December 2017
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MQA: Some Claims Examined

By | December 11th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

“The fundamental problem of communication is that of reproducing at one point either exactly or approximately a message selected at another point.”—Claude Shannon

Since its announcement at the end of 2014, Master Quality Authenticated, the MQA encoding/decoding system, has spawned outspoken criticism. Some of the more thoughtful negative reactions have come from engineers such as Dan Lavry, Bruno Putzeys, and Daniel Weiss. Others have been expressed by manufacturers of digital products: the late Charley Hansen at Ayre Acoustics, for example, along with Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat at Schiit Audio, John Siau at Benchmark Media Systems, and Jim Collinson at Linn Products.… Read the full article

Headphone Event in Manhattan Tuesday

By | December 11th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

Tuesday, December 12, 2–7pm, New York retailer In Living Stereo (2 Great Jones Street, Manhattan, NY 10003) is holding a special headphone event featuring the entire line of Audeze headphones, Woo Audio tube headphone amplifiers and the Hugo TT, Mojo, and new Poly wireless streamer for the Mojo from Chord Electronics.

Jack Wu from Woo Audio, Evan Grimm from Audeze, and Richard Colburn from Chord Electronics will be there to talk technology and answer questions. There’ll be snacks available as well as “great coffee” from In Living Stereo’s Darkstar Coffee shop.… Read the full article

January Already?

By | December 10th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

Yes, with the beginning of winter and the holiday season almost upon us, the January 2018 issue of Stereophile has started dropping into mailboxes, being displayed on newsstand shelves, and being downloaded to tablets. And it is, even if we say so ourselves, one heck of an issue, with GoldenEar’s Triton Reference speaker on its cover and reviewed inside by John Atkinson. JA also kicks off the issue with a look at the controversy raised by MQA. Controversy? Also in the January Stereophile, Jim Austin examines the time-domain performance of MQA-equipped DACs and one Internet troll is already offering a $10 bounty for anyone who debunks one of Jim’s findings!… Read the full article

Rachel Podger's Grand New Baroque SACD

By | December 10th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

Few violinists would consider saddling a recording with a title as grand and potentially pretentious as Grandissima Gravita. But not only is Rachel Podger‘s latest Channel Classics hybrid SACD with her ensemble, Breton Baroque, grandly played—Podger is brilliant as always—but its title also serves as an apt descriptor of the emotional tenor of most of the works on the program.

The choice of contents is explained in one of the cleverest introductory essays I’ve ever encountered in a recording.… Read the full article

Christmas Candy

By | December 9th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

I’ve always been a fan of Christmas music because musicians of every stripe, and singers in particular, are magically drawn to the stuff. From Otis Redding belting out “White Christmas,” to The Sonics banging on “Santa Claus,” to the immortal Charles Brown crooning his “Please Come Home for Christmas,” to Francis Albert Sinatra applying his pipes to any holiday number he took a liking to, Christmas music has teased out a lot of memorable performances. Could it be that singing about happiness, snowflakes and Rudolph is a refreshing change from love, loss and all the other usual subjects of popular music?… Read the full article

Vivid, Gryphon, Shunyata Event in Florida Saturday

By | December 8th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

Saturday December 9, from 12pm to 4pm, Suncoast Audio (7353 International Place, Unit 309, Sarasota, FL, 34240) says they are sending 2017 out with a bang! They are hosting a year-ending event with Vivid loudspeakers, Gryphon electronics, and Shunyata cabling.

Philip O’Hanlon from On A Higher Note will be demonstrating the new Series 2 Vivid G2 speakers and Gryphon electronics, including the Colosseum amplifier, Pandora preamplifier, Diablo 300 integrated amplifier, and Mojo S speakers. Grant Samuelsen from Shunyata will be on hand to discuss the importance of electrical grounding, as well as to demonstrate the new Shunyata Sigma NR power products and Sigma signal cables.… Read the full article

Solo Sounds: The Power of One

By | December 7th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

While it hasn’t always made money or hit records, the music business has never been short on ideas. Most are nonsense, but every once in a while—the gramophone, onstage monitors, Les Paul’s overdubbing—the biz comes up with a winner.

Many of the craziest ideas I’ve heard in 30 years of writing about music have been expounded on at the South by Southwest Music Festival, held each year in Austin, Texas. At SXSW, hope springs eternal. Secrets are whispered. Buzz bands gain momentum.… Read the full article

Delaware Acoustics DELAC S10 loudspeaker

By | December 7th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

666skinny.promo250.jpgOne of the joys of reviewing loudspeakers is that there are always intriguing aspects of any particular design. The problems involved in producing a speaker that has an even tonal balance, well-controlled directivity, good bass extension, and a smooth integration of the outputs from often widely disparate drive-units have what appears to be an infinite number of solutions. The result is often a speaker so different from the norm that it just cries out to be auditioned.

Such was the case with the Delaware Acoustics DELAC S10, which costs $629/pair.… Read the full article

The 2017 Warsaw Audio Video Show

By | December 6th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

Poland’s Audio Video Show, held in Warsaw each November and now firmly established as Europe’s No.2 hi-fi event, has a very different feel from Event No.1: High End, held each May in Munich, Germany. Unlike High End’s business-to-business approach, the Audio Video Show is very much for regular consumers, of whom more than 14,000 attended over the show’s three days, November 17–19. Boosted by a modest “Smart Home” presence, that was an increase of nearly 18% over last year’s show, alongside more modest growth in the numbers of exhibitors and exhibit rooms.… Read the full article

Listening Tests and Absolute Phase

By | December 5th, 2017|Categories: Stereophile|

Editor’s note: The subject of “Absolute Phase,” more correctly called “Absolute Polarity,” was of intense interest to audiophiles in the 1980s, culminating in the publication of Clark Johnsen’s 1988 book The Wood Effect. I wrote an article on the subject for the November 1980 issue of English magazine Hi-Fi News & Record Review, which expanded on that subject to include some thoughts on audio reviews in general, thoughts that are just as relevant now as they were 37 years ago.Read the full article