Stereophile August 2021

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.
$10.71(Incl. tax)
$13.40(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min
500 issues!

In October 1962, the first issue of what was then called The Stereophile was published and edited by J. Gordon Holt out of Wallingford, Pennsylvania. The issue you hold in your hands, published by AVTech Media out of New York, New York, and edited by Jim Austin, is #500. Jim is the magazine’s third editor, having occupied that seat since the July 2019 issue. Gordon Holt put together the first 82 issues, through the June 1986 issue; I was the editor from issue #83, cover-dated August 1986, through issue #473, June 2019.1 Many, many audio magazines have come and gone since 1962. The only English-language example I can think of that rivals Stereophile’s staying power is its stablemate Hi-Fi News & Record Review, which was founded in 1956, and which I…

5 min

Fun with moose and squirrel Long gone on Oakland’s San Pablo Avenue near the Berkeley border was family-owned Flint’s BBQ. Ribs and two pieces of cheap white bread—a fortune could have been made with their sauce alone. A small eatery that you just knew wouldn’t last. But that’s another story. Like that Flint’s sauce, for me, J. Scull’s way with words simply evokes. Great taste in life, but not above using dental floss to position his cables, friggin’ a! Anybody who can conjure an image of Rocky and Bullwinkle on a prehistoric cave wall—where do we find such people? Mr. Austin, all the best for Stereophile. Malcolm Baba Capitola, California Mr. Baba, Thanks for the note and the good wishes. I bet you’ll enjoy J-10’s special feature celebrating Stereophile’s 500th issue—this issue!—on p.41. And in…

20 min
industry update

US: HAYWARD, CALIFORNIA Jim Austin As I was finishing up the Magico A5 review for the July issue, corresponding with Magico CEO Alon Wolf as he reviewed the final proof, I was planning a post-vaccination trip with my wife to the SF Bay area, to spend some time in Stinson Beach, a favorite vacation spot for us for many years. I mentioned the trip to Wolf, and he suggested I stop by to hear the new Magico M9s. At 80" tall, 40" deep, and 1000lb—plus another 100lb for the active external crossover and its power supply—the M9 is among the largest domestic loudspeakers in current production. The speaker ships in two parts. The bass cabinet utilizes dual 15" bass drivers. The middle section—the bottom section of the top cabinet—holds a new diamond-coated beryllium tweeter…

14 min
a wallytool setup update

Held every November in normal times, the annual Warsaw Audio Video Show is among the world’s largest. I first attended a decade ago, in 2011, and was amazed by both the number of attendees—more than 10,000 people—and demographics that skewed young and included many families. That show was bigger and better-attended than any I’ve been to in America. The show organizers had arranged for my travel and hotel accommodations in exchange for a series of turntable setup seminars, which seemed like a fair deal. Upon my arrival at Frederic Chopin airport, I was picked up not by someone from the show but by an individual who informed me that he and not the show organizers had paid for my trip, in exchange for setting up his turntable! I was okay with that. For…

16 min
stealth and nuance

From my writing chair, I can see about a dozen moderately priced tube and solid state audio amplifiers. The five stacked next to my desk are First Watt or Pass Labs models designed by Nelson Pass. Across the room is a hybrid tube/class-D Rogue Sphinx V3 integrated. That black Sphinx is standing on its side behind one of the DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93 speakers. Next to the Orangutan is a Schiit Aegir. The most conspicuous amp in the room is my BFF, the Line Magnetic LM-518 IA,1 which breaks the night’s darkness with its tall, bright-emitter 845 triodes. Next to that is Ampsandsound’s Bigger Ben KT88/6L6 single-ended speaker and headphone amp. Behind the Ben is the made-in-Japan Elekit TU-8600S single-ended 300B kit-amp. In the shadow of the Elekit sits the stunning (but…

16 min
500 issues and counting

We’re all involved with the world we live in. Friends from 20 years ago? Hey, nice to see ya, put on a little weight I see. Generally, you hang with your crew, although you might miss the bigger picture that way. I wrote for Stereophile from 1993 through 2002, and I remember my experiences fondly, including the pure pleasure of listening to music on all that wonderful audio equipment. But I hung with my tribe and never fully appreciated the crucible in which Stereophile was formed. It’s a genuine saga; cue Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in the West. It all began with J. Gordon Holt, of course. He wrote for and then became audio editor of High Fidelity. But he was disillusioned with the ads-guarantee-positive-reviews equation. He soured…