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




SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HT

PRINT PRESS   
Updated 8/11/04

STEREOPHILE ULTIMATE AV (September) - Over 70 movie DVDs are recommended and given brief reviews this issue. The second major DVD article is titled on the inside “HD DVDzilla vs. BLU-RAYthra” and describes the upcoming monster battle of the two hi-def formats for the next generation of DVDs. Earlier indications were that a Hollywood industry group would make the final decision between the two HDVD formats, but no mention of that is made in the article. Could it be another idiotic format war is in the offing? The third DVD feature reviews hot new DVD video players from Ayre, Denon, Pioneer and V Inc. The Denon is also another universal format disc player. Joel Brinkley writes on the Long Haul to HDTV. Other hardware covered: Bel Canto eV02 2-Channel Monoblock Amps, Samsung HLN467W DLP RPTV (46”), Fujitsu P55XHA30WS Plasma Monitor (55”). The movie DVD of the month is Alfie.

STEREOPHILE ULTIMATE AV (July/August) = Stir Your Senses is the title of the cover story on Marantz’ new VP12S3 DLP front projector. Secrets of Great TV Performance Revealed is another feature, plus the latest from Washington DC on the future of HDTV. Surrounded! is a review of Magnepan’s MG 3.6 and MG 1.6 surround speaker system, which is a cut above their hinged wall-panel system and retails for $7K. The reviewer describes the “out-of-body” experience with these planer panels. Other reviews: Rotel RSP-1068 Surround Processor, Loewe Articos 55 rear-projection DLP display, Adcom GTP-880 & GFA-7607 preamp-processor & multichannel power amp, RCA Scenium HDLP50W151 rear-projection DLP display, Sony Grand Wega KF-50WE610 rear-projection LCD TV, Avia Pro Test DVDs & CD-ROM. Tom Norton editorializes on Dolby Firing a Volley Across Microsoft/s Bow. There’s a feature on the cultural legacy of Bruce Lee.

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND (August-September) - A panel discussion on The Sound of Analog Tape, LP, CD, SACD and DVD-A is the main cover story. Participating are Mark Levinson, Harry Pearson, Doug Sax and Jonathan Valin. You’ll probably learn quite a bit that has not been clearly stated before. Cover component reviews include the Equinox CD player from Simaudio Moon, Edge Electronics’ affordable high end G2AC/DC Preamp and G8+ Monoblocks, and Avalon Audio’s new diamond-tweeter speaker - the Crown Jewel. There’s a survey of the recent Spring show put on by Primedia in NYC. Other equipment reviews: Rotel RA-1062 integrated amp, below-$2000 speakers from Infinity, Canton, Dynaudio and Bohlender, Exposure’s 2010 integrated amp and power amp, Harbeth’s SHL5 speaker, Rockport’s Mira speaker, Pass XA160 power amp, Accuphase P7000 amp and Talon Firebird speaker.

STEREOPHILE (August) - “Big Sound, Bigger Value” is promised for the cover story on McIntosh’s MC501 Amplifier with it’s big bluish-lit meter on the front. There are reports on the New York Home Entertainment Show put on my Primedia, Reviews of cables from AudioQuest, a DAC from Lavry, Amps from Sugden, a Tonearm from Kuzma and a subwoofer from MartinLogan. Musically, the cover stories include the ‘Phile’s new audiophile SACD & LP or Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and the new SACD of jazz’ young man Jamie Cullum. Clarinetist (and founder of Musical Fidelity) Antony Michaelson and recording engineer Tony Faulkner are interviewed about their new Mozart Clarinet Concerto SACD & LP. There is a followup review on Shunyata’s Anaconda AC cords and Hydra AC conditioner.

DVD ETC. (September-October) - Installation of the Sonance In-Ceiling Speakers is the biggest thing on the cover this issue. There is a Buyer‘s Guide to HDD/DVD Recorders, Cable reviews of Harmonic Technology, Monster, Tara Labs and Synergistic Research, interviews with the directors of Aladdin and The Butterfly Effect, and “Behind the Magic” is an article by iconoclastic animator Ralph Bakshi on “The Art of Rotoscoping, or Animation With Heart.” The Test Center tests HDD/DVD Players from Toshiba and Sharp, home theater speakers from JBL and SVS’s PC-Ultra subwoofer . The Yamaha RX-V1400 AV Receiver and the Antex Triple Play Satellite Radio Receiver are reviewed. Among the DVD reviews are Miracle, Smallville Season 2, Blazing Saddles, Predator and the Passion of the Christ.

DVD ETC. (July-August) = The home entertainment publication observes its second anniversary with this issue. It features a summer portable spectacular with short reviews of widescreen portable DVD players from Toshiba, Mintek, Polaroid, Coby, Apex, Go-Video, Cyberhome and Sharper Image. Headphones from JVC, Aiwa, Sennheiser and Sharper Image are also reviewed, plus the inexpensive Boostaroo headphone amp. Other cover features are Ten Simple Ways to Improve Your Home Theater, George Barris and Kustom Industries, DVD-Audio or SACD - What’s the Best?, and Shawn Levy and Ken Annakin are profiled in Director’s Cut. Other reviews: Yamaha DVX-S120 Home Cinema System, Editor’s Pick Theater Under $5K, Cables from Transparent, Magnan, Gutwire and Cardas; Outlaw Audio’s LFM-1 subwoofer, and software reviews of Robocop, Big Fish, Saving Private Ryan, Tarzan, Ghosts of the Abyss and more. The creator of the surround sound score for Monster is interviewed, and there are five hi-res disc reviews.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (August) - The three unusual beings from Hellboy grace the front cover and that’s one of the over 40 DVD reviews in this issue. Microsoft Windows Media 9 hi-def software is the subject of an extended interview with MS’ Amir Mjidimehr. Blu-ray and HD DVD On Collision Course* is another cover story, and the third main feature is China & Korea Launch of a new HD Disc Format. Features reviews this time are DVDO’s iScan HD video processor and the SLS HT400 home theater speaker system. Editor Gary Reber writes on the CD/DVD DualDisc and asks Is VHS Tape Dead? Other component reviews: Hitachi 50VX500 50-inch LCD RPTV, Meridian 861v4 preamp & processor ($21,000), Atlantic Technology System 8200 speakers and Zektor MAS3 6-channel audio switcher. [* = Time is running out on the hi-def DVD battle - Hollywood doesn’t want two formats and may force a choice.]

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (July) = Johnny Depp peers out from the front cover this month and a review of his Secret Window is one of the over 40 DVD reviews inside. The Sony Qualia 004 SXRD hi-def front projector is the big component review this time. Other cover reviews are of Monster Power’s Backbone System Part II, Yamaha’s LPX-510 LCD Projector, Denon’s DVD-5900 Universal disc player, and ExactPower’s EP15A & SP15A AC Line System Part II. “MGM for Sony Blu-ray?” suggests that Sony’s recent bid to purchase a second big movie studio is to create more momentum for their Blu-ray HD format. The various home theater systems used by the staff in all their evaluations are detailed in each issue.

THE SENSIBLE SOUND (July-August) - Axiom’s Epic Grand Master 5.1 speaker system is on the front cover with a detailed and complementary review inside. The 2004 CES is summarized and three phono cartridges in the $300-$400 area are reviewed: from Grado, Shure and Clearaudio. This is the 100th issue and 27th year of the audio publication, and the Looking Back column talks about some of the ups and downs of the mag’s long history and has a list of points which the magazine’s contributors were asked to address. For example: Most treasured recording, Most exciting component purchase, Favorite loudspeaker, Most disappointing hyped product, Favorite audio writer. Howard Ferstler’s Skeptimania column is about upgrades to the second of his three audio systems, and his disc reviews spend more time discussing how they sound thru his many “boingerizer” options than what the music is about.

HDTV ETC. (Summer 2004) = This is also the first anniversary issue of the spin-off from DVD ETC. It features a directory of over 400 hi-def monitors - both direct view and RPTV. A summer programming guide to HD telecasts is also part of the issue. Articles include HDTV Copyright Issues and the FCC’s Anti-Piracy Order, a piece on creating the special effect bugs in Starship Troopers 2, an HDTV Glossary of Terms, and Steven Hill of Straight Wire Speaks Out. The test center evaluates the Kaleidescape Media Server, Toshiba 26HL83 26-inch LCD display, Sign Video PA-100 color processing amp, Toshiba SD-P2600 8.9” DVD player, and cables from Blue Heaven, Marigo, MIT and Monster. Another cover item is a Buyer’s Guide to Hi-Def Receivers.

SOUND & VISION (July-August) = More summer-themed stuff: Summer Gadgets Go High-Tech, e-Life On the Go, HDTV Setup Made Easy, Plasma Paradise (review of three sleek & sexy 42” flat panels from LG, Panasonic and Sony), A DVD Recorder Buying Guide listing 40 different models, and decks from Toshiba, Yamaha and LiteOn compared. Equipment reviews: Sony DVP-NC685V 5-disc DVD Changer, Sharp On-Wall DVD/Receiver, KEF Instant Theater (creates 5.1 effect with just sub and two front speakers which look like small camcorders with big lenses), Artison On-Wall Speakers, Infinity Beta home theater speaker system, Denon AVR-3805 surround receiver, JVC CU-VH1 hi-def video player/recorder (designed for use with a hi-def camcorder).

THE PERFECT VISION (July/August) = Fujitsu’s 50-inch plasma screen is the only component on the front cover, and described as an HD Plasma Breakthrough. The issue has seven recommended HDTV Home Theaters ranging from $3200 to $200,000, a review of Gateway’s Big Screen HDTV offering hi-def at low price, and features on Calibrating your TV Like a Pro, and on HD recording using LG Electronic’s new HD-PVR. Other equipment reports: Yama RX-V1400 AV Receiver, Integra DTR-7.4 AV Receiver, Totem Acoustic Rainmaker multichannel speaker system, and three mid-priced DLP front projectors: from MAXX, SIM2 and DreamVision. Sony’s next-generation HT products are given an advance look and in Film Forum the recent DVD release of Schindler’s List is discussed.

HI-FI NEWS (August) - The Tannoy Kensington speaker with single ten-inch Dual Concentric driver graces the cover and is described as a work of art. TACT’s digital room correction system is surveyed and other reviews noted on the cover are T+A’s hi-tech record deck (which even has an Internet connection for some reason), Marantz’ flagship preamp and power amp and Musical Fidelity’s X-Ray V3 CD player. Inside reviews: B&W 704 speaker, Magnum Dynalab MD 106 high-end FM tuner, AAD S-5 speaker, KEF KIT 100 5-channel speaker system from a sub and two satellites, Acoustic Energy Aego 2 sub/satellite system, Ortofon Kontrapunkt C cartridges, Campaign Audio cables, Spendor S5e speaker. Articles cover how to copy your LPs to optical disc, a report on CEDIA 2004, Barry Fox observes the SACD library hitting the 2000 point, and John Crabbe writes on the moronification of radio, and Ken Kessler discusses Todd Rundgren’s wizardry in the studio.
AV TECH is a 48-page publication which comes with HI-FI NEWS and is described as the definitive audiovisual technology guide. Home Cinema Goes Wireless is the main cover story this issue, there is a rating of the top AV receivers selling for around £1000, and in-depth tests of JVC’s DLA-HX1 video projector and Fujitsu’s P55HXA30ES plasma display. Other articles: Sony VAIO Network Media Server, Fujitsu’s e-ALiS panel technology and a discussion of D-ILA (Direct-Drive Image Light Amplification).

HI-FI NEWS (July) = An angled view of the Oracle Delphi MK V turntable graces the front cover, and the feature on it is Return of the Oracle - Legendary Linn-beating turntable back in the UK. The huge popularity of low-res audio formats due to their portability and convenience is illustrated by a cover story on the mag’s testing of Apple’s mini iPod - not the first audiophile publication to do this either. While they felt it’s one of the best-performing portable players money can buy, they discerned slight degradations in sonic quality with each new iPod brought out since the original model. Other cover features: Spendor’s new S83 speaker, Audio Research’s CD3 II disc player and Resolution Audio’s Opus 21 CD player and S30 amp. Digital audiophile amps from Bel Canto and ESLab are reviewed, a tube amp from PrimaLuna for under £1k, and NHT’s Evolution powered speaker.

SURROUND PROFESSIONAL (Vol. 7, Issue 2) - This is a Preview Edition of the pro surround sound publication which includes the complete upcoming program for the Entertainment Media Expo happening in Hollywood August 30 thru September 1. Feature articles include composer Amon Tobin’s work on the surround soundtrack for a video game - Splinter Cell 3, an analysis of the new Crystal Method DVD-A “Legion of Doom,” and reviews of Dolbys LM100 level meter, Digidesign’s Revibe, and the GS900 and 9048 speakers from Genex Audio.

AUDIO PERFECTIONIST JOURNAL No. 11 = Amplification Components, Part 2 is the focus of this expensive, advertising-free, and well-written 44-page journal which lays out the basics of audio systems, how they work and how to select the best ones to buy. Richard Hardesty is at the helm, and he begins with an illustrated primer on amp power and amp sound which is very understandable. There is an interview with David Reich, who designed the Theta amps which Hardesty feels are among the very best. The amp survey covers the ARC VT100 MKIII, Ayre V-5x, Halo JC-1 monoblocks, Nagra VPA, Theta Citadel monoblocks, VTL 450 monoblocks, and even a section titled Not Recommended (B&K, Image Research, Linn switch-mode amp). One of the mods to the Sony DVP-S90000ES SACD player is reviewed, and there is a section on multichannel amps. For more info: www.audioperfectionist.com

BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #157) = The headline for the new newsletter is An Innovative and Different Way of Making a Passive Line Controller; it is Martin DeWulf’s first impressions of the Sonic Euphoria autoformer-type passive preamp. He also reviews the Lloyd Walker Precision Motor Controller, River Cable/s FLEXYGY 6 speaker cable, Pass Labs Xono Outboard Phono Stage and Gallo Acoustic’s Nucleus Reference3 speakers. In Search of Synergy is his recommendation of a great-sounding modest audio system. Black CD-Rs and the Burn Your Own Conspiracy reports on MGD’s experiences with burning CD copies to see if they sound better than the original pressing. [Why he calls it a conspiracy I don’t know because often they do and that’s what he’s found out. He also found he got the best sound using the slowest burning speed, and that CD burners built into computers worked better than outboard ones. The people at Genesis Technologies found just the opposite on the latter. So far I haven’t felt it’s worth the bother except to burn a personal test-tracks demo disc - and I haven’t figured out how to match the levels of each track when doing that...Ed.]

THE INNER EAR REPORT (Vol. 16, No. 1) = The very fat plugs on Nordost’s Vishnu power cords are in closeup on the front cover and reviewed inside. Other cover stories: Accustic Arts CD player, Exposure CD player, Connoisseur Audio Integrated amp, Manley Snapper monoblocks, Pro-Ject 1Xpression turntable, Logosound Audio Feet, Pioneer PDP-4340 HD Plasma Monitor, Speakers: Polk Audio 6700s speakers and PSW505 subwoofers, PSB Platinum Series T8, StudioLab Reference 1, Armadillo SSX Professional Monitors. The editorial is High-End, Low-End, What’s in Between? and there is an informal report from the January 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

THE BAS SPEAKER (Vol. 26, Issue 2) - The plain-cover publication of the very active Boston Audio Society is packed with the sort of AV talk one doesn’t see elsewhere. Articles this issue include The Death of Dynamic Range, Computer Name That Tune, Crafting Sound, and By Any Measure. Summaries of past meetings of the group include one with DIY Audio Products, another with representatives of the Boston Symphony Transcription Trust Archives, and a fascinating tour of the Frederick Historical Piano Collection. The charts with the Dynamic Range article are worth seeing; first because any illustrations are unusual for this rag, and secondly because they clearly illustrate the horrors of the loudness wars’ effect on many CD’s recording levels. Some of the other subjects touched on are headphone amplification, the preference of many of vinyl over digital, overpriced hearing aids, cryogenically freezing brass instruments to improve their sound (didn’t work), digital display considerations. There is also a survey of several other AV publications.

AUDIO XPRESS (August) - Latest PA Horns - Real Crowd-Pleasers is the main cover story of this issue which celebrates 35 years of publishing for Audio Amateur Inc. Other stories on the front are Dream Project: Room Correction System, Improving Two Classic Amps, Build This Tube and Transistor Tracer, and Testing Selectronic’s Crossover/Amp. Editor Ed Dell writes on the impact of the Internet on the audio industry in general and his publication specifically. Other features: Modifying Dynaco SCA-35s, The DR200 Horn speaker.

BBC MUSIC (August) - Nicola Benedetti adds glamour to the front cover; she’s the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Fame Academy is a story on the Verbier Festival, where today’s students train to become tomorrow’s Berlin Philharmonic. God Save Us From Bad National Anthems finds that most anthems exhort the citizens to spill sacrificial blood in the nation’s cause. And that Netherlands has the oldest music, Japan the oldest words, Greece the most verses (158), and Qater the shortest at 32 seconds flat. Writers on Music explores EM Forster, the Composer of the Month is Dufay, and the included CD of the month is Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, recorded live at the Proms series. There are over 170 reviews this issue.

BBC MUSIC (July) = Mezzo Susan Graham graces the cover this month and in a feature titled Strides Through Strauss. How new composers get around the monoliths of music is titled Birtwistle Bypass. Opera Rocks! is a story on the BBC broadcasting Wagner at Glastonbury, and Turkish Delight is about a London festival in which Western traditions show Eastern promise. The CD included with the publication this month is the Galliard Ensemble in modern classics for woodwinds by Nielsen, Ligeti, Barber and Francaix. There are 160 disc and book reviews in this issue, including a breakout on TDK’s new video DVD series of filmed vocal recitals by Grace Bumbry, Dawn Upshaw, Thomas Hampson and Barbara Bonney.



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