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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 238 December 2013   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 238, December 2013 table of contents and editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
10 From The Editor: This Time It's Different
Editorial By Robert Harley

06 Letters

14 CES Preview

16 The Absolute Sound's Illustrated History High-End Audio
Volume One, Loudspeaker is now finished and at the printer. Robert Harley shares more details on TAS's three-volume history of the high end.

20 Industry News
The California Audio Show and Transparent Cable's new on-line store.

164 Manufacture Comments


Start Me Up
30 KEF X300A Digital Hi-Fi Speaker System
The new 300X combines KEF's fabulous Uni-Q driver with on-board amplification and DAC. Just add a source and you're ready to rock, says Neil Gader.


Absolute Analog
34 Palmer 2.5 Turntable
This traditional British design casts a musical spell on all who hear it, according to Paul Seydor.


Special Computer Audio Focus
42 The ABCs of DSD Downloads
High-res DSD downloads are the Next Big Thing. Vade Forrester tells you everything you need to know, from hardware to software to a survey of DSD download sites.

60 Turn Your Vinyl Into Digital Files
Steven Stone takes you step-by-step through the processing of digitizing your LP library.

70 Channel D's Pure Vinyl LP-Ripping Software and Seta Phonostage
Steven Stone on a remarkable software suite from the folks who brought you Pure Music that makes it easy to turn your LP library into file-based music, with all the convenience that implies. PLUS: Channel D's Seta Phonostage, the first phono preamp designed specifically for ripping vinyl.

76 Sony takes High-Res Mainstream
Alan Taffel reports on Sony's big plans for making high-res digital audio simple, affordable, and ubiquitous.

92 Parasound Zdac
Bigger than an ultra-tiny portable, but not a full-sized component, Parasound's Zdac bridges the gap in affordable DACs. Neil Gader reports.

94 Naim Audio UnitiServe
Naim'sUnitiServe expands the functionality of the company's Uniti family of products by turning them into full-fledged music servers. Wayne Garcia has the details.

96 Peachtree Nova125
This new "do-it-all" component from Peachtree combines an integrated amplifier, DAC, and headphone amp, making it the ideal central hub for an affordable digital-based music system, says Chris Martens.

102 3beez Waxbox Music Server
If you've ever been frustrated by the metadata limitations of computer-based audio, Andrew Quint has the answer in this turnkey music server.


Equipment Reports
110 Cover Special Report
EAR-Yoshino 192 DACute DAC 
Tim de Paravicini has attempted to maximize the "analog" and minimize the "digital" in this tubed digital-to-analog converter, says Dick Olsher.

116 GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven Loudspeaker
GoldenEar Technology hits one out of the park with its $1400 full-range floorstander, says Chris Martens.

122 Bryston Mini T Loudspeaker
The Canadian company best known for its electronics enters the loudspeaker market with this affordable new stand-mount. Ron Doering reports.

126 Wireword Series 7 Equinox and Eclipse Cables and Interconnects
Neil Gader listens to two levels of Wireworld's new 20th Anniversary Series 7 cables and interconnects.

130 AVM SA8 Stereo Power Amplifier 
This German-built powerhouse combines iron-fisted control with sweet delicacy, says Anthony H. Cordesman.

136 Cardas EM5813 Ear Speaker
What happens when one of audio's most talented designers tackles the in-ear monitor? Chris Martens reports on George Cardas' wonder in miniature.

142 Octave Audio V110 Integrated Amplifier
Dick Olsher on an all-tubed unit from Germany's Octave Audio offers the innovation of improving the sound via an add-on power-supply upgrade.

148 Pass X350.5 Amplifier
Kirk Midtskog listens to this mighty 350Wpc solid-state dreadnought design from Nelson Pass.


The Cutting Edge
154 Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia Loudspeaker
The new Alexia brings Wilson's most advanced technologies to a relatively compact statement-level loudspeaker. Find out why Anthony H. Cordesman bought a pair.


168 Mercury Living Presence: The Collector's Edition, Volume 2 
A second box-set of vintage Mercs on CD surveyed by Arthur Lintgen.

172 Download Round-Up
Alan Taffel and Andrew Quint review high-res pop/rock and classical downloads.

176 Rock
The latest from Roy Harper, Iain Matthews, Anna My, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Mavis Staples, and Alan Jackson; and new collections of previously-unreleased recordings from James Brown and Bob Dylan.

182 Classical 
Bach sonatas played by Chris Thile(!), Szymanowski by Gergiev and the LSO, and John Bull by Alan Feinberg; Zubin Mehta conducts The Planets on audiophile vinyl; and a 15-CD box of Colin Davis on Philips.

186 Jazz
Recent offerings from Chick Corea, Gary Burton, and Kneebody, along with a 7-CD compendium of in-concert Charles Mingus recordings from Mosaic.


Back Page
192 Back Page: We chat with Michael Børresen of Raidho Acoustics.


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