Stereophile April 2019

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 Issues

in this issue

5 min
clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right …

The dichotomy between what is measured and what is heard has resurfaced in recent months. Jon Iverson discussed it in his “As We See It” in our December 2018 issue,1 and I followed up on the subject in my January 2019 “As We See It.”2 These further thoughts were triggered by an e-mail exchange I had last December with Stereophile’s longtime copyeditor, Richard Lehnert. In a note attached to his edit of Kal Rubinson’s review of the Revel F228Be loudspeaker in our February issue (p.87), Richard had written: “Unless you’re sitting in, say, one of the first five rows at a classical concert, there’s no such thing as ‘soundstaging.’ At concerts, regardless of the hall or numbers of musicians playing, I always try closing my eyes and listening: What I hear…

1 min

When Dave Wilson created the original WATT, it was not in response to perceived market demand, but to fulfill a specific application. He was a recording engineer who needed a small monitor he could take with him to recording venues—one that spoke the same musical language as his venerated reference loudspeaker, the WAMM. There was a certain freedom this approach afforded him. He was completely unencumbered by commercial concerns or market considerations of any kind. He was able to design the loudspeaker he wanted to own since he never intended it to be a commercial product. He was completely surprised when so many music lovers and audiophiles wanted to purchase them. Dave designed the first Sasha W/P in 2007. A replacement for the hugely successful WATT/Puppy, the Sasha was the lineal…

7 min

Poetry, not science Editor: Consider music reproduction to be more like poetry than a scientific report. Our amplifiers and associated equipment are here to bring us into contact with the live performance, where we have truth. But in that truth we have emotion, harmonics, tone, rhythm, dynamics … It is liquid and punctuated. Ultimately, poetry is a vehicle to the soul, where exaggeration can be consonant but its opposite could cripple. Bench measurements, on the other hand, while not touching the soul, can reveal some truths and lies, both relevant and not so. But revealed lies can be relevant to someone trying to keep an open ear for both truth and poetry. A happy combination; after all, the finest poetry reveals hidden truths. I believe that in music there are layers upon layers…

4 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 ▪ Saturday, March 16, 10am–5pm: The Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Society will hold its monthly meeting at High End by Oz (1648 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles 90024). Our host, Oz Turan, will demonstrate Audio Solutions’ Figaro XL speakers, Vitus Audio’s SIA 25 Mk.II integrated amplifier and SCD 025 Mk.II CD player, and Ansuz Acoustics’ A2 cables and accessories. A special event format has been designed for members of the Society…

6 min
industry update

CANADA: TORONTO Paul Messenger My house, like many older houses in Britain, has suspended wooden floors, and for many years I’ve coupled my loudspeakers to the floor with spikes, to eliminate floorborne vibrations that can color and distort a speaker’s sound. But I’ve also found that a degree of spring-decoupling is entirely beneficial. I’ve been using Max Townshend’s Seismic Corners or Podiums for some years, but recently I encountered a Canadian company, IsoAcoustics, whose products work along similar lines. Based in Markham, Ontario, near Toronto, IsoAcoustics was founded in 2012, after principal David Morrison had spent nearly 20 years designing and installing studios for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Although many IsoAcoustics products are designed to be used in professional audio, some, like those discussed below, are intended for domestic hi-fi. I’m particularly taken with…

13 min
new phono gear from air tight and zesto

Something’s definitely happening at the house of Yoshio Matsudaira. The legendary gentleman, whom I’ve never met or corresponded with, manufactures cartridges for his own brand, My Sonic Lab, as well as for others, including Air Tight. Over the past few weeks, more than a few readers have asked me to review or at least listen to the latest My Sonic Lab cartridge, the Platinum Signature. It’s been described to me as having a faster, more open, less burnished sound than previous My Sonic Lab models. Based on my time with Air Tight’s new PC-1 coda moving-coil cartridge ($8500), this may now be the sound of all cartridges made by Matsudaira. But that coda in its name gives me pause—will this be Air Tight’s final cartridge? I hope not! Air Tight began…