April 2018
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2018 AXPONA Show Report: Loudspeakers Under $20k

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

2018 AXPONA Show Report: Loudspeakers Under $20k

Here’s an unanticipated finding: TAS’ Jonathan Valin, assigned the impossible task of covering all loudspeakers at the vast High End Munich show last year, observed that most were priced above $20,000 per pair. At AXPONA 2018, with the charge of finding new products under $20k, I found that all but two in that class were under $10,000. In his show report, JV concluded that “Munich High End is the black-tie event of the season for manufacturers worldwide, and no one wants to show up in less than his finest.” While there were plenty of six-figure loudspeakers for the multitudes to …… Read the full article

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

Season Two of Newvelle Records

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

Season Two of Newvelle Records

Launched just two years ago, Newvelle Records has already found its niche in both the jazz and audiophile worlds. The high production standards of this subscription-based vinyl-only outfit are manifested in album covers with gorgeous photography, stylish box sets that enclose the LPs, noise-free vinyl, and natural- and open-sounding recordings that do an excellent of capturing both ambiance and detail. There’s something special about each album, with provocative combinations of both veteran and younger players as well as some one-of-a-kind projects.… Read the full article

2018 AXPONA Show Report: Digital and Personal Electronics

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

2018 AXPONA Show Report: Digital and Personal Electronics

This year’s Axpona was full of surprises. First there was the new venue, the Renaissance Shaumberg Convention Center, which was designed specifically for trade shows and other gatherings of like-minded folk. It was large, clean, and I had a TV in my bathroom’s mirror (which turned on automatically every time I turned on the lights in the bathroom). But the “downside” of this big hotel was this was a HUGE show in terms of both exhibitors and rooms. And while some companies held off new product introductions until the High End Munich show in May, there were more than enough …… Read the full article

FM Acoustics Resolution Series FM 155 Linestage Preamplifier, FM 122 MKII Phono Linearizer, FM 108 Monoblock Power Amplifier

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

FM Acoustics Resolution Series FM 155 Linestage Preamplifier, FM 122 MKII Phono Linearizer, FM 108 Monoblock Power Amplifier

With the recent critical and commercial successes of relatively youthful Swiss high-end-audio companies like Soulution, CH Precision, Dartzeel, and others, electronics from the heart of Europe have never been held in higher esteem. The problem is that their (well-deserved) success has pushed certain other companies, with longer, no less distinguished pedigrees, a bit into the shadows. I’m thinking particularly of the Zurich-based firm FM Acoustics, which was founded in the early 1970s, when company owner and chief engineer Manuel Huber introduced his highly esteemed FM 800A amplifier (followed not long after by the standard-setting FM 212 phonostage).… Read the full article

Listen to Kef at Home Theater Technologies

By | April 17th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

Listen to Kef at Home Theater Technologies

The following is a press release issued by KEF and Home Theater Technologies. April 17, 2018 – Home Theater Technologies is a custom electronics integrator, specializing in residential solutions. Since our inception in 2000, our staff has prided ourselves on offering cutting edge technologies, while providing old fashioned customer service. Our passion for quality sound led us to our long time partnership with KEF as an Elite Dealer. Although it’s not our only offering, 2 channel audio is our favorite, as evidenced by our listening room in our Colleyville design center.… Read the full article

Wharfedale Diamond 225

By | April 16th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Wharfedale Diamond 225

This is the world I grew up in: iPods, ear buds, tinny laptop speakers. Most people my age don’t think twice about their equipment, so long as it makes sound. Your average iTunes aficionado isn’t going to shell out big sums of cash on stereo equipment, especially when everything seems to have speakers built in these days. Why bother? But there is good sound at approachable prices, fantastic sound really, the sort of sound that people obsess about. It’s not a mystical thing; it’s a visceral one; and younger people are finally starting to figure it out.… Read the full article

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio for Strings

By | April 12th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio for Strings

Manfred Honeck explains his interpretive approach in this SACD’s program notes. The opening bars and following principal theme of the first movement of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 reflect rage, then sadness. Mahler’s influence is present throughout, but especially in the second movement, which Honeck describes as a “vigorous and rustic Ländler.” The third movement is the emotional core, reflecting Shosakovich’s personal feelings in a “pure and musical manner,” devoid of any subtext. The fourth movement returns to Shostakovich’s “world of ambiguity, irony, and sarcasm.” The triumph at the end is skeletal in that it “does not depict the victory of …… Read the full article

Constellation Inspiration Integrated 1.0

By | April 11th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Constellation Inspiration Integrated 1.0

Constellation electronics really need no introduction in these pages. With lofty innovative standards, exemplary construction quality, and unimpeachable sonic results, Constellation exemplifies audio at its finest. So, the idea of producing a component of modest means such as an integrated amplifier might strike many as being akin to nobility slumming with the commoners. But to its credit, Constellation stood firm and took up the single-chassis challenge with the Inspiration Series Integrated 1.0, and the high-end audio world is all the better for it.… Read the full article

Denver Retailer ListenUp Hosts Music Matters 2018

By | April 10th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Denver Retailer ListenUp Hosts Music Matters 2018

Music Matters, ListenUp’s annual seminar featuring the latest and greatest in home entertainment, will take place April 25 and 26 at the ListenUp Denver showroom. This eagerly anticipated event will offer compelling demonstrations of cutting-edge speakers and electronics, as well as tips on how to get the most out of streaming audio, hi-def audio files, and more. The keynote presenter will be Robert Harley, Editor-in-Chief of The Absolute Sound. Robert will sign copies of his books The Complete Guide to High-End Audio (fifth edition) and The Absolute Sound’s Illustrated History of High-End Audio.… Read the full article