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."

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 13, 2013 12 comments
How would you like to be able to stream FLAC and AAC files from your NAS, play Internet radio stations, Rdio content, and YouTube videos all from the same app on your iPhone or iPad? How about using the same app to play music through your DLNA compatible network player? Well Creation has an app for you.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Aug 12, 2013 20 comments
The LightSpeed USB cable is Light Harmonic’s latest entry to an ever growing and somewhat crowded filed of audiophile USB cables. Light Harmonic, well known for their outstanding Da Vinci DAC that I previously reviewed last January (see review), has created what they feel is a USB cable that very few other manufacturers can match in terms of bandwidth. Light Harmonic claims that the LightSpeed with its Ultra-high speed differential pair provides 20 times the bandwidth of USB 2.0 high speed. With its 10 GB per second bandwidth, it offers performance that many other high end USB cables cannot come close to. In fact, Light Harmonic has measured many high end USB cables and found that they cannot meet the USB Audio 2.0 High Speed standard of 480mbps. The LightSpeed physically splits the line with separation of the 5V power supply to reduce noise and disturbances of the digital signal.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 09, 2013 6 comments
Lee Hazlewood Industries (LHI) put out a bunch of records in the '60s and '70s including Honey Ltd's one and only self-titled album from 1968. I have a soft spot for so-called girl groups like the Shangri-Las and The Feminine Complex so when I saw that Light In The Attic re-issued Honey Ltd. The Complete LHI Recordings remastered from the original mono tapes, I dove into its sweetness head first. If you dig this kind of music, I do in carefully prescribed doses, and its slightly off-kilter weirdness infested as it is with semi-psychedelic fuzzy flourishes, sometimes sappy orchestration, and waning innocence, all the while retaining those big harmony-induced hooks, you'll want to dip into some Honey Ltd.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 08, 2013 7 comments
The debut album from the Savages, Silence Yourself on Matador Records, has caused some waves and ruffled some feathers. I've read glowing reviews, "the sheer intensity with which She Will or City's Full are delivered is breathtaking", ho-hum we've heard this before, and downright hostility, "post punk karaoke". I'm falling somewhere between the first two and have been enjoying the Savages music but I do have one criticism—why did they compress the hell out the digital version? Those images above are from two tracks, "Shut Up" and "Husbands", from the FLAC download and the red lines show clipping. Yea, those red blocks are comprised of lots and lots of little red clipping lines.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 08, 2013 1 comments
Hardware manufacturer VOCO and online music retailer/streaming service provider Murfie have teamed up to deliver 'Murfie HiFi' a CD-quality streaming service. The Murfie HiFi service consists of music you've either purchased from Murfie or music that was ripped from the CDs you sent to Murfie (at a cost of $1.00/per CD) and the new lossless streaming service only works with VOCO products. From the press release:
The collaboration marks the launch of Murfie's newest streaming service, Murfie HiFi, specifically for VOCO—the first service ever to provide lossless streaming playback online.

"VOCO's mission has always been to provide a top notch music experience, and a partnership with an industry innovator like Murfie furthers that mission,” says CEO and Founder of VOCO Wade Fenn. "Murfie provides an unprecedented service that couples seamlessly with our technology. Streamed music has never sounded better!"

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 07, 2013 33 comments
NAD Digital Classic Series
NAD's new Digital Classic series of components includes the D 3020 Digital DAC/Amplifier ($499), the D 7050 Direct Digital Network Receiver ($999), and the D 1050 DAC that's here for closer scrutiny. The Digital Classics share the same form factor, which was designed by David Farrage, are about the size of a good book, and can sit horizontally or vertically to suit environment and taste. I like the simple and sleek black matte sides with the shiny strip running down the center as well as the touch-sensitive controls coupled with that big, chunky volume knob. Overall a classy look and feel, imo, for such a modestly priced piece of kit.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 06, 2013 5 comments
Did I mention I got new glasses? It was time to give in and get progressive lenses which as you may know allow you to have reading glasses and corrective lenses for distance in one frame without the bifocal age line. And it's a good thing since I may have otherwise missed our mention in the September 2013 issue of Men's Health (with Tom Brady on the cover sporting his new haircut). I'm very appreciative of the opportunity nonetheless since spreading the word for better sound is an essential part of our mission.


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