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The Absolute Sound

The Absolute Sound Issue 186 November 2008   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 186, November 2008 contents and editorial.


Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
6 letters

12 From The Editor

15 Future TAS
New products on the horizon.

18 Industry News
PSB introduces the new Imagine line -- and an entirely new method of building loudspeaker cabinets. Plus, the publication of TAS Music Editor Bob Gendron's book Gentlemen on the Afghan Whigs. Neil Gader reports.

40 Manufacturer Comment


Equipment Reports
22 Start Me Up 
Neil Gader reports on two self-contained hi-fi systems, Arcam's Solo Mini and April Music's Aura Note.

26 iTAS
Wadia's revolutionary new 170 iTransport turns your iPod into a home music server, says Robert Harley.

28 Absolute Analog
Don Saltzman on Clearaudio's all-out assault on the state of the turntable art, the Statement.

42 TAS Journal
Audio's Final Frontier: DSP Applied to Loudspeakers
Robert E. Greene takes you through DSP (digital signal processing) from A to Z. 

53 Equipment Reports
Cambridge Audio 840E Preamplifier and 840W Power Amplifier
Cambridge Audio goes upscale with its new separates. Neil Gader reports.

122 HP's Workshop
HP on a new power conditioner, the first Blu-ray music release, and the resurrection of XRCD.


Focus On Loudspeakers
59 Triangle Titus EX
This $995 mini-monitor pushes all the right buttons, says Steven Stone.

64 Chario Premium 1000 Tower
Neil Gader on big sound for small listening rooms from Italy's Chario.

68 Gershman Acoustics Sonogram
Neil Gader listens to the newest and most affordable speaker from Canada's Gershman Acoustics. 

72 ProAc Response D Two
Neil Gader on British manufacturer ProAc's triumphant new loudspeaker. 

77 Quad esl-2905
Jonathan Valin on what might be the best bang-for-the-buck in a truly high-end loudspeaker. 

86 Hyperion Sound Design HPS-968
Jim Hannon on a new loudspeaker that performs far above its price class.

90 Thiel CS3.7
Anthony H. Cordesman evaluates a radical new design from Jim Thiel. 

98 Venture Audio Excellence III Signature
Dick Olsher evaluates this ambitious and beautiful loudspeaker from Belgium. 

104 Musical Triumph
Robert Harley lives with a contender for world's 
best loudspeaker, the $148,000 Wilson Audio Alexandria X-2 Series 2. Plus: An interview with David Wilson.


134 Recording Of The Issue
Lucinda Williams' Little Honey

132 Rock
We interview legendary singer-songwriter Randy Newman. Also, reviews of new records from Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Mark Olson & Gary Louris, Okkervil River, Land of Talk, Mercury Rev, Mogwai, David Gilmour, Buddy Guy, Scars on Broadway, Jerry Douglas, and Suarasama. Plus, box sets from Robyn Hitchcock and Jesus & Mary Chain, a Chuck Berry gold disc, and 180-gram vinyl from Mudcrutch, ZZ Top, and U2.

150 Classical
Hybrid SACD reissues of Handel and Purcell, Jennifer Larmore's Royal Mezzo, Philip Glass' Waiting for the Barbarians, Reference Recordings' The Tempest, the Hilliard Ensemble's Audivi vocem, an Alwyn orchestral disc from Naxos, Simon Rattle playing Stravinsky, Espen Aspaas' Mirror Canon, an Egorov box set, Cameron Carpenter's Revolutionary, and an Arnold Steinhardt book.

160 Jazz
The lowdown on two new discs from Mike Reed, and albums from Joel Harrison, Corey Wilkes, Joe Lovano, Fight the Big Bull, Mathias Eick Quartet, and Wolfert Brederode.


TAS Back Page
168 Billy Woodman, founder of and chief designer of ATC, talks with Neil Gader.

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