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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 213 May/June 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 213, May/June 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
Future Shock
Editorial By Robert Harley

8 Letters

14 Future TAS

16 Industry News

123 Manufacturer Comments

18 Absolute Analog
Miyajima Shilabe Premium BE Monophonic Cartridge
Why is mono making such a rousing comeback? Jacob Heilbrunn explores that question with this mid-priced, great-sounding cartridge.

Equipment Reports
24 The Ten Most Significant Amplifiers of All Time
Our senior staff picks the ten amps that had the greatest impact on the high end.

28 Amplifier Focus
Croft Acoustics Micro 25 Preamplifier and Series 7 Power Amplifier
Paul Seydor listens to this affordable all-tubed preamplifier and tube/transistor hybrid power amplifier pair from England's Croft Acoustics. 

34 Perreaux Audiant 80i Integrated Amplifier
The long-established brand from New Zealand returns to the U.S. market with this stunning mid-priced integrated. Neil Gader has the details.

38 Digital Focus
Musical Fidelity M1 DAC and V-Link USB Adapter
The new M1 raises the bar in budget DACs, and the V-Link lets you use your non-USB DAC with a computer. Steven Stone reports.

44 Denon ASD-51W iPod Dock
Denon's new iPod dock brings PC-less Internet Radio to the party, but does its sound quality stack up? Alan Taffel renders his verdict.

48 AudioTools iPad/iPod/iPhone App
Want to turn your iPhone/iPad into a complete audio-testing suite? Steven Stone reports on this remarkable new app. 

52 The Absolute Sound Card Survey
Computer-audio expert Karl Schuster compares eight soundcards that can turn your PC into a music server-priced from $139 to $695.

62 Cary Audio Classic CD 303T SACD Professional Version SACD Player
Wayne Garcia listens to this versatile new upper-end disc player from Cary. 

66 Esoteric K-03 CD/SACD Player
No product better exemplifies the radically new features of today's digital sources than Esoteric's new player, says Alan Taffel.

72 Vienna Acoustics Mozart Concert Grand SE Loudspeaker
Neil Gader on this mid-priced treasure from Austria. 

76 Rega Isis CD Player and Osiris Integrated Amplifier
Rega, the British company known for high value, pulls out all the stops on these ambitious new products. Chris Martens reports.

88 Cover Story: Mark Levinson Nº53 Monoblock Power Amplifier
A venerable company surprises the world by using switching technology-with a twist-in its new flagship. Robert Harley puts this technological marvel through its paces.

96 Venture Ultimate Grand Loudspeaker
Anthony H. Cordesman reports on an ultra-high-end speaker of 
exceptional merit from Belgium.

104 Technical Brain TBP-Zero EX Monoblock Amplifier and TBC-Zero EX Linestage Preamplifier
Japanese designer Naoto Kurosawa has built an amp and preamp that set new standards of transparency, neutrality, and resolution, says Jonathan Valin. 

114 HP's Workshop
HP explores the remarkable Magnepan 3.7 in greater depth, and offers his selections and commentary on The Ten Most Significant Amplifiers of All Time.


124 Resurrecting Musical Treasures 
Wayne Garcia profiles seven currently active audiophile vinyl reissue labels: where they're coming from and where they're headed.

130 Rock 
New releases from The Decemberists, Over the Rhine, Wanda Jackson, Roomful of Blues, Carrie Rodriguez and Ben Kyle, and Donna Hughes, along with rediscovered albums from Joni Mitchell and Michael Chapman.

136 Jazz
Recent offerings from Chick Corea's Forever and Scott Amendola; improvisations on Giya Kancheli's songbook; and superb vinyl remasterings of Andrew Hill and Illinois Jacquet.

140 Classical
Contemporary vocal music from Sandström and Wheeler, new performances of Brahms and Beethoven piano favorites, and two new 45-rpm reissues from ORG.

141 Fives Faves
Andrew Quint selects five outstanding "surround" recordings that exploit direct sound from all four corners to achieve greater sonic realism.


144 Back Page: Arthur Khoubesserian of the Funk Firm talks with Neil Gader


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