High Res Audio

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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 18 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).
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 30, 2015 0 comments
With Bjork, it's never a matter of not liking, it's a matter of liking more or less. The more the focus remains firmly on Bjork's voice, the happier I am. I don't know about you, but I get the distinct impression that she loves to wrap herself around words. Every part of her being getting involved in enunciating and emoting her lyrics and the meaning and messages behind them. Vulnicura (One Little Indian), her latest full-length, drips with raw beautiful sobering sadness.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 27, 2015 80 comments
Reading some of the responses to Pono, and to Neil Young, you have to wonder if some of the stronger negative takes on what is a plea for better sound quality are rooted in an emotional response as opposed to a technical one. I had a conversation with Jon Iverson of Stereophile about exactly this and he raised the point that for some, perhaps Pono and high res audio represent something that is simply out of their financial grasp which triggers a negative response. In order to justify this reaction, they grasp at straws, i.e. technical arguments that have been largely debunked like the 2007 study by E. Brad Meyer and David Moran of the Boston Audio Society, in order to feel better about their aversion. It's not that I can't afford the whole high res thing, I don't want it because it's stupid. So there!
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 22, 2015 1 comments
From the Press Release:
Tokyo, Jan 22, 2015 - (JCN Newswire) - Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (IIJ), KORG Inc. (KORG), Saidera Paradiso Ltd. (Saidera Paradiso) and Sony Corporation (Sony) today announced that they will conduct open technological experiment of live-streaming using the high-resolution digital audio format "Direct Streaming Digital (DSDTM) 5.6MHz". The four companies have partnered with the "Spring Festival in Tokyo"-one of Japan's premier music festivals-and the Berliner Philharmoniker...
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 16, 2015 3 comments
I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra on all of my father's hi-fis as they changed throughout the years. My dad was a fan, he'd seen Sinatra live many times throughout their lives, and it always seemed to me that Sinatra meant more to my father than just a favorite singer. Similar, I'd always supposed, to what Jimi Hendrix means to me. So I cannot help but think of my father when I hear Ol' Blue Eyes which is a wonderful emotional thing. In The Wee Small Hours from 1955 was Sinatra's first 12" LP release and its melancholy blue is one of my favorite of his colors.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 02, 2015 2 comments
Crunchy funk. Part Parliament, part Prince and a whole lot more, D'Angelo's first record in 14 years since Voodoo is a mind blowing expanse of serious soul. Black Messiah was initially intended to be a 2015 release but D'Angelo chose to rush it out in response to "the nationwide protests over the police killings of unarmed black men" according to an article in the NY Times. I'm happy he did.

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