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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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 12, 2013 5 comments
One of my rules of used record shopping goes like this—if I see a record from FMP and I can afford it, buy it. So I don't know how this post escaped me for so long. The German label Free Music Production (FMP) was founded in 1969 by Jost Gebers, Peter Brötzmann, Peter Kowald, and Alexander von Schlippenbach as a home for free jazz mainly of European origin but a number of American players appear in their catalog including Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, and Bill Dixon. If you know anything about FMP's LPs, you're probably as excited as I am to learn about the availability of these recordings as FLAC downloads especially seeing as many of these records go for silly-money on the used market making the $11.49/album price tag a real steal.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 11, 2013 0 comments
'Tis the season. Here's AudioStream's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide and its chock full of fun music-loving toys. Happy Holidays!
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Dec 11, 2013 0 comments
These dudes won headphones!
Steven Plaskin Posted: Dec 10, 2013 4 comments
Why the Need for a Specialized AC Cord?
The Digital AC-X cord is JPS Labs’ specialized cable for digital components designed to provide a “smoother, more analog environment for audio and video” components. JPS Labs is a manufacturer of a complete line of AC cords, interconnects, speaker cables and digital audio cables. They also manufacture the Abyss headphone, a state-of-the art design that is priced to match. JPS Labs has been in business since 1990 and manufactures their products in East Aurora, New York.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 06, 2013 14 comments
“Comparison is the death of joy.” ~ Mark Twain

“Audiophiles care too much about sound.” ~ Stephen Mejias

The sure sign of an addict is the recursive "I'm never going to...again". I'm never going to buy another version of Kind of Blue but I did. The most interesting question here is exactly what are we addicted to? Is it the music? Or is it the sound? If we go by the strict definition according to Merriam-Webster, an audiophile is "a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction". Sound reproduction? Really? Not "music reproduction"? According to the Urban Dictionary, an audiophile is also a bunch of other things including, "One who enjoys sex acts involving the ear.", "Someone who usually looks at young audio equipment. And rapes it through various input and often output sockets.", and "This is a person that makes you break out in a cold sweat and shudder when he says 'So something interesting happened today...'"

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 06, 2013 0 comments
Tal National hail from Niamey, Niger where they enjoy rock star status and their sound is infectious, joyous, incessant, transcendant, intense, and funkin' fun. Kaani is their third album but the first to get an international release on FatCat Records. Hamadal "Almeida" Moumine the lead guitarist is also the band's leader, a teacher at SOS Children's Village, and a judge by day. Noted for their hours and hours-long live shows which occur most nights of the week and help account for the band's ultra-tight interplay, Tal National may very well be the hardest working band in Niger.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 05, 2013 1 comments
A totaldac Package
The totaldac d1-server is based on an 800MHz ARM based Cubox minicomputer running RTLinux (Real-Time Linux) and the MPD music player daemon. There's an integrated "digital reclocker" which accounts for a large chunk of the d1-server's price—the d1-digital reclocker is available as a stand alone device from totaldac for about $4,900 while you can pick up a Cubox 2" cube computer for around $100. The d1-server comes in the same chassis as the d1-dual DAC I was so impressed with when I reviewed it (see review) and continue to be each time I give it a listen.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Dec 04, 2013 10 comments
The Benchmark Media Systems DAC2 HGC represents Benchmark’s most advanced and feature laden DAC offering. Despite its diminutive size, the DAC2 HGC is a full featured DAC with an asynchronous USB input that supports PCM up to 24/192 and native DSD 64 using the DoP 1.1 format. A remote controlled preamp is included with Benchmark’s Hybrid Gain Control system that utilizes a servo-driven volume control and 2 headphone jacks with a switch that automatically mutes the XLR and RCA outputs when using the headphone amplifier. A metal remote is included that controls the power, volume, polarity, input selection, mute, and dim controls of the DAC. Other features include a 12V Trigger I/O and Home Theatre Bypass.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 04, 2013 9 comments
Thanks to Charles Hansen for the heads up on this news—AlpineSoft has added DoP (DSD over PCM) functionality to their VinylStudio vinyl ripping software (v8.6). Now you can rip your records to DSD (or PCM up to 32/384 if you prefer) on the cheap as long as you have a DSD-capable analog-to-digital converter (the Ayre QA-9 and the PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter happen to be two such ADCs).


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