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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 205 September 2010   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 205, September 2010 table of contents and link to the editorial.

Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
6 From the Editor
Editorial By Robert Harley

8 Letters

10 From the Editor

12 Golden Ear Club

14 Industry News
Sonus Faber enters a new era with the launch of its $200k flagship loudspeaker.|
Alan Taffel brings you the story from Italy.

17 Future TAS

112 Manufacturer Comments


Special Loudspeaker Focus
28 On The Horizon: A Sneak Preview of Promising Loudspeakers

34 The 12 Most Significant Loudspeakers of All Time
We select and rank the 12 most important high-end loudspeakers ever.

40 Classics of the Golden Age of Speaker Design
HP takes an in-depth look at some landmark loudspeaker designs that forever changed the high end.


Loudspeaker Equipment Reports
52 Magnepan MG 1.7
Magnepan sets a new standard in $2000 loudspeakers. Jonathan Valin has the scoop on this game-changing product.

58 Dynaudio Excite X32
Reviewer Kirk Midtskog makes his TAS debut with this incisive look at a mid-priced contender from Dynaudio.

62 DALI Helicon 400 Mk2
Dick Olsher listens to this newly upgraded version of a TAS editors’ favorite, the Helicon 400 from Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries.

66 Nola Baby Grand Reference
There’s nothing “baby” but there’s plenty “grand” about this ambitious, full-scale loudspeaker from Nola, says Jonathan Valin.

78 The Cutting Edge: Verity Lohengrin II Loudspeaker
Jacob Heilbrunn auditions the newly re-designed flagship from Canada’s Verity Audio.


Equipment Reports
18 Start Me Up: Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10 Integrated Amplifier and CD10 CD Player
This new ultra-affordable pair from Cambridge proves that high-performance audio doesn’t always mean high-priced audio. Neil Gader reports.

22 Absolute Analog: Shelter 901 MkII, 9000, and Harmony MC Moving Coil Phono Cartridges
Chris Martens finds a wonderful family resemblance — and some sibling rivalry — in this trio from Shelter.

27 Spin Clean Record Washing System
Don’t let the Spin Clean’s virtual give-away price ($79) fool you; this is one serious LP cleaner, says Neil Gader

70 TAD CR-1 Compact Reference Loudspeaker
One of the most widely anticipated speakers in recent memory is finally here — and it was worth the wait, says Neil Gader.

86 Musical Fidelity M3i Integrated Amplifier
Neil Gader discovers a gem of an integrated from England’s Musical Fidelity.

90 Krell S-150m Monoblock Power Amplifier
The words “small” and “affordable” have never applied to Krell monoblock amplifiers… until now. Steven Stone reports.

94 Marantz SC-7S2 Reference Control Amplifier
An $8k preamp from Marantz? Alan Taffel evaluates this bold assault on the state of the art.

98 Audio Research Reference 5 Linestage
Jonathan Valin reports on ARC’s latest (and greatest) Reference Series linestage.

104 The Tape Project Open-Reel Tapes and the United Home Audio  UHA-HQ Tape Decks
Hearing analog mastertapes in your listening room is revelatory. Jonathan Valin brings you the details of this remarkable development.

108 Cary SLP 05 Preamplifier and CAD 211 FE Power Amplifier
Cary Audio ups the ante in tubed amplification with the special “Founder’s Edition” of its gorgeous CAD 211 all-triode amp. Wayne Garcia listens to this gem along with Cary’s top-of-the-line preamp.


114 Feature: Jazzing It Up
Wayne Garcia reviews a stellar batch of recent vintage jazz reissues from Analogue Productions, Music Matters, and ORG — remastered at 45 rpm.

118 Rock
New releases from The National, The Fall, and Dierks Bentley; an all-star jam session with Mark O’Connor and friends; SteinarGregertsen’s homage to Jimi Hendrix; and superb new reissues of Sam Cooke and the Rolling Stones.

124 Classical
Bruckner, Granados, and Pergolesi on surround-sound SACDs, and Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue in FerdeGrofé’s original orchestration.

130 Jazz
The latest offerings from the Claudia Quintet, Stanton Moore, Marilyn Crispell, and Dr. Lonnie Smith, along with rediscovered performances by The New York Art Quartet.

133 Top Ten
Road-trip rock classics to make the miles fly by, as selected by Sherri Lehman.


136 Back Page
Arturo Manzano, importer of some of high-end audio’s most prestigious brands, talks with Neil Gader.


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