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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 12, 2014 0 comments
Here's a nice little package, the Audioengine B2 ($299), that essentially combines a pair of the company's A2+s with their B1 aptX Bluetooth receiver for a portable playback solution. Available finishes include Zebra (shown), American Walnut, and Black Ash. Production models should be available by mid-November.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 11, 2014 1 comments
The chiseled Astel & Kern AK500N ($TBD estimated between $9-11k) is a music server with 1TB of SSD internal storage (expandable to a max 4TB), a CD ripper (WAV or FLAC), DLNA complant for accessing network attached storage, a PCM/DSD DAC (dual Cyrus Logic 4398), and its battery powered for music playback to keep you running smoothly and quietly. The AK500N supports PCM formats up to 24/384 and up to double rate DSD. All incoming data is converted to DSD64 and that 7" WXGA (1280 x 800) touch screen is also part of the package. The AK500N supports WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, ALAC, AIFF, DFF and DSF formats. And it looks really cool to boot (based on Switzerland's Matterhorn accord to Astel & Kern).
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 10, 2014 3 comments
"It's like a modern Bitches Brew." is what I said to Stephen and John in an email about You're Dead! (Wrap Records) the new Flying Lotus album. But there's more, like touches of ethereal Alice Coltrane, Steven Ellison's (aka Flying Lotus) great-aunt, sax solos and Snoop Dogg. Herbie Hancock, Kendrick Lamar, Captain Murphy, Angel Deradoorian, Thundercat, and Niki Randa also join in for a lovely swirling mid-bending trip-o-delic delight.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 09, 2014 7 comments
DSD Over WiFi
The Auralic ARIES prototype debuted at CES 2014 and caused quit a stir with its ability to stream DSD over WiFi. The company prefers to call the Aries a "Wireless Streaming Bridge" but if we look at its functionality from a bird's eye view it is a network player or streamer. Essentially the Aries accepts your NAS-based music or streaming services via WiFi or Ethernet, its Lightning App acts as the control point, and it sends your musical selections on to your DAC of choice via USB, Toslink, Coax S/PDIF, or AES/EBU. Pretty straight forward stuff.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 07, 2014 7 comments
In honor of John Lennon's 74th birthday on October 9, eight studio albums, two compilations, and the John Lennon Signature Box are making their high resolution debuts. All titles have been digitally remastered in 24-bit for the first time from John Lennon's original mixes.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 07, 2014 0 comments
The 11th annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is set to start this Friday, October 10th, and run through Sunday, October 12th at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. With nearly 500 exhibitors, RMAF promises to be a big show chock full of listening pleasure.

We'll be all over the latest bits. See you there!

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 06, 2014 10 comments
iFi Micro iDSD ($499)

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

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 26, 2014 1 comments
Will Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, is always a safe bet. A singer songwriter extraordinaire, his latest, Singer's Grave a Sea of Tongues does not disappoint with its gentle rhythms and swaying southern-tinged songs. Featuring the McCrary sisters and Chris Scruggs on mandolin and ukulele, these are slow, somewhat sad stories but they're filled with enough light to keep things luminous.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 25, 2014 2 comments
Cocktail Audio
Cocktail Audio is, to the best of my knowledge, a division of Novatron a Korean company specializing in the manufacture of "Multimedia Devices". I first came across the Cocktail Audio X30 at CES 2014 and I was intrigued by its all in oneness. The X30 incorporates a 50W digital amp, DAC, server, UPnP network player, and CD ripper all in one package. Just add speakers.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 24, 2014 6 comments
As we learned in the pending Pandora case, US Federal Copyright Law does not protect music recorded before Feb. 15, 1972, instead it's handled on a state by state basis. Flo & Eddie filed their suit in California against SiriusXM "for not seeking authorization nor paying royalties on hit songs like 'Happy Together,' 'It Ain't Me Babe' and 'She'd Rather Be With Me'" (all pre-1972 recordings) according to Hollywood Reporter. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez ruled in favor of Flo & Eddie who are seeking $100M in damages. While this case is certainly going to be appealed, the notion that licensing and associated royalty fees do in fact apply to pre-1972 recordings will surely send shivers down every streaming services spine.


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