LATEST ADDITIONS

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 27, 2013 6 comments
Thanks to my friend and colleague Stephen Mejias for pointing me to this short but sweet article in the Economist, The sound of music: Dr Dre’s creation of a market for costly cans may herald the return of true hi-fi.
"Since consumers have been persuaded, largely by Beats, that it is worth paying a fair whack for some half-decent headphones that look nice, perhaps they could be persuaded—especially since the storage capacity of many portable devices is now huge—to turn their backs on cheap mp3s and seek out recordings in true high fidelity."
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 27, 2013 6 comments
The Director
The Director is Meridian's step up in terms of size and sound quality from their smaller and headphone output-endowed Explorer (see review). Meridian views the aptly named Explorer as a portable player whereas the Director is meant to sit and remain connected to your hi-fi. I've now had a chance to listen to the Director for a few weeks and compare it to its smaller sibling side-by-side. If you've already read my Director preview, feel free to skip ahead to the listening section.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 23, 2013 4 comments
If I make a list at the end of this year, Julia Holter's Loud City Song on Domino Records will surely be near the tippy top. I'm almost reluctant to try to pigeon hole its sound but I'm reminded of bits and pieces of Kurt Weill and Laurie Anderson but most of all I'm reminded of Julia Holter. Only better. Yea, I'm going on that limb and suggest that Loud City Song is her most mature sounding and fully realized release yet which kinda makes sense as its also her first true studio release. And I liked last year's Exstasis just fine. But I'm learning to love Loud City Song.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 20, 2013 9 comments
Over on Audio Asylum, our own Steve Plaskin (Mercman on AA) posted some comments on Music Software. In the responses, John Swenson offered up some answers to some questions we've been dealing with here on AudioStream most notably in our conversation with Charles Hanson, Gordon Rankin, and Steve Silberman (see article). So I contacted John and asked him if he'd like to expand on those thoughts here on AudioStream and he kindly agreed. John also provided a bio which is included at the end of this piece to give you some background on his background.

Here's Part 1 starting at the beginning...

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 19, 2013 29 comments
Calyx Audio Femto DAC ($7,000)
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Aug 19, 2013 1 comments
Mike Nilan of Syracuse, New York is the randomly selected winner of the Light Harmonic LightSpeed USB Cable sweepstakes. The LightSpeed was reviewed recently here at Audiostream by Steven Plaskin, where he said "Its special qualities of speed, detail, soundstage and ambience reproduction, along with its low noise capabilities, place it among the finest USB cables I have yet heard." Seems Mike scored big!
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 16, 2013 4 comments
iTube
The iFi iTube active tube buffer/preamplifier is actually more than that. The iTube includes two "active correction circuits" that are meant to improve your listening experience, just like the New Old Stock (NOS) General Electric 5670 tube that's hidden inside the iTube's aluminum shell. I suppose purists have already begun the cold sweats as thoughts of tampering with bit perfection outweighs the promise of greater enjoyment. But let's leave theory behind and see what the iTube delivers, sound wise.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 16, 2013 5 comments
With a spate of super releases coming next week including those from Julia Holter, Julianna Barwick, and Zola Jesus, I thought it would be kinda nice to take a look back at a ground-breaking gem from 1969 that could be seen as an important influence on the bunch. At least I hear it that way. Brigitte Fontaine's Comme à la Radio, her first album with Areski Belkacem who would become her long time partner, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago is so tasty it hurts. Spare instrumentation with worldly accents accompany Ms. Fontaine's breathy spoken sung vocals for a carnival of strangeness that is neither jazz nor pop but remains as playful and fresh as if it just blossomed yesterday.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 15, 2013 14 comments
In our Getting Started With Computer Audio Part 1 we discussed Hardware. Now its time to turn our attention inward to the software that makes the hardware do its thing. In Part 1, we defined a few basic hardware categories and each of these have their own related software requirements. So people interested in using their computer as a music server will have different software requirements from those who choose to go with a network player or streamer. This guide will cover the basics of using your computer as a music server.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 13, 2013 20 comments
The first prototype GEEK.

Light Harmonic who brought you the $20,000 Da Vinci DAC (see review) and the $1,000 LightSpeed USB cable (see review) have just launched a Kickstarter campaign for their newest DAC—the portable GEEK. The first 100 backers can get the GEEK for $99, while the projected retail price will be $299. Capable of handling up to 24/192, DXD, and DSD playback, the GEEK sports two outputs, a headphone amp, and "3D audio technology that moves the sound from between your ears to all around you."

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