Tech & Gaming

Stereophile March 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

in this issue

5 min.
a year of dueling shows

This year is not only one of fallout from the most divisive political campaigns of our time, but also one of competing audio shows too close for comfort. Southern California will see dueling audio shows three months and 35 miles apart, and New York City and Washington, DC will host shows on consecutive weekends. While a proliferation of audio shows potentially presents plenty of opportunities for audiophiles to hear new gear, such conflicts ultimately limit which manufacturers can exhibit where, and can render some shows a poor value. As a result of changing priorities and a revolt against high prices for exhibitors, in January 2017 we saw the smallest high-end audio showing at any Consumer Electronics Show in recent memory. Brightening the horizon later this month is the second annual edition…

4 min.

Errata My review of Keith Jarrett’s A Multitude of Angels (ECM), our “Recording of the Month” for January 2017, should have stated that all four concerts were recorded on a Sonosax DAT deck (not a Sony), and that the Modena concert has one encore (not two). I apologize for any confusion my sloppy note taking may have caused. The expanded version of the review at Stereophile.com includes these corrections. —Richard Lehnert Erratum Editor: Listening to Bach is proof there’s something worse than hell. —Joseph Michael Cierniak Joeinfrostburg@aol.com I Now Know I’m Not the Only One Editor: Jim Austin wrote, in the December 2016 issue, while reviewing the Lamm M1.2 Reference monoblock amplifier (and himself), “At heart, I’m a deep subjectivist with objectivist, classicist, scientific tendencies. . . . I have equal reverence for Art Dudley…

10 min.
industry update

US: PROVO, UTAH Jason Victor Serinus Last December, I visited Wilson Audio Specialties, in Provo, Utah, for the launch of their WAMM Master Chronosonic loudspeaker.1 Given its huge size (ca 86" H with spikes by 26" W by 36.5" D), high price ($685,000/pair), and limited production run of only 70 pairs, Wilson’s ultimate speaker model is not slated for demos at dealers and audio shows. The only way prospective customers, dealers, and the press can experience Dave Wilson’s magnum opus—the culmination of well over three decades of loudspeaker development— is to visit his home and hear the WAMM Designer Proof, which will take the place of the WAMM P2 Prototype I heard. But before I listened to the speaker, I discussed with Wilson his design of the new WAMM. “Frankly, I designed the…

16 min.
extraordinary analog

THIS ISSUE: Audio Union’s Döhmann Helix 1 turntable and Schröder CB tonearm. Turntables, tonearms, and phono cartridges are tuned systems. That each of them can be adjusted to maximize the sound quality—especially the quality called tunefulness, which is difficult to quantify—drives vinyl deniers crazy. Today, one of them e-mailed me: “You are the stupidest motherfucker I have ever encountered. Go shove a tone-arm up your ass.” He followed that with this: “You are demented, deluded, and deaf. Records suck, and always have.” Just ignore them. I do. (Well, I try.) The ability to fine-tune a vinyl playback system is part of what makes it possible to combine an archaic technology with modern thinking and materials to create musical magic, and take listeners to new heights of ecstatic musical pleasure. It’s why so many…

12 min.
the sky’s the limit

THIS ISSUE: Amplifying the output of a coil with a coil works wonders. In contrast with such line-level source components as DACs and CD players, record players generate a lower-voltage signal that requires extra gain1 from either a standalone phono preamplifier or the phono stage of another, more comprehensive component in one’s system—typically, a full-function preamplifier or an integrated amp. But when the phono cartridge of choice is a moving-coil (MC) type, which generates even less voltage than its moving-magnet (MM) and moving-iron (MI) friends, even more gain is required. This presents the user with an additional choice: he or she can select from among the many standalone phono preamps that offer sufficient gain, or augment an existing phono or full-function preamp or integrated amplifier with a phono step-up transformer, which boosts…

13 min.
love it or lift it!

THIS ISSUE: Three-Channel Amplifiers from ATI and Monoprice. The power-amp saga continues. For months, I’ve been plowing through the market, searching for something to drive my three front speakers. (I use a two-channel amp for the surrounds.) It can be a three-channel amp or three monoblocks—it just has to sound great with my speakers, and be light enough that I can lift it by myself when I need to rearrange my system. I’d finally settled on Classé’s Sigma Monos for their transparency, and because I can manage their weight, one at a time.1 At the CEDIA Expo last September, I saw two more candidates worthy of consideration. Review samples of both arrived here almost simultaneously. ATI AT543NC THREE-CHANNEL POWER AMPLIFIER Amplifier Technologies, Inc. (ATI) is a well-established company founded by Morris Kessler, who…