Stereophile October 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.

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12 Numéros

dans ce numéro

5 min
king kong vs spotify

“No one’s buying music anymore: They’re renting it.”—John Atkinson, keynote speech, AXPONA 2018 Streaming music isn’t new. US companies have been doing it since the 1920s, when it was discovered that multiplexing—the then-new practice of combining multiple signals over a single conductor—could be used to send live or recorded music over public power lines. The first of those companies was Muzak LLC. File that away. In the middle-class world in which I was raised, my family had a tidy little house, plenty of food, clean clothes, and excellent medical care. My sister and I attended good public schools, and we lived in a neighborhood where there were lots of other kids our age. Apart from safer cars, the ability to buy our favorite fruits and vegetables year-round, over-the-counter steroids, Gore-Tex, and cheap cashmere…

10 min

Why are high-end components so expensive? Editor: In virtually all phases of electronic equipment, especially solid-state, prices for various components have fallen so dramatically that nominal prices today might be substantially less than nominal prices of the past. Thus, we might expect a high-end amp from the 1960s or ’70s at, say, $6000, would cost $3000 today for equivalent performance. We see this effect clearly with mid-fi receivers. They achieve power levels and distortion performance that we’d have lauded in past years. But in fact, high-end prices seem to reach ever higher levels: $100,000, even $200,000 for power amps and preamps. Manufacturing processes for mechanical equipment—eg, turntables—get ever more refined. Prices should be going down, not up. What’s going on? Either today’s very expensive stuff should be incredibly better than the best of the…

7 min
industry update

UK: CRANAGE, CHESHIRE Paul Messenger The UK’s North West Audio Show is held each year at the end of June, in the village of Cranage, in Cheshire. When I attended this year, I was surprised by how much it had grown since the only other time I’d visited, in 2016. With only some 60 exhibitors, including a number of dealers, NWAS might still be small compared to the Bristol Hi-Fi Show or Munich’s High End; nonetheless, it was big enough that I couldn’t cover it properly in a single day and the whole experience was thoroughly entertaining. I was particularly intrigued to encounter a brand-new company, Node Audio, and its first-ever product, the Hylixa—a compact, ovoid loudspeaker that at first reminded me of the speakers made by well-known Japanese brand Eclipse. But unlike…

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, September 30, 1–5:30pm: The Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Society will hold its monthly meeting at Sunny’s Audio Video in Covina (1370 E. Cypress Street). Sunny’s will feature speakers from DALI, KEF, T+A Elektroakustik, Wilson Audio, and more. Electronics will be by Audio Research, Brinkmann, Bryston, Dan D’Agostino, Meridian, NAD, Naim, Rega, T+A, Technics, etc. Cables are from Audience and AudioQuest. A special feature on HRS high-performance racks…

15 min
something new from sat & ds audio

Despite one website’s recent claim that “Vinyl’s Revival Is Already Fading,” Nielsen SoundScan recently announced that vinyl sales for the first half of 2018 were up 19.2% over last year, led by Jack White’s Boarding House Reach, with 37,000 copies sold so far (and we know that N/S misses a great deal of the action). While on the West Coast looking for business, a friend of mine who’s about to open a major vinyl-pressing plant on the East Coast was told by everyone that they’re experiencing “double-digit vinyl growth.” No one was seeing a slowdown ahead. SWEDISH ANALOG TECHNOLOGIES LM-09 TONEARM Recently, when Marc Gomez, head of Swedish Analog Technologies (SAT), announced two new tonearms to replace his original SAT arm, some readers were outraged, or indulged in snark: “Why didn’t he…

13 min
are we experienced?

Those concerned that audio engineers on the whole are a meek lot, drawn to our hobby for its lack of physical mayhem, have clearly never met Jeffrey Jackson. The last time I saw him, he was wielding a rock the size of a small gravestone, applying it to the lock on a recalcitrant door in a series of blows that made me fear for the very fabric of reality. That this happened in glinty daylight in an industrial park with a steady stream of cars going by merely added to the sense of danger. Those concerned that motorists on the whole are lacking in vigilance would have had their fears confirmed: no one intervened, and Jackson succeeded in gaining entrance to his warehouse and auxiliary listening space. The story didn’t start…