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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 151, December 2004 / January 2005 table of contents and editorial.

December 2004 / January 2005



6 - From The Editor

8 - Letters

131 - Manufacturer Comments 



18 - Future TAS: New Products on the Horizon 

20 - Industry News 

22 - Absolute Analog
Anthony H. Cordesman on the VPI TNT HR-X and 12.6 Tonearm. 

26 - Fear and Loathing on the 'Net: Apple iPod Mini and the Travails of Downloading Music
Bob Gendron takes an in-depth look at Apple's red-hot music player. 

31 - RCA on SACD: A Reason To Celebrate
More on the latest incarnation of Living Stereo by the man who wrote the RCA Bible, Jonathan Valin. 

36 - The 2004 Absolute Sound Golden Ear Awards
Our annual year-end roundup of components that have won our hearts and ears. 

60 - Cover Story
Robert Harley auditions the Aesthetix Calypso linestage and Rhea phonostage and discovers that state-of-the-art performance doesn't always command a stratospheric price. On page 74, Anthony H. Cordesman reports on the solid-state Conrad-Johnson Premier 18LS Preamp and Premier 350 Stereo Power Amplifier. 



Equipment Reports

52 - PrimaLuna ProLogue One Integrated Amplifier 
New writer Jeff Dorgay reports on an affordable tube amp, and adds his nomination for the next Nobel Peace Prize. 

56 - Totem Acoustic Rainmaker Loudspeaker
Wayne Garcia and Neil Gader offer two similar (and not so similar) takes on Totem's latest little guy. 

66 - Von Schweikert Audio VR-4jr Loudspeaker
Causing a stir in the high-end world, the VR-4jr gets a thorough evaluation by Sue Kraft. 

70 - Krell Resolution 2 Loudspeaker
Fred Kaplan on Krell's latest foray into speaker design. 

80 - Gershman Acoustics Gap 828 Loudspeaker
What's four-and-half-feet tall and pointy-headed? Wayne Garcia explains the sound and technology behind Gershman's Gap. 


The Cutting Edge

84 - TAS Roundtable: Playback Systems what matters most
Wayne Garcia, Harry Pearson, Jonathan Valin, Linn Products Founder Ivor Tiefenbrun, and Wilson Audio Founder David A. Wilson debate the role of each component in the playback system; Robert Harley moderates. Next, a bevy of surprises in a 13-page HP's Workshop, and Jonathan Valin describes The Best Stereo System He's Heard, Part Two. 


The Music

135 - 2004 Golden Ear Music Awards
157 - Jazz
Alice Coltrane: Translinear Light; RECORDING OF THE ISSUE Bill Frisell: Unspeakable; Matt Wilson: Wake Up (To What Is Happening); Miles Davis: Live Around the World (LP)
161 - Rock and Pop
Robyn Hitchcock: Spooked; Holly Williams: The Ones We Never Knew; Richard Buckner: Dents and Shells; Elvis Costello: The Delivery Man; Luna: Rendezvous;
Brian Wilson: Smile; Omara Portuondo: Flor de Amor; Yohimbe Brothers: The Tao of Yo; Megadeth: The System Has Failed plus Capitol reissues; Soundtrack: Lightning In a Bottle; Can't You Hear Me Callin' Bluegrass: 80 Years of American Music box set SACD Ray Charles: Genius Loves Company DVD-A Frank Zappa: QuAUDIOPHILIAc; The Polyphonic Spree: Together We're Heavy
179 - Classical
Biber: The Rosary Sonatas (Manze); Leon Fleisher: Two Hands DVD-A Four Silverline Abravanel titles
184 - TAS Contributors' Page
Fred Kaplan, Sue Kraft, and Chris Martens.




182 - Classifieds

182 - Where To Buy The Absolute Sound

183 - Ad Index

188 - TAS Contributors' Page
Pleased to meet ya Fred Kaplan, Sue Kraft, and Chris Martens. 



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