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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 30, 2013 33 comments
In this third installment I will cover possible methods by which bit perfect software can affect sound quality in a DAC.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 27, 2013 5 comments
Some of the most outstanding musicians representing the different cultures of this part of Eastern Europe, together with the soloists of Hespèrion XXI and myself, have delved into this extraordinary historical, traditional and even modern musical heritage to study, select and perform it, thereby creating a genuine intercultural dialogue between the different cultures that have so often been torn apart by dramatic, age-old conflicts.—Jordi Savall
Voices of Memory: Bal·Kan: Honey & Blood: Cycles of Life fills 3 SACD's-worth of space, over 3 hours of beautiful, effusive, wild, and passionate music from Eastern Europe. You can read more about this wonderful collection on the Alia Vox website and I recommend reading all of what Jordi Savall has to say about it.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 26, 2013 22 comments
Are LPs, as some people suggest, an inherently flawed medium? In theory and on some levels, sure they are. Does this fact matter? No, it does not. I say this with the utmost confidence and assuredness because I have been listening to and enjoying LPs for decades. Some of my most memorable and meaningful musical moments have been proffered by records. There are also countless examples of musicians being inspired by other musicians through listening to their records and if that isn't the highest achievement a music storage and playback format can offer, I don't know what is. So I count most of the comments regarding vinyl's inherent flaws as nothing more than a laughable indulgence in theorizing in the face of reality.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 24, 2013 1 comments
Did You Say Quad Rate DSD?
The exaSound e20 MK III DAC can handle PCM, DXD, and DSD up to 12.288 MHz (256Fs) on Windows PCs. Mac users max out at the more or less typical DSD 128. While you'd be hard pressed to find any DSD downloads at DSD 256 (or even DSD 128), you can rest assured that the e20 can handle just about any file format you care to throw at it. The e20 also throws in on-DAC-chip volume control, single ended and balanced outputs, asynchronous USB, Coax, and Toslink inputs, and a headphone amp making it one all-around amenable DAC package.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 23, 2013 3 comments
Here are a few of my favorite Lists of the year's best recordings. My #1 favorite List is only available in print and regular readers won't be surprised to learn its from The Wire. Here are the rest:
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 20, 2013 3 comments
Ali Akbar Kahn is a master of Indian classical music. His main mojo making machine is the sarod which you can see pictured in the album cover's art. Indian Architexture is a stunning recording of Ali Akbar Khan playing his sarod with tabla accompaniment by Swapan Chaudhuri. Together they present four ragas each nearly a half hour in duration. Originally released and recorded by Waterlily Acoustics, you can think of Indian Architexture as a spiritual journey in sound, a meditation, spritely ambient drone, minimalist music maximized, background music for practical flights of fancy, foreground music for awakening, or simply L'invitation au voyage.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 17, 2013 47 comments
I think its fair to say that Charlie Hansen, Ayre's Founder and Designer, is not exactly a fan of DSD. Thankfully, that didn't stop him from offering DSD-capable versions of Ayre's QB-9, DX-5-DSD, and now the QA-9 thanks to AlpineSoft's VinylStudio DoP vinyl ripping software. What the guys at Ayre have gone and done is ripped parts of three tracks to single-rate DSD and 24/192 using the QA-9 so we can compare DSD to PCM. But there's more...
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 17, 2013 10 comments
The Lumin Network Player is the first and currently the only product from Lumin which is a trademark of Pixel Magic Systems Ltd. The latter's core business " to develop innovative technologies for the home theater video processing/scaling products and high definition TV related products with advanced software programming and design." I learned from an interview with Lumin on Positive Feedback Online (see interview) that the Lumin player essentially came about because the guys at Pixel Magic Systems are audiophiles and they couldn't find a DSD-capable network player. So they built their own.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 13, 2013 1 comments
It's the time of year for lists and if I were to make one for music, The Knife's Shaking the Habitual released in April of this year on Rabid Records would be on it. Sonically expansive, musically sprawling, emotionally charged, and intellectually challenging, Shaking the Habitual is chock full of sound and fury (have a visit to their website for a more complete picture including a comic strip decrying "extreme wealth"). The Knife is sister and brother duo Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer and this is their 4th album, the first since Silent Shout 7 years ago, and its about as in your face as they come.


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