Stereophile December 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.

United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
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12 Issues

in this issue

4 min

Even though I’m the editor of Stereophile, I sometimes struggle to get my audio system to play. It’s a little bit embarrassing. Just last night, I put on a record and there was no sound. I figured out the problem immediately: I’d forgotten to turn on the amplifiers. But the reason isn’t always so obvious. Back in the day, our stuff was simple; it just worked. There were power switches, a volume control, a source-selector, maybe a Tape Monitor button. Turn it on, select the right input, set the volume, and put on a record. If there’s no music, make sure the Tape Monitor isn’t pressed. Easy. Today, things are more complicated. There are levels of input selection. Most systems still have a preamp, but other components accept multiple inputs. My phono…

5 min

Just regular guys Just finished the latest review Herb did on his 10× better speakers. Upon completion, I realized that although I’m a subscriber to both USA audio publications, I much prefer the regular-guy speak of the Stereophile inmates like Michael, Ken, and Herb. Nothing elevates my day like a smile on my face while reading about my favorite subject matter. Their writing reminds me that humor and side-chat can be a great way to present what can often be dry subject matter. Good-sounding music is the end game, and though they never downplay the value associated with the best of the best, they also give me the impression they would still love listening to $99 speakers if suddenly that’s all they had. Keith Zoll Pinehurst, North Carolina Tubes and bulbs Wow! Two fantastic issues…

2 min
calendar of industry events

ATTENTION ALL AUDIO SOCIETIES: We have a page on the Stereophile website devoted to you: If you’d like to have your audio-society information posted on the site, email Chris Vogel at (Please note the new email address.) Please note that it is inappropriate for a retailer to promote a new product line in “Calendar” unless it is associated with a seminar or similar event. Note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Stereophile recommends confirming that events are still taking place. ILLINOIS ▪ Thursday, December 2, noon–9pm: Holm Audio (2050 W. 75th St., Woodridge, IL) hosts a musical event with representatives from Ayre Acoustics, KEF, and Nordost showcasing their latest offerings. Door prizes will be given away to every attendee, and $1,000 worth of audio goodies will be raffled off. Advance reservations required; call (630)…

16 min
industry update

CANADA: BURLINGTON, ONTARIO Stereophile staff Stereophile has lost a member of its extended family. Mark Aling joined Paradigm not long after graduating from Sheridan College and stayed there for 20 years, eventually becoming the company’s senior director of marketing. He joined Stereophile in 2015, after leaving Paradigm. Later, he worked with Soundstage! and then as a rep for Clarus and Tributary cables. Wherever he went, Mark inspired warmth, love, and loyalty, and he gave it all back. Mark died August 20 from glioblastoma. His official obituary follows. It is with great sadness that the family of Aling announces Mark Richard George’s passing. Mark passed peacefully at home on Friday, August 20th at the age of 56. Mark will be deeply missed by his beloved fiancée Nicole; his loving children Madison, Zack (Hope), Joseph and Andrew; and his…

17 min
analog relaxin’ with the ex1000 cartridge

So glad to be back in business with superclean electricity! Especially having spent the last few weeks listening to the remarkably pure-sounding Analog Relax EX1000 cartridge ($16,000). The brochure asks, “Have you heard of YAKUSUGI Cedar?” No. I had never heard of Analog Relax, either. If you have heard of it, you’re at least one step ahead of me. Analog Relax, the brochure says, is produced by ZOOT Communication. On the company’s website I learned that in Japanese “zoot” means “always.” ZOOT Communication President Yasushi Yurugi is also a big Zoot Sims fan. He started the world’s only Zoot Sims fan club. The EX1000 is the company’s top-of-the-line cartridge. According to the emailed brochure, the body is carved from a rare piece of Yakusugi cedar that’s more than 2000 years old. Every component…

14 min
the mola mola tambaqui

Since the plague arrived, several of my closest audio friends have been chattering and bugging me constantly, not about masks, vaccines, Trump, or Biden but about Bruno Putzeys’s digital-to-analog converter, the Mola Mola Tambaqui. They’ve been sending emails and texts like pesky kids: “Herbie! Have you tried the Mola Mola? Come on man, what’s taking you so long? Is Putzeys’s DAC better than my MSB? Or the dCS Bartók? Or the Holo-Audio May?” I don’t mind—I like it when people pester me about products they’re excited about. That type of revved-up, need-to-know anticipation is what keeps our shared audio dreams going and growing. I get extra-happy when they are gushing about DACs. Today, digital converters, both A/D and D/A, define the leading edges of audio engineering, and we need them to keep…