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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 194 August 2009   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 194, August 2009 contents and editorial.

Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
6 Letters

8 From the Editor
Digital Audio Jitter And Image Stabilizer Binoculars

10 Future TAS
New products on the horizon.

12 Industry News
The end of Telarc; Electrocompaniet's big plans for the U.S.

14 The Audiophile Wife
Size matters.

78 Manufacturer Comments


TAS Journal
27 The State of USB Audio
USB-connected DACs are taking over the world! Alan Taffel has everything you need to know about this new digital interface.


Digital Equipment Reports
32 Budget USB DAC Survey
Steven Stone listens to three USB DACs priced at $99, $169, and $299, and talks to High Resolution’s Kevin Halverson.

40 Bryston BDA-1 and Audio Research DAC7 USB DACs
Alan Taffel on the next generation of mid-priced USB DACs.

46 Bel Canto USB Link and Focusrite Saffire Format Converters
These little format-conversion devices could be essential to your computer-based music system, says our Mr. Taffel.

50 Weiss Engineering Jason Transport and Medea DAC
Dick Olsher on top-of-the-line CD playback from a Swiss company known for its reference-quality studio gear.


Equipment Reports
Start Me Up
16 Dussun T6 and T2i Integrated Amplifiers
Wayne Garcia on two affordable integrateds — one with a USB DAC — from China’s premier solid-state designer, YuanYuan Zhou of Dussun.


Absolute Analog
20 Naim Audio SuperLine Phonostage
Wayne Garcia listens to one of the quietest and most musical phonostages on the planet, and interviews its designer.”

88 Meridian Audio DSP7200 Active Digital Loudspeaker and 808.2 CD Player
Are powered loudspeakers with digital crossovers fundamentally better? Sue Kraft on the most technically advanced example of the genre.

92 Robert Harley reports on the Meridian 808.2
The first — and only — CD player to remove distortions engineered into CDs when they were recorded.

96Plus An Interview with Meridian’s Bob Stuart

58 Audio Space Reference 3.1 Integrated Amplifier
A mid-priced 300B-based integrated amplifier that warmed tube maven Dick Olsher’s heart.

62 Marantz PM-11S2 Integrated Amplifier
A venerable marque and the latest technology meet in this upscale integrated amp. Neil Gader has the scoop.

66 ATC SIA2-150 Integrated Amplifier
A powered-loudspeaker company enters the electronics arena with outstanding results, says Mr. Gader.

68 Solid Tech “Rack of Silence” Equipment Rack
Chris Martens on a high-tech, yet affordable equipment rack.

72Classé Audio SSP-800 Multichannel Controller
ClassŽés latest controller may be loaded with advanced technology, but sound quality is still at its core.
Robert Harley reports.


The Cutting Edge
80 Wilson Audio MAXX 3 Loudspeaker
Is Wilson’s latest a scaled-up MAXX 2 or a scaled-down Alexandria X-2? Jacob Heilbrunn has the answer. 


100 Feature: A Connoisseur’s Guide to La mer.
Ted Libbey on the great stereo recordings of Debussy’s masterpiece.

102 Rock
New releases from Bob Dylan, Dailey & Vincent, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and Marianne Faithfull, along with CD and LP reissues of Pearl Jam’s breakout album, Ten.

104 Jazz
Recent offerings from Bela Fleck, Julian Lage, Dave Douglas, and Steve Lehman, plus a vintage Hank Mobley Blue Note.

108 Classical
Branford Marsalis’s multichannel American Spectrum, recitals by Joel Fan and Stile Antico, first recordings of Giannini, and a classic RCA of the Guarneri Quartet playing Mozart.

111 Top Ten
Derk Richardson selects ten of the best-ever “cover” collections sung by one artist.


Back Page
112 Allen Perkins of Immedia talks with Neil Gader.


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