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The Absolute Sound

The Absolute Sound Issue 187 Winter 2008 / Spring 2009 Buyer's Guide   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 187, Winter 2008 / Spring 2009 Buyer's Guide contents and editorial.


Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
12 From The Editor

14 The Roots of High-End Audio
A brief but authoritative history of our hobby by TAS editor-in-chief Robert Harley. 

16 How We Got Started in High-End Audio
Personal recollections of life as budding audiophiles from Jonathan Valin, Neil Gader, Robert Harley, and Wayne Garcia. 

25 How You can get Started in High-End Audio Robert Harley walks you through how to allocate your audio budget; select, match, and upgrade components for your system; and establish a relationship with a dealer. 

38 What Would you Buy? Four Ways of Building a $5000 System Four guys, four rooms, and four different musical and listening biases yield four different ways of building a $5000 system. Real-world choices by Neil Gader, Jonathan Valin, Wayne Garcia, and Robert Harley.

45 Beyond the Compact Disc - Music Servers for Audiophiles
Steven Stone explains high-resolution downloads and how they work; what's great, and what's not, about iPods (and how to get the most from one); how to rig a wireless home; and the low-down on Apple's Airport Extreme and TV, Logitech's Squeezebox Duet, and Wadia's 170 iTransport iPod Dock.


The Absolute Sound Picks
60 At Work and On the Go
Desktop speakers, iPod speaker systems, earbuds, and headphones.

70 Loudspeakers Stand-mounted, floorstanding, planar, and subwoofers.

90  LP Playback Integrated and stand-alone turntables, tonearms, cartridges, and phonostages.

108 Disc Players Integrated CD players and CD/high-res disc-spinners.

118  Integrated Amplifiers: Solid-state and tube.

124 Preamplifiers: Solid-state and tube.

129 Power Amplifiers: Solid-state and tube.

141 Interconnects and Speaker Cables

148: AC conditioners, Equipment racks, and Must-Have Accessories

158 Great and Great Sounding Pop, jazz, and Classical LPs, CDs, SACDs
Our staff picks 50 of the finest and finest sounding titles in each category.

171 Buyer's Guide to the Best Cost No Object Components
Loudspeakers, turntables, tonearms, cartridges, phonostages, disc players, digital separates, integrated amplifiers, solid-state and tube preamps and amps, cables, and accessories. 

170 Introduction to Exotica
The priciest, sexiest, and best-sounding objects of audio desire. Jonathan Valin, our resident expert on the extremely high High End, ushers you into a world where if you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.


TAS Back Page
The 12 Greatest Bargains in High-End Audio... and where to read about them in this issue.


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