Now is the Month of Maying...

...goes the song from the Middle Ages and no, it isn't really true in the month of Apriling. But the May issue of Stereophile is about to hit newsstands, mailboxes, and tables as we write and it is, we modestly claim, one heck of an issue!

Taking pride of place on the cover is the new No.526 preamplifier from the venerable Mark Levinson brand. Designed by a team led by the well-respected Todd Eichenbaum at Harman's new Engineering Center of Excellence and manufactured in the US, the No.526 offers a full array of inputs—line, phono, and digital—and excels with all of them. The Levinson is joined in our May issue by reviews of Wilson's Alexx speaker, DACs from the UK's Meridian and Italy's CanEver, and Hegel's CD player, while Kal Rubinson and Herb Reichert write about their auditions of the controversial MQA format in both surround and stereo.

But wait there's more: In "The Tight Lines Project," Art Dudley and John Atkinson report on the making of the first recording to be released on the Stereophile label in six years. Featuring works for chamber ensembles by Sasha Matson and recorded in Hollywood's legendary EastWest Studio, Tight Lines will be available from this website's "Shop" page Monday April 17 on CD, 180gm LP, and hi-rez downloads.

tonykaz's picture


As I see it, Mr. Schryer is exactly "Spot-On" !!

Again, Stereophile hits high marks for Audio Journalism.

I'm further delighted with the leadership of Mr.JA.

Congratulations for your Excellance

Tony in Michigan

tonykaz's picture

Fascinating report !

Yet another positive opinion on the Mytek Brooklyn annnnnnnd MQA.

I'm impressed by your influence with outfits like 2L, Mytek & MQA who seemed "eager" to play along with your "Research" project.

Very well done!

Tony in Michigan

Kal Rubinson's picture

I think it was less my influence than the leverage of Stereophile's readership. Michal Jurewicz of Mytek was a driving force, as well.

It was fun.

tonykaz's picture

I have only one question: How do these $110,000 loudspeakers compare in Value to a Mercedes S Class Convertible which also costs $110,000?

Is it possible that these two products are in some way equivalents?

Pleeeeeeze, get hold of your senses.

I get the feeling that Analog Planet exists in some far-off Galaxy where dinero falls from forest trees like acorns and nonsense is the law of the land.

Presenting products like Alexx seems like giving our Jana and her modest system the middle finger.

Are we stereophiles or are we "cost no object" audiophiles?

Tony in Michigan

johnnythunder's picture

I think it's important for Stereophile to cover a wide range of equipment and the editor and staff do a great job of balancing reports/reviews on the practical and the aspirational. It's no different than reading Motor Trend for both Honda Civic tests and the latest Ferrari test. I know what I can afford and have read a equipment review that will then make me save an extra six months to get something that better. As long as Stereophile never becomes like other publications/blogs in only covering exotica, I'm happy.

BillK's picture

Used every day for ten years, I dare say the Alexx will be in much better shape than the Mercedes S Class.

Really, it's what's important to you. Some would want both, others would be happy with ear buds and a Camry.

Glotz's picture

"It is not enough to print a colophon of a reviewer's assorted hi-fi gear in the hope that it will be taken into consideration when readers make their way through a review."

Many new readers miss the context that David spoke of. It's when the newbie writes in to say pricing has gone to high, as they don't understand the context of the near-perfection that expensive component under review grants the listener. It's not an insult to the writers either, the implied context of a veteran audiophile reader dictates the deeper, less pedantic review. But that also alienates the noob reader...

Neophytes do not get the reference point..! They are utterly ignorant to anything over $1000 and what that system level 'sounds' like. It has not been explained as to why these $100,000 components sound 'more' than components under $10,000 or even $1000. What are they to expect at those rarefied levels of sound? I have heard what these systems sound like in person, and they are very close to live, the absolute sound, etc... that only experience can communicate what decades of writing are trying to communicate. I literally have to TRANSLATE to my noob music-loving friends what that sound is really like to them... after they read ANY high-end review!

The experienced reader understands that the components dictate that level of performance (we know the prices already, and have read enough past, high-priced reviews to postulate), but the neophyte does not fathom what or why those components MEAN musically as a system... ie: sonic holography or "Audio VR".

But the neophyte critical listener has to take a leap faith for the writer OR actually listen to $250,000 audio systems at a local dealer (don't me started on their decades-long display of snobbery), go to an audio show or have a rare, well-heeled audio friend, or even perhaps get advice from online, non-professional resources (Yeesh!).

Perhaps the very old introduction in Recommend Components needs to be re-written with education in mind. I know there is no space and no money... and that is why the high-end will die in 20 years like Art predicts!

Add something to RC meaningful to explain our price-related Class divisions, explain our vocabulary again, and educate! If you can't do it in the magazine, create an education area in the WEBSITE!

Kal Rubinson's picture

A response to whom / what / where?

Glotz's picture

Robert Schryer wrote a great As We See It this month, and I think the letter from David Blumenstein (also in this May issue) both touch on many of the same points of how writers sometimes fail to convey the essence and context of very expensive components under review to many of their casual or neophyte readers.

I get why many ultra-high priced components are around, but there are a lot of readers that don't have the slightest clue and cast aspersions on the industry at large. Perhaps David did a better job of conveying why in his letter.

Kal Rubinson's picture

I suppose that I would have known that had I received my copy but you can see why I saw it as a non-sequitur. As Emily Litella says "Never mind."

es347's picture

..Rose Rosanna Danna

Glotz's picture

Loved Gilda..

Yeah, I didn't want to imply that the writers don't amaze every month! Everyone wrote OUTSTANDING reviews that touched any and all needs to understand the product (without listening). You guys are some of the most communicative writers on the planet. Herb's review was especially impressive, and John's was very educational in a critical-listening sense.

I think there needs to be a sweepstakes for a free tickets / semi-VIP treatment for one of the next big audio shows that Stereophile can partner with in sponsorship... but only for new people to the hobby.

It would be a great way for a few select newbies to understand what the high-end truly offers the open listener, and see this great community of utterly passionate music-lovers! Give away some LP's and digital music and have them expound to your staff on what their feelings were on what they experienced. Do a piece with great, lively pictures of the guests having fun! Education, enlightenment and musical bliss?? Sign me ... err, them up!!

PS- Dare I say it's time for a format / layout change? It's been a quarter century! Go bigger and I also think it's important to have more photos in the magazine, however small that may be, given your very limited space.

tonykaz's picture

and Mr.Blumenstein's Letter. Both are valid conclusions, I feel.

I recently "discovered" my resonance with Herb Reachert's methodology and ideology, I digitally went back to the very beginning of Herb's Stereophile Contributions to learn the history of his methods and system building.

Now, I almost feel like I'm in his bunker with him as he labors to reveal the nature of the devices he's exploring. He's not a reporter or a reviewer, rather he's a Philosopher that happens to be sharing his discoveries. He seems to have that rare talent of using little letters to perform the "Mental Telepathy" phenomenon: an idea forms in his head, he finds words to describe his thought and writes them for us to read. Whereupon, we read his little letters and his mental idea forms a complete picture in our minds. A very rare talent!, the very same thing happens when we read Abe Lincolns Gettysburg Address ( 150 years after he wrote it ). Perhaps the best part of all this ( at least for me ) is that Mr.Reichert's Philosophy is acting as a Compass for my personal search for better Audio performances. I'll commit to saying that Mr.Reichert is Stereophile's North Star. We can navigate using his discoveries.

On the whole, Audio Journalism is simply technical writing for a non-technical readership. Someone gets an 80lb. Amplifier, plunks it between his speakers and reports it's performance with Voices and it's image height, concluding that potential purchasers owe it consideration. Plus a goodly bit of Blah-blah-blah.

Stereophile has been raising the Bar on Audio reporting, lately. I think it's the result of JA's talent hunt. Tyll & Herb come to mind. I mostly focus on the gear I have a personal interest in so, I could and might veer off-course to have a closer look at Mr.Rubinson's work as well as some of the others. ( or might not )

Stereophile came in my Mail today, I brushed off all the other envelopes ( three with substantial Checks ) sat down in the nearest recliner and read AS WE SEE IT. Wow!!! I delayed my other work in progress to continue reading, geez, I'm excited by this issue, Well done Mr.JA.

Tony in Michigan

ps. I have no other of my many publications crafted as well as Stereophile

Glotz's picture

Herb combines many of the audio disciplines into great understanding.

tonykaz's picture

I'm anxious to learn of his next discovery.

Tony in Michigan

virginialuther12's picture

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