Mini-Monitors & Sonic Revelations at Stereophile

In his 83rd installment of the “Fifth Element”, John Marks takes on the $1500/pair SCM7 mini-monitors from Acoustic Transducer Co. (ATC). The speaker gets some good marks from, well, you know who, but it joins a gang of speakers in the entry-level mini-monitor market that could drown the perspective buyer with similar options of design, appearance, and perhaps sound (so… which one should I buy, Mr. Magazine Man?).

Towards the end of the review, Marks digs into his “sonic revelation” while listening to the new high-resolution downloads of The Grateful Dead available on HDTracks. Apparently, the at the heart of this revelation was Plangent Processing.

Plangent Processing is a sound restoration company. More specifically, Plangent Processing provides state-of-the-art playback from magnetic tape through their highly developed process that utilizes analog electronics coupled with digital signal processing to provide speed stabilization to properly correct wow and flutter.  This is analog-to-high resolution digital conversion at its finest. Clients include Neil Young and The Grateful Dead.

As John Marks explains in his review: “To put it another way, Plangent’s “Eureka!” moment was to use the ghost of the analog tape bias tone as a timing reference to enable their engineers to correct for mechanical and tape-transport problems not only in the playback deck recently used for the digital transfer, but also in the deck used in the original recording. Simply amazing. So Plangent removes two layers of grime, and, to the greatest extent possible, removes only grime, and not music—and, just as important, without adding any new artifacts.”

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