LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 05, 2014 3 comments
Test tracks. I kind of dislike the term, reducing music to a tool for audio, but playing the same music on different equipment can be a very helpful way to determine difference. One of my favorite albums, and therefore one of my test tracks, comes from Jimmy Scott; All The Way available as a 24/192 download from HDtracks. If you don't know Jimmy Scott, he recently passed away at the age of 88 and his solo recording career began with his first album Very Truly Yours back in 1955 on Savoy but his carrer spanned all the way back to the late 1940's when he sang with the Lionel Hampton Band (Scott's vocal was uncredited on the album). Scott suffered from Kallmann's Syndrome which among other things left him with a distinctive contralto voice. Scott sang ballads, the classics, yet his way with them was truly unique and to my ears, and many others, quite extraordinary; haunting, sensual, sublime.
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Steven Plaskin Posted: Sep 04, 2014 12 comments
exaSound Audio Design has managed to carve out a conspicuous place in the high end audiophile DAC market since beginning business less than 4 years ago. Michael Lavorgna reviewed the e20 MK III DAC for AudioStream (see review) and found it to do a fine job on PCM and native DSD playback. The e22 DAC is exaSound’s recently introduced flagship 2 channel DAC having improved on the design of the e20 MKIII to provide a superior level of sound quality. exaSound also builds an e28 DAC that can deliver from 2 to 8 channels of PCM and DSD.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 03, 2014 12 comments
WiMP CEO Andy Chen

From the Press release:

Oslo, Norway – 3rd September, 2014 – WiMP HiFi, the award-­‐winning Scandinavian music streaming service, today announced it will introduce TIDAL to the UK and the U.S. later this autumn. Unlike any other service currently on the market, TIDAL will offer high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and curated editorial by experienced music journalists.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 02, 2014 18 comments
Pedram Abrari, Pono’s EVP of Technology, responded to, he actually pretty much bitch-slapped, Roger Friedman for Friedman's faulty post, "Neil Young’s Super MP3 Player, Pono: Won’t Be Coming in 2014". First off, we all know that the Pono Player is not an MP3 player, d'oh!, but Roger also got his facts wrong in terms of what's being delivered when. The first batch of Pono players scheduled to ship in October are on schedule according to Abrari, "We are in fact on schedule and will be meeting our Kickstarter commitments."
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 02, 2014 8 comments
Nielsen SoundScan's weekly album sales numbers dipped below the 4M mark for the first time since they started tracking this number in 1991. As reported by Billboard, "This year, overall U.S. album sales are down 14.6 percent, while digital album sales are down 11.7 percent and track sales are down 12.8 percent." All the while streaming is up, up, up.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 29, 2014 1 comments
Angels & Devils (Ninja Tune) is The Bug's latest and fourth full length and its filled to the brim with altered states of intensity. With the help of vocalists Liz Harris (Grouper), Gonjasufi, Inga Copeland, Miss Red, Flowdan, Manga, Death Grips, and Warrior Queen, The Bug spatters a smattering of sounds against your scull both light and dark. Dub, grime, dancehall, and triphop blend into a cohesive if somewhat unsettling whole yet there's something attractive, something compelling that draws you into the muck and mire of Kevin Martin's bifurcated world. Something lean and mean. Skeletal. Seductive.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 28, 2014 16 comments
As reported in LesEchos.fr, France-based Qobuz has entered procédure de sauvegarde which is roughly the equivalent of Chapter 11 protection. Qobuz President Yves Riesel explains that they were unsuccessful in raising a third round of financing which led to the filing. That said, my very limited understanding of procédure de sauvegarde suggests that a company must still be solvent, i.e. not in default, and they have 4 months in which to raise the funds needed to continue operating.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 28, 2014 27 comments
Served
The Aurender X100L is the relatively new baby brother of the previously reviewed S10 (see review). Like its brethren, the X100L is a purpose built music server while upping the ante on the S10s 2TB of storage to a whopping 6TB of total storage (2x 3TB). That's enough for most largish libraries but if you require even more storage Aurender has informed me that they're coming out with an 8TB ($3699) and 12TB version ($3899)! If you need less, there's also the X100S ($2,999) with 1TB of storage.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 27, 2014 3 comments
DG just launched their new Discovery App on the Apple App Store. Initially consisting of 450 albums "in high quality audio streams" (no specific bit rate provided), the label says they hope to add up to 20 new albums per week. The service costs $3.99/month or $35.99/year if you pay in full up front. "Every week Deutsche Grammophon’s editors will present new listening recommendations in the form of hand-crafted playlists and artists and composers in-focus as well as featuring articles telling the story behind the music, made available to the app by Sinfinimusic.com."
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 25, 2014 13 comments
Three people from the Guardian, Tim Jonze, the Guardian’s music editor, Jason Phipps, the Guardian’s head of audio, and Samuel Gibbs the article's author, sat down in Graham’s Hi-Fi in London’s Islington with a Linn hi-fi and listened to a few tracks in MP3, CD-quality, and high res.

Here's what Jonze had to say:

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