LATEST ADDITIONS

Steven W. Watkinson  |  Apr 10, 2018  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1984  |  5 comments
In appearance the Counterpoint SA-7 tube preamplifier is quite attractive, possessing the thin, low-profile look currently in vogue. There is a mute switch which (if you remember to use it) protects your amplifier from the preamp's turn-on and turn-off thumps. Unfortunately, the volume control on my unit didn't track accurately, and it was necessary to adjust balance with each change in volume. One unusual feature: the balance control allows very fine gradations in balance adjustment (a large movement of the control results in a small change in balance).
J. Gordon Holt  |  Apr 10, 2018  |  First Published: Jul 01, 1971  |  1 comments
Early pre-recorded cassettes were so shockingly variable that reviews of their sound would have served no purpose. Some later ones are remarkably good, though. Following are some recordings that we have found to combine excellent performance and superb recordings, some on cassette as well as LP:
Sasha Matson  |  Apr 09, 2018  |  8 comments
There I was, at my son Peter's thirtieth birthday party at Black Flamingo in Brooklyn, staring at a large. floorstanding speaker cabinet. Then it hit me—young people are gathering in groups to listen and dance to high-quality music playback. Just like we used to do!
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 08, 2018  |  4 comments
My excitement upon discovering the heretofore unavailable two-CD set, Régine Crespin: Rare Broadcast Recordings, in the catalog of historical performance specialist Norbeck Peters & Ford can only be partially conveyed through words. Crespin's London/Decca studio recordings of Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été and Ravel's Shéhérazade, accompanied by Ernest Ansermet et L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, which were captured in Victoria Hall, Geneva in September 1963, have long been coveted by audiophiles for both their sound quality and Crespin's incomparable artistry. The opportunity to hear the same two French song cycles, delivered with the extra frisson and interpretive touches that great singers share in live performance, in a collection that also includes other live and rarely encountered studio performances by Crespin, is not to be missed.
Fred Kaplan  |  Apr 07, 2018  |  3 comments
Sound Prints, the quintet co-led by trumpeter Dave Douglas and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, is one of the most exciting small jazz bands around. You wouldn't know it, necessarily, from their first, eponymously titled album, recorded live at the 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival and released on Blue Note, which has long been Lovano's label. Mediocre sound doesn't always suck the life out of a recording if the music is good, but that's what happened here. However, the group's second album, Scandal (just out on Greenleaf Music, Douglas' self-owned label), tells a different tale entirely.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 05, 2018  |  9 comments
I spent a snowy New York City evening at Rhapsody Music & Cinema, talking with the proprietor, Bob Visintainer, and watching my friend Michael Trei install a Lyra Etna SL moving-coil cartridge in a Graham Engineering Phantom III tonearm mounted on a TechDAS Air Force 3 turntable tethered to a Zesto Tessera phono stage. Every wall was lined with big, floorstanding speakers, all of them expensive. On the main stage that day were Alta Audio's Hestia Titaniums ($32,000/pair).
Steven Stone  |  Apr 05, 2018  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1995  |  9 comments
The Greek myth of Odysseus has always been a favorite of mine. For an audiophile looking for a CD transcription system under $2500, it seems to be an especially appropriate metaphor. Almost all the units I've heard since CD's inception fall into one of two camps: the Sirens or the Rocks.

For those of you not up on your Greek mythology, the Sirens were the archetypal seductresses whose sweet songs lured sailors to drive their ships upon the rocks. Siren CD players are those that soften and sweeten the sound. Their primary purpose is to seduce, to give a false sense of comfort to their victims; their fidelity to the truth is secondary to their desire to elicit a positive emotional reaction.

J. Gordon Holt  |  Apr 03, 2018  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1972  |  5 comments
Lincoln Mayorga: Lincoln Mayorga & Distinguished Colleagues Vol.II
Lincoln Mayorga, arranger, harpsichord, piano.
Lincoln Mayorga, Doug Sax, prods.; Bill Schnee, eng.; Sherwood Sax, design engineer.
Sheffield Lab S-10 (LP).

Ever wonder just how much sound quality is lost by recording stuff on tape before making a disc? Here's your answer. This program of soft rock and cool jazz arrangements was recorded straight from studio to disc, and the sound is incredible! Suddenly, a veil that we never realized was there has been lifted, and we had the feeling we were listening to a direct-wire transmission rather than to a recording. We're not at all sure we will ever feel quite the same again about any. other recording, such is the dramatic difference in transparency and cleanness.

Dick Olsher  |  Apr 03, 2018  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1993  |  0 comments
I find quite appealing the image invoked by Museatex to describe its Real Time Ripple Effect (RTRE) loudspeaker line: a stone rippling the surface of a "still pond on a warm summer afternoon." Replace the stone with a voice-coil attached to the center of a stretched Mylar diaphragm and you begin to get a glimpse of the RTRE technology's conceptual beauty and promise. The idea of cohesively covering at least the midrange and treble with a single driver, without crossover filters, quickens my audio pulse.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Apr 02, 2018  |  15 comments
There is a particular art that many Americans have mastered, involving the collective lamentation of the unwelcoming nature of the French towards American tourists—whether this has been experienced firsthand or not is irrelevant—coupled with inexplicable, unwavering desire for all that the French stand for. The art, the wine, the cheese, the architecture, the haute couture—it is all of these, yes, but it is (I believe) the all-encompassing French vibe that we are drawn to.

It was all this that summoned me to France for a personal getaway last November, during which I snuck in a brief day trip to the factory of renowned audio giant Focal. Located in Saint-Étienne, a city in east-central France, Focal's headquarters—or self-described "undercover facility, production site"—is no more than a couple hours from Paris by train.

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