SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HOME
THEATER PRINT PRESS
Updated 11/10/03


THE AUDIO CRITIC (Issue No. 29) = Peter Aczel’s group of audio skeptics are back again, but still not on the supposedly quarterly publishing schedule that had been hoped for. In fact the delay was so long between issues that they lost their second class permit. 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. Also two and five-channel amps from Audio Control, Avalon and Pantages, plus Denon’s multichannel combo of their DVD-9000 player and AVR-5803 AV surround receiver. 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. [There are plenty of times I wish a modicum of TAC’s curmudgeonly skepticism could be applied to some other AV publications...Ed.]

STEREOPHILE (October) = This is the Recommended Components issue, with 500 items listed. Cover features begin a photo for the VTL TL-7.5, called the Ultimate Preamp. A feature on Apple’s amazing iPod is Music to Go, High-performance speakers from Thiel and Morel are viewed, amps from Ayre, Simaudio and Conrad-Johnson, the hot products from the HE2003 show in SF are shown and discussed. Folknik Richard Thompson is the music feature cover story. Inside the Dynavector 10X5 cartridge is reviewed, there’s a follow-up on the Mark Levinson No.360S D/A Processor, the Recording of the Month is Geoff Muldaur’s Private Astronomy, and the Industry Update has stories on Sony’s losses, the SACD Forum, satellite radio in rental cars, and the deaths of Rosalyn Tureck and Sam Phillips.

STEREOPHILE (November) = PSB’s Platinum T8 speakers grace the front cover and is said to offer high performance & high value. Other cover items are a special report on the blues on CD, reviews of amps by B.A.T., Pass Labs, Pathos & Sugden; speakers by Tannoy, Sonus Faber & J.M. Reynaud; Tonearms from Mørch & Helius; and Linn Sondek’s LP playback system separates. Other features inside include the Njoe Tjoeb (not a typo) Model 4000 CD player review, new discs from BIS and Jordi Savall plus the Jazz Ensemble of Chicago.

DVD ETC. (November) = Cover stores: 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.

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.

STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER (November) = focuses on “speaker mania!” with reviews of three new surround systems: Sonus Faber Cremona, DALI Euphonia, and Audio Physic Virgo III. Michael Fremer assembles a guide to an essential collection of DVD-As & SACDs. The DVD-V reviews give four stars to both Finding Nemo and Lord of the Rings. Joel Brinkley discusses the “bit-grooming” cable companies are doing to HD signals before distributing them. Other reviews: Panasonic TU-DST52 digital receiver, Classe SSP-60 preamp-processor, Marantz and SharpVision DLP projectors.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (November) = Charlie’s Angels line up on the front cover, and that’s one of the over 40 DVD & D-VHS reviews inside. An article on the DVD Forum’s HD-DVD Proposal for an Advance Optical Disc shares with another on Compatibility Standards for Plug-&-Play. Part II of DVE Video Patterns and a review of DVDO’s iScan Ultra video scaler are other stories here. There is an extensive review of the Fosgate Audionics FAP T1 preamp (which we reviewed last month) and their FAA 1000.5 matching amp. (They liked the amp better). The Zektor HDS4 component video/digital audio switcher, Luce 42-inch plasma display, SV Subwoofers PB2-Plus and ExactPower EP15A AC Line Voltage Regulator are also reviewed.

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND (October/November) = has a pair of Thiel’s “terrific” new CS2.4 tower speakers on the cover. Other cover stories are raves over the Tri-Vista SACD player from Musical Fidelity ($6500 and stereo only!), The Meridian 502/509 Pre/Power amp, nine different power conditioners, a list of HP’s super surround discs, and 50 music reviews. The Editor’s Choice of components is another feature this issue, and his review of Audio Research’s SP-3 tube preamp from their original third issue is reprinted. Other gear reviewed: Acura/ESL DVD-Audio car audio system, Sophia Electric Baby Amp, Ayre AX-7 Integrated, Soundline Audio SL2 speaker, Sutherland Ph. D. Battery Phono Stage, Linn Kivor Digital Audio Server, Boulder’s 2008 phono preamp, 1012 DAC/preamp and 1060 power amp.

SOUND&VISION (November) = World’s Biggest HDTV! is proclaimed in appropriately big letters. They’re referring of course to a RPTV set, and it’s an 82-inch monster from Mitsubishi. For an even bigger screen there are the front projectors, and three new DLP projectors from Sharp, NEC and InFocus are reviewed. Hot DVD players from Pioneer and Samsung are evaluated, a buying guide to DVD Recorders lists 20 different models with shopping tips. Then DVD burners from both RCA and Panasonic are reviewed. A special report covers wireless music and movies at home. The DVD section featured review is The Lion King.

HI-FI NEWS (November) = The UK pub has had a facelift outside and in. The anodized front plate of the Krell SACD Standard player graces the November cover and this is its first lab test. Top analog turntables from Thorens (TD-850), Michell (TecnoDec) and Roksan (Radius) are tested. A new tube amp from Brazil is called sensational: the Audiopax. Speakers from Avalon, Spendor, Beauhorn and Trinity are evaluated. Other reviews: Discwelder software for burning 192K DVD-audio on your PC, the Creek A50iR integrated amp, DNM PA3 S power amp, Exposure XXII CD Player, Bose 301 speaker, Leema Xen speaker, Spendor SR5 speaker, Edge NL-10 power amp. A special feature covers the increasing use of digital room correction, and the 5.1 DVD-A version of Tubular Bells is discussed by Mike Oldfield and compared with the previous versions.

SOUND & VISION (October ) = is an HDTV Buying Guide with over 150 models, a program guide including "Finding HDTV in Your Area," and HDTV shopping tips. HDTVs from Sony, RCA, Toshiba & Philips are reviewed. The Philips set is the cover shot. The move of both satellite radio providers into units for home and portable listening is discussed, and there are also reviews of Rotel's Surround Preamp, Denon's Universal Disc Player, and Niles' 6-Room Receiver. Three DVD burners are tested: Sony, Panasonic & Philips - pegged to "send your VCR packing."

DVD ETC. (October) = Batman is on the cover, not Michael Keaton, but the actor in an under-nine-minute Batman dubbed "The Coolest DVD You'll Never Own." Special features of the month are an interview with Morgan Freeman, DVI DVD Players Explained, and a DVD Glossary. The Lion King's Roger Allers is interviewed in Director's Cut, and reviews include Philips' DVD793c five-disc changer, the Apex Recorder, V Inc.'s Bravo D1, Toshiba Theater WideHD 57-inch set with their DST-3100 set top box, speakers from Wharfedale - Diamond 8 Series, Denon's AVR-2803 AV Receiver, EluminX back-lit computer keyboard, Soundmatters' MAINstage, and cables from Transparent, Better Cables, CWS & DH Labs.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (October) = Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson are butting foreheads on the cover to promote Anger Management on DVD, one of over 40 DVD & D-VHS reviews this issue. Cover features are: DVI for Better Video Performance; HD-DVD Digital Entertainment Group; Dolby Pro Logic IIx - An Exclusive First Look; Reviews of McCormack DNA-HT5 Amp and Samsung DVD-HD931 DVI DVD Player. Other components reviewed inside are the Sunfire Ultimate Receiver, Phase Technology PC Series speaker system and McCormack MAP-1 six-channel preamp. Editor Gary Reber discusses the new CEA DENi Standard and Minimum Transmission Power Levels for DTV.

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.

BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #152) = Editor/Publisher Martin DeWulf writes about distortion, underground manufacturers, what a great UK mag Hi-Fi News is, mono vs. stereo basic amps, and the problems of reviewing power cords. Brandt Kwiram has a thoughtful and controversial piece on the mentality of the high end. Reviews: MSB Gold Multiple Volume Control line level preamp, Harmonix Studio Master power cord, J.M. Reynaud’s Trente speaker.

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 XPRESS (October) = Cover features: What's Your True Power Amp Output?; Restoring the TKO 80 Bass Guitar Amp; Building a Proven Phono Preamp with Tubes; Design Details for an 8-inch Two-Way; ZEN Approach to Push-Pull Design; Filter Fundamentals; DacT Power Supply Review.

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.

BBC MUSIC (October) = Beautiful Angela Gheorghiu graces the front cover, which asks: Will she rule the waves at this year’s Proms? Meaning the London Royal Albert hall musical festivities which evidently cut loose a bit on the final night. Gheorghiu is known for bringing a touch of Hollywood to her Prom Night outfits. Other cover features are Why Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony shook the world, and How managers make or break conductors. There are 140 CD and DVD reviews (about as many as AUDIOPHILE AUDITION runs!) and an exclusive piece on a Vivaldi work just discovered.

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.

THE BAS SPEAKER (3rd issue of Vol. 25) = The publication of the Boston Audio Society always has lots of interesting items from members and past meetings on subjects that often are not addressed in any of the standard audio & HT magazines. Feature articles this issue are Review of SPL Meters, My Digital Nightmare, Recordings Thru the Ages, Speaker Ramblings, My First Home Theater (Sigh). A one-page email posting is titled HDTV Setup Isn’t Trivial - you can say that again! There’s another on SACD/DVD-A Switching. One of the meeting reports is of a session with a Sennheiser rep on the History of Microphones.

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