Stereophile September 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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AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
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12 Numéros

dans ce numéro

5 min
in my room

Listening rooms are real, imperfect places. Their character arises from their defects. I like real, imperfect things.1 Not that there’s such a thing as a perfect listening room. Every domestic listening room shares the same basic problem: Its most fundamental nature—its size and shape, the amount of space it carves out—results in resonances that can profoundly alter the sound of reproduced music, especially in the bass.2 Favorable dimensions, sound-absorbing furnishings, room treatments, signal processing—many things can mitigate the problem, but it can never be eliminated. Play an immaculately recorded piece of music, in any room, and no matter how fancy and expensive your audio system is, some bass notes will be too loud while others are too soft. The only thing in doubt is whether those deviations from neutrality are serious…

8 min

Wea culpa The EOB Earth record review in the July 2020 issue mentions Nathan East as a drummer. Nathan East is actually one of the world’s preeminent bass players. Also, I was shocked to see that Art Dudley passed away. Being a used-gear hound, I really enjoyed Art’s recent Listening article “Guns N’ Neuroses, The Life of a Used-Gear Specialist.” My prayers go out to his family. —Keith Copeland Fresno, California Mr. Copeland, thanks for your note, and for the correction. We knew Nathan East was a bass player—no, really, we did, of course we did. And yet somehow that error snuck through. A most embarrassing error.—Jim Austin Down on the bayou I thoroughly enjoyed John Swenson’s comprehensive history of New Orleans music in the July issue. John appropriately puts Jelly Roll Morton at the forefront of…

13 min
industry update

US: RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA Julie Mullins The phrase “renaissance man” carries gravitas. It’s probably overused. But Damon Von Schweikert believes the term genuinely befits his late father, speaker designer Albert Von Schweikert, who passed away on May 29, 2020, leaving behind myriad contributions to audio through his namesake companies. Albert Von Schweikert was a musician from a young age, studying piano and violin at the Conservatory of the University of Heidelberg in Germany before switching to guitar. Eventually, he became a session musician and before age 20 landed a lead guitar gig, touring with Sonny and Cher and Neil Diamond. That would eventually lead him into loudspeaker design. Von Schweikert enrolled at CalTech, where he studied under audio-industry giant Richard C. Heyser. During that time, he began developing his own innovations, such as his Acoustic…

15 min
some cartridges and analog accessories

How goes your quarantining? Honestly, my life hasn’t changed much here. I’m locked in the basement as usual, happy to have a good audio system and overwhelmed by my musical choices. Other than minimizing shopping expeditions and wearing a mask, the biggest change in my life is a spike in requests from readers for upgrade advice. I’ve never been so busy answering reader emails. Two months ago, I ran out of space while covering the unsubtle sonic improvements of the passive CAD Ground Control system. Now that I’ve lived with the CAD for another couple of months, I can render my verdict: I can’t live without it. After listening for weeks, I pulled it out of my system, listened for a few minutes, put it all back immediately, then wrote a…

15 min
no one knows where the ladder goes

I am fascinated by DACs and the shifting sands of today’s digital-audio marketplace. This month, I am reporting on two more DACs, both made by Denafrips: the $4498 Terminator, until recently their flagship DAC, and the $768 Ares II, the company’s least expensive model. Like the HoloAudio May DAC I described last month, both Denafrips converters employ R-2R conversion schemes, and both render recordings into direct, unprocessed sound. The Denafrips Terminator is not new. It has been around since March 2017 and has been reviewed and discussed (but not in Stereophile). When I checked, Stereophile’s Recommended Components listed a baker’s dozen sigma-delta DACs, five of which use the same ESS9038Pro chip; two use the ESS9028 chip. Five others employ FPGAs. Inexplicably, there was not a single R-2R ladder DAC. Especially glaring…

1 min
associated equipment

Analog sources Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn turntable with Castellon stand; SAT CF1-09 tonearm; Ortofon Anna Diamond cartridge. Preamplification darTZeel NHB-18S; Ypsilon MC-10L, MC-16L step-up transformers; Ypsilon VPS-100, CH Precision P1 phono preamps, the latter with CH Precision X1 PSU. Power amplifiers VAC Statement 452 iQ Musicbloc and darTZeel NHB 468 monoblocks Loudspeakers Wilson Audio Specialties Alexx. Cables Interconnect: TARA Labs Zero and Air Evolution, Analysis Plus Silver Apex, Stealth Sakra, and Indra, Luminous Audio Technology Silver Reference. Speaker: Master-Built AudioQuest Dragon, TARA Labs Omega EvolutionSP. AC: AudioQuest Dragon and Thunder, Dynamic Design Neutron GS Digital Accessories AudioQuest Niagara 7000 power conditioner; CAD GC1 and GC3 Ground Controls; Oyaide AC wall box and receptacles; ASC Tube Traps; RPG BAD, Skyline, and Abffusor panels; Stillpoints Aperture II Room panels; Synergistic Research UEF products (various); Symposium Ultra platform;…