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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 202 April / May 2010   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 202, April / May 2010 table of contents and link to the editorial.

Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
8 Letters

10 From the Editor
Self Imposed Myopia
Editorial By Robert Harley

13 Industry News

14 Golden Ear Club

32 Dealer Profile

38 Chris Martens on Loudspeakers under $5000

44 Steven Stone on Digital

50 Neil Gader on Electronics and Analog Gear Under $10,000

54 Alan Taffel on Loudspeakers from $5000 to $25,000

59 Jim Hannonon High Value Turntables, Arms, and Cartridges

62 Dick Olsher on Tubed Gear

68 Robert Harley on Upper-End Electronics

72 Jonathan Valin on Ultra-High-End Loudspeakers

116 HP’s Workshop


The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show
We Bring You 25 Pages of the Hottest New Gear from the Industry’s Biggest Event
+ HP’s Impressions of CES


Equipment Reports
16 Start Me Up
ADAM A5 Loudspeaker
Steven Stone listens to a small powered-monitor from Germany.

22 Next-Gen Digital
Sonic Studio Amarra Software
Amarra software purportedly improves the sound quality of digital files. Steven Stone separates the hype from the reality.

28 Neko Audio DAC
This DAC from upstart Neko Audio breaks all the rules.
Dick Olsher evaluates the result.

84 AudioQuestWBY Interconnect
Are silver conductors audio’s silver bullets?
Neil Gader has the answer.

86 April Music Stello Ai500 Integrated Amplifier
This powerhouse of an integrated amp might be one of the best values in high-end audio. Steven Stone on why the Ai500 knocked his socks off.

92 Jungson Impression II CD Player
Jacob Heilbrunn on this lavishly built CD player from China.

96 Magico V2 Loudspeaker
Magico brings its unique loudspeaker technology to a lower price point. Neil Gader lives with Magico’s “entry-level” speaker.

102 The Cutting Edge
Walker Proscenium Black Diamond Mk II
Jonathan Valin evaluates the latest version of the record player that’s been his reference for the past decade, and interviews Lloyd Walker and Fred Law of Walker Audio.


124 New Vinyl from Blue Heaven
Jeff Wilson reports on Chad Kassem’s Blue Heaven Studio and the blues performances being captured there on direct-to-disc LPs, plus an overview by Robert Harley of the history, difficulties, and unique advantages of the demanding art of direct-to-disc recording.

129 Yo-Yo Ma and the Colorado Symphony in Surround-Sound Broadcast
Gary Krakow offers an inside-the-control-room look at a stellar symphony concert broadcast on FM radio in cutting-edge, you-are-there surround sound.

132 Rock
New releases from the Drive-By Truckers and the team of Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard, vinyl reincarnations of classics from Elvis Costello and Neil Young, and a stunning debut from Chelsea Crowell.

136 Jazz
John Pizzarelli pays tribute to Duke Ellington, Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu duo up on ECM, Tin Hat tinkles and flootles live, while Mosaic and Gambit offer superlative reissues of Bing Crosby and Bud Powell at their spontaneous best.

140 Classical
A recently completed Ring cycle by Christian Thielemann and company, new recordings of Elgar and Paganini by two dazzling violinists, and Martinu trios in multichannel.

143 Top Ten
Wayne Garcia’s wish list of ten recordings he’d love to see on high-quality vinyl.


111 Manufacturer Comment

144 Back Page
Neil Gader chats with Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds.


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