The Absolute Sound

  1. Soulution 755 Phono Preamplifier

    This has been a very good year for phonostages chez Valin. Over the past twelve months or so I’ve had the opportunity to audition four outstanding units: the Audio Consulting Silver Rock, the Constellation Perseus, the VAC Statement, and the primary subject of this review, the Soulution 755. Although I could happily live with any of them, no two sound alike. While there are folks on our staff who would be dismayed by such sonic variety, I relish it. But then I’m not as doctrinaire as some. The world is filled with different kinds of listeners and different kinds of...

  2. Paradigm Persona 9H Loudspeaker

    Let me begin with the conclusion. The Paradigm Persona 9H is a new assault on the state of the art in speaker design by one of Canada’s leading companies. It may cost some $35,000 a pair, but it’s one of the best speaker systems I have ever had the opportunity to listen to or review. The Paradigm 9H has superb upper-octave and midrange response, and it can deliver flat, detailed, and room-corrected bass that normally requires a massive separate subwoofer. Soundstaging and imaging are equally excellent. As is the case with every top speaker, the nuances of its voicing and...

  3. The Emperor's New Server

    So much has been written so enthusiastically in this magazine and others about the manifest superiority of computer audio over “old-fashioned” optical-disc technologies (and, presumably, over even more old-fashioned analog ones) that even an LP hound like me couldn’t help but notice. Intrigued by what has been written and feeling guilty about letting what appears to be the future of high-end audio slip by without a hands-on tryout, I decided to take the computer-audio plunge and have spent the last twenty-four months auditioning “hi-res” files over a variety of pretty good DACs. Before I tell you what I’ve concluded, let’s...

  4. Jimmy Scott:  A Story About Hoping and Dreaming

    Time was rarely on singer Jimmy Scott’s side. He launched a promising career in the early 1950s but saw it go dormant in the 60s. He experienced a comeback in the early 90s but was on death’s door by the time he recorded these collaborations. And he died in 2014, before the release of the documentary I Go Back Home, which yielded these 12 stirring tracks. Scott was in failing health when producer Ralf Kemper paired him with Joey DeFrancesco, Kenny Barron, Oscar Castro-Neves, James Moody, Dee Dee Bridgewater, the HDR Studio Symphony Orchestra, and others. But frailty was something...

  5. Onkyo USA Ships Two New Portable Digital Audio Players

    The following is a press release issued by Onkyo. UPPER SADDLE RIVER, NJ | May 16, 2017 – Expanding its offerings to address the growing demand for hi-res music, Onkyo USA today announced the availability of two new digital audio players: the DP-X1A, available for an MSRP $799.99 (USD) and $1,099.99 (CAD), and the DP-S1 available for an MSRP of $449.99 (USD) and $649.99 (CAD). Comprised of “audiophile-grade” components, the DP-X1A features a High-Capacity Conductive Polymer Capacitor that absorbs noise on high clock rates and better stabilizes the power supply, while the Discrete Thin Film Chip Resistor improves stability and...

  6. 2017 Editors' Choice: Loudspeakers $10,000-$20,000

    Sony SS-NA2ES $10,000 Inspired by the flagship Sony SS-AR1 and SS-AR2, but brought to a lower price, the NA2ES shares many virtues with its bigger brothers, and only limited losses from having to meet the lower price point, mostly in less emphasis on handcraftsmanship and some slight driver compromises. The high point is the new tweeter assembly, which offers exceptional high-frequency detail and clarity. Moderate in size, the NA2ES still has adequate dynamic power and bass extension for large-scale music in rooms of domestic size. Von Schweikert Audio UniField 2 MkII $10,000 The UniField Two is a 2.5-way design in...

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