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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 229 January 2013   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 229, January 2013 table of contents and editorial.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
6 From the Editor: Trends
Editorial By Robert Harley

8 Letters

12 From the Editor

14 Future TAS: New products on the horizon.

16 Now On theabsolutesound.com: This month's best content on our new Web site.

18 Industry News
Chris Martens on loudspeakers at CEDIA. Robert Harley visits Istanbul to report on Absolare, a unique line of electronics with a global design concept. Plus: RH takes you inside Istanbul's Extreme Audio the world's greatest hi-fi store.

61 The 2012 Product of the Year Awards: We select the very best components of last year.

41 Speakers Corner, Air Studios, Decca Records, & Golden-Age Vinyl Folklore
Rob Pennock gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the analog remastering of Golden Age treasures from the Decca catalog.

32 Start Me Up: Monitor Audio GX50 Loudspeaker
Neil Gader on an affordable stand-mounted two-way from England's Monitor Audio.

36 Next-Gen Digital: DragonFly Follow-Up
Alan Taffel tries out AudioQuest's revolutionary $249 DragonFly USB DAC in a desktop audio system.


Equipment Reports
106 NuForce DDA-100 Digital Integrated Amplifier
Steven Stone discovers an amazing bargain in this $595 integrated with a direct-digital signal path.

112 Wyred4Sound mINT (mini-Integrated Amplifier)
Wyred4Sound's integrated is diminutive in everything but musicality, says Wayne Garcia.

116 Plinius Hautonga Integrated Amplifier
This powerhouse integrated amp from New Zealand has Paul Seydor swooning.

120 Sony SS-AR2 Loudspeaker: The scaled-down, less-expensive version of Sony's acclaimed SS-AR1 retains much of its big brother's superior sound, says Robert E. Greene.

128 Peachtree Grand Pre X1 Preamplifier & DAC
Wayne Garcia on a full-function preamplifier from Peachtree that combines an advanced digital-to-analog converter with a tube buffer stage.

132 Acoustic Zen Crescendo Loudspeaker
The transmission-line enclosure makes a spectacular return in the easy-to-drive Crescendo, says Dick Olsher.

136 GamuT D200i Power Amplifier
Confirmed tube-amplifier aficionado Kirk Midtskog finds much to like in this new Danish solid-state amp. PLUS: A visit to the GamuT factory.

144 TAD Evolution One Loudspeaker, M2500 Power Amplifier, and C2000 Preamplifier
NG on the new entry-level offering in TAD's celebrated line of coincident-driver loudspeakers.Plus a complete report on TAD's new electronics.

152 Crystal Cable Absolute Dream Interconnects, Loudspeaker Cable, and AC Cords
It's been years since Jonathan Valin reviewed a cable, inter-connect, or power cord. Find out why he's made Crystal Cable's top-of-the-line Absolute Dreams the exceptions.

158 Talon Phoenix Loudspeaker
The aptly named Phoenix represents the resurrection of loudspeaker-manufacturer Talon. Anthony H. Cordesman reports on this ambitious new transducer from Rives Audio.

168 Audio Research Reference 5 SE Linestage, Reference Phono 2 SE Phonostage, and Reference  250 Power Amplifier
Founder William Zane Johnson may be gone, but the Audio Research Corporation continues to make class-leading tube electronics, none better than this latest bunch of Reference Series components, says JV.

182 Magico Q7 Loudspeaker
Magico's flagship Q7 is nothing short of a landmark achievement, says Robert Harley.


202 Mercury Living Presence: The Collector's Edition
Arthur Lintgen on the bargain-priced 50-CD box-set culled from the Mercury catalog.

204 Download Round-Up: Alan Taffel and Andrew Quint review recent hi-res downloads.

208 Flight of the Concord Celebrated concert pianist Jeremy Denk contemplates the perils of studio recording. 

216 Rock: The latest from Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Lynda Randle, and The Roys; a superb LP reissue of bluesman Frank Frost; and Danish music for a quiet winter night.

222 Classical: Tone-poems by Josef Suk; Beethoven by Glenn Gould; Armenian laments by JordiSavall; folksongs by Hirundo Maris; Broadway show tunes by Jenny Lin; and orchestral dances on Reference Recordings vinyl.

226 Jazz: Kurt Elling and Bill Laswell in new releases; Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Ben Webster, and Clare Fischer in stellar reissues.

229 Five Faves: Jeff Wilson on his favorite strange tales from Steely Dan.


198  Manufacturer Comments

232 Back Page: Neil Gader talks to Manny LaCarrubba, Founder, Sausalito Audio, LLC, and Chief Engineer, Performance Media Industries, ltd.


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