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The Absolute Sound

  Welcome to The Abso!ute Sound online! We explore music and the reproduction of music in the home. We believe that the sound of music, unamplified, occurring in a real space is a philosophic absolute against which we may judge the performance of devices designed to reproduce music. Our goal is to provide the resources consumers need to judge how a component's sound either honors or departs from the music's truth, and to make sound purchasing decisions that maximize their experience of reproduced sound. Below is our Issue 141, April / May 2003 table of contents and editorial.

April / May 2003



6 - From the Editor

8 - Letters



12 - Future TAS: Products on the Horizon

14 - Industry News

18 - Absolute Analog
Wayne Garcia checks out a selection of affordable analog goodies from two veteran manufacturers, Rega Research and Grado Labs.


TAS Journal

22 - 30th Anniversary Feature
Step into the TAS time machine with this classic review from Issue 11 —Harry Pearson on the Beveridge electrostatic speaker system.

27 - Recommended Products—Speakers over $2,500
Here ’tis, our latest list of favorite high-end loudspeakers.

32 - Consumer Electronics Show 2003
Our annual trek to Las Vegas brought us to one of the best shows ever. Our report describes the highlights and, we trust, will whet your appetite for future reviews.


The Sound

Equipment Reports

63 - Cover Story - NHT ST4 Loudspeaker
Chris Martens listens to this $1,000-a-pair contender,
and talks with designer Jack Hidley.

67 - Cover Story - Marantz DV8300 Universal Player
“Universal” disc players are suddenly hot items. Alan Taffel checks one out.

71 - ProAc Tablette Reference Eight loudspeaker
Neil Gader on the latest serious yet shrimpy speaker from ProAc.

75 - Canton Ergo 900 DC Loudspeaker
This mid-priced German design has a lot to offer music lovers, says Allan Freeman.

79 - Ayre Acoustics CX-7 Compact-Disc Player
Sue Kraft takes a listen to Ayre’s entry-level CD spinner.

81 - Dynaudio “Special Twenty-Five” Loudspeaker
Compact, pricey, and rare. Anna Logg on this
special-edition offering from Denmark’s Dynaudio.

87- Follow up EAR 864 Tube Preamplifier: New Tubes/New Sound
Aaron M. Shatzman takes another turn with EAR’s Mazda-equipped 864.

89- A Return to Reference Quality: The KEF 205 Reference Speaker
KEF is back in a big way, says our man in the field Anthony H. Cordesman.

95- The Cutting Edge: Chinese Boxes
Find out why Jonathan Valin compares Audio Research’s Reference Phono preamp and Clearaudio’s HarmonyMg cartridge to Chinese puzzles.

105- HP's Workshop
I: Surround-Sound without Pictures and the Future of the High End; II: The Super Surround SACD List

114 - Manufacturers' Comments


The Music

116 - ROCK: Pop Caps
Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears
Nick Cave: Nocturama
King Crimson: The Power to Believe
Recording of the Issue Zwan: Mary Star of the Sea
Common: Electric Circus and Ms Dynamite: A Little Deeper
Lou Reed: The Raven
Mike Bloomfield: Super Session and Fillmore East: The Lost Concert Tapes
Uncle Tupelo: Expanded Editions of No Depression, Still Feel Gone and March 16-20, 1992
The White Stripes: Elephant

125 - On the Fringe
New albums from Baxter Dury and Dirty Three, plus fresh collections
from Bloodshot Records, Morphine, James Chance, and Mickey and
the Soul Generation traverse unusual musical ground.

127 - CLASSICAL: Capsules
Kashif: The Queen Symphony
Glière: Symphony No. 3 “Ilya Murometz”
Ysaÿe: Violin Sonatas and Paganini: Violin Concerto in D major
Vaughan Williams: Early Chamber Music and Holloway: Gilded Goldbergs
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin (Goerne)
Donizetti: Lucie de Lammermoor

133 - JAZZ: Capsules
The Bad Plus: These Are the Vistas
David Murray: Now Is Another Time

June Christy: Something Cool (180-gram LP)
Roy Orbison: Lonely & Blue (Mono and Stereo 200-gram LPs)
Dvorák/Glazunov: Violin Concertos and Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (LPs)
Offenbach: Gaîté Parisienne
George Faber: Blues
Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Big Band: We Do It Diff’rent

141 - New Formats: SACD
The Police Arrive on SACD: Seven Albums Remastered
James Taylor: October Road
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme
Mendelssohn/Shostakovich: Violin Concertos (Hahn)
David Bowie: Heathen
The Great Jazz Trio: Autumn Leaves
Tchaikovsky: The Seasons
Ryan Adams: Gold; Beck: Sea Change;
Steve Earle: Guitar Town; Muddy Waters: Folk Singer

150 - DVD-A
Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 26 and 41; Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 and 5;
Scarlatti: Six Sonatas; Beethoven: Quintet in E flat, Op.71



147 - Classifieds

149 - Where To Buy The Absolute Sound

151 - Ad Index

152 - TAS Retrospective
Editor Wayne Garcia on a personal journey to The Absolute Sound.



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