LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 22, 2013 4 comments
Lydia can be described as a distant descendant of Captain Beefheart minus the stupendous creativity but making up for it with East Village elan and leather. Crunchy guitars, screaming sax, big band hootenanny, razzmatazz, a breezy cover of "Spooky", a gloomy cover of "Gloomy Sunday", and always that lovely lazy Lydia barely in key crooning over the top. Steamy. For an amazing story behind listening to Queen of Siam (at least it was amazing to us) and a much better description of its songs, check out my friend Stephen Mejias' post re: same over on Stereophile.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 21, 2013 5 comments
(left to right) Steve Silberman, Gordon Rankin, Charles Hansen. photo credit: Steve S. and Stereophile

During our first conversation with AudioQuest's Steve Silberman, Charlie Hansen of Ayre Acoustics and Gordon Rankin of Wavelength Audio we talked about the notion that "There's no such thing as digital" (see Part 1). In Part 2 we move on to ask, what can be done to address the problems of high-speed analog signals in a modern audio system?

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 20, 2013 13 comments
From the original album's back cover, "We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas...." from Demian by Hermann Hesse

Santana's Abraxas, originally released in September 1970, was the band's second album and it rocks hard. It also percolates with Latin rhythms and boogies with jazz-tinged influences but overall I'd say it rocks. Hard. We just saw the release of a remastered version of Kind of Blue (see review) from HDtracks and now Acoustic Sounds has begun tapping Sony's DSD vaults (are we in a golden age of music-loving goodness or what?) and one of the first offerings is Abraxas. The question on many people's mind's is, "How does it sound?". Stunning, is my answer.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 19, 2013 16 comments
One audiophile stereotype is the notion that we buy the same old music over and over and I'd imagine it is such a cliché'd image because it is largely true. I would say that the majority of high resolution audio download sales are reissues since not a heck of a lot of new music is released in high resolution formats. Sure there's some and if we can accept 24-bit as the definition of high resolution, I'm beginning to, sites like Boomkat and others are offering 24-bit downloads of new music. Yeah! But if there ever was a granddaddy of all reissues, a record that's seen more pressings and formats and re-pressings and reissues (and reissues of reissues), it has got to be Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 18, 2013 5 comments
The first DSD titles from the Sony vaults just hit the Acoustic Sounds HiRez store. While the first batch consists of four albums, Santana Abraxas, Luther Vandross Never Too Much, Wynton Marsalis Hot House Flowers, and Herbie Hancock Head Hunters, this is obviously just the tip of the Sony iceberg.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 18, 2013 7 comments
photo credit: Bruce Brown

DSD was the word on many lips at the recent Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (see my Show Report). DSD also appears to be the thorn is some audiophile's sides but exactly why that's the case is beyond me since adding DSD to your playback chain is simply that—an addition. In any event, for DSDers, Bruce Brown (see our Q&A) has posted a DSD Battle Royale! consisting of master tape transfers from a modified Studer A80RC MkII through a Doshi tape preamp converted to DSD using five different A/D converters.

For the first time anywhere, I have assembled the best of the best. For the Wilson Audiophile downloads, we did tape transfers though 5 different converters and let the Wilsons listen blindly to the files. Like Daryl said, the differences are not subtle. Now you, the consumer, can decide for yourself.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 15, 2013 0 comments
Noise. Music. Sometimes I enjoy listening to music that borders on, dips more than a big toe in, noise. Brutal, primitive, emotive, transgressive, pulse-pounding, attitude-ridden sonic mayhem. Going all the way back to Italian Futurist painter and composer Luigi Russolo's manifesto The Art of Noises from 1913, the sound of industry, noise, has been invading music ever since. The same era brought us the Dada movement with its healthy dose of non-sense which was first and foremost a reaction to the brutality of war which weaved its way into art, music, poetry, theatre, literature and more. Asian Women on the Telephone (AWOTT) strike me as a descendant of both.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 14, 2013 2 comments
The Conductor
The Burson Audio Conductor packs a bunch of full features into a very solid 6mm thick precision machined aluminum chassis. There's a full function preamp with two line level RCA inputs, a host of 24/192-capable digital inputs, and a headphone amp. A threefer.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Nov 13, 2013 1 comments
UK-based digital music pioneer dCS (Data Conversion Systems, ltd.) has long been known as a company whose products reflect cutting edge digital technology. Yet one of the big paradoxes in the 25-year history of an organization that was part of the original working groups that developed the SACD format, and that originated DoP (DSD over PCM), the protocol that enables transfer and playback of DSD music files packed into a PCM frame, is that it has been slow to incorporate DSD file playback into its products.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 11, 2013 10 comments
This article originally appeared in the October issue of our sister publication Sound & Vision

If you haven’t taken the dive into computer audio, you may be asking yourself a very simple question—Why should I? The very simple answer is accessibility and sound quality. Computer-based audio allows you to store all of your music in one central location on a computer network, making it accessible from virtually any network-attached device. And when your network is connected to the Internet, you have access to the largest source of free (and legal) and paid music on the planet. Unlike disc-based music, computer-based audio is not restricted to any particular format. You can have CD quality, DVD-Audio quality, SACD quality, and even music in greater resolutions than disc-based formats allow. With computer-based audio, you can have your cakes and eat them, too, in as many rooms as you’d like.

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