Stereophile November 2018

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

5 min
conspicuous consumption?

THIS ISSUE: Why the upward price spiral benefits audio manufacturers. “At what price does a high-end product cease to exist for the ‘normal’ audiophile?” This question, which I asked in the February 2017 issue, was a follow-up to one I’d asked in our April 2011 issue: “If all someone is offered is a $150,000 pair of speakers… that person will walk away from this hobby, or build his or her system by buying only used equipment. Either consumer choice turns the price spiral into a death spiral for manufacturers.” Yet this issue sees me reviewing a loudspeaker that costs $215,000/pair. Last month I reviewed an amplifier priced at $55,000. In August, Michael Fremer reviewed a monoblock amplifier that costs $118,888/pair. And in September, Art Dudley reviewed a CD player that costs $43,000. All…

10 min

TAKE HEED! Unless marked otherwise, all letters to the magazine and its writers are assumed to be for possible publication. In the spirit of vigorous debate implied by the First Amendment, and unless we are requested not to, we publish correspondents’ e-mail addresses. The value of history? Editor: I was urging my TV/internet/phone service/cellphone provider to demo the LG V30 smartphone in their stores, based on the rave review in North America’s oldest audio magazine. It occurred to me Stereophile doesn’t indicate anywhere on its website or in the magazine just how old it is. I had to find on Wikipedia that its first issue was published in 1962. It’s something worth making very plain indeed. Not only has John Atkinson edited Stereophile for considerably more than half the time it’s been in existence,…

6 min
industry update

SUBMISSIONS: Those promoting audio-related seminars, shows, and meetings should e-mail the when, where, and who to at least eight weeks before the month of the event. The deadline for the January 2019 issue is October 20, 2018. UK: SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, ESSEX Paul Messenger Having briefly heard a prototype Rega Aura moving-coil phono stage when the Naiad was installed about a year ago, I tried hard to borrow one when I recently visited Rega’s factory, but was told that no review samples were available. I’m sure I’ll eventually manage to get hold of a sample, and hope that it really does sound as good as that prototype. In the meantime, I can at last write about a sensational-sounding record that I’ve been waiting to tell you about since April while digital download issues were being…

6 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 Sunday, October 14, 2–5pm: The Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Society will hold its monthly meeting at Excel Audio, in Newport Beach (4678 Campus Drive). Our host, Mike Rose, will feature TAD speakers with Audio Research’s reference electronics and Clearaudio turntables. Aldo Filippelli from Audio Research, Garth Leerer from Musical Surroundings, and Jon Derda from MoFi Distribution will be on hand to answer questions. A raffle is planned and…

17 min
technics sl-1000r & s.a.t. cf1-09

THIS ISSUE: Technics SL-1000R direct-drive turntable & Swedish Analog Technologies CF1-09 tonearm. Technics’ sudden decision, in October 2010, to stop making its iconic SL-1200 direct-drive turntable, then in its MK6 iteration, took vinyl fans by surprise. At the time, although sales of vinyl and turntables for home use were surging, their use in clubs was falling as DJs moved to the digits. According to Technics (a division of Panasonic), production of the SL-1200 was stopped not because professional sales dropped, but because the factory tooling for manufacturing them had worn out, and retooling wasn’t cost-effective. However, as the growth of the vinyl market exceeded even the most optimistic projections and previous Panasonic profit centers like plasma HDTV shrank, Technics’ Home Entertainment Business division—headed by Michiko Ogawa, an engineer who in 1988 helped…

16 min
acoustical systems smartractor

THIS ISSUE: Optimizing the behavior of pivoted tonearms. I have flip-flopped between these points of view: that some audio products or technologies are better suited than others to specific styles of music, and that any good product or technology should be equally at home with rock’n’roll, chamber music, large-scale classical, hard bop, techno, ragas—even George Crumb. At age 19, in my first job as a hi-fi salesman, I was asked to adopt the first of those views. The shop I worked in carried only two loudspeaker lines—EPI and Ultralinear, both long gone—and the owner urged me to push the former on lovers of classical music, and the latter on rock fans. So I did. To paraphrase Jiang Qing, I was the shopkeeper’s dog: What he said to bite, I bit. At various times…