Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Moving on up with Siltech's New Classic Legend Cables

I don’t do cable reviews very often. In fact, it’s been eight years since I reviewed some. I know some audiophiles go deep on cables and tweaks, but I’ve always been a set-it-and-forget-it kind of guy. So while my system as a whole has slowly moved upscale over the years, my hodgepodge of affordable cables from AudioQuest, DH Labs, and Dynamique Audio decidedly does not belong in the mix with my $11,000 Hegel Music Systems H590 integrated amplifier-DAC and $13,999.99/pr. KEF Reference 3 loudspeakers. Then the e-mail arrived: Siltech is updating its Classic Series of cables, and would I have interest in getting some in? Uh, I sure would.

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Getting Nostalgic with Graham Audio's LS5/9 Loudspeaker

Though I majored in history in college, I’m not the kind of guy who lives in the past. Growing up, I found it confusing when old people would play music from when they were young and then talk about decades past as if they were the golden years and the world had been going to shit ever since. Why? What was I missing? That crossed my mind when I unboxed Graham Audio’s LS5/9 loudspeakers recently ($6795 USD per pair).

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Sonus Faber: Enter the Maxima Amator

I’m closing in on almost 100 reviews for the SoundStage! Network, and for the very first time, I find myself in possession of a product before it has been officially announced. That, in and of itself, feels pretty good. But when a 224-pound pallet lands on your doorstep from Sonus Faber — shipped directly from the company’s factory in Arcugnano, in Italy’s Vicenza province — the satisfaction and expectation are all that much greater. Enter the third offering in SF’s Heritage Collection, the Maxima Amator ($15,000 per pair, all prices in USD).

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The Voice That Is: An Afternoon with Bricasti Design, Zesto Audio, and John Marks

I’ve been to a couple of dealer events over the years, and they’re all pretty similar. There are free snacks and usually alcohol. Two or three rooms might be set up for group listening, with a couple of talking heads -- sales guys or someone of note from the manufacturer -- giving a brief spiel, before talking through several pieces of well-trodden jazz music. Questions are encouraged, with brief answers the norm.

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Bowers & Wilkins’s 50th Anniversary: The 800 D3

There’s no question about it: it’s kind of lame to call the presser for a new loudspeaker an “event.” A plywood box with some extruded-aluminum and fancy drivers doesn’t get the blood flowing quite like the introduction of automotive stalwarts, such as Ferrari’s V8-powered sports car models, Porsche’s iconic 911, or BMW’s benchmark-setting M3. But in the case of the Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3, the newest flagship of the company’s legendary 800-series, the “event” moniker strikes me as warranted.

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One Day at Magico

I often find that a company’s products are a reflection of their creator, and in the case of Magico’s loudspeakers, the resemblance to Alon Wolf is unmistakable. The founder of the Hayward, California, manufacturer is a serious man, one who talks with an unwavering sense of purpose. As I sat across from him in his office, his fanatical attention to quality became quickly apparent. Behind him was part of a medium-format camera on a gorgeous wooden tripod that he used to take the stunning photographs that adorn the walls of his office. On his wrist was a Japanese watch with a movement that makes a Patek Philippe’s look amateurish by comparison. And on his desk were a couple of drivers from a competing loudspeaker maker that he eagerly compared to his own designs, explaining in detail how the materials and methodologies that Magico employ offer superior performance. For Wolf, appearance comes a distant second to technical excellence. “We build loudspeakers, not furniture,” he told me matter-of-factly.

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Sonus Faber's Chameleon Press Introduction

Being cool isn't really a matter of choice. It's one of those things that one either has or doesn't. Clothing, style, surrounding company -- each of these can certainly add a little luster to the patina, but they merely serve to adorn one's intrinsic character with a bit more flair. Sooner or later, true nature will reveal itself. This thought crossed my mind on April 29 as I made my way south from New York City's Penn Station to the meatpacking district, en route to Sonus Faber's intimate press event for its new Chameleon line of loudspeakers.

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MartinLogan's Ambitious Neolith

On November 7 and 8, 2014, MartinLogan demonstrated its new Neolith loudspeaker ($80,000 USD per pair), the finest electrostatic loudspeaker (ESL) the Kansas-based firm has ever produced. I arrived at Overture Audio, located in Wilmington, DE, with high expectations, and was not disappointed. The Neolith, it should be noted, is pretty massive, standing 74.8" tall, and weighing in at 385 pounds. Finished in a beautiful Rosso Fuoco finish that looked automotive-grade, the phenolic resin enclosure was impressive, with a rakish, angular design that smacked of the Lockheed Martin F-117 Stealth Fighter, or possibly something from Automobili Lamborghini.

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