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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 256 October September 2015

   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 256, October 2015 table of contents and editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue

Robert Harley on the story behind the creation of Volume Two of The Absolute Soundís Illustrated History of High-End Audio. 


Industry News
An update on Wilsonís forthcoming WAMM, one of the most ambitious loudspeaker designs in history.


THE Show Newport 
The best new gear from the California show.


The Absolute Sound's Illustrated History of High-End Audio, Volume Two: Electronics
Get the scoop on the publication of the new second volume of this monumental series of richly illustrated large-format books celebrating the high-endís most iconic products and their legendary designers.


Equipment Reports
Focus on Upper-End Loudspeakers


Harbeth SuperHL5plus
If Paul Seydor stopped reviewing tomorrow, this is the speaker he would buy. 


Wilson Audio Sabrina
Wilson scales down its technology, but not its sound, in the Sabrina. Neil Gader on why the new Sabrina is dollar-for-dollar the best Wilson yet.


Crystal Cable Minissimo
The Minissimo may look cute and whimsical, but beneath that facade lurks some serious engineeringóand the ability to deliver wonderful sound. Andrew Quint has the details.


Carver Amazing Line Source
Bob Carverís outside-the-box thinking has produced a stunningly unconventional loudspeaker. Robert E. Greene on why the ALS is a game-changer.


TAD Compact Evolution One
This famed speaker company brings its revolutionary coincident midrange/tweeter to its most affordable product yet. Neil Gader compares the CE1 to its progenitors.


Kharma Elegance dB11-S
The Elegance lives up to its name in both build-quality and musicality, says Jim Hannon.


YG Acoustics Sonja 1.2
This latest speaker from YG Acoustics is, by a wide margin, the companyís best effort yet, says Kirk Midtskog.


Magico Q7 Mk II
The new Mk II version of Magicoís flagship may look like the original, but the sound augers an entirely new direction for the company. Robert Harley reports.


Cover Story
Von Schweikert Audio VR-55 Aktive Loudspeaker
Thirty-Two Years in the Making
Albert Von Schweikert has spent the last 32 years developing speakers, and the new VR-55 Aktive embodies all his design concepts. Greg Weaver assesses the result.


Parasound Halo Integrated Amplifier
The company known for great sound at affordable prices has done it again with the new Halo integrated amp. Steven Stone has the good news.


LH Labs Geek Out V2 DAC/ Headphone Amplifier
The amazing Geek Out portable USB DAC/headphone amplifier is now even better in this new version, according to Vade Forrester.


Astell&Kern AK500N Music Server
The AK500N exemplifies the new look, shape, and functions of todayís cutting-edge audio components. Vade Forrester takes you inside a remarkable product.


OPPO PM-3 Headphones
Steven Stone explains why the PM-3 may be the best all-around headphone heís tried.


Monarchy NL24 DAC
Tube or solid-state? Take your pick with this affordable DAC from Monarchy. Dick Olsher reports.


Aurender Flow DAC/Headphone Amplifier
The Flow brings new capabilities, great sound, and versatility to the red-hot DAC/headphone-amplifier category, says Steven Stone.


Perla Audio S50 Integrated Amplifier
This relatively new firm has put some serious effort into this all-tubed integrated amp, says Dick Olsher.


Manufacturer Comments 


Tango for Ears
Mark Lehman examines the history and evolution of a musical style whose "pungent blend of stylized elegance and moody sensuality remains ever protean and unpredictable."


Remastered Beach Boys
Analog Productionsí ambitious vinyl reissue campaign of early Beach Boys titles.


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


New music by James Taylor, Richard Thompson, Jerry Lawson, and Antique Persuasions, a Joan Baez vinyl reissue, and a Steve Howe anthology.


New releases by Michael Gibbs, Henry Threadgill, Ran Blake, and John Hollenbeck, and a Branford Marsalis reissue.


The music of Jimmy Lopez and Saint-SaŽns, performances by Eliesha Nelson and ZOFO, and vinyl reissues of Carmen and Fanfare for The Common Man.


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