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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 22, 2015 17 comments
I was holding up on talking about this story until it seemed like a real story. Well it does. Here's the crux of it; Apple charges a 30% fee to streaming services for every iOS customer that signs up for their service through the Apple App Store. So services like Spotify, Tidal, and Rdio bump up their regular $9.99/mo pricing to $12.99/mo in the App Store so they don't take the 30% Apple hit. Which makes Apple Music's $9.99/mo competitive streaming service a comparative deal. To add insult to injury these same streaming services cannot point out on the Apple App Store that you can get their service for $9.99/mo if you just buy direct. Nor can they include a link to their respective websites, offer a free promo (Apple Music does), or a family plan (Apple Music does) according to Apple's App Store guidelines. Is this fair?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 16, 2015 9 comments
As music consumers move from ownership to access on a global scale, the music industry and its technology partners the streaming services haven't figured out how to run the business they're running. Who pays the price for their incompetence? The people without whom this business would not exist—musicians and songwriters. Thankfully Rethink Music has taken on the task of unraveling this unholy mess.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 16, 2015 12 comments
Mr. Young let me introduce you to Tidal, Qobuz, and Deezer Elite. They have what you want.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 23, 2015 57 comments
With but one open letter, Taylor Swift puts an end to Apple's plan of not paying royalties during the free 3-month trial period of their soon to be released Apple Music streaming service. Here's Swift:
"I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

...

"But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."

Bam!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 10, 2015 3 comments
photo credit: Emotiva

Emotiva has announced two new portable DAC/Headphone Amps—the Big Ego ($229) and the Little Ego ($169) both capable of playing back up to 32/384 PCM data. Each DAC offers three digital filters for tailoring the Ego to your liking; the Symmetrical filter offering equal amounts of pre- and post-ringing, the Asymmetrical Low Damping filter which essentially does away with pre-ringing coupled with several cycles of post-ringing, and the Asymmetrical High Damping filter that reportedly preserves tonal qualities "like resonance and warmth".

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 08, 2015 36 comments
Of course we care about sound quality at AudioStream so it's kinda pointless for me to dig into the Apple Music service because you can get better sound quality from Tidal Hi-Fi, Qobuz, Deezer, and others including hi-res streaming from Naxos/OraStream. But seeing as I lasted the 3 hours+ of the Apple Show, I'll say some more.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 08, 2015 0 comments
A man of few words, even for Twitter.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 08, 2015 9 comments
Multi-multi-millionaire Tim Cook is due to announce his new streaming service today at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (begins 1:00PM EST) and people are asking—Who cares? "Tim Cook and Apple have enough of my money already." comments John who prefers to remain anonymous. John continues "Besides, why would I pay Apple $120 a year to listen to the same music I can listen to for free on Spotify?"
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 03, 2015 11 comments
I was listening to some tunes last night, switching between JRiver and Roon on my MacBook Pro and suddenly a note appeared in the Roon app announcing an update. The app restarted and bam! I was playing DSD, including DSD128, through Roon in no time flat. Nice.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 01, 2015 0 comments
While I typically don't regurgitate press releases, I do enjoy hearing about improvements to existing products that deliver sonic rewards. From the Bryston Integrated Audio Device (IAD) press release:
“There were several important factors that led us to develop the IAD,” reported Bryston VP James Tanner. “We were confident that by eliminating three connection points, hand selecting and testing all of the components and shifting to our meticulous in-house manufacturing that we could improve transient capability while enhancing low resolution detail,” Tanner added. The Bryston IAD is also directly powered by the BDP-2’s premium quality linear power supply rather than by a power source shared with the motherboard.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 11, 2015 35 comments
From the press release:
MUNICH, Germany (May 11, 2015) – Led by the team that created the industry defining Sooloos media control system, the newly formed Roon Labs is set to debut its first product at Munich High End 2015. Simply called Roon, it is a software service that redefines how music lovers search through, interact with, and explore their music collections and subscription services, in one unified interface.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 04, 2015 13 comments
According to The Verge, Apple is pressuring the major record labels to pull their music from Spotify's free tier. "The Verge has learned that Apple has been pushing major music labels to force streaming services like Spotify to abandon their free tiers, which will dramatically reduce the competition for Apple’s upcoming offering." And Spotify is allegedly not Apple's only target.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 27, 2015 17 comments
Jay Z took to Twitter over the weekend to share some rapid-fire thoughts over the Tidal press conference backlash.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 15, 2015 3 comments
I spent yesterday afternoon, and a lovely afternoon it was, in NYC's lower east side at the posh, yes posh, SIXTY LES hotel checking out the Raumfeld line of wireless high-res ready devices. I have to say the setting, speakers, and other devices certainly look the part of fine German design. I also have to say that since the Raumfeld line will be sold direct, available in the USA in September, the prices are rather friendly.
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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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