The Absolute Sound

  1. NuPrime DAC-9 DAC, STA-9 Stereo Amp, and HPA-9 Phono Preamp and Headphone Amp

    Founded by former NuForce CEO Jason Lim, NuPrime sells several higher-end NuForce products, plus it has developed additional NuPrime-branded gear. What distinguishes NuPrime components from those of most competitors are their prices, which range from moderate to (are you sitting down?) outright bargains. The equipment under review is potentially in the latter category. So just how low are the prices of the 9-series NuPrimes? The DAC-9 is priced at $749, the STA-9 at $649, and the HPA-9 at $649. But wait! While these prices make the 9-series components inexpensive (I started to say dirt cheap, but there’s nothing dirty about...

  2. NAD Founder Martin Borish: 1927–2017

    On July 11th, 2017, Martin L. Borish (Marty), who is credited with leading NAD Electronics from a distribution sourcing co-operative into an iconic 45-year-old audio brand, passed away after a quiet and dignified battle with cancer. The entire worldwide family of NAD employees, distributors and dealers join with his family to mourn Marty’s passing. His passion for audio changed the course of Marty’s life, and influenced our industry. His vision to build affordable audiophile level products encouraged broader introduction into the world of high end audio. Marty was a native of New Jersey in Metro New York City, and started...

  3. Q&A with Scott DeLoache of Starke Sound

    What ignited your interest in the high end? Did it come from the music side or the electronics side? The music side primarily. My parents introduced me to music at a very early age and it has been a passion of mine ever since. With that being said, I’ve always been interested in everything science-related, including the physics behind sound and acoustic reproductions. What gear made up your first high-end system? It was a Snell Phantom IC-B7 system powered by Krell multichannel amps. When and why did audio develop from a hobby to a career? It was in 2010, when...

  4. Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding

    The sessions for John Wesley Harding took place in Columbia’s Nashville recording studios, where most of Bob Dylan’s previous album, Blonde on Blonde, was also recorded. Bob Johnston was again the producer, and the core sidemen on JWH—Charlie McCoy (bass) and Kenny Buttrey (drums)—also played on the BoB sessions. Yet the albums are radically different. Musically BoB was looser and the sound much fuller, with electric guitar and organ playing prominent roles. Much sparser is JWH, where the rhythm section (and especially the electric bass) is relatively high in the mix while Dylan’s acoustic guitar and piano are recessed. (Pete...

  5. Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo Diamond Edition with Subissimo Subwoofer

    When high-end audio manufacturers delve into the so-called “lifestyle” category they must tread lightly to avoid giving the impression that they’re prioritizing good looks at the expense of great sound. Sure, there are many approaches to product development and how budgets get divvied up, just as there are audiophiles who crave not only high-fidelity musical reproduction but also gear that’s a pleasure to have around—to look at and live with in their home, to enjoy interacting with it. Can’t one have the best of both worlds? Certain companies seem to think so (Sonus faber, Burmester, McIntosh, among many others), and...

  6. Prog-Rock Is Dead, Long Live Prog-Rock

    Progressive rock has long been shunned by critics and ignored by radio. How is it, then, that the music continues to find new fans? “You can’t completely kill an art form,” Dave Weifel wrote in a 2012 Slate article, “Prog Spring: The Brief Rise and Inevitable Fall of the World’s Most Hated Pop Music,” “Even if a musical genre becomes despised, it endures.” In the case of prog-rock, it eventually found new and unpredictable devotees, including heavy metal musicians as well as those crate-diggers who love dropping needles on prog-rock albums. As Weifel put it, “Hip-hop artists, our cultural magpies,...

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