The Absolute Sound

February 2022

The Absolute Sound is the world’s preeminent source of expert reviews, features, and commentary on high-performance audio and music.

United States
Nextscreen LLC
€ 1,91(Incl. btw)
€ 9,61(Incl. btw)
11 Edities

in deze editie

4 min

No Need for Sarcasm Brook Benton did not write “Rainy Night in Georgia” [ as stated in Greg Cahill’s review if Lucinda Williams’ Southern Soul: From Memphis to Muscle Shoals in Issue 322]. That’s (very, very famously) Tony Joe White, of Oak Grove, LA, who also wrote, among others, “Steamy Windows” and “Polk Salad Annie.” Next you’ll be telling us Tina Turner wrote “Rollin’ on the River” or that The Beatles wrote “Twist and Shout.” Sandy Untermyer This Too Will Pass Giles Martin has his hands full remixing Beatles group recordings and working with the contemporary artists that he produces. Despite what Alan Taffel stated in his review of the 50th anniversary edition of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass [Issue 322], the remixes of George Harrison’s music (and of the John Lennon archival…

4 min
the price of progress

In this issue’s review of the Metaxas & Sins Tourbillon open-reel tape machine, Jonathan Valin speaks eloquently about the visceral pleasure of operating mechanical devices, specifically the Metaxas tape deck. He writes: “As anyone seriously interested in cameras or cars can tell you, being compelled to lay hands on an object to make it work breeds a connection that goes a lot deeper (and is a lot more intensely satisfying) than merely pressing a button on a DAC or a virtual button on a computer tablet. It not only gives you a sense of proprietorship, but of active participation. The thing literally can’t do its job without you.” The advent of digital audio has without question been a boon for music lovers, but its rise has also rendered audio less of…

2 min
future tas

Rotel RA-1592MKII Integrated Amplifier Leveraging the design elements of the acclaimed Michi Series, Rotel’s flagship RA-1592MKII integrated delivers 200Wpc of Class AB power into 8 ohms, and a higher level of audio performance with upgrades to all critical circuits. The Texas Instruments 32-bit/384kHz DAC circuit features 12 new coupling capacitors with improved frequency response and even higher component tolerances. Upgraded capacitors are also used in critical signal paths, totaling over 28 changed components, with additional changes in the power-supply circuits. This results in wide dynamics, controlled bass energy, exceptional detail, and reproduction of every nuance of sound with exacting imaging. The RA-1592MKII is replete with source inputs including aptX and AAC high-quality Bluetooth streaming, MQA decoding and rendering via PC-USB, PCM PC-USB audio up to 32bit/384kHz, a moving-magnet phonostage, plus analog, digital,…

27 min
the 2021 capital audio fest

LET ME GET THIS OUT OF THE WAY FIRST: Trade shows are back, baby! The long famine is over! Woohoo! Whew. OK, on to the Capital Audio Fest. For many years, the Capital Audio Fest, held in a Maryland suburb just outside Washington, D.C., was something of an audiophile Wild West. Exhibitors consisted of every tinkerer in the vicinity, with only a handful of name brands, while attendees were a smattering of tube-rollers and the just plain curious. The result, to quote founder and organizer Gary Gill, was “a flea market of used gear and DIY brands.” Gill knew he needed a different formula if the show was to: a) grow; and b) be taken seriously by the industry. In 2018 he began the process of eradicating the DIYers and reaching out…

29 min
the birth of the cool

I’m not going to kid you: I am among the mechanically inept—high among them, I would say. If there were a merit (or demerit) badge for hastiness, clumsiness, and willful inattentiveness around machinery of any kind, I’d be wearing it (and would have royally earned it). And yet I very much doubt whether I would have gotten into this hobby when I did, which was as a teenager, or stuck with it as long as I have, which has been a lifetime, if it weren’t for the spell that complex, finely crafted mechanical objects have cast on me from youth to old age. Now, in the world of high-end audio, there is nothing as intricately or as spellbindingly crafted as a reel-to-reel tape deck. You can see this simply by looking…

15 min
an open-reel tape primer

I never in my wildest imagination thought that in the year 2022 I’d be writing a primer on open-reel tape. Or that The Absolute Sound would be reviewing a newly designed and built reel-to-reel deck aimed at audiophiles—the Metaxas & Sins Tourbillon T-RX explored by Jonathan Valin in this issue. Yet openreel tape is making a strong comeback, with many new and rebuilt machines available in the market, along with an astounding number of highly desirable music titles from top artists. As Jonathan explains in his review, tape is the ne plus ultra of high-end audio. In this brief tutorial, I’ll give you some background on tape machines and how they work, how to use and maintain an open-reel deck, and magnetic-tape fundamentals. Let’s start with tape formats. Two-channel consumer tapes are…