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The Absolute Sound

 

The Absolute Sound Issue 221 March 2012   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 221, March 2012 table of contents and link to the editorial.

 

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

6 Letters

8 From the Editor

10 Industry News: Wilson Audio introduces a new flagship, the $195,000 Alexandria XLF. Robert Harley brings you a world-exclusive preview with listening impressions.

12 Future TAS

14 Start Me Up: PSB Imagine Mini Loudspeaker
Kirk Midstkog reports on a $760 speaker that’s impressed almost everyone who’s heard it.

18 Next-Gen Digital: April Music Eximus DP1 DAC
More than just a great-sounding DAC, the Eximus is a full-feature preamp, digital control center, and headphone amplifier, says Steven Stone.

26 Computer Audio Sound Quality, Part 4
Dr. Charles Zeilig and Jay Clawson conclude their groundbreaking project to evaluate and quantify every sonic variable in computer audio. In the final installment of this four-part series, the authors offer specific recommendations for getting the best sound from a computer-audio system.

 

TAS 2012 Editor's Choice
This Is the Big One! We pick the best gear at every price level in every product category.
36 LOUDSPEAKERS
56 SUBWOOFERS
58 POWER AMPLIFIERS
66 INTEGRATED AMPLIFIERS
70 PREAMPLIFIERS
76 PHONOSTAGES
80 CD PLAYERS
82 MULTI-FORMAT DISC
84 DIGITAL-TO-ANALOG
86 MUSIC SERVERS
88 DIGITAL FORMAT
90 TURNTABLES & RECORD
98 TONEARMS
100 CARTRIDGES
104 ANALOG SOURCES
106 DSP ROOM CORRECTION
106 INTERCONNECTS & SPEAKER CABLES
110 POWER CORDS
112 EARPHONES & IN-EAR MONITORS 114 HEADPHONES
118 HEADPHONE AMPS
118 EQUIPMENT RACKS
120 POWER CONDITIONERS
120 ACCESSORIES

 

Equipment Reports
130 Electrocompaniet PD-1 USB DAC and ECI 3 Integrated Amplifier
Neil Gader finds much to like in Electrocompaniet’s new USB DAC and classic integrated amplifier.

136 AudioQuest Diamond USB Cable
No two USB cables sound alike. Robert Harley discovers one of the best.

138 GamuT M’inenT M5 Loudspeaker
Robert E. Greene on a new compact floorstander from Denmark.

144 Audion Sterling EL34 Anniversary Integrated Stereo Amplifier
Dick Olsher reports on this 12W Class A integrated from one of tube audio’s most venerable marques.

148 HP’s Workshop : HP bestows his own Editor’s Choice Awards.

169 Manufacturer Comments

 

Music
156 Taking Jazz Outside the Box
Jeff Wilson on some of today’s most interesting genre-crossing jazz musicians and their best recordings.

159 Download Round-Up
Alan Taffel and Andrew Quint review recent hi-res downloads — rock, classical, and jazz.

160 Rock
New releases from Etta James, Florence and the Machine, the Wronglers, and Noam Pikelny, plus reissues from the Smiths, the Rolling Stones, the Louvin Brothers, and Janis Ian.

167 Classical
Music for a Time of War on SACD, Rhapsody in Blue on two pianos, American clarinet quartets on Naxos, Maninyas on violin, and Spanish Masters reanimated on Zenph Sound Innovations.

169 Fives Faves: We recommend a quintet of fine Irish bands just in time for St. Patty’s Day.

170 Jazz
The latest from Dave Douglas, Chick Corea, and Christian McBride, along with stellar remasters from Wayne Shorter and Milt Jackson.

 

176 Back Page: Analog guru Ron Sutherland talks with Neil Gader.

 

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