Stereophile January 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.

United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
SPECIAL: Get 40% OFF with code: START40
$10.65(Incl. tax)
$13.31(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

4 min
slow listening

THERE ARE AS MANY OPINIONS AS THERE ARE EXPERTS THIS ISSUE: Pro audio is coming around to what audiophiles have known for years. Subjectivist audiophiles have long maintained that long-term listening is necessary to assess the quality and character of an audio component. Scientific testing methodologies such as ABX, which require quick and conscious evaluation of a change in the sound, have long struck many of us as insufficient, seeming to miss much that affects our enjoyment of music. A pair of Genelec researchers—Thomas Lund, an audio professional with a medical background, and Aki Mäkivirta, a research and development manager and a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society—have published two articles1 on the science of hearing and perception, and their findings appear to support such views. Among their observations: » The “perceptual bandwidth” of…

5 min

TAKE HEED! Unless marked otherwise, all letters to the magazine and its writers are assumed to be for possible publication. Please include your name and physical address. We reserve the right to edit for length and content. Chick and Miles Editor: I was overjoyed to read the interview with Chick Corea in the October issue. It was Chick and Miles that sent me on my journey of jazz which has wandered all over the improvisational musical map. I appreciate the insight into the mind and spirit of this truly innovative pianist. —Robert Greenbaum Houston, TX No congas down the corridor Editor: Thanks, as always, for an informative and well-executed magazine for our great hobby. Just wanted to weigh in on an error in Mr. Greenhill’s review of the SVS SB-3000 subwoofer (September 2019 issue). In discussing the excellent subterranean…

4 min
calendar of industry events

Attention all audio societies—we have a page on the Stereophile website devoted to you: If you’d like to have your audio-society information posted on the site, email Chris Vogel at (Please note the new email address.) Please note that it is inappropriate for a retailer to promote a new product line in “Calendar” unless it is associated with a seminar or similar event. CALIFORNIA Sunday, December 8, 11am until close: The Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Society will host its 26th Annual Society Gala and Awards Banquet in the Grand Ballroom of the Holiday Inn, Buena Park. Andrew Jones, chief engineer and speaker designer at Elac, will receive the Founder’s Award, the society’s highest honor. The award will be presented by Michael Fremer of Stereophile Magazine. The second annual Audiophile…

10 min
industry update

SUBMISSIONS: Those promoting audio-related seminars, shows, and meetings should email the when, where, and who to at least eight weeks before the month of the event. The deadline for the March 2019 issue is December 20, 2019. CANADA: TORONTO Stereophile Staff On a Friday night in mid-October, during cocktail hour at the Toronto Audiofest, the organizers presented their Lifetime Achievement Award to longtime Stereophile contributor Robert Deutsch. Audiofest organizer Michel Plante invited Jim Austin, Stereophile’s new editor, onto the stage to introduce Bob. “Tonight I have an honor that I haven’t earned,” Jim said. “I’ve been Stereophile’s editor for just eight months, and I get to present a lifetime achievement award.” Jim then told the audience that he had asked John Atkinson, a longtime colleague of Robert Deutsch, to prepare some remarks, which he—Jim—read at…

16 min
vpi industries turns 40

INSIDER VIEWS ON EVERYTHING VINYL THIS ISSUE: Mikey listens to VPI’s HW-40 40th Anniversary Edition turntable—and concludes that it’s much better than its twice-as-expensive predecessor. Judging by VPI’s new HW-40 direct-drive turntable, middle age well suits the company that Harry and Sheila Weisfeld started 40 years ago in their Howard Beach, Long Island, basement. Harry Weisfeld began his career as an audio manufacturer with the HW-9, an isolation base for Denon’s DP-80 direct-drive turntable. (You could say the introduction of a VPI direct-drive ‘table completes a circle.) Next came the DB-5 “Magic Brick,” a wood-encased block of laminated ferrous metal said to act as a “sink” for stray electromagnetic radiation. Audiophiles around the world bought these and plopped them atop their amplifiers, swearing they heard an improvement. They still do both! The HW-16 record…

16 min
john fahey and the spiders from kansas city

IN SEARCH OF THE EXCEPTIONAL THIS ISSUE: Maybe the earth really was flat in the 1980s. During my first attempt at college, I lived in a dormitory where my next-door neighbors had an informal trade in pharmaceuticals; their most ardent customers were my neighbors across the hall. One of the latter was a fellow named Pete, a good-natured guy (if a bit sanctimonious in his disdain for music he considered insufficiently bluesy) whose heavy rotation list was, at the time, topped by John Fahey’s The Voice of the Turtle. I merely disliked the record the first time I heard it, but in the days ahead I came to loathe it. I found it repetitive, masturbatory, technically inept, and dead boring. Pete hated my music, too. But at 18, I was an insecure listener.…