The first leg
If you pay attention to the news, you’ve no doubt been alarmed if you have travel plans booked that involve multiple flights and tight connections. The number of flight cancelations reported in the past several months is enough to make even the most seasoned travelers nervous—especially if you have a tight itinerary booked once you arrive at your destination. When my wife, Andrea, and I made arrangements to travel to Europe in July with our two teens—Abigail, 17, and Ian, 16—we experienced some skepticism that it would all work out, particularly since we had a packed schedule once we landed.
In early 2020 I had the good fortune to review EMM Labs’ DV2 DAC-preamplifier ($30,000), and despite my efforts, I struggled to find fault with it. Consequently, the DV2’s fit, finish, and performance remain the benchmark against which I compare all components of its ilk, including the subject of this review, Linn’s next-generation Klimax DSM ($39,000 when configured as DSM AV, see below, all prices USD). Unlike the DV2, a digital-only preamplifier equipped with a SOTA volume control and a world-class DAC, Linn’s Klimax DSM offers features beyond the scope of the DV2, including analog inputs, two control apps, onboard lossless streaming, and onboard room-correction software. Linn’s reimagined Klimax DSM is by far the most complex, feature-laden audio component I’ve ever reviewed.
Verve Records / Acoustic Sounds / UMe V6-8613/B0033124-01
Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****½
Overall Enjoyment: ****½
When Verve Records and Acoustic Sounds reissued Bill Evans’s Trio 64 on vinyl in July 2021, it was originally intended to be released simultaneously with a second Evans title on Verve, Trio ’65. Supply chain issues, along with increased demand at pressing plants, caused schedule changes for many labels, and Verve was no exception. Trio ’65 was delayed, and finally made its appearance as part of the Verve / Acoustic Sounds reissue program on July 1, 2022, a year later than planned.
Joining Jeff Fritz on this episode of SoundStage! Talks is Hans-Ole Vitus, CTO and founder of AVA Group A/S—parent company to Vitus Audio. Vitus, as he’s known, discusses his transition from CEO to CTO, the new Vitus Audio website, and the three product lines Vitus Audio produces: Reference, Signature, and Masterpiece. Vitus also teases what’s coming in 2022 and 2023 in terms of new products and updates.
I loved High End 2022, this year’s edition of the largest audio show in the world, which took place from May 19 to 22 in Munich, Germany. It was great to be back after two COVID-19 years at home. The show was a smashing success with lots of product introductions and many terrific-sounding systems. You can read the SoundStage! Network’s coverage of the event, which I contributed to, on SoundStage! Global. Also check out Jonathan Gorse’s “Munich High End 2022: The Cream of Analogue,” published in this space on June 1. Jonathan is a devoted vinyl aficionado and had some favorite analog—um, analogue (Jonathan’s a Brit)—products to tell you about.
This past week a reader wrote to me with a simple question: “Jeff, good morning. Why have you never reviewed Avalon loudspeakers? And thus they do not make it to your ‘Definitive List of Loudspeaker Brands’? Thank you!”
Swordsmiths, samurai, and a little magic
You may be surprised to hear that moving-coil cartridges can trace their origins all the way back to 1946, when Ortofon developed a prototype. Since its commercial launch in 1948, the moving coil (MC) has become firmly established as the ne plus ultra for vinyl replay. The MC market is well served, with major manufacturers like Ortofon and Audio-Technica offering a wide variety of designs ranging in price from $200 to over $1000 (all prices in USD). Despite the scale of such firms and their impressive performance engineering capabilities, there’s another sector of the market that remains primarily the domain of smaller, niche operators.
It’s a cruel joke. It’s the gods laughing at us. The lovers of LPs—I hesitate to call us record collectors—are the most tightly wound subcategory of audiophiles. We fuss and obsess over the tiniest variations in cartridge alignment, hundredths of a gram in tracking force, single degrees of VTA. And the irony of it is we’re subject to—at the mercy of—the smallest, invisible particles of dirt lodged into record grooves. We can clearly hear dirt and contaminants that we can’t even see.
Virgin Records/UMC RMLP 3
Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****
Stranded was Roxy Music’s third album in less than 18 months. Its second album, For Your Pleasure, had been released just eight months earlier, in March 1973. Brian Eno, a cofounder of the group, left soon after For Your Pleasure, to be replaced by Eddie Jobson on keyboards, synthesizers, and violin. Bassist John Gustafson also joined the group, and the lineup on Stranded, which included Bryan Ferry on vocals, Phil Manzanera on guitar, Andy Mackay on sax, and Paul Thompson on drums, would remain fixed for two more albums.
In this SoundStage! Talks episode, Konstantinos Pilios—the CEO of Pilium Audio, which is based in Athens, Greece—talks with SoundStage! editor-in-chief Jeff Fritz. Find out how this young Greek company has risen to such prominence in the ultra high end. Learn about Pilium’s existing product line, and what’s coming to market soon. Also, how does the exercise industry figure into Pilium’s history? Watch to find out!
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