October 2002
SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HOME
THEATER PRINT PRESS

THE SENSIBLE BOUND = for Sept./Oct. has the Mastersound 220-SE Integrated on its cover and covers over 60 products (including the disc reviews). Other stories include reviews of the Tivoli table radio, Legacy Focus 20/20, ELAC 209-Jet and Sherbourn Model 1 speakers. In his article Two-Channel Purity? Howard Ferstler surveys various micing approaches to standard stereo to capture more of the ambience in the hall and concludes that the era of absolutely pure two-channel recording techniques is all but over. He also is of the opinion that DVD-A is overkill in terms of what is required for the proper reproduction of most music on most home music systems. There's a report on the New York Home Entertainment show, and Bose' new system of electronic room compensation - ADAPTiQ - is discussed and evaluated.

STEREOPHILE = The October issue has the Aussie-origin Halcro dm58 basic amp on the cover and calls it the best amplifier ever. This is the leading audio publication's always-awaited Recommended Components Issue, and there are 700 of 'em listed in various categories and grade levels. Other cover stories are reviews of speakers from RBH, Joseph and Lumen White; other amps from VAC, Air Tight and PS Audio, and evaluations of CD releases from The dBs and jazz pianist Brad Mehldau. High End Audio's Powerful Women Speak Out in a special interview feature, and John Marks muses about myths of engineering. John Atkinson's editorial concerns the so-far poor market penetration of DVD-A and SACD.

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND = for Oct./Nov. has Balanced Audio Technology's VK 300X integrated amp on the cover, with cover stories on the Stones' 22 SACDs, Parasound's new Halo series amp and preamp, and over 24 pages of new music disc reviews. This is also TAS' Recommended Products Issue, with 200 components covered, and with photos of many of them.

SOUND & VISION = Sully and Mike adorn the cover of the October issue for a feature titled Marvelous Monsters - about how the digital wizards at Pixar created a terrific theatrical movie and DVD as well in Monsters Inc. Feature-filled DVD players from Panasonic, Toshiba, JVC and Samsung are reviewed, there's the latest on the flat-panel plasma TVs, and news on HDTV. Finding HDTV via cable is another article, and hi-res surround releases from R.E.M., David Bowie and Alison Krauss are reviewed. The Silverline DVD-A discs are reviewed, and Ken Pohlmann writes on wireless speakers. Other components covered: Panasonic DVD recorder, Hitachi DVD camcorder, Denon DVD-A player, Harman Kardon AVR 8000 surround receiver, Terapin CD/MP3 recorder, Yamaha DVD-A/Video changer, Cerwin Vega home theater speaker system and Bose TriPort headphones.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW = for October is their 10th Anniversary Issue. Over a frame from Panic Room it has cover features on HDTV & Copy Protection, the ATX SCM!50ASL Pro Monitor Speaker System, over 50 DVD & D-VHS reviews, and a story on Motion Simulation for home theaters using D-Box's Odyssee. The latter is a $20K system that puts four home theater seats on a special platform with hydraulic motor systems at each corner, actuated by a computer controller running off CD-ROMs which have been specially programmed to shake, rattle and roll the platform (up to 5/8 inch in any direction) in sync with on-screen actions in the movie. It can also be actuated by surround or stereo audio only. This seems to be the next step beyond the tactile transducers some HT enthusiasts have adopted (including myself). Those low-Hz speakers can't raise your henie up 5/8 of an inch!.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW = for September has Sully & Mike on the cover again - these guys get around! - from the Disney/Pixar movie now on DVD. The cover features include another exclusive report on new movie releases in D-VHS D Theater, the hi-res format using videotape. Ten Critical Characteristics of HDTV Display Quality are discussed, and a feature on loudspeaker accuracy asks how to know you bought an accurate loudspeaker. Schwarzinegger's End of Days is one of the hi-res movies reviewed and the Philips DVDR985 DVD Recorder receives a major evaluation. Joe Kane writes on Component Video As An Afterthought. Equipment reviews of: Bryston 6B SST amp, Aperion Audio speaker system and Pioneer DV-47A Player - the latter receiving a recommendation without reservations about the SACD playback expressed in other reviews.

HI-FI NEWS = The September issue has the Sonus Faber fabulous tower speakers on its cover, saying it looks like an instant classic. Future Transport is an exclusive review of the dCS Verdi SACD transport with six-channel digital output. Another digital leader, Wadia, has their new one-box CD player evaluated. Denon's new DVD-Audio player is reviewed, and Ken Kessler's column urges stepping back for a larger view of the DVD-A vs. SACD controversy, saying there are people out there who still think the CD is new despite it celebrating its 20th birthday. Other components: Croft Cameleon tube amp, Koetsu Jade Platinum MC cartridge, Vandersteen 2Ce Signature speaker, Musical Fidelity A308 amp, B&W 602 S3 speaker, Genelec HT206/REL A400E system, Conrad-Johnson PV14, Bryston phono stage, Rotel RA02 amp, Sennheiser HD497 headphones, KEF HTS2001 speakers. The Hi-Fi Radio column complains of the sliding sonic quality of both FM and DAB broadcasts in the UK.

THE INNER EAR REPORT = Issue No. 4 for 2002 sports the mighty Mirage OM-5 speaker on the cover, plus cover stories on the Chord SPM 4000 amp, Magnum Dynalab MD 90 Tuner, Gershman Acoustics Cameleon speakers and Pioneer Plasma 43-foot [they must mean 43 inches!] video display system. A section devoted to Audio Newcomers covers Maple Audio Works' cables and speakers from Okwaho. Editor Ernie Fisher's page is titled Authentic Audio, and in it he talks about home theater sales surpassing audio-only, hoping that eventually new HT owners will become aware of its shortcomings sound wise and begin to explore high end audio. He argues for separate HT and two-channel audio systems. [Couldn't disagree more - how many can afford that, and why eliminate the surround for music listening?]

AUDIO XPRESS = for October has several components on the cover, including a fuzzy 12-inch high-performance double-reverse horn speaker. Construction of this DIY project is one of the cover stories; also: Build the Extreme Subwoofer for under $400, How Your House Affects Your Music and What You Can Do About It, Build a High-Performance Mic Amp, Using Digital Outputs Creatively, Build this Update Borbely Preamp Design, Handbook for Sound Engineers, and reviews of DH Labs cables and KAB's versatile preamp for early recordings.

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.

THE BAS SPEAKER = This publication of the Boston Audio Society is described as "third issue of vol. 24" and couldn't be plainer - from a nearly-blank front cover to no illustrations whatsoever. However, it's full of fascinating audio stuff found nowhere else, making me wish we had an audio society half as active as this in my locale. There are appreciations of a number of audio pioneers who passed away this year, a bit on a big collector of RCA Living Stereo Lps who had many of them stamped "Promotional" when they weren't, a shoe-string record-cleaning system based on a used vacuum cleaner, an opinion against subwoofers and in favor of full range speakers, a look back at the AR Live-vs.-Recorded demos of a quarter-century ago, Philips' President speaking out against the movie industry's plans to control the distribution of digital programming, picking the correct white color temperature for HT displays (6500 degrees K), a piece on the new DVD Etc. print publication, a report on the ELP Laser Turntable (actually in production in the Orient and available for about $6000), and a meeting report on an audition of Richard Goldwater's home multichannel system - this avid proponent of surround "envelopment" boasts 17.3 channels of speakers spaced meticulously around his listening room.

BBC MUSIC = The October issue of the world's best-selling classical music magazine has a Callas cover, with a feature on La Divina. Also the cover promises an exclusive interview with conductor Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic [interviewed the whole orchestra?], a feature on Is Your Child Musical? and John Adams speaking about his new work Requiem for Sept. 11. 150 CDs are reviewed and rated this month and the free included CD is a fine collection of shorter works by Adams and Andriessen. [Here's a little secret: the simpler broadcast micing techniques of the BBC tend to preserve more hall ambience than most commercial CDs, and many of them decode beautifully to surround using Pro Logic II or Circle Surround.] The issue also comes alternate months bound with IMZ - Music in the Media. This is a slim booklet reviewing details of all the music telecasts and DVDs released in Europe, making one envious of some of the exciting TV programming never seen on U.S. television. For example, a TV series titled Piano of the 20th Century, which received the Vienna TV Award for Best documentary. No mention is made of a DVD release.

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW = Baritone Matthias Goerne graces the cover of the October issue, with an evaluation of his recent recording of Schubert's Die schone mullerin. The mighty St. Matthew Passion of Bach is considered, along with its most important recorded versions. The magazine's complete listing of all classical record label web sites is also a handy reference, as well as a listing of most new CD releases.

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. 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 September issue has a child watching Monsters Inc. on a 30-inch Sharp LCD direct-view flat-panel TV. There is review of Zenith's $160 progressive-scan DVD player and exclusives on speakers from NHT and Velodyne as well as Linn's Classik System. Over 50 pages of reviews are promised. The main subject area powering the HDTV movement - sports - is covered in articles on Where We've Been, Where We're Going, and What You May Be Missing. Other components reviewed: Genelec HT210 speaker system, Rotel RSX-1065 Receiver, Audio Control Pantages 5-channel 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. [This was the final issue from this fine audio publication, and we are extremely sorry to see it go.]


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