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The Absolute Sound

The Absolute Sound Issue 189 January 2009   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 189, January 2009 contents and editorial.


Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
16 From The Editor

18 Future TAS
New products on the horizon.

22 Industry News
B&W and Jaguar team up to bring you one great-sounding car stereo.

130 Manufacturer Comments

138 TAS Short List
Our current favorite products in every price category.


Equipment Reports
41 Product of the Year Awards
We honor the very best high-end products of 2008.

28 Start Me Up
Wayne Garcia discovers a stunning speaker bargain in the $799 AV123 X-Statik.

32 Next-Gen Digital
Steven Stone on the Sonos music-distribution system.

78 TAS Journal
Reference Recordings' HRx Format 
You can now hear 176.4kHz/24-bit master recordings in your listening room. Robert Harley reports.

86 Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC
The folks who co-invented HDCD have created a stunning-sounding DAC that's perfect for the next-generation of high-resolution digital audio. RH has the details.

92 PSB Imagine T and Imagine B Loudspeakers
Paul S. Barton has re-written the rules yet again on affordable loudspeakers, says Neil Gader.

96 Mystère IA21 Integrated Amplifier
PrimaLuna moves upscale with the new Mystère line. Dick Olsher evaluates the all-tubed flagship IA21 integrated amplifier.

101 Gradient Helsinki 1.5 Loudspeaker
REG on this innovative speaker that reduces the room's effect on the sound.

106 Cable Research Lab Silver Cable and Interconnect
NG discovers a mid-line cable that's true to the source.

108 Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeaker
NG on a gem of Italian styling and sound.

112 MBL 101 X-Treme Loudspeaker
Jonathan Valin listens to one of the Wonders of the High-End Audio World-MBL's six-and-a-half-foot tall, three-thousand-pound, $200k flagship, the 101 X-Treme.

132 HP's Workshop
HP discovers much to like about Bryston's new 1000W 28B monoblock amplifier.


154 Recording of The Issue
Dave Holland Sextet: Pass It On.

148 Rock
We interview indie-rock group Cold War Kids. Reviews of new CDs and LPs from Glasvegas, Of Montreal, Antony & the Johnsons, Jay Reatard, AC/DC, Sunn 0))), The Streets, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Hal Ketchum, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. Also, a Genesis box set, New Order's deluxe reissues, Mobile Fidelity's Frank Sinatra gold discs, and Legacy's vinyl reissues.

160 Classical
A new John Adams retrospective and his Hallelujah Junction. Plus, Katia and Marielle Labeque's De Fuego y de Agua, John Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man, Joel Frederiksen's O felice morire, a Martha Argerich box set, David Oistrakh's Complete EMI recordings, Debussy and Poulenc cello sonatas, Jonathan Biss' Mozart piano concertos, Kernis' Symphony in Waves, and Alan Hovhaness' Guitar Concerto No. 2.

170 Jazz
Tim Ries' Stones World, Ari Hoenig's Bert's Playground, Donald Bailey's Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 3, Francisco Mela's Cirio, Bobo Stenson Trio's Cantando, Aaron Parks' Invisible Cinema, Andrew Hill and Chico Hamilton's Dreams Come True, and Lee Morgan and Kenny Dorham LPs from Music Matters.


TAS Back Page
184 TAS Back Page
We interview Kevin Deal, founder of Upscale Audio and PrimaLuna USA.


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