TAS’ very own Editor in Chief, Robert Harley, has just published the fifth edition of what was, is, and remains the best book ever written about hi-fi, his Complete Guide to High-End Audio. Introduced in 1994 (can it have been twenty-one years since this book first came out?), the Complete Guide has previously been updated three times—to keep it current with the advances in technology that have occurred over the past two decades. The latest update—the Fifth Edition—adds nearly fifty pages of new material and countless revisions of older entries to accommodate what Robert calls (in his preface) a greater number of “profound changes in audio technology than in any previous decade.”
Music servers, streaming audio, wireless networking, desktop hi-fi’s, high-resolution downloads, and the rapid ascent of personal listening via high-end headphones were not yet or just barely on the map when the Fourth Edition of the Complete Guide was published a scant five years ago. Today, they are among the hottest tickets on the market.
In the Fifth Edition, Robert covers them all—and the myriad smaller, less attention-grabbing ways that advancing technology has moved the quest for more lifelike musical reproduction forward.
But comprehensiveness is scarcely the only attraction of the new Complete Guide. No one—not even the great J. Gordon Holt in his prime—could or can demystify the mind-bogglingly technical the way Mr. Harley can. It is precisely his ability to explain the thorniest complexities in plain English that has made the Complete Guide the enduring classic that it is.
Anyone taking his first steps into computer, desktop, or personal/mobile audio, anyone deeply interested in the current (and I mean right-up-to-date) state of the audio arts, anyone looking for lucid explanations of how amplifiers, preamplifiers, loudspeakers, headphones, even computer servers work (and what to look for when you buy one) would be well advised to purchase the Fifth Edition of The Complete Guide to High-End Audio. All your answers are here, written in the graceful, meticulous, easy-to-understand prose of a genuine master.