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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 248 December 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 248, December 2014 table of contents and editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
4 From The Editor: The Absolute Sound's High-End Hall of Fame
Editorial By Robert Harley

8 Letters

12 From the Editor

14 Future TAS
New products on the horizon.

16 Start Me Up: Epos K1 Loudspeaker
Neil Gader discovers a gem of a small loudspeaker—and it's upgradable and affordable. 

20 Absolute Analog: Kuzma Stabi M Turntable and 4Point Tonearm
This ambitious turntable from Franc Kuzma hits all Paul Seydor's buttons.

29  The Absolute Sound's High-End Audio Hall of Fame
We launch the industry's first High-End Hall of Fame by honoring the inaugural group of inductees. Meet the 18 individuals who most shaped the high end.

66  New Methods for Quantifying Sonic Performance
In Part Two of this groundbreaking work, Charles Zellig, Ph.D., and Jay Clawson attempt to create a universal, transportable scale for measuring sound quality—and share with you a bizarre but effective tweak.

139 Manufacturer Comments


86 How To Back Up a Music Files
Vade Forrester takes you step by step through the critical process of backing up your music hard drive. You do have a back-up hard drive, don't you?


Computer Audio & Digital Equipment Reports
92 Modwright "Truth" Oppo BDP-105 Universal Disc Player
Jim Hannon listens to this vacuum-tubed hot-rodded universal-disc player.

98 Lumin A-1 Network Player
The A-1 brings you the convenience of a music server—without the computer. Neil Gader explains.

104 Ayon Stealth DAC/Preamp
"Stealth" is the perfect name for this all-tubed DAC/pre from Austria's Ayon, says Dick Olsher.

108 Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum DSD DAC
The sonic benefits of high-precision clocking are readily apparent in the Zodiac Platinum DAC and its outboard clock. Steven Stone brings you a full report.

114 Cover Story: High-Res on the Go!
Astell&Kern AK240 Music Player & Oppo PM-1 Headphones
Portable audio has never sounded better—or been more capable. Steven Stone tells you about two astounding products that let you take high fidelity any where.


Equipment Reports
130 Odyssey Audio Stratos Monoblock Power Amplifiers
Jonathan Valin on why these $2700 amps from Klaus Bunge's Odyssey Audio challenge the world's best.

136 Monitor Audio Silver 10 Loudspeaker
This affordable full-range floorstander is packed with Monitor Audio's advanced technologies—and sounds like it, says Spencer Holbert.

140 Lamm LP2.1 Deluxe Phono Preamplifier
Dick Olsher on a class-leading phonostage from Vladimir Lamm.

144 Electrocompaniet Nordic Tone Loudspeaker
An innovative loudspeaker, ten years in the making, the Nordic Tone breaks new sonic and technical ground, says Robert E. Greene.


152 The Beatles in Mono
Neil Gader gives you the lowdown on the new 14-LP Beatles vinyl project.

156 Have Organ, Will Travel
Andrew Quint interviews Cameron Carpenter, "the most visible organist on the planet."

162 The Smoke Sessions Label
Jeff Wilson on a New York jazz club that decided to launch its own record label.

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

168 Rock
Lucinda Williams, Jesse Winchester, Robyn Hitchcock, Vince Gill, and the 442s, along with a Johnny Cash tribute, a Waylon Jennings SACD, and a classic James Brown concert on vinyl.

174 Jazz
Bill Frisell, the Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet, Connie Crothers, a Charlie Haden and Jim Hall duet, and Harmonie Ensemble's take on Peter Gunn.

178 Classical
American chamber music, a symphony by Larsson, the complete string quartets of Beethoven, and recent offerings from the Carmel Quartet and pianists Pavel Kolesnikov and Steven Osborne.


Back Page
184 We talk to Geoff Poor of Balanced Audio Technology.


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