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r,rjUNE 1985




hng 1@7 120






;Emur rT09 S600VOTE HD8 261.0£V2Z0V 11920-S****************




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Introducing a slight improvement on perfection.The new Technics Compact Disc Players.

Technics compact disc players. And the compact disc.Together they've given you what no conventional audiosystem can: the perfection of musical reality. Instead ofthe conventional stylus, Technics compact disc playersuse lasers and computers. So there's none of the noise.None of the distortion. And none of the wear and tearthat affects ordinary records.

With Technics, what you hear is not just a reproduc-tion of a performance, but a re-creation of it: perfection.

But occasionally even the musical perfection of acompact disc can be marred by fingerprints, dust orscratches. So the new Technics SL -P2 compact discplayer has improvements like an advanced errorcorrection system. This system has been designed toj- COMPACT compensate for those imperfections. To0 1121.-- help ensure that the sound you hear is

DIG TAl. AUDIO still completely flawless.

You also get sophisticated, convenient controls foraccurate, rapid response to your commands: 15 -stepRandom Access Programming so you can play anyselection. In any order. Auto Music Scan lets yousample the first few seconds of each song. Automati-cally. Full information fluorescent displays let you keeptrack of tracks, playing time and other player functions.

And all of this can be controlled from across theroom with Technics wireless, infrared remote control.

So enjoy an improvement on perfection. With thefull range of Technics compact disc players. Includingthe SL -P2, SL -P3 and very affordable SL -P1.

The digital revolution continues at Technics. Perfectly

TechnicsThe science of sound


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by Gordon Sell andChristie Barter

SUMMER CESThe 1985 Summer Consumer

Electronics Show will be held inChicago from June 2 throughJune 5. Not open to the generalpublic, the show is expected to at-tract over 100,000 industry repre-sentatives, including 8,000 visi-tors from more than seventycountries. Rumors that the sum-mer show would be moving toNew York were dispelled last fallwhen CES officials announcedthat the show will continue inChicago at least through 1987.

DAT UPDATEDigital audio tape (DAT) has been

much discussed in the audio indus-try lately, but there is little hardnews. The battle lines appear tohave been drawn between propo-nents of rotary (VCR -type) heartsand fixed multitrack heads. Accord-ing to some sources, the EIAJ (Elec-tronic Industry Association of Ja-pan) will adopt both standards, butothers say the Japanese hi -fl com-panies would rather forget aboutDAT and concentrate on the Com-pact Disc and making a recordableCD available for home use.

TECH NOTESPioneer has a new AM/FM/ster-

eo TV tuner and a $299 CD playerwith twenty -seven -track program-mability.... The Koetsu line ofesoteric moving -coil cartridges isnow being distributed by Assem-blage of Branford, Connecticut... .Sony is introducing a portable CD/tape/AM/FM boom box. ... CecilWatts record -care products, includ-ing the much missed Dust Bug,are returning to the U.S. marketcourtesy of AKG.... Blaupunkt'sARI (Automatic Radio Informa-tion) system, which gives trafficinformation to drivers throughcar stereo systems, now has fullcoverage between southern Con-necticut and northern Virginia.

KEYBOARD COMPETITIONThirty-seven young pianists from

eighteen countries will slug it out atthe Seventh Van Cliburn Interna-tional Piano Competition in Fort

Worth, Texas, fromMay 18 to June 2.Concerts featuringsix finalists per-forming with theFort Worth Sympho-ny

717will be broadcast live by the

American Public Radio networkfrom May 30 through June 1. Aconcluding program on June 2 willcover the gala awards ceremony.Television stations in the PBS net-work will carry this ceremony ontape on June 4. Underwriting fundsfor radio and TV coverage are pro-vided by Mobil Oil Corporation andTandy Corporation/Radio Shack,which has headquarters in FortWorth.

RECORD NOTESThe benefit single We Are the

World, recorded by forty-fiveaAmerican pop -music

stars,went to theNo. 1 spot onBillboard's saleschart in onlyfour weeks after

its release. It's the fastest risesince Elton John's Island Girl tenyears ago.... Other pop starsmaking records to benefit theworld's famine victims include Ju-lio Iglesias, Jose Feliciano, SergioMendes. and other top singers inthe Latin -music field. More will beforthcoming from groups of Ja-maican reggae singers and Ameri-can gospel performers.... Since itwas announced that Prince'sApril 7 concert in Miami was tobe his last live appearance for anumber of years, Warner Bros.,Prince's record label, has made nocomment about his future plansfor recording.... At press time itwas announced that Sade's Epicalbum "Diamond Life" (reviewedon page 73) had been certifiedGold by the RIAA for sales ofmore than 500,000 copies....French singer/songwriter GilbertBecaud has just finished his firstNorth American tour in fifteenyears. Becaud has provided hitsfor such American singers as Vik-ki Carr and Frank Sinatra andhas collaborated with such Ameri-can singer/songwriters as RodMcKuen and Neil Diamond. Watchfor a new Becaud album with Ste-vie Wonder.

PRICE BREAKFrom June 1 to July 31,

MGM/UA Home Video is hay -Jigwhat amounts to a half-price saleon ten of its musical. movie videocassettes. For two months suchtitles as High Society, Bells AreRinging, Gigi, and Singin' in theRain, which would normally list for$59.95 or $69.95, are being markeddown to $29.95.

RECORDED FIRSTSThe thirty-three organ chorales

of J. S. Bach recently discovered atthe Yale University Library (by aHarvard man) are being recordedby the American organist JosephPayne for release by HarmoniaMundi USA.... The world prem-iere recording of the song Malven(Mallows), Richard Strauss's lastcomposition, is included in an all -Strauss album from CBS Master-works featuring soprano EvaMarton and the Toronto Sympho-ny conducted by Andrew Davis.

FUJI BLIMP TO CESAirship Fuji, which was a hit at

last year's Olympic Games in LosAngeles, has left its hangar In Eliz-abeth City, North Carolina, and isnow on a six-month tour of twenty-three states east of the MississippiRiver. After hovering over Houston,Dallas, Kansas City, St. Louis, andIndianapolis in May, the blimp(which advertises Fuji film on oneside and Fuji tape on the other) isscheduled to arrive in Chicago onMay 31. It will remain there untilthe closing of the summer Consum-er Electronics Show on June 5. Af-ter touring major cities in Ohio andPennsylvania, it arrives in NewYork at the end of June and willstay there for Fourth of July cele-brations.


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Tri-Spot Laser Pickup SystemBy splitting the laser beam three ways,

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EQUIPMENTHIRSCH-HOUCK LABS EQUIPMENT TEST REPORTSNEC A-10 MkII integrated amplifierApt P2 preamplifierHafler DH -120 power amplifierTechnics SL -P3 Compact Disc playerSony STR-AV760 audio/video receiverAMPLIFIERSAn analysis of features that give flexibility tointegrated amplifiers and separates by E. Brad Meyer

HOW TO SPEAK AMPESEA guide to the technical vocabulary by Ian G. Masters

IS YOUR AMP DIGITAL -READY?Can it handle the Compact Disc? by Julian Hirsch

AR'S MAGIC SPEAKERA special test report on the Acoustic ResearchMGC-I loudspeaker system by Julian Hirsch

SYSTEMSA city loft provides excellent living-andlistening-space by Gordon Sell



BASIC BACHA record buyer's guide to the music of JohannSebastian Bach by Stoddard Lincoln

RECORD MAKERSThe latest from Quiet Riot, Sting, Leonard Bernstein,and Paul McCartney, Girls of Rock & Roll, Burton'sWagner, Solti's Mozart, Pollini's Rossini, and more

BEST RECORDINGS OF THE MONTHSade, Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 8 and 27, VanMorrison, and Mahler's Symphony No. 4



73The Haller amp and Apt preamp on ourcover are tested in this issue. page 32.


COPYRIGHT 0 1985 BY CBS MAGAZINES, A DIVISION OF CBS INC. All rights reserved. Stereo Review, June 1985, Volume 50, Number 6. Published monthly by CBSMagazines at 3460 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, Calif. 90010. Editorial and Executive Offices at One Park Avenue, New York. N.Y. 10016; Telephone: 211 503-4000. Alsopublishers of Boating, Car and Driver, Cycle, Flying, Popular Photography, Skiing, Stereo Buyers Guide, Tape Recording Buyers Guide, and Yachting. One-year subscriptionrate for the United States and its possessions, $9.98; Canada, $10.98; all other countries, $14.98, cash orders only, payable in U.S. currency. Second-class postage paid at LosAngeles, Calif. 90052 and at additional mailing offices. Authorized as second-class mail by the Post Office Department, Ottawa. Canada, and for payment of postage incash.

POSTMASTER: Please send change of address to Stereo Review, Circulation Department, P.O. Box 2771, Boulder. Colo. 80302. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE: All subscriptioncorrespondence should be addressed to Stereo Review. Circulation Department, P.O. Box 2771, Boulder, Colo. 80302. Please allow at least eight weeks for change of address.Include old address as well as new-enclosing if possible an address label from a recent issue. PERMISSIONS: Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any formwithout permission. Requests for permission should be directed to Irving Benig, Rights and Permissions. CBS Magazines. One Park Avenue, Ness York, N.Y. 10016.


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by 1171 limn Livingstone

Gathering information at a press partyfor an RIAA awards ceremony


/N Las Vegas last January atten-dance at the Consumer Elec-tronics Show exceeded 100,000for the first time-the official

figure was 101,665-and at leastthat many people are expected inChicago for the Summer CES fromJune 2 to June 5. Billed as thenation's largest annual trade show,CES continues to grow. New facili-ties now under construction in Chi-cago to accommodate that growthwill make 1,000,000 square feet ofspace available to exhibitors at CESin June 1986.

For the audio press the job of cov-ering such a large show in only a fewdays has become almost impossible.Consequently, manufacturers of hi-fi equipment now have pre-CESpress conferences in New York andelsewhere to be sure their new prod-ucts get adequate attention from au-dio writers and to be sure that wesee the products when we are notgiddy from fatigue or suffering fromthe information overload that is acommon ailment in Las Vegas andChicago.

These pre-CES events start twomonths before the show begins, sofor me April 1 is not so much AprilFool's Day as the first day of openseason on audio journalists. I don'tmean to sound ungrateful for theopportunity to get advance looks atproducts that will be introduced atthe show; it's just that on April 1 ofthis year I still had beside my desk afairly large pile of unfiled, unsorted,undigested, or even unread pressmaterial that I had brought backfrom Las Vegas in January.

Some of it was stuff I'd collected

to bolster my view that audio is notbeing eclipsed by other categories ofhome electronic equipment. Thisincluded a story from Sight andSound Marketing with a headlinethat said, "Audio Wears the Pantsin Audio -Video Marriage."

Despite a continuing decline innew releases on LP and cassette inthis country, there are figures toshow that ownership of componentaudio equipment is paradoxicallyon the rise. A study underwritten bythe Electronic Industries Associa-tion's Consumer Electronics Grouprevealed that ownership of compo-nent systems increased from 31 per-cent of all U.S. households in 1982to nearly 38 percent in 1984.

The latest figures from the Re-cording Industry Association ofAmerica do show, however, thatcompared with 1983, new releaseson LP in 1984 were down by 24 per-cent and on cassette by 28 percent.Still, last year there were 1,740 newtitles on LP and 1,795 on cassette,which should keep our audio sys-tems busy. And for owners of Com-pact Disc players there were 1,038new titles issued on CD, an increaseof 70 percent over 1983.

I am intrigued by a couple of CDfigures. One is that Deutsche Gram-mophon has sold 1.5 million CD'sof recordings by the conductor Her-bert von Karajan, and CD sales ofthis artist alone are expected to passthe two million mark before the endof the summer. The other is that theBook -of -the -Month Club now sellstwo -CD sets for $24.95, the sameprice as its cassette and LP sets.

The nation's first workshop onCompact Discs in libraries was heldrecently in Nashua, New Hamp-shire, where it was revealed thatSony is offering CD players anddiscs to libraries at a special price. Iam not accustomed to looking toNashua for hot news of the recordindustry, but cassettes have alreadyreplaced LP's in the record collec-tion of the main library in my hometown, Asheville, North Carolina.Can CD's be far behind there?

Clearly, as CES flourishes, theways Americans use audio equip-ment and consume music arechanging. You may not feel youhave to keep up with Las Vegas andChicago, but do you want to lagbehind Nashua and Asheville?



Managing EditorSUE LLEWELLYN


Technical EditorsCHRISTIE BARTER


Assistant Managing EditorWILLIAM BURTON

Associate EditorMARGARET BRUENAssistant Art Director


Editorial AssistantsHENRY PLEASANTS

London EditorContributing Editors









ROMAN BEYERVice President and Publisher

Editorial and Executive Offices: 212 503-4000CBS Magazines, A Division of CBS Inc.,One Park Ave., New York, New York 10016National Advertising Manager: Richard J. HalpernF.astern Advertising Manager: Charles L. P. Watson

Midwestern Office, The Pattis Group: 312 679-11004761 -West Touhy Ave., Lincolnwood, Illinois 60646Arnold S. Hoffman, Dirk E. Barenbrugge

Western Office: 213 387-21003460 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90010Western Advertising Manager: Marge Doherty -Wilhite

Japan, Iwai Trading Co., Ltd: (03) 545-3908J. S. Yagi, 603 Ginza Sky Heights Building,18-13, Ginza 7-Chome, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan 104

Circulation Office: P.O. Box 2771, Boulder, Colorado80302

EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS must be accompa-nied by return postage and will be handled with reason-able care: however, the publisher assumes no responsi-bility for the return or safety of artwork, photographs.or manuscripts.

Member Audit Bureau of Circulations

STEREO REVIEW IS PUBLISHED BYCBS MAGAZINES, A DIVISION OF CBS INC.President: Peter G. DiamandisExecutive Vice President: Thomas M. KenneyExecutive Vice President, Magazines: Albert S. TrainaExecutive Vice President, Operations: Paul H. ChookSenior Vice President, Advertising: Michael J. O'NeillVice President, Editorial Director: Carey Winfrey

Senior Vice President, Robert F. Spillane; VicePresident, Finance & Administration, Robert J.Granata; Vice President, Circulation, Bernard B. Lacy:Vice President, Manufacturing & Distribution, MurrayM. Romer; President, CBS Magazine Marketing, Rob-ert E. Alexander


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Every great once in a while a newmaterial is discovered of suchsignificance that it changes the way welive. In the same sense that the Iron Agedisplaced the original Stone Age, newsubstances recently have boondeveloped of such importance thatthey already are being described as"21st Century" materials. The materials,called Fine Ceramics, are not to beconfused with Ming vases or rarepottery. Rather, they are a bold new setof materials possessing far greaterrigidity, durability, thermal stability, andanti -resonance properties than othermaterials known to man.

Science has barely begun to reapthe potential offered by Fine Ceramics.Diesel engines using high -temperatureFine Ceramics for critical componentshave yielded 30% greater efficiency.The biological compatibility ofceramics within the body have led totheir acceptance by the medicalcommunity for orthopedic bonereplacements and major dental work.The technology of Fine Ceramics hasproduced gem -quality sapphires,rubies and emeralds which areidentical to natural stones in every way,except that they have no flaws.

It should come as no surprise, then,that Fine Ceramics has been predictedto become the major growth industry ofthe high technology future. But you maybe surprised to learn which Companypresently is the world leader in FineCeramics. That same Company wasselected by a leading Japanesebusiness journal as being the NumberOne Company in all of Japan in termsof technology, growth potential andprofitability. Number One. Over everycar, TV or other Japanese manufacturerthere is. That Company is Kyocera.

Kyocera, a contraction of KyotoCeramics, is a Corporation whosecombined digital, electronics andmaterials technology has producedmany industry best-sellers in the fields ofcomputers and communications(which they have built for companiesyou know well).

Kyocera's latest challenge is theapplication of its exclusive expertise tothe field of high fidelity soundreproduction. Embodied in a totallyinnovative, strikingly different line ofno -compromise components proudlybearing the Company's name, Kyocerawill show the high fidelity community justhow much a brand new way of thinkingcan accomplish.

Welcome to The New Stone Age.


Begin with the mostadvanced digital technology.

To demonstrate to the listening world the importanceof Fine Ceramics technology. Kyocera first built a CompactDisc player incorporating all of the most advanced CDtechnology. For example, Kyocera's Compact Disc playersfeature separate, independent D A converters for both theright and left channels to preserve phase coherency andfor superior channel separation. They also use a 16 -bitmicroprocessor with quadruple over -sampling and digitalfilters to optimize phase and group delay characteristics.Then, to prevent digital noise from interfering with themusical signal, Kyocera's Compact Disc players employindependent power circuits for both the digital andanalog sections

Incorporate the mostadvanced audio technology.

The audio sections ofKyocera's Compact Discplayers employ DC amplifiersystems in which all parts aredirectly coupled(capacitorless) -from the D Aconverter at one end to theoutput terminals at the other.

Then, LC (Linear -Crystal)OFC (Oxygen Free Copper)material is used (DA -910) forsignal circuit wiring with thesmoothest electron flow. Naturally, onlythe most carefully selected, hi -spec partsare used in Kyocera CD players, and, whereverpossible, circuit design has been reduced to a bare Iminimum. For example, a specially designed shorting typemuting relay eliminates "power on" noise, yet remainsoutside the signal path. And, conventional volume controlshave been eliminated in favor of a switchable output tofurther eliminate possible noise.

Then add Kyocera's FineCeramics technology.

In the DA -910. Kyocera's Fine Ceramics engineeringhas been applied to eliminate a principle impediment toaccurate compact disc performance - resonance. Withdigital tracks spaced only 1.6 microns apart, even the

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slightest hint of vibration can create tracking errors, which can significantly degrade sound quality. Thus, Kyocera's

Ceramic Compound Resin (CCR) is specified for the chassis base of the DA -910 - because of its fast vibration

damping characteristics and extremely high rigidity. The CCR base isolates critical circuitry from harmful external vibrations (mechanical and acoustic feedback)

as we I as from internal excitations created by the power transformer. Anti- rescnance design has

become well accepted by the

very finest audio manuticturers for

sound reasons. Audio circuitry

handling very Ceramic Compound Resin low level signals can CICtually

. -r. I ,_ ---- 'Wimp -461111Mor


(CCR) Base Chassis




INDEX nra - (_I u





convert mechanical vibration or shock into

electrical signals of their own. The elimination of this phenomena, known as

the 'Microphonic Effect," is the principle reason for all heavy duty, anti -resonance audio component

construction. The critically important analog circuitry handling the

DA converted signals is directly mounted on the CCR chassis. As an ultimate measure in the DA -910 this circuitry is mounted inside a Fine Ceramic Linear (FCL)

Fine Ceramic Linear (FCL) Module

111.1 module to further isolate it from vibration, to avoid

thermal drift and to protect it from putsive

electronic noise created by digital circuitry

Kyocera's final step in eliminating resonance from Compact Disc players consists of over -sized, adjustable

feet to provide further isolation and the firmest support for the players themselves. To minimize vibration, the DA -910

employs a diecast zinc pick-up mechanism.

Kyocera advances sound and user performance. By combining the latest audio and the most

advanced digital technclogies with proprietary Fine Ceramics expertise, Kyocera was able to produce Compact Disc players widely regarded as the finest - sounding available-with the clarity, smoothness, ,nner

detail and imaging of the 'nest audiophile components. Kyocera's vast digital experience also has enabled

the company to pay equal attention to sound quality and operational ease. Thus, programming and play functions

are extensive, yet perfectly simple

0 fb

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DA -810/910 Compact DiscPlayers.

Kyocera's DA -810 was not designed as a step-downmodel in any way; rather the DA -910 is a step-up for thoseseeking the ultimate in anti -resonance construction andthe convenience of remote control operation.

The DA -810 features all of Kyocera's advanced digitalcircuitry, including dual D/A converters with oversamplingand digital filtration plus Kyocera's "purist" audio design,including direct coupling, a DC -servo amplifier, "twinmono" construction, separate digital and analog sections,carefully selected high -spec parts and the simplestpossible signal path circuit design.

Kyocera's anti -resonance construction for the DA -810includes a special alloy transport mechanism, heat sink

Frequency response.Signal-to-noise ratio:Dynamic range:Phase responseHarmonic distortionWow and flutter

Channel separation.Output level , ImpedanceAC power requirement:Rower consumptionDimensions:


KYOCERA DA -910Specifications

5Hz -20kHz (± 0.5dB)More than 95dB (I kHz)More than 95dB (I kHz)20kHz 80 degreeLess than 0.005% (I kHz. 0dB)Unmeasurable (dependent onprecision of crystal oscillator)More than 90dB (I kHz)5V 2V, 0.77V (3 points)il k ohmsAC 120V/60Hz33W430 (W) x 140 (H) x 330 (D)mm(17" x 5-1/2" x 13")9.5 kg (20 lbs.15 oz.)

and top cover, plus an anti -resonance coating appliedto all delicate analog circuitry.

The DA -810 was designed bearing in mind thatanyone buying any Kyocera product is unwilling tocompromise.

Finer than the finest.Those who have followed the development of the

Compact Disc will remember that Kyocera's DA -01 wasone of the most highly acclaimed of all the first generationCompact Disc players. Rather than simply repackage thisinitial success more cheaply, Kyocero added the benefitsof Fine Ceramics technology to produce what realisticallycan be described as the finest Compact Disc playersavailable today.

Frequency responseSignal-to-noise ratio:Dynamic range:Phase response:Harmonic distortionWow and flutter:

Channel separation:Output level / ImpedanceAC power requirementFbwer consumption:Dimensions:



KYOCERA DA -810Specifications

5Hz- 20kHz (± 0.5dB)More than 90dB (I kHz)More than 90dB (I kHz)20kHz 80 degreeLess than 0.005% (I kHz, 0dB)Unmeasurable (dependent onprecision of crystal oscillator)More than 90dB (I kHz)4V 2V 0.77V (3 points) k ohmsAC 120V/60Hz33W460 (W) x 115 (H) x 311 (D)mm(18-1/8" x 4-1/2" x 12-5/8")8.5 kg (18 lbs 12 oz.)

Kyocera International Inc 7 Rowder Horn Drive warren, NJ 07060-0227

CIRCLE NO 8 ON READER SERVICE CARD For Dealer Nearest You Call TOLL -FREE 800-633-2252 Ext. 867

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Gender BendersSteve Simels's April piece on rock

gender benders in the Seventies was oneof the highlights of STEREO REVIEW'Scoverage of the pop -music field. He wascorrect in his comments on the NewYork Dolls. I had a chance to witnesstheir show from a speaker platform infront of a temporary stage in a drive-intheater, sometime way back when, and Istill consider theirs to be one of themost indisputably fantastic rock-'n'-roll"tours" ever to reach us here in Lan-sing, Michigan. I, too, felt that the Dollsepitomized what the rock scene haddeveloped into in the early Seventies,even if the group went off the deep edgeinto oblivion. Their "performance" waswhat it was all about, their recordingwasn't. But, as Mr. Simels said, they didcast a pretty long shadow.


Buyer BeuvreRecently I purchased the new Sony

portable Compact Disc player at a dis-count house in the Los Angeles area.

The machine made "blipping" soundswhen it hit certain passages on a coupleof discs, so I called Sony. When I statedthat I was having trouble with my SonyD-50, I was told that I had purchased amodel that is not licensed for sale or usein the U.S. and that the company wouldnot honor the warranty. The D-5, notthe D-50, is approved by the FCC [ashaving an acceptable level of radio -fre-quency emissions].

Fortunately, the discount house ex-changed the D-50 for a D-5, but poten-tial buyers should be aware of the differ-ence between the two versions. Unlikethe D-5, the Japanese D-50 does notcome with an a.c.-to-d.c. converter; youmust buy one separately. Adding theprice of the converter to that of theD-50 itself results in a price almost thesame as that of the D-5, but the buyerhas no warranty protection. Beware!

TOM OWENSHarbor City, CA

Blasting BackCharles Rodrigues's typically percep-

tive hi-fi cartoon on page 36 of theMarch issue recalls a letter I wrote to

the Boston Phoenix about three yearsago in which I suggested, half seriously,that as long as some people were soinconsiderate as to inflict their pre-ferred music on others in public places,via the ubiquitous "blasters," one re-sponse might be for people with differ-ent tastes to get their own "boomboxes" and retaliate. Imagine Palestri-na, Haydn, Puccini, Penderecki, LouisArmstrong's Hot Five, or Ornette Cole-man being purveyed in this way!

We should also consider the rudenessassociated with the other end of thisspectrum, the "Walkpersons." Wouldpeople using those devices kindly re-mcwe their headphones when address-ing someone or being addressed?


Wolf HowlsSteve Simels, called a "certified suc-

cess" by Editor in Chief William Liv-ingstone in the April issue, is a certified"bozo" in my book. His reviews areconstantly misleading, unprofessional,and downright incompetent. His callingthe single Will the Wolf Survive? by Los






For a demonstration of products from any of the adver-tisers listed below, call the STEREO REVIEW TOLL FREE800 number. You'll gel the name and location of a nearbydealer who will be happy to let you see and hear the com-ponents in action.

Bui call right now. The STEREO REVIEW "Where -To -Buy -It" Program for this issue ends June 22. Afterthat date you'll have tc contact the advertiser directly.

The following advertisers are participating in the STEREOREVIEW "Where -To -Buy -It" Program. Dial 8C0-633-2252and ask for the extension of the advertiser whose productsinterest you:

Audio Technica U.S. Inc. x 859Acoustic Research x 860Carver Corporation x 861Denon America, Inc. x 862Discwasher Inc. x 863Fujitsu x 864Hitachi x 865ICloss Video Corp. x 866Kyocera x 867Nikko Audio x 868Polk Audio x 869Soundcraftsmen x 870Tandberg of America x 871Yamaha Electronics x 872

Stereo Review

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Lobos the Most Moving Rock Song of1985 was the last straw for me. Cancelmy subscription.

JIM ALLENHuntington, WV

Steve Simels's April review of "HowWill the Wolf Survive?" by Los Loboswas right on target. I haven't been asthoroughly entertained by one band'smusic in ages. It's refreshing to hearjagged Fender guitars and searing tenorsaxophones in this synth -pop era we areconfined in. It's also great to see goodmusicians finally receive critical ac-claim after years of struggle and toil!

One correction: although David Hi-dalgo is one of the band's vocalists, hedoes not sing on Don't Worry Baby;Cesar Rosas is the one who sings thisgreat blues tune.


Madonna and Her ImageMark Peel's April review of Madon-

na's "Like a Virgin" album was themost disgusting piece of garbage that Ihave ever read in STEREO REVIEW. For

him, her image obviously pre-emptedany critical judgment of the music.

It was interesting to note, however,that Mr. Peel did not invoke this kind ofmoralistic bluster to dismiss Prince andBilly Idol in previous issues or FrankieGoes to Hollywood in the same one. Ithink "hypocrisy" and "sexism" are thewords we're looking for here. So Ma-donna is "a tough, terrifically sexy grad-uate of the streets"? You bet! And if Mr.Peel would put aside his prejudices longenough to really listen to her album, hewould discover that Madonna has morethan just an image going for her.

ROY L. HENRYPigeon Forge, TN

High -Output AmpsIn the April test report on the Rotel

RA/RB-870 amplifier combination, Ju-lian Hirsch stated, "We cannot recallseeing any other integrated amplifierthat can match [its] distinctly above -average power -output capability." Pos-sibly Mr. Hirsch has overlooked theNAD 3155/2155 combination. Unless Iam mistaken, the specifications, includ-ing power output, of the NAD compo-

nents compare quite closely with thoseof the Rotel components. The salientdifference between the two is the price:the NAD combination lists for $696,the Rotel combination for $850.


Technical Editor Gordon Sell replies:We regret any lack of clarity in Mr.Hirsch's statement, which meant onlythat Hirsch -Houck Labs had not testedany other integrated amplifier with acomparable power -output capability.

Video ViewpointPlease!! No more video in STEREO


Chicago, IL

Would you settle for a little less?

McCartneySteve Simels's review in March of

Paul McCartney's Give My Regards toBroad Street was less than fair. Mr.McCartney has brought many years of


Tandberg's remarkable T1A 3012 Amplifier and TPT 3001A Programable Tuner are individuallyconsidered to be among the world's finest music reproduction equipment.

Together, they become the most extraordinary stereo receiver.

TANDBERG OF AMERICAOne Labriola Court. Armonk. NY 10504(914) 273-9150

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listening pleasure to millions of peoplearound the world. Just because thealbum didn't produce as many hits aswe would like is no reason ,to give it areview such as this. Mr. McCartney haswritten or co -written hundreds of greathits over the last twenty years, with andwithout a little help from his friends. Solet's give him some respect and credit.


Pop Against HungerI enjoyed reading the item in April

"Record Makers" about pop artistswhose charitable efforts "tend to gorelatively unnoticed." It is good to seerecognition and credit being given tothose who don't seek it-Kenny Rog-ers, John Denver, and, of course, Her-bert Block. However, you "unnoticed"the pioneer of pop artists for world hun-ger, the late Harry Chapin, who beganhis work ten years prior to his untimelydeath in 1981. Some of his notableaccomplishments were the creation ofWorld Hunger Year ("Every year isWorld Hunger Year until no one is hun-gry anymore"), serving on the Carter

Administration's Committee to StudyWorld Hunger, and ten years of charityconcerts to raise money and aware-ness-and, of course, bringing togetherpeople of influence to help fight worldhunger, such as Kenny Rogers and JohnDenver.


Merited AwardsReader Scott D. Greene (April "Let-

ters")-who thought that Joe Jackson's"Body and Soul" should have receiveda Record of the Year Award from STER-EO REVIEW instead of Tina Turner,Prince, and Cyndi Lauper-has beenlistening to too much AOR radio. Jack-son's album strikes me as watered-down music pioneered by black artists,while Turner, Prince, and Lauper roarwith personality. I can see why the lattertwo have their detractors (though mostPrince haters detest his looks or person-ality more than the music), but Turner's"Private Dancer" mixes some of thesame elements (rock, r -&-b, reggae, folk,modern electronics) as Bruce Spring-steen's award winner, and she sings cir-

cies around Bruce-and I love Bruce.Tina sounds as wise and gutsy as ever,and she rocks harder on Steel Claw thanjust about any other cut from 1984. Mr.Greene prefers Huey Lewis's processedrock to this?

PAT FORTOYSt. Clair Shores, MI

Hope, ArkansasThe Klipsch name deserves more

consideration than was shown by erro-neously stating the location of manufac-ture of the company's fine speakers inthe April test report on the kg°. Hope,Arkansas (not Arizona), is really quite apleasant place.

DAVID PARKERJacksonville, AR

CorrectionA caption on page 66 of the May issue

gave some incorrect information on theKEF GT-200 car speaker system. Thesystem has two units, each containing amodified KEF GT-100 two-way speakeras well as a subwoofer. The price of theGT-200 system is $575.

Discwasher".The clear choice for record care.Where do you turn to getthe best sound from yourrecords? The answer is clear.To the Discwasher D4 -FT"Record Care System. Itsscientific design uses aunique fluid and directionalmicro -fiber pad to clean


records safely. Without leavingresidues behind. Anc the SC -211'Stylus Care System loosens andwipes away damag-ing stylus contami-nants. All to keepyour records playingclean and clear.

You can trust Discwasher.The clear choice for tapeand video care, too.Discwasher, leader in thetechnology of audio aid videocare products, also providesadvanced systems for cleaningtape decks and VCR's.

The sound and sight come through clean and cleat:

discwasher1407 North Providence Road. P.O. Box 6021, Columbia, MC 65205

CIRCLE NO 10 ON READER SERVICE CARD For Dealer Nearest You Call TOLL -FREE 800-633-2252 Ext. 863


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10 mg. "tar, 0.8 mg. nicotine

ay. per cigarette by FTC method.

Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined

That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health. loos

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PioneerThe two speeds on Pioneer's CT-

Z99W dual -transport cassette deck en-able cassettes to be dubbed either atnormal playing speed or at twice thenormal speed. The deck accepts simul-taneous inputs from one of its cassettetransports, a separate line source, andan external microphone for three-waymixing in the other transport. Dolby Bnoise reduction is included. A built-ingraphic equalizer can be used to adjustthe relative balance of seven frequencybands, allowing tapes to be customizedfor car stereos or portable players. Anautomatic fader control creates fadeswhen desired, and an auto -record -mute

SonySony's new Trinitron XBR video-

monitor/receivers feature a built-instereo TV/SAP decoder along with twodetachable Sony APM (Accurate Pis -tonic Motion) speakers and new picturecircuitry. The Microblack screen is saidto reflect less than one-third of theambient room light, thus improving thepicture. The one-gun/one-lens picturetube is joined to a flat, square -corneredscreen, reducing vertical distortion. Thefine -pitch aperture grille helps deliver ahorizontal resolution of 400 lines.

The XBR models come with an in-frared remote control that offers direct -access channel selection, up/downchannel search, channel enter, bass/tre-ble/balance controls, and volume con-trol. An on -screen display shows chan-nel. input mode, picture level, video

feature inserts 4 -second blanks betweenselections. To make finding a particularpoint on a tape easier, the programmaterial is audible in fast forward orrewind. A relay -play feature beginsplaying the cassette in Deck B whenDeck A has finished its cassette side.

The deck's wow -and -flutter rating is0.04 percent wrms, and its frequencyresponse is 25 to 17,000 Hz with metaltape. The signal-to-noise ratio is 60 dBwith Dolby B. Price: $499.95. PioneerElectronics, Dept. SR, 5000 Airport Pla-za Dr., Long Beach, CA 90801.Circle 120 on reader service card

input mode, and audio settings. Anoptional pedestal stand ($200) containsfoot controls for volume and channelselection. The 25 -inch KV-25XBR(shown) has a suggested retail price of$1,200, and the 20 -inch KV-20XBR is$899. Sony Consumer Products Com-pany, Dept. SR, Sony Dr., Park Ridge,NJ 07656.Circle 121 on reader service card

NikkoThe tuner section of the Nikko NR -

1000B receiver is a quartz -crystal, fre-quency -synthesis design with a digitalreadout and presets for six AM and sixFM stations. Inputs are provided forphono, tuner, auxiliary, and two tapedecks. A switch selects the built-in headamp for moving -coil cartridges. Thereis a large volume knob, smaller knobsfor bass, treble, and balance, andswitches for tone defeat, "subsonic" fil-ter, and loudness compensation.

The receiver is rated at 65 watts perchannel into 8 ohms from 20 to 20,000Hz with less than 0.03 percent total har-monic distortion. Usable sensitivity isgiven as 2.0 microvolts (11.2 dBf), andthe signal-to-noise ratio is 102 dB forthe tape input. Finished in matte black,

the NR -1000B weighs less than 20pounds and measures 171/4 x 44 x 1334inches. Price: $479. Nikko Audio, Dept.SR, 5820 S. Triangle Dr., Commerce,CA 90040.Circle 122 on reader service card

CarverThe Carver Receiver -2000 is said to

combine the best of the company's pro-prietary technology-a Magnetic Fieldamplifier, Asymmetrical Charge -Cou-pled FM stereo detector, and Sonic Ho-lography. The last feature is said to re-create a three-dimensional sound field.The Asymmetrical Charge -Coupled FMstereo detector provides full stereo evenunder poor reception conditions, andthe amplifier is designed to handle highpeak -power demands. An infrared re-mote unit controls power, volume,memory, band selection, tuning, andthe Sonic Hologram generator. Thereare presets for six AM and six FM sta-tions and separate tone controls forbass, midrange, and treble. The preampsection can handle inputs from moving -magnet or moving -coil cartridges.

The Receiver -2000 is rated to deliver

200 watts per channel into 8 ohms from20 to 20,000 Hz with no more than 0.5percent distortion. The amplifier's sig-nal-to-noise ratio is 100 dB; the tuner's50 -dB quieting sensitivity is 4.5 micro-volts. The receiver weighs 16 poundsand measures 19 inches wide, 51/2 incheshigh, and 18 inches deep. Price: $1,499.Carver Corp., Dept. SR, P.O. Box 1237,Lynnwood, WA 98036.Circle 123 on reader service card

SherwoodThe CRD-180 is the first Sherwood

car stereo mini -chassis cassette/receiverto combine autoreverse, digital -synthe-sis tuning, an LCD display, a built-inclock, and preset scan. The receiver can

also decode the C-QUAM format ofAM stereo. The FM tuner uses MOS-FET's in the front end, has twelve sta-tion presets, a stereo/mono switch, andlocal/distant switch. The tape sectionhas Dolby B noise reduction, metal -


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tape capability, and a high -beta permal-loy head.

The built-in power amplifier is ratedat 3.5 watts per channel over the audioband with less than 0.5 percent totalharmonic distortion. Preamp outputsare included so that the receiver can beconnected to a separate power amp.There are separate bass and treble con-trols, a front -rear fader, and a balancecontrol. Price: $299.95. Sherwood,Dept. SR, 13845 Artesia Blvd., Cerritos,CA 90701.Circle 124 on reader service card

Audio-TechnicaThe ATH-V7 from Audio-Technica is

a standard -sized headphone with anopen back and moving -coil drivers.Foam -padded circumaural rings holdthe headphones slightly away from theears while sealing off outside noise. Theheadband is adjustable. The 2 -metercord has both straight and coiled sec-tions and terminates in a standard V4 -inch phone plug. Frequency response israted as 20 to 20,000 Hz. The ATH-V7weighs approximately six ounces. Price:$74.95. Audio-Technica, Dept. SR,1221 Commerce Dr., Stow, OH 44224.Circle 125 on reader service card

RCAThe VKP950 video -cassette recorder

from RCA is a VHS Hi-Fi model thatconverts from home to portable use toallow high -quality sound and picturerecording in the field. The recorder sec-tion "docks" with the tuner -timer sec-tion for home use and lifts off fromtheir common base to become a porta-


ble unit that weighs just under 8 poundswith battery. The recorder can operatefrom house current, its own recharge-able battery, or a 12 -volt automobilebattery.

With five video heads, the VKP950offers the following playback effects inthe SP and SLP speeds: picture search,stop action, frame advance, variable -speed slow motion, reverse play, anddouble speed. The 133 -channel tunersection works by direct access andmemory scanning. An EXPRESS featureprovides for automatic recording with-out needing to preset the programmermemory. Audio dubbing can be doneon either the hi-fi or normal linearsoundtracks. Elapsed recording time isshown on the LCD window, and thecounter has a memory so that the tapecan be stopped automatically at anyselected point during rewind. Price:$1,495. RCA Consumer Electronics,Dept. SR, 600 North Sherman Dr.,Indianapolis, IN 46201.Circle 126 on reader service card

TandbergThe TCD 910 Master Cassette Re-

corder from Tandberg marks the forma-tion of the company's ProfessionalProducts Division. The drive system isa dual -capstan, closed -loop type. Thereare three heads and four servo -con-trolled, belt -drive motors. The frontpanel contains an azimuth -adjustmentcontrol. Dolby B and Dolby C noisereduction are included.

The Dyneq headroom -extension sys-tem in the TCD 910 monitors the high -frequency record boost and reduces


equalization if the signal approachesoverload levels. The Actilinear trans -conductance amplifier increases head-room by more than 20 dB. With metaltape, total harmonic distortion is givenas less than 1.5 percent and signal-to-noise ratio as 73 dB. The deck measures171/4 inches wide, 69/16 inches high, and134 inches deep, and it weighs 21.8pounds. Price: $1,795. Tandberg ofAmerica, Dept. SR, 1 Labriola Ct., Ar-monk, NY 10504.Circle 127 on reader service card

Design AcousticsThe cylindrical -shaped OS -1 omnidi-

rectional two-way loudspeaker from

Design Acoustics is intended for out-door use on patios, lawns, etc. Theweather -resistant speaker has a frequen-cy range of 90 to 18,000 Hz. It can bemounted at ground level, on a pipe, orsuspended in the air, and its black plas-tic finish can be painted to match thesurroundings. Price: $259.90 per pair.Design Acoustics, Dept. SR, 1221 Com-merce Dr., Stow, OH 44224.Circle 128 on reader service card

MTXA dual -cone loudspeaker from MTX

is designed for use on boats, on patios,and in cars, motorcycles, vans, or trac-tors as well as in the home. The 6 x 9 -inch speaker has a water-resistant poly-propylene -cone woofer and a chemical-ly treated inner whizzer cone. A rubbersealing gasket protects against rust andwater leakage. Rated frequency re-sponse is 80 to 19,000 Hz, and the pow-er -handling capacity is 40 watts. The 4 -ohm speaker has a sensitivity level of 90dB sound -pressure level with a I -wattinput measured at I meter. Price:$99.95 each. A 51/4 -inch round versionis also available. MTX, Dept. SR, OneMitek Plaza, Winslow, IL 61089.Circle 129 on reader service card

NumarkNumark's top -of -the -line DM -1900

mixer/preamplifier, said to be a "stu-dio -quality console," includes a six -band graphic equalizer with up to 15 dB


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REDEFINITION.THE CARVERRECEIVERRedefines your expectations ofreceiver performance with the poweryou need for Digital Audio Discs plusvirtually noise -free stereo FM recep-tion. A receiver with astonishing per-formance incorporating two highlysignificant technological break-throughs: Bob Carver's MagneticField Power Amplifier and hisAsymmetrical Charge CoupledFM Detector.

ESSENTIAL POWER: Your systemneeds an abundance of power toreproduce, without distortion, thedynamic range of music on DigitalAudio Discs and fine analogrecordings.

The Magnetic Field Amplifier in theCARVER Receiver gives you 130watts per channel* of pure, cleanpower with superbly defined, highfidelity reproduction.

The Magnetic Field Amplifierproduces large amounts of power(absolutely necessary for the ac-curate reproduction of music atrealistic listening levels) without theneed for heavy heat sinks, massivetransformers, and enormous powercapacitors required by conventionalamplifier design.

Unlike conventional amplifierswhich produce a constant, high vol-tage level at all times, irrespective ofthe demands of the ever-changingaudio signal (Even when there is noaudio signal in the circuit at all!), theMagnetic Field Amplifier's powersupply is signal responsive. Highlyefficient, it produces exactly and only

the power needed to carry the signalwith complete accuracy and fidelity.


Solid line: audio output signal. Broken line: powersupply voltage. Shaded area: wasted power. Verticallines: power to speakers

The 130 watts -per -chanrel*CARVER Receiver is about the samesize and weight of conventional re-ceivers having merely 30 watts perchannel!

NOISE -FREE RECIPTIOlk The AM -FM CARVER Receiver gives you FMstereo performance unmatched bythat of any other receiver.

As it is transmitted from the station,the stereo FM signal is extremelyvulnerable to distortion, noise, hissand multipath interference.

However, when you engageCARVER's Asymmetrical ChargeCoupled FM Detector circuit, thestereo signal arrives at your ears vir-tually noise -free. You hear fully sepa-rated stereo with space, depth andambience!

Reflected multi -pathsignals cause audibledistortion.

Asymmetrical ChargeCoupled FM Detectorgives your ears a truesonic image.

The Asymmetrical ChargeCoupled FM Detector was first intro-duced in CARVER's TX -11 StereoTuner, receiving unparalleled criticalacclaim:

'A major advance... its noise reductionfor stereo reception ranged from appre-ciable to tremendous It makes the major-ity of stereo signals sound virtually as quietas mono signals, yet it does not dilute thestereo effect."

Julian D. Hirsch, STEREO REVIEW(December, 1982)

"Separation was still there; only thebackground noise had been diminished,and with it, much of the sibilance andhissy edginess so characteristic of multi -path interference."

Leonard Feldman, AUDIO(December, 1982)

"What distinguishes the TX -11 is itsability to pull clean, noise -free sound outof weak or multipath ridden signals thatwould have you lunging for the monoswitch on any other tuner we know of"

HIGH FIDELITY (January, 1983)

"The Carver Receiver is, without ques-tion, one of the finest products of its kindI have ever tested and used."

Leonard Feldman, AUDIO (June, 1984)

The CARVER Receiver has beendesigned for fidelity, accuracy andmusicality. You will want to visit yourCARVER dealer for a personal audi-tion of this remarkable instrument.

*130 watts per channel RMS into 8ohrrs, 20 Hz to 20 kHz with no morethar 0.05% total harmonic distortion.

fillrA Alf 1111111111111.WIL\\,_ArAir/VAAIVVAIM I 11111:11111111k1W110%.

CARVER Powerful Musical AccurateCarver Corporat on P.O.Box 1237 Lynnwood, WA 98336

Distributed in Canada by Evolution Audio, Ltd.

For Dealer Nearest You Call TOLL -FREE 800-633-2252 Ext. 861 C-RCLE NO. 49 ON READER SERVICE CARD

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cut or boost for each band. Center fre-quencies are at 42, 152, 480, 1,520,4,800, and 15,360 Hz. The DM -1900can be used for mixing sound -on -soundrecordings or for creating video andmovie soundtracks. The console's fourstereo inputs can be used with threephono sources and one line -level sourceor with two phono sources and twotape -recorder sources. An additionalmono balanced/unbalanced input ac-cepts a microphone with either a phoneplug or XLR connector. The mike inputhas a professional pan -pot control forexact positioning.

The multicolored twelve -segmentpeak -reading LED output meter is saidto ensure maximum output withoutoverload. There is a built-in preampli-fier and a variable output to match dif-ferent amplifiers. Slide controls adjustthe volume of each input, the outputvolume of each stereo channel, and thesix equalizer bands. Fading and cueingcontrols are professional -quality four -gang slide controls with feather -touchaction, fast response, and infinite ad-justment sensitivity. The output signal-to-noise ratio varies from 70 dB forphono and mike sources to 73 dB forline and tape. A VU meter and head-phone jack are included. A talk -overswitch allows recording voice-overs.

The DM -1900 measures about 19inches wide, 41/2 inches high, and 91/2inches deep. Weight is about 121'4pounds. Price: $615. Numark Electron-ics Corp., Dept. SR, 503 Raritan Cen-ter, Edison, NJ 08837.Circle 130 on reader service card

mmr Int

TechnicsThe RS -B18 cassette deck from Tech-

nics is equipped with three noise -reduc-tion systems: Dolby B, Dolby C, anddbx. Switches select correct bias andequalization for normal, chrome, andmetal tapes. Input levels are set withtwo slider controls; one sets overall lev-el while the other balances the levels ofthe two channels. Microphone inputsand a headphone jack are on the frontpanel. The soft -touch controls permit

one -touch recording and changing fromfast forward to rewind, cue, and reviewwithout pressing the stop button. Thedeck will switch from rewind to playautomatically when it reaches the begin-ning of a cassette. Price: $180. Technics,Dept. SR, One Panasonic Way, Secau-cus, NJ 07094.Circle 131 on reader service card

ReelSaid to combine the convenience of

the cassette with the flexibility of open -reel, the Bikini is a cassette shell loadedwith a removable reel of tape. The reelcan be removed for splicing and editing,and the tape can be shortened or length-ened to fit the specific needs of the user.Different reels of tape can be used at dif-ferent times in the same shell, and eachreel can be individually labeled. Thestarter set comes with five reels ofchrome tape and one shell with a take-up reel. Each reel contains enough tapefor 50 minutes of recording time (25

minutes on each side). Price: $24.95.Reel Corp., Dept. SR, 21711 W. 10Mile, Southfield, MI 48075.Circle 132 on reader service card

BibA Compact Disc/video-disc cleaning

kit from Bib consists of a 22 -milliliter




In Handy Storage Wallet

bottle of cleaning fluid, two contami-nant -free wiping cloths, a chamoisleather polishing pad, and a storagepouch. Price: $8.95. Bib Audio/VideoProducts Ltd., Dept. SR, 1751 Jay EllDr., Richardson, TX 75081.Circle 133 on reader service card

CrownThe Crown FM Three digital tuner is

equipped with a defeatable Schotznoise -reduction circuit for clearer recep-tion of stereo FM broadcasts. When thetuner scans the frequency band for lis-tenable stations, the setting of the scan -level control determines the minimalsignal strength of the stations it accepts.There are six station presets for AM andsix for FM. LED's indicate signalstrength, multipath interference, andstereo reception. A toroidal transformerreduces hum and noise, and an extra r.f.section is said to increase AM -band sen-sitivity.

FM specifications include a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of 80 dB at 65 dBf.Stereo separation is rated as 60 dB at1,000 Hz and 50 dB at 10,000 Hz. Cap-ture ratio is 1.5 dB at 65 dBf. Alternate -channel selectivity is 75 dB at 25 dBf.Total harmonic distortion is 0.05 per-cent at 65 dBf and 1,000 Hz. For theAM section, S/N is 50 dB and total har-monic distortion 0.22 percent at 30 per-cent modulation. Price: $795. CrownInternational, Dept. SR, 1718 WestMishawaka Rd., Elkhart, IN 46517.Circle 134 on reader service card

WarrantechExtended warranties for home elec-

tronic products may be purchased fromWarrantech, an independent servicecompany. The warranty, which be-comes effective when the factory war-ranty expires, covers parts and labor onall repairs. Up to three years of coveragecan be purchased. All brands that carryan original factory warranty are eligiblefor the Warrantech program. The com-pany's service centers are locatedthroughout the country. Representativeprices for one year of coverage include$30 for a portable TV set, $40 for aVCR or component TV, and $50 for aTV console. In -home service is avail-able for an extra $10 per year. The war-ranties are available at retail electronicsstores. Warrantech, Dept. SR, 805Third Ave., New York, NY 10022.Circle 135 on reader service card


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"Polk Reinvents the loudspeaker,.,"Polk's Revolutionary TRUE STEREO SDAs*

Always Sound Better than Conventional Speakers.

Dgite'Disc Ready/

"They -July represent a breakthrough!"Robing Stone Magazine

Polls exclusive, patented, Audio Video GrandPrix Marc winning SDA technology has beencallel lie lost important fundamental advancein loJC3pffiker design since stereo. In fact, Po k'srem rtable SDAs are the world's first and onlyTRUE iTFE0 loudspeakers. The experts agree,Polk SDA' E always sound getter than conven-tionEl ipez<ers

SDA-CRSS395. SC ea.

SDA-2 S3R-1AS600.110 sa. 5349.95 ea

"Astounding" "Spec-acular"HIV- Fidelity Stereo Review

Polk's revolutionary TRUE STER EC SEA technol-ogy results n spectacularly lifelike threedimensiona imaging and sound Stereo Reviewsaid, 'Spec-acular the result is always betterthan would )e achieved by convEnion speak-ers." Higi F delay said, "An amaziNg experience

astound' lig mind boggling flapbergastingextraordnary devastatingly dramatic.'

Hear &Ms' Remarkable Sonic Benefits Now!"You owe it to yourself- High Fidelity

Polk Audi) Inc1915 Amapolis RoadBaltimo-e, MD 21230Canadian Listributor Evolution Audio

polk audio*U.S. Fster No. 4,489.432. Other patents pending. The Speaker Specialists

CIRCLE NO 37 ON READER SERVICE CARD For Dealer Nlearest You Call TOLL -FREE 800-633-2252 Ext. 869

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by David Ranada


F,w television viewers realizethat they rarely get to see the"whole picture." For start-ers, the video signal from a

camera or videotape is rectangular,with sharp corners. But even thenew "flat, square" picture tubesround off the corners somewhat, be-sides still having slightly curvedborders. Beyond the basic picture -tube shape, however, is another, lessobvious limit on the completenessof the reproduced image. To pre-vent the edges of the picture frombeing seen, television sets and videomonitors are adjusted so that thedisplayed image does not showquite all that is contained in the vid-eo signal. They overscan, meaningthat the true edges of the picture arescanned over or outside the bordersof the screen.

Overscanning has really only oneuseful property to the home viewer:it prevents visually distractingfaults that occur at the edges of thepicture from appearing on thescreen. These faults, most promi-nent with home -VCR recordings,consist of noisy and skewed areas atthe top and bottom of the screenand of somewhat ragged side edgesof the image. Both faults are causedby instability in the timing of thevideo signal from a VCR.

To a TV or monitor manufactur-er, overscanning is much more use-

ful than it is to the home viewer,even though much of the usable pic-ture area may be thrown away byexcessive factory -set overscanning.As a monitor or TV set ages, largeamounts of overscan permit the pic-ture -tube circuits to drift considera-bly from their initial settings with-out the edges of the image becomingvisible. Apparently the manufactur-ers consider losing part of the pic-ture preferable to seeing "toomuch" of the image when the setgets old.

Vertical and horizontal size arethe two dimensions of overscan-ning, the former being the oneusually more accurately set at thefactory. Excessive horizontal sizemakes objects appear wider thanthey should. For example, a circlemight appear as a flattened ellipse ifthere is excessive horizontal over -scanning or as a squeezed ellipse ifthe vertical size is proportionatelytoo high.

Different amounts of overscan-ning are easily visible in side -by -side picture comparisons, but howdo you tell if a TV set or monitorhas excessive overscan? The bestway is to view a test pattern (usuallytransmitted by most non -24 -hourTV stations in the early morning,just before the day's programmingstarts). Two types of test patternsare normally transmitted, an align-ment pattern and "color bars."

The alignment pattern is pickedup by a camera and is dominated bya large circle, one screen -height indiameter, that should be centeredon the screen if the camera andother transmitting equipment arealigned properly (which is, ofcourse, the whole purpose of using a

test pattern). It should be a com-plete, true circle, not an ellipse, andit should not be cut off at the top orbottom of the image area. Measureits diameter in various directions onyour screen; it should be constant. Ifit isn't, and it usually isn't, you'reseeing the effects of overscanning.The mathematically ambitious cancalculate how much of the picture isbeing lost by comparing the appar-ent size of the circle with its truesize (the full height of the screen indiameter).

Color bars are a standardized,electronically generated test signaldesigned to aid the alignment of thecolor controls in a video system.The rainbow -like signal consists ofseven vertical stripes of color (fromleft to right, 75 percent white, then100 percent yellow, cyan, green, ma-genta, red, and blue) across the topof the screen and areas of full blackand white on the bottom.

Although it is meant for coloradjustments, the color -bar signalcan also be used to judge overscan-fling since its proportions are stand-ardized. For proper horizontal size,the bars should all be a seventh ofthe width of the picture. More im-portant, most of the white and bluebars at the sides of the screen shouldbe visible. If they are partly cut off;and they usually are, they should beat least truncated equally for a well -centered picture. For proper verticalsize, the edge between the color barsand the black and white areas belowthem is supposed to occur 75 per-cent of the way down from the topof the image.

The traditional use of overscan-ning (prevention of underscanningas the circuits age) has had a fasci-





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nating effect not only on how muchof the video image you get to see butalso on what that image contains.The Society of Motion Picture andTelevision Engineers (SMPTE) longago promulgated recommendationsfor how a TV picture should be"composed" to compensate forvarying and excessive amounts ofoverscan. In the accompanyingscale drawing, the shaded rectanglerepresents the complete video -sig-nal image with an aspect ratio (ratioof width to height) of 1.33 to 1.

Within that rectangle are two ova-loids. The larger one is the borderfor what the SMPTE calls the safe

Overscannihas had afascinating effect on how muchof the video image you see andon what it contains.

action area, the area of the image"within which all significant actionmust take place." The inner ovaloidis the SMPTE-specified safe titlearea "within which the more impor-tant information must be confinedto ensure visibility of the informa-tion on the majority of home televi-sion receivers." The safe title area isonly 61 percent of the full videoimage and a very small 34 percentof the area of a wide-screen Cine-mascope/Panavision picture (in thedrawing, this is indicated by thelarge, wide rectangle with an aspectratio of 2.35 to 1).

To TV directors and cameramen,the SMPTE recommendations arerestricting, to say the least. Objectsat the edges of the camera's viewmay not even show up at home ifthey fall outside the safe action area.Necessary constraints like thesehave forced a definite "look" onsuch productions as commercials,sitcoms, and made -for -TV movies.They also have created problems formakers of blockbuster wide-screenproductions who want to showthose movies on TV or sell them onvideo cassettes. The conscientiousdirector will essentially have to re -shoot the film onto video tape,choosing those portions of the wide-screen image that are most impor-tant to show on a TV screen. Theresults are rarely as successful vis-ually as the wide-screen original. 0

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by Larry Klein

Spontaneous Erasure: IIQWith reference to your Decembercolumn discussing the mysterious

erasure of tapes: we had a customer witha similar problem. He was convincedthat the fault lay in the tape deck we hadsold him even though it checked out fine.In truth, some of his tapes did soundpretty bad! We finally determined thathis problems occurred when his wife vac-uum cleaned the area where the tapeswere stored. Apparently the motor of thevacuum cleaner put out a magnetic fieldthat was strong enough to erase his tapespartially. When the tape -storage areawas changed, the problem disappeared.

GUINN UNGERSheffield Audio, Inc.

Houston, TX

AThank you, Mr. Unger, for yourcautionary tale. Readers should

keep in mind that unwanted magneticfields impinging on a recorded tapedon't simply reduce the overall signallevel the way erase heads or bulk erasersdo. Rather, the highs are usually thefirst to go, but not necessarily in a uni-form way. There may be a loss of highsonce every revolution of the tape packinside the cassette or there may be athrumming or pulsing sound. The pre-cise effect depends on whether the mag-netic field is alternating (as from an a.c.motor or transformer) or from a con-stant -polarity source like a speakermagnet, whether it is meeting the tapepack edge -on or from another direction,whether it is strong or weak, and wheth-er it is fixed or moving (as from a visit-ing vacuum cleaner). In any case, yourcustomer's wife proved that a cleantape -storage area is unfortunately notalways synonymous with clean -sound-ing tapes.

Aging SpeakersQI own a pair of Wharfedale speak-er systems that are about twenty

years old. How well would you say theycompare with some of the better speak-ers now available?

R. W. LONGMoore Haven, FL

A In a word, badly. During my earlyAl years as technical editor of STEREOREVIEW, twenty -odd years ago, it wasmy practice to preaudition speaker sys-tems before I sent them up to Hirsch -Houck Labs for review. Believe me, itwasn't because I was eager to pre-emptHirsch and Houck's listening sessions;it was just that there were so many badspeakers on the market that I could savevaluable laboratory test time by elimi-nating the really rotten ones in advance.After a while, technological develop-ments-and improved taste on the partof the designers (I'm not kidding)-raised the general level of loudspeakerperformance sufficiently that preaudi-tioning no longer paid off.

For many of those years, my referencestandard was the Acoustic ResearchAR -3. It had easily the lowest and leastboomy bass response, the smoothest(non -honky) midrange, and the mostextended treble response of any systemI heard in my apartment during thoseyears. Several systems were able toequal it in one area or another, but nonemanaged to match its combination ofvirtues. Looking back from the perspec-tive of 1985, it's obvious to me thataside from its bass performance, whichI still consider good by today's stand-ards, the AR -3 was sadly lacking inmidrange and treble output. Even withits level controls full up, I would guessthat the AR -3 was about 10 dB downfrom flat response at 10 kHz.

If the AR -3 was as good as you couldget twenty years ago, and it is sadly out-moded by today's better systems, Iwould suggest that run-of-the-mill sys-tems such as yours be relegated toextension -speaker use-or given toyour kids, who will probably appreciatetheir bass boom even if they complainabout the lack of clarity.

Overload SensitivityQMy preamplifier does not have a

separate input for a digital -discplayer. I gather that most CD playerswill overload the usual auxiliary inputs.which have sensitivities around 150 mil-livolts. How do I solve this problem?

A. A. LAMBERTVancouver, B.C.

AThe problem is not as severe asmany readers seem to think. An

auxiliary input's sensitivity rating of

150 millivolts does not necessarilymean that overload will occur when amuch larger signal is applied. The IFIF/EIA sensitivity rating simply meansthat in order to achieve a 0.5 -volt refer-ence output with the volume control seton full, a 150 -mV, 1,000 -Hz input sig-nal must be applied. The purpose of thestandard is to determine the gain of theamplifier, not to specify the overloadlevel. Obviously, under normal circum-stances a preamplifier is never operatedwith its volume control full up, andmost power amplifiers require morethan half a volt of signal to achieve fulloutput.

For a preamp manufacturer to avoidinput overload from CD signals, heonly needs to make sure that the high-level amplifying stages, if any, that arelocated before the volume control areable to handle CD -level signal voltages.That is a relatively easy requirement,and most manufacturers have no trou-ble meeting it. In any case, to determinehow much signal your unit can take,you need to have the input -overloaddata for the auxiliary inputs, not theirsensitivity ratings.

VHS IncompatibilityQI recently ordered a prerecorded

VHS Hi-Fi video tape from a com-pany in England. They wrote back to mesaying that British VHS is not compati-ble with VIIS in the U.S. I told them tosend the tape anyway, thinking that theywere confused about something. Thetape arrived, and they were right: the pic-ture is blurred and out of sync. and thesound is barely audible. Why aren'tVHS and Beta Hi-Fi tapes compatibleall over the world?


ASimply because the television sig-nals that VHS and Beta machines

are designed to record and play back arenot compatible all over the world. In theU.S. we use the NTSC system; in Eng-land the PAL system is the TV broad-cast standard. And there are other sys-tems in use elsewhere in the world.Before a U.S. TV network can showBritish video tapes, the signals on themhave to undergo a complex electronicconversion process. In short, there is noworldwide compatibility either in TVsignals or in the equipment designed todisplay, record, or play them back. TheBeta and VHS Hi-Fi audio signals arerecorded as part of the video signal andare therefore also not compatible. Thereare some VCR's that are capable ofplaying back both NTSC and PALtapes, but they have to be fed into sepa-rate NTSC and PAL television sets orinto one of the relatively rare dual -standard video monitors.


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M LIGHTSIt's a whole new world.

Today'sCamel Lights,unexpectedly


Warnirg: The Eurgeon General Has DeterminedThat Cigarette SIncking Is Dangerous to Your Health.


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C1985 Sony Tope Soles Co A 0,y of Sony Corp of Anser.co Sony .s a trademark of Sony Corp

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DIFFERENT COLOR.It's different alright. Clearly different.In fact, it's unheard of.Imagine sound so rich and dazzling,

so dynamically out -of -this -world, so clearlyclear, so oh sc colorful.

Imagine rock's sonic sounds soundingsupersonic. And soul's fiery tones breathing


fire.fire. And a very vivid Vivaldi. And jazz thatjumps.

Imagine all that explosive vibrancy ina clear cassette that g yes you a clearview of exactly how much Sony tape is left.

Unheard of? Of course.Every other tape pales by comparison.


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by Julian Hirsch


How We Test Amplifiers

WHENEVER it iS possi-ble, our amplifiertests conform to theEIA test standard RS -

490, which has been almost univer-sally adopted in this country and iswidely used by Japanese and Euro-pean manufacturers. The standarddefines test conditions for virtuallyevery measurement one might wishto make on an amplifier, althoughnot all the tests are designated asmandatory for rating a unit. Wemake all of the tests mentionedbelow, but we don't publish all ofthe results, not only because wedon't have room for them but be-cause they're not all significant.

Slightly different test conditionsapply to power amplifiers andpreamplifiers, but both sets of con-ditions include standard gain set-tings for the various inputs andstandard load impedances acrosswhich the output is measured. Forexample, the gain is set so that a1,000 -Hz, 0.5 -volt signal at anyhigh-level input (or 5 millivolts at amoving -magnet phono input) willproduce an output of 0.5 volt from apreamplifier or 1 watt into a stand-

ard load from an integrated ampli-fier. Making the setting is usually asimple matter of turning a volume -control knob. The standard load fora power amplifier or integrated am-plifier is the value determined bythe manufacturer in the specifica-tions (normally 8 ohms), while apreamplifier or another device hav-ing a line -level output is terminatedin a 10,000 -ohm resistance in paral-lel with a 1,000-picofarad capaci-tance. All tests are made on onechannel, normally the left, but withboth channels being driven by thesame test signal. If a measurementlooks questionable, we check it onthe other channel too.

Frequency response is measuredby driving the amplifier with a con-stant -amplitude sine wave whosefrequency is swept automaticallythrough the 20- to 20,000 -Hz audiorange. We plot the amplifier's out-put voltage automatically, using themodular UREI 2000 series of in-struments, which can produce aprinted response plot in only 15 sec-onds. The initial response measure-ment is made with all tone controlsand filters bypassed or set for anindicated "flat" response, then re-peated on the same chart with thecontrols set at maximum, mini-mum, and halfway between theselimits. The family of curves thusproduced shows us the manner inwhich the tone controls function(whether they shift the turnover fre-quency or the slope of the boost orcut characteristic, for example) aswell as their maximum boost/cutrange. We also determine the cutofffrequency of any high or low filter,defined as the point where theresponse has been reduced by 3 dB.

Tested This Month

NEC A-10 Mk11Integrated Amplifier

Apt P2 PreamplifierHafler DH -120

Power AmplifierTechnics SL -P3

CD PlayerSony STR-AV760


and the slope of the responsebeyond the cutoff point.

The loudness -compensation char-acteristics, if such a control is pres-ent, are measured by first plottingthe amplifier's frequency responseat a maximum volume setting.Then, with the loudness switchturned on, the 1,000 -Hz gain isreduced in 10 -dB steps and theresponse is plotted at each intervalfrom 0 to - 50 dB.

The accuracy of the RIAA phonoequalization is measured by passinga 20- to 20,000 -Hz sweep throughan inverse RIAA pre -equalizer. Thepre -equalizer's output simulates thesignal from a magnetic phonocartridge and is fed to the amplifi-er's phono input. In this test, anideal RIAA-equalized preamplifiershould deliver a flat frequency re-sponse (as measured at the tape out-puts, usually). The phono-input im-pedance is measured by injecting a1,000 -Hz signal with an adjustableresistance in series with the signalsource. The resistance is increaseduntil the output from the amplifierdrops to half its original amplitude.(In this and other tests we monitorthe output level with a spectrumanalyzer so that we can see, andexclude, the effects of hum andnoise.) At this point, the seriesresistance is equal to the input im-pedance of the phono preamplifier.

The same measurement process isrepeated at higher audio frequenciesup to 20,000 Hz, and the resultingdata are analyzed to calculate theshunt capacitance of the phono in-put. (The shunt capacitance causesthe impedance to fall at higher fre-quencies at a calculable rate. Know-ing the rate of fall and the inputresistance, one can calculate the in-put capacitance.) The calculated ca-pacitance, of course, includes thecapacitance of the connecting cableto the phono input, but this value isknown and is subtracted to give thefinal value. If the impedance varia-tion does not correspond to that of asingle resistance and capacitance inparallel, the impedance is simplygiven as the 1,000 -Hz value, with nocapacitance specification. The mov-ing -coil (MC) phono-input imped-ance is measured similarly, exceptthat in this case the capacitance isnot significant and a single 1,000 -Hz measurement always suffices.


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Before measuring distortion orpower output, we operate the ampli-fier for one hour at one-third ratedpower into an 8 -ohm load at 1,000Hz. This "preconditioning," whichis required by the Federal TradeCommission in arriving at an ad-vertised power rating for an ampli-fier, usually makes the amplifiervery hot, but it should not sufferany permanent damage as a result.However, the maximum availablecontinuous power output (called the"clipping power") is usually lowerafter preconditioning because ofchanges in the power -supply volt-ages or output -transistor operatingconditions resulting from the hightemperatures.

We measure distortion with aHewlett-Packard 339A distortionanalyzer, which drives the amplifierwith an extremely low -distortionsine wave (typically less than 0.001percent harmonic distortion) andprocesses the amplifier's output sig-nal by removing its fundamentalfrequency component and showingthe remaining energy, which con-sists of distortion and noise, as apercentage of the total output.Sometimes it is desirable to meas-ure only the distortion harmonics,excluding noise from the reading.For this we use a Hewlett-Packard3580A spectrum analyzer that is byitself capable of measuring individ-ual spectral components down to0.002 percent-and, in conjunctionwith the H -P 339A, down to 0.0002percent.

We make two series of distortionmeasurements. In one series wedrive both channels of the amplifierat 1,000 Hz and measure the distor-tion in the left -channel output atpower outputs from under 1 watt upto the clipping -power output withloads of 4 and 8 ohms. We alsomake this measurement with 2 -ohmloads, but it is sometimes modified(such as by driving only one chan-nel) when an amplifier is not capa-ble of driving 2 ohms at a high pow-er level without blowing fuses, trip-ping a protective relay, or overheat-ing. In the second series we measurethe distortion into 8 ohms at ratedpower, half power, and one -tenthpower at selected frequencies be-tween 20 and 20,000 Hz.

Other power measurements are ofthe 1,000 -Hz clipping -power level







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(made by observing the outputwaveform on an oscilloscope to es-tablish the onset of clipping over-load) and of the dynamic power (theclipping level with a 20 -millisecond1,000 -Hz tone burst repeated everyhalf -second), both into all three loadresistances. These measured powersare used to establish the amplifier'sclipping headroom and dynamicheadroom for the output imped-ances at which a power rating isspecified by the manufacturer. Adynamic -headroom rating is the ra-tio (expressed in decibels) of themeasured clipping power with the20 -millisecond tone bursts to theamplifier's rated continuous powerat the rated impedance. (Most am -

Even a very small differencein frequency response orlevel can sometimes enablea critical listener todistinguish between twoamplifiers. To me, the onewith the flatter responseis "better."

plifiers are rated only for 8 -ohmoperation, but a few carry 4 -ohmratings as well, and in rare instancesthere is even a 2 -ohm rating.)

The noise level is measured for ahigh-level input and for the phonoinput (including the MC -cartridgemode if that is provided). It is meas-ured with the standardized gain set-tings and input and output termina-tions. We measure the output noisevoltage with a Sennheiser UPM-550-1 level meter, which is capableof measuring signals of a few micro-volts. Noise level is expressed indecibels relative to 1 watt output(2.83 volts across an 8 -ohm load)for power and integrated amplifiersand relative to 0.5 volt output forpreamplifiers. The result is A -weighted for better correlation withits audible effects.

Sensitivity is also measured for allinputs. This is the 1,000 -Hz inputlevel required to produce a refer-ence output (0.5 volt from a pream-plifier or 1 watt from a power orintegrated amplifier) with all levelcontrols set to maximum. Thephono-preamplifier input -overload

level is measured by reducing thevolume -control setting and increas-ing the phono-input level until theoutput waveform clips. This meas-urement is made at 20, 1,000, and20,000 Hz, and the readings at thetwo frequency extremes are correct-ed for the RIAA equalization to giveequivalent 1,000 -Hz values.

Additional measurements includeslew factor, reactive load factor, anda stability check with a simulatedreactive speaker load. The slew fac-tor is measured by driving the am-plifier to rated output at 1,000 Hzand increasing the frequency of theinput signal while maintaining itslevel constant. The highest frequen-cy at which the output waveformdoes not show visible distortion onan oscilloscope, divided by 20,000,is the slew factor. It indicates anamplifier's susceptibility to tran-sient-intermodulation distortionand other slew -induced distortioneffects, and any result greater than 4or 5 is satisfactory from that stand-point.

The standard reactive load ishooked up to the amplifier's speak-er terminals instead of a load resis-tor in order to simulate the imped-ance characteristics of a typicalloudspeaker near its bass resonancefrequency (about 50 Hz). The clip-ping -power output is then measuredat 40 and 63 Hz, and the lower ofthe two readings (expressed in deci-bels relative to rated power) is thereactive -load factor. This test indi-cates the ability of the amplifier tosupply both voltage and current to adynamic loudspeaker near its reso-nant frequency-the higher thenumber the better.

Finally, our stability test-not apart of the standard EIA proce-dure-replaces the resistive loadwith a complex load embodying themost "difficult" impedance charac-teristics of a number of speakersconsidered to be "hard to drive." Asquare wave (1,000 or 10,000 Hz)usually shows considerable over-shoot and ringing in this test, andthe degree of this effect is an indica-tor of the amplifier's ability to drivesuch a load. Interpreting this test isa somewhat subjective affair.

None of these measurements tellsus anything about how the amplifier"sounds," a characteristic attribut-ed to amplifiers by many people,

though not by me. Obviously, thesound of an amplifier can only bedetermined by listening to it, usingwhatever ancillary equipment isdeemed suitable. Since no two lis-tening setups (or listeners them-selves) can be identical, or evenvery similar to each other, it is notsurprising to find a wide diversity ofopinion on this subject. My experi-ence tells me that even the slightestdifference in frequency response orlevel can sometimes enable a criti-cal listener to distinguish betweentwo amplifiers, although such dif-ferences hardly justify the claimthat one amplifier is "better" thanthe other. To me, the one with theflatter response is "better," howeverit sounds, since it is closer to theideal of neutrality with respect tothe source material.

Though not called for by the EIAstandard, as part of our evaluationwe also connect an amplifier beingtested into our regular lab listeningsystem and put it through a periodof normal (and sometimes abnor-mal) use. In doing so we are lookingfor such things as electrical noise,whether continuous (hum, buzz,hiss) or transient (clicks or popswhen the controls are operated),mechanical noise from buzzingtransformer laminations or fans inthe larger power amplifiers, unclear-ly or ambiguously marked controls,and any of a number of possibleproblems that could plague a typicaluser in the installation or operationof the product. Special features suchas ambience synthesizers, unusualtone controls, filters, or signal pro-cessors and the like also come in fortheir share of attention and some-times specialized measurements.

Assuming that an amplifier worksreasonably well on the test bench,we are interested not so much in nit-picking criticism of its supposedsound, which would not apply toany other user's situation and sub-jective judgment anyway, as in itssuitability for the market at which itis aimed. If you want to know whatan amplifier sounds like, you'll haveto listen to it for yourself. If youwant to learn what it actually does,independent of the sometimes con-fusing descriptions in a manufactur-er's brochure or advertisem*nt, youwill get this information in our testreports.


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NEC A-10 MKIIINTEGRATED AMPLIFIERJulian Hirsch.11iirch-l-louck Laboratories

FEATURES Heavy, non -resonant construction Dual power supplies for improved

dynomic regulation Power -amplifier section is direct -

coupled throughout Preamplifier and power amplifier con

be seporated electronically Front -panel controls select phono (MM

or MC), tuner, aux 1, oux 2, or CDinputs

Tope -recording controls allow dubbing

between two decks in either drection Speaker selector controls two pairs of

speaker putouts Headphone jack Separate power amplifier level

controls or eoch channel Main volime control in preamplifier

section Gold-plated phono-input jocks Three a.:. outlets, one switched

THE NEC A-10 MkII inte-grated amplifier is unlikeany other we have seen. Itsspecial nature extends be-

yond mere circuit topology and isapparent just from looking at thefront panel-or trying to lift theunit. The A-10 MkII is relativelylarge, measuring 17 x 17 x 6 inches,and heavy (53 pounds), but it has arather modest poiver rating of 60watts per channel into 8 ohms, or120 watts into 4 ohms, with nomore than 0.004 percent total har-monic distortion.

The A -I 0 MkII can be thought ofas two distinct components that aremounted on one chassis, a pream-plifier and a power amplifier. Theycan be electronically separated by afront -panel switch and operated in-dependently. In addition to the pri-mary volume control connected tothe preamplifier section, the gainsof the two power -amplifier channelsare independently adjustable byseparate knobs, which elminatesthe need for a balance control. Thethinking behind this arrangementcan be gleaned from the front -panel

marking of the switch connectingthe two amplifier sections: SEPARATE

(CD). When the A -I0 MkII is oper-ated in the separated mode, thepower -amp section is direct -cou-pled from its input back out to thespeakers. If a digital Compact Discplayer were connected to the ampli-fier in this mode, there would be aminimum of extraneous circuitrybetween the player's output and thespeakers. In the separated mode thepower amp's level knobs serve asboth volume and balance controls.

The NEC A-10 MkII has no highor low filters, tone controls, loud-ness compensation, or other signal -processing functions, though it doeshave the basic amenities of an inte-grated amplifier: a phono inputswitchable to accommodate either amoving -coil or a moving -magnetcartridge, two auxiliary inputs, con-nections for two tape decks, and aseparate CD input. The true noveltyof the A-10 MkII actually lies in itsunique power supply and "vibra-tion -free" design.

A conventional amplifier's powersupply uses large filter capacitors fortemporary storage of the energy tobe released into the loudspeakers.These capacitors are recharged 120times per second from a rectifier cir-cuit attached to the power trans-former. Sometimes such a powersupply suffers a momentary reduc-tion of output voltage because ahigh-level signal transient calls forcurrent at a greater rate than can besupplied by the capacitors and thepower transformer. In extremecases, this voltage reduction couldlimit the amplifier's maximum un-distorted power output or contrib-ute hum and noise to the signal.

NEC's solution to this power -sup-ply problem (other manufacturersuse other approaches) is to build ina second power -supply section,called Reserve II, that operates 90degrees out of phase with the mainsupply, enabling each supply tocompensate for temporary voltagereductions in the other. The A-10MkII's two power supplies, withtheir massive transformers and fil-ter capacitors, are responsible formuch of the amplifier's bulk andweight.

NEC also believes that minor vi-brations of the metal chassis of anamplifier, and of the parts and wir-


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ing within it, can degrade its soundquality. Thus, acoustic excitationfrom the speaker's output could beresponsible for less than ideal am-plifier performance (an effect simi-lar to acoustic feedback in analogturntables). Therefore, the A-10MkII was designed to be vibrationfree. It is built on a heavy iron chas-sis that is rigidly cross -braced, andits internal structures such as heatsinks are mounted in a way said toreduce any tendency to vibrate. Theamplifier is supported on large,high -density feet, its control knobsare massive, and the phono-preampsection is located in a separate, rug-ged, sealed enclosure that is alsomounted so as to reduce resonanceeffects.

The NEC designers even went sofar as to measure the physical reso-nance modes of all the amplifier'smajor parts and then to locate themin the chassis so that their vibra-tions tend to cancel each other out.The top cover, besides having ascrew fastener at its center as well as

The NEC A-10 Mk1I'smoving -coil phono-inputnoise reading, one of thelowest we have seen, wasespecially impressive in viewof the very high gain.

at the corners, is mounted on rubberdamping discs to reduce its tenden-cy to vibrate. As NEC so aptly putsit, the A-10 MkII "sits like a rock,practically immune to vibration."Price: $599. NEC Home Electron-ics, Dept. SR, 1401 W. Estes Ave.,Elk Grove Village, IL 60007.

Lab TestsTrue to NEC's claims for the high

current -output capability of the A-10 MkII, the amplifier deliveredconsiderable power into 4- and 2 -ohm loads. We were unable to makea full 2 -ohm dynamic -power testsince what was apparently a slightd.c. imbalance on our tone -burstwaveform triggered the amplifier'sprotection circuit when the outputreached 100 watts.

The total harmonic distortion


1,000 -Hz output power at clipping: 93.8worts into 8 ohms, 145 watts into 4 ohms,200 watts into 2 ohms

Clipping headroom (relative to ratedoutput): 1.94 dB (8 ohms), 0.82 dB (4 ohms)

Dynamic power output: 90 watts into 8ohms, 1810 watts into 4 ohms, 100 watts into2 ohms (see text)

Dynamic headroom: 1.77 dB (8 ohms),1.77 dB (4 ohms)

Frequency response: +0, -0.25 dB from20 to 20,000 Hz

MaRimum distortion from 20 to 20,000Hz, 60 watts output: 0.0037% (into 8 ohms)

Sensitivity (1 -watt output): aux, 19.5 mV;phono (MM), 0.29 mV; phono (MC),0.032 mV

Output noise referred to 1 -wan output(A -weighted): aux, -87.7 dB; phono (MM),-83.5 dB; phono (MC), -77 dB

Phono (MM) input overload level: 136 to170 mV depending on frequency

Phono (MM) input impedance: 47,000ohms in parallel with 120 pF capacitance

Slew factor: greater than 25RIAA equalization accuracy: +0, -1 dB

from 20 to 20,000 Hz (unaffected bycartridge inductance)

(THD) was well within the 0.004percent rating at most power out-puts and frequencies, even in ameasurement of THD + noise thatincluded the amplifier's very lownoise levels in the reading. When wemeasured just the distortion com-ponents, the THD was typicallyonly 0.002 to 0.004 percent over thefull power and frequency range ofthe amplifier. The A-10 MkII wasstable with the IHF reactive simu-lated speaker load, though the ring-ing on the 1,000 -Hz square waveused in this test was more promi-nent than we have seen from manyother amplifiers.

The generally excellent results ofthe preamplifier -section measure-ments are summarized in the ac-companying box. Although the am-plifier's specs state that its phonosection has a fixed infrasonic filterwith a -6 -dB -per -octave slope anda -3 -dB point of 15 Hz, we foundno telltale evidence of such a filterat the 20 -Hz measurement limit ofour equipment. In fact, the flatnessof the phono response right down to20 Hz was exemplary.

CommentsWe doubt that the power -supply

limitations of good conventionalamplifiers have the undesirablesonic effects sometimes attributedto them, and therefore we doubtthat the massive construction andreserve power supply NEC has usedin the A-10 MkII have much to dowith its excellent performance. Cer-tainly a heftier power supply can'thurt-unless you drop the ampli-fier! "Vibration -free" design is an-other matter. We know of no evi-dence whatever that internal vibra-tion can be of sufficient magnitude

to degrade a solid-state amplifier'ssound quality. (Tube equipmentcan have problems associated withvibration -induced "microphon-ics.") To us, the idea is so far-fetched as to verge on the mystical.But, again, rugged constructionwon't degrade sound quality either.

It was rather surprising to findthat the A-10 MkII's speaker -outputterminals are not physically com-patible with heavy-duty or exoticspeaker cables or connectors. How-ever, they will accept the strippedends of 14 -gauge wires, which arecertainly heavy enough for any nor-mal installation.

Whatever one's view of NEC'sdesign approach, or the rationale forit, there is no doubt that the NECA-10 MkII performs far beyond thenorm both electronically and me-chanically, even for a "purist" au-diophile component. It was out-standing in every aspect of its per-formance. In addition to the veryhigh current output, its low noiselevels were quite noteworthy. Themoving -coil phono-input noisereading, in particular, was one ofthe lowest we have seen, which wasespecially impressive in, view of thevery high gain of this stage. Wefound the amplifier's lack of tonecontrols and similar features a siza-ble "plus," since these featuresusually do little or no good in equip-ment of this caliber and can degradethe final sound.

We cannot complain about any ofthe measurements we made on thisamplifier, which is certainly at leastas good in every significant respectas any we know of. As for its sound,that was delightful. How could ithave been otherwise?Circle 140 on reader service card


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Lamborghini Has The Alpine Touch

The new Alpine 7374 Systemlifts high -end mobile auciostandards even higher.

Such unprecedented pre-cisio-) and performance couldonly come from The AlpheTouch, an absolute comrr itmentto excellence evident in everystep of the process from designinception to final instalIctipn.Heat see and feel mobile audiowithout compromise. Cail 1 -800 -ALPINE -1 for an Alpine MobileElectonics Specialistnear you.

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Julian Hi:sch, Hirsch -Houck Laboratories

TfiE original Apt -Holmanpreamplifier was widely ac-claimed for the excellenceof its phono preamplifier,

which Apt's co-founder TomlinsonHolman designed for accurateequalization, freedom from interac-tion with cartridge inductance, lownoise, and wide dynamic range. Inaddition, the Apt preamplifier wasdesigned throughout to be free ofthe interface problems common inhi-fi systems. Its tape-recording out-puts were buffered so that the inputimpedance of a tape deck could notaffect the signal characteristics, andits 7 -volt output capability and lowoutput impedance enabled it todrive any power amplifier.

The Apt -Holman preamplifier,now known as the Model HP, hasbeen joined in the product line ofthe recently reorganized Apt Corpo-ration by the Model P2 preampli-fier. The P2 is very similar to theHP-their electrical performancespecifications are identical-but itsells for substantially less. The maindifferences are in the area of operat-ing flexibility. For example, unlikethe HP, the P2 has no built-in tape -dubbing facility since it has connec-tions for only one tape deck.

The P2 has separate MM and MC

input jacks on its rear apron, with ascrewdriver -operated rotary switchnext to them. The switch selectsbetween the MC and MM inputsand simultaneously selects eitherhigh or low gain for the MC inputand a range of input -capacitancevalues for the MM cartridge input.There is a headphone jack on thefront panel, along with a MUTE but-ton that silences the main preampoutputs but not the output to theheadphones.

In addition to the usual bass, tre-ble, balance, and volume controlknobs, the P2 has an IMAGE controlthat is a unique feature of Apt prod-ucts. At the detented center setting,this continuously variable controlgives normal stereo performancewith full separation between chan-nels. Rotating it counterclockwise,toward the L+R marking, progres-sively blends the channels, with thesound becoming fully monophonicat the counterclockwise limit. Turn-ing the control in the opposite direc-tion (toward L -R) reverses thephase of one channel before the twoare blended. The apparent width ofthe sound stage, and usually its fre-quency balance as well, is affectedby this control. A mono signal, forexample, is virtually eliminated in

the full L -R position, and a stereoprogram is not only widened inimage but tends to become "thin-ner" sounding because the lowerfrequencies normally common toboth channels are canceled out.

The Apt P2 is a compact, func-tionally designed unit finished ingray with contrasting dark -grayknobs, white lettering, and blackpushbuttons. It measures 167/8inches wide, 8V4 inches deep, and2418 inches high, and it weighs ap-proximately 9 pounds. Price: $417.Apt Corp., Dept. SR, 176 WalkerSt., Lowell, MA 01854.

Lab TestsAll measurements were made

with the preamplifier driving theIHF standard load of 10,000 ohmsin parallel with 1,000 picofarads ofcapacitance. At the maximum gainsetting, an input of 63 millivolts(mV) at the aux terminals producedthe reference output level of 0.5volt. The MM phono sensitivitywas 1.1 mV, and the MC sensitivityfor the high- and low -gain settingswas 0.055 and 0.18 mV, respective-ly. The maximum input signal thatcould be accommodated withoutclipping was 9.2 volts for the auxinput and 136 to 148 mV, depend-ing on frequency, for the MMphono input.

The 1,000 -Hz output waveformfrom the P2 clipped at 7.7 volts. Thedistortion was very low at the stan-dard 0.5 -volt output: 0.0022 to0.0029 percent from 20 to 20,000Hz. At 1,000 Hz the distortion was0.002 percent or less from 0.5 to7 volts output. The noise level ofthe P2 was unusually low at thestandard unity -gain setting, -103dB (A -weighted) for the aux input.Even the worst case, the MC phonoinput in its high -gain mode, pro-duced an impressively low -79 -dBnoise reading. The frequency re-sponse was flat through the audiorange except for a rise of about 1 dBin the 20- to 60 -Hz range, and it wasdown 1 dB at 15 Hz and 90 kHz.The P2 has a non-defeatable steep -slope infrasonic filter; its -3 -dBpoint is at 13 Hz, and the attenua-tion is - 20 dB at 6.5 Hz. At thehigh -frequency end, the -3 -dBpoint was 160 kHz.

The RIAA phono equalization ofthe P2 was ruler -flat except for that


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slight low -frequency emphasis,which probably originated in the in-frasonic -filter circuit. The phonopreamp was absolutely unaffectedby the inductance of typical MMcartridges at the phono inputs. TheMM phono-input impedance was47,000 ohms at 1,000 Hz; it couldnot be modeled as a simple parallelresistor -capacitor combination. TheP2's tone controls are designed tohave their major effect at the fre-quency extremes. Therefore, it wasno surprise to find that the maxi-mum settings of the bass controlboosted or cut the response byabout 15 dB at 20 Hz but only 2 dBat 300 Hz, while the treble control'srange was ± 10 dB at 20,000 Hz butonly ± 2 dB at 3,000 Hz.

CommentsWe used the Apt P2 preamplifier

with a good power amplifier in aregular music system and with sev-eral signal sources including MMand MC cartridges and a CD player.The P2 performed in an ideal man-ner, with an electrical and acousticalsilence and smoothness that com-plemented the silky, positive feel ofits controls. Although we rarely usetone controls, there were timeswhen the P2's controls were helpful,and they are unlikely to produce aseriously unbalanced sound even atextreme settings, mainly becausethey don't touch the midrange.

We were especially impressed bythe low noise of this preamplifierwhatever the input. The ultimatenoise level of a system including itis likely to be determined by theuser's success in fully eliminatingground loops and inductive humpickup, for the P2's own noise levelis at least as low as that of any digi-tal program source as well as thequietest analog records. We werenot able, in the limited time avail-able, to "de -hum" the rest of oursystem down to the level of the P2,but at any usable phono gain settingthe background noise was totallyinaudible when the pickup waslifted from the record.

In short, the Apt P2 is a finepreamplifier. Unless you need extrainput/output flexibility, it providesa reasonable alternative to the justlyrenowned Apt HP-and for a lotless money.Circle 141 on reader service card

HAFLER DH -120POWER AMPLIFIERJulian Hirsch, I Iirsch-Houck Laboratories

THE newest Hafler power am-plifier, the DH -120, il-though less powerful thanits esteemed predecessors, is

designed :o match their perform-ance qualities and to be especiallysuited for use in integrated audio/video systems. To the latter pur-pose, the DH -120 contains an am-bience -recovery system that is es-sentially the old but effective Haflermethod of extracting out -of -phase(L - R) ambience information byhooking up extra speakers in a spe-cial fashion. According to Hafler,the system can decode the sur-round -sound effects on many videodiscs and prerecorded video tapes.

The Hafler ambience -recoverysystem requires only two additionalsurround -sound speakers, which arehooked up to the auxiliary speakerterminals provided on the DH -120's rear panel. These terminalscan be switched from the ambience -recovery mode to the auxiliary -speaker mode by a rear -panel

switch. In the auxiliary mode, theconnected speakers can be used asalways -on extension speakers. Inthis mode the combined parallel im-pedance of the main and auxiliaryspeakers should not fall below4 ohms.

Rated to deliver 62 watts perchannel into 8 -ohm loads from 20to 20,000 Hz with no more than0.009 percent total harmonic distor-tion, the DH -120 has a rear -panelswitch connecting its two channelsfor bridged (monophonic) opera-tion with more than double the sin-gle -channel stereo power rating. Therear panel also has individual levelcontrols for each channel, makingthe amplifier especially suitable foruse in biamplified or triamplifiedsystems.

The amplifier circuits use comple-mentary symmetrical push-pull cir-cuits throughout, and the Class ABoutput stages use MOSFET outputdevices. Except for a d.c.-blockingcapacitor at the input, the amplifier


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stages are fully direct -coupled. Ac-cording to Hafler, the DH -120 has ahighly linear drive stage that pro-vides a wide open -loop frequencyresponse with less open -loop gainand less negative feedback than con-ventional designs. These measuresare said to prevent the DH- 1 20from sounding harsh even whendriven to its limits.

Speakers are connected throughmulti -way binding posts on 3/4 -inchcenters. There are eight terminals inall, two pairs for the main speakersand two pairs for the auxiliary/ambience speakers. A 5 -amperespeaker fuse is provided for eachchannel. Like other Hafler products,the DH -120 is finished in gray withwhite lettering. It measures 151/4 x81/4 x 31/4 inches and weighs 161/2pounds. The amplifier is availablein kit form as well as assembled.Prices: assembled, $320; kit, $260.David Hafler Co., Dept. SR, 5910Crescent Blvd., Pennsauken, NJ08109.

Lab TestsDespite its modest power rating

and considerable heat -sink area, theHafler DH- I 20 became quite warmduring our tests and the precedingone -hour preconditioning period.While it becomes only slightlywarm in normal use, we would notrecommend obstructing the ventila-tion holes in the top cover by plac-ing any other component on top.

With both channels driving8 -ohm loads at 1,000 Hz, the out-puts clipped at 78 watts per channel,for a clipping headroom of 1 dB.Into 4 -ohm loads the output at clip-ping was 95 watts, and even 2 -ohmloads could be driven to 66 wattsbefore the waveform clipped. Whendriving 2 -ohm loads at high powerlevels, the amplifier became hotenough to trigger its thermal protec-tion system, which shut it downuntil the circuitry had cooled to safetemperatures. (The red pilot light inthe power switch blinks while theprotection system is operating, pro-viding reassurance that the ampli-fier is alive and well albeit tempo-rarily silenced.) In its mono(bridged) mode, the DH- 120 deliv-ered 200 watts into 8 ohms at theclipping point. Short-term outputmeasurements with 20 -millisecondtone bursts at 1,000 Hz, repeated

The Miller DH -120 has extra binding -post terminals to drive ambience speakers.

twice per second, produced a maxi-mum output of 110 watts per chan-nel into 8 ohms (for a dynamicheadroom of 2.5 dB), 140 watts into4 ohms, and 81 watts into 2 ohms.

At the rated output of 62 watts perchannel into 8 ohms, the distortionof the DH -120 was a nearly constant0.005 to 0.007 percent from 20 Hzto beyond 10,000 Hz, and it was justover 0.01 percent at 20,000 Hz. Athalf power and one -tenth ratedpower, the distortion was also near-ly constant with frequency, typicallybetween 0.002 and 0.004 percentbelow 10,000 Hz and about 0.01percent at 20,000 Hz. At 1,000 Hzthe 4 -ohm distortion was onlyslightly greater than the 8 -ohm read-ings, and, in fact, the distortion withany of the load impedances we usedwas well under 0.01 percent up tothe clipping -power output at thatimpedance. Needless to say, allthese distortions were inaudible.

With the level controls set tomaximum, an input of 145 milli-volts drove the amplifier to a refer-ence output of I watt into 8 ohms.Setting the controls to give a 1 -wattoutput from a 0.5 -volt input (theEIA standard test gain) resulted inan A -weighted noise output of 40microvolts, which is equivalent to-97 dB referred to 1 watt, or -115dB below rated output. The latterfigure handily surpassed the ampli-fier's rating of -100 dB relative to62 watts, which itself represents ex-cellent performance.

The DH -120's frequency responsewas flat throughout the audio range,dropping to -1 dB at 30,000 Hzand to -3 dB at 55,000 Hz. At ourlow -frequency measurement limitof 5 Hz, the response had dropped

only 1 dB. The slew factor was 2.5,and the amplifier was stable withreactive simulated speaker loads.

CommentsThe unit we tested was factory

assembled, and since only a prelim-inary instruction manual was avail-able, we can only surmise howmuch would be involved in build-ing one from the kit. Based on expe-rience with earlier Hafler products,we would expect it to be a relativelystraightforward process not requir-ing unusual expertise or test facili-ties to ensure proper operation ofthe finished product. And in view ofthe manner in which the DH -120withstood the punishment of ourtest program, it should enjoy a longand trouble -free life in ordinaryhome music system service.

As our tests confirm, the HaflerDH -120 is a fitting companion forits more powerful brethren. Wefound its "sound" every bit as goodas our measurements suggested-inother words, it had no special soundquality but was sonically neutral. Itshould have been possible (wethink) to drive the amp to clippingin our music system, but even withevery level control set to its maxi-mum, we heard none of the obviousharshness usually associated withclipping. Either Hafler's claim thatthe amplifier's circuit design causesrelatively "painless" clipping is val-id, or the amp's power reserves aresufficient to cope with such extremeoperating conditions (most likelyboth explanations are true). Onething is certain: the DH -120 canplay the loudest of any "60 -watt"amplifier we have heard!Circle 142 on reader service card

34 STEREo REviEwJUNE. 1985

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Capture all the dynamics ofdigital performance on yourcassette deck. TDK HX-Sblasts throuah the sonic bar-riers with high powered digitalsound!

Its exclusive metal particleformulation reproduces awider dynamic range and ahigher frequency response tohanile digitally-er hancedmusic sources on any cas-sette deck with a Type II(High -Bias) switch.

With four times the mag-netic storage ability of anytape in its class, TDK H:'( -Svirtually eliminates high fre-quency saturation, whiledelivering unsurpassed sensi-tivity throughout the audiospectrum. Additionally, -IX-Sexcels in retention of iigh fre-quency MOL, which no otherType II formulation attaiis.

And to maintain its dyna-mite performance, TDK HX-Sis housed in our spec aly


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1985 TD( Electronics Corp I F NO 1.11 ON HFADE Fr SF PCVPCF C ARO

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TECHNICSSL -P3COMPACTDISCPLAYERJulian Hirsch,Hirsch Hauck Laboratories

0 NLY a couple of years afterthe introduction of theCompact Disc system tothe audio world, a third

generation of CD players is ap-pearing on the market. Technics'sthird -generation line, headed by theSL -P3, includes three new models.They are similar in size and appear-ance, differing mostly in specificoperating features and refinements.Common to all three models arenewly developed high-speed six-teen -bit digital -to -analog convertersand a proprietary error -correctionsystem that is said to make playbackrelatively insensitive to certainforms of disc damage or defects.

The SL -P3 has the other featuresnormally found in top -of -the -lineCD players (track and index cueing,direct entry of track numbers, pro-grammed playback of up to fifteenselections, etc.) as well as severalthat are not common at all. Appar-ently as aids to dubbing and otherapplications where disc cueing isimportant, the SL -P3 has AUTOPAUSE and AUTO CUE functions,which are switched in with a front -panel slider control. In the AUTOPAUSE mode, the player automati-cally goes into pause at the end ofeach recorded track and begins thenext track only after the play buttonis pressed. The AUTO CUE functionis similar, but instead of pausing atthe end of a selection, the laser pick-up first advances to the start of themusic in the following selectionrather than at the often -quiet begin-ning of the track, then stops. In use,the difference between the twomodes can be negligible or as muchas several seconds, depending onthe interval between selections.

For still more assistance in locat-ing a particular track, a MUSIC SCAN

FEATURES Motor -driven disc drawer Analog output filters Disc Prism allows viewing a portion of

a loaded and spinning disc Cueing by track and index number Direct numerical keypad selection and

cueing of any track or index numberup to 99

Programmed play of up to fifteentracks in any sequence

Music Scan ploys 10 seconds of eachprogrammed selection, then proceedsto the next one

Track or index skip in either direction Repeat play bf entire disc, any track,

or user -selected passage Search Scan of disc at high speed

with audible program

Auto Pause and Auto Cue modesswitch player into pause at the endof a track or the beginning of music inthe next track, respectively

Timer -controllable unattendedplayback

Headphone jock with volume slider Separate fixed and variable -level

outputs Wireless remote control handles

cueing, track selection, and volumeadjustment

Display window shows elapsed orremaining time, track and indexnumber, programmed tracks, volumesetting, status of operating -modecontrols, disc pre -emphasis

feature automatically samples allthe tracks on a disc (or all those pro-grammed for sequential playback),playing a few seconds of the begin-ning of each track before advancingto the next. The default samplingtime is 10 seconds, but it can be setto any value from 1 to 99 secondsby using the numeric keys on thefront panel.

On the rear apron of the SL -P3are two sets of audio output jacks,marked VARIABLE and NORMAL.The latter carry a fixed -level output;the level at the VARIABLE jacks issmoothly adjustable by pressing theappropriate OUTPUT LEVEL buttonson the front panel or on the sup-plied remote -control unit. A line ofLED's in the display window indi-cates the relative level that's been

selected for the variable output.Finally, in what is not unique but

certainly a rare touch, the SL -P3will indicate whether the track beingplayed was recorded using the high -frequency pre -emphasis allowed inthe CD system. When the player'sde -emphasis circuit automaticallyswitches in, an indicator labeled EM -PHA lights up in the display window.

The SL -P3 is available in silver orblack finish and measures 17 x 131/8x 31/4 inches. It weighs 113/4 pounds.Price: $600. Technics, Dept. SR,One Panasonic Way, Secaucus, NJ07094.

Lab TestsOur test results for the SL -P3 are

summarized in the measurementsbox. A few of them stand out as

36 S t ERE.() Ri,v1F.In J L'. 1:1985

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. .


16 mg. 'tar, 1.2 mg. ticotino er clarEtn 1) =TE method.:-: ';-'.4 -,._

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Four f.to get whereNecessity demands that today s

automobiles be prudent. Practical.And very responsible.But for those who crave more. the

options are few. Pay the high priceof high performance.

Or settle for cosmetic illusion.The Mitsubishi Turbos however

offer four ingenious solutions tothis age-old dilemma.

At the heart of the matter is theelectronically fuel -injected water-cooled Mitsubishi TurbochargingSystem. It enables an engine toefficiently develop an abundance ofon -demand power.

The turbo unit itself is small, lightand incredibly responsive.

And. Mitsubishi builds the entiresystem. so it works in very close

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t waysu want to be.

harmony with the engine it feeds.This synergy carries throughout.

Performance -tuned steering andsuspension sleek aerodynamicsand accommodating ergonomicsare carefully engineered into eachMitsubishi Turbo System.

So all parts move as one.But perhaps most ingenious of

all these remarkable automobiles

are also remarkably affordable.The Mitsubishi Turbos. Because

a car must do more than take youfrom point A to point B. It shouldtake you where you want to be.

The Journey begins alyour nearest Mitsubishi

m rMotors Dealer.


Takes you where you want to be.

1985 Mitsubishi Turbos





Didia Turbo Coupe and Mirage Turbo Three -door


e consent c` Grand Touring Cars Inc., Scottsdale, AZ..g'1985 Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc.

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Maximum output level: 1.9 voltsTotal harmonic distortion at 1,000 Hz:

0.001 % referred to 0 dB; 0.0025%referred to - 10 dB

Signal-to-noise ratio: 103.5 dBA -weighted; 102 dB unweighted

Channel separation: 102.5 dB of 1,000Hz; 105.5 dB at 10,000 Hz

Frequency response: +0.1, -0.25 dBfrom 20 to 20,000 Hz

Cueing time: 4 secondsImpact resistance: sides, A; top, BCueing accuracy: ADefect tracking (figures ore size of lorgest

defect successfully tracked): signal -surfacedamage, 900 micrometers; pointed dots,800 micrometers; simulated Fingerprint, pass

being beyond the already high stan-dards set by other CD players. Thefrequency response, for one, was flatwithin 0.1 dB from 20 Hz to about10,000 Hz. The responses of the twochannels diverged slightly at higherfrequencies, but even so the re-sponse of each channel was flatwithin ±0.15 dB from 20 to 20,000Hz. Stereo separation was also ex-ceptional, especially at 10,000 Hz.

A ringing response to a 1,000 -Hzsquare wave indicated that analogfilters are used in the SL -P3. Al-though only one digital -to -analogconverter chip is used, there is ap-parently an interchannel time -shiftcorrection circuit since the phaseshift between channels was only 3.8degrees at 20,000 Hz. (Players with-out such circuitry usually have in-terchannel phase shifts of closer to90 degrees at 20,000 Hz).

The SL -P3 tracked our Philipsstandard -defect test disc perfectly atall levels of disc damage, and thecueing transition from one track toanother when there was no silentinterval separating them was alsoperfect, with no clipping of theopening of the second track. Thecueing time required to reach Track15 of our Philips test sampler discfrom its beginning was only 4 sec-onds, somewhat faster than mostplayers we have tested. Finally, theSL -P3 had very good immunity toloss of tracking when it was struckon the sides and quite good resist-ance to impacts on its top cover.

CommentsThere are those who have main-

tained from the beginning that vari-


°S- 0L.)





20 50 100 500 1k


5k 10k 20k

ous CD players have very differentsonic properties and, by implica-tion, that those differences are mu-sically significant. I do not belong tothat group. Such sonic differencesbetween players as might exist caneasily be explained by minor andreadily measurable variations in fre-quency response. Yet it is hard toimagine anything less important inthe overall sound of a system than achange in response of a couple oftenths of a decibel at 15 or 20 kHz.Moving your speakers (or your lis-tening position) by a few inches caneasily produce far greater effects.

Instead, I have always stressedthat the real and significant per-formance differences among CDplayers are, first, in their ability tocorrect for disc flaws and the result-

ing data errors, and, secondarily, intheir susceptibility to physical shockand vibration effects. Besides, theoverall level of some of the third -generation players is so good thatthe available "first -generation" testdiscs can no longer show significantdifferences in audio performance-assuming they ever could.

The Technics SL-P3's excellentdefect tracking and shock resist-ance, topflight audio performance,wealth of cueing, programming, andremote -control features, and taste-fully simple styling place it in thetop rank of third -generation CDplayers. Anyone waiting for CDplayers to get "better" or less expen-sive or easier to use need wait nolonger.Circle 143 on reader service card

. This 751 -XT open -reel tape deck features high -torque slotless d.c. reelmotors, d.c.-servo capstan motor-please, sir!-permalloy record, sync, and reproheads, logic -operated transport controls, photo-optical-sir, you're going to makeme forget!-end-of-tape detector, full frequency response in sync reproduce mode,FET switching in function and output select sections, zero return . . ."


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SONY STR-AV760 RECEIVERJulian Hirsch, Hirsch -Houck Laboratories

FEATURES Digital -synthesis AM/FM stereo

receiver All -electronic pushbutton tuning,

volume, tone, and balance controls Memories for ten stations (AM or FM)

plus three tone -control settings FM station memories incorporate

computer -determined i.f. bandwidthand high -frequency stereo blendingwhen required

Direct Access tuning to any frequencyby numerical keypad

Connections and switching for twoaudio tape decks and two VCR's,including dubbing functions

Automatic scan of AM or FM band to

locate receivoble signals andautomatic° ly optimize receiverparameters for each one

Provision for FM reception fromantenna or cable

Visual display shows receivedfrequency or input selection and allpertinent operating data, including i.f.bandwidth, channel blending, r.f.signal strergth, and tone, volume, andbalance settings

Optional wireless remote control of allkey receiver functions

Phono-input gain is switchable formoving -magnet or moving -coilcartridge

/N addition to performing exten-sive audio functions, the SonySTR-AV760 receiver controls avariety of video sound sources,

including TV broadcasts, hi-fi orconventional VCR's, video -discplayers, and FM/TV simulcasts re-ceived over the air or through acable system.

Despite a substantial power rat-ing -80 watts per channel into8 -ohm loads from 20 to 20,000 Hzwith no more than 0.006 percentTHD-and a large number of con-trols, the STR-AV760 is relativelylight and compact. A look insiderevealed at least three large-scale in-tegrated circuits, the keys to thereceiver's versatility and opera-tional simplicity. The STR-AV760has no rotary or sliding knobs, but,

unlike some other knobless receiv-ers we have seen, the built-in com-puters do more than just switch androute signals. The plethora of con-trols is necessary, among otherthings, so that the user can overridethe settings that are normally madeautomatically by the receiver. A fulldescription of those features andtheir operation would occupy sev-eral pages (as in Sony's comprehen-sive owner's manual). We can onlydescribe a few of the more unusualones here

Perhaps the most unusual featureis the tuner's search function, alongwith its special display. First theuser selects, by pushbutton, eitherAM or FM and low, medium (MID),or high signal thresholds (whichtells the receiver how strong a sta-

tion's broadcast has to be in order tobe accepted). Pressing the STARTSEARCH button then causes the tun-er to scan the entire AM or FMband, marking with a short verticalline the position of each receivedsignal on a "slide -rule" frequencyscale in the display window. Afterthe scanning, the tuner waits at thelowest acceptable frequency for theuser's next command.

The slide -rule scale shows the fre-quency and relative spacing of eachstation receivable by the STR-AV760 and provides a graphic dis-play of how crowded a radio bandcan get. In the New York City area,the tuner found a receivable stationat practically every alternate chan-nel (0.4 MHz apart) across the en-tire FM band-and this was withthe high threshold setting!

Pushing the STATION SCAN buttoncauses the tuner to step through allthe receivable stations, playing eachfor a few seconds before proceedingto the next. In each case the displayshows the tuned frequency and sev-eral other automatically set parame-ters. These include reception mode(stereo, high -blend, mono) and wideor normal i.f. bandwidth. All theseare chosen for optimal reception bya computer analysis of howcrowded the radio band is near therecei,,ed frequency and of howstrong the received station and itsneighbors are. The information ac-quired during the scanning processremains in memory until it is super-seded by another scan, and during ascan up to ten of the intercepted fre-quencies can be stored as stationpresets.

Microprocessors do more thanjust control the tuner section, how-ever. A computer gets involved withalmost every other aspect of thisreceiver's operation. Computer con-trol, for example, makes possible amuting button that silences the au-dio instantly but, when pressedagain, restores the original volumegradually over a period of severalseconds.

The tone controls also have pre-sets, which are controlled by an"Audio Signal Processor" inte-grated circuit that will memorize upto three settings of the bass and tre-ble controls for instant recall at thetouch of the ACOUSTIC button. Aseparate FLAT button restores uni-


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Consumer Information Series

Better Sound Through Research.What comes out of the Bose 901 loudspeaker is the

direct result of what's behind it.by Joe Veranth

With over 1,100 models ofloudspeakers on the markettoday, you'd think that therewould be considerable vari-ety among them. However.

acoustic traits: they -

all reproduce musicin much the samemanner, and theytypically sound likespeakers, instead oflive music.

The primary rea-son is that speakerdesigners tend toconcentrate on im-proving one singleperformance pa-rameter, such asfrequency response.However, realism isthe result of a num-ber of acoustic pa-rameters interactingwith each other. Fo-cusing on only oneparameter and ex-pecting accuratesound is like trying tocreate a lifelike paint-ing by concentratingsolely on color. Aswith visual images, livesound has perspective, clarity. and pro-portion-and if your speakers can't dupli-cate them, then your stereo will never soundmuch like the real thing. It's that simple.THE RESEARCH BEGINS. When Dr.Amar G. Bose from MIT was shopping for

Vice President of Engineering. Bose Corporation

speakers, what he heard didn't sound likethe real thing, either. As a musician, he wasdisappointed. As an engineer, he decidedto do something about it. In 1956, he set outto build a better loudspeaker by combin.ng

of MIT with a team of aco is -

able to reproduce sound with the samedirectional characteristics. But achievingthis necessary directional control with aspeaker meant abandoning traditionalcomponents such as woofers and tweet-ers. Even the speaker box shape itself had

to go.The research

team built speakers,listened, and rebuiltthem. Finally, in 1968,they were ready tointroduce a speakerthat incorporated allthe results of theirresearch.THE BOSE" 901LOUDSPEAKER.This speaker-theBose 901 Direct/Reflecting' sys-tem-became oneof the most highlyacclaimed and bestselling products inaudio history. It is amajor step towardthe ideal loud-speaker, because itsounds less like aloudspeaker andmore like music. TheBose 901 speakeraccomplishes this

through several unique innovations.DIRECT/REFLECTING.' The 901 systemis designed to reproduce the spatial per-spective of a live concert. Only 11 percent ofthe speaker's total sound is played directlyto the listener. The other 89 percent isreflected from the wall behind it, at a pre-cisely determined angle. The Bose 901


Covered by patent rights issued and pending.Copynght 1985 Bose Corporation. All rights reserved

tics experts. They embarked on a programof audio research, and began to learnsome interesting facts about sound andsound reproduction.

For example, research showed that d Jr-ing a music concert, listeners hear mostlyreflected sound, arriving from all around.Therefore, the ideal speaker should be

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_15F17 -4-E'

Live music.

Bose Direct/Reflecting ° reproduction

loudspeaker produces a realistic stereoimage everywhere in the listening roombecause it correctly reproduces the acous-tic cues of a live performance.FULL -RANGE DESIGN. The individual901 full -range drivers are the right size toreproduce clear mids and highs. Their mul-tiple use allows the 901 system to generatepowerful bass as well. In fact, the nine 41/2"drivers combined have a larger cone areathan that of the largest woofers found inconventional consumer loudspeakers.SYNCOM' COMPUTER TESTING. TheBose -developed Syncom II testing sys-tem ensures that every 901 speaker built isvirtually the acoustic twin of our laboratoryreference system. Each driver's output ismeasured, allowing all nine of them to beproperly matched. In addition, each com-plete speaker is subjected to rigid qualityand performance checks before it leavesBose.ACTIVE EQUALIZATION. The activeequalizer is an integral part of the Bose 901speaker. It uses low -distortion electronicsto control the system's frequencyresponse, allowing the 901 system to prop-erly reproduce the music spectrum. It alsoallows the speaker to be adjusted for thelistening room itself. The active equalizercan even compensate for the sound qualityof different source materials.AN ENTIRE SYSTEM OF INNOVATIONS.Each 901 system innovation is impressiveby itself. However, the real secret of theBose 901 system's performance is the waythat these innovations have been inte-grated into a complete system. Their com-bined use makes each innovation exceedits original potential, resulting in a wholethat is truly greater than its parts.

This point is easily demonstrated themoment a stereo system with Bose 901

The insidestory of

the mosthighly


The Components of the Bose'901 Series V System

The Acive Equalizer (1) useslow-distorion electronics to con-trol the speaker's frequencyresponse, as well as allowing thelistener to compensate for oomand source variations. The AcousticMatrix- EfIC osure (2) has 14 regionsacting as acoustic elements. It iso-lates the iire full -range drivers andcontrols airflow, resulting in increasedbass output and lower distortion. Aspecially manufactured helical voice coil forms the heart of the Bose 901 driver (3).This driver, made by Bose from the strongest and lightest materials avaPable,provides tie speaker system with wide dynamic range, greater power handling, andhigher efficiency.


speakers is turied on.A PROVEN DESIGN THAT'S CONTINU-ALLY IMPROVING. The Bose' 901' loud-speaker is currently in its fifth series, withover three hundred improvements. Forexample, the incorporation of the AcousticMatrix'" enclosure and the HVC driver (seeinset) was a quantum leap in efficiency andpower -handing capacity. The technologyinvolved in these two improvements alonerequired mcre research and developmentthan most marufacturers have invested intheir entire product lines.

But regardless of how many technicalimprovements are in the Bose 901 sys-tem's future the basic concepts behind thespeaker will essentially remain the same-because scientific research aid criticalacclaim have proven them correct. Dr.

Bose, chairman and founder of Bose Cor-poration, and MIT professor, states it thisway: "If the research is right, it providesgood results. If the science is correct. you'llget a product which, when you turn it on, isbetter than the others. If we have done that,people will know it."

THE EXPERTS AGREE.I have never heard a speaker system in

my own home which could surpass. oreven equal, the Bose 901 for overall "real-ism" of sound." Julian Hirsch StereoReview 1968

. . the Bose 901 strikes me as the best -sounding speaker system in its size andprice class that I have yet auditioned."Norman Eisenberg, High Fidelity 1968

"In terms of musical veracity, the Bose 901ranks with the finest and is convincing withany type of music. "Hans Fantel. New YorkTimes 1984

We invite you to audition the Eose 901Series V Direct/Reflecting'- loudspeaker,and judge for yourself. For the name of thenearest authorized Bose dealer aid moreinformation on Bose products, please writeto Bose Corporation, Department SR, 10Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701. N

Joe Verarth has an M S degree in electrical engineering fromMIT He has been with Boss Corporation since 1S70

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form response. And, finally, a mi-croprocessor is responsible for oper-ating the multifunction displaywindow, which offers one of themost complete yet attractive andeasy to use readouts we have seen.

In keeping with its billing as anaudio/video control center, theSTR-AV760 has a front -panel arealabeled EDIT with AUDIO and VIDEOswitches that control the signal flowto and from two VCR's, for whichthe receiver provides both audioand video input and output jacks(phono connectors). The video EDITfunction channels the video pro-gram from VCR 2 to VCR 1, and withthe audio EDIT button it is possibleto add sound to a video tape duringrecording. For instance, the stereoaudio channels from an FM/TV si-mulcast can be recorded on a VCRusing these connections.

The rear panel contains twenty-two phono jacks for audio and vid-eo connections, push terminals forspeaker and AM -antenna connec-tions, and three F -type connectors.The F -connector labeled FM ANT -13is used for hooking up an FM anten-na. The main antenna input, FMANT -A, is designed for CATV (cable)hookup and is provided with aninput and an output F connector.The output is connected to a TV setor video tuner, the input jack to thecable service. This arrangementenables the STR-AV760 to tune inthe audio portions of cable -fed FM/TV simulcasts. Antenna A or B isselected by a front -panel switch, al-lowing the use of an FM -only anten-na connected to ANT -13 if the cableservice does not carry the regularFM -band stations.

The STR-AV760 has a MAIN pow-er switch that puts the receiver instandby mode and should be left onat all times if it is used with theoptional RM-S760 remote control.The remote unit can turn the SYS-TEM power switch on and controlpreset tuning, input selection, vol-ume, and other functions. It canalso control certain compatibleSony turntables, cassette decks, andCD players (there are special con-nections for these components onthe rear panel of the receiver).

The Sony STR-AV760 is finishedin black and gray with light -grayand white lettering. It measures 17 x13V8 x 414 inches. Weight is 17V4

- 10



- 30






20 50 100 500 1 k


5k 10k 20k


FM Tuner SectionUsable sensitivity (mono): 14.8 dBf (3 µV)50 -dB quieting sensitivity: normal i.f.

oonowath, 14.7 dBf (3 µV) in mono, 37 dBf(39 µV) in stereo; wide i.f. bandwidth, 18.7dBf (4.7 µV) in mono, 38 dBf (43.7 µV) instereo

Signal-to-noise ratio at 65 dBf: mono, 84.4dB; stereo, 76 dB (at 85 dBf and above,80.6 dB)

THD + noise at 65 dBf: normal i.f. bandwidth,0.12% in mono, 0.1% in stereo; wide i.f.,0.033% in mono, 0.094% in stereo

Capture ratio at 65 dBf: normol i.f. bandwidth,1.4 dB; wide :J., 0.7 dB

AM rejection at 65 dBf: normal i.f. bandwidth,70 dB; wide i.f., 76 dB

Image rejection: 70 dBAlternate -channel selectivity: normal Lf.

bandwidth, 78 dB; wide i.f., 32 dBAdjacent -channel selectivity: normol

bandwidth, 3.5 dB; wide i.f., 2.5 dBStereo threshold: 24 dBf (8.7 µV)19 -kHz leakage: --72 dBHuns: -78 dBStereo channel separation: 100 Hz, 35 dB

(normal i.f.) and 45 dB (wide J.); 1,000 Hz,34 dB (normal) and 50 dB (wide); 10.000 Hz,33 dB (normal) and 43 dB (wide)

High -blend channel separation: see graphAM frequency response: (-6-dB points): 30

to 2,500 HzFM frequency response: see graphIII Audio Amplifier1,000 -Hz output power at clipping: 102

watts into 8 ohms, 132 watts into 4 ohms(speaker -impedance switch set to 8-16 ohms);102 watts into 4 ohms, 112 watts into 2 ohms(speaker -impedance switch set to 4.6 ohms)

Clipping headroom (relative to rated output):1.05 dB (8 ohms)

Dynamic power output: 148 watts into 8ohms, 217 watts into 4 ohms, 156 watts into2 ohms

Dynamic headroom: 2.67 dB (8 ohms)Harmonic distortion (1,000 Hz, 8 ohms): 1

watt, 0.0028%; 80 watts, 0.0125%Slew factor: 5.5Sensitivity (for a 1 -watt output): phono (MM),

0.2 mV; phono (MC), 0.022 mV; CD/aux,14 mV

Phono (MM) input overload: 150 to 160mV

A -weighted noise (referred to a 1 -wattoutput): phono (MM), -80 dB; phono (MC),-70 dB; CD/aux, -81 dB

Phono input impedance: 47,000 ohms and150 picoforads (MM); 400 ohms (MC)

RIAA phono equalization error: ± 0.5 dBfrom 20 to 20,000 Hz

Tone -control range: 100 Hz, ± 9.5 dB;10,000 Hz, ±9.5 dB

pounds. Price: $500; optional RM-S760 remote control, $40. SonyCorporation of America, Dept. SR,Sony Drive, Park Ridge, NJ07656.

Lab TestsAlthough the Sony STR-AV760 is

rated primarily for driving 8 -ohmloads, a speaker -impedance switchon its rear panel has settings forloads of 4 to 6 ohms and of 8 to 16ohms. When two pairs of speakersare driven, they are connected inseries to prevent the load imped-ance from becoming too low. Forthe most part, our test results arebased on the normal 8- to 16 -ohmoperating mode, although we made

some tests with the other switch set-ting to determine its effect (see boxfor results). The speaker -impedanceswitch apparently changes only thesupply voltage to the output transis-tors, to prevent excessive heat dissi-pation when driving low -impedanceloads, and it had a negligible effecton the amplifier's distortion oroverall operation.

Amplifier distortion was well un-der 0.01 percent at most frequenciesand power outputs up to the clip-ping point. Distortion reached 0.03to 0.05 percent at the frequencyextremes and the rated power out-put. The amplifier section could notquite deliver its rated continuousoutput at 20 Hz, although it far


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c Moho Morns Inc 1985

MeriLighteA special edition Zippo° lighterwith a solid brass case, and

ITIbOSSCd with the Merit,nautical cre,t.

8 mg ' tar,' 0.5 mg nicotine at per cigarette, FTC Report Feb '85

WE rning The Surgeon General Has DeterminedThat Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health.


lease send me ( ) Merit lighter(s) at $8.00 each.nclosed are two end labels from any pack of Merit and a

check or money order (no cash, please) made oL t toMerit Lighter.




STATE ZIPOffer available cnly to persons over 21 years of age. Send check or money order oils, payable toMerit Lighter. Offer good in U.S.A. only excep where prohibited, licensed, or tax hi by lass.Offer good until December 31, 1985 or while sspply lasts Please allow 8 to 10 weeks for delivery.

Please note: we want to make sure you're completely satisfied with your order -anc tut you'll getit on time But s smettmes things go wrong. If they do. be sure to let us know. Write The MeritLighter Offer. 120 Park Avenue, New York. New York 10017. SR

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exceeded it elsewhere. This oc-curred at the conclusion of our testsequence, when the amplifier wasextremely hot, apparently reducingits power -supply output somewhat.When we tried this measurementagain with a cooler amplifier, thefull 102 -watt clipping output wasavailable at 20 Hz.

Although the two tone controlsworked well, at their extreme set-tings they had an appreciable effecton the midrange level. In all otherrespects, the audio section of thereceiver performed very well. Eachpush of the volume control pro-duced only a small change (1 dB)even at the low end of the scale,unlike similar controls we have seenwhose increments of change at lowlevels are too large.

The FM tuner section had goodthough not exceptional sensitivity,with low distortion. The tuner noiselevel was very low at the usual test -signal level of 65 dBf (1,000 AV).The stereo noise was even lower athigher signal levels, reaching - 80.6dB at 85 dBf (10,000 AV).

As usual, the selectivity was afunction of the i.f. bandwidth. Theadjacent -channel selectivity was af-fected little by changes in the band-width, however, and with either thewide or normal setting it was notsufficient for separation of adjacent -channel signals. Capture ratio, goodeven at the normal bandwidth, wasoutstanding with the wide-i.f set-ting, which also improved the verygood AM rejection substantially.

The signal -threshold levels for theSEARCH mode were exactly as speci-fied, respectively 30, 40, and 50 dBffor the low, medium, and high set-tings. The calibrations of the nu-merical FM signal -level indicatorwere rough approximations of theactual input levels over part of itsrange (10 to 40 dBf), but it read 0 forall input levels under 9 dBf andreached its maximum reading of 68to 69 dB at an antenna input ofabout 75 dBf. Obviously, thesereadings should be used, like thoseof an analog signal -strength meter,only to show relative changes of sig-nal level as an antenna is rotated.

CommentsThe measurements do not begin

to tell the whole story of the SonySTR-AV760 receiver. True, the fig-

ures are generally good, and in a fewcases exceptional, but someonechoosing a product just on the basisof bench -test performance, or eventhe manufacturer's specifications(generally the worst way to makesuch a selection), might not be tooimpressed by this receiver.

We reacted more strongly to theunit's unique and fascinating spe-cial properties and features. It is justdifferent enough from run-of-the-mill receivers to require some studyand practice to make effective use ofits unusual capabilities. But, havingsatisfied that requirement, I can re-call testing only one other receiver(the totally computerized SwedishAudio -Pro of several years ago) thatwas as enjoyable to use.

For FM reception, the STR-AV760 is just about as automated ascan be in assessing signal conditionsand deciding how to deal with them,yet all the affected parameters arestill under the control of any userwho considers his judgment betterthan that of Sony's microproces-sors. I must say, however, that Inever encountered a situationwhere overriding the receiver'scomputer improved the receptionin any detectable way.

For example, if the tuner's scanfinds several stations spaced at least800 kHz apart, it will assign thewide-i.f. mode to them for bestreception. If another part of theband is more crowded, with somesignals much stronger than others,the STR-AV760 may assign widei.f.-band settings to the stronger

ones but normal bandwidths to theweaker ones. And any time a stationis tuned in, whether by SCANSEARCH or from memory, the ap-propriate bandwidth is set automat-ically. Similarly, a stereo signal withappreciable noise or multipath dis-tortion will cause the tuner to gointo its high -blend mode.

Because the station memoriesalso hold the band information(AM or FM), it is not necessary toselect the appropriate band beforeselecting a preset station. The onlysacrifice required for this very con-venient feature is that each buttonhas to be assigned to one stationonly (unlike those tuners and re-ceivers in which each memory but-ton can be assigned to both an AMand an FM station, and sometimesto more than one FM station). Ifyou can be happy with ten presets,Sony's system is hard to beat forsheer convenience. And if not, youstill have the option of Direct Ac-cess tuning, in which you can call upany frequency on either band in afew seconds by entering its frequen-cy on the keypad!

To sum up, the Sony STR-AV760is a very good receiver in all theways that matter: performance, usa-bility, sound, appearance, versatili-ty, and convenience. Obviously, itis priced very reasonably for what itdoes. And last, but by no meansleast, it is the most satisfyingly bug -free and fun -to -use receiver we haveseen in many a year. Do we like it?You bet we do!Circle 144 on reader service card

"I wish to drive my wife berserk. Do you have a I -minute endless -loop blankcassette on which I can record the ending of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture?"


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me, learning aboutelectronics is the first step to where

I want to go in life:'SP4 Rtch Parsons, HAWK Missiles

"When I was a little kid, I dreamed about being an astronaut. Or working with space-agetechnology. Now the Army's preparing me for a future, in high technology. All I have to do is go for it.

"I work on the HAWK high -power radar. Talk about complicated. It's like a puzzlemade of circuit boards. It takes a really experienced technician to figure it out, fit the puzzle togetherand make it work. Since I'm the supervisor, I need to know it. Inside and out.

"Right now, I feel I'm standing tall on the mountain. With my electronics experience-real, hands-on experience-my future can go in a lot of different directions. All of them point up."

The Army could be your connection to a high-tech future. ARMYFor more information, contact your local Army Recruiteror call toll free 1 -800 -USA -ARMY. BE ALLYOU CAN BE.

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UNDER ideal circ*mstances, the first thing youwould do when shopping for an integratedamplifier, or for a separate preamp and poweramp, is to make a list of all the equipment

you either have or plan to buy and of the uses you willmake of it. If you knew the exact configuration of thesystem and precisely how you would expand it in thefuture, yot could narrow your choices to those fewunits that fit your profile.

Life, however, is not like that. Very few of us knowexactly what we want right now, much less six monthsdown the road. Fortunately, hi-fi is a relatively matureindustry w.th a wide selection of products that covermost possible uses quite well. A description of avail-able features should therefore help you decide what'simportant for you.

First, thcugh, a note on terminology. We'll be usingthe word "amplifier" to refer either to an integratedamp or to the combination of a preamp and poweramp. Until recently we would have had to discuss thetwo configurations separately for most categories, andit is true that separates still provide the ultimate in per-formance and features. But some of the latest inte-grated amplifiers sport controls and functions formerlyavailable cn only the most versatile preamplifiers,leaving you free to choose between these two basic sys-tem configurations on the basis of other criteria-

things like sound, looks, ergonomics, output power,and price.

As hi-fi equipment has developed over the yearsthere has emerged a fairly consistent group of featuresthat are necessary for a really flexible system: bothmoving -magnet and moving -coil phono inputs.switchable loading for moving -magnet cartridges, atleast two and perhaps three regular high-level inputs,two tape -monitor loops with dubbing connections, aseparate source -selector switch for the recording out-puts, defeatable tone controls whose action is concen-trated at the frequency extremes, switchable audiobandpass filtering with 18 -dB -per -octave slopes,scratch and rumble filters, full mode selection, a head-phone output, a muting switch, and an additionalexternal -processor loop.

Low -Level In putsWhatever the proponents of the Compact Disc may

say, the day of the phonograph record is far from over,so one of the most important parts of an amplifier isthe phono preamp-a high -gain circuit that takes thevery weak output from the cartridge, amounting atmost to a few millivolts, or thousandths of a volt, andamplifies it to line level, or about 0.1 to 0.5 volt. Thephono preamp also compensates for the standardizedbass cut and treble boost added during the record-mas-tering process by applying a complementary frequency-response curve known as RIAA de -emphasis.

There are two basic types of cartridges, one of which










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puts out so much less voltage than the other that itrequires a different kind of phono preamp. Almostevery amplifier has a phono circuit that can handle amoving -magnet (MM) cartridge (similar to moving -iron, moving -flux, etc.), whose maximum output isfrom 1 to 5 millivolts. The other type, the moving -coil(MC) cartridge, may put out between 20 and 200microvolts, or millionths of a volt. Such a cartridgerequires either an external step-up device (a transform-er or a high -gain pre -preamplifier) or a special high -gain circuit built into the amplifier itself.

Systems in the low to medium price range almostalways come with high -output cartridges, but if anamplifier has a label-either on the program -selectorswitch or on a separate phono-input switch near it-that includes the letters mc, you'll have the option oftracing up later to a moving -coil cartridge without buy-ing extra hardware.

Some high-level (non -MC) cartridges can be audiblyaffected by the input resistance and capacitance of thephono preamplifier and by the capacitance of the tonearm and its connecting cables. A well -designed ampli-fier will accordingly have switches with which you cantune the preamp for a given cartridge/tone-arm combi-nation. These switches may be in an inconspicuousposition on the front panel or, since they generallyhave to be set only once for a given system, on the backnear the input jacks.

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Once in a while you may find a preamp with an inputlabeled MIC, for microphone. A microphone input isthe same as for a high -output cartridge except that ithas flat frequency response instead of the RIAA play-back compensation.

High -Level InputsA high-level input accepts a line -level signal from a

tuner, CD player, or tape recorder and routes itthrough the amplifier's volume and tone controls andmode -switching circuits. Since we're not discussingreceivers here, one of these stereo inputs will be neededfor your separate FM tuner, and it should be somarked.

A CD player requires its own high-level input. Extrahigh-level inputs used to be labeled AUX (for auxiliary),but now they increasingly bear the designation CD. Thetwo are almost, but not quite, identical; while a typicaltuner or tape recorder puts out no more than 0.5 volt, aCD player will put out a maximum of 2 volts onmusical peaks. Most high-level inputs will accept sucha signal without distortion, but a few may not.

Each piece of video equipment that you connect toyour stereo system will also require a high-level audioinput. For a TV set, a video tuner, or a video -discplayer, an input is all that is needed. A VCR, with its

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record and play functions, requires both an input andan output in the form of a tape -monitor loop.

Tape -Monitor LoopsVirtually every amplifier has at least one tape -moni-

tor loop, a pair of stereo inputs and outputs with asso-ciated switching that allow you to record whateversound source you have chosen with the selector andlisten either to the original source or to the output ofthe tape deck. If you have two audio tape decks or anadditional video recorder, you will need two tape-nrion-itor loops. A separate copy switch, usually with posi-tions labeled and to show the direction thesignal is flowing, enables you to copy from eitherrecorder to the other while listening to a third source.

Some amplifiers also have a separate selector switch,typically marked RECORD -our, for the tape outputs.One of these switches gives you completely indepen-dent source selection for recording and listening. Thusyou could, for instance, tape an FM broadcast whilelistening to a record.

Tone Controls and FiltersSome people would have you believe that a good hi-

fi system needs no tone controls. On the contrary. thebetter your system the more you will need to be able toalter its response when you are playing recordings that

The Yarnama A-700 100 -waitamplifier shown here and on

the preceding pages is de-signed to aipeal to the audio

enthusiast. It has the usualselection 3.1' inputs and tone:.-ontrols plus a few that are

'ess common: a variable loud-ness control that allows the

iser to optanize the compen-sation, a -ecord-out selector

hr taping a source you're notlistening to, and Auto Class

A-an -nctput circuit thatswitches the amp's operatingmode from Class A to Class

AB only Wien the output ex-ceeds 10 volts. Price: $450.

were badly engineered or are in poor condition. Theusual BASS and TREBLE controls can help a great deal-if they are properly designed so as to affect mostly thelowest bass and the highest treble frequencies withoutchanging the midrange too much. A third control,marked MIDRANGE, is sometimes added, but correcttonal balance in the midrange is such a complex matterthat a single kncb is not very likely to provide anoptimum solution to any given problem.

In place of the normal tone controls some amplifiershave a small graphic equalizer. five or more slider -typecontrols each covering a portion of the full audio fre-quency range. A five -band equalizer is certainly moreversatile than simple bass and treble controls. but rea-sonably good separate ten -band units now cost so littlethat you probably shouldn't buy an amplifier just forits built-in equalizer.

The amplifier should also have switchable audio-passband filters-infrasonic (often incorrectly labeledSUBSONIC) and ultrasonic attenuators. These keep outspurious signals from record warps and mechanical

below the audio band and noise and radio -frequency interference above it. An infrasonic filter isespecially important if your speakers have vented orported cabinets.

To be effective, such filters should have a slope of 18dB per octave, meaning that they should provide 18 dBof attenuation for every doubling or halving in fre-




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Irut, q,parates still phrrt4de the tilt: wale it, perlorma :ire andfro: i I) rs. Bui .s:wite of the blies! iv trcro led a rn phfierA sprirt

ino iml, and potetions Mot aced to he ircailoble ol wilY !Iii.Ili (At -'er vi tile prer ?ri plifier, lerving lott free It) choose &two;the hi Y A svqem configuration.c or. the 1)1 ;is 01 other rri.'eriti.

quency. Filters with 2 -dB -per -octave slopes will dosome good, but 6 -dB -per -octave filters cannot removea useful amount of unwanted signal without affectingthe music.

In addition to the passband filters, whose actiontakes place beyond the extreme edges of audibility, anideally equipped amplifier should have rumble andscratch filters to mitigate audible problems near theedges of the audio band. Older records may need ascratch filter, while a rumble filter is particularly valu-able for toning down air -conditioner noise, which isoftei found on CD's made from older analog mastertapes. The rumble and scratch filters should also haveslopes of 12 or 18 dB per octave to do their job withoutgreatly affecting the frequencies you want to hear.

Many amplifiers a so have some form of loudnesscontour that boosts the bass at low listening levels tocompensate for the human ear's frequency response atthose levels. Loudness controls can be useful, but onlyif th-2), are continuously adjustable so you can allow forthe efficiency of your loudspeaker/listening-room com-bination.

Signal PathsMost amplifiers offer a choice of two listening

motes, stereo and mono. For the serious listener theseare met always enough. Occasionally you will want to

compare the two channels of a recording, ,Dr verify theintegrity of a connection or component, by switchingrapidly between .eft -only and right -only operation.Classical -music lovers may also want to reverse thechannels for the occasional mirror -imaged recording.And some of us still store parallel tracks of old mono-phonic material on quarter -track open -reel tape.

As for switching functions, it's always possible-especially with the advent of video media with truehigh-fidelity sound-that your system will expandbeyond the capabilities of any single control center. Ifyou're like me you may wind up with a couple of cas-sette decks, quarter -track and half-track open -reel taperecorders with outboard noise reduction, VHS Stereoand Beta Hi -Pi video machines, a video -disc player, acouple of equalizers, and a PCM digital audio encoderto use with the video recorders. The only way to copewith such an assortment is to use one or more externalswitchboxes. which are available from a number ofmanufacturers.

But while an exiernal switchbox can vastly increasethe versatility of any system, you still need a place toconnect its inputs and outputs. You can always use oneof your amplifier's tape -monitor loops for this, but itcan be handy to have another set of jacks, usuallycalled an external -processor loop (EPL) or somethingsimilar, to give you still more flexibility.

Components like equalizers or image enhancers need

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not be located before the volume control in the circuit.With a separate preamp you can always connect thesesignal processors between the preamp and power amp.The well-equipped integrated amplifier will have a pairof stereo jacks labeled PREAMP OUT/POWER AMP IN thatserve the same function; there will be a short length ofcable or a pair of jumper wires to connect these jackswhen there's no need to insert another component be-tween them.

Output ControlsHaving two switchable sets of speaker outputs is

obviously important mainly if you plan to put in exten-sion speakers. You will also need a headphone outputfor private listening. This is one instance where mostseparates are less convenient than most integratedamplifiers, whose speaker switches usually have an OFFposition to allow for headphone -only operation. Someseparate preamplifiers have a MUTE button that canserve the same purpose, but in most cases such a but-ton cuts the level to the speakers by only about 20 dB,so you can answer the phone during a loud passagewithout losing your gain setting.

A.C. Power SwitchesThe matter of auxiliary a.c. power sockets to plug in

other components is trickier than it looks. You mightthink that one front -panel power switch should controlan entire stereo system. With an integrated amp thatmay be true, but be careful about plugging a separatepower amp into a convenience socket on a preamp.Some high-powered separate amplifiers draw enoughcurrent to burn out any but special heavy-duty powerswitches. Also, some components have three-waygrounded plugs, and sockets that will accommodate

An integrated audio and hi-fi video system needs anamplifier with extensive

switching facilities, such asthe JVC A-X500VB shown

here. It has audio inputs forphono MM/MC, CD, and

tuner, and two tape loops. Italso has two hi-fi video in-puts (a video jack teamed

with a pair of stereo audiojacks) for a stereo TV tuner,

video -disc player, or othersource and a hi-fi video tapeloop for a VCR. In additionto many other standard am-

plifier features, this 100 -watt -per -channel unit has aseven -band graphic equaliz-

er that can store five set-tings in memory. Suggested

retail price: $500.

these take up lots of precious space on the amp's rearpanel. If your system will be fairly simple, look for anamplifier with several a.c. convenience sockets on theback. Some amps have none at all, on the assumptionthat a complicated system will require a separate a.c.power strip with its own switch anyway.

In -Store TestsEven after you have decided what features are

important to you, you will need some hands-on expe-rience in the store to make sure those features are prop-erly executed in the component you are considering.

Try the volume -control knob. Does it feel smooth,and does it offer you fine enough control? With effi-cient speakers you may find that a detented volumecontrol increases the level in excessively large jumps atlow volume levels. And be wary of pushbutton elec-tronic volume controls; I find them harder to use thansimple knobs.

Try the tone controls. Do they make an audible dif-ference in the extreme bass and treble without affectingthe midrange? Voices should retain their basic charac-ter at almost any control setting if the designer hasdone the job properly. Plug in the headphones youeither own or are planning to buy to make sure theyplay with adequate loudness and good bass.

Finally, operate all the signal -switching controls tosee if the layout makes sense to you. Try to get a cas-sette deck connected to the amplifier, then make ashort recording on the spot and play it back. The easeand naturalness of doing this will tell you a lot aboutwhether the amplifier's layout is one that you will taketo easily and naturally. If it is, you can look forward toyears of being able to forget the equipment in order topay attention to the music. 0


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11011 TO SPFAK


A guile to the technical vocabulary and terminology anaudio buyer needs to understand in choosing an amplifier

ON'T look now, but your stereosystem is crawling with amplifiers. Most ofthe basic functions of electronic compo-nents have something to do with making asignal bigger, even if it's only to compen-sate for level reductions caused by otherprocesses, so there are tiny amplifiers inyour tape deck, FM tuner, preamp, signalprocessor, . . . in fact, almost every-where. But this sort of amplification is hid-den because it is incidental to whatever theparticular component is supposed to bedoing.

There is, however, one big amplifier: theone that drives your speakers. Ironically, inmany ways this one is almost as obscure tomost users as all those little amps the signalpasses through on the way. In its mostobvious form, as a separate component, thepower amplifier is basically a "black box"that takes tiny electrical impulses andboosts them to a point where they can drivea pair (or more) of speakers. Anything else

that is included on the chassis, such as levelcontrols or meters, is peripheral to theamplification function itself. But most ofus are not even conscious of our poweramplifiers because they are buried withinreceivers or integrated amplifiers

All this inconspicuousness makes ampli-fiers hard to sell, and it's even harder for anaudiophile to choose between them. Unlikea turntable or cassette deck, a power ampli-fier has no real convenience features, andexcept for its power output an amp's meas-ured performance doesn't help much be-cause most amplifiers are so good that thedifferences between them are inaudible.Even price tends to depend more on themanufacturer's reputation or the styling orperipheral features like meters than on per-formance.

And yet there are a lot of amplifiers outthere, so a manufacturer has to give theprospective buyer some reason to choosehis model over a competitor's. He is likely

by Ian G. Masters

Amplifier (am'ple-fTer)n. A device used tochange a weak electricalsignal into a stronger butotherwise identical signal.


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H. eat sink (het singk) n.A device, generally madeof aluminum, used to dis-

sipate heat from circuitcomponents.

Negative feedback(neg'a -tiv fed'bak) n

Electronics. The processthrough which part of an

amplifier's output is in-verted and returned to

the input in order to can-cel distortion and in-

crease stability.

ransformer (trans -for-mer) n. A device used in

electrical circuits formagnetically inductive

energy transfer withoutdirect electrical contact;

a transformer can in-crease voltage while pro-

portionally decreasingcurrent or increase cur-rent while proportionally

decreasing voltage.


to lean on a unit's specs to some extent, ofcourse, but more than with other compo-nents he is apt to talk about an amp's cir-cuit design and construction. Whether cir-cuit design really matters very much to aconsumer is debatable, but advertising ithas had an important consequence: audioengineers have advanced the state of ampli-fier design considerably in the past fewyears largely so they could say they haddone so in promotional material. The ampswere pretty good to begin with, but youcan't sell that. Whatever the motivation,the result has been improvements that, ifnothing else, have brought down the aver-age cost of amplifiers and improved theirstability and reliability.

What are all these improvements? Be-cause developments in amplifier designhave been at the far edge of electronic tech-nology, they tend to be described in fairlyobscure terms-obscure to the average au-dio buyer, in any event. But if you areattempting to make an informed selectionof an amplifier on the basis of its technicalcharacteristics, you have to understandsome of the more common phrases thatyou will encounter along the way. Then youcan decide for yourself which areimportant characteristics.

The first thing to understand is an ampli-fier's class, and that requires a little back-ground. An audio signal, whether it besound traveling through air or its electricalanalog in a circuit, has both a positive anda negative component-drawn on a graph,the waveform goes above and below thezero line. But transistors (and tubes beforethem) can only pass electricity in one direc-tion, which means that if you simply pushan audio signal through it "straight," halfof it, the negative part, will be missing.

One solution is for the circuit to useenough "bias" (a direct -current signal thatswitches a transistor "on") to shift thewhole works into the positive region. Theoriginal positive/negative variations be-come more-positive/less-positive varia-tions in this configuration, which is calledClass A. In terms of high fidelity, Class Aamplification has always been consideredideal because it has the lowest distortion.

But Class A has some major disadvan-tages too. In the first place, in a Class Aamp there is always current passingthrough the transistors, so they get veryhot, and elaborate measures (which meanslarge, heavy, and expensive measures) haveto be used to dissipate the heat. Class Aamplifiers are very inefficient, whichmeans they use a lot of power but don't pro-duce a lot of power. Still, some very finepure Class A amps do exist, mainly forthose audiophiles willing to put up with

their disadvantages in order to get what istheoretically the finest sound.

Early on, however, the problems of ClassA were tackled by audio designers, whocame up with Class B. In this scheme, thetransistors are allowed to switch off duringthe negative portion of the audio signal.The positive part is amplified normally,exactly as it would have been with aClass A circuit but without added bias. Thenegative portion of the signal is amplifiedseparately by another transistor that thinksthe signal is positive, and the two amplifiedsignals are added together (out of phase, ofcourse) to re-create the complete originalaudio waveform. Class B operation ismuch more efficient than Class A, and italso produces a lot less heat because eachtransistor is off half of the time.

But Class B is also not without draw-backs. One of the main ones derives fromthe fact that transistors are less linear nearthe zero, or crossover, point, which iswhere they are operating most of the timein Class B. Distortion is therefore greaterthan with Class A, whose bias pushes thesignal up to a more linear part of the cir-cuit's operating range.

The answer hasbeen Class AB, which uses a small amountof bias, so that each transistor operatesslightly more than half the cycle but stillhas the benefit of being off for a significantportion of the time. In Class AB, each tran-sistor operates in a more linear part of itscurve, but it retains most of the efficiencyof pure Class B operation.

But Class B and Class AB share one flaw:as the transistors switch on and off, theyproduce waveform irregularities that canbe audible. This effect is called switching orcrossover distortion, and it has been aprime area of concern for many audiodesigners during the past few years. Thesolution has generally been to use someform of residual or variable bias to makethe switching "soft" and therefore lessobtrusive. While these designs are still vari-ations on the Class AB theme, they go by avariety of proprietary names, many ofwhich manage to imply that they are a formof Class A.

Other classes do exist. In Class C thetransistors deal with less than half of thewaveform, which produces massiveamounts of distortion; Class C is unsuit-able for audio use but has some radio appli-cations. Class D is sometimes used todescribe digital, or pulse -width -modula-tion, output stages, which have appearedfrom time to time. Other "classes" havetended to be unofficial commercial desig-nations, such as Hitachi's Class G of someyears back.

54 S FERE° REV' ENJUN F.1985

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The class designations refer to an amp'sfundamental circuit design. Engineers havealways realized that none of these circuitsare perfect, so a number of techniques havebeen developed to correct flaws as theyoccur. The most imaginative, and the mostwidely used, is feedback, in which one partof the signal corrects nonlinearities in an-other part.

The type of feedback most commonlyused in amplifiers is negative feedback(NFB), in which a small portion of theamplifier's output is inverted and fed intothe input. If the amplifier were perfect, thiswould simply cause a reduction in overallgain, since the out -of -phase signal wouldcancel a portion of the main signal-a flatsignal would be uniformly attenuatedacross the audio spectrum. But amps arenot perfect; virtually all of them have somedistortion -causing nonlinearities. And themore a signal deviates from linearity, themore correction a negative -feedback sys-tem applies-it's an automatically self-reg-ulating system.

NFB is almost universally used, but thatdoesn't mean it has no problems. For onething, improperly applied NFB can causeoscillation in the amplifier. And since neg-ative feedback reduces an amplifier's gainacross the board, an amplifier with agreater open -loop gain, or gain before feed-back, must be built to obtain a given outputlevel.

Another approach to reducing distortionis called feedforward, in which a compara-tor circuit continuously mixes a portion ofthe input signal with a tiny bit of the output

signal, inverted in phase. The mixing isadjusted so that the two signals cancel eachother entirely, leaving only whatever dis-tortion products have arisen. These distor-tion products are then amplified separatelyand subtracted from the output, a processthat takes very little power because distor-tion is typically only a tiny fraction of acomplete audio signal. In theory, a feedfor-ward system should enable an amplifier toproduce its complete open -loop gain, butusually feedforward is used in conjunctionwith a moderate amount of negative feed-back as well.

Another design wrinkle that sometimesappears is when an amplifier is capable ofbeing bridged or strapped to mono, whichis simply a method of joining the outputsfrom the two halves of a stereo amplifier toproduce a single mono feed. This can't bedone with just any stereo amplifier; thecapability must be designed in so that thetwo parts are properly balanced to work ina true push-pull fashion. One remarkablefeature of bridged amps is that they areusually capable of producing more outputin mono than the sum of their individualstereo outputs.

More common is the direct -coupled orDC amplifier. A DC amplifier has nocapacitors in the signal path, particularly inthe output stages, so phase shifts and low -end rolloff are minimized. The amplifiercan respond down to 0 Hz, a theoreticalideal. It should be noted, however, that thissame capacity means that the amp canreproduce the warp frequencies of vinylrecords at very high power and thereby

MOSFET (mos-fet)[abbr. metal -oxide semi-conductor fie d -effecttransistor] n. A semicon-ductor device used toamplify electrical signalswhere the output currentis proportional to butgreater than :he inputvoltage.

Bipolar transistor (bi-pe ler tran-zis-ter) n. Asemiconductor deviceused to amplify electricalsignals where the outputcurrent is proportional tobut much greater thanthe input current.


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Vacuum tube (vak"y67)-urn tyo71b) n. 1. A deviceto amplify electrical sig-

nals where the outputvoltage is proportional to

but greater than the in-put voltage; used primari-

ly during the first half ofthe twentieth century.

syn. electrical valve. 2.An icon revered by small

groups of audiophilesand said to be imbuedwith mystical powers.

Capacitor (ka-pas-a-ter)n. An electrical device

used in amplifiers forshort-term power storage

and supply -voltagesmoothing; smaller ca-

pacitors are used toblock direct current while

passing alternating cur-rent and in filter circuits.


damage speakers, which is why most direct -coupled amplifiers include a switchable in-frasonic filter and/or an input -coupling ca-pacitor.

Much amplifier terminology revolvesaround the sort of devices used in thedesign, rather than the design of the circuitsthemselves. There are a few rather exoticexceptions, but the great majority of ampli-fiers today are solid-state-that is, they usetransistors. There are various sorts of tran-sistors, and their names have found theirway into amplifier terminology as particu-lar characteristics are attributed to them.

The first transistors used in audio ampli-fiers were bipolar devices, which meansthat the signal is amplified by the con-trolled flow of two types of charges, nega-tively charged electrons and positivelycharged "holes." Good amplifiers could bemade with bipolar transistors, but a lot ofcompensation for their limitations had tobe built into the circuits, especially to pre-vent them from overheating, and oftenthese compensations resulted in what wasknown as "transistor sound." Most of theseproblems have been solved with present-day amps.

Eventually a unipolar device came alongcalled a field-effect transistor, or FET. Com-pared with bipolar transistors, FET's moreclosely approximate the characteristics of avacuum tube, as well as offering higherswitching speeds and a greater degree oftemperature stability. Audio designers-many of whom grew up designing tubeamps-adopted the FET, which is nowwidely used. Various versions go by differ-ent designations, depending on how theyare built, and all vary slightly in perform-ance, though not enough to matter verymuch in an amplifier. The most commonFET is the metal -oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor, or MOSFET.

If the actual bits and pieces used inside

an amplifier are really only of interest tothe designer, one facet of the design has adirect bearing on the consumer's interestbecause it affects an amplifier's size andcost. This is the power supply.

An amplifier has one basic function: totake the power available from your friendlyneighborhood electric company and modi-fy it by means of an audio signal so that itcan drive the form of motor called a loud-speaker. Much of the discussion about am-plifiers has to do with the audio modifica-tion, but how an amp deals with the electricutility's power in the first place is alsoextremely important.

A power supply does three things: first, ittakes (in the U.S.) 60 -Hz, 120 -volt alternat-ing current and converts it by means of atransformer to a more usable lower voltage;then it rectifies the current, changing itfrom a.c. to pulsating direct current; finally,it filters out the pulses to produce a con-stant source of direct current that can thenbe modified by the audio signals.

Traditionally, all three jobs have beendone by massive components, particularlyby monstrous transformers, that contributemost of the weight and size to an amplifier.These components, especially the filter,have to be of very high quality since eventhe slightest pulsating direct current cancreep into the system as hum, and thatmakes their cost high. In addition, powersupplies are usually far larger than neces-sary most of the time. The reason for such"overkill" is that musical peaks require allthe juice an amplifier can muster, eventhough they occupy only a tiny fraction ofthe amp's operating time.

There have been many attempts to getaround this situation, although for the timebeing most manufacturers use massivepower supplies. One approach is to use to-roidal transformers, which are ring -shapeddevices that are somewhat more efficientthan conventional transformers of thesame size. Other approaches include vari-ous methods of regulating the power supplyaccording to the input signal, so that highpower levels are only produced during thesmall amount of time they are necessary.So far, these methods have been tried byonly a few manufacturers.

Amplifiers, and hence the terms used todescribe them, are at the very heart ofaudio and thus worth understanding. It's atribute to amplifier manufacturers thattheir products are generally good enoughfor you to be reasonably safe buying oneeven without knowing any of the jargon.But there's nothing like knowing the lan-guage of a country to make you feel moreconfident and to enjoy yourself more whenyou enter the territory.


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SINCE the emergence of the dig-ital Compact Disc, a greatdeal has been said and writ-ten about the possible (and

usually presumed) inadequacy ofpre -digital -era amplifiers for repro-ducing the dynamic range of 90 dBor more potentially afforded by thedigital medium. I have been askedabout this by a surprising number ofpeople who are in no sense audio-philes, which should tell us some-thing about the effectiveness of thepublicity being given to digitalsound and its unique properties.Whether all the warnings about am-plifier inadequacy are really justi-fied, however, is another matter.

Can it handle the Compact Disc?And yet, digital recordings do placespecial requirements on an audioamplifier.

Let's start with dynamic range,which measures the difference inlevel between the softest passages(or perhaps the background soundlevel with the musicians silent) andthe very loudest sounds in the pro-gram. Obviously, dynamic range islargely a function of the music itself,with figures as high as 80 or 90 dB(or more) often quoted for liveorchestral music. The similarity ofthese figures to the maximum dy-namic range of the Compact Disc isnot at all coincidental, I suspect.

Most analog LP discs are unable


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0 verall loudness is set bythe average power

delivered to the speakers.Peaks are not perceivedas being louder.

to accommodate such a wide rangeof levels (their maximum dynamicrange is more likely to be around 50to 60 dB), and only a few "audio-phile" releases have ever come closeto coping with such a range. Theusual practice in recording has beento limit the dynamic range, eitherelectronically, at the time of record-ing or when cutting the analog discmaster, or by having the musiciansrestrict their own sound levels whileplaying-or both.

Digital recording requires no suchlimiting measures. Many CompactDisc releases, however, were origi-nally recorded for analog discs, andthese particular CD's will have littleor no more dynamic range thantheir LP versions aside from theincrease afforded by the inherentlynegligible noise level of a digitaldisc. The softest passages may be noquieter than before, but they will beless masked by surface noise.

In order to listen to a full -rangeCD in the home, how much ampli-fier power is needed? The answerdepends to a degree on the speakersused: how sensitive they are (theamount of sound they will put outfor a given input power) and howmuch peak power they can handlewithout compression, distortion, ordamage. There is also the humanelement to be considered, since lis-tening to many types of musicreproduced at the full live level willusually preclude conversation orother intimate social activity, to saynothing of degrading relationshipswith one's neighbors.

An uncompressed digital record-ing differs from a typical analogrecording largely in its ratio of peakto average power (ignoring flutter,distortion, and noise, which arethousands of times lower in the dig-ital medium). If you monitor theinstantaneous power output of anamplifier playing reasonably wide -range music in the home throughspeakers of average sensitivity, youare likely to find an average powerlevel of no more than 1 watt, andoften much less. Occasional peaks

may reach as high as 10 watts, al-though these will be rare.

If this is the case, why are somany home amplifiers rated at 100watts or more? Can that much pow-er really be needed? Yes. Considerwhat happens if you wish to play themusic louder, perhaps to experiencethe impact of a showcase recordingor simply to show off the abilities ofyour system. The desired effect maycall for a 10 -dB increase in averagelevel, resulting in an average poweroutput of 10 watts, with the peaksnow reaching 100 watts. The subjec-tive average sound level will not beincreased tenfold by a 10 -dB changebut will seem more like double thevolume.

Now, suppose you want to makethe sound just a little bit louder still.The smallest noticeable changewould require about a 3 -dB increasein level, which means 20 watts aver-age and 200 watts peak power. Atthis point, you would be overdriv-ing a 100 -watt amplifier and clip-ping the peaks. It is easier to drivean amp into clipping than manypeople appreciate. Part of the reasonis that the average or overall per-ceived sound level is set by the aver-age electrical power to the speakers,and the brief, high-level peaks arenot perceived as being louder. Thepeaks make a major contribution tothe naturalness and "openness" ofthe sound, but they can be com-pressed considerably without disas-trous side effects. This is one reasonwhy "compressed" analog record-ings can still sound so good.

Peak clipping in an amplifier isalso often difficult to hear, especial-ly if it occurs only occasionally. Theclipped peak may last a millisecondor less and is easily overlooked evenif you are listening for it (which israrely the case). Only sustained"hard" clipping is easily audible,because of the harshness of itssound, and in extreme cases thisform of abuse can burn out a tweet-er even at fairly low power levels.

Does this mean that a high-pow-ered amplifier is a necessity forplaying digital discs? The answer isa rather equivocal "yes and no."Unless you listen at rather low lev-els, a high peak -power capability isnecessary. Such capability does notnecessarily call for high rated con-tinuous amplifier power, since theaverage power requirement of a dig -


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ital disc may be no more than thatof any other program source. None-theless, there is no harm in using a100- or 200 -watt amplifier even ifyour average power demand is onlya couple of watts. I have preferred touse high-powered amplifiers foryears, if for no other reason thanthat I know I will never (well,almost never) run out of power evenunder the most extreme conditionsI can devise. Such amplifiers tend tobe costly, heavy, and large, althoughsome receivers manage to deliverextraordinarily high power outputsfrom a compact package.

Fortunately, there is another, lesscostly solution. When selecting anamplifier, look for its dynamic -headroom rating. This spec is theratio between the actual short-termpower -output capability of the am-plifier (measured for peaks lasting20 milliseconds out of every halfsecond) and its rated continuouspower output. Many amplifiershave less than 1 dB of dynamicheadroom, but there are also quite afew with headrooms of 3 dB or evenmore; a couple of the latest areclaiming 6 -dB figures. A "50 -watt"amplifier with 3 dB of dynamicheadroom can deliver 100 watts forat least 20 milliseconds, and such apeak power output is rarely requiredfor a longer time than that. Our testreports include a dynamic -head-room measurement, and in the digi-tal age this is likely to be a muchmore important amplifier spec thanthe highly touted but usually minus-cule distortion readings.

Aside from sheer power, what elseshould you look for in a "digital -ready" amplifier? One weakness Ihave found in some amplifiers is anaudible noise level (either hiss orpower -line hum or buzz) when theprogram is silent or at a very lowlevel. Sometimes a power amplifierwill produce a faintly audible humeven when the preamplifier volumecontrol is set to its minimum. Evena minute noise level, which is nor-mally masked by the program, canbe very audible during the other-wise total silence between the tracksof a Compact Disc. Therefore, lookfor a very low measured noise level(figures on noise are a part of all ofour amplifier test reports). It is diffi-cult to give specific numbers, sincethe audibility of noise does not nec-essarily correlate well with measure-

ments. In general, however, if the A -weighted noise is lower than -80dB referred to 1 watt, you won't beable to hear it without sticking yourear right next to the speaker drivers,and sometimes not even then.

Aside from noise and dynamicheadroom, there are actually veryfew special criteria for choosing anamplifier for a digital systembeyond those that would applyequally to a conventional hi-fi sys-tem. Some people are concernedabout the behavior of an amplifierwhen it is driven into clipping evenbriefly. If it "blocks" (ceases ampli-fying), oscillates, or takes an appre-ciable time to recover from clip-ping, a normally inaudible overloadcould become only too audible. For-tunately, the easiest solution to thisproblem, if it occurs, is to turndown the volume slightly. The aver-

age level, and therefore the per-ceived loudness, will be essentiallyunchanged, but peak clippingshould be eliminated. This solutionis especially applicable in the case ofCompact Discs, whose absolutemaximum level ("0 dB") is stan-dardized and can never be ex-ceeded. If you set your amplifiervolume so that the maximum out-put of a CD player (normally 2volts) does not drive it into clip-ping, you can be sure that no CDwill ever overdrive your amplifier atthat volume setting. (A 0 -dB tonefrom a CD test disc should be usedfor this purpose.)

In conclusion, don't be too wor-ried about making your present am-plifier obsolete if you add a CDplayer to your system. It would be amistake to conclude that becauseyour amplifier predates digital pro-gram sources, it is not "digitalready." It may well already haveadequate average power, a large dy-namic headroom, and sufficientlylow noise. Listen to it playing CD'sfor an extended period, and if youdon't hear any signs of distress,chances are it is perfectly adequate.Only if your amplifier fails this testshould you look for a more power-ful or quieter replacement. 0

Inamic headroom is likelyto be a more important

amplifier specification thanthe distortion readings.


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SI wcial Test liepou

MAGIC SPEAKER1 Hi 1161- 1 n'od lints 1)(1 net* sound

IA Jul inn Ili rm.!!

INCE its introduction ofthe first acoustic -sus-pension speaker systemabout 30 years ago,Acoustic Research hasmaintained an ongoingresearch program. Its

latest development, the first in anew high-technology product linecalled the AR Research Series, is aninnovative speaker system, theMGC-1, which AR calls the MagicSpeaker. While we detected nootherworldly qualities in the speak-er's design or construction, we werebewitched by its sound.

The novelty of the MGC-1 doesnot lie in any new drivers or thelike. Instead, it uses a unique com-bination of rather conventionalparts and construction techniquesin an effort to solve some of the fun-damental problems of reproducingmusic in the home. These problems,as seen by the speaker's designerKen Kantor, stem mainly from theway the ear hears soundsthat arrive from a pairof speakers at differenttimes and from differentdirections.

A sound's locationwithin the stereo "stage"is established by the firstmillisecond or so of thatsound to reach the listen-

er's ears. These "first arrivals" arealso responsible for most, but notall, of a speaker's perceived frequen-cy response or tonal quality. Themost precise left -right imaging canbe achieved with very directional,flat -response loudspeakers aimeddirectly at the listener. Such speak-ers avoid reflections from nearbysurfaces (principally the speaker en-closure itself and the floor), whichcan blur or shift the image andcreate frequency -response irregular-ities if the reflections arrive tooclosely behind the direct sound-within what is called the ear's "fu-sion time." Unfortunately, thesespeakers also run the risk of sound-ing unpleasantly "flat" and two-dimensional.

Reflections arriving after the fu-sion time do not change the locali-zation of a sound but, instead, con-tribute to the sense of "space" orrecorded room ambience generatedby the loudspeaker. Bringing out

this ambience is most easily done bya speaker that distributes its outputall around the listening room,bouncing the sound around in dif-ferent directions so that substantialacoustic energy is still floatingaround the listening room after thefusion time. Omnidirectional anddipole radiators fulfill this require-ment, but they can fall short onsome of the directionality and tim-ing requirements for the most pre-cise left -right imaging.

A Fundamental DilemmaIn fact, it is impossible to recon-

cile in a single practical loudspeakerthe requirement of a narrow direc-tional pattern for the first arrivals(to get the best imaging) with therequirement of a wide directionalpattern for the later reflections (toobtain a feeling of space), to saynothing of simultaneously makingthe frequency response sound accu-rate. AR's "magic" solution actually

skirts this dilemma, sincethe MGC-1 is a systemthat essentially consists oftwo loudspeaker subsys-tems in each enclosure.as designer Kantor put itin a paper presented tothe Audio EngineeringSociety, the MGC-1 "ra-diates direct and ambient


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Each enclosure of AR's iIGC-1 contains two speaker

systems. Six front -firing drivers form th :rirrary

subsystems. A control box (opposite e) pro .esses

signals for the- side -firing ambience subsystems.

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1 requency-response measurementsof the AR Magic speaker were bothsimplified and complicated by itsunusual design. The response of the

primary system, with the ambiencedrivers switched off, was much easier tomeasure than usual because of its verydirectional output. No detectable reflec-tions of its sound occurred within thenormal 5.5 -millisecond measurementsampling time of our IQS FFT analyzer.Unlike most speakers we have tested,the primary system's FFT responseagreed very closely with its averagedroom response, indicating a very con-sistent directionality over the frequencyrange, which was a design goal of theMGC- I. The FFT response had a gentle

sound from independent sources.This allows the spatial, temporal,and spectral properties of each to beoptimized, and to be varied inde-pendently for better subjective per-formance."

The AR MGC-1's primary sub-system has a flat and wide frequen-cy response, and it radiates a fairlynarrow sound pattern directly at thelistening area. The design of thespeaker confines the sound to cer-tain directions to prevent any signif-icant early reflections from nearbysurfaces. This establishes a stereosound stage with precise and accu-rate positioning of the phantomsound sources and gives them a per-ceptually accurate fre-quency balance.

An ambience subsys-tem resides in the sameenclosure and is aimedtoward the side wall near-est the speaker. The signaldriving the ambiencespeaker is delayed by elec-tronic circuits so that itsreflection from the wallreaches the listener between 20 and30 milliseconds after the primarysound. Any sound delayed this longcannot distort the spatial perspec-tives established by the primary sys-tem (delays of longer than 30 milli-seconds would tend to be perceivedas discrete echoes). In any live lis-tening situation, the reflected soundfalling into this time range has alimited frequency range, since muchof its high -frequency energy hasbeen absorbed by multiple reflec-tions and the air itself. The am-bience speakers therefore do not

downward slope of about 4 dB from 180Hz (the lower measurement limit of thistest) to about 15,000 Hz. Except for acouple of minor "jogs" between 15,000and 18,000 Hz, the response was ex-traordinarily smooth (see graph).

In making the composite averagedroom response, a close-miked measure-ment of the output of one of the woofersshowed a plateau from 60 to 140 Hzrolling off at 12 dB per octave at lowerfrequencies. with the crossover systemrolling off the woofer response above150 Hz. This curve spliced easily to theroom response to form an unusuallysmooth composite frequency -responsecurve that varied only ±4 dB from 40to 20,000 Hz. The trace fell smoothlybetween the 70 -Hz maximum responseand the 20,000 -Hz upper measurementlimit.

Room measurements of the ambiencesystem, when it was operating at levelswe found optimum for music listening,were understandably irregular because

need the full frequency range of theprimary speakers. Their response isequalized to complement the directsound and to give a natural overallbalance at the listening position.

As befits a component taking sucha radical approach, the AR MGC-1presents an unusual and initiallysomewhat formidable appearance.It is about 52 inches high and has anasymmetrical four-sided cross sec-tion. The speakers are sold in mir-ror -image pairs, as their design cri-teria require. Each weighs about 150pounds. The back of the cabinet is261/2 inches wide; it should beplaced parallel to the back wall andas close to it as possible. The best

of interference between the direct anddelayed signals as "heard" by the mi-crophone (the ear, of course, respondsdifferently). Since it was not possible tooperate the ambience speakers withoutusing the primary speakers, we wereunable to make a room measurementon the ambience system alone. Close-miked response measurements on itstwo drivers indicated an effective rangeof about 400 to 5,800 Hz.

Our FFT pulse -response system al-lows an analysis of the signal betweenselected points in time to examineevents that cannot be isolated in con-ventional measurements. In FFT spec-tral -decay measurements made with themicrophone I meter from the front ofthe speaker cabinet with both primaryand ambience systems operating, wecould see the output of the ambiencesystem appearing roughly 20 millisec-onds after the pulse was emitted fromthe primary speaker. The ambience re-sponse as measured in this fashion

placement is for each unit to beabout one -quarter of the roomwidth from the closest side wall.

When a pair of MGC-1's is prop-erly set up, sound from the primary(front -firing) subsystem in each en-closure reaches the listener at anangle of about 26 degrees, and thereflection from each ambiencespeaker comes in at an angle ofabout 54 degrees. These angles werechosen to give minimum "interau-ral cross correlation" (IACC), essen-tially a measure of the similarity ofthe signals at the two ears. Psycho -acoustical experiments have shownthat lowering the IACC of a signal issubjectively beneficial not only in

stereo reproduction butalso in the design of con-cert halls;

The directivity patternsof the two speaker arraysin each enclosure are con-trolled by recessing mostof the drivers into horn-like structures. They arehorns in appearance only,for they are made of

sound -absorbing foam. The foamconfines the effective coverage ofeach driver to the vertical and hori-zontal angles subtended by theopenings of the foam. Two large,removable black grille cloths, onefor the primary and one for theambience speakers, conceal thedrivers and the absorbent foam.

To cover the frequencies above1,000 Hz, each primary -speakersubsystem contains a 3/4 -inch dometweeter and a 2 -inch dome upper -midrange driver placed at about earheight for a seated listener (36

The ambience speakers emit their signals after the

primary subsystems so that the side -wall reflections

reach the listener well after the direct mod does.

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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 11111



extended from well below 1,000 Hz upto about 6,000 Hz.

The impedance of the primary speak-er system was relatively flat and had atypical value of 4 ohms, although itreached a minimum of 2.7 ohms be-tween 100 and 130 Hz and a maximumof 8.5 ohms at 45 and 800 Hz. Its sensi-tivity was about average for an acoustic -suspension system, producing an 86 -dBsound -pressure level (SPL) at 1 meter

when driven by 2.83 volts of randomnoise in an octave band centered at1.000 Hz. Checks with a sound -levelmeter and musical program materialshowed that the SPL typically increasedby about I dB when the ambiencespeakers were turned on.

Primary -woofer distortion was meas-ured with a drive level of 4.5 volts, cor-responding to a 90 -dB SPL at 1,000 Hz.The distortion was about 0.6 percent

from 100 Hz down to 80 Hz, rising veryslowly to 2.4 percent at 50 Hz, 3.7 per-cent at 40 Hz, and 8 percent at 25 Hz.The maximum power -handling abilityof the MGC-1 was measured at 100,1,000, and 10,000 Hz with single -cycletone bursts, the criterion being the onsetof waveform distortion in either thespeaker's acoustic output or the ampli-fier's electrical output. The results, giv-en in watts calculated using the meas-ured impedance at that frequency, areimpressive, to say the least. In everycase the maximum output of the speak-ers was limited by amplifier clipping. At100 Hz our amp gave out at 1,100 watts(into 2.7 ohms), at 730 watts at 1,000Hz (into 5.8 ohms), and at an incredible915 watts (into 3.5 ohms) when drivenby a single cycle of 10,000 Hz. Fullexploitation of the MGC-1's power -handling capacity will require an ampli-fier with exceptional current -deliveringability-and ears capable of withstand-ing extremely loud music.

inches above the floor). The driversshare a common magnetic systemthat permits them to be placed veryclose to each other. Acoustically,this makes the two drivers appear asa single radiator with the combinedfrequency responses of both.

Above and below the two high -frequency drivers are two 4 -inchcone -type lower -midrange driversthat operate from 200 to 1,000 Hz.The symmetrical arrangementplaces their apparent sound outputin the same location as that of thehigher -frequency drivers. In addi-tion, the spacing between the conesproduces nulls in their combinedradiation pattern at angles thatwould otherwise be likely to pro-duce detrimental floor reflections.The bass in the primary subsystemis handled by two 8 -inch acoustic -suspension woofers. The ambiencesystem in each enclosure consists ofa 1 -inch dome tweeter and a 6 -inchwoofer, both at approximately theheight of the primary system's high -frequency drivers (see photo on thefacing page).

The enclosures of the MGC-1speakers are handsomely finished inwalnut or rosewood (as in our pho-tos). Their cost depends on the fin-ish: $3,500 per pair in walnut,$7,000 per pair in rosewood (on spe-cial order). The back of each cabinethas two binding -post terminals anda four -pin socket for connection tothe system's supplied control unit.

Although the MGC-1 speakersthemselves have no level adjust-ments, considerably greater soniccontrol is afforded by the accom-panying electronic control unit,

which contains a two -channel buck-et -brigade time -delay circuit, levelcontrols, and two specially equal-ized power amplifiers for the side -firing subsystems. The front of thecontrol unit has individual levelcontrols for the left and right speak-ers and a master ambience -levelcontrol. There is also a SOUND -STAGE switch for the ambiencespeakers; in its NORM position, itdrives each ambience speaker withprocessed signals from its ownchannel. The CONT setting contractsthe sound stage somewhat by driv-ing both the left and right ambiencespeakers with a signal derived fromthe sum of the two channels IL + R,or mono), and the EXP setting ex-pands the stage by sending the chan-nel -difference signal (L - R).

The time delay for the ambiencesubsystems can be varied in threesteps by switches on the front panel.To ensure that the sound from theambience drivers is delayed by atleast 20 but less than 30 millisec-onds, the time -delay control accom-modates speaker -to -wall distancesof from 11fri to 10 feet. On the rear ofthe controller are input and outputjacks for connection to AR's gener-al-purpose Model SRC remote -con-trol unit ($159), which considerablysimplifies making level and balanceadjustments on the ambience speak-ers from the listening position. Weused one in our listening tests,though it is not essential for homeinstallation.

The cables connecting the con-troller to the two enclosures carrysignals coming from the main sys-tem power amplifier to the control-

ler's ambience circuits and returnthe delayed signal from the control-ler's power -amplifier outputs to theambience speakers. The main sys-tem amplifier can be any compo-nent capable of driving the primaryspeakers alone, and it is hooked updirectly to the primary speaker sub-systems with any type of cable theuser chooses. The controller unitmeasures 17 x 11 x 4 inches and ispowered by house current.

Unque SoundMeasurements on a speaker as

unusual as the MGC-1 can do littlemore than confirm the stated theoryof operation and give a rough indi-cation of the capabilities of the sys-tem compared with those of morefamiliar types. Our tests confirmedthe basic fine quality of the MGC-1.as evidenced particularly by thevery smooth response of its primarysubsystem and by the most prodi-gious power -handling capacity wehave yet encountered (see boxabove). But with this speaker aswith any other, the true proof of thepudding is in the listening.

With the ambience driversswitched off from the remote con-trol, the sound from the MGC-1'swas very "dry," containing only thereverberation provided in the re-cording. The narrow directionalityof the primary speakers made thesound almost anechoic; we haveonly heard a similar absence of lis-tening -room effects when listeningthrough well -isolating circumauralheadphones! The imaging, however,was outstanding, with phantom(Continued on page 101)

;.r r

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by Gordon Sell

s the cost of owning orrenting a decentamount of livingspace in a desirablecity neighborhood

becomes more and moreprohibitive, many adven-turous urbanites are con-verting old factory lofts intoextremely spacious apart-ments. With their amplefloor space and high ceil-ings, lofts make fantastichi-fi listening rooms.

The New York City con-verted loft pictured here isowned by a successful ad-vertising executive whoasked us not to give hisname, since he doesn't wantto advertise his system tothe local midnight movers.The focal point of the sys-tem is a pair of Quad ESL -63's in the living room (atright) with an Audio -ProB2-50 powered subwoofer(under the fern in the lowerright photo) to augment thedeep bass.

The Quads are driven by

a Quad 405.2 power ampli-fier that is rated at 100watts per channel. Othercomponents in the system(shown above) include aQuad Model 44 preampli-

fier, a Quad FM -4 tuner, aDenon DP -75 turntablewith a Denon DL -305 mov-ing -coil cartridge, an NECCD -803 Compact Discplayer, and a Denon DR -M44 cassette deck.

The owner uses this sys-tem for listening to his ex-tensive collection of classi-cal and jazz CD's and LP's.When the first Beta Hi-FiVCR's hit the market acouple of years ago, he alsobought an NEC video mon-itor/receiver and an NECBeta Hi-Fi VCR. Initiallyhe put the VCR with the hi-fi electronics and the moni-tor/receiver between thespeakers. It certainlyworked well, but he didn'tlike the look of a TV tubebetween the Quads.

The solution was to rear--

range the layout of theapartmentsomething thatis relatively easy to do in aloft-and create a large al-cove off the living room tobe used for video. His cur-rent video system (shown inthe lower right photograph)teams the VCR and moni-tor/receiver with a DenonDRA-400 receiver and KEF101 speakers for high -sound -quality video withoutupsetting the aesthetics ofhis hi-fi listening.

After living with it for ayear, the owner is very hap -


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py with the separate audioand video setup. He mostlyuses it for watching rentedmovies, recording concertson TV, and just normal TVwatching. In a few monthshe plans to buy a stereo -TVadaptor for the monitor/re-ceiver and perhaps a VHSHi-Fi VCR. After that, hesays, he might consider asurround -sound decoderand maybe a video -discplayer.

The total suggested retailprice of all the equipmentshown is roughly $12,000.0


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nURING this year's celebra-tions of the three -hun-dredth anniversary of thebirth of Johann Sebastian

Bach you may suddenly be struckby the power and beauty of hismusic. If you decide to start a basiccollection of Bach on records, youwill be faced with two obstacles: thestaggering amount of music hewrote and the problem of choosingfrom the many available recordingsof each work.

To help you overcome these ob-stacles I have designed the followingdiscography to guide you throughthe various types of music that Bachwrote. Under each heading I listfirst the compositions I consider themost attractive and then move tosome of the more obscure ones. Istart with the vocal music simplybecause it was Bach's most typicalmedium of expression. If your pref-erence is for instrumental music,however, by all means skip to thosesections to begin.

Styles for performing Bach havechanged radically since World WarII. The romantic style was universaluntil the Fifties. Interpretation wassubjective, and the performerbrought his own personality to themusic. With the advent of the mod-ern style after the war, performerssubmerged their individuality andsought to perform Bach's music as itappeared on the printed page. Dur-ing the last two decades, musicolo-gists have discovered many docu-ments that tell us about early per-formance practices, like rhythmicalterations and embellishments,that were taken for granted and didnot appear in the music as written.

During this same period, therewas a growing interest in earlyinstruments such as the harpsichordand recorder. The authentic per-former plays on original instru-ments (or reproductions of them)and incorporates stylistic manner-isms employed at the time. Heattempts, in other words, to playBach as Bach would have played.

Bach recordings are available inall three styles. Although all aremusically valid, connoisseurs voicestrong preferences, and if you can -



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A record buyer's guide to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach

by Stoddard Lincoln

not stand the sound of early instru-ments, it is essential to know whichperformance to choose and which toavoid. Performances in all threestyles have been included belowwhenever possible.

Choosing from some twohundred cantatas is a hit-or-missproposition. The best plan is tobegin with one that includes a famil-iar movement that is often per-formed separately, such as the pop-ular "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"from Cantata No. 147, Herz undMund und Tat und Leben. An Angelrecording of the whole work (S-36804) has for its soloists EllyAmeling, Janet Baker, Ian Par-tridge, and John Shirley -Quirk, withDavid Willco*cks conducting the all -male chorus of King's College Cha-pel, Cambridge. The style is mod-ern, the performance wonderful.

Two other cantatas that fulfillthese requirements are No. 80, Ein'feste Burg ist unser Gott, and No.140, Wachet auf. Both are on Phil-ips (6514 097) with the LondonVoices and the English ChamberOrchestra conducted in the modernstyle by Raymond Leppard. Thesolo vocal quartet is comprised ofElly Ameling, Linda Finnie, AldoBaldin, and Samuel Ramey, who allcontribute rousing performances.

There are two excellent discs con-taining cantatas for a single voice,both performed in authentic style.One features soprano Judith Nelsonin an exquisite rendering of CantataNo. 210, 0 holder Tag, erwanschteZeit (Nonesuch 1-79013), and theother has the bass Max van Egmondin a moving performance of CantataNo. 56, the Kreutzstab Cantata, andNo. 82, Ich habe genug (Pro ArtePAL -1012).

Having sampled the cantatas inthe modem and authentic styles, thenext logical work to tackle is thejoyous Magnificat with its festivechoruses. A splendid recording inthe modern style, which includes a

few of the Christmas interpolations,is the one by the Choir of King'sCollege, Cambridge, and the Acade-my of St. Martin -in -the -Fields, Phil-ip Ledger conducting (Argo ZRG854), with Felicity Palmer, HelenWatts, Robert Tear, and StephenRoberts. An equally spirited readingin the authentic style is played bythe Concentus Musicus conductedby Nikolaus Harnoncourt with Hil-degard Heichele, Helrun Gardow,Paul Esswood, Kurt Equiluz, andRobert Holl (Teldec T42955).

Considered by many to be one ofthe artistic monuments of Westerncivilization, the Mass in B Minormust occupy a central place in anyBach collection. Herbert von Kara-jan conducts the Vienna Singvereinand Berlin Philharmonic in a gran-diose, romantic performance withGundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig,Peter Schreier, Robert Kerns, andKarl Ridderbusch (DG 2709 049).In contrast to this sumptuous inter-pretation is an authentic perform-ance by Joshua Rifkin (Nonesuch 1-79036) with one voice to a part. TheMass is thus reduced to a kind ofchamber music in which you canclearly hear the inner working ofBach's counterpoint, albeit at theexpense of a lush orchestral andchoral sound.

The most dramatic of the largechoral works are the Passions,which recount the events of HolyWeek. Bach's portrayal of theseevents in the St. Matthew Passion isso powerful that you feel like an eye-witness. Nikolaus Harnoncourt'sauthentic reading (Teldec T35047)with the Vienna Choir Boys, theKing's College Choir of Cambridge,and the Concentus Musicus is beau-tifully paced.

The St. John Passion is moremodest in its forces, and you feelthat it was written as a contempla-tion of past events. In this instanceyou would do well with Karl Rich-ter's modern performance (Archiv

2710 002) with the full-bodiedsound of the Mtinchener Bach-Chorand Orchestra.

Six cantatas Bach composed forthe Christmas season are now tradi-tionally performed as a single orato-rio recounting the Christmas story.A joyous, authentic performance ofthis work is the one by the Colle-gium Aureum conducted by Ger-hard Schmidt-Gaden (Pro Arte2PAL-3003).

Probably the most popular type oforchestral music during Bach's timewas the concerto, and certainly themost popular concerti grossi everwritten are those Bach dedicated tothe Margrave of Brandenburg. Re-cordings of the Brandenburg Con-certos are myriad. The most excit-ing modern and virtuosic perform-ance is conducted by Neville Mar-riner with the Academy of St. Mar-tin -in -the -Fields (Philips 6769 058).Equally thrilling is an authentic per-formance by the Amsterdam Ba-roque Orchestra conducted fromthe harpsichord by Ton Koopman(Erato/RCA NUM 751342).

Bach was also a master of dancemusic, which is heard in his fourOrchestral Suites. The most capti-vating performance of these is anauthentic one conducted by JohnEliot Gardiner with the English Ba-roque Soloists (Erato/RCA NUM75076).

The most attractive albums of thevigorous concerted music for violininclude the Violin Concertos in EMajor and A Minor and the Con-certo in D Minor for Two Violins.Gidon Kremer, overdubbing in thedouble concerto, turns in a nervous-ly exciting performance with theAcademy of St. Martin -in -the -Fields (Philips 411 108-1), and Si-giswald Kuijken displays the beau-ties of the Baroque violin in anauthentic performance with La Pe-tite Bande (Pro Arte PAD -124).

The most Baroque sounding ofthe concertos, of course, are those


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for one, two, three, or four harpsi-chords. Trevor Pinnock and threefellow harpsichordists bring theseworks to life in authentic perform-ances with the English Concert (Ar-chly 2723 077).

"in u:srAlthough Bach wrote compara-

tively little chamber music, histhree sets of sonatas offer a widerange of listening experiences. Inorder to hear the delicate balancebetween string instruments andharpsichord, it is essential to getauthentic performances on early in-struments. The finest set containsthe six Sonatas for Violin and Harp-sichord in incisive performances byCarol Lieberman and Mark Kroll(Titanic TI -33/34). The three Sona-tas for Viola da Gamba and Harpsi-chord will possibly introduce you tothat supple ancestor of the cello,and a pleasant way to make itsacquaintance is in an authentic per-formance by Catherina Meints withDoris Ornstein (Gasparo GS -212).

While the authenticity of some ofthe flute sonatas may be question-able, they are all splendid and canbe had in sparkling modern per-formances by Maxence Larrieu andRafael Puyana (Philips 6768 176).

Unique in chamber music is TheMusical Offering, Bach's treatmentof a theme given to him by Freder-ick the Great. This series of canons,ricercars, and a trio sonata is ab-struse but hypnotic. The best mod-ern version is by Neville Marrinerwith the Acadamy of St. Martin -in -the -Fields (Philips 9500 585).

Bach was best known during hislifetime as an organist, and the bestway to become familiar with hisorgan repertoire, which does not fallinto any neat categories, is to pur-chase a collection of varied workssuch as the album by Marie -ClaireAlain (Erato/RCA NUM 75053). Itcontains modern performances ofthe Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,the Passacaglia and Fugue in G Mi-nor, the "Little" Fugue in G Minor,


and the Concerto in A Minor afterVivaldi. If you like Alain's clean-cut, straightforward playing, also gether collection of the Schtibler Cho-rales and excerpts from the Orgel-bachlein (Erato/RCA NUM 75064).If you wish to sample the colossalmachinery of the theater organ,there are two volumes coveringsome of the same repertoire in spec-tacular romantic performances byMichael Murray (Telarc DG -10049and DG -10088).

The same anthology approach isalso a very good way to becomefamiliar with the harpsichord litera-ture. Most anthology albums in-clude the Chromatic Fantasy andFugue in D Minor, the Italian Con-certo, and a French suite or partita.Robert Edward Smith offers such acollection (Towerhill T-1005) in theromantic style, and Igor Kipnis'santhology in the modern style isexcellent (Angel RL-32126).

Bach is equally effective andbeautiful when played on the mod-ern piano. Obeisance must certainlybe made to pianist Rosalyn Tureck,the "High Priestess" of Bach, whoseclaim to that lofty title is demon-strated in her collection for CBSMasterworks (M 35822). Also in themodern style is Alicia de Larrocha'slovely collection on London (CS6748).

After these samplings, if you pre-fer your Bach played on the harpsi-chord, continue with Christopher

Hogwood's authentic recording ofthe French Suites (L'Oiseau-Lyre411 811-1), Trevor Pinnock's exu-berant, authentic Goldberg Varia-tions (Archiv 2533 425), and Gus-tav Leonhardt's austerely authenticrecording of the stately EnglishSuites (Pro Arte 3PAL-3004). If youfeel more comfortable with Bach onthe piano (and don't be afraid toadmit it-many collectors do), tryGlenn Gould's fabled recording ofthe Goldberg Variations (CBS IM37779) or his flamboyant reading ofthe Partitas (CBS D3S 754).

With the rising popularity of theguitar, many guitarists are turningto Bach's lute music and playing iteffectively on their modern instru-ments. John Williams, for instance,brings his artistry to bear on thesewonderful works in a modern per-formance on CBS (M2 33510).

Music for unaccompanied stringinstruments is an acquired taste, butone well worth acquiring. The bestplan is to begin with the lower sono-rities of the cello, preferably theBaroque cello with its clear, focusedtone. The six Suites for Unaccom-panied Cello are especially delight-ful in an authentic recording byAnner Bylsma (Pro Arte PAL -3001), but don't overlook Yo YoMa's energetic performances on themodern cello (CBS I3M 37867).

Last but not least come the Parti-tas and Sonatas for UnaccompaniedViolin. The best recording, barnone, is an authentic one by Sigis-wald Kuijken (Harmonia Mundi,Germany, 1C 3LP 157).

I hope this discography has guid-ed you through the most importantof Bach's works-that it will helpyou develop preferences for authen-tic or modern performances of hismusic by giving you some alterna-tives in the recorded literature bywhich to nurture those tastes. Muchhas been left out, but if you followthese suggestions (and survive fi-nancially), you will be well qualifiedto search out the rest and makechoices commensurate with yourhard-won knowledge. 0


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RECORD MAKERSby Christie Barter& Steve Simels

IF you're wondering whatPaul McCartney is doing

here with the great actor thelate Sir Ralph Richardson,you're not alone. You'reprobably one of the millionsof people who stayed awayfrom McCartney's movieGive My Regards to BroadStreet, a musical fantasy inwhich Sir Ralph made one ofhis final screen appearances.Widely regarded as the Heav-en's Gate of rock musicals,the film was an utter box-office disaster despite the hitsingle it spawned (No MoreLonely Nights) and the pres-ence of the irrepressible Rin-go Starr. (Interestingly, theonly place where the filmmade any money was GreatBritain.)

Just how bad is BroadStreet, really? Well, now youcan find out in the privacy ofyour living room. CBS/Foxhas just released it on video

Burton as 1l Wagner

cassette (VHS and Beta Hi-Fi) for a piddling $29.95, witha LaserDisc version promisedin the near future.

SPEAKING of final filmappearances, one of the

late Richard Burton's last wasin the role of Richard Wagnerin a nine -hour epic based onthe composer's life. Titledsimply Wagner, the film willbe shown in the U.S. for thefirst time this month. TheAmerican premiere takesplace June 1 at Lincoln Cen-ter's Alice Tully Hall under

Richardson and McCartney: Broad Street blues?

the sponsorship of the Wag-ner Society of New York andOpera News, the Metropoli-tan Opera Guild publication.

The second screening ofWagner is scheduled for June9 at the Baird Auditorium inWashington, D.C., to benefitthe Smithsonian Institution,and the third will be pre-sented on June 22 by the SanFrancisco Opera. A shorter -than -nine -hour version willgo into general U.S. releaselater this year.

Co-starred with Burton isVanessa Redgrave, who playsthe composer's second wife,Cosima, while Britain's threegreat actor-knights-Sir Lau-rence Olivier, Sir John Giel-gud, and Sir Ralph Rich-ardson-appear in lesserroles in their first film to-gether. Cameo performancesare also turned in by the latecomposer Sir William Wal-ton, soprano Gwyneth Jones,and tenor Peter Hofmann.

Sir Georg Solti conductsthe London Philharmonic,the Vienna Philharmonic, andthe Budapest Symphony onthe soundtrack of the film.London Records has com-piled an album of music usedin the picture from its record-ings of the Vienna Philhar-monic conducted by Solti.

EVERY year the NewYork Philharmonic digs

into its archives for a historicrecording to offer contribu-tors to the annual WQXRRadiothon, which benefitsthe orchestra's general fund.This year's is a two -record (or

two -cassette) set titled "GreatConductors as Soloists withthe New York Philhar-monic." The performanceswere broadcast between 1936and 1975 and have never be-fore been released. They in-clude Leonard Bernstein aspianist and conductor, withJohn Corigliano, violin, andLaszlo Varga, cello, in Bee-thoven's i riple Concerto andDimitri Mitropoulos as pian-ist and conductor in Proko-fiev's Third Piano Concerto.There's also a track featuringBruno Walter on piano ac-companying Kirsten Flagstadin Wagner's WesendonckSongs. The price is $20, fromRadiothon, 132 West 65thStreet, New York, NY10023.

MozAnrs three mostpopular operas and

Beethoven's only one havebeen released on home videotape by Video Arts Interna-tional in performances taped

Von Stade as Cherubino

live at Britain's Glynde-bourne Festival. The three byMozart are The Magic Flute,in a production designed byDavid Hockney, with a castheaded by Benjamin Luxonand Felicity Lott under Ber-nard Haitink's direction; TheMarriage of Figaro, withthree world -class sopranos-Ileana Cotrubas, Fredericavon Stade, and Dame Kiri TeKanawa; and a Don Giovanniwith Luxon in the title role.Beethoven's Fidelio featuresElisabeth Stiderstrtim asLeonora with Haitink con-ducting. The London Phil-harmonic plays in all fourproductions, and all four aresubtitled in English.

To sample a bit of Glynde-bourne as it has been knownto British audiences for overhalf a century, tune in to theArts & Entertainment Net-work on June 6 for a ninety-

Te Kanawa and Carreras

minute video documentarytitled Glyndebourne, A Cele-bration of Fifty Years. Filmedlast summer, for the mostpart, it offers glimpses of howGlyndebourne works-onboth sides of the footlights.Included are scenes from the1973 Figaro, cited above,with Von Stade, Te Kanawa,and Cotrubas.

N his new recording ofWest Side Story for

Deutsche Grammophon,Leonard Bernstein conductsthe music from his 1957 hitmusical, and he's assembledan all-star trio of opera sing-ers to fill the major roles: KiriTe Kanawa as Maria, thePuerto Rican Juliet of thepiece, Jose Carreras as herAnglo Romeo, and TatianaTroyanos as the street -smart


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RECORD<,Anita (see review on page 88).But note the two names cred-ited with the few lines of dia-logue spoken by the star-crossed Maria and Tony-Nina and Alexander Bern-stein. They are the youngertwo of the composer's threechildren, who are makingtheir recording debuts withthis album.

POLICE, where is thySting? Well, as a matter

of fact, everybody's favoriteAryan hunk can be seen herefronting his very own newband at a recent show at theRitz, the Manhattan rockclub. Apparently deadly seri-

Sting: on his own

ous about a solo career with-out his bandmates in the Po-lice, Sting (n6 Gordon Sum-ner) is currently working witha group of young jazz heavy-weights including BranfordMarsalis and Weather Re-port drummer Omar Hakim.The ensemble's first album isbrand new on A&M, and alive album and tour are al-ready scheduled for the fall.Future Police plans, mean-while, are very much up inthe air.

THE Chamber Orchestraof Europe, which com-

pleted its first U.S. tour ear-lier this year, made its formaldebut in London four yearsago. None of the orchestra'smembers admit to being overthirty years old, but it is a cos-mopolitan group that hasspent a good deal of its timeand youthful energy making


records-with an im-pressive number of im-pressive conductors.

Just released on CBS is theorchestra's performance inRossini's newly re-edited LaDonna del Lago, with pianistMaurizio Pollini conducting.Awaiting release in the nextfew months are Mozart'sSymphonies Nos. 40 and 41,conducted by Sir Georg Soltifor London Records, and an-other Rossini opera, Viaggioa Reims, conducted by Clau-dio Abbado for DG.

WANT to see a "mouse"in action? Want to

learn how to "paint" on acomputer? Or how one ofAmerica's leading contempo-rary painters does it after tak-ing three months off to learnthe technique himself? Thenlook into a new laser -readvideo disc produced by Inter-active Media Corporationcalled Philip Pearlstein Drawsthe Artist's Model.

The disc serves in part as acatalog of Pearlstein's well-known bleached nudes andother paintings and in part asa documentary of the artist inhis studio, in his classes, andat the opening of one of hisretrospective shows. But itsmain interest to a lot of view-ers will be what he creates onthe little screen with a com-puter -graphics "tablet" and avariety of electronic pens andmarkers, one of them called amouse.

Pearlstein is thus in theforefront among painters indoing what many musicianshave been doing for sometime: that is, using advanceddigital and computer technol-ogies as tools in the service oftheir art.


Petersen: on camera

No, that's not one ofPlayboy magazine's

Girls of the Ivy League, butyou're close-it's one of Play-boy Video's Girls of Rock &Roll. The premise of the tape,distributed by CBS/Fox, issimplicity itself take a bunchof totally unknown but amplyendowed young rock sou-brettes, including the never -to -be -forgotten Michelle Rohland (pictured here) DagmarPetersen, make expensive -looking videos with them thatare quite blatant, soft -corep*rn, and then tie the wholepackage up with backstage,behind -the -scenes interviews,the aural equivalents of thefact sheets Playboy thought-fully provides with its Bunnypictorials.

As rock-and-roll, all thismay be somewhat, er, un-authentic (though it's not thatfar removed from most ofwhat's on MTV ), but if you'rethe type who can find some-thing simultaneously exploi-

Pearlstein's "Female Model on Plat orm Rocker" (1982)

tative and hilarious, you'llprobably agree that this is thegreatest unintentional come-dy video since Pioneer un-leashed the Men of Chippen-dales in Muscle Motion onLaserDi sc.

HEAVY-METAL mavenswill doubtless recognize

the chummy -looking duo pic-tured here as Kevin DuBrowand Carlos Cavzo of QuietRiot. But what are these twonotorious rowdies doing inthe sedate, respectable pagesof America's largest -sellingmusic and equipment maga-zine? Well, it has come to ourattention that they haveachieved a Historic First. Atthe close of their recent, wild-ly successful tour of the FarEast, Quiet Riot became thefirst heavy-metal band to playa major stadium show inGuam, where they were per-sonally introduced to a riot-ous sold -out audience by theisland's governor, the honor-able Ricardo J. Bordallo. Thethanks of a grateful nation goto all parties connected withthis epochal event.

DuBrow and Cavzo: on Guam

GRACE NOTES: Headbang-ers everywhere will be

delighted to hear that Factson File has just published thefirst -ever (to our knowledge)International Encyclopedia ofHard Rock and Heavy Metal,a 400 -page tome that goesfrom A (Accept) to Z (Z. Z.Top). . . . Warner Brothers'video division is planning aposthumous tape tribute toPeter Ivers, the singer/song-writer and host of NightFlight's New Wave Theater,who was murdered two yearsago under mysterious circum-stances.... Coming up soonfrom Kartes Video: newlyedited home versions of near-ly 190 hours of country -musicfootage from the Fifties. 0.

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Stereo Review's criticschoose the outstandingcurrent releases


THE latest musical import is aBritish group led by a twen-ty -four -year -old womanwho is as classy as a Rolls

Royce but whose music is as con-temporary as the current fashions.Her name is Sade (pronouncedShah -DAY) Adu, and she and herthree instrumentalists just callthemselves Sade. She possesses amodel's statuesque beauty, with asculptured face that has graced thecovers of seventeen British maga-zines in the past year. More to thepoint, she sounds just as good as shelooks, and she shows signs of beinga talented songwriter as well.

Sade's album "Diamond Life,"which has already sold more than amillion copies overseas, was recent-ly released in the U.S. on Portrait. Ithas a sophisticated pop sound, withtraces of jazz in the instrumentalsand Caribbean and African in-fluences in the rhythms and tex-tures. It took two years to complete,and the care taken by everyoneinvolved shows. The use of rhythmis tasteful and imaginative, the mel-odies are carefully crafted and easyto remember, and the lyrics havereal substance. All these elementsreflect the many influences on themaking of Sade Adu as an artist.

Sade Adu was born in Nigeria ofan African father and a Britishmother, who returned to Englandwith her daughter and a son whenthe marriage was dissolved. Grow-ing up in a bourgeois backwater thathad a total black population ofthree, Sade fell in love with Ameri-can music, particularly the soundsof such soul singers as MarvinGaye, Al Green, Nina Simone, andBillie Holiday. After studying fash-ion design at St. Martin's College inLondon and launching a career in

Sade: carefully crafted, sophisticated pop with a jazz flavor

that field, she turned to music andjoined a British jazz -funk groupcalled Pride.

Now group, anda good one it is. She co -wrote all butone of the songs with Stuart Mat-thewman, who plays saxophone andguitar, providing a firm musicalfoundation for the group. AndrewHale, on keyboards, contributes tothe jazz flavor that elevates thegroup's music above the ordinary,and Paul S. Denman is an unobtru-sive but effective bassist. Sade her-self delivers the songs with a cool,almost detached style that isstrangely effective. They go downeasily, but passion, anguish, and a

subdued kind of social commentaryare woven into them.

"Diamond Life" is not an albumto knock you off your feet or over-whelm you with sheer power, but itwill yield greater satisfaction eachtime you listen to it. Phyl Garland

SADE: Diamond Life. Sade (vocals);Stuart Matthewman (saxophone, gui-tar); Andrew Hale (keyboards); Paul S.Denman (bass). Smooth Operator; YourLove Is King; Hang On to Your Love;Frankie's First Affair; When Am I Go-ing to Make a Living; Cherry Pie; Sally;I Will Be Your Friend; Why Can't WeLive Together. PORTRAIT BFR 39581,© BFT 39581, © RK 39581, no listprice.


RUDOLF SERKIN'S new re-cording of Mozart pianoconcertos, in his continu-ing series with Claudio Ab-

bado and the London SymphonyOrchestra on Deutsche Grammo-phon, brackets the last of the con-certos, No. 27, in B -flat Major (K.595), with No. 8, in C Major (K.246). This appears to be Serkin's

third recording of K. 595 but hisfirst of the earlier work.

Serkin is a good deal more leisure-ly in his new reading of the great B -flat Concerto than he was in his ear-ly recordings of it with AlexanderSchneider and the late Eugene Or-mandy-leisurely, but by no meansunderanimated. If he lingers overthe familiar phrases now, he does soin a way that brings out their indi-vidual beauty without in any wayimpeding the flow of the music orrobbing it of its natural momentum.The contrasts in tempo from onemovement to the next may be a lit-tle blunted in this approach, and in


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providing so thoroughgoing a part-nership Abbado has had to sacrificea degree of crispness in favor of amellower and somewhat "rounder"orchestral presence than some lis-teners may consider ideal in thismusic. But the partnership is excep-tional, almost as exceptional as Ser-kin's playing of the solo part. Norhas long familiarity with the con-certo in any way dulled the pianist'sregard for textural authenticity asillumined by the latest scholarship.In short, this recording is in a veryspecial class. You can treasure it forits own sake, not just because it is"better than" or even "differentfrom" some other versions.

In the earlier and admittedlyslighter concerto, Serkin's approachis, appropriately, somewhat crisperand more energetic. But again yousense his deep affection for the mu-sic in his every phrase and in theresponse he draws from Abbadoand the orchestra. The quality of therecording itself, in both works, en-sures that all the vividness of theirmusic making, as well as its affec-tionate character, comes throughwith the fullest impact, especiallyon CD. Richard Freed

MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 8, in CMajor (K. 246); Piano Concerto No. 27,in B -flat Major (K. 595). Rudolf Serkin(piano); London Symphony, ClaudioAbbado cond. DEUTSCHE GRAMMO-PHON 0 410 035-I $10.98, © 410 035-4$10.98, 0 410 035-2 no list price.

Serkin: in a special class


It is an easy thing to triumph in thesummer's sun

And in the vintage and to sing on thewaggon loaded with corn. . . .

It is an easy thing to rejoice in thetents of prosperity:

Thus could I sing and thus rejoice; butit is not so with me.

William Blake

WHEN Warner Brotherssevered its sixteen -year association withVan Morrison last

year, most people who work in oraround the music industry wereshocked and saddened. But not wor-ried. Happily, Morrison is back. "ASense of Wonder," his first albumfor Mercury (and the fifteenth of hissolo career) may suffer from adreadful jacket, but it works whereit counts-in the music.

Like most of Van Morrison'swork, "A Sense of Wonder" is partrhythm-and-blues, part gospel, partfolk music, and part poetry. Morethan any other popular -music artist,Morrison has the power to makeyou stop, disengage from the killingpace of life, and consider for amoment the overlooked world-afallen leaf, a well -traveled road, asimple sentiment-without beingmawkish about it. "A Sense ofWonder" makes you stop and takestock. The title track, for example, isan imaginary walk in an Irish vil-lage, sunlit and autumn colored.

This is also a deeply spiritualalbum, though with no particularreligious axe to grind. Rather, Mor-rison conveys an overarching spiri-tual presence, a mystical force forgood. The theme is treated explicit-ly, almost devotionally, in Ancientof Days and The Master's Eyes, buteven in A New Kind of Man and ASense of Wonder the presence ofsome watchful being is implicit.Morrison's mysticism is neverforced or affected; in fact, it'sstrangely convincing (strange for aflinty empiricist like me, anyway)largely because of his humanity andoptimism.

Perhaps nowhere is this mysti-cism more in evidence than in Letthe Slave, an arrangement of versesfrom William Blake's Songs of Inno-cence and Experience. First in hus-ky, soulful song and then in sharplyspoken monologue, Morrison de-livers Blake's chastening reproachto the self-satisfied and self-right-eous, that "everything that lives isholy." As I listened, I felt as thoughI'd been slapped in the face. If thiswere the only song on the album, Iwould still urge you to pay whateveryou had to pay to get it.

The compositions and arrange-ments on "A Sense of Wonder" rep-resent a retreat from the experi-ments with synthesizer on Morri-son's two last Warner albums, "In-articulate Speech of the Heart" and"Beautiful Vision." "Wonder" isreally much closer to "AstralWeeks" or "Tupelo Honey"-acoustic, moderately paced, inti-mate. The classic Van Morrison sig-natures-female gospel chorus,bluesy sax, and that wonderfully

74 STERFo RFNIF:injuNF 1985

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soulful growl-are all here. Theback-up personnel are essentiallythe same as Morrison has used forhis last three albums, probably thefinest group he's worked with, andthe performances are, as you'd ex-pect, perfectly attuned to his singu-lar vision. All of which makes onewonder what Warner Brothers wasthinking about-and makes one re-joice that this great artist would notbe silenced. Mark Peel

VAN MORRISON: A Sense of Won-der. Van Morrison (vocals, guitar); vo-cal and instrumental accompaniment.Tore Down a la Rimbaud; Ancient ofDays; Evening Meditation; The Mas-ter's Eyes; What Would I Do WithoutYou; A Sense of Wonder; Boffyflow andSpike: If You Only Knew; Let the Slave(The Price of Experience): A New Kindof Man. MERCURY 822 895-1 $8.98, 0822 895-4 $8.98, © 822 895-2 no listprice.


ND still they come-yet morenew recordings of the mostendearing of Mahler's sym-

phonies, the Fourth, withits closing evocation of a peasantchild's vision of life in the hereafter.Bernard Haitink's new one on Phil-ips, the twentieth in the currentSchwann, is the sixth digital record-ing and the fifth available on Com-pact Disc. Haitink is, of course, aseasoned Mahler interpreter, and

Haitink: seasoned

Alexander: visions of innocence

his Concertgebouw Orchestra has atradition of Mahler performancethat goes back to concerts led by thecomposer himself.

Warmth and a fine sense of flowcharacterize Haitink's new reading,and the sonics-at least on CD,which is the version I listened to-are rich and transparent almost to afault. The sonic clarity is particu-larly effective in the quietly satanicsecond movement with its swipes ofthe deliberately mistuned secondviolin and the eerie dry pizzicati.While Haitink's slow movementmay not achieve quite the rapt qual-ity of Szell's and Karajan's or theintensity of Tennstedt's, his timingof the great climax, with its timpani,cymbals, and bass drum, is well-nigh perfect.

Of special interest in the presentrecording is the contribution of thegifted American soprano RobertaAlexander, whose recent Etceterarecord of Ives songs has won wideattention. Giving voice to thechild's view of heavenly life in thefinale, she adopts a less naYve andmystical stance than some othershave done. For me, her interpreta-tion very convincingly suggests achild in the fresh bloom of adoles-cence recalling visions of a moreinnocent time. Her delivery iswarm, her enunciation flawless. It isfor her performance especially, aswell as the lovely recorded sound,that I would recommend this re-lease. David Hall

MAHLER: Symphony No. 4, in G Ma-jor. Roberta Alexander (soprano); Con-certgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitinkcond. PHIUPS 0 412 119-1 $10.98, ©412 119-4 $10.98, 412 119-2 no listprice.

NOW ON CDCompact Discs ofpreviously released LP's

POPULARO ANGELA BOFILL: Teaser. ARISTAACRD -8198. "Fiery attack, sustainedexcitement" (March 1984).

PEABO BRYSON: Straight fromthe Heart. ELEKTRA 60362-2. "One ofthe finest ballad -oriented pop albums ofthe year" (September 1984).

O IRENE CARA: What a Feelin'.GEFFEN 4021-2. "Flashdance revisited"(Apnl 1984).

O NEIL DIAMOND: Hot AugustNight. MCA MCAD-6896 two discs.Live at the Greek in L.A. (April 1979).

FRANKIE GOES TOHOLLYWOOD: Welcome to thePleasure Dome. ISLAND 90232-2 twodiscs. "Vision of a planet gone mad"(Apnl 1985).

O BETTE MIDLER: The DivineMiss M. ATLANTIC 7238-2. "A biggieon the Old Camp Trail" (April 1973).

O PINK FLOYD: The Wall.COLUMBIA C2K 36183 two discs. "Animposing edifice" (March 1980).

O STEVIE WONDER: JourneyThrough the Secret Life of Plants.TAmLA/MOrowm TAMD2-6127 twodiscs. "A journey of remarkable scope"(February 1980).

CLASSICALO BEETHOVEN: Fidelio. Behrens,Hofmann; Solti. LONDON 410 227-2two discs. "Strikingly lovely" (August1980).

O CHOPIN: Etudes; Polonaises;Preludes. Pollini. DG 413 794/5/6-2."Stunning" (August 1973).

O GERSHWIN: Porgy and Bess.Houston Grand Opera. RCARCD3-2109 three discs. "Fabulous"(September 1977).

ORFF: Carmina Burana. Muti.ANGEL CDC 7 47100 2. "Glorious"(December 1980).

O RAVEL: Bolero; La Valse; Valsesnobles et sentimentales. Ansermet.LONDON 414 046-2. "Done to anexquisite turn" (April 1965).

O SCHOENBERG: Gurrelieder.Ozawa. PHILIPS 412 511-2 two discs."Spectacular" (March 1980).

O R. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben;Don Juan. Reiner. RCA RCDI-5408."Vintage 1954, one of the greatest"(September 1964).

O VIVALDI: Oboe Concertos.Holltger, 1 Musici. PHILIPS 411 480-2"Perfection itself" (May 1977).


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rLASSICAL MUSIC,_, asirosatiti,Discs and tapesreviewedRobert Ac rtRichard FreedDavid HallStoddard Lincoln

AUBER: Fra Diavolo. Nicolai Gedda(tenor), Fra Diavolo; Mady Mesple (so-prano), Zerlina; Remi Corazza (tenor),Lord co*ckburn; Jane Berbie (mezzo-soprano), Lady Pamela; Thierry Dran(tenor), Lorenzo; Michel Trempont(baritone), Giacomo; Michel Hamel(tenor), Beppo; others. Jean LaforgeChoral Ensemble; Philharmonic Or-chestra of Monte -Carlo, Marc Soustrotcond. EMI/PATHS MARCONI CD 2700683two discs $25.96 (from InternationalBook and Record Distributors, 40-1124th St., Long Island City, NY 11101).

Performance: EbullientRecording: Excellent

Daniel -Francois Auber's one opera tosurvive the turn of the century withoutloss from public view was the rollickingstory of Fra Diavolo, a latter-day RobinHood, set in sunny Italy at a countryinn. Naturally, the innkeeper's daughteris the heroine of the piece; her fiance is abrigadier in the local constabulary whois dedicated to capturing Diavolo.There is a cardboard -cutout Englishcouple stopping over at the inn. Thereare Giacomo and Beppo, bunglinghenchmen of the protagonist. And thereis Diavolo himself, often in disguise, ofcourse, robbing the rich and at the sametime flirting with their wives. It's allthere, a completely unbelievable andvery funny plot.

Come to this dramatic romp withhappy and willing suspension of disbe-lief, and you will have a very good time.That is what the performers here musthave done, and the result is a delightfuland irresistible musical charade.

Nicolai Gedda brings to the part ofDiavolo swashbuckling verve, courtli-ness, and singing that is always beauti-fully styled and not infrequently gracedwith a lovely purity of tone. Like Alfre-do Kraus, he is a paragon of tastefulmusicality and well -trained, disciplinedvocalism-two areas wherein youngersingers might look to their example.

Mady Mesple, also no longer a new-comer to the French operatic scene,sings with infectious warmth, gracious






Soprano SOderstrom and piano accompanist Ashkenazy: magical

CONSIDERING that the genius ofFinland's Jean Sibelius was pri-marily manifested in his sym-phonies and orchestral tone

poems, Argo's new complete recordingof his songs comes as something of asurprise-but a welcome and most fas-cinating collection it is. The five -disc setoffers performances of uniformly highdistinction by the eminent artists TomKrause and Elisabeth SOderstrOm, withIrwin Gage and Vladimir Ashkenazyproviding top-drawer keyboard collabo-rations and Carlos Bonne!l playinglovely guitar accompaniments for theSwedish -language versions of twoShakespeare songs. All ninety-threesongs, at least a third of them apparent-ly new to discs, were recorded betweenDecember 1978 and November 1981 inthe warm acoustic surround of Lon-don's Kingsway Hall.

Only ten of the songs are sung bySOderstrOm, but a conspicuous high-light among them is her performance ofthe extraordinary Jubal, Op. 35, No. 1,set to a highly symbolic text by theSwedish painter -poet Ernst Josephson.The freeflowing, at first unaccompaniedvocal line is later punctuated by a sparsebut wholly telling piano accompani-ment; it all adds up to an entirely magi-cal creation. Equally lovely is Sttder-strOm's delivery of A Dragon -fly, Op.17, No. 5, with its delicate touches ofhigh coloratura.

Krause is blessed with a voice of greatbeauty, and he is a past master at usingit to the finest artistic effect. Thefamous Svarta Rosor, which opens theset, is done to perfection, with a flawlessgradation of expressive intensity anddarkening of color as Josephson's wordsreach a final climax on the refrain "forsorrow's roses are black as night."

The dozen or so other favorite Sibe-lius songs-chiefly from Opp. 17, 36,and 37-fare beautifully in both sing-ers' interpretations here, but for me the

truly great Sibelius songs are the onesthat break away from the popular ro-mans, or romance, style best known inthe songs of Tchaikovsky. Among theseare On a Veranda by the Sea, Op. 38,No. 2, with its bold chromatic texture;the magnificent Hostkvall (AutumnEvening), of which Kirsten Flagstadmade a great recording with orchestralaccompaniment; and Teodora, the com-panion piece to Juba! in Op. 35, whichis as creepy as anything in RichardStrauss's Salome or Elektra. These areall pieces of startling originality andpower in which Sibelius seems to havebeen in the grip of a sort of creativedemon over which he had no consciouscontrol.

Then there is the incomparably poi-gnant setting of Come away, Deathfrom Twelfth Night. It is fascinating tocompare Krause's guitar -accompaniedperformance here (it's his second re-cording of it) with the several versionswith piano-and with the arrangementfor string orchestra and harp that Sibe-lius put to paper in the last year of hislife and that was included in the famousFlagstad LP (currently available inFrance on the Decca label).

Space does not permit further enu-meration of the other gem -like mina-tures that turn up in this complete sur-vey. I should note, though, that thealbum includes an elaborate forty -eight -page book with excellent notes by theSibelius authority Robert Layton andcomplete texts in the original languageand translations. Altogether, this releaserepresents a major contribution to therecorded art -song literature, and it is amust for lovers of Sibelius. David Hall

SIBELIUS: Complete Songs. ElisabethSOderstrOm (soprano); Tom Krause(baritone); Vladimir Ashkenazy, IrwinGage (piano); Carlos Bonnell (guitar).ARGO/POLYGRAM SPECIAL IMPORTS411 739-1 five discs $44.90.


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humor, and style; she manifestly enjoyswhat she is up to, and her feelings arecommunicated to the listener. As theEnglish couple, Jane Berbie and RemiCorazza are delightfully stuffy andproper, while Giacomo and Beppo arestraight out of Laurel and Hardy (in-deed, those two actors played thesesame parts in a 1933 film). As the love -smitten Lorenzo, Thierry Dran is ar-dent and unreasonable and sounds verygood indeed.

Supporting all of this heartwarmingnonsense is Auber's score-energetic,lilting, melodious, and filled with joiede vivre. It is not deep music; it is prob-ably not even first-rate music. But itteems with life, good humor, and a suresense of theater. And it is given a met-tlesome performance by Marc Soustrotand the forces assembled under hisdirection. R.A.

BACH: Badinerie (see MOZART)

BACH: Mass in B Minor. Arleen Auger(soprano); Julia Hamari (soprano andalto); Adalbert Kraus (tenor); WolfgangSchOne (baritone); Siegmund Nimsgern(bass); Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart;Bach Collegium Stuttgart, Helmut Rill-ing cond. CBS M3 39233 three discs, nolist price.

Performance: Very goodRecording: Excellent

In general, this is a fine performance ofthe B Minor Mass. Helmut Rilling'sapproach is straightforward, his pacingdignified. The soloists are excellent, es-pecially Arleen Auger and SigmundNimsgern, and they are skilled in en-semble singing with their fellow soloistsand instrumentalists. The choral soundis strong, clear, and well articulated, andthe instrumental sound is opulent andimpressive.

The chorus, however, contributesmost of the excitement in this perform-ance. Listen, for instance, to the incred-

ible explosion they make of the "etresurrexit" after the almost inaudible"sepultus est." But in addition to theirdramatic exposition of the text, theirdrive and rhythmic energy create manymoments of exquisite exaltation. Andthe fine trumpeters who add festive bril-liance to these moments deserve praiseas well.

Although there are some curious sty-listic discrepancies in performancepractice-missapplied French rhythmicalterations in some of the flute playingand a few unwanted slides by the violin-ists-the style is basically modern andserves this sturdy masterpiece well. Therecorded sound is superb. S.L.

BARTOK: String Quartets Nos. 1-6.Takacs Quartet. HUNGAROTONSLPD 12502/04 three discs $38.94.

Performance: PromisingRecording: Powerful

The four young members of the TakacsQuartet formed the ensemble ten yearsago, when they were still students at theLiszt Academy in Budapest, and now,having won several international com-petitions, they are in the midst of a four-year residency at the University ofColorado. You'd expect them to bring asure sense of authority to the BartOkquartets, but I found their performanceshere more "promising" than really ful-filling, suggesting that for all their im-pressive technical equipment and inten-sity of approach they have simply notdigested the works sufficiently.

The performances are impressivetechnically. There is a great deal of stun-ning playing and, indeed, very little thatis below the highest level, but I foundmyself admiring the players' soundmore than I was drawn into Bartok'sown sound world. What struck me inQuartet No. 1 was the coincidence thatSchoenberg and Bartok both assignedthe opus number 7 to their respectivefirst quartets and how smoothly and

rather anonymously the music un-folded-especially in the fast move-ments. While the aforementioned inten-sity is beautifully sustained in the slowmovements, it explodes in such pas-sages as the ends of the Third and FifthQuartets, where excessive speed pro-duces an impression of frenzy that shat-ters one's attention instead of holdingit. All too infrequently in the fast sec-tions-in the penultimate movement ofthe Sixth Quartet, for example (the Bur-letta)-does Bartok's personality comethrough wholly and unmistakably.

The sound itself seems to emphasizepower more than transparency, but it isgenerally good and well balanced. JanosKarpati's annotation is exceptionallycomprehensive and informative. R.F.

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9, in DMinor, Op. 125 ("Choral"). Janet Perry(soprano); Agnes Baltsa (contralto);Vinson Cole (tenor); Jose van Dam(baritone); Wiener Singverein; BerlinPhilharmonic Orchestra, Herbert vonKarajan cond. DEUTSCHE GRAMMO-PHON 410 987-2 no list price.

Performance: SolidRecording: Occasionally harsh

Karajan's fifth recording of the Bee-thoven Ninth, his first digitally re-corded one, is to serve as the sound-track of a Telemondial television pro-duction; this means, I believe, that atleast parts of it came from live takes. Ithas the same alto, baritone, and chorusas his fourth in 1977as part of his second stereo package ofall the Beethoven symphonies. Thatperformance is still circulating in thebig box and also separately, in a two -disc set with No. 8, while Karajan's1962 recording is available now on asingle LP in DG's Privilege series.

On balance, the 1977 version standsup best, I think, and this newest one isreally for those who simply must have aKarajan Ninth on CD. As a perform -

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ance, it is a bit more expansive, lesstaut, than his earlier ones (most notice-ably in the opening movement), but it ischaracteristically Karajan in its solidity,its reliability, its all-round integrity: tru-ly noble Beethoven, even if not a firstchoice. Again, as before, the repeat inthe scherzo is omitted, and the sonicfocus tends to make the chorus soundless than lustrous.

The two replacements in the soloquartet may represent the weakestpoints in the new performance. JanetPerry is unimpressive here, especially incomparison with Anna Tomowa-Sin-tow in the 1977 version. Vinson Coleactually does quite well in his marchepisode, even managing a certain Pat-zakian sweetness, but Peter Schreier, inthe 1977 recording, is on an altogetherhigher level.

This new performance is packagedwith the Fifth Symphony on LP andcassette, in which forms I have yet tohear it or the new Fifth. The sound is, tomy ear, not the huge improvement overits last analog predecessor one mighthave expected. Though it is smootherthan many other recordings made in thePhilharmonic, it's still a bit hard andtends occasionally toward a harshnesssevere enough to make listening un-comfortable. For a Ninth on CD-per-haps not an only version, but to alter-nate with a favored LP recording-mychoice would be Otmar Suitner's onDenon. It is a strong, warmhearted per-formance, the repeats are taken, the

sound, as is characteristic for Denon, isa prime demonstration of the capacitiesof the new medium at its smooth andstunning best. R. F.

BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 1 (seeMENDELSSOHN)

CHABRIER: Le Roi malgre lui. Barba-ra Hendricks (soprano), Minka; IsabelGarcisanz (soprano), Alexina; GinoQuilico (baritone), Henri de Valois; Pe-ter Jeffes (tenor), Nangis; Jean -PhilippeLafont (bass), Fritelli; Chris de Moor(bass), Lasky; others. Chorus and NewPhilharmonic Orchestra of RadioFrance, Charles Dutoit cond. ERATO/RCA 0 NUM 751623 three discs$21.98, C) MCE 751623 two cassettes$21.98.

Performance: AdmirableRecording: Well-balanced, clear

Based upon a fact of history-the briefand reluctant kingship of France's Hen-ri III in Poland-the story of Chabrier'sLe Roi malgre lui suffered at the handsof various librettists only to be finishedby the composer himself. The result isan appalling, virtually incomprehensi-ble mishmash of hidden identities,court intrigues, and ill-starred love af-fairs. That the final curtain descends ona resolved situation is miraculous.

But let's forget the book; it is themusic that sweeps us along. And beauti-ful music it is-elegant, lyrical, writtenwith a sure sense of dramatic purpose.

We all know the famous polonaise thatopens Act II, and it is undeniably ashow stopper, but the entire score teemswith music of the first order (a helpfulmusical analysis is part of this set'sexcellent notes on Chabrier and accom-panying libretto). The recording has,wisely, been stripped of the spoken dia-logue; instead, there are descriptions ofthe action taking place between the setpieces. The musical sections, as variedas the action they depict, are conductedby Charles Dutoit with uncommon feel-ing for Chabrier's many moods. Theyare also played and sung handsomely.

Barbara Hendricks sings very appeal-ingly as Minka, the slave girl, while Isa-bel Garcisanz, as Alexina, brings a finesense of drama to her part. Of the men,Gino Quilico distinguishes himself asHenri, singing with a warm, smooth,well -placed baritone, and Peter Jeffes,as Nangis, uses his clear, expressivevoice to portray his role affectingly. Thetwo basses execute their music with richsonority. In short, the opera is well castwith very cpmpetent singers.

Because of the difficulties inherent inthe libretto, my advice is to forget whatis going on and just listen. In doing so,you will be handsomely rewarded, foras a composer Chabrier had few con-temporary equals. R.A.

DEBUSSY: Chansons de jeunesse;Fetes galantes I; Trois melodies de Ver-laine; Deux romances. Anne -MarieRodde (soprano); Noel Lee (piano). ET-CETERA 0 1026 $12.98, 0 XTC 1026$12.98.

DEBUSSY: Trois chansons de Mikis:Trois chansons de France; Fetes ga-lantes 11. ENESCO: Sept chansons deClement Marot. ROUSSEL: Light, Op.19, No. 1; Deux melodies, Op. 20; Deuxpoemes chinois, Op. 35; Jazz dans lanuit, Op. 38. Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano); Roger Vignoles (piano). UNI-CORN-KANCHANA 0 DKP 9035 $11.98,

DKC 9035 $11.98, DKP(CD) 9035$ I 7.

Performances: SuperiorRecordings: Very good

Both of these recordings offer cultivatedperformances that share several pointsof excellence. Both singers are involvedin and identify with the music at handand they use the French language as apart of each song, articulating it beauti-fully and pronouncing it with excep-tional clarity. Both create from eachindividual song an arresting vignettethat is complete and whole unto itself,so that each collection is like pictureshung side by side in a museum. Andboth singers are meticulous in theirattention to the composer's musical de-sires. On occasion I found myself say-ing, "Ah, so that's what this song is allabout!"

Under these circ*mstances, is thereany basis to choose between the tworecords? The Enesco-Roussel-Debussyalbum by Sarah Walker obviously offersgreater musical variety, while Anne-

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Marie Rodde's all -Debussy programprovides a broad sampling of that com-poser's art. If I had to select one, I thinkmy vote would go to Walker, whosewarm, full, easily produced mezzo-soprano is at times luminous in itsexpressivity and, thanks to its middlerange, makes the poetry particularly un-derstandable. Rodde sings with sureknowledge of her material, but there is abit of French nasality in her voice. Evenso, she displays less of this quality thando most singers of French chansons.

Which should you buy? Why notboth? R.A.

DEBUSSY: Piano Trio in G Major.DVOITIAK: Trio in F Minor, Op. 65.Western Arts Trio. LAUREL LR-127$9.98.

Performance: FluentRecording: Close up

In the fall of 1880, while in Italy withTchaikovsky's patron Nadezhda vonMeck and her children, Debussy madehis only effort ever to compose a trio forpiano, violin, and cello. As David To-matz, the Western Arts Trio's cellist,advises in his comprehensive and ex-emplary annotation for this premiere

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recording, the music was presumed lostfor nearly a hundred years, till parts of itturned up at an auction in Paris andwere eventually given to the PierpontMorgan Library in New York.

The ten-minute piece is by an ob-viously gifted and obviously Frenchcomposer who had yet to begin formalcomposition studies and to become theClaude Debussy known to us. If wedon't insist on listening for the familiarcharacteristics, the music offers consid-erable enjoyment, though it is in no wayexceptional or particularly memorable.I think it would take real determinationto discover strong hints of the matureDebussy here. It is played with fluencyand conviction, however, and it doesmake an interesting filler for theDvofak Trio in F Minor, which oftentakes up two whole sides by itself (theDebussy is very sensibly placed first onthe disc).

The Dvotak, too, receives a verycompetent pefformance, though notone to displace my affection for therecordings of it by the Suk Trio and theBeaux Arts Trio. The sound is vividlyclear, but, to my ear, the extremely closefocus tends to give a raw edge to whatmight have sounded silky smooth in anaural perspective related more to theaudience than to the players. Asidefrom that, Laurel's usual productioncare is in evidence. R.F.

ENESCO: Sept chansons de ClementMarot (see DEBUSSY)

MAHLER: Symphony No. 4 (see Bestof the Month, page 75)

MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto inE Minor; Octet in E -flat Major. PinchasZukerman (violin, in concerto); SaintPaul Chamber Orchestra, Pinchas Zu-kerman cond. PHILIPS al 412 212-1$10.98, 412 212-4 $10.98, 412 212-2 no list price.

Performance: UnderanimatedRecording: Very good

MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto inE Minor. BRUCH: Violin Concerto No.1, in G Minor. Itzhak Perlman (violin);Concertgebouw Orchestra, BernardHaitink cond. ANGEL 0 DS -38150$11.98, (4) 4DS-38150 $11.98, 0 CDC47074-2 no list price.

Performance: Matter-of-factRecording: Excellent

No one need be told that Pinchas Zu-kerman is one of the supreme mastersof the violin, that he probably could notproduce an ugly sound if he tried, but inhis remake of the Mendelssohn con-certo his conductor lets him down. Forall the beautiful sounds, the perform-ance simply lacks animation. It is notmerely a matter of slow tempos. Cho-Liang Lin actually takes a bit longer toperform the concerto on CBS, but withMichael Tilson Thomas conducting,that performance (paired with Saint-Saens's Third Concerto) exudes a magi-cal vitality while Zukerman's merely


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seems cautious. In his overside accountof the octet the impression is much thesame except in the famous scherzo,which comes to such glowing life as tomake its companion movements seemespecially dull.

Itzhak Perlman, in his remake of thenow classic Bruch/Mendelssohn cou-pling, is a good deal more animatedthan Zukerman and has superb partnersin Bernard Haitink and his great orches-tra. But, for all Perlman's unarguablybeautiful fiddling, these new perform-ances strike me as somehow rather mat-ter-of-fact, lacking the irresistible con-viction of his earlier ones with AndrePrevin. Still, there is much enjoymentto be had from the new recording, andparticularly from the stunning CompactDisc version. R.F.

MOZART: Flute Concerto No. 1, in GMajor (K. 313). QUANTZ: Flute Con-certo in G Major. BACH: 13adinerie.Simion Stanciu (panpipes); ChamberOrchestra of Lausanne, Armin Jordancond. ERATO/RCA NUM 75187$10.98, © MCE 75187 $10.98, ECD88104 no list price.

Performance: StunningRecording: Very good

Yes, panpipes! The sound is clear,sweet, and penetrating, the articulationsharp and precise. Simion Stanciu pre-sents this remarkable device not as agimmick but as a serious musical in-strument, and his initial presentation,the Badinerie from Bach's Suite in BMinor for Flute and Strings, shows he isa true virtuoso. Having proved his vir-tuosity, however, Stanciu demonstratesthe true musical qualities of the pan-pipes with brilliant performances of thetwo flute concertos. Although the in-strument's inherently crisp articulationis better for the Baroque figurations ofthe Quantz concerto, the Mozart comesoff very well too, and the slow move-ment is surprisingly effective.

Considering how fiercely difficult thepanpipes must be to play and how gim-micky this recording could have be-come, I think Stanciu should be con-gratulated for stressing the instrument'smusical side in his fine performancesand choice of repertoire here. You won-der what the early -music crowd willthink. Reviving an instrument fromclassical antiquity is certainly a su-preme act of one-upmanship. S.L.

MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 8 and27 (see Best of the Month, page 74)

RACHMANINOFF: Piano ConcertoNo. 2, in C Minor, Op. 18; Rhapsody ona Theme of Paganini, Op. 43. CecileOusset (piano); City of BirminghamSymphony Orchestra, Simon Rattlecond. ANGEL 0 DS -38087 $11.98, ©4DS-38087 $11.98.

Performance: Sweepingly lyricalRecording: Splendid

The coupling of Rachmaninoffs twomost popular works has become quite

standard since the Second Concerto wasfirst made to fit on a single LP side.Most of the versions available now,from the bargain -priced analog record-ing by Earl Wild and Jascha Horensteinon Quintessence to the still older one byRubinstein and Reiner, which RCA re-cently transferred to CD, are eminentlysatisfying. But after living with this newone for a couple of weeks, I'm inclinedto judge it the most satisfying of all interms of both performance and sonics.Soloist Cecile Ousset, conductor Si-mon Rattle, and the Birmingham or-chestra all do Rachmaninoff proud, and

so do the engineers. There is nothingthe least bit unconsidered here in themeshing of the solo and orchestralparts, and yet in both works there is asweeping sense of spontaneity as well assheer relish of the music, of its lyricqualities in particular. How remarkablyfresh it all is, and how vividly the splen-did recording (enhanced by DirectMetal Mastering) projects it. If you'regoing to pay full price for these titles, Ithink this recording has to be thechoice. R.F.

ROUSSEL: Melodies (see DEBUSSY)


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Discs and tapes reviewed byChris AlbertsonPhyl GarlandAlanna NashMark PeelPeter ReillySteve Simels

BRYAN ADAMS: Reckless. Bryan Ad-ams (guitar, vocals); vocal and instru-mental accompaniment. One NightLove Affair; She's Only Happy WhenShe's Dancin; Run to You; Heaven;Somebody; and five others. A&M SP5013 $8.98, © CS 5013 $8.98, CD5013 no list price.

Performance: WinningRecording: Great

A good friend whose judgment I usuallytrust warned me I'd like this record.Nonsense, I thought. Bryan Adams isthe epitome of Brand X rock, a blond,black -leather MTV version of genericcanned beans. Well, my friend wasright. It may be the supersonic produc-tion or Adams's 2,000,000 -volt, tur-bine -driven power chords, or it justmay be the album's ten solid, hard -rocking songs about life's simple plea-sures and pains-dancing, sex, heart-break, alimony, and rock-and-roll. Butone thing is clear: "Reckless" puts thepedal to the metal. Adams won't winany awards for originality-this really isgeneric rock-but he carries it off withconfidence and energy. Best cut: KidsWanna Rock. M.P.

ALABAMA: 40 Hour Week. Alabama(vocals and instrumentals); instrumen-tal accompaniment. Forty Hour Week(For a Livin); Can't Keep a Good ManDown; There's No Way; Down on Long-boat Key; and six others. RCA AHL I-5339 $8.98, © AHKI-5339 $8.98,PCD1-5339 no list price.

Performance: Familiar territoryRecording: Good

Three songs into the new Alabamaalbum, you realize you've heard thisone before. Well, not exactly, mind you,but it's patterned rather closely on theformula of the group's last album, "RollOn." Just as that one opened with atribute to the brave men who drive theeighteen -wheelers, "40 Hour Week"starts out with a sentimental salute toour hard -toiling American factoryworkers. (Nothing like pandering toyour fans.) After that the Alabama boysh*t pretty much the same nails theyhammered before-a quiet, "sensitive"song about one woman's pain, another"sensitive" song on the order of WhenWe Make Love (with a sort of "If we're


IN the Seventies, singer/songwriterJohn Prine and his friend the lateSteve Goodman carved out a nichein American popular music that

few other artists, in or out of the coun-try/folk milieu, attempted to fill-thatof illuminating the glories and foibles ofeveryday life with gentle wit, occasionalcynicism, and soft -eyed but right -hearted sentiment. At least three ofPrine's songs-Sam Stone, about thedisenfranchisem*nt of the Vietnam vet;Hello In There, concerning the neglectof the elderly; and Paradise, about theravages of strip mining-also estab-lished him as one of the Seventies' mostlyrical socially conscious critics.

Prine's work grew erratic in the midto late Seventies, and then, in 1980,after recording seven albums for twomajor labels, he disappeared altogether.Now he is back with a strong and engag-ing album on his own label, Oh BoyRecords.

Produced by Prine and Jim Rooney,"Aimless Love" takes a leaner, simplerproduction approach than Prine's lastcommercial album, "Storm Windows,"and with the exception of one track,People Puttin' People Down, which wasproduced by Steve Goodman, the ar-rangements don't seem quite as in-spired as those on "Bruised Orange,"the Goodman -produced album of 1978that is generally considered Prine's mas-terwork.

Nonetheless, "Aimless Love" is a glo-rious album, full of songs about love inall its incarnations and stages-missedconnections, hidden hearts, blushing ro-mance, one-sided affairs, and specialfriendships-and the consequences thatcome when it's given and when it's tak-en away. Never sappy, sometimes com-plex, and always terse in Prime's trade-mark way, some of the songs were writ-ten by Prine alone and others in collab-oration with such writers as DonnieFritts, Roger Cook, Bobby Braddock,and Shel Silverstein.

For all the seriousness of his theme,the wry, whimsical quality of some ofPrime's best lyrics is still very much inevidence here, particularly on The Bot-tomless Lake, the story of a family thatgoes out fora drive and ends up floatingin a you -know -what, and Maureen,Maureen, one of Prime's finest and mosthaunting pieces of comic tragedy. Add -

John Prine: wry, whimsical, poignant

ing to the effect is Prime's dry -throated,irony -laced delivery, always so reminis-cent of Dylan but stronger here than onpast records.

As poignant as much of this album is,it's even sadder that artists of Prime'sstature have to go to independent labelsto ensure the quality of both their workand the product itself-or simply to beheard at all. The fact that Prine has pre-vailed makes "Aimless Love" a causefor double celebration. Alanna Nash

JOHN PRINE: Aimless Love. JohnPrine (vocals, rhythm guitar); instru-mental accompaniment. Be My FriendTonight; Aimless Love; Me, Myself andI; The Oldest Baby in the World SlowBoat to China; Bottomless Lake; Mau-reen, Maureen; Somewhere Someone'sFalling in Love; People Puttin' PeopleDown; Unwed Fathers; Only Love. OHBOY 002 $9 (from Oh Boy Records,P.O. Box 67800-5333, Los Angeles, CA900671.

going to do it, I want to make sure Iknow your first name" theme), andanother of those dreary, flag-waving,there's -no -place -like -Dixie ditties. With"40 Hour Week" it's fairly obvious thatthe only cause these Rebels have is theirown. God knows it isn't music. A.N.





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BRYAN BOWERS: By Heart. BryanBowers (vocals, autoharp); vocal andinstrumental accompaniment. Hot But-tered Rum; Dog; I'll Fly Away; Zen Gos-pel Singing; Black Heart; Ezekiel; Rick-ett's Hornpipe; and five others. FLYINGFISH FF 313 $8.98, © 90313 $8.98.

Performance: Sweet serenityRecording: Very good

When Bryan Bowers leaves the concertstage, audiences often walk out of thehall thinking they can levitate, paintcolors in the air, and maybe even seeJesus. It's something about the auto-harp, I think. Audiences never expectmuch from it, remembering it fromgrade school as a funny little pushbut-ton instrument that even the classdunce could play. In Bowers's handshowever, it becomes capable of produc-ing not only exalted tones but anythingfrom fiddle tunes to multifaceted adap-tations of pop, folk, gospel, and evenclassical compositions.

In "By Heart" Bowers's third albumfor Flying Fish, several selections quali-fy as sterling examples, especially ZenGospel Singing. The tune, written byMark Graham, is as funny a send-up ofhippie culture as you are ever likely tohear. Bowers and members of the Sel-dom Scene lay out the saga of a Baptistwho becomes a Buddhist, singing of thewonders of Zen in four-part gospel har-mony. Humor aside, there are songshere too, like the rendition of Ezekiel byBowers, banjoist Stephen Wade, andtwo members of New Grass Revival,that will have you up and jumping infervent gospel joy. A charmer. A.N.

BILLY BRAGG: Brewing Up with BillyBragg. Billy Bragg (vocals, guitar); othermusicians. It Says Here; Love Gets Dan-gerous; The Myth of Trust; From aVauxhall Velox; A Lover Sings; and sixothers. CD PRESENTS LTD. CD 207$6.98, ©CD 029 $6.98 (plus $2.50 pos-tage and handling from CD PresentsLtd., 1230 Grant St., Suite 531, SanFrancisco, CA 94133).

Performance: PuckishRecording: Okay

Billy Bragg, England's post -punk, elec-tric -guitar -carrying answer to the cur-rent Bob Dylan shortage, returns herewith another low -budget recording ofhis witty, perceptive, and terribly Eng-lish ruminations on the state of theworld and his love life. Basically a sortof one-man Clash with a flair for RayDavies -style wordplay, Bragg rambleson here in slightly slicker fashion thanwhen last heard from (that is, occasion-ally he overdubs an acoustic guitar oran organ accompaniment). As before,he held my interest even though hisworld view might be considered per-haps a bit too parochial for Americanlisteners (I'm not sure his stuff reallytravels well). A Lover Sings, however, isa romantic, well -written, and sharplyobserved look at the course of an affair,and the album overall is worth theeffort it takes to get into it. S.S.

LADY PANK: Drop Everything. LadyPank (vocals and instrumentals). MinusZero; Hustler; Hero; The Zoo Without aKeeper; and six others. MCA MCA -5558 $8.98, © MCAC-5558 $8.98.

Performance: Nothing specialRecording: Good

I am informed that Lady Pank (pro-nounced "punk") is the most popularrock group in Poland, as well as the firstband from behind the Iron Curtain tosecure a major American record deal. Iam delighted, of course, that the spiritof detente still lives, and since the Westdid give Poland Iron Maiden, this kindof cultural free trade is probably onlyfair. Still, the spirit of internationalcooperation aside, what we get on thisdebut album is fairly standard NewWave hack stuff, something like a crossbetween Men at Work and a decentlocal club band from Milwaukee. It allgoes down easily enough, I suppose, andthe group's English is no worse than,say, Abba's, but as Polish imports go,this one is about as scintillating overallas a kielbasa. S. S.

JULIAN LENNON: Valotte. JulianLennon (vocals, keyboards, guitar); oth-er musicians. Valotte; O.K. for You; Onthe Phone; Space; and six others. AT-LANTIC 80184-1 $8.98, 080184-4 $8.98,ei 80184-2 no list price.

Performance: No subtextRecording: Nice

Julian Lennon is pretty spectacularproof of the notion that talent can beinherited. He sounds so much like hisfather at times, especially when heswitches into falsetto, that it's positivelyeerie. What his debut album doesn'tprove, however, is whether artistic vi-sion can be inherited. The music here,to be sure, is all very pleasant-under-stated, reflective stuff that clearly be-speaks a lifetime of listening to hisfather's albums circa "Walls andBridges" (which was not, of course, thesenior Lennon's most fertile period).But once the hooks sink in, and onceyou get over the initial irony of hearinga very young man making what is essen-tially middle-aged music, you realizethat there's really not much on "Va-lotte" with any depth to it. Mostly, whatLennon is offering here are what hisfather's former partner Paul McCartneyused to call Silly Love Songs. It will beinteresting to see whether he can comeup with anything more substantial as hematures. S.S.

TEENA MARIE: Starchild. TeenaMarie (vocals, guitars, piano, percus-sion, synthesizer); instrumental accom-paniment. Lovergirl; Youngblood; Outon a Limb; Alibi; Starchild; We've Gotto Stop; and three others. EPIC FE39528, © FET 39528, no list price.

Performance: Aerobic testifyingRecording: Hopped up

"Starchild" is strenuously emotional,exercise -room disco that's guaranteed

1 Crutchfield Park, Dept SR, Charlottesville. VA 22906

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to steam up your windows all by itself.It's also a strange bundle of contradic-tions. Teena Marie is a woman who hasherself together enough to write, ar-range, and produce an album, sing thelead vocals, and chip in on guitar,piano, synthesizer, and percussion-and all she seems to want to do is moanover some guy's cosmic kisses andwhine about his drug habit. One minuteshe's reciting the New Testament to thisfreak, and the next she's fainted away inhis arms. One wonders why a womanwho quotes St. Paul would put up with aco*kehead. One also wonders how longthe Flashdance set, at whom this recordis squarely aimed, will sit still for Gala-tians, Chapter Four.

On the other hand, after twenty min-utes of aerobic terpsichorean torture,you probably can't make out whatTeena Marie is saying anyway. All youhear is that teeny little vibrato flutteringon a satiny cushion of synth. A pleasantenough sound if you're at the point oftotal exhaustion, although listeners atmore normal levels of awareness mightargue the point. M.P.

VAN MORRISON: A Sense of Won-der (see Best of the Month, page 74)

OILY RAGS. Oily Rags (vocals andinstrumentals). Come Up and See MeAnytime; Boiled Beef and Carrots; Timeto Kill; Holy Cow; and six others. SIG-NATURE FW 39524, © FWT 39524, nolist price.

Performance: Veddy charmingRecording: Good

Oily Rags is a fairly indescribable Brit-ish foursome led by Chas Hodges andDave Peaco*ck on vocals, piano, guitars,and bass. Think of a combination of theold Steeleye Span, Fairport Conven-tion, the Band, early Leon Russell, Dr.John, Kris Kristofferson, and maybeeven the late Steve Goodman, andyou'll have an inkling of what the groupsounds like. Their forte is country -blueslaced with an occasional melancholyfolk feel, and they serve it up with awarmth, insouciance, and quiet sense ofhumor that I, for one, find impossibleto resist. Now that I've dropped allthose big names, I feel I should explainthat this is a "little" album, devoid offancy production and glitz. But if you'relooking for a nice little record to hoist apint over, this one is certainly worthyour money. A.N.

DOLLY PARTON: Real Love. DollyParton (vocals); instrumental accom-paniment. Think About Love; We GotToo Much; It's Such a Heartache; Don'tCall It Love; Real Love; and five others.RCA AHLI-5414 $8.98, 0 AHK1-5414$8.98.

Performance: Valiant effortRecording: Good

When Dolly Parton hits her full vocalstride, it is readily apparent that she isone of the most expressive singers ofour generation, and a bone -chilling per-

former as well. There are several suchmoments in her new album, "RealLove," but on the whole it's about asshallow a record as you'll find any-where. It's also uneven-so uneven, infact, that you'd think there were severalproducers involved instead of just one,David Malloy, known primarily for hiswork with Eddie Rabbitt.

Most of the material is pop, which isfine, but only a few of the songs (Don'tCall It Love, It's Such a Heartache,Once in a Very Blue Moon) were worthdoing. The title tune, a duet with KennyRogers, sounds like a quick attempt toride their Islands in the Stream tidalwave, and the original songs Partoncontributed sound like either leftoversfrom her Porter and Dolly days or co*ck-eyed attempts to pull an Elvis. In short,there's no focus or cohesion here at all.Of course, if you're a Parton freak (as Iam), you'll probably enjoy it anyway,especially when she hits those gorgeousstrides. A.N.

Smith and Orzabal of Tears for Fears

ROMAN HOLLIDAY: Fire Me Up.Roman Holliday (vocals); instrumentalaccompaniment. One Foot Back inYour Door; Fire Me Up; Hear It in theNight; Keep the Night Away; Runaway;I'll Wait; and five others. JIVE/ARISTAJL8-8252 $8.98, ©JC8-8252 $8.98.

Performance: Hot romanceRecording: Crackling

While the group's name conjuresimages of leather -jacketed rude boysout to get some kicks hoovering Boliv-ian baking soda and terrorizing bespec-tacled public -school boys, from what Ican gather of "Fire Me Up," RomanHolliday is really a bunch of nice youngmen with a fondness for rockabilly andromance. Their only fault is that theyweren't born Duran Duran.

"Fire Me Up" is a collection of pow-er -packed pop tunes, very English,whose roiling guitars and New Roman-tic sentiments fall somewhere betweenthe Stray Cats and Spandau Ballet. En-lightening? Not really. Essential? Hard-ly. A worthy release for fans of musicwith a hot beat and a British accent?Definitely. M.P.

SADE: Diamond Life (see Best of theMonth, page 73)

TEARS FOR FEARS: Songs from theBig Chair. Tears for Fears (vocals andinstrumentals); instrumental accom-paniment. Shout; The Working Hour,.Everybody Wants to Rule the World,.Mothers Talk; and four others. MERCU-RY 824 300-1 $8.98, © 824 300-4 $8.98,O 824 300-2 no list price.

Performance: ResoluteRecording: Excellent

It's been nearly a year and a half sincethe first Tears for Fears album, "TheHurting," was released in this country.A deeply melancholy work, it nonethe-less exhibited a confident, sophisti-cated, and musical approach to the useof synthesizers. "Songs from the BigChair" should succeed where "TheHurting" failed in securing an Ameri-can audience for Tears for Fears. Song-writers Curt Smith and Roland Orzabalhave largely discarded the lachrymosetone that weighed down "Hurting" andshow a more assertive attitude.

Take the first British single from thenew album, Shout. Where once theyconsidered the possible merits of sui-cide, Smith and Orzabal now advocaterebellion and defiance: "Shout it out:these are the things I can do without."The new album also benefits from morefleshed -out arrangements. The bandnow includes full-time piano, occasion-al saxophone, and some feisty, steel-edged rhythm -guitar work (particularlyon the first U.S. single, EverybodyWants to Rule the World). Most impor-tant is that Tears achieves an enhancedcommercial potential without sacrific-ing the emotional content that made"The Hurting" such a powerful record.Smith and Orzabal's vocals are especial-ly gutwrenching.

Ranging in tone and tempo from thegliding, Steely Dan -like shuffle of Every-body Wants to Rule the World to thehaunting melody of Listen, repeatedover and over on guitar and keyboardagainst an agitated backdrop of rever-berating footsteps and closing doors,"Songs from the Big Chair" evokes astrong response with memorable melo-dy writing, purposeful arrangements,and a resolute performance. M.P.

TOTO: Isolation. Toto (vocals and in-strumentals); other musicians. Carmen;Angel Don't Cry; Isolation; Stranger inTown; Holyanna; and five others. CO-LUMBIA QC 38262, © QCT 38262, nolist price.

Performance: Slickness unto deathRecording: Very good

No news here. Toto continues to grindout its imitable branch of high-techradio pop, inhabiting that surprisinglybroad spectrum between Barry Mani -low and Foreigner and still saying abso-lutely nothing. Of course, I would be thelast to criticize any band affluentenough to hire the London SymphonyOrchestra to play its string arrange-ments, as Toto does here on How DoesIt Feel, and to be fair, one song, Stran-ger in Town, actually evokes a kind of


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film noir misterioso quality that is gen-uinely appealing. Mostly, though, thestuff on "Isolation" is pretty close toMuzak. S.S.

VANGELIS: Soil Festivities. Vangelis(synthesizers). Movements 1-6. POLY-DOR 823 396-1 $8.98, © 823 396-4$8.98, 823 396-2 no list price.

Performance: OrganicRecording: Excellent

Although best known for the music forChariots of Fire, Vangelis's non -sound-track albums tend to have a lessanthemic, more programmatic quality.His seventh solo album, "Soil Festivi-ties," is no exception. These "Festivi-ties" were inspired by life processes atthe earth's surface. The slow, wanderingmelodies and pulsating counter -rhythms are as deliberate as a colony ofants on the march and as unhurried as abudding flower. Side one is a bit muted,even comatose, while the vital signs onside two are more vigorous. It's all pret-ty intriguing and altogether just theright accompaniment to an afternoon'sbenchwork at the microscope or a lei-surely browse through Scientific Ameri-can. I don't recommend this album asbackground music with dinner, though;it's apt to get you thinking a little toomuch about the tiny organisms youmay not have steamed away. M.P.

THE WHO: Who's Last. The Who (vo-cals and instrumentals). My Genera-tion; 1 Can't Explain; Substitute; BehindBlue Eyes: Baba O'Reilly; Boris the Spi-der; and ten others. MCA MCA2-8018two discs $10.98, MCAC2-8018 onecassette $10.98, MCAD2-80 l 8 twoCD's no list price.

Performance: DismalRecording: Dank

Anybody who saw the Who on theirfinal American tour saw a pretty de-pressing spectacle -a tired, dispiritedband only too obviously going throughthe motions. "Who's Last," a live docu-ment of that unhappy tour, should nev-er have been released. The perform-ances are lethargic and unexpectedly(and unlikably) ragged, and the record-ing is barely of bootleg quality. Even thebonus of a rave-up version of Twist andShout fails to dispel the atmosphere offunereal gloom that clings to the albumlike shrink wrap. As a final testament towhat was once called the World's MostFabulous Pop Group, "Who's Last" is arather shoddy affair. S.S.

CollectionGARAGE SALE. The Mosquitos: DarnWell. The Vipers: Who Dat? TheGravedigger V: She Got. The Trip: Nev-er Too Late for Linda. Boys from

Nowhere: Beg. And fourteen others.ROIR A-135 $9.98 (plus $1.25 pos-tage and handling from ROIR, 611Broadway, Suite 725, New York, NY10012).

Performance: Like, wow, manRecording: Mostly good

Subtitled "19 Wyld and Savage Bands,"this typically entertaining package fromthe unpredictable folks at ROIR (ReachOut International Records) collects thework of various groups in the currentpsychedelic underground. That is, theensembles affect (to varying degrees)the sounds and attitudes of the one -hit -wonder American regional bands of themiddle Sixties, such never -to -be -forgot-ten noise -makers as the Count Five, theShadows of Night, the Cryan Shames,and, of course, the immortal stars ofRiot on Sunset Strip, the ChocolateWatch Band.

Whether the stuff here is merely campis, I suppose, open to question, butmost of these bands, particularly theMosquitos and the Vipers, have theirpsychedelic schticks down pat. Takenon its own determinedly grungy terms,a lot of the music is legitimately com-pelling -even, you should pardon theexpression, far out. Pick to click: theFuzztones' Cinderella, a remake of anobscure Sonics number. Retro or not,it's a hot a rock-and-roll track. S.S.


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CHESS (Benny Andersson-Tim Rice-Bjtirn Ulvaeus). Elaine Paige, MurrayHead, Tommy Korberg, Barbara Dick-son, Denis Quilley, BjOrn Skifs (vocals):Ambrosian Singers; London SymphonyOrchestra, Anders Eljas cond. RCACPL2-5340 two discs $12.98, © CPK2-5340 two cassettes $12.98, 0 PCD2-5340 two CD's no list price.

Performance: OverdirectedRecording: Monumental

Tim Rice, who collaborated with An-drew Lloyd Webber on such megahitsas Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar,joined with Benny Andersson andBjOrn Ulvaeus of Abba to create thisponderous and more than slightly silly,yet -to -be -staged theater piece. It's sup-posedly all about a championship chessmatch, and it purports to be "an adven-turous musical story blending romance.political intrigue, psychological ten-sions, and East/West confrontations."Actually it's about as penetrating andrelevant as an Aaron Spelling soapopera. Elaine Paige, who created thetitle role in Evita, responds with atrouper's courage in following the exag-gerated and stagy indications of her partas Florence Vassy, the American cham-pion's second. Her Heaven Help MyHeart has been released as a single,backed by Murray Head's One Night inBangkok (a big hit in England).

Overall, the recorded production ofChess is huge, flossy, and intent onbeing "monumental," with the resultthat the project sinks with the speed andthe finality of the Titanic. P.R.

HEAVENLY BODIES. Originalsoundtrack recording. Sparks: BreakingOut of Prison. Bonnie Pointer: Heaven;The Beast in Me. The Tubes: Out ofControl. Cheryl Lynn: At Last You'reMine. Dwight Twilley: Keep On Work-ing. And four others. PRIVATE ISZ39930, © SZT 39930, no list price.

Performance: ExhaustingRecording: Muscle bound

Bland though it is, this soundtrack maybe the best thing about the movie Heav-enly Bodies. For one thing, it is a greathome workout tool, something that'snot really practical in the theater (al-though I don't think the producers ofthis paperback movie ever expectedanyone to see it in a real theater-it hasMade For Cable written all over it).And you don't have to pay attention tothe sappy love story hinted at in the

songs either, the way you would if yousat through the film. Just drop the stylusand flex your pecs.

All of the music here is of the JackLaLanne school of music tonality-power-bass drum beat, bouncy synthe-sized counterpoint, Pepsi -generationvocals. It's a genre I'm afraid we'regoing to have to live with for a while.What's amazing to me is how this kindof music can make artists as different asSparks, Dwight Twilley, and BonniePointer sound so much alike. The restof the performers are as generic as themusic. Gary Wright, the Tubes, CherylLynn, and the deservedly unknown vo-calists on "Heavenly Bodies" musthave been thankful, I'm sure, to get thework, even if all they're asked to do isprovide an aural exercise mat. M.P.

WEST SIDE STORY (Bernstein-Sondheim). Kiri Te Kanawa, MarilynHome, Jose Carreras, Tatiana Troya-nos, others (vocals); orchestra andchorus, Leonard Bernstein cond.DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 0 415 253-Itwo discs $19.96, C) 415 253-4 two cas-settes $19.96, 415 253-2 two CD's nolist price.

Performance: Quasi -operettaRecording: Hot

With this bright, new recording of WestSide Story, its composer, Leonard Bern-stein, tries his hand at conducting hismost popular theater score for the firsttime-that is, all of it for the first time.And in doing so he's opted for trainedvoices (the crime de la creme, at that)supported by singers and instrumentalmusicians drawn from the on- and off-Broadway talent pool.

It sounds wonderful. Kiri Te Kanawa,who has obviously done her homeworkin getting some Latin intensity into hersinging along with the suggestion of anaccent, is a gorgeous Maria, and JoseCarreras, who on the other hand hashad to mask his Latin origins with anAnglo accent, is an ardent -voiced Tony.Tatiana Troyanos brings a mature sizzleto the role of Anita, and Marilyn Homesings hauntingly in the Somewhere bal-let number. But it is the orchestra underBernstein's direction, and the originalorchestrations he created for Broadwayin 1957 with Sid Ramin and Irwin Kos-tal, that benefit most from this marvel-ous digital studio recording, made byDeutsche Grammophon in New Yorkin September 1984.

DG's Compact Disc version is filledout with a fine performance, previouslyreleased on LP and tape, of Bernstein'sOn the Waterfront suite played by theIsrael Philharmonic. That's giving goodvalue on the premium cost of the CD's.But why did it take a German recordcompany to be the first to get an Amer-ican classic like West Side Story intothis country's CD bins while ColumbiaRecords sits on the original -cast albumand the subsequent film -soundtrack al-bum? Hard to know, but it's good some-body did, and in such splendid form.

Christie Barter


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WILLIAM ALBRIGHT: The Sym-phonic Jazz of James P. Johnson. Wil-liam Albright (piano). Fascination;Keep Off the Grass; A -flat Dream; Ya-mekraw (Negro Rhapsody); and twoothers. MUSICMASTERS 0 MMD 20066$8.98.

Performance: InterestingRecording: Quite good

Although pianist William Albright'sperformance is certainly commendableand eminently Johnsonesque, it is themusic and not the rendering of it thatmakes "The Symphonic Jazz of JamesP. Johnson" a noteworthy release.Johnson, who died thirty years ago, wasa prolific and often ambitious compos-er, but much of his classically orientedwork has been neglected in favor of hisflashier stride piano pieces. Albrightcombines such familiar Johnson fare asA -flat Dream and Keep Off the Grasswith lesser -known works like ConcertoJazz -a -Mine and April in Harlem, sur-viving movements from two lost sym-phonic compositions that will makeyou wish that side of James P. Johnsoncould have been brought into sharperfocus. C.A.

ELLA FITZGERALD: The Song-books. Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); instru-mental accompaniment. Oh, Lady BeGood; Nice Work If You Can Get It;Fascinating Rhythm; Yesterdays; Lau-ra; Alexander's Ragtime Band; TheLady Is a Tramp; Manhattan; My Fun-ny Valentine; Over the Rainbow; Sky-lark; This Time the Dream's on Me; andseven others. VERVE/POLYGRAM © 823445-2 no list price.

Performance: Prime EllaRecording: Fine transfers

The Ella Fitzgerald songbook record-ings have never sounded as good as theydo now on CD in PolyGram's SilverCollection series. I suppose we willeventually see all these recordings maketheir way onto CD's, but for this setnineteen tracks, recorded between 1956and 1964, were selected. The arrange-ments-by conductors Buddy Breg-man, Paul Weston, Billy May, and Nel-son Riddle-hold up nicely, and Ellawas in top form during the years repre-sented. The program is not to besneezed at either, with enduring songsby the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, JeromeKern, Johnny Mercer, and Rodgers andHart. The disc adds up to sixty-threeand a half glorious minutes of contin-uous Fitzgerald magic. C.A.

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This comprehensive Buyers Guide by the editors otStereo Review covers car stereo and only car stereo.Here's everything you need to choose the right au-tosound system tbr your needs and budget. Includesfull-length, no -holds -barred Hirsch-l-fOuck test re-ports. Detailed product descriptions. Articles thatexplain precisely how to put together a state-of-the-art car audio system. Plus complete specs andprices on hundreds of components from such topmanufacturers as Sony. Pioneer. Yamaha. Sansuiand Kenwood.

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"Give Your Receiver A Shot in the Amp"or "How our new MOSFET amplifier and your old receiver can make beautiful music together"

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Stereo ReviewP.O. BOX 13878PHILADELPHIA, PA. 19101







Revisedand updated'



itEcoltroi./CYANICAL E1WFt' MOST



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Finally, caraudio asgoodas your can

Very few companies selling car stereos are real audio companies. With 75 years of experience reproduc ng sound,Denon wishes point out the level of their home audio technology present in the new DC -series of car audio equipment.

For example, the only audio components home or auto --offering the level of circuit sophistication found on thenew Deron Ca- Audio DCA-3250 Power Amplifier are Denon's own top -of -the -line receiver and separates.

Similarly, the Dynamic Range Expansion circuitry found on Denon's new Car Audio DCR-7600 AM/FM StereoTuner/Cassette Deck otherwise can be found only on Denon's DE -70 Dynamic Equalizer.

The differences between Denon car and Denon home aucio equipment will become apparent the moment you sitbehind the wheel. To build car audio for people who love good sound as much as fine cars, Denon created a very limited,ultra -high qual ty range of car audio components, specifically engineered to become part of the automobile. Controls fallto hand and information is oisplayed with the driver clearly in mind.

For the car :over, Denon Car Audio does more than offer true auto high fidelity- it becomes an integral part of thethrill of driving.

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Discs and tapesreviewed byChris AlbertsonLouis MeredithAlanna Nash

LAURA BRANIGAN. Laura Branigan(vocals); instrumental accompaniment.The Lucky One; Satisfaction; Solitaire;How Am I Supposed to Live WithoutYou; Gloria; and five others. RCA/COLUMBIA 60422 VHS Hi-Fi $29.95,20422 Beta Hi-Fi $29.95, PIONEER ART-ISTS PA -85-101 LaserDisc $24.95.

Performance: LimitedRecording: Substandard

Laura Branigan can be an almost mes-merizing performer. She has an alluringtexture to her voice and a look in hereyes that suggests she isn't as all-Ameri-can wholesome as her other featureswould suggest. When' you blend in aslightly kinky brand of Europop, well,you're not exactly sure what's going tohappen next.

That's part of why this video is so dis-appointing. Essentially it's a concerttaped at Caesar's Tahoe, intercut withsnippets of staged, dramatic footage andone bona fide music video, Self Control,which borrows heavily from MichaelJackson's Billie Jean video. While SelfControl is a killer-excellent in concept,execution, and style-the rest of thetape is fairly lame. The sound, whichthreatens to drop out altogether at onepoint, is muddy throughout, and thevideo was obviously shot with the ideaof not disturbing the club audience-the lighting is bad and there are fewcloseups. Unless you just have uncon-trollable fantasies about Laura Brani-gan, I'd say skip it. A.N.

GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPSAND RAY CHARLES. Gladys Knight& the Pips (vocals); Ray Charles (vo-cals, piano); instrumental and vocal ac-companiment. Every Beat of My Heart;Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me;Midnight Train to Georgia; I've Got toUse My Imagination; and nine others.VESTRON MA 1003 VHS $29.95, MB1003 Beta $29.95.

Performance: PolishedRecording: Good

This is a repackaged HBO concertrecorded at the Greek Theatre in LosAngeles in the late Seventies. GladysKnight and her Pips do a long set, andthen Ray Charles comes on, wearing ajacket that you'd have to be blind not topick out. Mainly, it's Gladys's show(Ray does two numbers by himselfbefore Gladys joins him for three(Continued on page 100)


Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger. the late Jim Morrison, and John Densmore

STRICTLY on the technical level,"Dance on Fire," MCA's newvideo collection of the Doors'greatest hits, is one of the slick-

est archival rock packages anybody hasyet come up with. It was produced bythe surviving Doors themselves (RayManzarek, after all, met Jim Morrisonat the UCLA film school), and it con-sists of lots of old promo films, clips ofTV appearances, and concert footagecombined with brand new, state -of -the -video -art thematic footage. The mostsuccessful example is the new clip ofL.A. Woman, in which what looks likeold 8mm film of the band is artfullyintercut with shots of current denizensof the Sunset Strip. The technique issurprisingly effective.

There's actually quite a lot to admirehere. Break On Through is as good apromo film as any I've ever seen fromthe Sixties. In fact, with its sophisti-cated and understated visual scheme(reminiscent of the cover photo of theDoors' first album), it puts all the super-ficially flashy stuff on MTV to shame.Equally impressive is a heretofore un-released, splendidly shot concert ver-sion of The End, the band's signatureOedipal epic.

Speaking even as a non -fan, I have toadmit that there's nothing on the tapethat could remotely be called dull. JimMorrison's charisma comes through

largely undiluted by the passage of fif-teen years, though there's somethingvaguely creepy about the current adula-tion surrounding the man (as RollingStone put it, "He's Young, He's Sexy,He's Dead"). And as far as I'm con-cerned, the Doors' mixture of cheesyFarfisa rock and poetic pretensions hasnot worn particularly well (a significantexception here is People Are Strange),although I suppose if I were sixteenagain I might feel differently.

In any case, it seems pointless togrouse about a program that's been sobeautifully executed. Except for thecouple of songs taken from televisiontracks, the sound is absolutely spectacu-lar; the band could have been recordedyesterday. A treat for fans, and for thosemore or less agnostic about the Doors,it's still an interesting time capsule.

Louis Meredith

THE DOORS: Dance on Fire. TheDoors (vocals and instrumentals).Break On Through; People Are Strange;Light My Fire; L.A. Woman; Touch Me;The End; The Crystal Ship; Wild Child;Unknown Soldier; Roadhouse Blues;Texas Radio and the Big Beat/Love MeTwo Times; Horse Latitude/MoonlightDrive; Adagio; Riders on the Storm.MCA HOME VIDEO 80157 VHS Hi-Fiand Beta Hi-Fi $39.95. PIONEER ART-ISTS PA -85-126 LaserDisc $24.95.


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STEREO REVIEW CLASSIFIEDCLASSIFIED RATES: Per Word, 15 Word Minimum. COMMERCIAL: $4.95. EXPAND -AD': $7.45. PERSONAL RAPE: $2.95. Ads set in all Bold Type @ 20%Premium. Ads set with Background screen @ 25% Premium. DISPLAY: 1" x 21/4", $595.130 2" x 21/4", $1190.00. 3" x 21/4", $1,785.00. GENERAL INFORMA-TION: Frequency rates and prepayment discounts available. Payment must accompany order except credit card-Am. Ex., Diners, MC, VISA (include exp.date)-or accredited ad agency insertions. Copy subject to publisher's approval; must be typewritten or printed. First word set in caps. Advertisers usingP.O. Boxes MUST supply permanent address and telephone number. Orders not acknowledged. They will appear in next available issue after receipt. Closingdate: 5th of the 2nd month preceding cover date (e.g., Mar. issue closes Jan. 5th). Send order & remittance to: Advertising, CBS Magazines, Dept. 346-01,PO Box 9125. Stamford, CT 06925. To charge your ad to a major credit card, call Lois Price at (212) 503-5999. For customer service, call(212) 503-4506.



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CAUTION NAKAMICHI BUYERS! Nakamichi goodsnot intended for sale in the United States arebeing sold by unauthorized dealers. NAKAMICHIUSA CANNOT BEAR ANY RESPONSIBILITY FORSALES OR WARRANTY SERVICING OF UNITS NOT


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NAKAMICHI, BX150 $389, BX300 $589, R X202 $519.RX303 $719, RX505 $879, ZX9 $1089. DRAGON $1349,1000Z XL $2799. YAMAHA: R100B $629. R100S $589,T1000B $289, T1000S $259. T700B $259. T700S $199,A1000B $539. A1000S $499, A700B $399. A700S $349.A500B $259, A500S $239, K2000B $699, PF800 $449,NS500M $699, NS1000M $1099. TASCAM: 244 $849,34 $1049, 32 $899, 38 $2099, M30 $929, M2A $299.SONY: TCD5M $489, WMD6C $269, New. USA. War-ranty. Also Import YAMAHA Piano: U2 $3995. U3$4195. 02 $7295, G3 $7895. Shipping anywhere USA,Canada. Setup & Tune. VISA, MC, AMEX, DINERS,COD. Taskamichi Audio & Piano Direct Importer,11555 27th. NE. Seattle, WA 98125. (206) 221-2977/(206) 361-2455.

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more), and while she is a smooth andaffecting singer, things drag a bit whenRay's not around. At seventy-eightminutes, the tape is at least eighteenminutes too long (the useless interviewsand backstage scenes could easily go),but it can make for a pleasant session infront of the tube. A.N.

MIDNIGHT STAR: Midnight Star inConcert. Midnight Star (vocals and in-strumentals). Electricity; Playmates;Slow Jam; Wet My Whistle; Night Rid-er; No Parking (On the Dance Floor);and two others. U.S.A. HOME VIDEO213437 VHS Stereo and Beta Hi-Fi$39.95.

Performance: Energetic blandnessRecording: Average

Midnight Star made a minor cross -oversplash on the Solar label with a noveltytune called Freak-a-zoid and Wet MyWhistle a couple of years back, but it isotherwise a stereotypical black group.Professional sounding but lacking a dis-tinctive character, the nine of themwould make an excellent back-up for amore original act, but I suppose theyhave a following beyond the people wesee in the audience here. The videoitself is not interesting. C.A.

JONI MITCHELL: Refuge of theRoads. Joni Mitchell (vocals, guitar, pi-ano); other musicians. Wild ThingsRun Fast; Raised on Robbery; Refuge ofthe Roads; Sweet Bird of Youth; Ban-quet; You're So Square (Baby I Don'tCare); You Dream Flat Tires; and sixOther& PIONEER ARTISTS PA -84-100LaserDisc $24.95.

Performance: Music 10, Concept 4Recording: Excellent

Shot during various stops on Joni Mit-chell's most recent concert tour, "Ref-uge of the Roads" offers gorgeouslyrecorded and performed versions of anicely chosen cross section of her reper-toire, from the early -Seventies For Freeto her more recent Charles Mingus trib-ute. The crack band she's assembledplays its collective derriere off, the staris in terrific voice, and the digitally mas-tered sound nearly jumps out of yourspeakers. On the negative side, Mit-chell's video direction is less impres-sive: fairly static camera work, unflat-tering lighting, and a lot of extraneousartsy intercuts from back -of -the -tour -bus home movies, a Mingus documen-tary, and even a Bufluel film. Mitchellthe performer, meanwhile, occasionallyseems awkward without a guitar in herhands, and her band (particularly bass-ist Larry Klein) desperately needs somefashion consultation.

On balance, however, there's a lot ofimpressive music making here (not-withstanding an unconvincing ElvisPresley cover that probably soundedbetter on paper). Mitchell, despite her attimes needlessly ornate vocalizing andbeatnik affectations, remains one of themore interesting presences in pop.Worth a look. L.M.

ELVIS PRESLEY: The '68 ComebackSpecial. Elvis Presley (vocals, guitar);instrumental and vocal accompani-ment. Guitar Man; Lawdy, Miss Claw-dy; Heartbreak Hotel; Hound Dog; AllShook Up; Can't Help Falling in Love;Jailhouse Rock; Don't Be Cruel; LoveMe Tender; One Night; Memories; If ICan Dream; and fourteen others. Mu -

SIC MEDIA M452 VHS and Beta$29.95.

Performance: QuintessentialRecording: Good, considering

In June 1968, thirty -three -year -old El-vis Presley went before the NBC-TVcameras to tape his first television spe-cial, and the first live concert he haddone in seven years. Since the beginningof the Sixties, the King had been seques-tered out in Hollywood making embar-rassing throwaway movies, and therewere those-Presley among them-who wondered if he could still cut it. Bythe show's end, however, it was clearthat Presley had experienced whatamounted to an artistic reawakening.

Part of this special-the live concertin which Elvis wore his celebratedblack -leather suit-was cablecast inJanuary on HBO, but the home videooffers the entire show, including aneven stronger live performance, duringwhich Presley prowls the stage like acaged animal, and the famous brothelscene that his manager, Colonel TomParker, insisted be cut from the originalbroadcast.

For the most part, the productionnumbers come off looking dated andhokey by today's standards, but the raw,stark live performances are sheer magic.This is the essence of what Presley-and rock-and-roll-was all about. Forany serious rock video fan, it is manda-tory viewing. A.N.

YES: Yessongs. Yes (vocals and instru-mentals). And You and I; Yours Is NoDisgrace; Close to the Edge; and threeOthers. VIDAMERICA 7033 VHS Hi-Fiand Beta Hi-Fi $29.95.

Performance: CharacteristicRecording: Abysmal

Yes was one of the first heavily synthe-sized, so-called progressive rock groups.Formed in London in 1968, the groupsoon saw its often indulgent style winAmerican audiences over, and when ittoured this country the following year,Roundabout became its first big hit sin-gle and keyboard artist Rick Wakemanits most popular member. Both Wake-man and Roundabout are found on"Yessongs," a video taken from filmshot during Yes's world tour in 1973. Ifyou go for electronic self-indulgence,you will probably love the sounds onthis tape, but I think you'd have to agreethat it sorely lacks visual excitement.The seventy -two -minute concert suffersfrom poor lighting conditions (it is rifewith blurred green faces) and unimag-inative direction, and the inserted clipsof amoebas and sundry sea urchinsdon't help. C.A.


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AR'S MAGIC SPEAKER(Continued from page 62)sound sources seeming as large (oras small) as they were intended to beand with each quite firmly placed inthe overall stereo spread. Walkingaround the room, even close up toone of the speakers, had almost noeffect on the apparent locations ofthe sound sources. The listener'sposition seemed to be far less criti-cal than the placement suggestionsfor the MGC-1 would imply.

Switching on the ambience sig-nals produced a very dramaticchange. Formerly, the apparent hallwidth was defined by the speakerpositions, about 8 feet apart in ourlistening room. The ambiencespeakers "opened" the imaged hallto the full 15 -foot width of the roomand more. With this effect came anincreased sense of depth beyond thewall behind the speakers. But de-spite this major change in the widthand depth of the sound stage, theapparent left -right locations of thesound sources on that stage did notchange in the slightest.

The overall tonal balance of thesound shifted surprisingly when theambience speakers were switchedon, with both the lower -midrangeand the high frequencies seeminglouder, leading to a "richer" soundquality. And unless the ambiencelevel was kept quite low, the overallsubjective volume noticeably in-creased. But readings with a sound -level meter established that theseeffects were largely psychoacousticrather than physical. Wheneverturning on the ambience speakersseemed to double the sound level,the meter showed no more thanabout a 1 -dB increase in actual lev-el. Furthermore, the frequenciesthat appeared to have been en-hanced by the ambience speakers(the highs and lows) are by designnot even present in significantamounts in their output! These ef-fects certainly validate the basicpremises of AR's design, which as-sumes that a speaker's imaging andintrinsic sound quality are deter-mined by the first -arriving directsound while much of the spatialcharacter and "body" of the soundcomes from the later reflections.

The sonic contribution made bythe MGC-1's ambience speakerscan be demonstrated readily, and inour view it is all to the good. Theoverall downward -sloping responseof the MGC-1 gave it a slightly sub-dued quality in our listening roomcompared to some more flashyspeakers noted for a "sizzling" high

end. If required, a tone control canadd the sizzle. For our part, theMGC-1 provides the steak, with ex-cellent flavor and prepared to yourtaste, and that is what counts.

Acoustic Research takes pains todistinguish the MGC-1's soundfrom that obtained using a conven-tional time -delay system, but wehad the necessary components onhand and could not resist makingthe comparison. Although speakersin the back of the room driven froma separate time -delay system gavetheir usual sense of added space and"liveness" to the sound from theMGC-1, the effect was totally differ-ent from that of the AR speakersalone. Instead of attempting to re-create a hall sound in the back oralong the sides of the listening roomlike a conventional time -delay sys-tem, the MGC-1 puts the hall upfront, expanding the apparent sizeof that portion of the listening roomwithout movement of the phantomsound sources.

Although playing the MGC-1'sambience speakers too loudly doesnot create any grotesque effects (itstime delay was deliberately keptshort enough to prevent that), wefelt that they are best used in mod-eration, like a conventional time -delay system. The appropriateamount of ambience to use dependsconsiderably on the program mate-rial. The controller box allows con-siderable variation in ambience lev-el (down to no ambience, if that isdesired). We usually set it to thelowest level at which a distinctchange in the size of the sound stagecould be heard when the ambiencewas switched on and off. Butswitching off even an unobtrusiveamount of ambience gives the samesense of loss that we experiencewhen switching off a properly ad-justed time -delay system: unusuallyrealistic and compelling sound be-comes merely very good.

Paradoxically, this massivespeaker system, which one wouldexpect to be at its best in a largeroom, seems able to generate enjoy-able, life-size sound in any roomlarge enough to hold a pair of themand a listener. This paradox and thename Magic Speaker notwithstand-ing, the AR MGC-1's are not at allmagical. They're just an outstand-ing brew of old-fashioned research,new-fangled theories, and AR's con-siderable manufacturing expertise, amix that has produced one of thebest -sounding speaker systems youare likely to find. We found theirsonic sorcery quite addictive.



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by Ralph Hodges

Las Vegas Languars

/F you have been wonderingwhether I attended the Las Ve-gas Consumer Electronics showearlier this year, the answer is

yes. So did a virulent form of flu.We met, and its irresistible forcerendered me an almost immovableobject, which made judging soundquality even more difficult thanusual.

Nevertheless, although I couldn'thear well, I could look, and what Isaw didn't really coalesce into aconnected vision of perfectionistaudio for the year to come. Main-stream manufacturers continue todelve ever deeper into video andcomputer interfaces, and you canlook for some high -end activity inthese areas soon, as well as a generalrush into car sound. For the presentthe high -end group continues in itssometimes inspired, sometimes ab-surd way to grapple with problemsof its own devising.

A truly good audio system dealsharshly with typical recorded mate-rial in that it lets all the warts show.But it deals equally harshly withitself, revealing immediately to anattentive listener when something(and often something not readilymeasurable) is wrong. Contrary topopular belief, you don't need spe-cial ear training to detect the diffi-culties. You simply need a sound

system of sufficiently high resolu-tion to betray itself. Few peoplehave ever heard such a sound sys-tem, and fewer still would care to bebothered with one. But the quest forthe ideal goes on, like it or not.

As I see it, high -end manufactur-ers today are overspecializing. Theyhear something wrong, and they trysomething different. That may be anew form of speaker stand, a newcable, or a brick on top of the ampli-fier. (Don't laugh. The brick hasbeen tried and applauded in somehigh -end circles.) If they like theresult, the manufacturers may con-clude that commensurately moresatisfaction will be provided bymore of the same treatment-orwhat they perceive that treatment tobe. (After all, who knows what put-ting a brick on top on a particularamplifier really accomplishes?)

In all this I think they too oftenslip past the point of diminishingreturns in hot pursuit of the BigProblem, without seeming to realizethat their efforts have already re-duced it to the third or fourth big-gest problem and that it's time to

High -end manufacturers toooften slip past the point ofdiminishing, returns inpursuit ofwhat they think isthe Big Problem.

tackle something else. However, ifthey overspecialize to the point thatthey are incapable of tackling any-thing else, we get shows (like therecent one in Las Vegas) at whichmuch that is displayed is not inno-vative, but merely a closer approachto some extreme (infinitely thickcables, infinitely massive powersupplies) that may not even beclearly identified as a desirable ex-treme.

But I'm complaining too much.This year's Las Vegas CES, like allothers, did give some indication ofwhere the innovative minds in au-dio are tending. In loudspeakers, theseductiveness of film -diaphragmdevices, particularly of the ribbontype, remains strong, despite ques-tions about their directional charac-teristics and misgivings about theirroom -placement problems.

Magnepan's Tympani-IVa, incor-porating Jim Winey's remarkableribbon tweeter, was given the brief-est of sneak previews (it was playedfor about an hour on one evening ofthe show). Audire surprised every-one with its initial loudspeaker de-sign, described as the first true full -range ribbon system. (Audire alsoshowed a 100 -watt Class A monopower amplifier that is 42 incheshigh and is easily mistaken for aloudspeaker. In my opinion it repre-sents some sort of ultimate in homeamplifier design, but I'm not yetsure what ultimate.) Entec promisesthat its hybrid electrostatic (a sub -woofer complex accompanies each7 -foot -high electrostatic panel) willfinally be available this year, endingmany months of curiosity and an-ticipation.

In amplifiers, Nakamichi, underlicense from Threshold, has begunoffering Threshold's novel Stasiscurrent -bootstrap circuitry in af-fordable power -amplifier packages(about $1,500 for 200 watts perchannel is tops). And Hong Kong ismaking a long -expected bid for thehigh -end market through thepreamplifier and power -amplifierintroductions of a company calledANMA Electronics.

In record players, the air -bearingturntable stays alive and wellthrough the efforts of such as MicroSeiki and Entec, and the ranks ofair -bearing radial -tracking tonearms have been increased by newproducts from Eminent Technologyand Maplenoll Electronics. It seemsthere will never be an end to theproliferation of moving -coil phonocartridges, but a genuine innovationhas appeared on the horizon in theform of an FET cartridge, with amechanically modulated gate. Thecartridge is being readied for themarket by Win Labs.

Finally, a company called FinialTechnology has been formed to testthe market for an optical recordplayer-for LP's, not CD's. Therewere no details available at theshow. In fact, the only thing avail-able from the principals was stonysilence. However, keep your earspricked up for this one. There aremany reasons why the technologymight prove to be utterly inappro-priate, but it should certainly beinteresting.


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As audiophiles Itsten to different Compact Disc players, they'rehaa-ing more and more differences And one CD player hasellErged as a cut above.

In Ge-many, Audio magazine chcse Denon over Philips andRvix to be their reference CD player. "For the ultimate in lasertecr nolegy, there is only one choice the Denon DCD-1800, thereference player."

In the U.S.A., ()lea' Audio "compared the Denon with anoiersarr pling player and judged the DCD-1800's sound superiorin c earliness, accuracy, and detail."

What has Denon done to deserve such praise? They started offby inverting digital recording in the first place. Then they gained

expener ce recording an extensive library of Denon PCM mastertapes, aid pressing Denon Compact Discs. Finally, theyproduced the DCD-1800's Direct Digital -to -Analog Convertor. It'sthe world's only D/A convertor that's hand -tuned for reducedcrossover distortion.

Now Denon raises the CD reference even higher. Introducingthe new Denon DCD-1800R, war new high -convenience remotecontrol and high-performance tra :king servos. In fact, theeditorial board cf Japan's Stereo -magazine has already voted thenew Derion CD player "best" in its class!

The Cenon DCD-1800R. Officially, the "R" stands for Remob.But to citical listeners, it stands for Reference.

u3niiruJ 0 2. 3 Li.






INT EGR IT YDenon America, Inc .27 Law Drive. Fairfield. N J 07006(2(1) 575 7810

For Dealer NeE rest You Call TOLL -FREE 800-633-2252 Ext 862

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YOU CAN SEE AND HEARWhen you're this good, you put your warranties

where your mouth is. That's why, overall,Hitachi probably has the finest limited warranty

protection ever offered in home electronicsproducts. Products that perform so well, youmay never get a chance to see how good our

warranties really are.

HITACHIA World Leader in Technclogy

NEW COMPACT DIGITAL AUDIO DISC PLAYEROnly Hitachi, a world leader in advanced audio technology, offersLaser Life -a two year limited parts warranty for long termprotection. Yours with the DA -600. With a three -spot laser pick-upservo system; wireless remote control that reads, selects,repeats, skips and scans; memory programming for up to 15selections; slim -line, front load design.

NEW 5 + 2 HEAD HI-FI VCRWith Adjustomatic, a limited warranty superior to indus-

try standards, the exceptional VT -89A VCR fromHitachi has brought hi-fi technology to video sound.Sound finer than any turntable or conventional tape

deck...far superior to ordinary VCRs, it's sound you haveto see to believe. Five video heads, two audio heads,

cable ready, with a computer brain that guides youthrough every program function. Each step is displayed

on your TV screen.

NEW SIGNAL TRACKER COMPONENT TVBacked by Hitachi s incomparable 10/ 2,1 limited war-

ranty, this state-of-the-art 20" diagonal flat square tube-eceiver/monitor integrates all your home entertain-

ment functions. VCR, VideoDisc Player, stereo system,video games, home computer and total TV reception.

Enjoy more on -screen picture and less distortion.And only Hitachi has Signal Tracker control, our most

advanced color control system ever. With the handywireless remote control and wood cabinetry you get ease

of operation, great sound and quality good looks.Simulated TV picture.


401 W. Artesia Blvd., Compton, CA 90220. (213) 537-8383

1110.111For Dealer Nearest You Call TOLL -FREE 800-633-2252 Ext. 865

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