Michael Lavorgna

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 18, 2015 6 comments

moDernisT_v1 from Ryan Maguire on Vimeo.

When the Moving Pictures Experts Group first developed the MP3 codec way back in 1993, they didn't just base it on theories. They also listened to some of their favorite music to help determine which was the least offensive perceptual model. Listening to music was used to tweak the science. One of the tracks employed for these purposes was Susann Vega's "Tom's Diner". The above video by Ryan Maguire, a Ph.D. student in Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia Center for Computer Music, was created using the sounds that MP3 encoding (at 320kbps) discards from "Tom's Diner" while the video portion was created from the data discarded during mp4 video compression. Give it a listen.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 17, 2015 25 comments
image credit: CSR

According to a report by UK-base CSR, "State Of Play Report – The world of home audio through the eyes of the consumer", what people want most from their home audio experience is better sound quality. A whopping 77% of respondents would like better audio quality at home and they are wiling to pay for it which bodes well for our musical futures.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 11, 2015 107 comments
a 12m run of AudioQuest's Diamond Ethernet cable will run you $7,995

I think it started on Reddit then spread like wildfire to a number of websites including Ars Technica, The Register, HotHardware, and more. Not to mention the forums. What's all the fuss? Expensive Ethernet cables. $10,000 Ethernet cables.

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!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 26, 2015 44 comments
Here's the gist of James Covert's "report" for the NY Post:
Product engineers for the shaggy rock icon’s newly released Pono digital music player have privately admitted they aren’t convinced that the high-resolution audio files it plays have any significant technical advantage over CD-quality files, sources told The Post.
Since we know that Ayre is responsible for the digital and analog circuits in the Pono player, and we also know that Ayre supports high res audio, you have to wonder who these Pono "product engineers" are and exactly what they engineered? My guess is this apparently third-hand information, product engineer > private source > NY Post, got buggered somewhere along the line and Mr. Covert has reported, er, a bunch of bullshit.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 19, 2015 1 comments
Pono Player ($399)

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

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 13, 2015 8 comments
Excuse this brief intermission from our CES coverage but I just couldn't let this one go by without commenting...I can't begin to tell you how tired I am of people who are obviously not interested in sound quality commenting on sound quality. Besides, it's 2015, haven't we learned that there's more to quality digital audio reproduction than dynamic range and frequency response? Apparently not.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 31, 2014 11 comments
We moved in 2014 and this is my new listening room: the barn. This is where the seriously fun listening takes place.

2014 has been a busy year. Steve Plaskin and I reviewed over 50 products, we continued our Q&A series with a number of interviews, provided show coverage, industry news, How To articles, our Download of the Week, and more. We've also seen a shift in people's music consuming habits, with streaming on the rise and downloads and CD sales on the wane. Vinyl also continues its growth spurt which to my mind is a signal of a happy, healthy mix. If I had a crystal ball, I'd say that in 2015 we'll see more of the same with a larger focus on the quality of the listening experience.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 23, 2014 1 comments

Tis the season and what more of an unlikely pairing than Patti Smith and the Vatican? For those who do, and even for those who don't, enjoy and happy holidays!

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 22, 2014 1 comments
From The Grammy.org's Give Fans the Credit:
Ever listen to music on your player and wonder who wrote, produced and played on the tracks? Well we have! We love our digital players and online music services, but we want to know more than just the song title and artist name. With CDs, we had liner notes and we could discover more about who created the music we enjoy. The digital world should give us more, not less, information.

True music fans want to be able to access all of the information about our favorite music online, and we believe digital music services should include credits for the songwriters, musicians, producers and engineers on the screen, just as they do for the artist and song. Let's give both music fans and creators the credit they deserve.

Here, here!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 17, 2014 5 comments
I reviewed the Devialet 120 (see review) and was very impressed by, well, everything. The design, the sound, the functionality, all added up to an engrossing musical experience. Devialet has just introduced two new products, the Phantom and the Silver Phantom, which essentially package most of the technology from the 120—amps, streamer, Ethernet, WiFi, DSP, and DAC—and add speakers for a Devialet all-in-one system. You can use a single Phantom, a pair for stereo, or more for multi-channel or multi-room sound. And what a package it is!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 15, 2014 11 comments
from The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover

Let's start with a similar question—How important is the taste of the food you eat or the wine you drink? Do you find you enjoy a meal more when you enjoy its taste? Do you linger over your bites longer, perhaps eat a little more than you would have if you liked it less? Or is food merely sustenance and wine a means to an end regardless of taste?

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 09, 2014 28 comments
In an interview with The Guardian, Sir Paul McCartney expresses his dismay over crappy sound reproduction, "A lot of kids listen to music on their smartphones through these tiny little speakers. I’m pulling my hair out thinking, 'Argh, I spent hours making that high-fidelity sound! Get a decent set of headphones! Please!'"
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 03, 2014 6 comments
My Patti Smith Artist Signature Series Pono Player! I literally just unpacked it, fresh off the UPS truck and took a few glamor shots before charging her up.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 24, 2014 0 comments
Exogal Comet DAC ($2500)

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


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