THE ABSOLUTE SOUND (June/July) = TAS is focusing on multichannel reproduction of music more than competitor Stereophile - good for them. How nice that the print publications are finally beginning to support what (he observed modestly) weve been doing at AUDIOPHILE AUDITION for almost two decades! The smaller print on the cover covers a special on How to Add Multichannel to Your System, HP holding forth on The State of Multichannel, a Roundtable on Multichannel Audio with industry experts weighing in, speakers from Definitive Technology, and a review of the reasonably-priced Pro-Ject turntable. The Recommended Products List this issue focuses on speakers under $5000. Robert Harley argues that the high end has ignored many opportunities to expand its business over the years. The Absolute Audiophilia department covers a 45 rpm release on Speakers Corner of Mendelssohns Symphony No. 3, and 180-gram LPs from Mo-Fi of John Lennon and Aimee Mann. Other components reviewed: NAD C162 Preamp & C 272 power amp, YBA Integre Integrated amp, Morel Octwin 5.1M speaker, Gamut D 200 MK3 power amp, VAC Avatar Super integrated amp, Sumiko Blackbird cartridge, Townshends Seismic Sink Isolation Platform. The TAS Retrospective is on the much-loved NAD 3020 amp. Cogent quote from Robert Harley: Audiophiles are biased against multichannel because the current standard is dictated by the film industry, which may not be optimal for music.
STEREOPHILE (July) = CD Sound Doesnt Get Much Better is the cover headline for a review of Arcams new FMJ CD33 CD Player ($2500). The Worlds Most Expensive Amplifier - $350,000 a monoblock pair! - is the Wavac SH-833. [This is definitely not Sensible Sound...Ed.] Speakers from Shahinian and Gershman are reviewed, also amps from Edge and McIntosh and phono preamps from EAR, Pro-Ject, Monolithic Sound and Trigon. The Origin Live Resolution Modern turntable is reviewed by analogist Michael Fremer, and Tivolis table radio is suggested if you cant have a complete audio system in every single room of your house. Speaker Diffraction is Analyzed in a feature on Audio Theory, and the Recording of the Month is Chris Stameys Travels in the South, with the Emerson Quartet featured in their recording of Haydns Seven Last Words of Christ.
STEREOPHILE (June) = Ultimate Surround Sound is the headline for the cover shot and review inside of Jim Fosgates FAP V1 Preamp. A few years ago Jim described to me working on this multi-tubed wonder incorporating his latest Pro Logic IIx circuit as well as 7.1-channel analog, but I didnt know it would be a genuine commercial product (though at $13K a rather limited one). Results were expectedly excellent though the reviewer faulted the unit for omission of both remote control and bass management. Other review features: Speakers from Focal-JMLab, Jean-Marie Reynaud, Audio Physic; CD Players from Primare and Audio Analog, Clearlaudios turntable, Velodynes digital subwoofer and Audio Notes preamp. Tom Jung of DMP tells us why SACD will succeed, and there are music features on Lyle Lovett and The Bad Boys of Jazz. Last months Home Entertainment 2004 show in NYC is reported on. Other reviews: Placette Audio Remote Volume Control, cartridges from Graham and Clearaudio, The Disc Flatter.
STEREOPHILE (May) = 21st Century Tube Sound is emblazoned on the cover, for T+As V10 Amp from Germany (which probably explains the laughable name), which is also pictured. A full report of the 2004 CES show is a feature. High-value amps from Musical Fidelity, DNM, Unison and Vincent are reviewed, plus high-performance digital components from Cary (CD-303/200 CD player), Benchmark (DAC1 D/A headphone amp) & Nagra (DAC D/A processor). Music-oriented cover items are on Bruce Springsteen, the best CDs of the over 60 extant of Holsts The Planets, and on Grant-Lee Phillips going solo.
STEREOPHILE ULTIMATE AV (July/August) = Stir Your Senses is the title of the cover story on Marantz new VP12S3 DLP front projector. Secrets of Great TV Performance Revealed is another feature, plus the latest from Washington DC on the future of HDTV. Surrounded! is a review of Magnepans MG 3.6 and MG 1.6 surround speaker system, which is a cut above their hinged wall-panel system and retails for $7K. The reviewer describes the out-of-body experience with these planer panels. Other reviews: Rotel RSP-1068 Surround Processor, Loewe Articos 55 rear-projection DLP display, Adcom GTP-880 & GFA-7607 preamp-processor & multichannel power amp, RCA Scenium HDLP50W151 rear-projection DLP display, Sony Grand Wega KF-50WE610 rear-projection LCD TV, Avia Pro Test DVDs & CD-ROM. Tom Norton editorializes on Dolby Firing a Volley Across Microsoft/s Bow. Theres a feature on the cultural legacy of Bruce Lee.
STEREOPHILE ULTIMATE AV (June) = The former Stereophile Guide to Home Theater has a new name, new large-format design and more pages, plus a stronger focus on the high end in home theater gear. Russell Crowe is on the cover on Mitsubishis new PD-5030 plasma flat screen display and Part 1 of a series on world class subwoofers reviews the Revel B15, Kleiss S15A, Genelec HTS6 and Dave Wilsons new $11K Watch Dog. The Great Channel Debate of 5.1 vs. 7.1 is a cover feature, and front projectors from Panasonic, NEC & Beno are reviewed. A feature on a Superbowl HD sports party setup shows how one fan crowded ten HDTVs into his 8 room house, including a 15 flat screen in a bathroom. Watching the Bytes explains the fine details of how bit rates and bandwidth affect HD image quality, and Evolution of a Hero looks back on the film career of Gregory Peck and some of his best efforts on DVD. Other component reviews: Teac Esoteric DV-50, Mitsubishi HD 5000 HDTV receiver-controller, Camelot Tech Dragon 5.1 Pulse jitter-reduction device.
STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER (May) = The premier review of Sonys breakthrough Qualia SXRD front projector is featured inside and on the cover. Also an article on Mastering Color in Video, a survey of the January CES, Whats in Store for 2004, and reviews of Sharps DLP projector, speakers from Aerial and Atlantic and the latest Pioneer Elite line HD RPTV. The Big Pictures discusses various digital schemes for displays which have revolutionized the way we think about TV in general, and Home Theater Architect lists Seven Steps to Home Theater. The end-paper piece on a special DVD each month calls the nine and a half hours long Shoah the best documentary or drama ever made on the Holocaust.
DVD ETC. (July-August) = The home entertainment publication observes its second anniversary with this issue. It features a summer portable spectacular with short reviews of widescreen portable DVD players from Toshiba, Mintek, Polaroid, Coby, Apex, Go-Video, Cyberhome and Sharper Image. Headphones from JVC, Aiwa, Sennheiser and Sharper Image are also reviewed, plus the inexpensive Boostaroo headphone amp. Other cover features are Ten Simple Ways to Improve Your Home Theater, George Barris and Kustom Industries, DVD-Audio or SACD - Whats the Best?, and Shawn Levy and Ken Annakin are profiled in Directors Cut. Other reviews: Yamaha DVX-S120 Home Cinema System, Editors Pick Theater Under $5K, Cables from Transparent, Magnan, Gutwire and Cardas; Outlaw Audios LFM-1 subwoofer, and software reviews of Robocop, Big Fish, Saving Private Ryan, Tarzan, Ghosts of the Abyss and more. The creator of the surround sound score for Monster is interviewed, and there are five hi-res disc reviews.
DVD ETC. (May/June) = Many DVDs adorn the cover to point up a story on The Top 100 DVDs of All Time. There is also a bonus feature on the Top 20 Multichannel Audio Discs. The monthly Buyers Guide deals with universal DVD players, the Mobile section has JL Audios XR650-Csi speakers and a face off between the two satellite systems: XM Radio and Sirius. Special features: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly; Whats Cooking?: Lions Gate Home Entertainment; and a suite of five professional video editing software apps from Adobe. Equipment tests: Infinitys TSS-750 speaker ensemble, and cables from AudioQuest, Aural Symphonics, Wasatch and Zu.
HDTV ETC. (Summer 2004) = This is also the first anniversary issue of the spin-off from DVD ETC. It features a directory of over 400 hi-def monitors - both direct view and RPTV. A summer programming guide to HD telecasts is also part of the issue. Articles include HDTV Copyright Issues and the FCCs Anti-Piracy Order, a piece on creating the special effect bugs in Starship Troopers 2, an HDTV Glossary of Terms, and Steven Hill of Straight Wire Speaks Out. The test center evaluates the Kaleidescape Media Server, Toshiba 26HL83 26-inch LCD display, Sign Video PA-100 color processing amp, Toshiba SD-P2600 8.9 DVD player, and cables from Blue Heaven, Marigo, MIT and Monster. Another cover item is a Buyers Guide to Hi-Def Receivers.
SOUND & VISION (July-August) = More summer-themed stuff: Summer Gadgets Go High-Tech, e-Life On the Go, HDTV Setup Made Easy, Plasma Paradise (review of three sleek & sexy 42 flat panels from LG, Panasonic and Sony), A DVD Recorder Buying Guide listing 40 different models, and decks from Toshiba, Yamaha and LiteOn compared. Equipment reviews: Sony DVP-NC685V 5-disc DVD Changer, Sharp On-Wall DVD/Receiver, KEF Instant Theater (creates 5.1 effect with just sub and two front speakers which look like small camcorders with big lenses), Artison On-Wall Speakers, Infinity Beta home theater speaker system, Denon AVR-3805 surround receiver, JVC CU-VH1 hi-def video player/recorder (designed for use with a hi-def camcorder).
SOUND & VISION (June) = is a special issue on The Connected Home. Cover stories: Movies & Music Anywhere, Anytime; Create Your Own AV Network; High-Tech Living in 3 Showcase Homes; Wireless TV Is Here! (Sharps Aquos wireless). The first test of an HDTV Recorder from LG shares with reviews of three HDTV projectors, Pioneers DVD/TiVo Recorder, On-wall speakers from NHT and Gateways Family Media Center. Media receivers from Apex, Netgear and Pinnacle are reviewed. Director Shawn Levy is interviewed, The DVD section covers Kill Bill Vol. 1, School of Rock, Master and Commander and others, and the music section reviews Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, Diana Krall, Velvet Revolver and others.
THE PERFECT VISION (July/August) = Fujitsus 50-inch plasma screen is the only component on the front cover, and described as an HD Plasma Breakthrough. The issue has seven recommended HDTV Home Theaters ranging from $3200 to $200,000, a review of Gateways Big Screen HDTV offering hi-def at low price, and features on Calibrating your TV Like a Pro, and on HD recording using LG Electronics new HD-PVR. Other equipment reports: Yama RX-V1400 AV Receiver, Integra DTR-7.4 AV Receiver, Totem Acoustic Rainmaker multichannel speaker system, and three mid-priced DLP front projectors: from MAXX, SIM2 and DreamVision. Sonys next-generation HT products are given an advance look and in Film Forum the recent DVD release of Schindlers List is discussed.
THE PERFECT VISION (May/June) = Thin HDTV displays from Epson and SIM2 are cover features, with Sonys new Qualia 004 SXRD-Based front HDTV projector called a Breakthrough and hot new video products from the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show. Whats Hot! covers recommended speakers and subwoofers, and editor Robert Harley announces that the spinoff of The Absolute Sound will now be publishing seven issue a year instead of its former quarterly schedule. Other component reviews: Denon AVR-1804 AV Receiver, NAD T163 AV Tuner/Controller and T973 7-channel amp, B&W 700 Series HT speaker system, 3 flat-panel LCD TVs: Sharp Aquos, Samsung Tantus and JVC LT26WX84. The Film and Movies section compiles the views of three different writers on the classic Jean Renoir film The Rules of the Game, just issued on DVD by Criterion.
WIDESCREEN REVIEW (July) = Johnny Depp peers out from the front cover this month and a review of his Secret Window is one of the over 40 DVD reviews inside. The Sony Qualia 004 SXRD hi-def front projector is the big component review this time. Other cover reviews are of Monster Powers Backbone System Part II, Yamahas LPX-510 LCD Projector, Denons DVD-5900 Universal disc player, and ExactPowers EP15A & SP15A AC Line System Part II. MGM for Sony Blu-ray? suggests that Sonys recent bid to purchase a second big movie studio is to create more momentum for their Blu-ray HD format. The various home theater systems used by the staff in all their evaluations are detailed in each issue.
WIDESCREEN REVIEW (June) = Artwork of various characters from The Lord of the Rings graces the June cover, and the feature story is BD & HD DVD Camps Dug In for War - I think that war is over not the ring but the disc. A New Surround Sound Standard (The Time Has Come) caught my interest because I briefly believed perhaps the WSR crew had come to recommend Ambisonic surround. Not so; their concept is basically for film playback - not music - and extends from the studio recording situation to final home playback. It involves five (six for 6.1) identical speakers at identical heights and all spaced exactly the same distances from one another and from the sweet spot, in a perfect circle around the listener/viewer, and without bass management. (Of course that would put the left and right frontal speakers too far apart for most music playback - whether multichannel or stereo.) Reviews of equipment: BenQ PE8700 DLP HD2 front projector, Marantz DV8400 Universal Disc Player, Manley Labs Neo-Classic Vacuum Tube Amps, Pioneer DVR-810H TiVo DVD Recorder. The over 40 DVD reviews are sectioned into Fantasy/Adventure, Drama, Comedy, Family, Musical, Thriller, Stage Performance, Animation, Sci-Fi, Documentary & Foreign.
HI-FI NEWS (July) = An angled view of the Oracle Delphi MK V turntable graces the front cover, and the feature on it is Return of the Oracle - Legendary Linn-beating turntable back in the UK. The huge popularity of low-res audio formats due to their portability and convenience is illustrated by a cover story on the mags testing of Apples mini iPod - not the first audiophile publication to do this either. While they felt its one of the best-performing portable players money can buy, they discerned slight degradations in sonic quality with each new iPod brought out since the original model. Other cover features: Spendors new S83 speaker, Audio Researchs CD3 II disc player and Resolution Audios Opus 21 CD player and S30 amp. Digital audiophile amps from Bel Canto and ESLab are reviewed, a tube amp from PrimaLuna for under £1k, and NHTs Evolution powered speaker.
HI-FI NEWS (June) = The spare cover shows the new universal disc player from Linn (the worlds most expensive such) and is titled All Linn One. The review finds it a notable achievement but facing some stiff competition at more modest price levels. Audio guru Peter Craven is interviewed, Barry Fox opines that the death knell of DVD-A may be tolling, and Ken Kessler writes on the frustrating language of DVD navigation. Component reviews: LS3/5 Wannabees considers entries from AVI, Blue Note, Harbeth, Spendor and Penaudio; Chord Electronics Blu CD transport, Pro-Ject 1 Xpression turntable, EAR 509 Mk II power amp, KEF Q4 speaker, Krell 400xi integrated amp, ART Skibo speakers, Trichord clock mods, Musical Fidelity X-150 amp, Wireworld Equinox/Atlantis interconnect & speaker cables, Elgato EyeTV 400 DVD-T box, Grado RS-2 headphones, Isotek Mini Sub GII, Halcro dm38 amp.
AUDIO PERFECTIONIST JOURNAL No. 11 = Amplification Components, Part 2 is the focus of this expensive, advertising-free, and well-written 44-page journal which lays out the basics of audio systems, how they work and how to select the best ones to buy. Richard Hardesty is at the helm, and he begins with an illustrated primer on amp power and amp sound which is very understandable. There is an interview with David Reich, who designed the Theta amps which Hardesty feels are among the very best. The amp survey covers the ARC VT100 MKIII, Ayre V-5x, Halo JC-1 monoblocks, Nagra VPA, Theta Citadel monoblocks, VTL 450 monoblocks, and even a section titled Not Recommended (B&K, Image Research, Linn switch-mode amp). One of the mods to the Sony DVP-S90000ES SACD player is reviewed, and there is a section on multichannel amps. For more info: www.audioperfectionist.com
BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #157) = The headline for the new newsletter is An Innovative and Different Way of Making a Passive Line Controller; it is Martin DeWulfs first impressions of the Sonic Euphoria autoformer-type passive preamp. He also reviews the Lloyd Walker Precision Motor Controller, River Cable/s FLEXYGY 6 speaker cable, Pass Labs Xono Outboard Phono Stage and Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference3 speakers. In Search of Synergy is his recommendation of a great-sounding modest audio system. Black CD-Rs and the Burn Your Own Conspiracy reports on MGDs experiences with burning CD copies to see if they sound better than the original pressing. [Why he calls it a conspiracy I dont know because often they do and thats what hes found out. He also found he got the best sound using the slowest burning speed, and that CD burners built into computers worked better than outboard ones. The people at Genesis Technologies found just the opposite on the latter. So far I havent felt its worth the bother except to burn a personal test-tracks demo disc - and I havent figured out how to match the levels of each track when doing that...Ed.]
THE INNER EAR REPORT (Vol. 16, No. 1) = The very fat plugs on Nordosts Vishnu power cords are in closeup on the front cover and reviewed inside. Other cover stories: Accustic Arts CD player, Exposure CD player, Connoisseur Audio Integrated amp, Manley Snapper monoblocks, Pro-Ject 1Xpression turntable, Logosound Audio Feet, Pioneer PDP-4340 HD Plasma Monitor, Speakers: Polk Audio 6700s speakers and PSW505 subwoofers, PSB Platinum Series T8, StudioLab Reference 1, Armadillo SSX Professional Monitors. The editorial is High-End, Low-End, Whats in Between? and there is an informal report from the January 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
AUDIO IDEAS GUIDE (Winter/Spring 2004) = Pioneers Pro-91OHD plasma display is on the wall of the cover photo of the Canadian High End Audio & Video quarterly. Theres a look at the details of calibration carried out on a HD display by an ISF professional, a feature on the video processing offered by Runco, Faroudja and others to improve non-HD video sources, and reviews both both DVDs and what Editor Andrew Marshall calls SuperSound discs. Component reviews are: Rega Planar 3 turntable, Pioneer Elite PRO-R04U Media Receiver/Processor, Niro Two6.1 Receive/Speaker HT system, Menttor Dolby Digital/DTS headphone system, speakers from PMC, PSB, Sunfire, Paradigm, D-Box & Energy; Moon Equinox upsampling CD player, Bluenote Villa Boboli MC phono cartridge, XP Sound XP201 phono preamp/headphone amp.
BBC MUSIC (July) = Mezzo Susan Graham graces the cover this month and in a feature titled Strides Through Strauss. How new composers get around the monoliths of music is titled Birtwistle Bypass. Opera Rocks! is a story on the BBC broadcasting Wagner at Glastonbury, and Turkish Delight is about a London festival in which Western traditions show Eastern promise. The CD included with the publication this month is the Galliard Ensemble in modern classics for woodwinds by Nielsen, Ligeti, Barber and Francaix. There are 160 disc and book reviews in this issue, including a breakout on TDKs new video DVD series of filmed vocal recitals by Grace Bumbry, Dawn Upshaw, Thomas Hampson and Barbara Bonney.
MULTI MEDIA MANUFACTURER (May/June) = The third issue of the new AV Industry pro magazine continues Larry Kleins tales with part 2 of A Funny thing Happened on the Way to The Fidelity. There is a spotlight on Chinese manufacturer Tonewinner Electronics, Barry Foxs Media Report, a Tribute to Julian Hirsch, and an explanation of the Poka-Yoke Technique of mistake-proofing the manufacturing process. Other features are a book review, trade show news, list of new products, and Whos Hot and Whos Not in Publicly-Traded Companies.
THE BAS SPEAKER (Vol. 26, No. 1) = The always-interesting newsletter of one of the oldest audio societies in the U.S. opens this time with a long list of tributes to various audio mavens who have departed in the last year. Some of the longer articles are: Rethinking Surround, The Pipes Are Calling (on the Wanamaker pipe organ - largest in the world), Exploring Internet Radio, A Beethoven 9th For the Ages, Announcing a Cure for Reflectophobia. Some of the entries from members are only a paragraph or two, but any audiophile will find a few of utmost interest. The general tone is one of a fresh, no-bull approach to audio thats a welcome antidote from some of the slick print publications. Their web site is www.bostonaudiosociety.org/
THE SENSIBLE SOUND (April/May) = Their annual Recommended Recordings Issue is different from most in allowing their reviewers to select any recordings new or old that they want to recommend, even some which are out of print. Cary Audios Cinema 6 DVD Player is on the cover and called an outstanding CD player that just happens to also be a very good DVD player. Other components reviewed: Innersound Eros Mk.III speaker, Mirage Omnistat Micro HT speakers, Onkyo TX-SR800 Receiver. The Skeptimania column concerns speaker/room suckout and other tidbits. In Surveying the Soundscape, the interesting point is made that many music lovers in the late 1940s decried the loss of fidelity when their treasured 78s were transferred to the new LP format; sound familiar?
AV TECH (May) = This new AV technology guide which comes with Hi-Fi News has the Arcam CD79 DVD player on the cover over a Union Jack. It is says it sets the digital video standard. There are exclusive reviews of the EAD 8800 surround processor and the Naim Audio DVD5 player. The Master Class section deals with Digital Light Processing and The Best of Bass. Home cinema projectors from InFocus, NEC, Sharp and SIM2 are reviewed in the 48-page publication.
BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #156) = Where Does Advancement Come From? is the title of Martin DeWulfs thought-piece. His stance on the two new audio formats is (weve heard this before, havent we?) that they are not about better sound but about convenience or copyright protection. Hes a fan of the few 96K DADs and clearly a staunch two-channel/anti-HT audiophile. He also mentions the phenomenon of getting enhanced sound from a burned CD-R vs. the original commercial CD. Reviews: Red Rose Audio Rose Petal MC cartridge, DeHavilland UltraVerve Octal tube preamp, Origin Live Aurora turntable. Remember the cone-shaped omnidirectional Ohm Walsh speakers? Well, theyre still around and get a glowing review from Rich Weiner.
AUDIO EXPRESS (July) = Cover stories: Discover the Single-Ended Advantage; Build a Low-Cost Phono Preamp; Pure Class A Headphone Amp; Building Subwoofer Boxes' Testing Audio Interconnects, Tube Audio Construction Tips: Transformers.
AUDIO EXPRESS (June) = Cover stories: Tips for Making a Better Chassis, Construct a Midbass Dipole, Zen Circuit Insights Revealed, Build Your Own: Low-cost control amp with tubes, high-output power amp, small super-subs; Product review of DacT RIAA phono preamp board.
STEREOPHILE BUYERS GUIDE - 2004 = Touted as the complete directory of high-end audio gear, this annual goes way beyond the monthly publication by listing over 5000 audio components, a complete web listing of manufacturers and how to choose various components. The introductory articles to each component category are from various Stereophile writers.