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The Absolute Sound

April / May 2006
By Robert Harley

TAS Plus


  I'm pleased to announce that Absolute Multimedia, publisher of The Absolute Sound and The Perfect Vision, has acquired the British magazine Hi-Fi+. We think that Hi-Fi+ is a natural fit with The Absolute Sound from both an editorial and a business perspective. Both magazines share a fundamental viewpoint on high-quality music reproduction, although we have our own distinctive flavors. The magazines' respective editorial directions and staff will remain the same now and in the foreseeable future.

We see an opportunity to increase the presence of The Absolute Sound in the U.K. and in Europe in concert with Hi-Fi+, and to make Plus more readily available in North America. The magazines will co-exist side-by-side in all markets throughout the world. We at TAS have long admired Hi-Fi+ and are delighted to welcome Editor Roy Gregory and his team to the Absolute Multimedia family.

Absolute Multimedia is making big waves in the automotive-publishing world too with its start-up auto-enthusiast magazine, Winding Road. After just seven issues, Winding Road has more than 120,000 readers, making it the world's fastest-growing auto magazine. The dean of automotive publishing, David E. Davis, just assumed the role of Editor-in-Chief. Mr. Davis led Car and Driver to great success beginning in 1962, and went on to found Automobile magazine in 1985. Road is a free digital magazine available at www.windingroad.com.

*  *  *

As discussed in last issue's Roundtable on the state of high-end audio as a business, the premium-grade presentation of high-end equipment is becoming a lost art to the great detriment of the industry. There's no way to tell someone about great sound; one must hear it for oneself to appreciate what high-end audio is all about. Given the overall decline in the number of places to experience high-end audio at its best, I was greatly heartened to discover a relatively new high-end dealership that is fully committed to delivering the best possible sound in an absolutely wonderful environment.

That dealer is ne plus ultra in Austin, Texas. Proprietor Casey McKee, an industry veteran, has set up shop in a Victorian mansion in downtown Austin. Although a by-appointment retail establishment, ne plus ultra feels nothing like a store. Rather, it's like listening to music in an elegantly furnished home (which, in fact, it is). The "store's" five listening suites feature a spectrum of gear all the way from a Sugden integrated amplifier and Audio Physic loudspeakers to the Wilson Alexandria X-2. (A full listing of lines carried is available at www.neplusultrainc.com.) Every room I heard delivered terrific sound and the atmosphere encouraged relaxed listening and appreciation of the musical pleasure these products can provide. Ne plus ultra is a model of how high-end audio should be presented and sold.

Finally, I'd like to encourage you to join the writers and editors of The Absolute Sound and The Perfect Vision at our new on-line forum for discussing all things audio. All your favorite writers will be there along with lots of other TAS readers. Visit www.avguide.com and bring your questions, comments, and suggestions. We'd love to hear from you, and look forward to some lively and informative discussions.





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