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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 203 June / July 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 203, June / July 2010 table of contents and link to the editorial.

Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
8 Letters

12 From the Editor
Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too
Editorial By Robert Harley

17 Future TAS 

112 HP's Workshop
Harry Pearson's 2010 Golden Ear Awards.

118 Manufacturer Comments


Equipment Reports
18 Start Me Up
DALI Mentor Menuet and Nola Boxer Loudspeakers
Neil Gader on two ultra-compact high-performance speakers.

24 Absolute Analog
DaVinci Grand Reference Cartridge Grandezza
Jonathan Valin auditions an updated version of a world-class cartridge.

28 Sutherland Engineering Hubble Phonostage
JV explores the soundstage depths with this battery-powered phonostage from one of high-end audio's most inventive designers.

32 Next-Gen Digital
Aperion Audio Home Audio Link
Want to send audio wirelessly anywhere in the house? Steven Stone has a $149 answer. 

36 The 2010 Golden Ear Awards 
Our editors and writers each choose the products that rocked their worlds in the past year. 

56 Monitor Audio Silver RX8 Floorstanding Loudspeaker
Chris Martens on this $1750 overachiever from one of England's most venerable speaker companies.

60 Quad 99 Series Preamplifier and 909 Stereo Power Amplifier
Paul Seydor revisits his favorite affordable electronics and asks, "Why spend more?" 

66 Esoteric MG-10 Loudspeaker
Find out why this all-magnesium-driver monitor bowled Wayne Garcia over with its sheer beauty of presentation. 

74 Mark & Daniel Audio Labs Maximus Monitor+ Loudspeaker
The Heil Air Motion Transformer, nearly 40 years old, is making a comeback. Dick Olsher considers this radical driver in the context of an affordable new loudspeaker. 

78 Esoteric SA-50 CD/SACD Player and DAC
With CD and SACD compatibility, a high-resolution DAC, digital source-switching, and the ability to drive a power amplifier directly, Esoteric's SA-50 redefines audio-system architecture. Robert Harley reports.

84 Joseph Audio Pulsar Loudspeaker
This jewel-like monitor with Infinite Slope crossovers raises the bar in stand-mounted speakers. Steven Stone provides an in-depth assessment.

92 Magnum Dynalab MD-309 Integrated Amplifier
Known for its state-of-the-art tuners, Magnum Dynalab has turned its attention to upper-end integrated amplifiers. Neil Gader has the scoop.

98 Classe Audio Omega Monoblock Power Amplifier
Rare is the high-powered solid-state design that manages to marry delicacy with grandeur. Jacob Heilbrunn has discovered that elusive beast in the stunning Omega monoblocks.

104 Game Changer! Behold Gentle G192 Media Player and Ascendo C8 Loudspeaker 
Along with the innovative Ascendo C8 loudspeaker, Anthony H. Cordesman assesses an entirely new breed of product that combines a music server, DSP room/speaker-correction device, multi-channel amplifier, and more in a single chassis.


120 XRCD Lives! 
Elusive Disc, Blue Note, and the Resurrection of an Audiophile Treasure
Wayne Garcia on the return of this ultra-high-fidelity compact disc mastering process and the first four XRCD Blue Notes released on Elusive Disc's Audio Wave label.

122 JVC's Extended Resolution Compact Disc (XRCD)
Robert Harley on the demanding technology behind the development and manufacture of XRCD discs.

126 Rock 
New albums from Jeff Beck, Roky Erickson, and the Nighthawks; a collection of Jimi Hendrix studio tracks in their first commercial release; and Johnny Cash's valedictory Ain't No Grave.

130 Classical
Film music from Bernard Herrmann; chamber music from Faurz; and Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, and Messiaen on multi-channel SACDs.

134 Jazz
Jazz of many kinds -- fusion, minimalist, world-music, avant-garde and traditional from Mushroom, Pat Metheny, Lionel Loueke, Wadada Leo Smith, and Marcia Seebaran.

139 Top Ten
Jeff Wilson selects ten superb "unplugged" recordings of rock bands. 

144 Back Page
Legendary designer Nelson Pass talks with Neil Gader.


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