The Absolute Sound
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.
Articles & Reviews In This Issue
6 Cutting Edge Digital Products
Editorial By Robert Harley
12 From the Editor
New products on the horizon.
20 The Absolute Sound's High-End Audio Hall of Fame
We add five of the high-end audio's most important innovators to out hall of fame.
125 Manufacturer Comments
Start Me Up
44 Emotiva AirMotiv T1 Loudspeaker
A full-range floorstanding speaker with a folded ribbon tweeter for $699? Neil Gader brings you the scoop on this exceptional overachiever.
46 Audeze LCDi4 In-Ear Monitors
Julie Mullins fell in love with this miniature planar-magnetic "earphone" that creates an entirely new category of personal-listening devices.
50 Aurender A10 Caching Network Music Server/Player
The music-server specialist has finally built a turnkey server with integral DAC—with MQA decoding to boot. Andrew Quint evaluates this evolutionary product.
56 OPPO Digital UDP-205 Multi-Format Disc Player and DAC
The successor to OPPO's wildly successful UDP-105 multi-format disc player adds new capabilities and even better sound—and remains eminently affordable. Anthony H. Cordesman on why the UDP-205 is the best value in digital today.
64 Ideon Audio 3R USB Renaissance USB Hub
By isolating your music-server computer from your DAC, the $200 Ideon 3R delivers big musical dividends, says Andrew
68 OPPO Digital Sonica Network DAC
Vade Forrester tells you how OPPO's new Sonica raises the bar in sub-$1000 DACs via advanced networking capabilities.
76 Hegel Mohican CD Player
In a world of streaming DACs, Hegel has invested considerable resources designing a no-compromise CD player. Kirk Midtskog explores whether the Mohican is really the last CD player you'll own.
82 PS Audio Bridge II Plug-In Card for DirectStream DAC
PS Audio's popular Bridge gets a software upgrade to add MQA unfolding. Vade Forrester explains.
88. Brink man Audio Nyquist DAC
Brinkmann calls its new MQA- compatible DAC an "analog digital-to-analog converter." Robert Harley Explains why that name is no oxymoron.
100 Watkins Stereo Generation Four Loudspeaker
This 40+-years-in-the-making monitor hits all the right notes, says Dick Olsher.
104 TAD ME1 Loudspeaker
TAD offers its vaunted beryllium and concentric-driver technologies in a more affordable and compact package.
Neil Gader has a full assessment.
108 Bavsound Stage One BMW Audio System
If you're a BMW owner, you'll want to read about Alan Taffel's discovery of an easy and affordable way to upgrade your Beemer listening experience.
110 Ypsilon Phaethon Integrated Amplifier
This gorgeous-looking and -sounding integrated from Greece is filled with color and verve, says Neil
114 Lamm Industries L2.1 Reference Line Preamplifier
Dick Olsher lives with this unusual tube-transistor hybrid linestage from the fertile mind of Vladimir
The Cutting Edge
118 Zellaton Reference MkII Loudspeaker
Jonathan Valin listens to a statement-level speaker from Germany with handmade drivers and a ninety-year pedigree.
128 Lyn Stanley: Back Again, Better than Ever
The Moonlight Sessions: Volume 2 impresses Andrew Quint.
130 50th Anniversary Edition of Sgt. Pepper
Alan Taffel compares reissues of a Beatles classic.
134 Pink Floyd at 50
Greg Cahill follows the Floyd reissue trail.
138 Doc & Merle Watson's Never the Same Way Once
A historic roots release launches a new label. Larry Nager reports.
140 Legrand Jazz on Vinyl
Jeff Wilson likes a new Impex reissue featuring Miles Davis.
142 Download Roundup
Andrew Quint reviews hi-res classical downloads.
144 Rock Etc.
Isley Brothers/Santana, Living Colour, the Beach Boys, Carl Perkins, Gillian Welch, Justin Townes Earle, Marshall Crenshaw, Doyle Lawson, and Ariel Pink.
Piffaro, Third Coast Percussion, Tatjana Blome, Stephen Cleobury, Fedor Rudin, and three Villa-Lobos symphonies.
John McLaughlin, Tyshawn Sorey, Nat King Cole, Wes Montgomery with the Wynton Kelly Trio, a Thelonious Monk reissue on Speakers Corner, and a Terje Rypdal tribute.
We talk with Andreas Koch of Playback Designs.
Click here to subscribe to The Absolute Sound.