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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 145, December 2003 / January 2004 table of contents and editorial.

December 2003 / January 2004
December 2003 / January 2004



4 - From The Editor 

8 - Letters 

175 - Manufacturer Comments



18 - Future TAS: Products on the Horizon 

26 - Industry News 

28 - Absolute Analog
Paul Seydor on the background of Sota, and its latest triumph, the Cosmos Series III. 

77 - Cover Story: Special Report
High-Resolution Digital Audio Comes of Age
In this special feature on DVD-Audio and SACD, Robert Harley gives a technical primer on the two formats; Bob Stuart of Meridian Audio and David Kawakami of Sony make the case for the respective formats; and on page 97 our staff reviews 13 SACD, DVD-A, and Universal players from Accuphase, Denon, EMM Labs, JVC, Krell, Marantz, Meridian, Musical Fidelity, Philips, Shanling, Sony, and Yamaha. 

56 - Golden Ear Awards
Our annual year-end awards to the very finest components. 

38 - Recommended Products: Preamps
Our picks for the best sounding full-function, linestage, and 
phonostage preamplifiers. 


TAS Journal

34 - Wagner, the Festspielhaus, and the Audiophile Lexicon
Classical Music subeditor Andrew Quint journeys to Bayreuth for the ultimate Wagner experience. 

48 - 30th Anniversary Feature 
TAS Interview: Harry Pearson
For this final issue of our 30th Anniversary year, Andrew Quint sat down with HP to chat about this magazine’s beginnings, and the high end today. 


Equipment Reports

124 - Epos ELS3 Loudspeaker
Chris Martens listens to the latest budget mini from England’s Epos. 

127 - Sutherland Engineering 12dAX7 USB Audio Digital Converter and Vacuum Tube Linestage
$1600 for computer sound? You betcha! says Tom Miiller. 

131 - PSB M2 Platinum Loudspeaker
Neil Gader on this fine new model from Canada’s Paul Barton. 

137 - Conrad-Johnson MV-60SE Amplifier
C-J stuff is super expensive, right? Not necessarily, as Dan Davis reports. 

141 - Mark Levinson No.436 Power Amplifier
Anthony H. Cordesman on the latest power amp from the Mark Levinson Co. 

147 - Art Audio PX-25 Amplifier
Stephan Harrell has slimmed way down—to a mere 6 watts of SET bliss.


The Cutting Edge

156 - Vandersteen Model 5A Loudspeaker
Shane Buettner listens and reports on the technology behind 
Richard Vandersteen’s newest flagship. 


HP Workshop

163 - Components to Remember
Harry Pearson reflects on the ten most significant audio components of all time.


The Music

177- Golden Ear Music Awards
Each of our music writers, giving equal consideration to musical and sonic merits, chooses three of his favorite records released in 2003.
195 - Jazz
Abbey Lincoln: It’s Me; Cassandra Wilson: Glamoured
Recording of the Issue: James Carter: Gardenias for Lady Day
Art Ensemble of Chicago: Tribute to Lester, The Meeting; David S.Ware: Threads
Marty Ehrlich: Line on Love
Dave Holland Quintet: Extended Play
200 - Classical
Bach: The Art of Fugue (Emerson String Quartet)
Film Score Roundup: R. Newman: Seabiscuit; T. Newman: Finding Nemo; Elfman: The Hulk
Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Manze/The English Concert) Hildegard von Bingen: 11,000 Virgins (Anonymous 4)
205 - Rock and Pop
Warren Zevon: The Wind; June Carter Cash: Wildwood Flower;
Joe Strummer: Streetcore
Emmylou Harris: Stumble Into Grace
Mary J. Blige: Love & Life
Kings of Leon: Youth & Young Manhood
No Thanks: The ’70s Punk Rebellion boxed set, plus new Television and Elvis Costello reissues
My Bloody Valentine: Isn’t Anything and Loveless

On the Fringe: New music from The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, Handsome Family, and The Dishes

New release roundup: Classics from Aerosmith, Marvin Gaye, and Rolling Stones plus the latest from Flaming Lips, Macy Gray, Led Zeppelin, Sheryl Crow, and Sting in surround


TAS Retrospective

216 - The Vandersteen Model 2 Loudspeaker
Wayne Garcia on the best-selling speaker in high-end audio history. 



211 - Classifieds

213 - Where To Buy The Absolute Sound

215 - Ad Index



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