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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 19, 2014 3 comments

I downloaded a hi res file and it was this big!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 19, 2014 0 comments
JDS Labs Standalone ODAC ($169 w/RCAs)

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

Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 16, 2014 3 comments
I liked Merrill Garbus, aka Tune-Yards, the first time I heard her first home recorded album, BiRd-BrAiNs way back in 2009 originally released on Marriage Records on cassette then by 4AD in a limited-edition LP with a hand/home-made recycled cover. There was a nice nutty quality to her sound and singing, a wildness and unrestrained inventiveness that I found intoxicating. Then Merrill moved to 4AD and into the studio proper with her sophomore release w h o k i l l (2011) and while I enjoyed it, I also felt some of that unrestrained inventiveness got smothered. Now with Nikki Nack she sounds more at home in the studio harnessing its potential to unleash another wild and whacky sonic spree. Yeah!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 15, 2014 23 comments
The iFi nano iDSD DAC also doubles as a battery-powered 80mW headphone amp and can handle PCM resolutions up 32/384, DXD, single and double rate DSD and with a recent firmware upgrade even quad rate DSD. Unlike the recently reviewed Geek Out DAC (see review) and some of the other micro DACS, the iDSD is not a micro DAC per se coming in about the size of a pack of Camels. The cigarettes, not camels. Also like the Geek, there's a physical volume control but here its handled in the analog domain, USB in, and because of its bigger body its able to accommodate a pair of RCA outputs instead of the 3.5mm minijack found on the Geek Out. iFi also throws in a Coax output and two filter choices; minimum phase recommended for listening and "standard" recommended for measurement.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 13, 2014 8 comments
Thanks to reader CG for pointing us to this article on MacRumors (see article) which claims Apple will introduce 24-bit capability with the launch of their updated mobile app iOS 8 coming June 2 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). At present, iOS 7's music app is limited to 24/48, which in and of itself ain't bad, and while you can have your iOS device play back greater resolutions using Onkyo's HF Player (see article) and an external DAC, internal playback is currently limited to 16-bit.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 13, 2014 26 comments
Qobuz Co-Founders Yves Reisel (left) and Alexandre Leforestier

France-based Qobuz (pronounced cow-buzz and named after a traditional two-stringed instrument of Central Asia) is one of the premier online music retailers of CD-quality and high resolutions downloads. Qobuz is also one of the first sites to offer a CD-quality streaming service, if not the first, and in my opinion it is also the most advanced website for music download sales and streaming services around. One peak at their home page on any given day will tell a lot of what you need to know—podcasts, blogs, hi-fi, editorials, and more, Qobuz embodies many of the best qualities of online sales combined with a healthy human touch. Yves Riesel, Qobuz's Co-founder and CEO, was kind enough to agree to this Q&A and I'd like to thank him for his time and answers.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 12, 2014 4 comments

With all of the subtlety of a blunt instrument, South Park takes on illegal downloads in their inimitable fashion.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 09, 2014 9 comments
The Financial Times has reported that Apple is in talks to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion as early as next week (see report). As the article points out:
One motivation for the Beats deal may lie in shifts in music consumption. Subscription services are the biggest growth area for the music industry, with revenues increasing 50 per cent to $1.1bn in 2013, according to a recent report by the IFPI, the global music industry association.

But downloads fell 2 per cent to $3.93bn – the first annual decline since Apple launched its iTunes store in 2003. iTunes is still the world’s largest music download service.

How big is this potential deal? Let's look at some numbers.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 09, 2014 0 comments
Two Italians, Nicolò Fortuni and Nico Vascellari, pay tribute to the sounds of Brazilian carnival music while infesting "mostly live" percussive rhythms with industrial noise, electronics, and some occasional freaky possessed vocals on Novos Mistérios their second LP and first on Hospital Productions. This music is rich and wet, overflowing with sounds, colors, and beats creating a wild and deep sonic world for you to find your inner tribesman within.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 07, 2014 33 comments
Get Your Geek On
The LH Labs Geek Out caused quit a stir when its Kickstarter campaign raised over 300,000 clams. While early adopters were able to get their Geek Out for as low as $99, the current selling price begins at $199 and goes to $299 for the unit under review which is the Geek Out 1000. The 1000 refers to the output power in milliwatts and there's also a 450 mW version "for < 100 ohm impedance headphones" ($199), and a 720 mW version "for 100-300 impedance headphones" (+$50). The 1000 is "for > 300 ohm impedance headphones" all according to LH Labs. The aircraft-grade aluminum wrapped Geek comes in five colors all of which can handle PCM rates up to 32/384, DXD, as well as single and double rate DSD. LH Labs is a relatively new division of parent company Light Harmonic, makers of the pricey and pretty Da Vinci Dual DAC (see review).


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