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 Strength In Diversity
Editorial By Robert Harley
12 From the Editor
14 Future TAS
New products on the horizon.
16 TAS Legacy
We look back at the iconic Naim Nait integrated amp.
18 Special Feature. Inside the Japanese High-End Audio Industry
Alan Taffel takes you on an inside tour of some of Japan's most celebrated audio companies, from tiny cartridge maker Lyra to industrial giant Matsushita (Technics).
35 The Absolute Sound's 2017 Product of the Year awards
This is the big one! We name most outstanding products of 2017 in these, our most prestigious awards.
134 Manufacturer Comments
Start Me Up
88 NAD C 368 Integrated Amplifier
NAD extends its long legacy of building terrific-sounding and affordable integrated amplifiers, now with cutting-edge digital capabilities. Vade Forrester puts this $899 integrated through its paces.
96 Van den Hul Crimson XGW Stradivarius and Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius Phono Cartridges
Andre Jennings is mightily impressed by these two new cartridges from legendary cartridge designer A.J. van den
102 Manger Audio p1 Loudspeaker
Neil Gader auditions this unusual speaker based on a contemporary realization of a decades-old wideband driver.
106 Audionet PRE G2 and MAX Monoblock Power Amplifiers
Greg Weaver discovers some well-designed and extraordinary-sounding electronics from Germany's Audionet.
118 Playback Designs Syrah Music Server and Merlot DAC
Based on completely original technology designed by DSD guru Andreas Koch, the Syrah and Merlot offer intoxicating sound, says Neil
126 YG Acoustics Sonja 2.2 Loudspeaker
YG has reinvented its Sonja speaker, incorporating highly innovative new tweeter technology. Kirk Midtskog has a full assessment.
136 Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series 2 MQA
Berkeley adds MQA capability to its state-of-the-art DAC—and also manages to significantly improve the sound of good-old PCM. Robert Harley has the details.
154 Masterpiece! D'Agostino Master Audio systems momentum series preamplifier, phonostage, and 400 mono block power amplifiers
Dan D'Agostino designs some of the most beautiful-looking and beautiful-sounding electronics Jacob Heilbrunn has
The Cutting Edge
142 Magnepan MG30.7
Maggie has introduced a new, two-panel flagship loudspeaker, replete with the company's latest ribbon/quasi-ribbon technology and at a price that should make other speaker makers blush. Jonathan Valin assesses the 30.7s' deliriously wonderful sound, with commentary by Jacob Heilbrunn and Julie
168 Magic at Mechanics
Andrew Quint observes a recording session for Reference Recordings.
176 The Girl Singers That Time Forgot, Part 2
David McGee writes about the only album by jazz vocalist Marilyn Moore.
178 Download Round-Up
Alan Taffel and Andrew Quint review hi-res pop, rock, and classical downloads.
182 Rock Etc. Reviews
Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, Gizmodrome, Margo Price, Emily Haines, Dudley Taft, Steve
Gulley, Protomartyr, and Freddie McKay.
188 Jazz Reviews
Pat Martino, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Antonio Sanchez, Dave Douglas, Trio S, Christian McBride, Steve Lacy, Yuko Mabuchi Trio on
Yarlung, and a Clark Terry vinyl reissue on MPS.
194 Classical Reviews
Oslo String Quartet, Euclid Quartet, and Danish String Quartet; two piano concertos by David Chesky; early 20th-century cello and violin music performed by Elaris Duo; a symphony and concerto by Ben
Haim; and performances by guitarist Trevor Babb.
We talk with Joe Lavrencik of Critical Mass Systems.
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