One can never have enough Mozart or Brahms Clarinet Quintet recordings in a collection. With both composers in mind, I wish Jörg Widmann would have added the Brahms to the Mozart rather than the accompanying Mozart String Quartet K421. His playing is that good. A revelation, actually.

Not that you’ll be slumming with the superb Arcanto Quartet (founded in 2002). They perform Mozart as well as any and you’ll love their performance of the second of the so called ‘Haydn Quartets’ (No. 15 in D minor K.421). Dedicated to ‘To my dear friend Haydn’, the performance by the Arcantos will have you wishing for a complete set.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Do you remember ‘iRiver’? The company went head to head with Apple’s iPod as portable music player of choice at the beginning of the mobile revolution. The Korean company has gone upmarket and targeted flush audiophiles with products from their brand, ‘Astell&Kern’. The subject of this review is their top of the line AK120, a mighty little box that is built exquisitely, beyond Apple standards, and contains digital magic that will play the highest resolution files. It’s very expensive at US$1,200, but the sounds contained within just may be enough for audiophiles and music lovers to part with the cash.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Clare College Choir from Cambridge University has proven itself before with a Christmas CD. Carols from Clare (EMI) is still near or at the top of the heap for standard renditions of popular carols. The gifted amateur singers and orchestra under John Rutter jumped the shark and produced a masterpiece for the Christmas season.

Under Graham Ross, this new Harmonia Mundi release is based upon the favoured him of the Advent Season, Veni Emmanuel. The disc notes suggest that ‘the familiar hymn is emblematic of the Advent season – a period of reflection upon the meaning of Christ’s coming. Framing this programme, the hymn paraphrases the great ‘O’ Antiphons (plainchant settings traditionally sung on the days leading up to Christmas), complemented here by later works echoing their rich imagery and symbolism.’

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Want a little something different for your Christmas stocking this year? Why not give the talented flute/guitar duo of Emily Andrews and David Massey’s new recording a try?

Make Merry is a collection of standard carols given some unique twists courtesy of excellent musicianship and overdubbing all sorts of flutes, piccolos and guitars. It makes for charming listening. Throw it on the CD player or download the files and your Christmas festivities will have a warm and musical accompaniment. The recording is bright and lively much like the excellent playing. The arrangements include country, world music and folk styles. All the tracks never lose the essence of Christmas no matter the musical setting.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

http://www.meridian-audio.com

http://www.meridian-audio.com

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

There are two approaches to “improving” the sound of a stereo system, namely, changes in hardware and changes in the “sound” of software. One can purchase recordings having higher sampling rates, or tread the recording. This review will examine the effects of applying a CD treatment upon the “sound” of a stereo system. Products in production which may change and hopefully, improve the sound of a CD include several types, such as chemicals applied to the playing surface, those which alter the shape of a CD, CD mats, heat and light generation devices, and those which alter the magnetic and atomic structure of the CD itself.

[click to continue…]

{ 27 comments }

Good things are supposed to come in threes, but sometimes, one or two of the three decide not to play nicely. This is especially true with unruly members of a ‘family’ of loudspeakers. Most speaker manufacturers, if well funded and have a good designer, will attempt to produce a line or family of speakers. The most vested among them will produce several families, at various price points. This makes good financial sense but is far more difficult than you would imagine, especially the ‘baby step’ from monitor to floor stander.

[click to continue…]

{ 22 comments }

My first encounter with the TEAC CD-3000 was at an audio meeting hosted by a TEAC dealer. The player was connected directly to a pair of Nelson Pass amplifiers, driving a hybrid ribbon speaker. The sound of the stereo system was vivid and resolving. It did not exhibit any annoying sonic character. From my brief exposure, I did not observe any egregious flaws.

[click to continue…]

{ 17 comments }