Michael Lavorgna

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 30, 2015 32 comments
If only the folks at Ars Technica and the James Randi Educational Foundation knew about Wikipedia (my emphasis):
An ABX test is a method of comparing two choices of sensory stimuli to identify detectable differences between them. A subject is presented with two known samples (sample A, the first reference, and sample B, the second reference) followed by one unknown sample X that is randomly selected from either A or B. The subject is then required to identify X as either A or B.
What do you call an ABX test that skips that last bit in bold and let's a subject say "I dunno" when presented with X? Useless.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 27, 2015 20 comments
I was planning on writing up a post where I offered what I thought would be a reasonable way to spread out one's overall hi-fi budget by category. Speakers get X%, amplification Y%, source Z% and so on. Essentially creating an order of importance. But the more I wrote, the more tangled up my logic got. So I emailed a few friends whose opinions I admire and trust, and they confirmed my idea was pretty stupid since there's a near infinite number of roads to hi-fi happiness. Creating a percentage scale creates a totally arbitrary and needlessly restricted path. Boom.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 23, 2015 111 comments
Hermes Chaine d’ Ancre Gold Necklace Jewelry – $27,400

What would you do if you bought a $340 Ethernet cable only to find you don't hear any difference between it and a $5.00 Ethernet cable? Return it? Or strip it? Well Lee Hutchinson over on Ars Technica opted for the latter since posting about expensive Audiophile Ethernet cables on sites like Ars Technica is like posting about Kim Kardashian's latest revealing outfit...anywhere. Neither tell us anything of import yet people can't seem to look away.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 20, 2015 42 comments
“If your experiment needs a statistician, you need a better experiment.” ― Ernest Rutherford

I have not seen the results of yesterday's Amazing Randi/Ars Technica $1,000,000 challenge comparing an AudioQuest Vodka Ethernet cable to "a cheap Amazon Basics Cat5 Ethernet" but I can't wait to read the results and the analysis of those results. Should be entertaining. My guess is we'll be told that Ethernet cables do not make any difference even though many people have experienced otherwise. One real question is—when looking at results from audio tests involving more than one person, does it make sense to draw generalized conclusions that discount individual results?

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 17, 2015 31 comments
All the the world's a staging and there's no bigger stage than Las Vegas and no bigger lover of that stage than James Randi. Ars Technica along with the James Randi Educational Foundation are going to put an AudioQuest Vodka Ethernet cable to the test! Well actually they are going to put whoever takes part in the test to the test the results of which will tell us everything we wanted to know about these listeners listening to the test gear and music in the test environment. But hey, I love the scientific method as much as the next guy especially when it's tarted up and paraded on stage in Vegas in front of paying skeptical spectators. That sounds like the perfect impartial crowd in a perfectly natural and acoustically sound environment for a listening test, no? I'll be hanging on the edge of my seat waiting to hear how they didn't hear a difference.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 15, 2015 24 comments
I just bought a CD; Chet Baker Sings and Plays From The Film Let's Get Lost. I used to own this CD, somehow lost it years ago, and somehow the ripped version was no longer to be found either. Odd, that. Let's Get Lost is a wonderful collection of old and new standards and the Bruce Weber film it's from, a sad eyeopening tale of a musician, a man, and addiction.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 14, 2015 12 comments
In hi-fi, we talk about subjectivists vs objectivists as if this distinction has some inherent merit, some foundation in actuality when in point of fact, the distinction as commonly used is nonsensical.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 13, 2015 1 comments
Paul Pang Professional Audio Studio Audio Grade Switcher ($149)

We've had some changes/additions to our recent Coming Soon list that merit an update.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 08, 2015 3 comments
I consider Daniel J. Levitin’s This Is Your Brain On Music (Dutton, 2006 see review) to be an indispensable entry for every audiophile library and he's gone and done it again. The World In Six Songs: How The Musical Brain Created Human Nature (Dutton Penguin 2008, updated and released in paperback by Plume in 2009) is a fascinating, thought-provoking, and enlightening book that explains how and why music is responsible for making humans human.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 06, 2015 36 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 7 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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