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PREMIERE DESIGN

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 11, 2010 8 comments

Among the maladies to which music lovers are especially susceptible, hearing damage caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds is perhaps the most pernicious. When you're young, you normally don't think about the consequences of cranking up the volume, but if you do that routinely, you are sure to suffer some form of hearing deficit in your later—or, in some cases, not so later—years.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 10, 2010 4 comments

Glass isn't the first thing I would think of as an ideal material for speaker cabinets, but French manufacturer <A href="http://www.waterfallaudio.com">Waterfall Audio</A> disagrees. Its new flagship Niagara is a thing of crystalline beauty that boasts impressive specs.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 08, 2010 3 comments

Most home-theater geeks prefer to buy separate components in order to optimize the performance of each one and allow them to be swapped out independently for repair or upgrade. But what if you don't have enough space to accommodate all those separate devices? <A href="http://www.usa.denon.com">Denon</A>'s answer is the new S-5BD, which combines a full-featured Blu-ray player and AVR into one compact package.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 04, 2010 7 comments

Storing and accessing music on a computer has become commonplace, even for audiophiles, but getting that music to your audio system without sacrificing sound quality has always been a challenge. At CES, French high-end audio company <A href="http://en.micromega-hifi.com/">Micromega</A> introduced a unique solution to this problem—the WM-10 AirStream, the world's first wireless DAC (digital-to-analog converter).

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 01, 2010 3 comments

Horn speakers have been around almost since the invention of electrical-to-mechanical transducer technology, and they still enjoy widespread use today, especially in commercial cinemas. But cinema speakers use horns that limit the vertical dispersion of their sound, whereas circular horns used by a few high-end speaker manufacturers radiate sound in a spherical pattern. Among the proponents of this approach is German maker <A href="http://www.acapella.de/en/">Acapella</A>, which introduced a new model to its lineup at CES, the High Violoncello II, which, like all Acapella products, is distributed in North America by <A href="http://www.aaudioimports.com">Aaudio Imports</A>.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 28, 2010 3 comments

Known primarily for high-end, high-quality electronics, <A href="http://www.passlabs.com">Pass Laboratories</A> has conceived its third speaker model. First came the 4-way Rushmore in 2003, which was followed by the 4-way SR-1 in 2008, so named because it was the first "son of Rushmore." At CES, the company introduced the SR-2, promising superb sonics in a smaller package.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 27, 2010 0 comments

It seems as if high-end iPod docks are all the rage these days. Take, for example, the Art.Station from the <A href="http://www.dwcollection.com">David Wiener Collection</A>.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 26, 2010 2 comments

German speaker maker <A href="http://www.canton.de">Canton</A> was founded in 1972, deriving its name by combining the Latin word <I>cantare</I> (to sing) and the German word <I>ton</I> (musical tone). Nowhere is the company's dedication to exceptional music reproduction more evident than its Reference line, which is topped by the flagship Reference 1.2 DC.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 22, 2010 1 comments

Among the myriad speakers introduced at CES were three new additions to the Sage Series from <A href="http://www.wisdomaudio.com">Wisdom Audio</A>. All three&#151;L150m, L100m, and C150m center-channel&#151;are on-wall models based on Wisdom's planar-magnetic, line-array design and intended to be placed behind an acoustically transparent projection screen.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 19, 2010 12 comments

At CES, many companies set up shop in off-site hotel suites, making it more difficult to find and experience them first-hand. So it was this year with <A href="http://www.krellonline.com">Krell</A>, which shared a suite at the Mirage with SIM2. Among the items introduced there was the Evolution 555 Blu-ray player, the company's first foray into this product category.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 31, 2009 5 comments

Way back in 1999, <A href="http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/1299manley/"><I>Stereophile</I> reviewed the Manley Laboratories Stingray 2-channel tube-based integrated amp</A>, whose shape inspired the late, great J. Gordon Holt, the magazine's founder, to suggest its name. Now, 10 years later, <A href="http://www.manleylabs.com">Manley Labs</A> has replaced the original Stingray with the Stingray iTube, which improves various elements and adds an iPod dock.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 30, 2009 3 comments

Audiophiles know the name <A href="http://www.yg-acoustics.com">YG Acoustics</A>, even if they can't afford its flagship Anat Reference II Professional ($107,000/pair, <A href="http://www.stereophile.com/audaciousaudio/yg_acoustics_anat_reference_ii... in <I>Stereophile</I></A>) or the more moderate Kipod Studio ($38,000/pair). Both models are encased in CNC-machined aircraft-aluminum enclosures and consist of a main compact-speaker module and a powered subwoofer&#151;plus an additional passive sub for the Anat&#151;that can be purchased separately, allowing users to build their systems as budget permits. But even if you start with only the main module of the Anat ($33,000/pair) or Kipod ($17,000/pair), that's still some serious coin, and it doesn't get you all that deep into the sonic basement without the accompanying subs.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 29, 2009 11 comments

Most consumers would probably apply the word "stereo" exclusively to 2-channel audio systems. So you might be surprised to learn that "stereo" has nothing to do with the number 2 per se—it derives from the Greek word for "solid." The word was applied to 2-channel sound systems when they first became available because those systems rendered a much more "solid" sonic image with more specific placement of individual elements (instruments, voices, etc.) than the monaural systems that had preceded them. Similarly, 5.1 surround systems are far more "stereo" than 2-channel systems.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 28, 2009 4 comments

As a kid, I remember visiting friends and seeing McIntosh stereo systems in their homes, no doubt the pride and joy of their fathers. Even way back then, <A href="http://www.mcintoshlabs.com">McIntosh</A> was a revered brand, and it remains so today, 60 years after its founding. In celebration of this milestone anniversary, the company has introduced its first-ever compact integrated audio system, the MXA60.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 24, 2009 2 comments

Many audiophiles love vacuum tube-based components for their warm analog sound. <A href="http://www.einstein-audio.de">Einstein Audio</A> of Germany understands this well, as demonstrated by the introduction of The Tube MKII 2-channel preamp at CES next month.

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