Stereophile February 2020

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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12 Numéros

dans ce numéro

5 min
current events

My first exposure to current-mode phono preamplification was maybe a dozen years ago, when such products were new. The one I received, though nicely packaged, was not ready for prime time. I never smelled smoke, but I never heard sound, either: If it wasn’t DOA, it was at a minimum DSAA—Dead Soon After Arrival. If you’ve followed our coverage, you know that prime time has arrived for current-mode phono preamps. Over the last year, Stereophile has reviewed, in columns or regular reviews, The Loco ($8200) and Little Loco ($3400), both from Sutherland Engineering; the Lino C 2.0 from Channel D ($2400); and the pithily named Haniwa HEQ-A03-CI ($12,000). Michael Fremer reviewed van den Hul’s The Grail ($9350) in August 2018, and the same issue contained his Follow-Up on his reference, the…

14 min

Where do I want my music to take me? Editor: Mr. Austin, you are so correct in your editorial “Spirited away by music” (AWSI, Vol.42 No.10). I often think of my record collection (be it vinyl or digital) as a library of souls captured in a specific time and place. When I sit down to listen I’ll ask myself, “Where do I want to go?” or “How do I feel now, and who else in my library feels that exact same way right now?” From that beginning, I’ll let those souls take me along a path that can lead me to happiness, or sadness, to full-on party mode or to intellectual insights I never had before. Many times, I’ll jump around from artist to artist as they lead me down a path that…

7 min
industry update

US: NEW YORK, NY Jason Victor Serinus On November 8, at the very small New York Audio Show, Paris-based music streaming service Qobuz announced that it has streamlined its subscription plans, lowered prices—and eliminated MP3 files from its streaming catalog. At a press event, Dan Mackta, managing director of Qobuz USA, said that Qobuz now offers “Studio Premier” subscriptions for $14.99/month or $149.99 for a full year. Studio Premier grants subscribers unlimited access to Qobuz’s catalog of more than 50 million CD-quality tracks and also millions of hi-rez tracks up to a resolution of 24/192. Qobuz will continue to offer its “Sublime+” plan ($249.99/year), which includes streaming access plus a “substantial” discount for hi-rez download purchases from the Qobuz store. The service’s other plans have been eliminated—which means, importantly, that Qobuz no longer offers…

6 min
calendar of industry events

ATTENTION ALL AUDIO SOCIETIES: We have a page on the Stereophile website devoted to you: If you’d like to have your audio-society information posted on the site, email Chris Vogel at (Note the new email address.) Please note that it is inappropriate for a retailer to promote a new product line in “Calendar” unless it is associated with a seminar or similar event. ARIZONA ❚ Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 7–9pm: Andrew Jones of Elac will be speaking to the Arizona Audio/Video Club on the art and science of speaker design. The event will be held in the recreation room of Faith Lutheran Church at 801 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85014. This event is for members only. For more information on joining the Arizona Audio/Video Club and attending this event, please email…

14 min
the techdas air force one premium turntable

In 2013, when I first wrote about it,1 the TechDAS Air Force One ($105,000) was that company’s best and most expensive turntable; it joined the handful of products that have earned an A+ in our semiannual Recommended Components feature—a rating that remained in place for six years. But too much time has passed since the Air Force One was auditioned by a Stereophile writer, so it has now fallen from that list. The Air Force One is still available, but it’s now a special-order product that, according to distributor Graham Engineering, can take up to six months to deliver. So rather than revisit the One, I decided to check out the readily available Air Force One Premium—the upgraded and costlier version ($145,000). The TechDAS Air Force Two and Air Force III…

15 min
shindo’s third-least-expensive amp

Only recently did I learn that successive generations of the Chevrolet Corvette are referred to by the cognoscenti with two-character alpha-numeric identifiers: C1, C2, C3, and so on. I learned this while reading about the most recent version—C8, known to non-cognoscenti as the 2020 Corvette—which happens to be the first version since C2 that impresses me. (I say that as one who used to work for the owner of a C3, a then-middle-aged male who actually boasted, while under the influence, that he and two of his C3-owning friends drove them solely because their juvenile styling attracted juveniles. Rest assured I left his employ within days of that revelation.) In most ways, the Shindo Cortese power amplifier ($13,500 with F2a output tubes) is as far from an audio Corvette as one…