SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HOME
THEATER PRINT PRESS
Updated 1/20/03

STEREOPHILE = The Final Laboratory components listed on the cover of the January issue are specifically their Music 5 line preamp, Music -6 power amp and Music-4 phono preamp - all reviewed by Art Dudley, former Editor of LISTENER and now the ‘Phile’s Editor at Large. The American Audio referred to includes a RM33si Signature speaker from Joseph Audio, Rogue’s Magnum Ninety-Nine tube preamp, and interconnect, speaker and AC cables from Acoustic Zen. There’s an interesting interview with the founder of the pioneer planar speaker company Magnepan and an in-depth review by Michael Fremer of a Dutch dynamic speaker at a rather higher price point - the Kharma Midi-Grand Ceramique 1.0 runs $32.5K a pair. The Industry Update column has good news for fans of both hi-res disc formats and a piece on the latest in remote volume controls. Music reviews include Sakamoto, Johnny Cash, Steve Tibbett, Michael Tilson Thomas and Diana Krall.

STEREOPHILE = For February KEF’s new Reference 207 speaker graces the front cover. Other equipment reported on includes Parasound’s Halo JC 1 monoblock power amp, the Weiss Media D/A processor, Ayre D-1x DVD/CD player, and the VPI Aries Scout turntable with VPI JMW-9 tonearm. Pianist Christopher O’Riley is interviewed; he has transcribed Radiohead for solo classical piano among other things. The new set of the Beethoven Violin Sonatas by Augustin Dumay and Maria Joao Pires is the Recording of the Month, and Records To Die For has 80 choices from their reviewers.4

SOUND & VISION = The February/March issue has Mel Gibson seeing Signs on the flat screen of a large Toshiba HDTV set with Jamo speakers floating here and there. High-Tech Invasion! Is the main theme and includes space-age speakers, amazing video recorders, price-busting plasma TVs, and a unit allowing satellite radio reception anywhere. There are reviews of JVC’s widescreen HDTV, Sunfire’s Ultimate Receiver, and combo SACD/DVD players from both Philips and Yamaha. Another cover teaser is for a guide to the coolest DVD players - 16 of ‘em - ranging from $130 (Apex) to $20K (Meridian). “HDTV, The Year in Review” is a feature, and there’s an interview with one of the several companies who edit down “sanitized” versions of movies on tape and DVD.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW = for January spotlights the Real Story on HD-DVD, the Imaging Science Foundation writes on HDTV By The Numbers, Fair Use Copying Threatened is another headliner, and featured components are Sony’s VPL-HS10 Cineza video projector (dubbed “champagne video on a lemonade budget”) and Denon’s AVR-5803 Receiver and DVD-9000 player. The 50 DVD and D-VHS reviews include XXX, Goldmember, and IceAge. Two short articles concern the addition of The Height Channel - both with the new theatrical “Sonic Whole Overhead Sound” system and with a simple overhead “envelop” channel in home systems. Other equipment reviews: PLUS Piano Avanti HE-3200 DLP projector, Crystal View CV-2 CRT Projector.

HI-FI NEWS = The January issue proclaims in big gold letters it’s the 2002 Awards Issue, with a selection of what the UK reviewers consider the Products of the Year. (Though stateside we audiophiles consider the term Hi-Fi pretty retro, it’s still the cat’s pajamas in Britain.) The list is organized by types of components and then by various price points under that. Though naturally heavily weighted toward UK products (Arcam, Chord, dCS, Mission, TAG McLaren, B&W, Linn, Naim, KEF) there are a number of U.S. Brands (Vandersteen, Krell, Audio Research, Wadia, MartinLogan, Wilson Audio, Nordost) and Japanese products seem to get more high-end attention in the UK (Denon, Pioneer, Rotel, Audio Note, Transfiguration). Equipment reviews: Chord 8000-DSP AV processor, Quad 99 CD-P CD player/preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Quad 12L speaker, Exposure XXIII preamp and XXVIII power amp (you can play it while Rome burns), Nirson TWO6.1 surround sound system, Shanling CDT-100 CD player, Naim Audio SL2 speaker, Audio Note Io II MC cartridge, Magnum Dynalab MD90 FM tuner, Conrad-Johnson MV-60SE power amp, Isotek 2K Qube mains isolation transformer, bookshelf speakers from NHT, PMC and Totem. The Hot 100 is another feature list, which summarizes reviews of the 100 most outstanding models they have covered in their main product categories.

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND = for December/January sports MartinLogan on the cover and reviews of their Aeon speaker and Fantastic subwoofer. Vandersteen’s classic speaker design is updated in the new 2CE Signature, a breakthrough preamp from VTL is evaluated. In the more affordable area, TAS raises eyebrows by deigning to review a receiver - Rotel’s RX-1050, and there are 24 pages of music reviews. The staff picks the best gear and music of the past year, this is also the Recommended Preamps issue. Michael Tilson-Thomas is interviewed in a feature titled “Mahler, Multichannel and the Pretzel Vendor.” Gordon Holt reviews multichannel SACDs from Telarc and discusses bass management.

THE SENSIBLE SOUND = Another December/January combined issue, with the Energy C-7 speakers on the cover, finding they “...came thru with flying colors.” “Practical Surround Technologies for Music Lovers” shows Howard Ferstler beginning to wean himself of Yamaha’s “boingerizers” due to the superiority of ProLogic II in creating pseudo-surround fields from stereo. Components covered this issue: Speakers by Ascend Acoustics, Buggtussel, EOSS, and Triad; Electronics from Yamaha, Thule and Balanced Audio. And quite a few disc reviews.

THE INNER EAR REPORT = This is Vol. 15 of the Canadian quarterly, just arrived but without any other time identification. A sunlit home theater system with the Electra Series 964 speakers from Focal.JMlab graces the cover. Other cover reviews promised are a tube amp from Tenor Audio and the solid state 7B SST from Bryston. Manley’s Steelhead phono preamp, a Pioneer Elite AV receiver, Chord’s DAC64, Gutwire Audio Basic cables, and the Goldmund Eidos 38D DVD/CD transport are reviewed. Other speakers covered are Monitor Audio’s Silver S6 and Jaguar Musicspeakers. Products from two new audio names are presented: Orpheus preamp and amp, and Harmonic Resolution Systems’ M3 Isolation Base and Damping Plates. The issue editorial involves actual discussion of the behavior and function of the human ear - must be a first for audio magazines.

AUDIO XPRESS = Cover stories for the January issue are: Computer Tips for the Audiophile, Build a 15” Hi-Performance Horn, Discover the Best Heat Supply Method, Try This Phono Cartridge Fix, A Sure Cure for Low Impedance Speakers, A Quick CD Converter Mod, Five Tube Applications, Desoldering Made Easy, and a review of Monarchy Audio’s DIP Upsampler.

THE BAS SPEAKER = This is the fourth issue of Vol. 24 of the bare-bones but full of useful information publication from the hoary but very active Boston Audio Society. There are the usual Open Forum, Commentary and News sections, and special features this issue include Producing Digital Video Essentials (by Joe Kane), Genesis of Human Speakers, About the So- Called ‘floor bounce’ (fascinating!), and reviews of three speakers: the MartinLogan CLS-11 electrostatic, KEF ThreeTwo, and Quad ESL-989 electrostatic. Complete reports of three of the group’s more interesting meetings during the past year round out the issue.

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW = The Dec./Jan. Issue of this UK publication has The Art of Cecilia Bartoli on the cover, plus Recent Releases of Early Music and an overview of Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards” on disc. If you’re in North America, don’t get overly excited about the many music DVDs reviewed each issue because many are not distributed in North America, although they may be later on.

SURROUND PROFESSIONAL = The just-received December issue has Dweezil Zappa on the cover, tied into the first 5.1 surround release of music of Frank Zappa. The nominees for the First Annual Surround Music Awards are listed, there’s a report on the recent AES convention in LA, and a panel of speakers including the publication’s founder Tom Holman and Telarc’s Michael Bishop talk about how the industry is doing in “State of Surround.” Richard Elen writes on a Dictatorial Approach to Bass Management in Surround, Best Seat in the House concerns the mixing of multichannel music for concert videos, and Bernie Grundman’s new 5.1 mastering studio is visited in Masterer of the House. New pro gear from Sadie, Mytek and Genelec is also reviewed.

AES JOURNAL = November Issue Papers: Noisy Decay Parameters, Improved Time-Frequency Analysis, Expanding Surround Sound, Synthesizing Surround Sound. Also details on Networking of Bluetooth and Wireless in general and a report on the 113th Convention in LA.
December Issue Papers: Modeling Resonant Systems, Crossover with All Pass Properties, Nonlinear Spectral Amplification, Iterative Wavetable Synthesis. Plus features on Moving Digital Audio, Directory of AES Sections, and Calls for Papers for upcoming conventions.

CONSUMER REPORTS = December 2002 - Updated reviews on TVs (divided up into 27 inch, 32-inch, 36-inch, and HD-ready), DVD players (divided up into single play, multiple-play, and progressive scan - also units that can play SACD are noted), VCRs and combination DVD-VCR players. - Roy Nakano, LA Audio File

BOUND FOR SOUND = Issue #145 begins with discussion of Martin DeWulf's review of the Sony 777ES SACD player. He talks about crossover selection and time coherence, the Belles power amp mod, and waxes enthusiastically about his new Clearaudio Champion Level 2 Turntable, which is marked his re-entry into vinyl after more than ten years of strictly CD. The Bruce Edgar Titan horn speakers are reviewed and other sections are titled Crow to John Atkinson, and Kudos to Harry Pearson.

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