Stereophile Buyer's Guide 2016

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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United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
6,88 €(TVA Incluse)
8,60 €(TVA Incluse)
12 Numéros

dans ce numéro

3 min
opera, choral & vocal on record

In the history of sound recording, opera holds a very special place. Not only is the very first opera ever composed still regularly performed—Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, composed in 1607, while Shakespeare was still writing plays—but in 1880, listeners connected by early telephones turned opera into the first electronic home entertainment. The great marketer Thomas Edison indicated, in his 1888 patent caveat, that the purpose of movies would be the delivery of opera. Edison also made the first known recording of music: of George Frideric Handel’s Israel in Egypt, cut into a cylinder of yellow paraffin at London’s Crystal Palace, in 1888. From 1951 through 1974, US commercial networks showed live opera on television. Today, opera continues to push media technology, projecting 3D computer graphics onstage. And live opera in HD, with…

3 min
chamber & instrumental music on record

“With chamber music you can get people who work on the music for months, rehearsing it every day for a couple of hours, and if they get it in a different way than you do, which is entirely possible, it’s not as a result of anything other than their good musicianship.”—Nico Muhly While the beginnings of the string quartet remain murky, if not entirely lost to history, it’s thought that a cross-pollination of Italian and German music in the 17th century is responsible for the ensemble’s beginning, though often with a keyboard instead of a viola. By the early 18th century, the trio sonata was being adapted into the sonate a quattro (Italy) and sonates en quator (France). Through the compositions of C.P.E. Bach and Franz Joseph Haydn, the ensemble reached…

4 min
10 years of records 2 die 4

Audiophiles are regularly accused of being interested in the gear first, and in music a distant second. Yes, we all love our audio systems, but owning such a system would be pretty pointless if we didn’t have music to play on it. Something that Stereophile’s reviewers have in common is that, no matter how expensive their audio systems, their collections of recorded music are worth more. So at the beginning of each of the last 25 years, this magazine has celebrated its love of music by publishing “Records to Die For” (R2D4), a list of the two albums every reviewer, whether of hardware or of software, could not bear the thought of leaving behind.1 For this special edition we have collected the past 10 years’ worth of record reviews featured in “R2D4”—some…

40 min
chamber & instrumental record reviews

ROCK, POP, COUNTRY, & ALTERNATIVE JAZZ CLASSICAL ORCHESTRAL & FILM SOUNDTRACKS OPERA, CHORAL, & VOCAL CHAMBER & INSTRUMENTAL FOLK & WORLD APHEX TWIN: COMPUTER CONTROLLED ACOUSTIC INSTRUMENTS PT.2 Warp WAP375CD (CD). 2015. Richard D. James, prod., eng.; Beau Thomas, mastering. DDD? TT: 27:56 This is an inspired mish-mash of sampled acoustic instruments, mixed and deposited in a dizzying array of instrumentals. Strummed prepared piano, tricky wood/metal percussion and drum patterns, distant children’s voices, and CinemaScope soundstaging all coexist without clashing. “Computer Controlled” my ass—Richard D. James had his hands on the knobs, sculpting the sounds and textures of these electroacoustic pasteups to mindwarping effect. Every time you play this CD you hear more: Try it first through speakers, then with a decent pair of headphones—each track will reveal completely different aspects of the…

4 min
rock, pop, r&b, alternative & country music on record

By the time rock’n’roll came around, mono recording was well established, the stereo revolution was just around the corner— and even in the very earliest rock’n’roll records, manipulation of the sound was evident. While some performers preferred to overload microphones and amplifiers to get a raw sound that might vaguely approximate what you’d hear if you caught the band live in some sweaty joint, others began to use the studio to create an entirely new art form. In Elvis Presley’s recordings for Sun Records, for example, a reverb effect, what Sam Phillips called, “slapback,” is liberally slathered on the sound. The recording studio itself, and all that could be done there, became a ghostly but essential member of the band. Sounds and performances could be manipulated by musicians, producers, and…

3 min
folk, blues & world music on record

What is now collectively known as the blues—the most elemental and uniquely American of all folk musical forms—began in the deep South as a fusion of traditional African rhythms and European folk music, played on instruments from both traditions. The most common form of the blues is a repeating progression of chords in 4/4 time in a basic 12-bar framework that eventually works itself into a groove. Like jazz, blues performances are improvisatory, and had to be trimmed to fit onto records. Evolving from acoustic guitar players like Robert Johnson, Son House, and Skip James, who practiced their art in the Mississippi Delta, the blues spread to Texas, Louisiana, and the Carolinas before moving north after WWII. During this migration blues performers also adopted electric guitars, and bullet microphones for…