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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 209 January 2011   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 209, January 2011 table of contents and link to the editorial.

Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
06 From the Editor
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
Editorial By Robert Harley

8 Letters

12 From the Editor

16 Future TAS

18 Dealer Profile: Overture Ultimate Audio/Video
In our ongoing series highlighting the country’s best audio retailers, we visit this Delaware institution.

21 2010 Product of the Year Awards
We honor the very best products of 2010.

173 Manufacturer Comment


Equipment Reports
64 Start Me Up
Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum Integrated Amp
Wayne Garcia discovers a terrific-sounding and affordable tube amplifier from Rogue Audio.

68 Absolute Analog
Pass Labs XP-25 Phono Preamplifier
Anthony H. Cordesman evaluates a stunning new phonostage from Pass Labs.

74 Townshend Audio Rock 7 Turntable
This latest version of “The Rock” turntable is the greatest, says Robert E. Greene.

80 Next-Gen Digital
Channel D Pure Music Software
Steven Stone finds a $129 program that is essential to a high-quality music server.

86 Equipment Reports
Electrocompaniet PSB-1 Bookshelf Loudspeaker
This $1450 monitor from Norway hits all the right notes, says Wayne Garcia.

92 Canton Vento 820 Loudspeaker
Kirk Mitskog auditions a mid-priced stand-mount from a European major. 

98 Esoteric RZ-1 Integrated Music System
Neil Gader discovers that great things do come in small packages.

102 dCS Debussy DAC
dCS deliver the sound of its $67k flagship in a $10,995 package, says Alan Taffel.

108 Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference 3.5 Loudspeaker
The long-awaited update to one of our favorites was worth the wait, says Neil Gader.

112 MartinLogan Summit X Loudspeaker
Dick Olsher on a superb hybrid that weds an electrostat to a dynamic woofer.

118 Coincident Pure Reference Extreme Loudspeaker
High sensitivity is only part of the appeal of this flagship, says Peter Breuninger.

128 AudioQuest Wildwood Loudspeaker Cable
AudioQuest’s newest cable delivers great performance, says Anthony H. Cordesman.

134 Morel Fat Lady Loudspeaker
Does Morel’s ambitious Fat Lady really sing? Jonathan Valin answers the question.

144 Shunyata Research V-Ray V2 Power Conditioner and CX-Series Power Cords
Robert Harley reports on the state of the art in AC power conditioning and interviews Shunyata founder Caelin Gabriel. 

158 Cover Story: YG Acoustics Carmel Loudspeaker
The company known for its ultra-expensive, all-aluminum loudspeakers introduces its lowest-priced product yet. Chris Martens reports.

168 The Cutting Edge: Audio Research Corporation 40th Anniversary Edition Reference Preamplifier
ARC pulled out all the stops for its limited-edition 40th anniversary statement linestage. Jonathan Valin on this stunning achievement.


176 Satchmo on Record
Greg Cahill on ten essential record-ings of the first great jazz soloist, the inimitable Louis Armstrong.

178 Classics from the Vaults
ArkivMusic’s CDs-on-demand restores out-of-print classical music.

180 New Music on RCA Living Stereo
Mark Lehman on first recordings of “new” music on RCA LP and CD.

181 Top Ten
Jeff Wilson selects ten offerings from free-spirited jazz guitarists.

184 Rock
New releases from Grinderman, Bryan Ferry, Norah Jones, Robert Plant, and Rhonda Vincent, plus stellar reissues of Bob Dylan on mono CD and the Grateful Dead and Julie London on vinyl.

190 Classical
Piano recitals from Lang Lang, Jeremy Denk, and Jeffrey Biegel; contemporary orchestral music on Telarc and Dutton; and the Juilliard Quartet’s great Bartók cycle on CD.

194 Jazz
The latest from John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and the Turtle Island  Quartet, plus outstanding reissues of Carter and Bradford on Mosaic CD and Brubeck on Impex LP.


200 Back Page
David Janszen, son of legendary speaker designer Arthur Janszen, talks with Neil Gader.


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