Stereophile June 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
stereophile: the next generation

THIS ISSUE: JA steps down as Stereophile’s editor It was the summer of 1976. My career as a professional musician was not panning out as I had hoped. I’d played bass guitar on quite a few singles and three albums, and toured with erstwhile teen singing sensation Helen Shapiro—but I was better at playing than I was at getting paid. My then wife, Maree, showed me a classified ad in the British newspaper The Guardian: Hi-Fi News & Record Review was looking for an assistant editor. “You read Hi-Fi News,” she said. I had, for several years, and had put together what I thought was a pretty good-sounding system.1 “Call the number in the ad,” Maree instructed. I did. To my surprise, I got the job. To my even greater surprise, it turned out…

10 min

A rock? Editor: It may not be widely appreciated, but as one gets older, many things become more remote and inaccessible. In this digital age, when everything audio seems to be on the Internet or delivered by it, listening to equipment in the flesh—especially more exotic and expensive items—with a view to purchase is almost impossible. Stereophile is the rock I have built my hi-fi information existence upon. How does that work, you may ask? As a reader of 20+ years, I have come to know and, I think, understand the reviewers’ likes, dislikes, and idiosyncrasies; their musical tastes and what seems to excite them. Many of my equipment purchases have come from reading Stereophile reviews. Reading a Stereophile reviewer regularly is like having a conversation with a friend. Their enthusiasm and…

3 min
industry update

UK: LONDON Paul Messenger Amid all the handwringing about the need to attract new blood to our hobby, an imaginative way to do just that has been enjoying success here in the UK and elsewhere. It comes not from the usual graybeards, but from a stylish mother of one who’s equally at home in the worlds of domestic audio and deejaying. Classic Album Sundays1 was founded by radio host, DJ, and journalist Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy in September 2010, when Murphy, her husband, and a friend carried Murphy’s own audio gear—including a Technics 1100-series turntable with a Koetsu cartridge and step-up transformer—upstairs to a function room in her friend’s London? pub. Murphy doesn’t remember the rest of the system. “Quad monoblocks? Maybe.” Murphy, who considers herself a protegée of the late deejay David Mancuso, of…

7 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, May 18, 5–7:30pm: The Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Societywill hold its monthly meeting at Brooks Berdan (110 W. Olive Avenue, Monrovia 91016). Sheila Berdan and her staff will host the Society and welcome all to see and hear what’s new at Brooks Berdan this year. Their guest speakers will be Chris Hagen, Principal System Engineer of Harman International Inc., and Isaac Markowitz, Performance Sales Account Manager of…

16 min
the sound of nothing

In their quasi-religious pursuit of sonic purity, some audio enthusiasts are obsessed with keeping things simple: single-tube, single-ended-triode amplifiers; single-driver, crossoverless speakers; even DACs fitted with “vintage” Philips TDA1541A Crown non-oversampling chips, and some without anti-aliasing filters—never mind such products’ serious shortcomings, sonic and otherwise. I occasionally favor this principle of less is more—for instance, less of my room’s acoustics interfering with the loudspeakers’ output produces more accurate sound from my system, and I’m all for that. However, getting the room out of the sound is never a simple task—and is especially challenging for those whose systems must share a multi-use space with other family members or roommates. Almost 20 years ago, shortly after moving into this house, I sought the assistance of RPG Diffusor Systems’ Dr. Peter D’Antonio. Using his Room…

16 min
accessorize your way to a new you!

It’s a toss-up: The house where my family and I lived for 15 years was bigger than the one we have now, and had a much nicer view. On the other hand, we now live in a less economically depressed region, as suggested by the relative scarcity of inflatable lawn decorations. During the last year I saw in my neighborhood far fewer leprechauns, reindeer, Easter Bunnies, purple-and-green Draculas, and turkeys wearing pilgrim hats (which makes about as much sense as Russian soldiers wearing lederhosen). I find those things unspeakably sad, because they’re horrible, cheap, gaudy wastes of money. I’m beyond saddened by waste—a more apt descriptive is overcome by a paralyzing depression. (If ever I fail to answer your phone call or reply to your e-mail, it’s likely I’ve just come…