Stereophile December 2018

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.

United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
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12 Numéros

dans ce numéro

5 min
nothing is what i want

THIS ISSUE: The accuracy vs musicality debate reappears in the context of a recent review. I recently experienced an alarming audiophile episode. John Atkinson wanted to send me BorderPatrol’s Digital to Analogue Converter SE, so that I could write the Follow-Up published in the November issue. But he wouldn’t tell me anything about Herb Reichert’s original review of the product, which had not yet been published. Instead, he said, cryptically, “If this is a ‘great’ DAC, I’ll have to hang up my measurements.” I took this to mean Herb liked it, but JA’s test rig did not. Sure, why not? Go ahead and send me the DAC, I thought. I’d love to hear what something covered in audio fur sounds like. One of the conversations I often have with audiophiles is about what…

10 min

A tip of the hat Editor: Surely every journalist aspires to that one great “When I Paint My Masterpiece” article. Art Dudley achieves precisely that in his outstanding piece in his October 2018 “Listening” column (“Are We Experienced?,” p.33). Never have the wares of his writing craft been on display in such bold relief. Never has he populated an article with characters as genuine and as genuinely fascinating. Never have the descriptions of audio gear been wrought in a more captivating way. Every element coalesces with resounding grace and wisdom. I tip my hat to you, sir. —Richard Cass My audio soul Editor: I’ve been a subscriber for 20 years now and reading Stereophile since summer 1996, when I was a teen and bought my first “serious” gear. The October 2018 issue, without doubt, is Stereophile’s…

5 min
industry update

UK: PUTNEY, LONDON Paul Messenger John Bamford (1956–2018), a leading UK hi-fi journalist, died of complications resulting from throat cancer on September 7. John began his career in the early 1980s at Haymarket Publishing’s Hi-Fi Answers as editor Keith Howard’s assistant. Having learned his trade, and realizing that Howard wasn’t going anywhere soon, John moved on in 1988, to become editor of Hi-Fi Choice, then published by Dennis Publishing and which I once edited, and it was there that I first got to know John well. I well remember him bringing down the first Apple Mac for me to use, in 1989—the floppy-disk era, before e-mail. In 1991, JB moved on to work for Pioneer, first as a “press relations officer,” and then as product manager. When, around the millennium, Pioneer began to…

5 min
calendar of industry events

ATTENTION ALL AUDIO SOCIETIES: We have a page on the Stereophile website dedicated solely to you: If you’d like to have your audio-society information posted on the site, e-mail Chris Vogel at Please note that it is inappropriate for a retailer to promote a new product line in “Calendar” unless this is associated with a seminar or similar event. CALIFORNIA Sunday, November 18, 2–5pm: The Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Society will hold its monthly meeting at Weinhart Design, in Los Angeles (2337 Roscomare Road). Please join us for a very special event at the grand debut of Weinhart Design’s new Bowers & Wilkins Diamond cost-no-object theater and reference audio system! Our host, David Weinhart, will demonstrate what is possible in two-channel sound, multichannel sound, and home theater. Andrew…

15 min
vpi’s avenger reference turntable with fatboy tonearm

THIS ISSUE: VPI’s new turntable and tonearms spend quality time in Mikey’s system. The Avenger Reference fulfilled the promise of rim drive’s benefits minus the noise and rumble. Turntable manufacturer VPI Industries is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Despite analog playback’s ups and downs (pun time), VPI has managed not only to survive but to prosper and grow, thanks to a smart product mix that includes high-value, wet-wash/vacuum-dry record-cleaning machines that perhaps took up the revenue slack when, in the mid-1990s, interest in new turntables dipped—but the vinyl faithful still had millions of dirty records to keep clean. I’ve been reviewing and owning VPI products since 1986. I was there, too, for the personal tragedies and the blessings—the funerals, the bar mitzvahs, the weddings. For better or worse, VPI has always been…

21 min
new cartridges and other responsibilities

THIS ISSUE: Auditions of moving-coil photo cartridges from Koetsu, Ortofon, and EMT. Although my house is now home to a borrowed pair of DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93 loudspeakers—a loan I gratefully accepted early this year, when my 1966 Altec Flamencos proved a bit too large for my new listening room—it’s a matter of pride that I own almost everything else in my playback system, cables included. So it’s with no small discomfort that I acknowledge having nearly $30,000 worth of borrowed phono cartridges scattered around my living and dining rooms. (The former is where I listen to them, and the latter—the sunniest room in the house—is where I install them.) Being responsible for other people’s things is nerve-racking enough; when those things are so fragile that the simple act of unpacking them…