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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 196  October 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 196, October 2009 contents and editorial.

Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
8 Letters

10 From the Editor

12 Industry News
HP on the passing of Stereophile founder J. Gordon Holt.

100 Manufacturer Comments

102 HP's Workshop
The Graham Phantom II pickup arm.

120 Back Page
David Salz of Wireworld talks with Neil Gader.


Loudspeaker Focus Issue
23 Advances in Loudspeaker Technology: A 50-year Perspective
Dick Olsher traces the remarkable developments of high-end loudspeakers from the original Quad to today.

30 On The Horizon
TAS editors on eight promising speakers slated for review from YG Acoustics, PMC, Gallo, TAD, Totem Acoustic, Jospeh Audio, Ascendo, and Vandersteen.

36 Epos ELS8 Loudspeaker
Steven Stone discovers a brilliant small monitor for under $500.

40 B&W CM7 and Rega RS5 Loudspeakers
Wayne Garcia on two winners from Great Britain, one from well-established loudspeaker-manufacturer B&W and one from Rega, a company better known for turntables than terrific loudspeakers.

46 Acoustic Energy Radiance 1 Loudspeaker
The company that virtually defined the mini mini-monitor returns with another winner, says Steven Stone.

52 Sonics Amerigo Loudspeaker
Neil Gader finds much to love in this mid-priced floorstander.

84 Redefining a Genre: Magico M5 Loudspeaker
Jonathan Valin on a truly great dynamic speaker.
Plus: Interview with Magico Founder Alon Wolf.


Equipment Reports
14 Start Me Up
Rotel RA-1520 Integrated Amplifier and RCD-1520 CD Player
Neil Gader auditions the long-awaited replacements for Rotel's award-winning 10 Series components.

17 Transparent Audio “The Link” Interconnect and “The Wave” Speaker Cable
Neil Gader reports on Transparent Audio's most affordable offerings.

18 Absolute Analog: Aesthetix Rhea Signature Phonostage
Robert Harley on the highly upgraded version of his reference phonostage.

56 Aesthetix Atlas Power Amplifier and Janus Signature Preamplifier
Alan Taffel auditions the Signature version of the Janus preamplifier, along with Aesthetix's first power amplifier, the Atlas. Plus: Interview with Aesthetix's Jim White.

68 Chord SPM 1050 Power Amplifier
Wayne Garcia listens to “the Mini Cooper S” of power amplifiers.

72 WireWorld Platinum Eclipse Interconnects
Neil Gader on WireWorld's new statement product.

74 Further Thoughts
Alan Taffel takes a second listen to the Benchmark DAC1 PRE.

78 VTL MB-450 Series II Signature Monoblock Amplifier and TL6.5 Signature Linestage Preamplifier
Paul Seydor auditions VTL's triode/tetrode switchable MB-450 and matching TL6.5 preamplifier.


110 Returning to Forever: Fusion Then and Now
Bill Milkowski sketches the rise, fall, and recent resurgence of the fiery, mind-bending hybrid jazz/rock genre.

112 Rock
New releases from Elvis Costello and Regina Spektor, a ten-disc box featuring never-before-issued live performances from Woodstock, and Rachel Bay Jones turning Broadway into bluegrass.

114 Classical
Haydn's Creation and multicultural fantasias from Bright Sheng both in multi-channel along with two renderings of Korngold's Violin Concerto, Beethoven's Cello Sonatas on Telarc, and three little-known marvels by Enesco.

116 Jazz
Recent outings by MiroslavVitous, Rob Burger, Bobby Broom, and Gary Burton (with distinguished friends), plus three vintage Blue Notes reissued on 45 rpm vinyl by Music Matters.

119 Top Ten
Jazz on the organ? Bill Milkowski singles out ten great recordings.


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