Michael Lavorgna

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 06, 2015 29 comments
Much like the world at large, there are ongoing debates, disagreements, and outright hostility between different factions within the world of computer audio (actually all of hi-fi but that's another story). The idea that some people are right (and smarter) and others wrong (and not as smart) is as human as the need for music. Is DSD "better" than PCM, is high-res audio a hoax, does all media player softare sound the same, should we be using a computer for computer audio, and so on. Not to mention the whole seething mess over price. Non-audiophiles are just plain smarter than audiophiles when it comes to one simple fact—arguing about listening to music is silly.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 29, 2015 4 comments
NY-based Musicians Ohm & Sport created an app that allowed users to endlessly repeat music from their chosen artist on Spotify in 30-second loops, which is the minimum duration Spotify considers a "listen", earning that artist between $0.006 and $0.0084 per play. The app hit the 'net last week, Spotify took notice, and shut Eternify down by blocking the app from using the Spotify API. Easy come, easy go.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 22, 2015 4 comments
Roon Labs Roon $119/year $499/lifetime)

Here's what's in-house or en-route to AudioStream for review.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 17, 2015 25 comments
Let's listen to some music!

Since the goal of listening to music on the Hi-Fi is enjoyment, the only valid proof of anything to do with that experience lies in listening. Here at AudioStream, we listen to the products we review and report on what we hear. The value in this equation is simple; you are getting an honest and careful appraisal of how a given component, cable, app, or tweak affects our enjoyment of music. In my opinion, the more experience we have with this process and you have reading what we write, the more value you'll find in our reviews. Simple stuff really and not at all unique in the world of audio reviewing. So I have to wonder why some people expect/demand something more?

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 15, 2015 11 comments
image credits: Aumeo Audio

Let's say each of us has different hearing sensitivity and let's also say the ideal would be to deliver a corrected signal for our individual hearing profile. Aumeo claims to deliver just that:

"Why do you need Aumeo?

Because it's a well-known fact that everybody hears differently. Like our eyes, nose, mouth and all our sensory organs, not all ears are built the same. But your audio equipment has no way of knowing just exactly how differently you hear.

Therefore your audio equipment can't take your unique hearing into account when they deliver sound to you, and have to assume that their users have the same 'standardized' hearing."

Interesting, no?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 02, 2015 9 comments
Of course they are. They have more power, more users with credit cards on file (800M), and more money than...everyone. They can afford sustained losses, they can afford to pay artists for exclusive content, which appears to be the latest trend in differentiation, they have deep ties into the music industry which they bought when they paid $3 billion for Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre and Beats, and they have the R&D to implement just about anything they can dream up. Game over.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 28, 2015 3 comments
"Which types of subscription services does your household currently use?" [all images: Blackhawk Engagement Solutions]

Blackhawk Engagement Solutions recently published their study "Super Subscribers: Disrupting the Subscription Services Model". The report, which is based on 1,757 respondents across the USA, shows that most people pay for Internet, Cell Phones, and Cable TV with over 50% also paying for streaming TV and/or movies. Where does that leave music?

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 27, 2015 39 comments
I've put this off for long enough. Here's the barn, as it stands, today. There's work to be done but things are sounding good. Really good. Come on in!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 06, 2015 37 comments
We're looking at the new Fe2O3 Cable Purifier System ($599) from Noise Suppression Teknologies, Inc. The Fe2O3 employs exacting geometry coupled with electromagnetic properties to deliver the cleanest sounding signal possible. Oh, wait a minute that's not it.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 04, 2015 61 comments
Some people have interpreted my "Digital Cables and Noise" article as an unfounded impetus for worry. Their point being, sure digital systems including cables are susceptible to noise, but it's really not something we need to be concerned with. As if everyone recognizes that noise is an issue in digital systems. As we used to say back in grammar school...not!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 29, 2015 61 comments
image credit: ECN Magazine

The notion that a digital cable, including Ethernet and USB, can be susceptible to noise is often met with harsh criticism. If we then add fuel to this fire by further suggesting that this noise can cause an audible difference in our connected hi-fi, we are typically met with derision. Some people contend that for all intents and purposes, digital systems are noise-proof, the proof being bits are bits. Therefore there's no way a digital cable can possibly make any difference when it comes to the sound coming out of our speakers. The fact that noise in digital systems including digital cables is a well-known problem outside the world of hi-fi doesn't appear to make one bit of difference. Let's see if we can separate the signal from the noise.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 27, 2015 2 comments
This just in:
"LOS ANGELES—George Himmelsbaugh, 32, was informed Tuesday that he was incorrect in enjoying a thing he had been deriving pleasure from for many years. Authorities in the field informed Himmelsbaugh that, although he believes his appreciation of the thing to be a matter of subjective personal taste, any positive feelings or satisfaction taken from this are by definition erroneous."
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 27, 2015 0 comments
Kip Hanrahan's American Clavé label is mightily musically mighty combining great music with great sound, an accomplishment that's clearly not run of the mill. It has been 5 year since the last American Clavé release and that's too damn long.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 22, 2015 27 comments
all image credits: Ajay Kalia

Ajay Kalia who works "building the future of the future of music at The Echo Nest and Spotify" has offered up some interesting data related to how we relate to popular music as we age. The short story? The older we get, the less adventurous we get.

"After sixty years of research, it’s conventional wisdom: as people get older, they stop keeping up with popular music. Whether the demands of parenthood and careers mean devoting less time to pop culture, or just because they’ve succumbed to good old-fashioned taste freeze, music fans beyond a certain age seem to reach a point where their tastes have 'matured'."
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 21, 2015 6 comments

I really don't have much to add other than to say this video from DEQX describes and illustrates some important concepts about sound reproduction in a very understandable manner. Bravo.

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