High Res Audio

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 27, 2015 0 comments
Whenever music reminds me of the Shangri-Las minus the innocence with the last few decades of music informing the sound, count me in. Meg Remy is the mind and voice behind U.S. Girls and Half Free is her latest album, out on 4AD. Half Free also reminds me of the Shangri-Las minus the innocence and Remy's voice and lyrics are beautifully spellbinding, more than bit sad, out in front of an expertly crafted and compelling amalgam of beats, rhythms, sounds, and drive.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 24, 2015 1 comments
I'm a fan of MA Recordings' recordings as they combine a few of the things that I value and enjoy: a passion for discovery, a passion for music, and a passion for capturing those elements in a recording. Todd Garfinkle, MA's proprietor, travels the world in search of "provocatively creative musical statements", which he captures using two omni-directional microphones in acoustic settings. There's a reason why you'll hear MA Recordings from bands like Será una Noche at hi-fi shows but don't let that scare you. We're talking beautiful music recorded beautifully.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 19, 2015 13 comments
I have a confession to make; near the end of nearly every RMAF, some piece of music played on some system in some room chokes me up to the point of having to hold back tears. I would suggest my reaction has to do with everything including the music and its sound. Three year's ago, it was the "Violin Sonata in G Minor" composed by Claude Debussy as performed by David Abel, violin, and Julie Steinberg, piano, from a DSD transfer in the Wilson/VTL room (see details).
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 16, 2015 1 comments
With her last album, Loud City Song (see review), Julia Holter seemed to have stepped up to a level of musical maturity. With her new release, Have You In My Wilderness on Domino, she seems to have been busy building new musical worlds.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 07, 2015 0 comments
Pop. Of course Ducktails' new record St. Catherine (Domino) isn't really pop in the sense that it'll be a streaming sensation, rather it's pop in the sense of song form. Ducktails' Matt Mondanile is from New Jersey, so I have a soft spot for his music, and he's been honing his Ducktails craft since 2006. And it shows.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 24, 2015 3 comments
Dawn of Midi's Dysnomia is the kind of music you actually have to listen to (eek!). I have my friend John DeVore to thank for the heads up on this Brooklyn-based band and it just figures. You see, John is just the kind of guy who actually listens to music (eek!). Albums' worth at a clip (eek!). I'm also an album listening lover which may be due to the fact that I grew up spinning records and I wanted to hear every last musical morsel on every record I bought. And I still do.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 26, 2015 2 comments
Unadventurous? That's how The Quietus' Christian Eede described Jamie xx's debut solo album In Colour (Young Turks). On the other hand, Pitchfork, Metacritic, Q, Consequence of Sound, and NME loved it. Hmm. This music reviewing thing seems to be simply comprised of subjective opinions! Therefore our best bet is to find reviewers whose tastes we share and then listen for ourselves. Hmm. This is the exact same advice I offer and follow for any review. Proof Poof!.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 13, 2015 13 comments
I finally found the "Real-life listening tests" article on the CR website. They compared CD-quality WAV files, AAC files from iTunes, and "high-res files". No details were given as to what music was used nor the resolution of the high-res files. They did however note the test setup:
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 08, 2015 20 comments
“Every disease is a musical problem; every cure is a musical solution.” ― Novalis

When CD players first hit the market, some people, including many audiophiles, complained that they sounded like crap. I lived through this period and for me early CD playback was painfully bad—brittle, shrill, dry, and lifeless. Of course other people argued, and some still do!, that this perception was nonsense, CD-quality being, for all intents and purposes, perfect in theory. Much better than analog. They were of course wrong in practice.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 27, 2015 4 comments
The Chopin Project is a re-interpretation of Frédéric Chopin’s music by Ólafur Arnalds and pianist Alice Sara Ott. The recording, produced by Arnalds, employs vintage microphones, analog recording equipment, non-traditional microphone techniques, and subtly prepared piano. In part, Arnalds and Ott wanted to bring "humanity" back into their recording. I think they've accomplished their goal.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 09, 2015 9 comments
photo credit: Meridian

From the press release:

Employing TIDAL streaming technology together with a pair of Meridian Special Edition DSP7200 Digital Active Loudspeakers and a Meridian 818 Reference Audio Core, the team successfully demonstrated that listeners can experience the full quality and intricacy of recordings, authenticated in the studio – using incredibly ‘streaming-friendly’ files.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 09, 2015 3 comments
In general, we've seen the "mainstream press" mangle the issue of high-res audio. From shoddy reporting to flat out misinformation, high-res has gotten a bad rap. To be fair, Neil Young has oversold and generalized when speaking about high-res versus CD-quality, and the fact that the Pono store sells mostly CD-quality material only helps to confuse an already confusing issue. But that's not a license for being plain stupid (yes, I'm looking at you Yahoo, Gizmodo and Ars Technica) and it's nice to see someone take a closer look at high-res audio going beyond a few minutes of A/B "testing". Kudos to Wilson Rothman of the WSJ for doing some real reporting and listening.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 04, 2015 1 comments
Chad Kassem and the entire cast and crew are to be commended for bringing us this lovely concert. An annual event produced by Acoustic Sounds, Blues At The Crossroads brings together great blues musicians with blues music lovers in Salina, Kansas for two days of righteous blues and soul. 2015 saw the first time this concert was captured, live, direct to DSD64 and I've been listening to Mighty Sam McClean belting out his powerful soulful sounds and the sound and music is about as moving as it gets. Bravo.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 24, 2015 26 comments
The Technics Tracks High-Res Download Store opens today for residents of the UK and Germany. Technics claims "tens of thousands" of 24-bit/192kHz tracks at launch, "hundreds of thousands" of 24-bit tracks, as well as an "extensive collection of 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality tracks." The service was custom built by 7digital, a leading open digital music platform operator.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 10, 2015 25 comments
Audio manufacturer PS Audio and recording company Blue Coast Records, who specialize in DSD recordings, have each offered a high res challenge to the writers who could not hear the differences high res audio offers when reviewing Neil Young's Pono Player (you can read my review here. Spoiler Alert: I heard a difference).


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