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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 214 July / August 2011   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 214, July / August 2011 table of contents and link to the editorial.

Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
06 From the Editor
Paradigm Shift
Editorial By Robert Harley

7 Letters

11 Future TAS

117 Manufacturer Comments


Loudspeaker Focus Equipment Reports
26 REL R-218 Sub-Bass System
This affordable British sub hits all the high (or would that be low?) notes. Neil Gader reports.

32 GoldenEar Triton Two: Loudspeaker maven Sandy Gross raises the bar in affordable high-performance loudspeakers, says Chris Martens.

40 Sonus Faber Liuto Monitor: Neil Gader evaluates this small-scale Italian gem.

44 Audience ClairAudient 2+2: Are multi-way loudspeakers fundamentally wrong? Dick Olsher listens to an unusual “one-way” stand-mounted transducer.

48 Further Thoughts: Magnepan MG-3.7: Jonathan Valin weighs in on the speaker that sets a new standard for performance at a reasonable price.

54 Paradigm Reference Signature Series Sub 2: Jacob Heilbrunn lives with a pair of one of the most ambitious subwoofers yet developed.

58 Sony SS-AR1: The $27k SS-AR1 shows that Sony is a serious player in top-end loudspeakers, says Robert E. Greene.


Equipment Reports
74 Olive 06HD Music Server: Olive brings high-resolution capability, single-box simplicity, and great sound to music servers with its new 06HD, says Anthony H. Cordesman.

80 Apex Pinnacle Preamplifier: Dick Olsher evaluates an ultra-minimalist tubed preamp and headphone amplifier from Todd The Vinyl Junkie's Apex High Fi Audio.

86 Burmester Top Line System: This German company is one of the few to build entire audio systems — including racks and cables. Alan Taffel lives with Burmester's newest complete package.

92 Cover Story: Magico Q5... Jonathan Valin reviews Magico's new ultra-high-fidelity flagship — the amazing Q5.

102 The Cutting Edge: Rockport Technologies Altair Loudspeaker
This stunning example of modern industrial art is built like no other loudspeaker — and offers world-class sound quality. Robert Harley has the details.

15 Start Me Up: Peachtree iDac
Peachtree's new iDac is more than just another iPod docking station — it is a full-featured digital hub as well as a terrific-sounding digital-to-analog converter. Steven Stone reports.

20 Absolute Analog
Air Tight PC-3 Phono Cartridge
Neil Gader on this mid-priced moving coil from one of high-end audio's most musical lines.

66 Next-Gen Digital: Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB Interface
The folks who brought us the amazing Alpha DAC have finally solved the USB-interface problem, says Robert Harley.

110 Interview: Out of the Shadows
Rockport Technologies founder Andy Payor talks about cutting-edge loudspeaker design with Robert Harley.


120 The Real Peter Frampton Stands Up
Jeff Wilson has a candid talk with the legendary rock star about his meteoric rise, fall into obscurity, and recent comeback.

125 Rock: New releases from R.E.M, Alison Krauss, Abigail Washburn, and Sierra Hull; a recently discovered early concert from Bob Dylan; and newly assembled retrospectives from Derek and the Dominoes, Neil Diamond, and Arhoolie Records.

129 Jazz: The latest from Matthew Shipp, The City Champs, and Hiromi, along with outstanding reissues of Stan Getz and Roscoe Mitchell.

132 Classical: Sonic spectaculars from Ives, Copland, and Chesky; chamber music from Brahms; piano pieces from Mompou; and Bernstein's nonpareil performances of Shostakovich and Ravel remastered on Impex vinyl.


133 Fives Faves: Stephen Estep finds five treasures among overlooked and unusual roots and world-music albums.

136 Back Page: Legendary recording engineer Bill Schnee talks with Neil Gader.



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