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The Absolute Sound

The Absolute Sound Issue 190 February 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 190, February 2009 contents and editorial.


Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
6 Letters

10 From The Editor

12 Industry News

104 Manufacturer Comments


Show Report
24 The 2008 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest
A sneak preview of the best high-end products coming your way.


Equipment Reports
16 Start Me Up
Denon adds an SACD twist to the compact audio system. Wayne Garcia reports.

20 Absolute Analog
JV on what may be the world's best phono cartridge, the Air Tight PC-1 Supreme.

52  Paradigm Mini Monitor 
What does $500 buy you in today's speaker market? A surprisingly high level of performance, says Steven Stone.

56 Denon DRA-CX3 Integrated Amplifier and DCD-CX3 CD/SACD Player
Neil Gader on a pair of great-sounding and affordable products.

60 Harbeth 40.1 Loudspeaker
Robert E. Greene on an updated version of one of his favorite speakers.

62 Esoteric X-05 CD/SACD Player
Great CD and SACD sound in a gorgeous package, says Neil Gader.

66 A New Standard of Transparency
MartinLogan CLX Electrostatic Speaker
Jonathan Valin on this 21st Century version of an audio classic.

78 The Cutting Edge
Spectral Audio SDR-4000 Pro CD Processor, DMC-30SS Preamplifier, and DMA-360 Monaural Reference Amplifier
Robert Harley auditions a complete system from high-end audio's most enigmatic company.

90 TAS Interview 
Spectral Audio Founder Richard Fryer and Chief Designer Keith Johnson get candid with RH.

102 MIT Oracle MA-X Interconnect and Oracle MA Speaker Cable
Sure, they're wildly expensive, but MIT's tops-of-the-line are worth every penny, says Robert Harley.

106 HP's Workshop
HP ruminates on describing the sound of transparency.


110 Recording of The Issue
William Elliott Whitmore: Animals in the Dark.

110 Rock
We talk with William Elliott Whitmore. Also, reviews of new CDs and LPs from A.C. Newman, David Byrne and Brian Eno, Heartless Bastards, Pavement, El Guincho, Belle and Sebastian, J. D. Souther, Crystal Antlers, and Frida Hyvonen. Plus, a deluxe Cheap Trick reissue and audiophile vinyl from Metallica and Megadeth.

120 Classical
A recent SACD of Strauss's Alpine Symphony, a new Schubert lieder disc, Joyce DiDonato's Furore, and Erwin Schott's debut aria album.

124 Jazz
Alex Cline's Continuation and Nels Cline's Coward. Plus, reviews of a new Sonny Rollins archival release, Bill Carrothers' Home Row, and Charlie Haden's Rambling Boy.


TAS Back Page
132 TAS Back Page
Luke Manley of VTL talks with Neil Gader.


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