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The Absolute Sound

The Absolute Sound      January 2023


The Absolute Sound January 2023


  The Absolute Sound is the world's preeminent source of expert product reviews, features, and commentary on high-performance audio. Since 1973, TAS has set the standard for quality audio and music journalism, helping to shape the industry and guiding audio enthusiasts and music lovers to components and recordings that faithfully reproduce the sounds one might hear in a good concert hall. The Absolute Sound's editors and reviewers, many of whom have been writing about music and high fidelity for better than three decades, bring unparalleled enthusiasm, expertise, and insight to the magazine's readers.



From the Editor
Exploring Uncharted Waters
A combination of technical skill and critical listening are key.
Editorial By Robert Harley
High-end audio never runs out of surprises. Just when you think that the industry has addressed every possible source of sonic degradation, along comes a new technology, product, or design technique that elevates musical realism to the next level. This steady stream of unexpected innovation in unlikely places is one of the enduring sources of fascination with high-performance audio.
---> Exploring Uncharted Waters.




Cover Story
Shunyata Research Altaira Grounding System
Can a device that drains noise from the chassis of our components render an improvement in our hi-fi systems? Shunyata Research emphatically answers that question with the startling new Altaira grounding system. Robert Harley brings you a full report and analysis.


Future TAS
New products on the horizon


The Absolute Sound's 2022 Product of The Year Awards
This is the big one! We name the most outstanding products of 2022 in these, our most prestigious awards.


Absolute Analog
DS Audio DS 001 Eccentricity Detection / Correction Device
Fans of recordings that are pressed to vinyl or shellac have lived with the negative effects that mis-centering has had on pitch, timbre, and imaging since the dawn of the record player. Comes now an ingenious laser-based device — invented by DS Audio's Aki Aoyagi, the whiz who resurrected the optical cartridge — which can show you precisely how far off center your LP or 78 is and how to fix it.


Shure V15 Type VxMR Phono Cartridge and JICO SAS/B upgrade for Shure VN5xMR Stylus Assembly
Paul Seydor looks at the rich legacy of the iconic Shure V15 phono cartridge and reports on an upgraded stylus assembly that will extend the life of this venerable pickup.


Equipment Reports
WVL 12639 SON Loudspeaker
With its advance implementation of the field-coil-driver concept and an open-air AMT tweeter, the Son defies convention. Andrew Quint offers a surprising assessment of this idiosyncratic speaker.


Dan Clark Stealth Headphones
Steven Stone on this outstanding headphone made with artisanal techniques right here in the U.S.


Hi-Fi Rose RA180 Integrated Amplifier
From its steampunk front panel to its four amplification channels, the Korean-made RA180 offers something a little different in the integrated amplifier category. Rives Bird reports.


The Absolute Sound January 2023


Sonus faber Omnia
Neil Gader reports on this stylish Italian countertop system. 


IsoAcoustics ZaZen II Isolation Platform
Who says advanced component isolation has to cost a fortune? Neil Gader discovers an effective and affordable alternative to high-priced shelves and stands.


Western Electric 91E Integrated Amplifier
Western Electric has been resurrected, with the iconic 300B vacuum tube back in production right here in the USA. Rives Bird on WE's 91E integrated, along with a behind-the-scenes look at its tube-manufacturing process.


VooDoo Cable Air Phoenix, Air Dragon V, Air Tesla AC Power Cords
These AC cords, made from exotic materials and construction techniques, knocked the socks off Matt Clott.


The Cutting Edge
Gryphon Commander Preamplifier
Commander, indeed. This all-new massive two-chassis flagship from Denmark shows Jacob Heilbrunn who is the boss of all preamplifiers.


Manufacturer Comments 


Behind the Scenes at DALI
Neil Gader takes you on a tour of Danish loudspeaker giant DALI's newly expanded factory and give you a preview of its new KORE mega-speaker. 


Top Ten Lists
Top ten lists for the best rock, roots, jazz, and classical recordings of 2022.


The Great European Songbook
Andrew Quint discusses David Chesky's "jazzed-up Bach."


Joe Cool's Return
Some new reissues of classic titles by Vince Guaraldi impress Greg Cahill.


Rock, Etc.
Blondie, Stereolab, Mavis Staples / Levon Helm, Rory Block, Randy Travis, Björk, the London Suede, the Mars Volta, Dr. John, John Lee Hooker, and Buddy Guy / Junior Wells.


John Coltrane, Anat Cohen, Chick Corea, Al Foster, Robin Holcomb, and William Parker.


Nadia Shpachenko, Petteri Iivonen, John Wilson's Hollywood Soundstage, La Rocca's Mass of the Americas, a symphony by Bruckner, cello sonatas by Shostakovich and Schubert, and piano sonatas by Mozart.




The Absolute Sound
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