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The Absolute Sound

The Absolute Sound Issue 191 March 2009   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 191, March 2009 contents and editorial.


Read this edition's editorial by clicking here.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
6 Letters

10 From The Editor

12 Future TAS
New products on the horizon.

14 Industry News

105 Manufacturer Comments


Analog Equipment Reports
21 How to Choose an LP Playback system

29 Our Top Picks in Turntables, Cartridges, and Phonostages

44 Analog BONANZA! Four LP Playback Systems From $450–$2k
Music Hall MMF2.2, Pro-JectXpression III,  Rega P3-24, Nottingham Interspace Jr.

56 ginko audio cloud 14 turntable isolation platform
Paul Seydor on a simple way of improving the sound of budget and mid-priced turntables.

58 Analog Buyer's Guide

64 PS Audio GCPH Phonostage
This feature-laden and affordable phonostage could be the best value on the planet, says Chris Martens.

66 Benz Glider SM Phono Cartridge
The Glider perfectly bridges the gap between moving-coil resolution and moving-magnet tonality, says Neil Gader.

68 Well Tempered Labs Amadeus Turntable
The iconic Well Tempered Turntable returns in a new, more affordable, incarnation. Robert E. Greene reports.

74 Three Phonostages for Any Budget: Clearaudio Nano, Phonomena II, and Graham Slee Era Gold
Neil Gader compares three phonostages from $350 to $1390.

76 Grado Reference Platinum Cartridge
Chris Martens on an amazing value in phono cartridges.

78 Tri-Planar VII U II Tonearm
This classic arm just got better with some significant updates. Wayne Garcia has the details.


Equipment Reports
16 Start Me Up
Neil Gader on a professional powered monitor from KRK.

36 Next-Gen Digital: How to Convert Your LPs to Digital
Steven Stone on everything you need to know to move your vinyl collection into the digital age.

80 Cerwin-Vega CLS-215
Robert E. Greene reports on an affordable loudspeaker from an unlikely source.

84 Esoteric A-100 Tubed Power Amplifier
A company known for digital products makes a reference-grade tube power amplifier.
Dick Olsher evaluates this surprising design.


The Cutting Edge
90 AAS Gabriel/Da Vinci Turntable and Da Vinci Grandeeza Tonearm
This masterpiece of turntable and tonearm art inspires Jonathan Valin to ruminate on the reproduction of music's dynamic scale.

98 HP's Workshop
HP listens to a modern JansZen electrostatic loudspeaker.


108 Recording Of The Issue
Bonnie “Prince” Billy: Beware

108 Rock
New CDs and LPs from Andrew Bird, Fiction Family, and Cat Power. Plus, two Cat Stevens reissues, the all-star Dark Was the Night compilation, a book from The Oxford American, and audiophile vinyl from Metallica, Faith No More, Roy Orbison, and Neil Young.

114 Classical
Pianist Andreas Staier's recent Hommage à Bach disc and John Corigliano's A Dylan Thomas Trilogy. Plus another installment of Multichannel Marvels.

118 Jazz
New albums from the Broken Arm Trio, New Jazz Composers Octet, Eliane Elias, and Jovino Santos Neto. Also, two more 45rpm vinyl Blue Note reissues from Music Matters.


TAS Back Page
120 Mathew Bond of Tara Labs talks with Neil Gader.


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