April 30 - The new issue of The Absolute Sound (Issue 172, June/July) just mailed, and I must say that I think it's one of our better efforts. We focus on LP-playing products, with reviews of seven turntables (from $299), six phono preamps (from $150), and seven cartridges (from $89). The issue also includes "Twelve Analog Components that Shook the Audio World" as well as "Must-Have Analog Accessories."
Living with the Basis 2800 turntable and Vector tonearm for my review in the issue has rekindled my passion for LP playback. Simply put, vinyl records still offer the ultimate listening experience. I've had a few people over to hear the system, including a famous audio designer, a neighbor, and the owner of a local high-end store, and their response to the sound of LPs has been overwhelming and universal. They sit slack-jawed at how stunningly great LPs can sound. There's an immediacy to the sound, a natural organic feeling of hearing music rather than a reproduction of it, that captivates all who experience it.
It's no coincidence that sales of LP-playback products have enjoyed robust growth over the past ten years. Moreover, more and more music is becoming available on high-quality vinyl. Just last week Warner Records announced an ambitious plan to reissue hundreds of titles on LP, all cut from the original master tapes by famed mastering engineer Steve Hoffman.
If you have an LP collection but no way of playing it back, I encourage you to get back into analog with one of the great entry-level or mid-priced LP front-ends we review in the new issue. And if your collection is purely digital, I believe that you'll be rewarded musically and sonically by acquiring a 'table/arm and some of the spectacular new LPs and reissues that are availableâand start spinning vinyl.