August 2021

Every month Stereophile magazine offers authoritative reviews, informed recommendations, helpful advice, and controversial opinions, all stemming from the revolutionary idea that audio components should be judged on how they reproduce music.

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United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
US$ 7,99
US$ 9,99
12 Números

en este número

1 min.

Symphony No.3, Serenade No.2 Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer. Channel Classics CCSSA43821 (CD). Jared Sacks, prod. and eng. I couldn’t help thinking that Iván Fischer didn’t trust the symphony. In the tricky first movement, he’s attentive to details like the pulsing string afterbeats—though, when the horns get them, it’s a bit unsubtle. But whenever he tries to lean into important arrival points, or to set them up with rubato and agogics—even heading into the recap—coordination becomes tentative. The plausible Andante pushes slightly rather than flows, and the second theme is self-consciously shaped. The strings’ legato, conversely, projects easily through the reed decorations, and they expand nicely into the surging peaks. In the Poco allegretto’s great melody, the lean, nasal cellos disappoint—a far cry from Szell’s dusky intermezzo, though the recap’s mournful horn compensates a…

1 min.
vaughan williams

Symphonies Nos. 4 & 6 London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Antonio Pappano LSO Live LSO0867. Andrew Cornall, prod.; Neil Hutchinson, Jonathan Stokes, engs. Listeners accustomed to Vaughan Williams in his pastoral and folksong modes will find both these symphonies disconcerting. No.4 flings out jagged, edgy episodes one after another; even in less agitated passages, unstable harmonies and irregular meters perpetuate a general unease. The Sixth, supposedly mirroring the horrors of World War II, is more formal—its third movement is a recognizable ABA scherzo—but equally unsettled: A laborious control renders the quiet passages ominous, after which the outbursts are the more stark and terrifying. Pappano, a Briton by birth, applies his operatic temperament to these scores’ dramatic intensity. Rhythmic energy, in themes and accompaniments, propels the music forward, and he’s attentive to color: Note the seamless…

1 min.
chris potter circuits trio

Sunrise Reprise Chris Potter, saxophones, clarinets, flutes; James Francies, keyboards; Eric Harland, drums Edition EDN1171 (CD, available as download, LP). 2021. Chris Potter, prod.; Josh Giunta, eng. That Chris Potter sits very near the top of the saxophone world proves that jazz is a meritocracy. He looks more like a middle-aged accountant than a jazz heavyweight. All he does is play his bad ass off, sublimely. He has made many fine records. Sunrise Reprise is not one of them. To be sure, it has some wonderful moments. “The Peanut” is an inspired five-minute performance that sustains a domain of creativity only elite players know about, where virtuosity serves soul-baring plaintiveness. Potter’s Circuits Trio is an electric band. James Francies plays synth and keyboards, and Potter adds a sampler and keyboards to his many reed…

1 min.
black sabbath

Sabotage Super Deluxe Rhino R1 645954 (4LP). 2021. Black Sabbath, Mike Butcher, Hugh Gilmour, prods.; Andy Pearce, Matt Wortham, engs. Black Sabbath’s sixth album was birthed amid legal warfare between the group and their management. In an all-too-familiar music-biz story, management skimmed large sums and the group was left in deep debt, despite a half-decade of endless touring and rapidfire release of an oeuvre that invented and defined heavy metal music. Slogging through 1973–75, the group battled in court, toured relentlessly, and sweated out long sessions at Morgan Studios’ facilities in London and Brussels. They emerged with a masterpiece. Aside from enhanced studio production, the album includes two extended cuts, “Megalomania” and “The Writ” (referring to court papers served during a recording session). And then there are the Sabbath classics, “Symptom of the…

6 min.

I measured the Verity Audio Montsalvat DAC/PRE with my Audio Precision SYS2722 system (see the January 2008 “As We See It”1), repeating some tests with the magazine’s Audio Precision APx555 system. Apple’s USB Prober utility identified the Verity as “Combo384 Amanero” from “Amanero Technologies” with the serial number string “413-001.” The Verity’s USB port operated in the optimal isochronous asynchronous mode, and Apple’s AudioMIDI utility revealed that the DAC/PRE accepted 32-bit integer data sampled at all rates from 44.1kHz to 384kHz. The AES/EBU and coaxial S/PDIF inputs accepted 16-and-24-bit data sampled at rates up to 192kHz. The DAC/PRE’s output level at 1kHz in DAC mode was 3.43V from the balanced outputs, 2.1V from the single-ended outputs. In Preamp mode, the output with the volume control set to “0.0 dB” was the…

3 min.
record reviews

The first time I heard Francesco Cafiso, I thought I was hallucinating. It was 2005. I had flown to Australia from Seattle to cover the Melbourne Jazz Festival. Cafiso appeared the first night. He was 15. He played the most outrageous bebop I had ever heard outside of Charlie Parker records. I thought I was delusional from jet lag. I wasn’t. Cafiso was one of the most extraordinary prodigies in jazz history. He gigged with the best jazz musicians in his native Sicily when he was 9, began making records when he was 12, and toured Europe with Wynton Marsalis when he was 14. By 15, his chops were ridiculous, and his alto saxophone sound was celestial. Cafiso’s renown spread throughout Europe in his teenage years, but eventually critics began to worry…