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The Absolute Sound

The Absolute Sound Issue 180 March 2008   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 180, March 2008 contents and editorial.


Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
6 Letters

14 Guest Editorial

16 Future TAS
Products on the horizon.

20 Industry News
High-end audio in China. Robert Harley reports from the Guang Zhou show.

140 Manufacturer Comments

142The TAS Short List
Our top equipment picks in every category at every price point


The Ultimate Analog Issue 
29 In the age of the iPod and downloadable music, vinyl records just keep on going. In this issue we focus on LP-playback gear and select new LPs, with a side-trip into mono and, for you bit-heads, a look at how to digitally archive vinyl.

30Start Me Up: Pro-Ject RM-5 SE, Rega P3-24, and SOTA Comet Turntables
Wayne Garcia looks at three turntables to get you started in analog.

36 The Big Beat! Music Matters' Stunning Blue Note Vinyl Reissues
WG reports on new reissues of iconic jazz LPs.

47The Analog-to-Digital Missing Link 
Steven Stone shows you how to make a digital archive of your LP collection with the Korg MR-1000 DSD recorder.

54Simaudio Moon LP3 and LP5.3 Phonostages
WG on two great phonostages from Canada's Simaudio.

56 Clearaudio Performance Turntable
Jim Hannon on a mid-priced 'table from Germany with a magnetically levitated platter.

60 Shelter 5000 and 7000 Moving-Coil Phono Cartridges
Shelter's new moving coils outperform their highly praised predecessors-and for less money-says Chris Martens.

64 Mono Cartridge Survey
The monophonic cartridge is making a comeback. Jacob Heilbrunn evaluates four models-the Grado Prestige MC+, Dynavector XV-1s, Air Tight PC-1, and Lyra Titan.

68 A Monophile Sampler
For the budding monophile, Mark Lehman and Jonathan Valin list some worthy mono LPs.

70 Basis 2200 Signature Turntable and Vector Model 4 Arm
Paul Seydor discovers a lot to love in Basis' mid-line offering.

78 TW Acustic Raven AC-3 Turntable
JV on a superb, handmade, three-motor turntable from Germany.

90 ClearaudioGoldfinger V2 Moving-Coil Cartridge and Clearaudio Double Matrix Record Cleaner
JV on a great moving coil and the world's most convenient record-cleaning machine.

96 ELP LP "Declicker"
Want to remove ticks and pops from LP playback? WG on a device that claims to do just that.

98 VAS Citation One Preamplifier and Citation Two Power Amplifier
Anthony H. Cordesman on an updated Harman-Kardon Citation power amp and preamp from the Age of LPs.


Equipment Reports
108 MartinLogan "Source" Loudspeaker
JV auditions a first-rate hybrid-electrostatic priced under $2k. 

112 Magnum Dynalab MD-609T XM Tuner
Neil Gader on a tubed tuner for XM Radio.

118 Cover Story
VTL Siegfried Power Amplifier and 7.5 Series II Preamplifier
Jacob Heilbrunn on VTL's flagship tubed amplifier and preamp.


The Cutting Edge
Esoteric G-0Rb Rubidium Master Clock Generator
Robert Harley on an atomic-clock that makes a great CD player even greater. Plus: A short history of jitter-what it is and why it matters.


HP's Workshop
132 Harry Pearson evaluates an ambitious loudspeaker from a new company called Scaena and previews the VTL Siegfried amp.


Recording Of The Issue
Bantock: Omar Khayym.

146 Rock
We speak with singer-songwriter Bob Mould and review his latest album as well as new CDs and LPs from the Magnetic Fields, the Mountain Goats, Chris Walla, Cat Power, Rufus Wainwright, Shelby Lynne, Jesse Dayton & Brennen Leigh, Antietam, and Vampire Weekend. Plus, a box of Atlantic soul and vinyl from the Dillinger Escape Plan, Menomena, Radiohead, Sharon Jones, GhostfaceKillah, Rush, Santana, and Simon & Garfunkel.

164 Classical
Golijov's soundtrack for Youth Without Youth, Handel's Solomon, Dallas Wind Symphony's Crown Imperial on Reference, the Tokyo String Quartet's Beethoven String Quartets, Op. 18, and an audiophile LP reissue of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto from Cisco. Plus, the debut of the Multichannel Marvels column.

174 Jazz
Coverage of hot releases from Maceo Parker, Out to Lunch, Ari Brown, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, Pat Metheny, Free Form Funky Freqs, Catherine Russell, Lizz Wright, and Horace Silver. Plus, a Coltrane book review.


TAS Back Page
184 We talk with Eli Gershman, Founder and Designer, Gershman Acoustics.


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