Stereophile September 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.
R 127,47
R 159,38
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min
respect the music

In early May, some of us in the music press got an advance look at what was coming soon from Apple Music. Apple announced that, following the example of Tidal, Qobuz, and Amazon Music HD, the company would no longer deal in AAC, their improved (but still lossy) MP3 equivalent. Henceforth, all Apple stereo downloads and streams would be at at least CD resolution; many tracks would be offered in higher resolutions, up to 24/192. Apple estimated that by the end of 2021, 75 million songs would be available at resolutions of 16/44.1 or better. That’s big news, but the Apple people on the call played it down. The improvement wrought by lossless over AAC is small, they suggested, even difficult to hear. Apple had long claimed AAC was “virtually indistinguishable”…

5 min

Liner notes with downloads, please! Over the decades, I’ve progressed through albums to CDs to hi-rez downloads. Part of my listening experience has always been reading liner notes. Holding and reading an album cover or CD booklet while listening to the music has always enhanced the experience. So what gives with liner notes not being part of most hi-rez download purchases? I’ve complained to one of the major hi-rez download sites about this, and they indicated that their hands are tied by the record companies. So I contacted one of the major record labels and got nowhere: Seems they’re happy for me to spend premium money for their hi-rez files but equally happy to deny me liner notes. Maybe a louder, disapproving voice from the hi-rez music–buying public will get their…

3 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. CALIFORNIA Saturday and Sunday, October 16–17: The Burning Amp Festival is back, to be held again at the Fort Mason Center (at the Firehouse and Building C) in San Francisco. This is the 13th edition of an event where audio hobbyists and DIYers can meet, learn, and share their projects. Saturday, Oct. 16: Seminars with Bob Cordell, Demian Martin (author of Designing Audio Power Amplifiers), plus a…

13 min
industry update

US: LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA Jim Austin The first post-pandemic audio show was The Home Entertainment Show in Long Beach, California, which took place June 11–13. In the months leading up to this show, I wondered why they hadn’t canceled it: It seemed too soon. Then, in late spring, the pandemic was abating. More people were vaccinated. Case rates were dropping fast. I decided, yes, the time was right. I congratulated Emiko Carlin, the show’s coordinator, for her good judgment. Among the fully vaccinated was Jason Victor Serinus; he lived closest to the show and was eager to go back out into the Big World. Big world, small show: Carlin said the show counted 1416 visitors. And yet, on Saturday, most rooms were full all day; some were packed even on Sunday, subject to social-distancing protocols.…

1 min
patented science. observable measurement. definitive results.

Shunyata Research: US Patents Method to reduce distortion in an audio cable using ferroelectric substances. Patent Number: US 6,545,213 Method to eliminate RFI, EMI and other interference in a power supply. Patent Number: US 7,196,892 Power conditioner that actively corrects A.C. line harmonic distortion. Patent Number: US 7,256,638 Cable elevator that neutralizes static electric interference. Patent Number: US 7,694,917 Device that reduces AC power line noise using ferroelectric substances. Patent Number: US 8,658,892 Method to reduce dielectric distortion in signal transmission cables. Patent Number: US 8,912,436 Method to improve instantaneous current delivery in an AC to DC power supply. Patent Number: 10,031,536 Shunyata Research Inc.…

15 min
spring cleaning

I don’t like being pigeonholed as a reviewer of exclusively expensive audio components—because I’m not, as anyone who regularly peruses Analog Planet knows. So, to ease the pain of reviewing the half-million-dollar Air Force Zero turntable—you’ll find that review on p.53 of this issue—I figured I’d cover some more reasonably priced analog gear here in Analog Corner. Plus, I need to do some spring cleaning and tidy up a few loose reviewing ends: Only products reviewed in Stereophile qualify for the Recommended Components list, so when I review something at Analog Planet that I think should be on that list, I need to cover it here, too. Take, for instance, QHW Audio’s The Vinyl MM/MC phono preamp. (QHW stands for “Quality Hi-Fi Works.”) See my full review at Analog Planet.1 This exceptionally…