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PREMIERE DESIGN

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 23, 2009 2 comments

Live music is quite different from the visual arts. For example, every time a musician plays a given song, it is unique, with inevitable variations from one performance to the next. As Joni Mitchell once noted, no one ever asked Van Gogh to paint <I>The Starry Night</I> again. But many musicians are expected to play certain songs at every concert, and these songs sound different every time. On the other hand, recorded music is more like a painting&#151;once it's in the can, it sounds exactly the same every time it's played.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 22, 2009 1 comments

I normally consider LP turntables to be squarely in <I>Stereophile</I>'s bailiwick, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to profile these gorgeous vinyl spinners from <A href="http://audiowood.com">Audiowood</A>. The wood foundation of each one is handcrafted and unique, though designs such as the Barky pictured above can be replicated with relative ease since it's based on a slice from a log.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 19, 2009 14 comments

As I was looking for products to profile in this blog, I came across something astonishing&#151;a tube-based monoblock power amp that costs $350,000/pair! Hand-built by Japanese boutique maker <A href="http://www.wavac-audio.jp/">Wavac Audio Lab</A>, the SH-833 isn't new&#151;it was <A href="http://www.stereophile.com/tubepoweramps/704wavac/">reviewed in Stereophile</A> in 2004&#151;but when I saw that price tag, I knew I had to include it here.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 14, 2009 10 comments

I've always had a certain fondness for <A href="http://www.linn.co.uk">Linn</A>, a high-end audio company based in Glasgow, Scotland. Perhaps it's because the company is located in my namesake country, or maybe it's the clever, Ikea-like product names. More likely, it's because Linn has been making exceptional audiophile products for over 35 years, starting in 1972 with the Sondek LP12 turntable, which is now the longest-lived hi-fi component still in production. Of more recent vintage is the flagship Klimax speaker system presented here.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 09, 2009 4 comments

Danish speaker maker <A href="http://www.dynaudio.com">Dynaudio</A> has earned a stellar reputation among audiophiles since its founding in 1977. The current flagship line, known as Evidence, is not new&#151;the Master model was selected as one of <I>Stereophile</I>'s products of the year in 2000&#151;but that doesn't mean it can't still kick some serious butt. I wanted to see what the ultimate Evidence home-theater system would consist of&#151;and how much it would cost.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 06, 2009 21 comments

I'm on a quest to find the most expensive audio cables in the world&#151;not to buy, mind you, but just to see what the market will bear. From what I've learned so far, the leading candidates come from <A href="http://transparentcable.com">Transparent Audio</A>, whose Opus MM2 cables cost more than most automobiles, especially if you're buying enough to outfit an entire multichannel system.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 02, 2009 5 comments

Normally in this blog, I profile a specific product or product line that can be considered "ultimate" in one way or another. But when it comes to a California company called <A href="http://www.catmbx.com">CAT MBX</A>, this approach doesn't work so well. An offshoot of California Audio Technology, CAT MBX designs and builds ultimate home theaters from scratch, customizing the speakers, electronics, and projection system for each venue. The company's "product" is the entire theater, which is unique for each client.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Sep 29, 2009 0 comments

In most high-quality A/V products, form follows function, but in the case of the Gramophone speaker from Swedish maker <A href="http://www.aesthesis.se">Aesthesis</A>, form and function are intertwined, arising together during four years of development. Standing nearly four feet tall, this hand-made, carbon-fiber speaker makes a bold design statement while offering impressive specs.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Sep 24, 2009 9 comments

Who doesn't love <I>The Wizard of Oz</I>? No one I know. Rated as one of the best films ever made, this timeless classic has been released on various home-video formats no less than 16 times since 1980. Now, 70 years after its theatrical debut, <I>Oz</I> is getting its first high-def treatment on Blu-ray for the 17th iteration. I was fortunate to be invited to a press event celebrating this milestone at Warner Brothers' Burbank studio, and I learned a lot about what went into making this ultimate version.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Sep 21, 2009 0 comments

I've always loved <A href="http://www.tannoy.com">Tannoy</A> speakers&#151;in fact, I've used a pair of NFM-8 near-field monitors in my home recording studio for many years. And I'm not alone&#151;many pro studios, especially in England, use Tannoys as reference monitors. But the company also makes exceptional consumer speakers, including the new Definition line.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Sep 03, 2009 18 comments

And now for something completely outrageous&#151;a $135,000 Blu-ray player! Leave it to hyper-high-end <A href="http://www.goldmund.com">Goldmund</A> to charge that much for the Eidos Reference Blue, which will be limited to a production run of 50 units. But how can it possibly justify such an astronomical price tag?

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 27, 2009 2 comments

<A href="http://www.runco.com">Runco</A> has long stood at the pinnacle of high-end home-theater displays, making some of the finest projectors on the planet. What many folks might not know is that Runco also makes LCD and plasma TVs for the upscale market. In an ongoing effort to improve the state of the flat-panel art, the company recently announced several new plasmas that incorporate its OPAL (Optical Path Alignment) technology.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 25, 2009 5 comments

Living with a pair of La Sph&#232;re speakers from French maker <A href="http://www.cabasse.com/en/">Cabasse</A> might be a bit creepy&#151;they look like giant eyeballs staring at you&#151;but if you can get past that, you're in for a sonic treat. As Michael Fremer concluded in his <A href="http://www.stereophile.com/audaciousaudio/608cab/">Stereophile review</A>, "...La Sph&#232;re sets new standards, both measurable and audible, for accuracy in the reproduction of music."

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 21, 2009 2 comments

Press releases announcing new products to be introduced at the upcoming CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) Expo are now flooding my inbox, so I'll be profiling several of these products leading up to the show. Among the most interesting-looking items so far is the Ferrari Art.Engine System, a single-piece stereo speaker from a boutique company called the <A href="http://www.dwcollection.com">David Wiener Collection</A> (DWC).

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 17, 2009 2 comments

Norway somehow seems an odd place to find a high-end projector manufacturer. Yet there in the town of Fredrikstad&#151;founded in 1567 at the mouth of the Glomma River an hour's train ride south of Oslo&#151;<A href="http://www.projectiondesign.com">Projectiondesign</A> not only designs and manufactures high-end DLP projectors under its own name, but also for companies like Christie, one of several providers of DLP projectors for the commercial digital-cinema market. Last year, the company introduced its <A href="http://www.avielo.com">Avielo</A> line, including the flagship Helios, which puts out enough light to compete with the midnight sun.

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