LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 31, 2015 0 comments
It has been a while since we heard from Syria's soulful singer Omar Souleyman who is joined on his new record Bahdeni Nami (Monkeytown Records) by saz player Khaled Youssef and Rizan Said on keyboards. The saz, or bağlama, is a stringed instrument resembling a lute that Youssef uses here to tell the his own version of the story and Said's keyboard playing is incessant and raw as is this music. I love this music.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 30, 2015 36 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.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 30, 2015 6 comments
Moving Beyond The Bits
While some people still want to argue that "bits are bits" when it comes to digital data transmission, other people are looking at real-world solutions to real-world problems. I have a number of devices in for review that take aim at cleaning up our USB connections. While each offers a different approach and even a different set of solutions to more than one problem, the JitterBug is a USB filter. What is it filtering? The company states, "JitterBug’s dual-circuitry measurably reduces unwanted noise currents and parasitic resonances. It also reduces jitter and packet errors (in some cases, packet errors are completely eliminated)."
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 29, 2015 3 comments
I ran my own blog years ago which mainly consisted of album (as in LP) reviews. At some point I thought it would be a good idea to include genre tags for each review so I gave it a whirl. I think this lasted a few weeks, maybe longer, but I quickly realized my approach to the perfect genre identifier was to give every album its own genre. Since the other information already provided did a much better job of this (album title, band, year, album cover art, etc), I gave up the genre tag and lived happily ever after.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 27, 2015 21 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.
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.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 23, 2015 112 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 23, 2015 5 comments
Crowds & Power
More than any other audio company, much-much-more, LH Labs has been exceedingly successful in utilizing crowdfunding for product development and sales. This model obviously shirks the traditional hi-fi approach in many ways but most importantly lots of people are buying audio gear without anyone having heard it. Reviews necessarily come after the initial wave of crowdfunding and crowd-designing enthusiasm has ebbed so at best we can create a second wave or tell people what they already know. I find LH Labs overall approach refreshing if a tad fresh.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 22, 2015 18 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 20, 2015 48 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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