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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 215 September  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 215, September 2011 table of contents and link to the editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
05 From the Editor
The Computer-Audio Revolution
Editorial By Robert Harley

6 Letters

8 From the Editor

10 Future TAS

15 Industry News

136 Manufacturer Comments


16 Start Me Up: Simaudio Moon 100D USB DAC
Neil Gader on this $600 DAC that delivers high-end sound at an affordable price. 

21 T.H.E Show Newport Beach
The inaugural Southern California audio show hits a grand slam. Alan Taffel, Robert Harley, Paul Seydor, and Neil Gader report. 

39 The Munich High-End Audio Show
Jonathan Valin encounters some old favorites and finds some new ones at the world's biggest hi-fi show. 

74 Absolute Analog: Sutherland Engineering 20/20 Phonostage
Phonostages are Ron Sutherland's passion, and it shows in this new mid-priced model. 
Wayne Garcia reports.

80 Next-Gen Digital: Bryston BDP-1
The revolutionary BDP-1 bridges the gap between a traditional disc player and the new world of high-resolution computer audio. Karl Schuster takes you on a guided tour.


Golden Ear Awards
49: The 2011 Golden Ear Awards
Our Senior Writers Pick Their Favorite Components


Equipment Reports
88 Music Culture Technology MC 501 CD Player, MC 701 Integrated Amplifier, and RL21 Loudspeaker
Kirk Midtskog listens to a complete system from Germany's Music Culture Technology. 

94 Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval Interconnects and Loudspeaker Cables
Discover why Neil Gader gave these new interconnects and cables a Golden Ear Award.

98 Legacy Focus SE Loudspeaker
Anthony H. Cordesman reports on a startling value—the new four-way, six-driver, two-hundred-pound floorstander from the folks at Legacy.

106 Purity Audio Silver Statement Preamplifier
Dick Olsher auditions a sterling, silver-wired, all-tube linestage.

110 Cover Story: Constellation Audio Altair Linestage and Hercules Power Amplifier
What happens when you give the world's best audio engineers no cost or time constraints? Robert Harley evaluates these breathtaking — and breaktakingly expensive — electronics.

122 HP's Workshop: Harry Pearson names his 2011 Golden Ear Award winners.


129 Download Round-Up
Alan Taffel and Andrew Quint launch our first survey of CD-quality-or-better music downloads. A healthy sampling of what's currently available on-line and how it compares with physical media.

137 Fives Faves: Jeff Wilson selects five personal favorite recordings by restless jazz innovator Lee Konitz. 

138 Rock: New releases from Paul Simon, The Cars, David Bromberg, The Feelies, Keren Ann, Dana Fuchs, Ana Moura, and Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) backed up by the Steep Canyon Rangers. 

144 Jazz: The latest from Steve Khan, Bill Frisell, Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra, and Lee Konitz, along with a reissue of Bill Dixon's boldly original Intents and Purposes.

148 Classical: Charles Gerhardt conducts classic film scores, Boulez conducts Szymanowski, Marc-André Hamelin plays Reger and Strauss, and Meira Warshauer depicts the Living Breathing Earth.


152 Back Page: VPI's Harry Weisfeld has been making turntables for more than 30 years. Neil Gader finds out how he got started and why he's still at it.


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