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The Absolute Sound

The Absolute Sound Issue 188 December 2008   Welcome to The Abso!ute Sound online! We explore music and the reproduction of music in the home. We believe that the sound of music, unamplified, occurring in a real space is a philosophic absolute against which we may judge the performance of devices designed to reproduce music. Our goal is to provide the resources consumers need to judge how a component's sound either honors or departs from the music's truth, and to make sound purchasing decisions that maximize their experience of reproduced sound. Below is our Issue 188, December 2008 contents and editorial.


Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
14 From The Editor

16 Future TAS
New products on the horizon.

20 Industry News
Steven Stone on new high-end gear at the 2008 CEDIA show.

125 Manufacturer Comments


The Absolute Sound Picks
59 Stocking Stuffers
The Absolute Sound's 2008 Holiday Gift Guide
Thirty gifts, priced from $9 to $550, that are sure to delight any audiophile.

26 Start Me Up
Neil Gader has the lowdown on an entirely new kind of product from NAD.

30 Absolute Analog
Find out why Ortofon's Windfeld phono cartridge has become Paul Seydor's new reference. Plus an interview with designer Leif Johannsen.

36 Mainstream Multichannel
Robert Harley on Onkyo's new AV receiver with Dolby TrueHD decoding and Audyssey DSP room correction.

40 TAS Interview
Recording La Bohème
Paul Seydor talks to the folks at Telarc who recorded Puccini's much-performed opera. 

50 Magic Bus 
Discover how one inventive audiophile created the ultimate car stereo, with a sonic commentary by Robert Harley.


Equipment Reports
70 PS Audio Soloist Power Conditioner
AHC on an AC line conditioner that's cheap, convenient, and effective.

72 NuForce Reference 9 V2 
SE Power Amplifier
Chris Martens on an improved version of NuForce's Class D monoblock.

78 Vienna Acoustics Mahler V1.5 Loudspeaker
Guido Corona finds much to enjoy in the Mahler V1.5 from Vienna Acoustics.

86 Vincent Audio SA-T8 Linestage Preamplifier and SP-T800 Monoblock Power Amplifier
German design and Chinese manufacture combine for great-sounding, affordable gear, says Dick Olsher.

92 Unison Research Unico 200 Integrated Amplifier
Sue Kraft auditions this sweet-sounding tubed integrated from Italy.

96 Emerald Physics CS2 Loudspeaker
Robert E. Greene on an innovative five-piece speaker that marries di-polar woofers with DSP.

102 Lamm M1.2 Power Amplifier
Dick Olsher on a tube amp that may be a universal solution for many listeners and loudspeakers.

108 Air Tight ATM-3 Power Amplifier
Jonathan Valin is reminded of the beauty of the EL34/ 6CA7 output tube, courtesy of this amp from Air Tight.

114 Shunyata Research "Dark Field" Cable Elevators and Shakti Hallographs
JV may not understand how they work, but he sure likes the things these two tweaks do.

118 Sonic Transparency
Boulder 1010 Preamplifier and 1050 Monoblock Power Amplifier
Anthony H. Cordesman reports on these stunningly well made electronics.


154 Recording of The Issue
McCoy Tyner: Guitars.

126 Rock
We interview Fleetwood Mac guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham. Also, reviews of new records from TV on the Radio, Parts & Labor, Secret Machines, Gojira, The Sea and Cake, Portastatic, Buena Vista Social Club, Jolie Holland, Mavis Staples, and B.B. King. Also, archival reissues from the Grateful Dead and Johnny Cash, a new Roy Orbison box set, and vinyl from Brian Wilson, Metallica, Radiohead, Coldplay, R.E.M., and Steve Miller.

A new Philip Glass retrospective box set, Sir John Tavener's Piano Music, Andras Schiff's final two installments of Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, Michael Nyman's 8 Lust Songs, and a Speakers Corner LP of Schumann and Lalo cello concertos. Plus another installment of Multichannel Marvels.

152 Jazz
The 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition of Miles Davis' legendary Kind of Blue, plus new titles from Danilo Perez, Carla Bley Big Band, Kenny Garrett, the Miyumi Project, S.M.V., Garaj Mahal, and George Duke.


TAS Back Page
160 TAS Back Page
Bill Low, AudioQuest's founder and designer, talks with Neil Gader.


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