From The Editor
Welcome to this special Buyer's Guide issue of
The Absolute Sound. Although the term "buyer's guide" is accurate, in that these pages are chockfull of all sorts of useful information about how to buy and assemble a high-quality music-playback system, it tells but part of the story.
What the phrase doesn't say is that there's really no issue like this from any other English language audio magazine
— one that attempts to be as comprehensive as this one does. Not only will you find our highly selective recommendations for the best components in virtually every product category, and a list of must-have recordings in every genre of music, but we'll also carefully guide you through thickets of information that might prove daunting to all but the most seasoned hobbyists.
We begin with Robert Harley's brief history of high-end audio, which, to the surprise of many, largely began in the U.S. This is followed by short personal stories from the four-man editorial team who put this issue together about how we got into this mad and wonderful hobby. After that, we tell
you how to get started in high-end audio, with an article that offers expert advice on everything you need to know about shopping for, selecting, and setting up your system (further enhanced by downloading
System Set-Up Secrets from the card found on the front cover of this issue).
We'll also show you four ways of building a $5000 system, based on real-world rooms, tastes in music, and listening biases.
"Music Servers for Audiophiles" explores new frontiers in digital audio, and "At Work and On the Go" delves into desktop and portable playback gear.
While the traditional portrait of an audiophile may look like a lonely male figure locked in a dusty room with CDs and LPs strewn about, the fact is that this hobby has much wider appeal than that. It just takes a little exposure. After all, even though the bulk of this issue is a Buyer's Guide to equipment, the equipment, no matter how cool or lust-inducing, is ultimately good for just one thing
— allowing you to hear your favorite music like you've never heard it before.
Buyer's Guide Editor
P.S: Have a question or comment about high-end audio or music? Join the discussion with TAS editors and readers on the forum at AVguide.com