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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 216 October 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 216, October 2011 table of contents and link to the editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
05 From the Editor
What Is A Golden Ear?
Editorial By Andrew Quint

8 Letters

10 From the Editor

12 Future TAS

25 The Ten Most Significant Turntables of All Time We name — and rank — the ten most influential LP-spinners of the hi-fi era.

34 Cover Story: Clearaudio Ovation Turntable
This new mid-priced ‘table delivers great sound without the tweaky setup. Wayne Garcia reports on an LP rig for the rest of us.

100 The Cutting Edge: The Sonus faber Loudspeaker
Those Italian maestros have created their most audacious loudspeaker yet. Robert Harley reports on this $200,000 technological showcase.

14 Start Me Up: Three Audio-Technica Cartridges from $119 to $485
Neil Gader finds a real gem among these affordable moving-magnet cartridges.

18 Next-Gen Digital: NuForce/Oppo BDP-93 NE and BDP-93 NXE Blu-ray Disc Player
The terrific Oppo Blu-ray Disc player soars to new sonic heights with NuForce’s modifications. Steven Stone drives this hot rod. 


Analog Equipment Reports
42 VPI Classic 3 Turntable
Neil Gader discovers the joys of a traditional look and feel in a modern turntable.

48 Okki-Nokki RCM Record-Cleaning Machine
The name may be funny, but the $599 Okki-Nokki is a serious record-cleaning machine, says Paul Seydor.

52 High-End Analog Roundup
Jonathan Valin on three outstanding moving coils from Benz, H&S, and Clearaudio, and a great LP cleaning machine. PLUS: Inside the Benz and Clearaudio factories.

64 Parasound Halo JC 3 Phono Preamplifier
Parasound brings John Curl’s genius to a mid-priced phonostage. Neil Gader has the good news.

68 SME Model 20/3 Turntable and Series IV.Vi Arm
Paul Seydor lives with this new ’table and arm from one of Britain’s founding-father turntable manufacturers.

77 The Cutting Edge: AAS Gabriel/Da Vinci Audio Reference  Turntable Mk II
JV reviews the Mk II version of this beautiful Swiss record player.


Equipment Reports 
84 Wharfedale Opus2 M2 Loudspeaker
Bigger than a monitor but not quite a floorstander, this compact three-way delivers affordable excellence, says Kirk Midtskog.

88 Bel Canto 3.5 VB DAC/Digital Control Center
Steven Stone evaluates the latest mid-priced DAC from Bel Canto.

96 Volent Paragon VL-2 SE Loudspeaker
There’s much to like in this stand-mounted hybrid-ribbon loudspeaker, says Dick Olsher.

112 HP’s Workshop
Harry Pearson on the Ten Most Significant Turntables of All Time.

118 Manufacturer Comments


122 The Mahler Project
Wayne Garcia on the groundbreaking release of Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony’s complete Mahler cycle on twenty-two 180-gram LPs.

127 Fives Faves
Mark Lehman selects five great solo violin recordings. On vinyl, natch.

128 Rock 
New vinyl releases from Robbie Robertson, Holly Golightly, and Pat Conte, and vinyl reissues of Marvin Gaye, Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, Santana, and Wizz Jones.

132 Jazz
New LPs from Rova Zorn, Pat Metheny, and Starlicker, along with audiophile LP reissues of Michael Brecker and Ben Webster.

134 Classical
Works by Dvorák, Vivaldi, and Beethoven newly recorded, and classic performances by Igor Markevitch and Martha Argerich newly reissued — on vinyl.


136 Back Page
Peter Ledermann, President and Chief Engineer of The Soundsmith Corporation, talks with Neil Gader.


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