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AUDIOPHILE AUDITION - web magazine for music, audio & home theater

Updated 12/20/03

SOUND&VISION (January) = The Tomb-Raider-on-a-cycle graces the Samsung plasma screen on the cover of this issue, touting a Buying Guide to 150 plasma and LCD displays titled Flat TVs for Every Room (I doubt if the price of these hot holiday items has come down quite that far). The Samsung 63-inch plasma screen is dubbed the world’s biggest plasma HDTV. There is a special test of seven speaker systems suitable for flat TVs and another on Invisible Speakers. Components reviewed include the Pioneer DVD/TiVo Recorder, Marantz AV Receiver and Samsung Satellite TV Recorder. Other reviews are of Denon’s DVD-220 universal disc player, TDK’s DA-9000 CD/hard-disk recorder and Nakamichi’s 29-inch multimedia LCD high-def monitor. 16 Hi-Res discs also receive short reviews.

SOUND&VISION (December) = Santa and video seems to be the theme of the holiday season cover. 50 Great Gifts is a run-down of components, DVDs, gadgets and gimmicks for giving. The Hitachi 57-inch HDTV is called a Hot Pick, the top 21 products of 2003 are selected, a DVD Buying Guide covers 100 different budget-level players - $400 or less (don’t get trampled reading it), and Videogames Go Home Theater is another special feature this month. Other reviews: Integra DPC-7.4 6-disc DVD changer, Klipsch Cinema 1- HT speaker system, ReplayTV 5500 Series hard disc recorder for video, Hewlett-Packard’s DVD Movie Writer dc3000. 14 hi-res disc reviews include The Flaming Lips, Led Zeppelin and Peter Frampton.

DVD ETC. (December) = The world’s largest LCD TV is the main component on the cover - it’s 40 inches. (There were some 40-inch CRTs a few years back but production problems caused the manufacturer, Toshiba, to withdraw them.) The unidirectional Mirage Omnisat Micro HT speakers are also on the cover, along with the Niro single-speaker surround system (we review here this month), and AV furniture from Bell’o. Feature articles include a survey of IEEE 1394 (FireWire) products, Optimizing Your Home Theater, and Holiday Video Games. Producer Joel Silver of Matrix Reloaded is interviewed, and there is a buyer’s guide to over 200 DVD players. Also in the Test Center: Panasonic DMR-E80H DVD recorder, Sharp XV-Z10000 DLP Projector (it scored a 98), car audio cables from Monster, IL Audio, Phoenix Gold and Street Wires. In the software section Hulk, Santa Clause 2, T3 and Charlie’s Angels are reviewed.

DVD ETC. (November) = Cover stories: Indiana Jones, The Complete Adventures; DVD/VCR Combo Players from Zenith, Go.Video, JVC, Philips & Toshiba & Buyer’s Guide, Confessions of a DVD Junkie, Interview with Production Designer of Gangs of New York, Reviews of Atlantic Technologies PrePro & Amp, Krell’s PrePro, AudioBug, Sharp’s VL-Z7UDV Camera & Universal Electronic’s Kameleon Remote; DVDs of Taken, ER, Smallville, Finding Nemo, X2, Matrix Reloaded, Paper Moon & more; a buyer’s guide to over 200 DVD players/portables/recorders. Their “Woofer of the Month” is Definitive Technologies’ SuperCube Reference, and there’s a review of the Suspension Theater gadget which holds portable DVD players between the seats of vans for backseat passengers.

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND (December/January) = The cover story this issue is High-Res Digital Audio Comes of Age. Bob Stuart of Meridian and David Kawakami of Sony make the case in depth for their respective formats. 13 different SACD & DVD-A players are reviewed and another feature discusses Ten Products That Changed High-End Audio. A real coup is that audiophiles finally find out what the great HP looks like! - the founder of TAS is interviewed at length. There is a survey of Recommended Preamps and the mag gives out their 2003 Golden Ear Awards for the best gear and music. There are 35 music reviews, and components covered include Vandersteen’s 5A speaker, Epos’ budget speaker, amps from Art Audio, Conrad-Johnson and Mark Levinson, the M2 speaker from PSB, and the Cosmos III turntable from SOTA. The $1600 Sutherland Engineering USB D/A converter and tube linestage for computer sound gets a rave, and Andrew Quint reports on his visit to the Wagner mecca Bayreuth.

THE PERFECT VISION (November/December) = has a big Mitsubishi RPTV on the cover, part of a Big-Screen HDTV Shootout featured a half-dozen sets ranging from $2000 to $9000. Flagship AV receivers from Pioneer and JVC are reviews and there is a list of recommended HDTVs in various price categories. Awards are also made for the mag’s Product of the Year. The Sony KV-34XBR910 34-inch TV is called the best direct-view HD set the reviewer has seen. Other reviews: Rotel RSP-1098 AV Controller with front-panel video display, Yamaha S2300 universal disc player, Morel Vitra HT speaker system, and Krell’s flagship DVD player. A section on HDTV news deals with a new DLP chip, mislabeling of HD products, and a high rate of returns on set top boxes. The recommended DVD of the month is Casablanca, and the latest Superbit version of Lawrence of Arabia as well as the new Matrix Reloaded are both touted as perfect to show off your HT system with.

STEREOPHILE (January) = Legacy Audio’s Focus 20/20 looms on the cover and is dubbed A Lot of Speaker. The Remix Revolution discusses the new life for classic jazz remade as electronica or dance track samples. In The Law of Averages a method to squeeze hi-res recordings down to CD while retaining most of their sonic benefits is explored. CD players from Mark Levinson and Orpheus are reviewed along with Musical Fidelity’s Kilowatt amp and kWP preamp. For analog fans Sumiko’s Blackbird phono cartridge is covered, and six different speaker models are reviewed: from Meadowlark, Horn Shoppe, Epos, Moth Audio, and Piega (plus the Legacy on the cover). Aural Robert talks about the re-birth of Mobile Fidelity.

STEREOPHILE (December) = The Krell SACD player graces the cover and Krell’s Dan D’Agostino Spills the Beans is an associated interview article. The laser turntable is back and reviewed by analog maven Michael Fremer. The issue has another list: the 50 Best-Sounding Products of 2003. Linn’s universal Unidisk 1.1 player, Sony’s latest flagship SACD player - the XA 9000ES, and Burmeister CD player are all reviewed, and Magnepan’s on wall planar home theater speaker system is said to provide high-voltage multichannel music. An extensive re-examination of Prokofiev lists many of the best CDs of his music, and the recording of the month is The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 1. In the surround section Bel Canto’s surround preamp and the ICBM bass manager from Outlaw are surveyed.

STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER (January) = The Lexicon RT-10 universal disc player which we reviewed here last month is on the cover. It’s called Sonic Excellence. This is the 2004 Editors’ Choice Awards issue, and the software review section main feature is the Indiana Jones Triology on DVD. Disney’s Moviebeam video-on-demand technology is explained: It’s a 160GB leased hard drive holding 100 movies with 10 titles replaced weekly via an indoor antenna picking up signals multiplexed on local PBS or ABC TV stations. Sony’s 34-inch direct view Wega HDTV is raved about again. Inside-pages reviews include Theta’s Dreadnaught II multichannel amp, Primare’s SP31.7 preamp-processor & A30.5 MKII five-channel amp, and Acarian Systems’ Alon Napoleon home theater speaker system - which was found to have an “open & airy top end and easy listenability.”

STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER (December) = The new Runco CL-710 DLP front projector is on the front cover, and there is also a featured review of Sony’s SXRD front projector. A report from CEDIA 2003 discusses true high-def front projectors, 3-chip DLPs and the options in high-def recorders. Other equipment reports inside: V inc. Bravo D1 DVD player, Automated Controlled Environments Subwoofer Optimization System, Mirage Omni 250 surround speaker system, Universal Remote Control Home Theater Master MX800, Arcam FMJ AV8 7-channel preamp processor & FMJP7 7-channel amp. Among the gift gadgets summarized is a wireless portable LCD and a hip pocket camcorder.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (January) = Four of the S.W.A.T. Team grace this month’s front cover, looking mean. Questions and Answers on the Digital Video Essentials test DVD is Joe Kane’s feature story, there is an HDTV Forum Report and the latest court ruling on the controversial “broadcast flag.” Components reviewed are the Vidikron Vision Model 20 DLP Projector, Mirage Omni Series HT speaker system, and Arcam AV8 preamp & DV27A DVD player. Other reviews: JVC DLA-HX1U D-ILA 16:9 front projector, Linn AV 5125 multichannel power amp.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (December) = Five of the X-Men are on the cover for a feature on the X2 dVD - part of over 40 DVD and D-VHS reviews. There is a Calibration Equipment Shootout, a review of the latest Digital Video Essentials test DVDs and ISF’s Joe Kane has his third article on the DVE disc, going into test patterns this time. The Insider Industry View discusses Fear of Piracy, and components covered are the Marantz MV8300 D-VHS D-Theater high-def VHS VCR, the Goldmund Eidos 18D DVD & SACD Player, and Wisdom Audio/s Adrenaline speaker system. Tech Insider has recent news about both SACD and Windows Media 9.

HI-FI NEWS (January) = No photos on this month’s cover; this is the 2003 Awards Special- the UK mag’s products of the year issue. Covered are not only components but also industry innovations and designs, and there are photos of the products plus the people receiving the awards. Hardware reviews in the Kuzma AirLine air-bearing tonearm, PMC OB-1 speaker, Croft integrated amp, Triangle Magellan speaker, Parasound Halo JC-1 amp, Quicksilver phono preamp, Isotek Mini Sub, Eichmann Bullett Plugs, Denon DVD-1400 universal disc player, Von Schweikert VR-1 compact speaker.

HI-FI NEWS (December) = B & O’s spacey-looking BeoLab 5 speakers are on the cover, described as The Big Bang & Olufsen. Pioneer’s DV-565 universal disc player is tested, Focal JMlab’s Micro Utopia speaker, Avid’s Volvere Sequel turntable, The E.A.R. Phono stage from Tim de Paravicini, Musical Fidelity’s Tri-Vista 21 DAC, Cyrus’ DVD player and processor, and Tag McLaren’s 100x5R:10 amp are also cover mentions. Other reviews: PS Audio PCA-HCA-2 preamp/power amp, Castle Conway 3 speaker, Stax 4070 headphones & energizer, Monitor Audio Gold Reference 5.1 speaker system, Xhifi Xducer 2.1 speaker system, Conrad-Johnson Premier 140 tube power amp. John Crabbe’s column discusses surround sound for the heard of hearing.

THE SENSIBLE SOUND (October/November) = has the Energy Veritas I Series V2.3I tower speakers on the cover, so obviously their reviewer liked them very much. Other equipment reviews are: AVA OmegaStar EC preamp, Philips CDR 778 CD Recorder, Rotel RQ-970BX Equalizer (really a phono stage - don’t know why they call it an equalizer), Spread Spectrum Processor, Velodyne Deco speaker. The Music section is divided into seven categories, covering jazz, reissues, Broadway and others, and is nearly all standard CD format. The reviewers generally give you a good idea of whether or not you would want to add the particular disc to your collection. The small-format pub is lately seeming a bit thin on content compared to the competition.

INNER EAR REPORT (Vol. 15, #3 2003) = Cover stories: Wyetech Labs Coral Preamp, Croft Twinstar amp & Charisma II preamp, Moon I-3 integrated amp, Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista stereo SACD player, Nordost Valkyrja speaker cables & interconnects, Panamax 5510 AC regenerator, Symposium Isis audio rack, Speakers: Meadow Song Lab Mont Blanc, PMC DB1 & TLE 1 Active subwoofer, StudioLAB Revelation, Gershman Acoustics GAP 828, Mirage OMNI Series home theater speakers, also Triode Celebration 32B monoblock amps. There are one-pagers on the audio format wars, and the Gourmet audio systems.

BBC MUSIC (December) = Cecilia Bartoli shines her light on Salieri and on the cover of this issue. Winners of the magazine’s photo competition are displayed, and the feature Food of the Gods concerns the favorite recipes of great composers. Critics cross swords over Hector Berlioz in Underrated or Overblown? There are 150 reviews of CDs, DVDs and books, and attached CD-of-the-Month is a disc of seasonal music, mostly for chorus and orchestra, by Britten, Honegger and Respighi.

BBC MUSIC (November) = Pianist Piotr Anderszewski is on the front cover of the world’s best-selling classical music magazine. Other cover stories: Could music help children beat dyslexia?, New to DVD? - Recommendations of the essential titles to start your collection, Songs and poems commemorating a century of war, Falla: inventor of a new Spanish style. There are 150 reviews of CDs, DVDs & books.

AUDIOXPRESS (December) = The Audio Technology Authority continues to roll together for DIY-ers the former Audio Electronics, Glass Audio & Speaker Builder. Cover features this issue are: How to Make Your Own Surrounds, Triode Amp Breakthrough, Achieving Low Bass with a Unique Design, Studying Feedback Effects on Tube Amps, Slanted Speakers: Does Form Follow Function?, Upgrading Adcom’s Classic Preamp, and a review of Onkyo’s new universal disc player, the DV-SP800.

AUDIO XPRESS (November) = The Audio Technology Authority features for DIY-ers and others this month: An Insider’s Look at Vacuum Tubes, A Purist Approach to Preamp Re-Design (using Adcom’s GFP-565 Preamp), How to Achieve Clean and Accurate Bass, Burst-Testing Your Amps, Adding a Little “Flare” to Your Speaker Ports, Testing a DIY Two-Way Speaker, Rock On! With the Restored Peavey Bass Guitar Amp/Speaker. A servo dual voice-coil subwoofer design is also presented as a way to achieve accurate and low-cost low bass.

AUDIO IDEAS GUIDE (Fall 2003) = The Totem Dreamcatcher home theater speaker system is featured on the cover of this issue - a tad thinner than most recent iterations of the quarterly due to computer problems. (I can certainly sympathize.) Other speakers reviewed are Monitor Audio’s Silver 6S, Paradigm’s Cinema 90 HT system and Newform Research’s R58 Ribbons. Home theater electronics includes the Bryston SP1.7 processor/SPV-1 video switcher, Sunfire Ultimate Receiver, LG Electronics RD-JT41 projector, AND L70 DVD/Receiver, and Nextbase portable/car DVD player & LCD monitor. The Audio Ideas Interview is with principals of NAD and in the SuperSounds software reviews Andrew Marshall waxes enthusiastically about some recent Mahler SACDs.

THE BAS SPEAKER (3rd Issue of Vol. 25) = The latest blank-cover, mostly un-illustrated issue from the very active Boston Audio Society is full of all sorts of interesting reading on a variety of audio and music concerns not addressed in the mainstream press. Some of the special features this time include a Review of SPL Meters, Recordings Thru the Ages, Speaker Ramblings, My First Home Theater, and My Digital Nightmare. The last is from a systems contractor who complains that the user interface for professional digital gear as well as much at consumer level is terrible. Reports of three past society meetings include one with Sennheiser’s Karl Winkler and another at a high end dealer and recordist in Waltham, MA. There are also summaries and critiques of various audio publications, similar to this section of AUDIOPHILE AUDITION.

BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #153, November) = Martin DeWulf will blow away many audio buffs with his opening article on a now-discontinued 6-gauge wire from Lowe’s home improvement stores which he states is the best overall speaker cable he’s ever heard regardless of price! He’s hoping there is a substitute wire that Home Depot or somebody might have that sounds as great. He also discusses the Red Rose Audio cartridge, the Clearaudio Souther cartridge alignment tool, and the Camelot Dragon digital interface device. The Parasound Halo P3 Preamp is reviewed and Vibration Control is explained in a series on Setting Up a System.

THE AUDIO CRITIC (Issue No. 29) = Longtime audio writer Ivan Berger edited this issue. The big TAC news is that this issue carries the final Hip Boots column by Aczel in which he identifies misinformation found in the rest of the audio press. The reason for the alternate viewpoint column to come to a reluctant end? While previously it was just a few particular audio writers he found wanting, now he considers all component reviewers hopeless (except those writing for TAC) and therefore “what’s the point?” In “Audio’s Top Urban Legend” in this issue, Tom Nousaine denies the need to ever break in any audio components, including even loudspeakers. There are in-depth reviews of five unbroken in mini-monitor speaker systems, including products from Definite Technology, Genelec, Thiel, B&W, and a very interesting article on the Ohm Acoustics Walsh-driver speakers - with a discussion of their patented design principle. The capsule CD & hi-res reviews are excellent and I can attest free of misinformation, but are of discs that were issued quite some time ago.

STEREOPHILE BUYER’S GUIDE - 2004 = Touted as the complete directory of high-end audio gear, this annual goes way beyond the monthly publication by listing over 5000 audio components, a complete web listing of manufacturers and how to choose various components. The introductory articles to each component category are from various Stereophile writers.

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