Steven Plaskin Posted: Jul 31, 2014 137 comments
Synergistic Research’s latest implementation of their Uniform Energy Field Technology, better known as UEF, has resulted in a new product designed to balance close proximity electromagnetic fields in electronic circuits. The product is called the Electronic Circuit Transducer or ECT. These tiny devices, approximately the size of the previously reviewed HFT (High Frequency Transducer), are placed on D to A chips, fuses, near vacuum tubes, capacitors, transformers, op amps, and analog and digital cables. The ECTs can also be placed on the exterior of the chassis to improve the electromagnetic environment of the component. Synergistic Research states that high frequency noise is reduced with a resultant drop in the perceived noise floor. Compression of the sound is decreased with application of these devices on your electronic components. Improvements in clarity and definition, along with soundstage size and air, are claimed to improve with use of the ECTs. The ECTs convert ultra-high frequencies that are found with RFI-EMI circuit board component emissions to more musically consonant frequencies.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 28, 2014 7 comments
credit: Spotify

"When people say that Spotify doesn’t pay anything, I can tell you it’s not true." Billy Bragg

In an article on the Independent (see article), three artists are interviewed who actually support Spotify. Bragg continues, "If you’re getting a lot of plays, you’re going to make some decent money." What's decent money? Independent musician Ron Pope says, "When I started I was averaging a million or so plays a month on Spotify, and now I’m getting four million. I have 76,759,686 total plays on Spotify, and earnings of $443,826 to date." So what's all the negative press relating to streaming services being cheapskates about?

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 25, 2014 0 comments
The allstars in the band's name refers to the fact that the Kasia Allstars are comprised of players from 5 different bands. They also happen to be from different ethnic groups with different musical traditions all from within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Beware the Fetish isn't western-inspired funk or acid rock rather its African roots music amplified. Repetitive, intense, complex, and hypnotic, this is joyous music-making at its finest. Fans of joy should be well satisfied with all 100+ minutes worth.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 24, 2014 15 comments
Alpha Dog
The new entry level Alpha line from Focal is meant to bring Focal quality to the discerning listener on a budget. I very favorably reviewed the more upscale Focal CMS 40 (see review) and the top of the line Solo6 Be (see review) so I was more than excited to see this new lower-priced line from Focal. The Alpha 50s are the smallest monitor in the Alpha series which also includes the Alpha 65 and Alpha 80. The 50s are equipped with a 5" woofer/midrange, the 65's with a 6.5 midrange/woofer, and the 80s, you guessed it, an 8" mid/woofer. I opted for the 50s for this review because that's what Focal recommends for extreme nearfield listening (2-3 ft.).
Steven Plaskin Posted: Jul 22, 2014 21 comments
The 3 products under review all deal with common issues encountered in USB computer audio. Most USB DACs require a 5 volt line (VBUS) in the USB cable to supply power to the USB controller in one’s DAC. Unfortunately, this power line from the computer brings with it noise that can contaminate the audio data leading to degradation of the sound one hears from the DAC. The idea behind the Schiit Wyrd USB Decrapifier is that supplying clean power to your USB DAC, or better-quality USB port power management, can result in improvements in sound and performance. Schiit believes that glitches and dropouts can be prevented using the Wyred USB Decrapifier.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 21, 2014 13 comments
Photo Credit: Omniphone

From the Pono Kickstarter page:

Omnifone was selected to power the PonoMusic store because of its award-winning cloud music platform and its industry-leading audio expertise and commitment to audio quality. Standing at 35 million tracks, MusicStation - Omnifone’s cloud music platform - hosts the industry’s largest catalogue of high resolution content, obtained from rights holders in all corners of the world. This rich collection of premium quality audio - and its distributed delivery from the cloud - will enable PonoMusic to achieve global scale quickly.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 21, 2014 1 comments
What is deepblue2? deepblue2 is a wireless Bluetooth speaker that houses a custom developed 440-watt amplifier, a long excursion 6.5-inch woofer, two 3" mid-range drivers, and two 1" soft-dome tweeters all wrapped up in a portable 1/2 cubic foot box. This isn't your hipster's Bluetooth speaker. There are also two wired inputs: a 24/96-capable optical input and one 3.5mm analog input so you can leash your MacBook to the little deepblue2 for some high res sound on the go. Nice.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 18, 2014 1 comments
I believe Boris. Shape shifters, noise merchants, bliss whisperers, this Japanese trio consisting of singer-bassist Takeshi, guitarist Wata, and drummer Atsuo can build some monumental songs and they go about building all kinds, sorts, and sizes on Noise their 20th studio release. From delicate wispy dreamers to full out speed metal crunchers, Noise kills.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 17, 2014 21 comments
For my review of the Focal Alpha 50 active speakers, my contact sent along a pair of IsoAcoustics L8R155 speaker stands, "I don't do a single demo without it." A few readers alerted me to the IsoAcoustics stands in the past but at the time IsoAcoustics did not have a set small enough to accommodate my ADAM A3X speakers and it was only until this pair arrived for review that I see IsoAcoustics has the ISO-L8R130 to fit their small footprint. So the idea of trying a pair faded until I admit I forgot all about them. All that's changed now that I've heard 'em.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 15, 2014 18 comments
Presented by Harman, this 20 minute+ film expounds on the greatness of music, the importance of quality in its reproduction, and why we should be over lossy compression. While hardly a controversial idea, some people would have you believe otherwise. I lean toward the obvious and overwhelmingly simple realization that to deliver the best experience we can when it comes to music should be our goal and a given. Watch & enjoy.


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