectionist hi-fi offers many surprises.

A friend called me up a few weeks ago and asked if the DAC we both own had received an automatic firmware update he hadn’t heard about; something had changed, it wasn’t good, and he couldn’t figure out what it was. His system’s sound was suddenly pale and unfocused.

There had been no firmware update.

The next morning, he called me again. He’d remembered that, earlier the day before, he’d swapped out a meter or so of the standard Ethernet cable connecting his network switch to his DAC with an expensive, audiophile one.… Read the full article

Pro-Ject Audio Systems Stream Box S2 Ultra network bridge

By | May 17th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

I have reviewed several network-connected music servers in recent years, from Antipodes, Aurender, and NAD. All performed well but are relatively expensive, and their associated player apps didn’t equal Roon’s user friendliness in terms of interface, organization of the library, and inclusion and updating of metadata. So when Roon Labs introduced their own server, the Nucleus+, I first reviewed and then purchased it, along with a lifetime subscription to Roon. But at $2498 without an internal drive for storing music files, the Nucleus+ is still relatively expensive, and even Roon’s less-powerful Nucleus costs $1398.… Read the full article