LATEST ADDITIONS

Art Dudley  |  Oct 30, 2018  |  24 comments
I have flip-flopped between these points of view: that some audio products or technologies are better suited than others to specific styles of music, and that any good product or technology should be equally at home with rock'n'roll, chamber music, large-scale classical, hard bop, techno, ragas—even George Crumb.

At age 19, in my first job as a hi-fi salesman, I was asked to adopt the first of those views. The shop I worked in carried only two loudspeaker lines—EPI and Ultralinear, both long gone—and the owner urged me to push the former on lovers of classical music, and the latter on rock fans. So I did. To paraphrase Jiang Qing, I was the shopkeeper's dog: What he said to bite, I bit.

Richard Lehnert  |  Oct 30, 2018  |  4 comments
J.S. Bach: Six Suites for Viola Solo, BWV 1007–1012
Kim Kashkashian, four- & five-string violas
ECM New Series 2553/54 (2 CDs). 2018. Manfred Eicher, prod.; Judy Sherman, eng. DDD. TT: 2:22:35
Performance ****½
Sonics *****

Little is known of the origins of the Solo Suites, usually performed on the cello. No manuscript in Bach's hand survives, and in the copy produced by his second wife, Anna Magdalena, markings for slurs, articulation, and dynamics are sparse even by baroque standards. The suites may actually have been composed for the violoncello da spalla, an instrument smaller than the cello but larger than the viola, and played while held on the shoulder (some modern players use a neckstrap). But what are problems for the musicologist present a world of latitude to the interpreter, in this case master violist Kim Kashkashian, who takes full advantage of them.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 29, 2018  |  8 comments
The still youthful Danish String Quartet, whose 2016 release on ECM New Series inspired this glowing review in Stereophile, has returned with another hi-rez recording, Prism I (ECM New Series 2561), the first in a projected series of recordings for ECM New Series that will place one of Beethoven's late string quartets in the context of a related fugue by J.S. Bach and another linked quartet.
Art Dudley  |  Oct 25, 2018  |  18 comments
I've never aspired to owning a BMW 7-series, or a Martin D-45, or a Rolex Submariner: BMW's far less expensive 3-series models capture my imagination by bordering on the affordable, likewise Martin's D-18—and as long as I live, I'll never understand the appeal of expensive wristwatches. Bling's not my thing.

True to form, when I visited the Mytek display at High End 2018, in Munich, my attention was drawn to the brand-new Mytek Liberty DAC and its three-figure price: for $995, one could now own the equivalent of the original Mytek Brooklyn D/A processor, without that model's phono preamp—this according to the company's Adam Bielewicz, who served as my product-line guide on that sunny May day.

Robert Deutsch  |  Oct 25, 2018  |  5 comments
"Any color, so long as it's black." That was the choice famously offered by Henry Ford to buyers of his Model T. Some makers of loudspeakers, notably GoldenEar Technology, follow the same dictum.

Not Focal. The Kanta No.2 ($9999/pair) is available with a cabinet finished in High Black Lacquer or Walnut veneer, with baffles finished in a variety of colors, including High Glass Carrara White and Gauloise Blue. The review samples had black cabinets and white baffles, which made me think of the two-tone cars that were the rage in the 1950s and '60s—and which may be coming back.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 23, 2018  |  16 comments
Doshi Audio first crossed my radar at the 2010 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, where I wrote that the sound of the company's tubed monoblocks and preamp, connected to Wilson Audio Sasha loudspeakers via Transparent XL cables, "excelled in midrange strength as the system threw an exciting soundstage." After auditions of Doshi-Wilson pairings at many subsequent shows had convinced me that Doshi's products could truly sing, I contacted company owner and product designer Nishith "Nick" Doshi to inquire about reviewing one of his amps.
Herb Reichert  |  Oct 23, 2018  |  15 comments
The original PS Audio Sprout, which I reviewed in the May 2015 issue, showed newcomers an easier, smaller way to amplify music recordings in the home. At $599, the Sprout100 costs $100 more. It fixes a few of the old Sprout's weirdnesses: no power-on indicator light, no remote control, five-way binding posts that weren't really five-way. It also doubles the Sprout's class-D power output into 4 ohms, from 50 to 100Wpc (or 50Wpc into 8 ohms), and adds a few sonic and mechanical enhancements.
Robert Deutsch  |  Oct 23, 2018  |  8 comments
Borrowing a page from the Montreal show—and, before that, from the shows sponsored by Stereophile—Toronto Audiofest presented some live performances of music. One of the performers was the gifted cellist, Vincent Bélanger—see photo above—familiar to audiophiles from his recordings and appearances at audio shows.
Robert Deutsch  |  Oct 22, 2018  |  0 comments
Vince Scalzitti's Tri-Cell Enterprises had five rooms on Level 4 of the Westin, with lots of product introductions. One that caught my eye was a piece of equipment that looked like it was from an airplane used in WW II. Labeled a "Puristic Audio Apparatus," this was the Thöress F2A11 integrated amp ($11,500, all prices in Canadian dollars unless marked otherwise) and is cradled like a baby by Vince in the photo above.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 22, 2018  |  3 comments
I had all but resolved to move on from reviewing recordings honoring the 2018 centenaries of Claude Debussy's death and Leonard Bernstein's birth when word arrived of Warner Classic's 10-CD bargain box, Debussy: Ses Premiers Interprètes / His First Performers. This set's contents are so important that I want to give Debussy lovers a heads-up so that they can either make room for it in their holiday self-gift basket, give friends ample notice for what they'd like to be playing when 2019 rolls around, or start streaming immediately.

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