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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. Below is our Issue 139, December 2002 / January 2003 table of contents and editorial.

December 2002 / January 2003



6 - From the Editor

8 - Letters

16 - Future TAS: Products on the Horizon

18 - Industry News

24 - Holt's Space
J. Gordon Holt explains the ins and outs of bass management, and reports on a trio of multichannel SACDs from Telarc.

28 - Absolute Analog
Veteran LP spinner Jonathan Valin looks at the Walker Proscenium Gold Signature, a tweaky masterpiece of a record player, says he.

32 - TAS Stocking Stuffers
Hmm…wondering what to get your audiophile pal for Christmas? Take a peak inside TAS' holiday stocking.


TAS Journal

37 - TAS Interview
Mahler, Multichannel, and the Pretzel Vendor:
A Conversation with Michael Tilson Thomas
Jason Serinus talks with the San Francisco Symphony's popular and innovative conductor about Leonard Bernstein, recording in multichannel SACD, and his ongoing Mahler cycle, while Paul Seydor listens to the latest in that series, the Mahler First.

43 - CenterStage
TAS recommends a wide range of full-function preamps, linestages, phono stages, and even a few passive volume controls.

53 - 2002 Golden Ear Awards
Our annual picks for the very best components.


The Sound

Equipment Reports
77 - Rotel RX-1050 Receiver
A receiver in TAS? Shock, horror! Chris Martens reports on this affordable and musically satisfying effort from Rotel.

80 - Vandersteen 2CE Signature
Neil Gader and Paul Seydor audition and evaluate 13 interconnects priced between $129 and $250.

84 - Cary audio Rocket 88 power amplifier
Dan Davis explores Cary's CAD 808-affectionately known as the "Rocket 88"-a not-so-conventional tubed amplifier.

89 - Totem Hawk Loudspeaker
Peter Braverman likes what he hears from this Canadian company's latest design, and it's modestly priced, too.

93 - Sunfire Architect's Choice Series II Amplifier
Though not "perfect," Bob Carver's newest Sunfire amp is a state-of-the-art contender, according to Paul Seydor.

98 - Ayon Audio 300B Integrated Amplifier
Yes, it's single-ended, and yes it's triode. But unlike so many of its exotic brothers, Ayon's (formerly Vaic) 300B doesn't cost a fortune. Stephan Harrell reports.
Cover Story: MartinLogan's Aeon Electrostatic

103 - Hybrid Speaker and Descent Subwoofer
Wayne Garcia listens to the latest 'Logan hybrid, and the company's first-ever subwoofer.

109- Musical Fidelity A308 Preamplifier and Power Amplifier
Robert Harley checks out a pair of separates from one of England's most respected brands.

113 - TL7.5: VTL's Groundbreaking LineStage and Control Center
Senior reviewer Art Pfeffer on VTL's first flagship linestage in over a decade-a two-chassis beauty that refashions the role of the audio preamp.

119 - The Cutting Edge: Acoustic Room Systems Room Treatment
While equipment may be more fun, room acoustics are just as important to the sound of our systems. Editor-in-Chief Robert Harley's room gets a full makeover from a brand new company.

125 - Manufacturers' Comments


The Music

133 - 2002 Music Golden Ear Awards For 2002's Golden Ear Music Awards, each music writer, giving equal consideration to musical and sonic merits, chose three of his favorite records released between October 2001 and 2002. We invite you to use these as a guide to some of the year's finest.

159 - Pop Caps
Tom Petty: The Last DJ
The Soft Boys: Nextdoorland
Beck: Sea Change
Bright Eyes: Lifted & Rilo Kiley: Execution of All Things
Neko Case: Blacklisted & Alice Peacock: Alice Peacock
Jurassic 5: Power In Numbers
N.W.A: Straight Outta Compton & Living Colour: Vivid
Reissued and Remastered: The Flaming Lips and The Replacements

165 - Classical Capsules
Renée Fleming: Bel Canto
Bach: Goldberg Variations (Glenn Gould)
Vermeulen: Symphonies No. 2, 6, and 7
The Major Film Scores of Summer/Fall 2002:
Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones; Minority Report; Road to Perdition; Simone; Signs

168 - JAZZ Feature
Recording of the Issue Sarah Vaughan: The Complete Roulette Sarah Vaughan Studio Sessions

170 - Jazz Capsules
Anthony Braxton: 8 Standards
Mario Pavone: Mythos
Arthur Blythe: Focus
Branford Marsalis: Footsteps of Our Fathers
Bill Evans: Consecration: The Final Recordings, Part 2



173 - Where To Buy The Absolute Sound

175 - Ad Index



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