* J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier Bk.1 (Kirkpatrick) (Archiv 2CD)
* Steve Reich: Another Look At Counterpoint (Amiata CD)
* Bill Evans: The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings 1961 (d.1-2) (Fantasy/Concord 3CD)
* Lloyd McNeil & Marshall Hawkins: Tanner Suite (Asha/Universal Sound LP)
* Marilyn Crispell Trio: Live in Zurich (Leo CD)
* Billy Cobham: Simplicity of Expression/Depth of Thought (Columbia LP)
* Weather Report: Mr. Gone (Columbia LP)
* David Torn: Best Laid Plains (ECM CD)
* Gary Burton/Chick Corea/Pat Metheny/Roy Haynes/Dave Holland: Like Minds (Concord CD)
* Pat Metheny Group: American Garage (ECM LP)
* Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays: As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (ECM LP)
* Daybreak ltd.: Daybreak ltd. (Deva LP)
* Stephan Micus: Athos: A Journey to the Holy Mountain (ECM CD)
* Emerald Web: Dragon Wings and Wizard Tales (Sebastian Speaks LP)
* John Serrie & Gary Stroutsos: Hidden World (Narada CD)
* Marcos Valle: Vento Sul (Odeon/Light in the Attic LP)
* Thievery Corporation: Saudade (ESL LP)
* Vince Matthews & Jim Casey: The Kingston Springs Suite (Delmore Recording Society LP)
* Grateful Dead: Coliseum, Greensboro, NC 4/30/81 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* It’s A Beautiful Day: At Carnegie Hall (Columbia LP)
* Vashti Bunyan: Heartleap (DiCristina LP)
* Latin Playboys: Latin Playboys (Slash/Warner Bros. CD)
* Los Super Seven: Los Super Seven (RCA CD)
* Robert Pollard: Faulty Superheroes (GBV, Inc. LP)
* The Mars Volta: Deloused in the Comatorium (Universal/Music on Vinyl 2LP)
* The Mars Volta: Scabdates (GSL/Universal CD) †/‡
* Enslaved: In Times (Nuclear Blast 2LP)
* Mew: Frengers (Sony CD)
* White Hills: h-P1 (Thrill Jockey CD)
* White Hills: White Hills (Thrill Jockey CD)
* Locrian: The Crystal World (Utech 2CD)
* Minsk: With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (Relapse CD)
* Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (Ato 2LP)
My Clearaudio Maestro V2 arrived this week and, thanks to the precision Clearaudio Cartridge Alignment Tool and digital Weight Watcher stylus pressure gauge (which is accurate to one-hundredth of a gram), set-up was a breeze—much to my relief. I was back up and spinning records in less than an hour.
Of course, I was expecting the Maestro to sound significantly better than the stock Concept cartridge (as it should, being exponentially more expensive) but I was unprepared for how shockingly good it sounds.
Seriously, all the usual audiophile superlatives apply here: more slam, deeper bass, cleanly extended high frequencies, more finely resolved inner details, with a silky smooth presentation from top to bottom. But most impressive to me are the almost dead-quiet backgrounds, with surface noise (when present) recessed deep behind the music.
The Maestro features the same Trygon P2 stylus and boron cantilever found in their highest-end moving coil designs, with the magnets’ motor assembly housed in ultra-dense, resonance-damping ebony, resulting in luscious sound quality with superb tracking, even on the most dynamic LPs. Listening to vinyl records has never been so rewarding—or downright fun!
Worth every penny, and then some.