LATEST ADDITIONS

Brian Damkroger  |  Feb 19, 2021  |  66 comments
Many companies in high-end audio and elsewhere use a trickle-down approach to advance their products. The process begins with the development of a suite of new technologies, capabilities, components, or whatever the relevant entities might be. Typically, it's a flagship product that functions as the impetus, target, and first deployment of the new technologies. Subsequently, the new technologies trickle down to other models, each one incorporating a subset appropriate to its price point.
Jim Austin  |  Feb 18, 2021  |  8 comments
I was planning one of my occasional long drives, for music and photography. I had scheduled two nights in Nashville, so I asked around: Where should I go for live music after a dinner of Hattie B's hot chicken? Art Dudley recommended the Station Inn, perhaps the world's best venue for live bluegrass music. You can read about my experience there in the November 2019 Stereophile. The Station Inn has now added a streaming service. For $8.99/month or $99/year, you get between 10 and 20 live-streamed performances every month plus access to the archives. If you're a bluegrass fan or merely bluegrass-curious, I encourage you to check it out. It's not as good as being there, but it's still good.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 17, 2021  |  22 comments
When I studied physics at university too many years ago to admit, I learned about Occam's razor. Many, many more years ago than that, Franciscan friar William of Occam stated that a hypothesis should provide the simplest possible explanation for a phenomenon.
Tom Fine  |  Feb 16, 2021  |  12 comments
Black Sabbath: Paranoid Super Deluxe
Rhino/Warner Records R1 556692 (5 LPs). 1970/2020. Rodger Bain, original prod.; Hugh Gilmour, reissue prod.; Barry Grint, LP mastering eng.
Performance *****
Sonics ***

The reviewer venturing to identify the birth bed of heavy metal music risks wrath. So be it.

The heavy metal genre has many roots. The idea of power chords and music centered on ominous, mythological, and vaguely threatening lyrics goes back centuries; consider the use of European church music in various eras to literally scare the hell out of believers. But heavy metal as we know it started 50 years ago with Black Sabbath's Paranoid.

John Atkinson  |  Feb 15, 2021  |  4 comments
When Stereophile publishes a followup review in the print magazine, we add it as a "child page" to the website reprint of the original coverage. We have recently done so with three significant products: the Magico M2 loudspeaker, the Linear Tube Audio Z10e tubed headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, and the Okto Research dac8 PRO multichannel D/A processor.
J. Gordon Holt  |  Feb 12, 2021  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1968  |  9 comments
This review of one of the first solid-state preamplifiers was published in 1968. It includes some of JGH's first thoughts on the ongoing subject of "Accuracy vs. Musicality."

Preview, from July 1968 (Vol.2 No.6): Overall sound extremely good, but phono sounds slightly lacking in deep bass, despite impeccable measurements. Scratch filter judged very highly effective, but tone controls felt to be less than ideal be cause of excessively coarse action and marked tendency to affect midrange output. Spring-return Tape Monitor switch probably will not appeal to serious tapesters. This preamp is slated for a full report in the next issue.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 11, 2021  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1995  |  1 comments
Amplifier designers have frequently looked for ways to marry the advantages of tubes to those of solid-state devices. Hybrid designs of various stripes have appeared over the years, most of them using tube input stages with transistor output stages, eliminating the major weaknesses of tube amplifiers: eg, they run hot, are unreliable in that tubes have a finite life, are more expensive than a similarly powerful solid-state design, and have power-hungry output tubes and output transformers.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 10, 2021  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1990  |  0 comments
In the September 1988 issue of Stereophile, I wrote a rave review about the first speaker, the AE1, from what was to me a totally unknown English company, Acoustic Energy. Though tiny, and possessing an intrinsically limited low-frequency response, the $1500/pair AE1 was one of the most musical loudspeakers I have ever used, throwing a deep, beautifully defined soundstage, and possessed of a clean treble and a sweet, if rather forward-balanced, midband.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 09, 2021  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2019  |  1 comments
I went everywhere!

Attending the two-day Making Vinyl Berlin B2B conference on May 2 and 3, 2019 was an obvious decision for me, even if Day 1's "Physical Media World Conference" panel discussion was more about optical digital media than it was about analog vinyl.

John Atkinson  |  Feb 08, 2021  |  45 comments
When I joined Hi-Fi News in the mid-1970s, one of that magazine's stable mates reviewed cars. An automotive writer appeared in the pub one lunchtime—"I rolled another one," he said, as he joined us at the bar. It turned out that one of his tasks was to take a car he was testing to the skid pad to see how many lateral G's the car could handle. Of course, the chances of a consumer turning that car over were minimal, but the reviewer was investigating the edges of the performance envelope.

As I became familiar with audio measurements, it struck me that the equivalent of the skid pan test was the thermal preconditioning we perform when we get an amplifier on the test bench. Even if an end-user doesn't drive his amplifier into thermal meltdown, the edges of the envelope need to be explored.

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