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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 239 January 2014   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 239, January 2014 table of contents and editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
10 From The Editor: Dodging A Bullet
Editorial By Robert Harley

8 Letters

12 From the Editor

14 Future TAS

18 Industry News: The Absolute Sound's Illustrated History of High-End Audio
Robert Harley premieres the first copies of TAS' new book.

47 TAS Product of the Year Awards: We name the very best products of 2013.

211 Manufacturer Comments


Start Me Up
20 NAD D 3020 Integrated Amplifier
Neil Gader on a modern version of the most popular amp in high-end history.


Special Report
26 Inside the Swiss Audio Industry
Alan Taffel guides you on a tour of Switzerland's remarkable audio industry, and considers the historical and cultural influences that have shaped its course


Equipment Reports
100 Shunyata Venom PS8 AC Power Conditioner
The mavens of AC power products trickle-down their technology to a popular price point. Neil Gader has the good news.

104 JansZen zA2.1 Loudspeaker
Yes, that JansZen. The legacy of Arthur Janszen, author of the KLH Model Nine, lives on in his son David's all-new zA2.1 electrostatic hybrid, says Robert E. Greene. PLUS! A special except from The Absolute Sound's Illustrated History of High-End Audio on "Arthur Janszen and the KLH Model Nine."

120 AURAliC Taurus MKII Headphone Amplifier
Chris Martens listens to this remarkable headphone amplifier with a fascinating design inspiration.

126 RELSerie R-528: SE Sub-Bass System
Don't call it a "subwoofer." REL's new Serie R-528SE is a "Sub-Bass System," and there's a difference, says Paul Seydor.

136 Electrocompaniet ECI 6DS Integrated Amp
This highly flexible integrated amplifier and DAC will take your system wherever you want to go — with plenty of power, to boot, says Wayne Garcia.

140 MSB Technology Analog DAC
It may be an oxymoron to call a digital-to-analog converter the "Analog DAC," but the name tells you everything you need to know about the sound of MSB's most affordable product. Vade Forrester reports.

148 Franco Serblin Accordo Loudspeaker
The late, fabled founder of sonus faber has produced a masterpiece in the Accordo, says Neil Gader.

152 Furutch Flux Series Cables
Jacob Heilbrunn puts these interconnects, AC cords, and phono cables from Japan's Furutch through their astounding paces.

156 Gauder Akustik Cassiano Loudspeaker
Robert E. Greene evaluates this strikingly high-resolution, low-distortion, German-made ceramic-driver floorstander.

162 Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum Preamplifier and Monoblock Power Amplifiers
One of high-end's greatest designers has created his best work in the new Momentum preamplifier and Momentum monoblock amplifiers, says Anthony H. Cordesman.

172 Transparent Audio XL Reference Digital Link Interconnects
Yes, they're expensive, but, according to Jacob Heilbrunn, Transparent's XL Reference Digital Link interconnects are essential to realizing state-of-the-art digital sounds.

176 Dynaudio Evidence Platinum Loudspeaker
Jacob Heilbrunn auditions this flagship loudspeaker from one of high-end audio's most venerable companies.

194 Siltech SAGA Amplification System
It's not every day that you come across something substantially new in preamps and power amplifiers, but "new" is the only way to describe Siltech's SAGA System. Jonathan Valin takes an in-depth look at this revolutionary product.


Absolute Analog
98 Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner: Robert Harley takes a listen to an amazing record cleaner.


The Cutting Edge
182 CH Precision Electronics: Alan Taffel auditions three jewels from Switzerland.


214 Repatriating American Jazz
Jeff Wilson reports on two new labels issuing LPs of jazz rarities by American musicians recorded in Europe.

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

220 The Groove Reader
Our Art Lingten has an amazing gift: He can tell what piece of music is on an LP simply by looking at the grooves!

222 Rock
Elvis Costello and The Roots, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, Janelle Monae, Ry Cooder, Allen Toussaint, the Raya Brass Band, and Rebecca Frazier, plus a 4-LP box of Fleetwood Mac.

228 Classical
Bizet, Elgar, and Vaughan Williams from Reference, bassoon bonbons from 2L, Duke Ellington's Nutcracker from Harmonia Mundi, and Dudamel conducting Strauss from DG.

230 Jazz
The latest by Carla Bley, Fred Hersch, Dave Holland, Ira Sullivan, Myra Melford, and Cécile McLorinSalvant.


232 Back Page: We talk with Klaus Bunge of Odyssey Audio.


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