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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 164, September 2006 table of contents and editorial.

September 2006

Read this edition's editorial.


Equipment Reports
Cover Story:
Meridian 808 Signature Reference CD Player

Sue Kraft reviews the new reference model from the company that made the first-ever musical-sounding CD player. Robert Harley comments.
Six Overachieving Audio Systems You Can Afford
Does high end always mean high-priced? We think not, as these six affordable systems will demonstrate. Chris Martens leads the way..
Munich High End 2006
Roy Gregory
reports from Germany’s premier audio show.
Rotel RX-1052 and Outlaw Audio RR 2150 Stereo Receivers
Rare-bird sightings by Jim Hannon — two stereo receivers that focus on the music.
Absolute Analog:
Pro-Ject RM-9.1 Turntable System

A very good turntable just got better — Jim Hannon looks at the latest from Pro-Ject.
DALI IKON 6 Loudspeaker
Affordable excellence from Denmark. Robert E. Greene reports.
A Cable Survey
Neil Gader on winning wires from Crystal Cable, Nordost, and TARA Labs.
YBA Design YA201 Integrated Amplifier and YC201 CD player
Chris Martens finds himself listening with his eyes…as well as his ears.
Aerial Acoustics Model 9 Loudspeaker
The latest offerings from Michael Kelly delivers the goods.
Jacob Heilbrunn reports.
Cary Audio CD 306 CD/SACD Player
Excellent Super Audio sound from Cary, says Robert Harley.
Audio Research 300.2, Classé CA-M400,
and McIntosh MC 501 Power Amplifiers

Tom Martin ponders why amplifiers are so important.
The Cutting Edge

Music-Minded Controllers, Part 3: Attractive Opposites
Can multichannel controllers satisfy the music lover the way a good preamp can? Alan Taffel listens to Arcam’s FMJ AV9 and Halcro’s SSP100.


MBL 5011 and 6010D Linestage Preamps, 1521A CD
Transport, and 1511E DAC

Can any solid-state and digital components seduce a pair of grumpy tube ’n’ analog guys? Jon Valin and Wayne Garcia report.


Pass Labs XA160 and X600.5 Monoblock Power

Anthony H. Cordesman spins a tale of two amplifiers.

Basic Repertoire:
Bluegrass, Part 2
David McGee
wraps up his two-part journey through the annals of bluegrass by chronicling bluegrass’ modern manifestations and recommending the recorded essentials of its new traditions.
Recording of the Issue - Theater of Voices/Fretwork: The Cries of London
Reviews of Golijov’s Ainadamar, Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Foulds’ Dynamic Triptych, Shostakovich’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6, a Prokofiev box set, R. Luke DuBois’ Timelapse, Die Walküre on SACD, and two Everest classics on LP.
The scoop on the latest from Patricia Barber, Frank Kimbrough, David Hazeltine, and Kidd Jordan, plus box sets from Fats Waller, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane, and a new audiophile-grade Nat “King” Cole LP.
Rock, Etc.
Reviews of more than a dozen new albums and reissues, including the latest from Tom Petty, Thom Yorke, Frank Black, Comets on Fire, Sonic Youth, Espers, and Rhymefest as well as box sets on Bob Wills, The Byrds, Gram Parsons, and 50s rockabilly.
TAS Retrospective:
by Jonathan Valin
In the Next issue:
2006 Editor's Choice
Loudspeakers by Ascendo, Pradigm, Vienna Acoustics
Rega Apollo CD player
Arcam FMJ CD 36 and C 31 preamp
And More!

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