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Stephen Mejias

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Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 01, 2018  |  6 comments
From left to right: Gideon Schwartz, Ron Carter, and Stephen Mejias in the listening room at Audioarts.

I'm sitting next to Ron Carter in the listening room at Manhattan dealer Audioarts, trying not to cry. We're listening to "All Blues," the title track from Carter's 1974 CTI release—a meditative rendition of the Miles Davis masterpiece that has been slowed-down and elongated in such a way that it practically pulls tears from eyes as easily as Carter pulls notes. It's hard to believe that anyone other than Carter has ever touched this piece. Right now, it belongs entirely to him. The system through which we listen is doing a fine job of articulating Carter's distinct combination of purpose and passion. To describe his performance as mere magic would be an insult to his craft, yet to focus too heavily on his discipline would be an injustice to his art.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 11, 2017  |  20 comments
The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World, by Damon Krukowski. The New Press, 2017. Hardcover, 240 pp., $24.95. Also available as an e-book.

Defining noise is tricky business.

In high-end audio, noise is often defined as the enemy—of music, beauty, truth. Engineers and enthusiasts alike spend significant amounts of time, energy, and money attempting to minimize or control noise so that it has the least possible impact on the source signal: music. In this way—if we are intelligent, careful, and fortunate—we can extract from our stereos cleaner, clearer, more naturally beautiful sound for listening experiences that are enriching, emotionally compelling, and, above all, fun. On the other hand, when noise is allowed to excessively modulate the signal, music can sound relatively abrasive, more mechanical, and, ultimately, less engaging.

Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 10, 2015  |  9 comments
In the mornings, just before I leave for work, I power up the system, turn the volume down low, and set the CD player to Repeat. I like to think that if I play calm, soothing music while Ms. Little and I are away, the cats will feel less alone and more relaxed. It's also nice, on returning home from work, to walk into a room filled with music. One evening a few weeks ago, I stepped into the apartment, dropped my bags to the floor, settled down into the couch with my iPhone, and began scrolling through text messages. I'd been seated for only a moment before I had to turn my attention entirely to the sound of the system, which, even at a very low volume, sounded warm, detailed, and unusually good—unbelievably, almost unbearably engaging.
Stephen Mejias  |  May 30, 2014  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2014  |  6 comments
In response to my review of Music Hall's USB-1 turntable, that company's founder and president for life, Roy Hall, noted my detailed explanation of the product, diverse taste in music, and keen attention to minutiae. He then offered six words of final observation that will, if there is any justice in this world, go down in Stereophile lore: "The kid has gotta get laid."
Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 24, 2014  |  0 comments
What I failed to make absolutely clear in my April column is that I really, truly, thoroughly enjoyed all three USB DAC–headphone amps that I auditioned: the Audioengine D3 ($189), the AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2 ($149), and the Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS ($199). Each offered a slightly different perspective on the music, but none could be accused of closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge, dumping several feet of snow on top of our car, or doing anything especially wrong.
Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 07, 2014  |  14 comments
Today, the system sounds better than usual—in fact, amazing: warm, detailed, powerfully present, remarkably true. But how can this be? Isn't it more likely that my system, a well-considered but nevertheless inanimate, unfeeling collection of boxes and wires—NAD C 316BEE CD player, Arcam FMJ A19 integrated amplifier, KEF LS50 loudspeakers, AudioQuest Big Sur interconnects and Rocket 33 speaker cables—sounds today exactly as it did yesterday?
Stephen Mejias  |  Mar 14, 2014  |  31 comments
The April 2014 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands. Inside, you’ll find 35 pages of “Recommended Components,” our handy guide to today’s best audio products, covering categories including: Turntables, Tonearms, Phono Cartridges, Phono Preamplifiers, Media Players, Digital Processors, Loudspeakers, Amplifiers, Preamplifiers, Integrated Amplifiers, and Headphones.

Our cover model is the extraordinary Vivid Audio Giya G3 loudspeaker. Is there room in John Atkinson’s heart for another loudspeaker? My guess is yes, but where exactly does the Giya G3 rank among the countless other contenders that have spent time in JA’s listening room? Other products reviewed in this month’s issue include:

Stephen Mejias  |  Mar 12, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2014  |  12 comments
In his article on the future of audio engineering in this issue, John La Grou tells us—succinctly and correctly, I think—that we are rapidly moving from a culture of handheld devices to one of headworn devices. He postulates that by perhaps as early as 2025, rather than being actively sought out, most audio/video media will be delivered, like milk or the newspaper—but delivered not to our front doors, but more or less straight to our brains. Fascinating? Sure. Frightening? Kinda, yeah.
Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 27, 2014  |  35 comments
Beck's Morning Phase is available now. I don't own it yet, but I have added it to my ever-growing list of Records to Buy. (Other Music is already sold out. Otherwise, I'd indulge my preferred method of consuming music: I'd go there immediately and buy it from a kind person.)
Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 14, 2014  |  14 comments
Here's a little something to warm your hearts: The March 2014 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands, and it's a very special issue, indeed. Inside, you'll find that our editor, John Atkinson, has fallen in love with a new pair of headphones. Has the sexy Audeze LCD-X seduced him away from his old, beloved Sennheiser HD650?

Of course, there's more.

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