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About Robert Harley

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So far Robert Harley has created 55 blog entries.

Piega C711

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

Piega C711

Very few loudspeaker companies can claim to have created a unique technology, but the Swiss manufacturer Piega owns that distinction with its coaxial ribbon driver. Since 1986 Piega has built, from scratch, the ribbon drivers found in all the company’s upper-end speakers. In fact, in 2014 Piega sold its 100,000th pair of ribbon-based speakers, with every single ribbon made in-house. That’s quite an achievement. Indeed, the company was founded on the ribbon driver; “piega” means “fold” in Italian, a reference to the pleats in the diaphragms of its first drivers.… Read the full article

2018 Golden Ear Awards: Robert Harley

By | September 28th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

2018 Golden Ear Awards: Robert Harley

JL Audio Fathom f113v2 subwoofer and CR-1 crossover $4500/$3000 JL Audio’s Fathom f112 and f113 subwoofers have long been the “go-to” models for high performance and value. The Fathoms manage to combine bone-crushing bass impact and power with the ability to reveal musical subtleties—a rare feat. Now with the introduction of the “v2” updates, a great subwoofer has been made even better. In addition to more power, an improved driver, and refinements to the electronics, the new model’s digital room correction system is a significant advance over the previous version.… Read the full article

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Prather Design Signature LP Storage Rack

By | August 30th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Prather Design Signature LP Storage Rack

I happened across a husband-and-wife team who build a wide range of beautiful LP storage racks and was so impressed with their work that I wanted to share my find with TAS readers. The racks are made in rural Ohio by Jason and Brit Prather. The products range from a simple “now playing” single-LP stand or wall ledge to a full-blown cabinet that stores and displays up to 480 LPs. Prices range from $20 to $897 with most models under $150.… Read the full article

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Audiophilia on Four Wheels

By | August 20th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , , , , |

Audiophilia on Four Wheels

In late 2007 I was contacted by Jon Whitledge, who invited me to hear his ambitious car-audio system at the January, 2008 CES. I’d never heard of him, and the prospect of having my ears blown out by thumping bass at massive sound-pressure levels wasn’t my idea of fun. But then Jon described to me his goals for the system, his aesthetic, and the elaborate construction and technology behind what he called the “Magic Bus.” Jon had bought a Sprinter van solely as a platform for building the ultimate mobile-audio system, and spent thousands of hours in his workshop molding …… Read the full article

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JL Audio Fathom f113v2 Subwoofer and CR-1 Active Crossover

By | June 18th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

JL Audio Fathom f113v2 Subwoofer and CR-1 Active Crossover

JL Audio is one of those companies that does one thing and does it well. In JL’s case, that “one thing” is designing and building some of the world’s best subwoofers. Over its 38-year history, JL has fanatically pursued technological innovation with a single, laser-focused purpose: reproducing the lowermost 2½ octaves with the highest fidelity. JL Audio holds an astounding 38 patents on woofer design (with six more pending), including those for a particular cone structure, a voice-coil cooling system, and a method of bonding the surround and cone assembly to the voice coil and spider, to name but a …… Read the full article

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David Wilson, 1944–2018

By | May 29th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

David Wilson, 1944–2018

The many tributes to loudspeaker designer David Wilson, who passed away on May 26 from cancer, will understandably focus on his outsized contribution to high-end audio. One of those tributes is my piece that accompanied his induction into The Absolute Sound’s High-End Hall of Fame in 2016, reproduced below. But you should also know about David Wilson the man. As great a speaker designer he was, and as skillful as he was at building one of the industry’s most iconic brands, he was an even better human being.… Read the full article

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AVM CS 2.2 All-in-One System: A Compelling Alternative

By | May 29th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , |

AVM CS 2.2 All-in-One System: A Compelling Alternative

If the AVM CS 8.2 is more than you need or can afford, I’m happy to say you can get virtually all of the features and much of sound quality of AVM’s flagship in the company’s $4995 CS 2.2. I’ve been using the CS 2.2 as my “daily driver” for the past few months and its combination of features, flexibility, and sound quality in one easy-to-operate component is hard to beat. I won’t reiterate all the features that Steven described, but rather will concentrate on the differences between the CS 8.2 and CS 2.2.… Read the full article

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The 2018 Munich High-End Show

By | May 23rd, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The 2018 Munich High-End Show

The Munich High-End Show’s preeminence as the world’s biggest and most important event was solidified by this year’s gathering. Munich has not only effectively replaced CES for international business but has also become the major consumer show. Munich High-End has so much going for it: an outstanding venue (although the rooms are sonically challenging), central location, perfect time of the year, and the format of one trade day and three consumer days. Given the show’s immense size, I’ll hit just the highlights of my beat—electronics under $15,000 and new digital products.… Read the full article

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Absolare Integrated Amplifier

By | March 13th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Absolare Integrated Amplifier

Absolare arrived on the high-end scene in 2012 with two striking products, the Passion preamplifier and Passion 845 power amplifier. Both components took minimalism in circuit design and user operation to an extreme—even eschewing front-panel markings on the preamplifier’s two knobs. In addition, the all-tube circuits were housed in chassis that established an entirely new visual aesthetic in audio equipment, foregoing shiny metal boxes and lots of knobs in favor of rich leathers and simple controls. And with 52W of SET output power, the Passion 845 brought the glories of single-ended triode operation to a relatively wide range of loudspeakers.… Read the full article

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Monitor Audio Silver 300

By | March 8th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Monitor Audio Silver 300

How’s this for a recipe for a high-value speaker: Take a highly skilled designer, match him to a company with an audiophile ethos, mix in economy-of-scale manufacturing, and add the cost savings conferred by a company-owned factory in China. Put those ingredients together and you have the new Monitor Audio Silver 300, an astonishing amount of speaker for $2000 per pair. I heard the Silver 300 at the Munich show last year as a pre-production prototype, and was immediately taken by its musicality and blown away by its value.… Read the full article

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