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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 266 October 2016

   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 266, October 2016 table of contents and editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
4 The Unbroken Chain
Editorial By Robert Harley


10 Letters


14 From the Editor
RH on TAS' new look. 


16 FutureTAS


19 Tip of the Month


20 TASLegacy


22 Industry News
B&W's new flagship 800 D3 speaker, Saudi Arabia's first high-end audio store, and a TAS book-signing in Tokyo.


165 Manufacturer Comments

Super Speakers
B&W 805 D3
Focal Sopra N⁰1
Gamut RS3i
Audio Physic Cardeas LJE
Magico S7
Raidho D-5.1 


The best new gear from the
California extravaganza.


Upper-End Speaker Focus
92 B&W 805 D3
Neil Gader calls B&W's brand-new 805 D3 "the compact that performs like a flagship." 


96 Focal Sopra No1
This latest stand-mount from France's Focal brings grace and refinement to the compact monitor, says Andrew Quint.


102 Gamut RS3i
The premium-quality stand-mount RS3i sounds even more beautiful than it looks. Kirk Midtskog has the details.


110 Audio Physic Cardeas LJE
For its 30th anniversary, the German speaker manufacturer pulled out all the stops for the special edition Cardeas LJE. Andrew Quint reports.


120 Magico S7
Don't have the space or the budget for Magico's Q7 flagship? The new S7 comes awfully close for a quarter of the price, says Anthony H. Cordesman.


132 Raidho D-5.1
This fabulous update to the runway-model slim and beautiful, diamond-diaphragm D-5 vaults its performance into new territory, says Jonathan Valin.


Start Me Up
80 Elac Uni-Fi UB5 Speaker
Does anyone design better budget speakers than Andrew Jones? One listen to the new $500-per-pair Elac Uni-Fi UB5 will answer that question, says Neil Gader.


Personal Audio
84 Onkyo DP-X1 Portable Player with MQA Decoding
Steven Stone reports on this full-featured, great-sounding portable player that has MQA decoding.



Equipment Reviews
140 Exposure 3010S2D Integrated Amplifier 
Neil Gader on this terrific minimalist integrated from England's Exposure.


144 McIntosh C22 Preamplifier and MC275 VI Power Amplifier
Combining equal parts nostalgia and today's cutting-edge circuits, Mac's new electronics have Paul Seydor swooning.


152 Sutherland N1 Preamplifier
Discover why Wayne Garcia calls Ron Sutherland's full-function N1 "one of the great preamps of our day."


158 Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series 2
The world's best DAC just got a whole lot better. Robert Harley on the state of the art in digital playback.


164 Shunyata Venom Interconnects and Speaker Cables
These new interconnects and speaker cables bring great sound and high value to the affordable cable category, says Julie Mullins.


166 The Cutting Edge of ECM 
Derk Richardson explores the avant-garde wing of the ECM label.


172 Oscar versus the Music
Ever wondered why the Academy Awards chooses the wrong soundtrack? 
So has Arthur Lintgen.


176 Rock
New releases by St. Paul & the Broken Bones, William Bell, Eric Bibb, Radiohead, Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Anthony Wilson, Glenna Bell, and the O'Connor Band, plus MoFi's 45rpm reissue of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow.


180 Classical 
The music of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, piano trios by Martinu, Bruckner's Symphony No. 9, and performances by Tempesta di Mare and Cameron Carpenter.


184 Jazz
The latest from the Fred Hersch Trio, Warren Wolf, Nels Cline, Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom, Henry Threadgill, and Robert Glasper, plus audiophile vinyl releases from Thelonious Monk, Al Di Meola, and the Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet.


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


190 Q&A 
We interview Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere Music Systems.


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