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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 245 September 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 245, September 2014 table of contents and editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
8 Letters

12 Guest Editorial: The Attention-Span Gap Editorial By Alan Taffel

14 Industry News
Andrew Quint attends a remarkable demonstration of a new high-res multichannel remix of Roger Waters' Amused to Death. Robert Harley and Jonathan Valin visit Swiss loudspeaker manufacturer Piega. Meridian Audio creates state-of-the-art car audio for the Jaguar XJ. A tribute to Columbia Records producer John McClure. And Jonathan Valin's novels are back in print on Amazon.

28 The Best New Gear at Munich

49 The 2014 Golden Ear Awards
Our editors and writers choose their favorite components.

142 Manufacturer Comments


Start Me Up
22 Arcam A19 Integrated Amplifier and airDAC Wireless DAC
Spencer Holbert on affordable new electronics from Britain's Arcam.


Absolute Analog
80 Mapleshade LP Racks
Neil Gader discovers some attractive and functional LP storage cabinets.

82 Q-Up Tonearm Lift
Tired of jumping up at the end of every LP side? Anthony Cordesman reports on a $60 accessory that lets you linger in the listening seat.

84 Parasound JC 3+ Phonostage
Neil Gader evaluates significant new upgrades to this John Curl-designed phonostage bargain.


Equipment Reports
86 Three Affordable Portable DACs
Steven Stone surveys DACs from Cambridge Audio, Hegel, and Resonessence.

94 ATC SCM19 Loudspeaker
This affordable loudspeaker from English pro-audio company ATC pushes all of Neil Gader's buttons.

98 Hegel H80 Integrated Amplifier
The Norwegian amplifier specialist raises the performance and lowers the price in its superb new H80. Kirk Midtskog reports.

102 Sony PHA-2 DAC and Headphone Amplifier
With great sound, a terrific feature set, and rugged build-quality, Sony's new DAC/headphone amplifier is road-ready. Steven Stone reports.

108 Van Alstine FET Valve Preamplifier
Dick Olsher discovers another affordable gem from Frank Van Alstine.

114 PS Audio PerfectWaveDirectStream DAC
PS Audio's new DAC is designed like no other. Vade Forrester takes you on a technical and sonic tour of this unique product.

122 Power Cord Survey
Neil Gader listens to AC cords from Dynamic Design, Voodoo, and Audience.

126 Avantgarde Zero 1 Loudspeaker
Jonathan Valin reports on one of the most innovative loudspeakers 
of recent times—an active, 
DSP'd, horn-loaded system without a horn's flaws. And it's room-and-budget friendly, to boot.


145 Yarlung Records Makes A Splash
Jeff Wilson on a young, sonically ambitious, and already highly regarded audiophile label.

148 Download Round-Up
Recent pop, classical, and jazz downloads reviewed by Alan Taffel, Andrew Quint, and Jeff Wilson.

154 Rock
New releases from Santana, Keb Mo', Kathleen Grace, Radney Foster, and a trio of African "desert blues" groups, a reissue of Dylan sung gospel-style, and the first three Led Zeppelins in fancy new re-masters. 

164 Classical
Violin concertos and lullabies, electronica from Mason Bates, 20th Century string quartets, left-hand piano concertos, and sonatas and fantasias from Beethoven, Schumann, Hough, and more.

172 Jazz
The latest from Keith Jarrett, John McLaughlin, Steve Lehman, and David Weiss, along with vinyl reissues of Charles Mingus and Art Blakey. 


Back Page
176 We interview Jim Salk of Salk Signature Sound.


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