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AUDIOPHILE AUDITION - web magazine for music, audio & home theater
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SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HT

PRINT PRESS   
Updated 3/11/04

THE PERFECT VISION (March/April) = Pioneer’s highly Elite 50-inch plasma races towards the finish line on the cover, and the fine print you can’t read here is: Mega DVD Player Survey!, HD DVD is Coming!, Speakers from B&W and Revel, New Rotel DVD/Receiver, Bargain 50-inch Plasma from Samsung, Adcom’s New Controller/Tuner, InFocus DLP Projector, HD Leeza Scaler from Key Digital, and The Best and Worst in Home Theater. (The worst and dumbest HT selections are interesting; they’ll have readers looking in the back to see if any of those are current advertisers. Wagers on that?) Jonathan Valin selects the best DVD transfers of 2003, as well as highly recommending Ozu’s “Tokyo Story.” Also covered: Harmony SST-659 Internet-Programmable Remote, and a tour of a Korean plasma and flat-panel display factory.

STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER (March/April) = This is the 2004 Recommended Components issue, with over 140 products rated. Genesis’ new 6.1 HT speaker system is an exclusive and called electrifying. Tag McLaren may have scaled back their high end biz, but their AV192 surround preamp-processor is given a rave by Tom Norton. Other cover features are an article on Great-Sounding HT on a Budget, and Six Essentials to Planning the Perfect Room. (Everything on this cover has an exclamation mark after it, so just pretend there's one after all of those...) Articles on the Future of Copy Protection and another on Lawrence of Arabia look interesting. Other components are: Aragon Stage One & 3005 preamp-processor & 5-channel amp, Linn Unidisk 1.1 universal player, Theta Dreadnaught II amp.

STEREOPHILE (March) = Though labeled a Special Issue on Multichannel Music all that was apparent under that rubric was one of the occasional articles by Kalman Rubinson on multichannel formats in which he seems to be the only other writer besides ourselves reviewing some of the alternative D&G “2+2+2” DVD-As. He also listens to a McIntosh multichannel preamp. Sonus Faber’s Cremona speakers grace the cover, described as Italian Style + High-End Sound. Musical Fidelity’s M1 turntable is another cover feature, plus amps from Hovland, Theta, Adcom, Antique Sound Lab, Jeff Rowland, Music Hall & McIntosh. There’s a story on “Classical’s Mr. Nice Guy:” Simon Rattle, and the latest JA-produced audio CD is a spirituals outing from Cantus titled “Deep River.” Only 138 pages this month.

DVD ETC. (April) = Their DVD Buyer’s Guide covers over 65 different DVD Portables. On the cover is the 37-inch Aquos LCD panel from Sharp which is said to outshine plasma. Features include DVDs We’re Still Waiting For, Behind the Magic of Spielberg’s Taken, Interviews with Pianist/ Screenwriter Ronald Harwood and with director Mark Hamil. Reviews in the Test Center section include: Crystal View DLP Projector, LG LST-3510A HD receiver/DVD player combo, Mintek’s 8-inch portable DVD player, SAVV’s 10-disc changer and headrest monitor for mobile use, and speakers from JM Lab, Phase Technology and RBH. And don’t miss their last page review of the new Super XVHS Interpellator V 1.1 DL Pro 2 1/2!!

DVD ETC. (March) = The main cover story is a “Sneak Preview” of the 2004 CES in Las Vegas - which seems rather odd since that event occurred back in early January. (One of the unavoidable problems of all print publications, heh-heh...) The DVD Buyer’s Guide this month covers over 60 different DVD changers. Features include: Ten Questions with Seabiscuit’s star and director, Interview with Robert Rodriquez of Once Upon A Time in Mexico, and a piece on DVD Extras. Component reviews: EchoStar DISH DVR satellite recorder, Dynaudio Contour HT speaker system, Samsung HDTV receiver, Kenwood HT in-a-box, Gateway Windows media center (discussed also in our Audio News for 3/10), Hitachi UltraVision Digital 57-inch HDTV, BenQ DLP projector. Plus 20 mobile products from CES.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (March) = Intriguing cover stories: HD Disc Battle Lines Drawn, New Products at CES, and A New Surround Sound Standard? The latter is Editor Gary Reber’s call for an alternative to the recommended Home THX setup with dipole surround speakers - for five or more full range speakers and a sub. He uses the term holosonic. (I submit we’ve had such a system for decades - it’s called Ambisonic.) Shots from Once Upon a Time in Mexico are on the front cover, component reviews of Sharp’s XV-Z1200 HD2+ (wow!) projector and Rotel’s RSP-1098 surround processor/preamp and RMB-1075 multichannel amp, and a link to 40+ reviews of DVDs and D-VHSs. Other equipment inside: Epson PowerLite Home 10 LCD projector. Discussion of the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s famed BetaMax Decision is also here.

HI-FI NEWS (March) = Musical Fidelity’s M1 turntable and SME M2 tonearm is the only item on the front cover, titled Spin On This. Other cover blurbs: Sugden’s Masterclass Class A amp and CD, dCS Player Does DSD/SACD and Upsamples CDs, Audio Research High-Tech Valve Amp, and Horn Speakers from Ferguson Hill. Also: JBL S5800 speaker, Vienna Acoustics Strauss speakers, Arcam Diva A80/P80/CD73 amps and CD player, Roksan Kandy DVD/integrated/KMA 3, Tivoli Radio combo system, Never Connected power supply, Townshend Maximum supertweeter, Denon DVD-2200 universal player. Barry Fox writes on the B&W/Kef litigation and Angus McKenzie says forget DAB in the UK and go for digital satellite radio instead.

HI-FI NEWS (February) = More speakers in this one, with a cover feature titled Speaker Heaven and reviews of entries from Mission, Focal-JMlab, Monitor Audio, Mirage, Opera, Revel, Ruark and Tannoy. Other cover-touted reviews are the Avid Diva turntable, T+A V-10 valve amp from Germany, Copland integrated amp from Denmark, and a big new active speaker from Tannoy. Other audio hardware: Orelle CA100/SP100 pre/power amp, Origin Live motor upgrade, Icon Audio Stereo 40 integrated valve amp, Cardas Golden Reference speaker cables, Musical Fidelity X-LPS V3 phono stage and X-CANS V3 headphone amp. There’s a report on the recent tube focused high-end show in Milan and on a reader’s system using big Tannoy dual concentric Westminster speakers.

HDTV ETC. (Winter 2003/04) = The companion publication to DVD ETC. Also features a special buyer’s guide to over 200 high-def products and an article on the Future of Television. Helpful feature subjects in this issue include Buying a HDTV, HDTV 101, HD Programming, Windows HD, HD-DVDs & PVRs, HDTV Integrated Tuners, and Maximizing your HT Experience. Equipment reviews cover video projectors and displays from Vidikron, RCA, Samsung & Toshiba; players and recorders from Orion and Roku; speakers from NHT, Monitor Audio, Klipsch & RBH and various accessories from Zenith, Bell’O & Harmony. The world’s largest LCD flat screen is the Samsung review - their 40-inch 16:9 panel. The HDTV Glossary of Terms could be the main stimulus for many novices to pick up this issue.

SOUND & VISION (February/March) = The leads of The Fifth Element are looking startled off a Pioneer Elite plasma screen at the model leaning on a giant red chair in the shape of a hand. This Fifth Anniversary Issue gives the biggest type to a review/comparison of three widescreen sets - from Panasonic, Philips and Toshiba - which are touted as HDTV Bargains. The test reports cover a multiformat DVD recorder from Toshiba, Paradigm’s Studio 40 v.3 home theater speaker system, Harmon Kardon’s AVR 330 digital surround receiver, Magnepan’s Magneplanar MMG flat-panel home theater speakers, the Dell Dimension 4600C Media Center, and Kaleidescape’s movie server. There is a Guide to Universal DVD Players, a feature on the best online music stores, and 20 Top HDTV Questions Answered. The director of Men in Black is interviewed.

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND (February/March) = Meridian’s DSP70000 digital loudspeaker is called revolutionary and a digital dynamo on the cover where their bright red glossy finish dominates. Up in the top corner is the spacey-looking Beolab 5 speaker from B & O. The Rotel CD player is credited with landmark performance and the software area covers some of 2003’s best CD boxed sets. This issue has the Product of the Year Awards, a speaker cable survey, tips on tuning your turntable, and a list of recommended source components. Component reviews: MartinLogan Aeon I Hybrid electrostatic speaker, Definitive Technology BP77001SC supertower speaker, Coincident Speaker Technology Partial Eclipse Series II speaker Atma-Sphere MA-1 Silver Edition OTL Amp.

AV TECH (February) = This is a 40-page companion that comes with and is published by HI-FI NEWS. I don’t know if it’s to be a regular monthly feature or not, but it is billed as the Definitive Audio/Visual Technology Guide. The Marantz VP-12S3 HDCP-compliant DLP video projector is on the cover and reviewed inside. Four plasma screens are tested: Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer and Samsung. A group test of universal players covers the Denon DVD-A11, Marantz DV-12S2, and Pioneer DV-668AV and DV-868Avi. David Perry explains the mysteries of 3-2 pulldown in a special feature and Ken Kessler selects some favorite DVDs known for their visual chops.

AUDIO XPRESS (March) = Cover stories: Tribute to Quad’s Peter Walker, An Amazing Supersensitive Measurement Unit for under $150, Build This Single-Ended 8W Tube Amp, A Classic Study of Amp Harmonic Distortion, DIY Burn-In Kit, Thin Speaker Upgrade, Building Boxes with Slanted Fronts, Showcasing a Neat “First” Amp, Software to Restore Sound Recordings. The latter is not a survey of all such software but only of the Virtos Noise Wizard, which received a recommendation, goes for $89, and is for PCs running Cool Edit or Sound Forge only. A reader letter accuses writer Gary Galo of a bias against DVD-Audio; he answers saying that he began preferring DVD-A but switched due to the dearth of material using the format’s full resolution. He points out that SACD has the same high resolution in surround as in stereo, which DVD-A doesn’t, and that to get a fair shake producers of DVD-A must stop issuing discs at 44.1 or 48K sampling rates and make them all 96K on the multichannel and 192I on the two-channel. [We heartily agree...Ed.]

AUDIOXPRESS (February) = Cover articles: Nelson Pass Does a Big Speaker and Tiny Driver, Classic Mac Brought Back to Life, Build This Triode Preamp, Listening to the Modified Adcom Preamp, A Sweet-Sounding Phono Preamp, In Search of the Best Speaker Placement, and a review of Usher’s Compass Dancer Speaker. This is the 35th year of publishing for founder Ed Dell Jr.

THE BAS SPEAKER (4th & Final Issue of Vol. 25) = There are five features in this issue from the Boston Audio Society, plus letters to the editor and an open forum: Lexicon’s Subwoofer Logic, A report on CEDIA 2003, reports on a meeting featuring a Headphone Test Clinic, another featuring a visit to Al Southwick’s home studio, and an in-depth technical analysis by Stereophile’s John Atkinson of both the SACD and CD layers of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon reissue. Just a few of the interesting discussions involve the overly-high levels on many CDs, the musician’s perspective on recordings, the worsening problem of broadcast audio/video sync, and ADC Distortion. There is a good diagram on p. 15 of how true and complete bass management should be set up - allowing for all the possibilities of no sub, one sub, two subs, a separate LFE sub, and no LFE signal at all, and switching between some of these options depending on the source. (I would just like to add an option to feed any one channel of the six to any one of the speakers - that would accommodate the alternatives to THX 5.1.)

JOURNAL OF THE AUDIO ENGINEERING SOCIETY (March) = A special issue on High-Resolution Audio features papers on: High-Quality Audio as a System, Audio Conversion in Larger Context, Fabrication Issues with Converters, Overview of One-Bit Coding, Lossless One-Bit Compression, Overview of Pulse-Code Modulation, Time vs. Frequency Tradeoffs, Lossless Compression Audio Encoding. Features: Semantic Audio Analysis, Audio for Games, Preview of 116th Convention in Berlin

JOURNAL OF THE AUDIO ENGINEERING SOCIETY (Jan-Feb) = Papers in Vol. 52 Number 1/2: Nonlinear Thermal Speaker Model, Characterizing Multichannel Systems, Force-Air Cooling in Speakers, HRTF Interpolation Improvements. Features: Listening Test Design, Surround Mic Techniques, Call for papers for 117th Convention in San Francisco.

BBC MUSIC (March) = Baritone Christopher Maltman is on the cover as well as featured on the free CD furnished with each month’s issue. The curse of performing artists who cancel is a cover article, also Why Puccini Sells PlayStations (on the persuasive power of classical music; lists many of the themes used in UK TV commercials), and Deborah Voight on Music That Changed Me. There are 150 reviews, including DVDs and books, and all BBC Music reviews are now available on CD-ROM.

THE INNER EAR REPORT (Vol. 15, #4, 2003-04) = A giant retro green tuning eye adorns the new issue of the Canadian publication and above it is the designation “Analog FM Tuner.” This is the new Magnum Dynalab MD 106-T Tuner, from a firm that specializes in that music source ignored by most audiophiles. Audio newcomer Audiophile APS gets a story on their AC treatment equipment. The Affordable Hi-End section discusses Bryston’s BP-25 DA preamp/DAC and Focal.JMlabs’ 726-S speakers. Other cover review stories: Accustic Arts AMP II-AC amp, Exposure’s preamp and amp, Musical Fidelity’s A308 system (CD player/preamp/amp), TAG McLaren Aphrodite speakers, Calliop AvantGarde speakers, PMC OB1 speakers, Pioneer DVR-510H Recorder. The editor discusses a number of tweak accessories, including Harmonic Resolution Systems, Symposium, Ethera Vitae, Nordost anti-static spray, various power line conditioners and Shun Mook pucks.

BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #154) = begins its advertising-free text with Martin DeWulf’s commentary on the credibility of the audio publishing industry (he doesn’t think it has much), a tweak called the DakiOm Two Channel Feedback Stabilzer, and a homemade audio isolation tweak using a Wal-Mart cutting board. Reviews are of the tiny Skiff speakers from Role Audio, and SAS Audio 10A linestage preamp. Part 2 of Setting Up a System concerns balanced transformers, power cords, interconnects and proper break-in.

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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