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Stereophile April 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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United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
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12 Edities

in deze editie

4 min
george russell’s new york, n.y.

George Russell was a major innovator in modern jazz: a pianist-composer-theoretician who profoundly influenced Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Gil Evans, and the “modal revolution” that propelled so much music of the 1960s and beyond. But he’s largely been forgotten. He was also the leader of ensembles, big and small, on more than two dozen albums. A few of those albums are acknowledged masterpieces, but they too have been overshadowed by some of his acolytes’ classics. The most ambitious of Russell’s masterworks is New York, N.Y., which was recorded in the fall of 1958 and released on Decca in 1959—the same year as Miles’s Kind of Blue and Trane’s Giant Steps. So it is good to see it come back to life in this gorgeous gatefold-packaged reissue, mastered from the original analog…

11 min

The VAC Sigma 170i iQ uses two pairs of Gold Lion KT88 tubes for its output stages and eight small-signal tubes. The tubes are identified with a number, this between the pins of the smallsignal tubes. The tube locations are clearly indicated in the manual and the top panel has each tube socket marked with the appropriate tube number. I carefully followed the numbering when installing the tubes before connecting the amplifier first to my Audio Precision SYS2722 (see the January 2008 “As We See It”1), then to the magazine’s higher-performance APx555 analyzer in order to repeat some of the tests. The condition-monitoring LEDs for the four KT88s remained dark throughout the testing, indicating that these tubes were operating correctly. The output transformer taps are marked “8–16,” “4–8,” and “2–4.”…

6 min

I measured the exaSound s88 with my Audio Precision SYS2722 system (see the January 2008 “As We See It”1) and the magazine’s top-of-the-line APx555 system. I used the exaSound’s single external power supply and followed the instructions in the manual to make sure that the optional external DAC power supply was deselected. I connected the exaSound to my network and opened the product’s “dashboard” by entering the address “s88.local” into my browser. The dashboard webpage allowed me to select inputs, check settings, view the manual, and access tutorials. The Roon app on my iPad recognized the s88, and by enabling the processor as a Roon endpoint, I could send audio data to it, sampled at rates up to 384kHz. (I don’t have files with higher sample rates in my library.) Before connecting…

5 min
a lifelong passion

This gig has many perks—but the best one without a doubt is the cool, interesting people I get to “meet.” I should explain the quotation marks. Since starting this job, in April 2019, I haven’t gotten out much. Even before the pandemic, I was too busy to do much of anything except edit the magazine. So, many of the interesting people I’ve “met,” I’ve still never seen in person. One of those is John Swenson, who has written music reviews for Stereophile since his first contribution, a 1996 review of REM’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi. In 1999, he wrote our Recording of the Month review of Taj Mahal’s Kulanjan. Two months later, he wrote Recording of the Month again, splitting his attention between an MFSL Gold CD of Who’s Next and The…

14 min
waiting for a bypass

My heart did not attack me. My arteries aren’t clogged. I’m awaiting an electrical bypass to save my audio system’s life. As I reported last month, my audio system started choking on the house juice immediately upon power up after an emergency power generator was installed in my house. The system isn’t running on generator power, but the generator’s installation required installing some other hardware in the AC signal path: a switch that automatically transfers the house’s power system to the generator when the power goes out. It’s that new hardware that seems to be causing the problem. Before the generator was installed, the sound had been better—more intense and emotionally elevating—than any that I’ve heard in the almost 22 years I’ve been in this room. I’d leave the room late every…

20 min
industry update

US: GIG HARBOR, WASHINGTON Jason Victor Serinus Listening, an extraordinary video tribute to the late writer Art Dudley’s taste, vision, and devotion to music, premiers this month on Stereophile’s YouTube channel. The video follows the unusual path of Art’s beloved Altec Lansing Flamenco loudspeakers from their home in Upstate New York to their current residence, the listening room of deaf audiophile Bob Lichtenberg in Port Orchard, Washington. Lichtenberg, 64, who serves as senior court program analyst for the Washington Supreme Court Interpreter Commission, began to lose his hearing at age 5. By 8, he was completely deaf. Today, he’s a confirmed audiophile with a huge LP collection and a dedicated listening room that holds several systems. He began listening to music by mapping musical vibrations emanating from a small bookshelf speaker held to…