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The Absolute Sound


The Absolute Sound Issue 234 July / August 2013   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 234, July / August 2013 table of contents and editorial.

Special 40th Anniversary Issue!
Join us as we celebrate forty years of The Absolute Sound with a reprint of a classic review, a selection of iconic covers, and Jonathan Valin's perspective on how TAS has evolved over the past four decades. PLUS! The 100 Most Significant High-End Products of the last 40 years.


Articles & Reviews In This Issue
4 From the Editor: TAS Turns 40
Editorial By Robert Harley

6 Letters

10 From The Editor

14 Future TAS

17 Industry News
Two reports from the New York show. Plus: The California Audio Show returns to the Bay Area.

196 Manufacturer Comments

26 Preview: The Absolute Sound's Illustrated History of High-End Audio
We give you the first look at the most ambitious and exciting project The Absolute Sound has ever embarked upon the definitive history of high-end audio in a lavishly illustrated series of coffee-table-sized books.

60 Special Report on Analog Tape
Jonathan Valin on United Home Audio's fabulous UHA-HQ Phase 11 tape deck and the brave old world of 15ips, two-track reel-to-reel tapes.


Start Me Up
30 Meridian Audio Explorer USB DAC
The portable DAC category just got a formidable new entrant from digital specialist Meridian. Neil Gader has a full report on this $299 wonder.


Special Analog Focus
Equipment Reports
70 Cover Story: VPI Scout II Record Player
In his first TAS review, Scot Hull listens to a redesigned classic from VPI.

70 Cover Story: Analog Focus LP playback has never been hotter, as Scot Hull and Wayne Garcia report in their reviews of the VPI Scout I.I and Rega RP8 record players. In addition to these two great phonographs, we cover the Walker Black Diamond V turntable, two cartridges, a phonostage, a tonearm, and two hot vinyl accessories.

78 Cover Story: Rega RP8 Record Player
Wayne Garcia on a new top-of-the-line offering from Britain's Rega.

90 Clearaudio Maestro Ebony V2 Phono Cartridge
This mid-priced moving-magnet cartridge from Germany hits all the right notes, says Neil Gader.

94 Plinius Koru Phono Preamplifier
Paul Seydor reports on this upper-end phonostage from New Zealand's Plinius.

100 Furutech DeMag LP Demagnetizer
Don't scoff at the idea of demagnetizing LPs. Jacob Heilbrunn on a unlikely product that improves the sound of black discs.

102 Ortofon TA-110 Tonearm and Cadenza Black Phono Cartridge
Jim Hannon on an affordable tonearm and cartridge from analog's eldest company.

108 Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner
This revolutionary LP cleaner uses ultrasound to get where bristles can't. Jacob Heilbrunn brings you the good vibrations.

110 Walker Proscenium Black Diamond V Record Player
JV's long-time reference gets significant new upgrades, making one of the best phonographs on the market even better.


Equipment Reports
116 Revel F206 and M206 Loudspeakers
Neil Gader auditions the fabulous new Performa loudspeakers from Revel.

122 Carver VTA-27S "Black Magic" Power Amplifier
Dick Olsher says Bob Carver's new amplifier is "magic" indeed.

126 ModWright KWI-200 Integrated Amplifier
Kirk Midtskog finds much to like in this powerhouse integrated.

132 ProAcTablette Anniversary Loudspeaker
The iconic ProAcTablette gets a makeover. Steven Stone reports.

138 Dynaudio XEO 5 Wireless Loudspeaker System
Ron Doering takes a revolutionary wireless system for a spin.

146 Musical Fidelity M8 Preamplifier and M8700m Amplifier
Jacob Heilbrunn listens to 700 watts of Musical Fidelity power.

150 Three DSD-Capable DACs: Mytek 192-DSD-DAC, Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and Lynx Hilo Reference
Steven Stone surveys new-gen DACs from the pro audio world.

166 BMC CS2 Integrated Amplifier
Neil Gader on BMC Audio and its excellent CS2 integrated.

172 Haniwa HSP2H08 Loudspeaker/Digital Amplifier System
Robert E. Greene explores an unusual DSP-corrected loudspeaker.

178 MIT Oracle SHD Interconnects and Loudspeaker Cables
Robert Harley listens to cost-no-object cables from Bruce Brisson of MIT.

184 Absolare Passion Preamplifier and Passion 845 Single-Ended Triode Power Amplifier
Robert Harley reports on some of the most musically involving electronics he's heard.


199 The Top Forty
For our 40th Anniversary Issue, our editors, equipment reviewers, and music reviewers choose 40 great recordings.

220 Download Roundup

224 Back Page
We talk to Steve Hoffman, celebrated audiophile mastering engineer.



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