category_outlined / Tech & Gaming

Stereophile April 2017

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.
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12 Issues


access_time5 min.
as we see it

What’s New?Do you remember your very first record? I started with the Hollywood Argyles’ “Alley Oop” in 1960, and played that silly 45 on repeat until my mother begged me to stop. My tastes quickly evolved, thanks to WWRL AM radio’s steady diet of tunes by Jackie Wilson, Bobby Bland, Etta James, and Gary U.S. Bonds. It didn’t take me long to gather a sizable collection of singles, but I switched to LPs with Meet the Beatles! in 1964, and since then the craving for new sounds has never let up.Now it’s 2017. I buy three to five albums a month, and download another eight to ten from Tidal to my iPhone 6S. It seems like nearly every day I read or hear about or have friends turn me on…

access_time5 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.Humming with CharlesEditor: I enjoyed reading “Both Sides Now,” Sasha Matson’s interview with Joe Harley, in the January 2017 issue. It was refreshing to read about someone who is so passionate about both the music and the sonics of the recording process. I, too, am a big Charles Lloyd fan, and was wondering why, or how, the track “Sombrero Sam,” on I Long to See You, was recorded with a faint ground loop in the recording. It is especially noticeable in the hi-rez version.Arnold Gregg Anaheim Hills, CAI…

access_time12 min.
industry update

SUBMISSIONS: Those promoting audio-related seminars, shows, and meetings should e-mail the when, where, and who to JAtkinson@ enthusiastnetwork.com at least eight weeks before the month of the event. The deadline for the June 2017 issue is March 20, 2017.US: CONNECTICUT John AtkinsonWe were saddened to learn that Bret D’Agostino, the oldest son of legendary amplifier designer Dan D’Agostino (cofounder of Krell Industries, founder of Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems), died suddenly on Sunday, January 8. I first met Bret in the early 1980s, when he was a teenager, on my first visit to Krell in Connecticut. Bret later worked for Krell but I reconnected with him in 2010, when he founded an amplifier company, BSC, named for his recording studio, Bully Sound Company, after he left Krell. An active bass…

access_time13 min.
analog corner

Inside CH Precision’s P1 phono preamplifierAlthough Swiss-based CH Precision is a relatively young company, its core design team has been involved in high-performance audio for many years. Their website doesn’t state the company’s age, but something there did provide a hint: Among the design team’s previous activities was work for another Swiss company, Anagram Technologies.In 2001, in a review of Camelot Technology’s Round Table DVD player, which included an Anagram Technologies DAC, I wrote: “I was so impressed with the sound that I took the Round Table downstairs to my 2-channel audio room and used it there when I wasn’t watching movies.”1I hadn’t made the connection between Anagram and CH Precision when Raphael Pasche, the latter’s electronics design engineer, visited last fall to install CH Precision’s P1 dualmono phono stage…

access_time16 min.
windings & washings: two ways to maximize lp playback

Before I revert to form and leave the subject for another nine or ten months, I’ll pick up where I left off in last month’s column to focus once again on step-up transformers (SUTs) for moving-coil cartridges. There’s yet another choice you should know about—in this case, a thoroughly brilliant, handmade SUT that sells for well under $1000.MUSIC FIRST AUDIO MC STEP UP 632Introduced in 2015, the MC Step Up 632 ($715, sold direct) is the most affordable phono transformer offered by Music First Audio, of Hastings, UK. Music First is run by Jonathan Billington, a member of the family that owns Stevens & Billington, specialists in the design and manufacture of light-duty transformers. Indeed, given that he began plying the family trade when still a schoolboy, it’s possible that…

access_time14 min.
gramophone dreams

Power TrippingSome of our readers seem to believe that the essence of high-quality audio is disclosed primarily by science, and not by dreamy, bodice-ripping adventures that take place on plush carpets behind closed doors. Perhaps they’re right. Unfortunately, I have had no personal experiences that confirm that hypothesis.It also appears that some hard-core audiophiles think that recordings of music are simply tools for playing their gear. I believe that the gear and the recordings are both tools that reveal how I—and people in China, Africa, Alabama, and Detroit— feel about being stuck here together on planet Earth. For me, the better the recording and the gear, the more easily and directly I can connect with the worlds outside my bunker.AUDIOQUEST NIAGARA 1000With these beliefs in mind, I began my examination…