The Absolute Sound- Insider with Robert Harley
Welcome to the first installment of my weekly high-end audio blog, where I'll be bringing you information, observations, and, I hope, insights into high-end audio. I'll also share with you what's going on at The Absolute Sound, as well as call to your attention miscellaneous products and topics you won't find in the magazine. Some of what I'll be writing about includes:
- First impressions of products we're working on
- Follow-up reports on previously reviewed products
- Behind-the-scenes at TAS
- Manufacturer and designer anecdotes
- Promising new designs on the horizon
- Technical tidbits
- Tweaks and set-up hints
- Discoveries in accessories and music
- Audio trivia
Returning Full-Time to The Absolute Sound
After serving as Editor-in-Chief of both The Absolute Sound and its sister publication The Perfect Vision since October, 2001 (TPV since May, 2000), I'm happy to report that I am now able to devote my full time and attention to TAS. When I originally took on both roles we were publishing six issues of each magazine a year, making the job only a little more challenging than editing a traditional 12-times-per-year publication. But the success of both magazines has allowed us to print ten issues of each title per year, a schedule that is best served by separate editors of each magazine. To that end, Bob Ankosko, formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Sound & Vision, has joined us to take the helm of TPV. Consequently, I'll be able to return to my first loveâmusic and the technology that brings it into our homesâand increase my editorial contribution to TAS, including more reviews, interviews, Roundtables, and feature articles.
Next, Upcoming in The Absolute Sound....
Upcoming in TAS
The next issue of TAS (Issue 168/January 2007) includes our annual Product of the Year Awards. This year, we picked two winners in many categories to honor the most outstanding products without regard to price, as well as the components we believe offer the highest value-for-dollar. I'm particularly happy with this year's list of winners; it not only highlights the best-sounding products, but also those that bring the high-end audio experience to price points within reach of a wide range of music lovers.
For future issues, we're working on a definitive piece on subwoofers, including a technical primer, Roundtable discussion with subwoofer designers on the challenges of re-creating music's lowest frequencies, and reviews of two subwoofers that push the envelopeâthe Wilson-Benesch Torus (by Jonathan Valin) and the JL Audio Fathom F113 (by me). Living with the Fathom has caused me to rethink the whole question of whether the benefits of ported enclosures are worth the tradeoffs of bass-reflex design, an idea I'll explore in the review.
Live CES Coverage
Rather than make you wait until the April/May issue to read our coverage of the high-end exhibits at the Consumer Electronics Show, we're going to bring you daily updates from the show starting January 10. Our daily reports will feature breaking news and the latest product introductions, complete with photos and video coverage. We hope you'll come back to AVguide.com to check out our coverage. Of course, we'll still publish our comprehensive print report (in Issue 171).
Most Anticipated Hi-Fi Product Introduction
At the CEDIA show last September, I heard a new loudspeaker that startled me with its resolution, transparency, dynamic coherence, and tonal neutrality. That speaker is the Revel Ultima Salon 2, scheduled for shipment next March or April. The $22k-per-pair Salon 2 is a complete rethinking of 1999's Salonâthe flagship product from the then-new Revel loudspeaker company. Based on a 20-minute demo, I'd have to say that designer Kevin Voecks appears to have created a significant new speaker. Watch for a full review of the Ultima Salon 2 in late spring or early summer.
Useless but Interesting Trivia
The word "radio" is short for "radiotelegraphy," a new form of telegraphy invented by Marconi in which signals were sent by radiation rather than by electrical currents through wires. Marconi's first success was in 1894.