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Stereophile January 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.

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AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
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12 Edities

in deze editie

2 min
uk: glasgow, scotland

The last time I heard Scottish manufacturer Fyne Audio’s speakers was at the 2020 Florida Audio Expo, which seems so long ago now. The Fyne F702 two-and-a-halfway floorstanding speakers demoed there had concentric point-source arrays with titanium centers. Recently, Fyne added to its flagship series two standmount speakers that also feature concentric point-source arrays, the compact F1-5 and the larger F1-8, which include technologies found in the top-line F1-12 floorstander. The model numbers—F1-5 and F1-8—designate the diameter in inches of each model’s multifiber mid/bass driver cone. Both models’ arrays combine a mid/bass cone surround with a magnesium dome compression tweeter 19mm in F1-5, 25mm in F1-8) in the center to “create a time-aligned isotropic wave front.” The two new models also include Fyne’s “BassTrax” technology, which is said to improve bass response via…

1 min
fred hersch

Fred Hersch, piano Palmetto PM2197 (CD, also available as download). 2020. Fred Hersch, prod., eng. Many jazz musicians have responded to the global pandemic by creating music of hope and solidarity. Songs from Home is a shining example. Fred Hersch recorded it himself. He used the Logic program on his MacBook Air, four microphones, and a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 audio interface. The sound is acceptable. That Hersch has become one of our most renowned pianists proves that jazz is a meritocracy. He is neither musically flamboyant nor personally charismatic. All he does is play masterful, advanced, accessible, modern jazz. Hersch calls this “kind of a comfort food album,” but he is too deep an artist to make easy-listening music. In an atmosphere of quietude, his literal interpretations creatively wander. The songs come from…

1 min
canada: pickering, ontario

NAD’s Masters Series M33 integrated amplifier is a versatile piece of audio gear; that helped it win Stereophile’s Product of the Year award. Some people, though, may not want all that versatility. Some, surely, are instead interested in the M33’s “Eigentakt” amplifiers, which are based on Purifi class-D modules. Can we get the amplifier modules without the preamp, built-in DAC, Dirac Live room correction, and other front-end features included with the M33? The first standalone Eigentakt amp I heard about was the Masters Series M28—but it’s a 7-channel amplifier. (Kal Rubinson was so impressed by the M33’s amplifiers that he bought an M28, unseen and unheard, for his multichannel system.) What is there for us 2-channel fans? There’s one of those, too. But surprisingly, NAD placed it not in their top-range…

13 min
cambridge audio cxa81

During my tenure as a Stereophile writer, I’ve reviewed a lot of integrated amplifiers. The mostly moderately priced integrated machines I’ve reviewed have included the Heed Audio Elixir ($1195), Luxman SQ-N150 ($2795) and L-509X ($9495), NAD C 328 Hybrid Digital ($549), Octave Audio V 80 SE ($10,500), Rega Brio ($995), and Schiit Ragnarok 2 ($1799 as equipped). Regardless of price, all these integrated amplifiers engaged my senses and made engaging, dynamic, colorful music from LP grooves and ones and zeros. Decades ago, integrated amplifiers were full-featured beasts—and then there was a move toward minimalism, at least at the higher end. Today, things have swung back again: With some exceptions, today’s integrated amplifiers once again offer myriad extras. Today there’s more to offer. In addition to the traditional phono stage and headphone…

5 min
bring service back.

Walter Swanbon has had a lot on his mind lately. Like many dealers, he’s been busy adapting to changes, but the pandemic has also offered time for reflection. Swanbon is founder and president of Fidelis Premium Audio, a longstanding audio dealership in “tax-free” New Hampshire that serves a broad swath of New England, from Greater Boston to Maine. He also handles US distribution for several lines and sells records at his Nashua showroom, a 35–40-minute drive from Boston. During a conversation via Skype, Swanbon expressed concerns and even a few grievances about the state of our industry. In the 1970s and ’80s, hi-fi culture was deeply embedded in the New England college scene. There was a point in the early ’70s, Swanbon told me, when seven or eight stores in the Boston/Cambridge…

20 min
mcintosh mac7200

Recently, I received an email from Editor Jim Austin. “Larry, do you still use your Day Sequerra FM Reference tuner to listen to FM radio?” he asked.1 “Jim, yes, I still listen to FM classical music in the Bay area. Why?” “I had kind of a crazy idea. McIntosh has lots of good new stuff coming out now, but I want you to review the MAC7200 receiver, which isn’t new. I like FM radio. I’d listen to FM a lot more, except that I’m stuck on the first floor in a neighborhood full of very tall brick and stone buildings. I am literally a 3-minute walk from Columbia, but I cannot receive Columbia’s powerful radio station—WKCR—in decent quality due to multipath. So, unless we move up in the world, literally, I…