July-August 2002, v.3.0
SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HOME
THEATER PRINT PRESS [updated 8/22]
SOUND & VISION = for September is a special issue focusing on speakers. Six complete systems from Infinity, Energy, NHT, Magnepan, Atlantic Technology and Wharfdale. Five small subwoofers from Cambridge Soundworks, JBL, M&K, PSB and Velodyne. Bose' ADAPTiQ System calibrates your speakers, and Magnepan/s on-wall planar speakers. A new Zenith HDTV and Philips R985 DVD Recorder are reviewed. The worthwhile opening feature article is on the same subject as several of our recent Audio News items - How Hollywood Wants to Control Your TV. DVDs reviewed include Amelie, Black Hawk Down, Gosford Park and A Beautiful Mind.
THE AUDIO CRITIC = What a surprise! The last issue of the crotchety Critic was so long ago that most of the industry thought it was defunct. But here it is again, sporting Harman International's Floyd E. Toole on the cover as SuperSpeakerMan. The feature is actually a reworking of his keynote speech at the opening of last year's AES Convention in NYC, and proves a must-read for most of us, and especially for speaker manufacturers. Rather than the usual keynote fluff/nonsense it concerns the realities of loudspeaker performance with a focus on the wide discrepancies between the sound of professional monitor speakers and consumer speakers, and is illustrated with copious graphs. Several speaker reviews are featured, including Infinity's Intermezzo 4.1t - which is dubbed "near-state-of the- art" at $3500. David Rich presents an interesting survey on classical music on the Internet. It appears anyone associated with this pub is a member of the Skeptics Society: Tom Nousaine continues his high end reality show with an attack on 16 Urban Audio Legends (I agree three of them are in error but the rest over-generalize seriously. You can't just say that "EQ is bad" is a legend - some EQ is good and some certainly is bad. His list could stimulate some hot exchanges on Audio Asylum and other net groups...) Other components covered: Hsu Research VTR-2 sub, JBL Ti10K 4-way speaker, B&K phono preamp & DAC, HeadRoom Total AirHead headphone amp, QSC Audio DCA 1222 power amp, Sharp SM-SX1 & DX-SX-1 SACD player & 1-Bit amp, Sony SCD-C555ES SACD changer, TAG McLaren Audio T32R tuner, Mitsubishi SW-55907 55-inch RPTV, Studio Experience Boxlight Cinema 13HD.
HOME THEATER = The August issue lists 100 Must-Have movie DVDs, sports features on Outdoor Sound for Your Summer (those funny pseudo-"rock" speakers), Choosing the Right Receiver, Pre/Pro & Amp for your Home Theater, and component reviews of Samsung's $200 progressive-scan DVD player and gear from Aragon, Klipsch, Runco, Marantz, Sony, Pioneer, Denon, and Anthem. The DVD-V section deals with ghostly features such as The Others.
STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER = Not to be confused with the above - even though from the same publisher. The July/August issue looks more like a photography magazine, but it's Marantz's new DLP projector, which - as expected - knocks CRT and LDC approaches for a loop. In "Doubling Up on D-VHS," the competing HDTV-recording videotape units from Mitsubishi and JVC are reviewed and compared. Tame Those Black Bars is a special feature, and over 60 movie DVDs are reviewed. Michael Fremer reports on the home theater scene in Japan and Tom Norton capsules the past five years since DVD was introduced. Other components: Energy Take 5.2 surround speaker system, Sony Grand Wega KF60DX100 & VPL-VW11HT RPTV & LCD Projector (whew!), Marantz SA-1251 SACD/DVD-V player, Phase Technology Premiere Collection speaker system, Camelot Round Table Mk.2 24/192 DVD player.
STEREOPHILE = The German MBL 111B Omnidirectional speaker graces the August issue cover with a feature titled Doing It Differently. Other speakers from Avantgarde, Rockport and Athena are reviewed, Sam Tellig writes on Vinyl Gear, and the new Rowland Preamp is evaluated. In the music section New Bluegrass springs up. David Lander interviews Snell Acoustic's David Smith, and Industry Update includes SACD news from the AES. John Atkinson's "As We See It" column deals with the record industry's continuing war on its customers, including evidence that there is no apparent effect on CD sales from MP3 downloads! Other gear reviews this issue are: Audience interconnects, speaker cables and powercord.
THE ABSOLUTE SOUND = June-July is the Recommended Systems issue, with Energy's Veritas speaker on the cover. 47 models of amplifiers are recommended and Jonathan Valin says the Rockport Speakers/Tenor Amps combination may be the world's best audio system. Sony's CE-775 SACD changer (which AUDIOPHILE AUDITION reviewed some months back) is touted as letting you sample the SACD format for practically nothing (they list it at $250 but the price has since dropped to $200). They also liked the new Sony combination SACD/DVD player at $300. J. Gordon Holt discusses imaging in multichannel and the first of a new series of columns on affordable high end audio equipment appears. The music section has a feature on Elvis Costello and nine SACD reviews. Other components reviewed: Magnepan speakers, Arcam Full Metal Jacket CD player, Athena Technologies S2 speakers and P2 sub, Pass Labs X350 power amp, MIT Oracle cables, Sony SCD-DVP-NS500V SACD/DVD player, Gamut CD-a CD player.
THE ABSOLUTE SOUND = Halcro's startling new amplifier makes the cover of the new August/September issue (its price is also startling). Five cutting-edge preamps are compared, 25 speakers under $2500 are evaluated and the best selected, the new Image speaker line from PSB impresses TAS and more than 50 classical, jazz and pop discs are reviewed. Shane Buettner presents the first of an excellent two-part article titled High Resolution Digital, and subtitled What Can We Expect from DVD-A & SACD? In Part II, next issue, he will deal with one of our strong interests here at AUDIOPHILE AUDITION - alternative surround sound setups for music. Five budget phono cartridges are reviewed and an interview with conductor Paavo Jarvi is featured. Other equipment reports: Dahlquist QX6 speaker, B&W 602.5 speaker, Pioneer Elite DV-47A Universal player, preamps from Plinius, Rogue Audio and Marsh Sound, Burmeister Rondo 991 integrated amp, Denon DVD-9000 DVD-Audio player, Audio Physics Minos subwoofer, Isophon Europa speaker, Tenor 75w OTL amp.
LISTENER = The new September/October issue of this steadfastly Readers' Digest-size hi-fi and music review has a cover shot of a new small horn speaker from Carfrae positioned against a fountain and city skyline. It's the first U.S. review of this high sensitivity British full-range rear wave horn-loaded speaker using a standard 7-inch Lowther driver but augmented by a pair of powered subwoofers. As the cover placement indicates, the reviewer felt their $17.5K price worth it. Other cover stories are Ken Kessler on the new biography of the late Paul Klipsch, Michael Fremer on The Stones and reviews of phono preamps from Conrad Johnson, Art Audio, Linn, Camelot, and Coph Nia. There is coverage of the 2002 Home Entertainment Show in New York, and a piece on the new-found popularity of The Turtles. Other equipment reviewed: SOTA Sapphire turntable (recommended) and Audio Magic ExcaliburII cables.
WIDESCREEN REVIEW = for July has an image from Black Hawk Down on the cover, reviews of that feature plus Galaxy Quest and 43 other DVD reviews, another exclusive report on the new D-VHS, D-Theater hi-res movies, a comparative perspective on IEEE 1394 (Firewire) vs. DVI, "Inside HDTV" - discussing the rapid change occurring there, and major reviews of JVC's DLA-G150CLU Cineline video projector and the PSB Stratus Series loudspeaker system. Editor Gary Reber promotes the idea of "day-and-date" release of the new D-Theater hi-res movies - in other words releasing new ones simultaneously with the DVD release and the release of VHS at a rental price. The HDTV feature predicts that this year is either going to see hi-def as a major consumer product, or it will remain relegated tto the top end of the home theater market.
WIDESCREEN REVIEW = A shot from The Time Machine is on the cover of the August issue with another exclusive report on D-VHS and D-Theater components and software. A story on Loudspeaker Accuracy is subtitled Room Acoustics and Speaker Positioning, and the two components to make the front cover are the Pioneer Elite DV-47A Universal DVD-A/SACD player and Hitachi's 53-inch HDTV rear-projection unit. This is the first of two sections on the Pioneer player and reviews only the video performance, which WSR finds to be unexcelled; the audio playback will be covered in the next issue. There are 40 DVD-V reviews plus 3 D-VHS reviews.
HI-FI NEWS = Linn's Classik Movie is premiered on the cover and inside the July issue. the £2000 box provides the source end for the popular home-theater-in-a-box speaker systems by combining a DVD player, surround processor and five-channel amp in one unit. Other cover features are TAG McLaren's 250MR next-generation power amp, Sony's top multichannel SACD player - the SCD-XA777ES, Spendor's S8 broadcast monitor speaker comeback, and Richard Lord of REL holding forth on subwoofers in "Ace of Bass." Lord feels the home cinema market is immature and most subwoofers fail to integrate with the rest of the system, becoming "synonymous with a boom-box." Bad Vibes is the first of a two-part investigation of vibrations that hinder accurate music reproduction. Other components reviewed: Chord DAC 64, Unison Research Unico amp, Audio Research VS55 amp, Eclipse TD508PA speaker, Sennheiser HD451 SoundGard noise-cancelling phones, AudioValve Assistent amp, Musical Fidelity A3.2 amp, VideoLogic Sirocco Pro system, Tivoli Model One table radio from Henry Kloss, Castle Stirling 3 speeaker, Perpetual Technologies DAC upgrade.
HI-FI NEWS = B&W's Nautilus N800 flagship speaker is tested in the August issue and is on the cover. The review asks "B&W still supreme?" The Pioneer VSA-AX10A monster cinema amp also makes the cover and is described as an AV amp that's good enough for hi-fi. Krell's 400CX new generation muscle amp and ATC's new Active 10 speakers are other cover features, and there are tests of components from Sony, Mission, Pro-Ject, JM lab, Pure, Townshend, Primare, Harman/Kardon, Denon, NAD, Nordost and REL. Other hardware includes a DAB radio from Videologic Pure, a 192K sampling rate sound card for PCs, and the Isotek SubStation AC isolator. Keith Howard concludes his useful feature on More Bad Vibes, dealing this time with the effects of external vibrations on speakers and their stands (solid heavy stands and cones may not be the best way to go...). Hi-res releases from Olivia Newton-John, The Persuasions and Monty Alexander are reviewed.
AUDIO XPRESS = The July issue covers the following: Rescue That Old Busted Speaker Driver, Nelson Pass on Upgrading Zen's Power Source, Revitalize Your DVD Player, Build a Classic Marantz 8B Amp, Flared Ports: Better or Worse?, Understanding Diffraction Woes, and Building a Tube Preamp. Four ILP Power Amp Modules as well as Liberty's New Praxis Analyzer are reviewed. The DVD player revitalization involves only simple available materials and no soldering, plus proper setup with the Video Essentials HT DVD.
AUDIOXPRESS = The August issue's cover articles are: How to Improve Your Listening Room (using the Cara 2.0 Computer-Aided Room Acoustics Software), Furniture Grade Finishes for Your (DIY) Speakers, Taking the Mystery Out of Dual Voice-Coil Use, Relays to Protect Your Speakers, Build This Big 45w/channel Power Amp (and there's a pix of it), Regulators for the Pass Zen Amps, Build a Simple Single-Ended Amp, and Quick Guide to Old Old Tubes.
LISTENER = The July-August issue has the ASL Tulip tube amp on the cover and asks if it is the sweetest amp for less than a grand. Bluegrass guitar legend Tony Rice is profiled and Denmark's Ortofon Jubilee phono cartridge (called amazing) also make the front cover but are not pictured. Reviewed are Naim's now-discontinued but great-value NAC 32-5 preamp, Loricraft's expensive PRC3 record cleaner, Wasatch RCA-104-U interconnects and LC-540 speaker cables, Audio Note Kit 1.2 DAC, and the Rega P3 upgrade kit. And plenty of bunny pictures.
THE SENSIBLE SOUND = The July/August issue has on the cover the tall and thin EOSS Musiko speakers with their accompanying subs ($5000 - is the mag getting less sensible than it once was?)Other cover stories are Legacy's Signature III Step One Processor and U-vola speakers (Italian for "flying egg" and they look like that). Publisher John Horan explains the deep social ramifications of the recent vacuum tube revival in "Tu.be Or Not Tu.be?" Howard Ferstler talks about his adventures with DVD-Audio, and there are about 30 pages of disc reviews.
SOUND & VISION = for July-August has four DVD-V players on the front cover, all for $200 or less - from Hitachi, Panasonic, Samsung and Zenith. Upscale surround receivers from Yamaha, Denon and Integra are reviewed, plus Sony's Web-Savy MicroMV Camcorder. Hidden DVD Treasures Revealed is another feature article, and there's a section on Home Recording Tips. Also reviewed are Pioneer's latest 58-inch widescreen HDTV, speakers from M&K and Athena, and a $400 receiver from Panasonic. Satellite Radio: Riding High is a complete guide to the new Sirius and XM services, including a test drive. Connecting your computer and home entertainment gear together with wireless technology is explained in No Strings Attached. Other reviews: Outlaw Audio Model 950 surround preamp, Niles ZR-4630 multizone stereo receiver.
AUDIO IDEAS GUIDE = for Spring 2002 sports the Anthem 7-Channel Surround Preamp on the cover - reviewed with its matching 7-channel amp, together with a long list of just about everything in the issue. The home theater section covers the very high end Simaudio Moon Stellar DVD player, EAC DVDMaster DVD-A player, Marantz DV-12S1 DVD-A player & SR8200 AV receiver, Bryston 6B ST 3-channel amp, Sony Wega KV32XBR450 HD-ready TV, Panasonic DVD-RP91 DVD-A Player, Sunfire Theatre Grand II followup, and TEAC PLD2000 Full Dolby Digital/DTS System. Also: Sony SCD-777ES multichannel SACD player, Ortofon Kontrapunkt b MC cartridge, Aperion Audio 7.1 DiAural HT speaker system, Arcam FMJ CD23 CD player & FMJ A32 integrated amp, Musical Fidelity NuVista 3D CD player, Amphion Athena/Dahlquist/Athena Technologies speakers, Mosaic URC-9950 Universal remote control and Kimber Palladian AC cables. A new audiophile cartoon strip rounds out the quarterly issue.
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE = Ann Sofie Otter graces the cover of the July issue, with an artiel on her role as Carmen. These cover features: The Battle for Bach, Why Do Composers Love to Hate Brahms?, John Dowland: Composer of the Month, Barber's Violin Concerto featured in Building a Library, and Gerald Barry on Music That Changed Me. An Audio Special includes ten pages of sound room make-overs.
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE = Violinist Maxim Vengerov kicks off the Proms as well as the August issue cover. Composer of the month is Zoltan Kodaly, Building a Library discusses Beethoven's Sixth, Sarah Connolly speaks on Music That Changed Me, world music presentation is changed by the WOMAD organization, "Braveheart" explores the trials of Clara Schumann, and various composers salute the bicycle in The Wheel Thing.
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW = Pianist Mitsuko Uchida is described as A Searching Schubertian on the cover of the July issue.Handel's Hercules from Minkowski, and Norwegian Orchestral Music, and Modernism to the Present Day are other cover stories. There are five pages of music DVD reviews. Contemporary Music on CD brings to light some interesting piano-based releases from New York's XI label, and the magazine's monthly list of record label websites is a useful reference. The initial classical review is of the Shifting Landscapes SACD which we raved about in our May issue.
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW = Violinist Gil Shaham is on the cover of the August issue, subtitled "A Fresh Approach to Brahms." Michael Oliver writes on Ives the Iconoclast and the DVD-V of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito is reviewed, as well as Weill's Street Scene. The handy Index to Reviews in the front organizes reviews by composer, and there is also a monthly list of all new classical titles issued.
THE INNER EAR REPORT = The "magazine worth listening to" was just received but is only designated as Vol. 14, #3. The Integra DTR 8.2 AV Receiver, YBA Integre Passion integrated amp, both Halo MG SPM 8 and Scarlet Audio Pearl monoblock amps, Polk Audio Lsi 15 speakers, Audio Aero Prima 24/192 DAC and Opera Audio Consonance Reference 6.6 integrated amp are reviewed this issue. "Deciphering the Software Format" is Part 1 of a discussion of SACD and DVD-Audio by Paul DiComo. A report on CES 2002 and Part 2 of a series on turntables are other features.
THE BAS SPEAKER = The recently-received second part of Vol. 24 from the Boston Audio Society boasts many interesting news bits and discussion in addition to detailed reports on three of their meetings in 2001. The newsletter has no illustrations or advertising. Speaking to the most active audiophile organization in the U.S. were Joel Rosenblatt of Atlantic Technology , Christopher Field of EOSS speakers and Robert Berkovitz of Sensimetrics. Among the many commentaries are items on antennas, rubber belts for open reel decks, HDTV, pianist Leon Fleisher's return to two-handed performing, artifacts created by digital codecs, and web links for tinnitus sufferers.
AES JOURNAL = The just-received June issue, Vol. 50, No. 6, has papers on Loudspeaker Dual-Coil Drivers, Modeling Voice-Coil Frequency Dependence, Judging Impulse Response Similarity, and Loudspeaker Fault Detection. There is a report of the 112th convention in Munich and a call for papers for the upcoming 114th convention in Amsterdam.
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