Stereophile July 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.

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12 Issues

in this issue

4 min
as we see it

THIS ISSUE: Remembering Art Dudley. A primal light On April 14, 1895, Mahler’s Symphony No.2, “Resurrection,” premiered in Berlin.1 Mahler wrote a program for this symphony prior to a performance six years later, in Dresden. Here is what he wrote about the first movement, Allegro maestoso: We are standing near the grave of a well-loved man. His whole life, his struggles, his sufferings and his accomplishments on earth pass before us. And now, in this solemn and deeply stirring moment, when the confusion and distractions of everyday life are lifted like a hood from our eyes, a voice of awe-inspiring solemnity chills our heart, a voice that, blinded by the mirage of everyday life, we usually ignore: ‘What next?’ it says. ‘What is life and what is death? Will we live on eternally?…

8 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. A sampling of remembrances of Art Dudley I wish to express my sincerest condolences at the sudden passing of Art Dudley—to his family, the staff of Stereophile, and all his friends in the world of audio. His witty, acerbic, and finely crafted writing on the intricacies of hi-fi sound and music will surely be missed. I looked forward without fail to his column every month. May his soul rest in peace. Thank you. —Robert J. Farrell Jersey City, New Jersey I just heard of Art Dudley’s passing. I’m stunned. I never dreamed that my favorite audio muse…

15 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 October 2020 issue is July 20, 2020. UK: CAMBRIDGE Jason Victor Serinus Cambridge-based digital audio specialist dCS (Data Conversion Systems Ltd.) is in the midst of its Legends Award program. Conceived to honor 12 Grammy Award–winning recording, mixing, and mastering engineers whose work supports “studio quality” high-resolution downloads and streams, the yearlong campaign was launched on October 16, 2019, at the 147th Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention in New York City. Each award recipient receives a limited-edition, commemorative version of dCS’s Bartók digital-to-analog converter. The first award, presented by dCS and the Producers & Engineers wing of the Recording Academy (the organization that…

15 min
haniwa’s hcvc01: a breakthrough product?

THIS ISSUE: Mikey tries something totally new, gets grounded, and then, with the help of a new watchdog, manages to avoid charges. Lately, current amplification–based moving coil phono preamplifiers have gotten a great deal of well-deserved press. For years, Haniwa’s Dr. Kubo has been designing and selling super–low-internal-impedance cartridges because such cartridges work best with such devices. He has also been designing and selling his own current-amplification phono preamplifier; I recently reviewed one of each as part of Haniwa’s Vinyl Playback System, which consists of ThePlayer—a modified Transrotor supplied turntable—the HTAM01 tonearm, a modified ViV Lab Rigid Float tonearm; the HTCR-CO phono cartridge; and the HEQ-A03-C1 current-mode phono stage. Here’s something new to Haniwa’s range and to hi-fi: the $6000 HCVC01 passive current-to-voltage converter. It’s analogous to a step-up transformer and is…

14 min

THIS ISSUE: Herb auditions HEDD Audio’s HEDDphones and Schiit’s Jotunheim and Jotunheim R amplifiers—the latter intended specifically for use with Herb’s favorite ‘phones, the RAAL-requisite SR1a. Today is March 22, 2020. Outside my door, the plague is gaining intensity. People are wearing masks and rubber gloves. But outside the window by my desk, there is a Callery pear tree, and every day its blossoms are becoming more intensely white. Each day its brightness (measured in units of luminous flux) increases noticeably. The optical radiance of its zillionpetal whiteness illuminates the whole garden. Looking out that desk window, I notice also the spring-warmed radiance of the sun, the racing shadows of ravenous sparrows, and daffodils. Each one of those things, in its way, affects my thoughts about what matters in life: art, music,…

16 min
von schweikert ultra 55

Achieving room-filling, high-quality sound in a hotel room is difficult enough. Getting it in a cavernous ballroom is even more problematic. Yet, over the past few years at AXPONA, RMAF, and most recently at the February 2020 FLAX (Florida Audio Expo), Von Schweikert Audio, in association with The Audio Company of Marietta, Georgia, has managed that—and, other than the approximately 100 bodies occupying every seat in the house, they’ve done it without any room treatment, or without any that I could see. At various shows, the company delivered equally impressive sonic goods with either the monolith-like $325,000/pair Ultra 11 or with the far smaller $100,000/pair Ultra 55 reviewed here ($95,000/pair for the passive version, without the powered woofers). The Ultra 9, priced between the two, fills out the Ultra line. While…