The Absolute Sound January 2021

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
11 期號


6 分鐘

The End of the Line? I’ve been on the hi-fi train for 35 years (I’m 55), and I’ve decided to get off. Why? Because I’ve found the absolute sound. For several years now my rig has been a NAD M2 digital integrated amp, OPPO UDP 205 disc player, Gallo reference 3.1 speakers augmented with the Gallo SA amp, and Cardas Clear Sky cables. I know it’s not the level of the equipment you and your staff possess but I think it’s pretty good. However, after reading the streaming article in your magazine a few months ago, I really wanted to give streaming a try I purchased the Bluesound Node 2i streamer [$549, reviewed by Paul Seydor in Issue 308] and inserted it into my system. I then subscribed to Qobuz, downloaded its…

4 分鐘
digital memory lane

This issue’s cover story on the remarkable Wadax Reference DAC prompted me to look back at the evolution of digital audio since the Compact Disc’s introduction in 1982, and to consider just how far we’ve come. The standards for the CD format, a 44.1kHz sample rate and 16-bit quantization, were established in the late 1970s, the Pleistocene era in digital audio. Although a higher sample rate and longer word length would have been better, we’re lucky that Sony and Philips didn’t settle on 32kHz sampling and 14-bit quantization, specifications that were seriously considered. In fact, Philips had manufactured 14-bit DAC chips in anticipation of 14-bit CD, and ended up using these 14-bit parts in its first players. Many of us decried the CD’s fundamental specs as being inadequate, but it turns…

6 分鐘
meet the writers

Just who are the editors and freelance writers who contribute to The Absolute Sound? What are their backgrounds, musical interests, and sonic priorities? What kind of systems and listening rooms do they have? To answer these questions, we’d like to introduce you to three more TAS staffers: Editor-in-Chief Robert Harley, Senior Writer Wayne Garcia, and Senior Writer Jacob Heilbrunn. (You can find biographies and photos of all our writers at I feel incredibly fortunate to have made a living helping music lovers better connect with music. Robert Harley My older brother Stephen introduced me to music when I was about 12 years old. Stephen was a prodigious musical talent (he went on to get a degree in composition) who generously shared his records and passion for music with his little brother. As…

2 分鐘
future tas

Audio-Technica AT-ART9XI & AT-ART9XA Cartridges Successor to the acclaimed AT-ART9, Audio-Technica’s new flagship, the AT-ART9XI (pictured), is a magnetic-core moving-coil cartridge that features dual moving coils aligned in an inverted-V shape. It employs a neodymium magnet and a Permendur magnetic-alloy yoke to optimize energy in the magnetic gap where the coils are located. Output is 0.5 mV The coils are made from PCOCC (Pure Copper Ohno Continuous Cast) wire and uses a specially-designed line-contact stylus mounted on a 0.28mm solid-boron cantilever. The cartridge’s hybrid body is a machined aluminum housing combined with high-rigidity polymer—a configuration that ensures stable playback and minimizes resonances. The AT-ART9XA version uses a non-magnetic-core (air-core) design to eliminate any magnetic distortion. It has a newly-designed coil armature that provides an improved 0.2mV output. Its Shibata stylus is…

44 分鐘
the absolute sound’s 2020 product of the year awards

Welcome to The Absolute Sounds 2020 Product of the Year Awards, the most exclusive and prestigious of our honors. Here we celebrate the very best components we’ve heard in the previous year. In many categories we’ve chosen more than a single winner: one that represents the greatest value for the dollar and another that represents the best we’ve reviewed regardless of price. We’ve also selected a Budget Component of the Year to recognize the component we believe offers the biggest bang for the buck, as well as an Ultra-Exotic Component of the Year. Finally, our Overall Product of the Year honors the products that stand above all others as the most impressive achievements of the past 12 months. Accessories of the Year GeerFab D.BOB Breakout Box $999 Most of the time a specialized solution…

8 分鐘
how to build your own low-cost, high-performance streamer

THERE IS NO PRODUCT CATEGORY with a wider range of available price options than music streamers. I have reviewed under-$100 streaming solutions, such as the Muzo Cobblestone ($59), and premium options, such as the Aurender ACS10 ($6000–$8000), but these were all “turnkey” products that came completely assembled and ready to install. There is another way—Do It Yourself (DIY). Welcome to the wonderful world of Raspberry Pi streaming solutions. This option isn’t new—computer hobbyists have been using Raspberry Pi’s for years. And even some turnkey items, such as the Bryston 3.14 streamer/DAC I reviewed in Issue 309, use a Raspberry Pi internally as the basis of their own proprietary streamer. This article will introduce you to Raspberry Pi, and some of the many options for assembly and use. The goal is to…