Updated 2/7/03

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND = for February/March 3 is their Recommended Sources Issue, with their writers' picks of the best in both digital and analog front ends. The magazine's Product of the Year Awards are announced and the disc review section seems expanded, with the Recording of the Issue being Perahia's Chopin Etudes, some Miles and Bill Evans on 45 rpm vinyl, and the New Formats section beginning with a feature titled SACD Gets Its Groove On. The column from the new editor, Robert Harley, deals with the impact of home theater. He feels that with true high-end companies now into it, HT has become a boon to high-end audio. He lists three ways: the increased market for HT has kept many two-channel companies in business and allowed them to offer both surround and two-channel gear. HT has caused many who had their two-channel stereo speakers placed completely wrong to set up their 5.1 system correctly and for the first time consider music's spatial aspects. Lastly, a well-set-up HT surround system "can become a vehicle for rediscovering the joys of music."

Components reviewed: Adcom GFP-710 preamp, Behringer Ultracurve Pro DSP8034 EQ Device, Sony DVP-NS999ES SACD/DVD/CD Player, Focal-JNLab Electra 906 speaker, Simaudio Moon Nova CD Player, Avantgarde Acoustic Solo speaker system, Kharma Ceramique Reference Monitor 3.2, Meridian 800 DVD player & 861-III Reference Surround Controller, Antique Sound Lab amp, Miyabi/47 MC cartridge.

STEREOPHILE = For February KEF’s new Reference 207 speaker graces the front cover. Other equipment reported on includes Parasound’s Halo JC 1 monoblock power amp, the Weiss Media D/A processor, Ayre D-1x DVD/CD player, and the VPI Aries Scout turntable with VPI JMW-9 tonearm. Pianist Christopher O’Riley is interviewed; he has transcribed Radiohead for solo classical piano among other things. The new set of the Beethoven Violin Sonatas by Augustin Dumay and Maria Joao Pires is the Recording of the Month, and Records To Die For has 80 choices from their reviewers.4

SOUND & VISION = The February/March issue has Mel Gibson seeing Signs on the flat screen of a large Toshiba HDTV set with Jamo speakers floating here and there. High-Tech Invasion! Is the main theme and includes space-age speakers, amazing video recorders, price-busting plasma TVs, and a unit allowing satellite radio reception anywhere. There are reviews of JVC’s widescreen HDTV, Sunfire’s Ultimate Receiver, and combo SACD/DVD players from both Philips and Yamaha. Another cover teaser is for a guide to the coolest DVD players - 16 of ‘em - ranging from $130 (Apex) to $20K (Meridian). “HDTV, The Year in Review” is a feature, and there’s an interview with one of the several companies who edit down “sanitized” versions of movies on tape and DVD.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW = For February has Matt Damon on the cover in The Bourne Identity. Cover stories are DVI and HDMI "Interfaces for a New Age," HD-DVD "Wish List," DTS-A Ten-Year History, 40 DVD Reviews, and component reviews of the SIM2 HT300 Plus projector and Samsung SIR-T165 HD Set-Top Tuner. Other components covered: Theta Citadel Monoblock Power Amp and Marantz DV8300 DVD-Audio/Video & SACD Player - which they thought an excellent value in a universal format player.

HI-FI NEWS = For February has the Avalon Eidolon speakers on the cover and labeled "Best ever." Other cover photos/stories are the new Onkyo DV-SP800 Universal DVD-A&V/SACD Player, Sonus Faber Auditor speakers, REL mini subwoofer, Roksan;s Xerxes X turntable, the Australian Perigee ribbon speakers, and Musical Fidelity's Tri-Vista SACD Player. Whoops, almost missed - at bottom - Williams-Hart amplifier kit, Canton speakers, and Arcam's PAL progressive scan DVD Player. Show reports from Milan and Dublin are among the features, and Martin Colloms investigates putting together a home AV system with sound quality uppermost. Some of the latest DVD-A & SACDs are cited by Ken Kessler. Other components: Gallo Acoustics Dué speaker, Audio analogue Maestro CD player, Kimber and Russ Andrews interconnects.

THE SENSIBLE SOUND = Their February/March issue has some unusual-looking small speakers from Mirage on the cover - the Omnisat Micros - called "a revolutionary new omnipolar design." It's also their Annual Recommended Components Issue; different from that in TAS in that their staff each writes a running commentary going thru their personal choices - no illustrations. But their choices tend toward the more sensible price points. Other reviewed equipment this issue: Soliloquy Model 6.3 speaker, Sunfire Super Junior Subwoofer, Sunfire Theater Grand III, SVS 25-31Pci Sub, Tivoli Model Two & Model Sub.

THE INNER EAR REPORT = This is Vol. 15 of the Canadian quarterly, just arrived but without any other time identification. A sunlit home theater system with the Electra Series 964 speakers from Focal.JMlab graces the cover. Other cover reviews promised are a tube amp from Tenor Audio and the solid state 7B SST from Bryston. Manley’s Steelhead phono preamp, a Pioneer Elite AV receiver, Chord’s DAC64, Gutwire Audio Basic cables, and the Goldmund Eidos 38D DVD/CD transport are reviewed. Other speakers covered are Monitor Audio’s Silver S6 and Jaguar Musicspeakers. Products from two new audio names are presented: Orpheus preamp and amp, and Harmonic Resolution Systems’ M3 Isolation Base and Damping Plates. The issue editorial involves actual discussion of the behavior and function of the human ear - must be a first for audio magazines.

AUDIO XPRESS = Cover stories for the February issue: How to Minimize Diffraction, Build a (Six-Channel Simple) Volume Control for Super Audio (the knobs are arranged in a pattern similar to a 5.1 speaker layout), Evolution of a Line Stage, A Cheap & Quick CD Fix (about $10 parts plus a Rotel CD player), How the New ECC99 Tube Stacks Up, Design the Best Bass Box, Phono Fix with Inductorsk and reviews of a speaker kit from Adire Audio and Behringer's digital processor

THE BAS SPEAKER = This is the fourth issue of Vol. 24 of the bare-bones but full of useful information publication from the hoary but very active Boston Audio Society. There are the usual Open Forum, Commentary and News sections, and special features this issue include Producing Digital Video Essentials (by Joe Kane), Genesis of Human Speakers, About the So- Called ‘floor bounce’ (fascinating!), and reviews of three speakers: the MartinLogan CLS-11 electrostatic, KEF ThreeTwo, and Quad ESL-989 electrostatic. Complete reports of three of the group’s more interesting meetings during the past year round out the issue.

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW = The Dec./Jan. Issue of this UK publication has The Art of Cecilia Bartoli on the cover, plus Recent Releases of Early Music and an overview of Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards” on disc. If you’re in North America, don’t get overly excited about the many music DVDs reviewed each issue because many are not distributed in North America, although they may be later on.

SURROUND PROFESSIONAL = The just-received December issue has Dweezil Zappa on the cover, tied into the first 5.1 surround release of music of Frank Zappa. The nominees for the First Annual Surround Music Awards are listed, there’s a report on the recent AES convention in LA, and a panel of speakers including the publication’s founder Tom Holman and Telarc’s Michael Bishop talk about how the industry is doing in “State of Surround.” Richard Elen writes on a Dictatorial Approach to Bass Management in Surround, Best Seat in the House concerns the mixing of multichannel music for concert videos, and Bernie Grundman’s new 5.1 mastering studio is visited in Masterer of the House. New pro gear from Sadie, Mytek and Genelec is also reviewed.

CONSUMER REPORTS = December 2002 - Updated reviews on TVs (divided up into 27 inch, 32-inch, 36-inch, and HD-ready), DVD players (divided up into single play, multiple-play, and progressive scan - also units that can play SACD are noted), VCRs and combination DVD-VCR players. - Roy Nakano, LA Audio File

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