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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 140, February / March 2003 table of contents and editorial.

February / March 2003



4 - From the Editor

6 - Letters



12 - Future TAS: Products on the Horizon

14 - Industry News

20 - Absolute Analog
Paul Seydor looks at two tables, one affordable, and one…not so—the Basis 1400 and SME's Model 20/2.

27 - Real-World High End
Wayne Garcia reports on Integra's first "universal" disc player, NAD's C 320BEE integrated amp, and Monitor Audio's Bronze B2 speaker system.


TAS Journal

32 - Product of the Year Awards
TAS recognizes the very best equipment reviewed over the past year.

43 - Recommended Products—Digital and Analog Sources
Our picks for the finest source components, in every price range.


The Sound

Equipment Reports

53 - Adcom GFP-710 Stereo Preamplifier
Neil Gader checks out the latest in a line of reasonably priced separates from Adcom.

55 - Behringer Ultra-Curve Pro DSP8024 Equalization Device
A cheap fix for just about any system using a subwoofer, so says Robert E. Greene.

57 - Sony DVP-NS999ES CD/SACD/DVD Player
Shane Buettner examines Sony's latest top-drawer multi-format disc spinner.

61 - Cover Story: Focal-JMLab Electra 906 Loudspeaker
From France, a compact monitor that delivers the goods. Neil Gader auditions the speaker, and reports on his factory visit.

65 - Simaudio Moon Nova CD Player
In the age of SACD and DVD-Audio, regular CD players keep getting better. Fred Kaplan on a top contender.

67 - Avantgarde Acoustic Solo Loudspeaker System
Larry Alan Kay spends some time with this unusual horn-loaded design from Germany.

71 - The New Boss: Kharma Ceramique Reference Monitor 3.2
The winner of our Upper-End Speaker of the Year award, and Jonathan Valin tells you why.

77 - The Cutting Edge: Meridian 800 DVD Player & 861 reference Surround Controller, v3
Anthony H. Cordesman on Meridian's latest groundbreaking work in digital sound.

87 - HP's Workshop
A five-star (and not expensive) amplifier from Antique Sound Lab, the Miyabi/47 moving-coil cartridge, and current thoughts on SACD and multichannel sound.

125 - Manufacturers' Comments


The Music

109 - Classical Capsules
Recording of the Issue:
Chopin:Etudes (Perahia); Lizst: Paganini Studies. Schubert March Transcriptions (Hamelin);
Liszt: Piano Sonata. Chopin: Sonata No. 3 (Gampel)
Mahler: Symphony No.5 (Rattle)
Beethoven: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Mutter)
Pärt: Orient and Occident
Braga Santos: Symphonic Variations. Symphony No. 4
Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro
Wagner: The Opera Collection (Solti)
The Noel Coward Songbook (Bostridge)
Baltic Voices 1

119 - Jazz Capsules
ScoLoHoFo: Oh!
Tony Bennett & kd lang: Wonderful World
Ruby Braff: Variety is the Spice of Braff
Matthew Shipp: Equilibrium
Jenny Scheinmann: The Rabbi’s Lover
Miles Davis: Relaxin’ & Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby on 45 rpm vinyl

127 - Rock: Pop Capsules
The Sea and Cake: One Bedroom
George Harrison: Brainwashed
Tracy Chapman: Let It Rain; Richard Buckner: Impasse
Sigur Ros: ( )
Pearl Jam: Riot Act; Audioslave: Audioslave
Prince: One Night Alone…Live!
The Roots: Phrenology
The Donnas: Spend the Night

132 - The Year's Top 10 Pop/Rock, Jazz & Classical Albums
Bob Gendron, Fred Kaplan, and Andrew Quint effectively carve in stone 2002’s 10 best pop/rock, jazz, and classical albums.

135 - Feature: Gifts You Should Have Received for the Holidays
A guide to the superior independent and big-name boxed sets, live albums, and collections that you should have received for the holidays, and if you didn’t, can acquire now.

143 - New Formats: SACD
SACD Gets Its Groove On: The Latest from Bill Evans, Art Pepper, Ella Fitzgerald, and Stan Getz
Holst: The Planets (with “Pluto”)
Poulenc: Violin Sonata. Debussy: Violin Sonata. Saint-Saëns: Violin Sonata No. 1. (Midori)
Dvorák: Slavonic Dances, Opp.46 and 72.; Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (Karajan)

150 - DVD-A
A Heap of New Rock & Pop: R.E.M., Neil Young, Trey Anastasio, Faith Hill, and more on DVD-A



149 - Where To Buy The Absolute Sound

151 - Ad Index

152 - TAS Retrospective
Quads Past and Present: Notes on a 30-Year Romance Paul Seydor reminisces on an age-old love.



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