Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 05, 2013 16 comments
The SOtM tX-USBexp Audiophile PCIe to USB Audio Card
The SOtM PCIe to USB 3.0 Card is compatible with Windows 7/8 and Linux. You can power the SOtM card in three ways; through the 4-pin IDE connector that uses your computer's dirty power, externally using a 9V power supply (like the one that came with your cell phone), or with a high quality linear battery-power supply like the SOtM mBPS-d2s Intelligent Battery Power Supply which I'll also be talking about in this review.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 04, 2013 6 comments
The HDtracks website is sporting a new design and while past visitors will recognize the overall layout, there are a few changes that should make browsing more pleasant. First off, you can now scroll through more releases right on the home page and there's a Wishlist feature to save yourself the trouble of remembering. While there were hyperlinks associated with releases on the old site including Artist, Genre, and Label, these are featured on more pages of the new site and releases now get a single page with the different sample rates available from a drop-down menu where the old site split these into multiple pages. For those shoppers looking for more information like DR Values and detailed provenance information for each release, the wait continues.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 01, 2013 6 comments
Rarely has one week sounded so good. A quintet of releases of stunning sonic proportions! Here we have music to fit many moods from quiet introspection to percolating Argentinian pop, to brooding noir-colored chanson, electronic dreams, and dreamy tales. I don't have a favorite among these five wonderful releases unless you talk to me while I'm listening to one in which case it will be it.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 30, 2013 0 comments
For my review of the SOtM sDP-1000 DAC and Pre-Amplifier, I neglected to talk about its Sample Rate Converter. I've righted that wrong and added an addendum to the review.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 29, 2013 7 comments
The folks over at Light Harmonic are at it again, this time crowdfunding their latest desktop DAC and headphone amplifier the Geek Pulse over on Indiegogo. If you followed their last Kickstarter campaign, you'll recall that they raised a whopping $303,000 and change for the little Geek. The Pulse is the desktop version and offers a host of inputs including 2x Coax S/PDIF, 1x Toslink, and 1x USB capable of handling up to 32/384, DXD, DSD64 and DSD128 (natively). Outputs include a pair of RCAs and a 1/4" headphone jack.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 28, 2013 26 comments
Reader Rich Davis asked in reference to the Meridian Explorer:
Is it possible to post measurement test results? I'm interested in knowing the dynamic range, jitter, etc. etc. for each bit rate. Just so I can compare [with] other DACs?

16 bit sounds great, but I have [downloaded] some 24/96 and 24/192 of the same recordings (only they were mastered at later dates and most likely with different equipment) and the 24 bit recordings sound incredible. I HIGHLY suggest going to places like [HDtracks] and obtaining later remastered versions of any recordings you already have.

Some of the recordings are just wonderful sounding on this DAC at 24 bit.

We are currently not equipped to provide measurements at AudioStream but this is something we may consider in the future. Part of the reason for this decision is budgetary, part logistic, and part pragmatic. It seemed to make sense to start with subjective reviews since its through listening that we determine the real value of a piece of hi-hi gear. But let me try to flesh out this position in more detail since this question of measurements and subjective reviews has come up before.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 25, 2013 0 comments
I think that should be spelled Soul[ey]man. Syrian-born Souleyman's latest album, Wenu Wenu is his first to be produced by Kieran Hebden (of Four Tet) in Brooklyn for Domino's Ribbon label. While some have commented that Hebden cleaned up Souleyman's typical lo-fi/over-driven sound too much, I sure don't think so. There's more flavor here than you can swallow in one gulp and if you dig incessant, intense, and soul[ey]ful music, get this.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 24, 2013 18 comments
Onkyo has come out with an app for the iOS devices that allows playback of PCM files at rates up to 24/192 and DSD (DSD files are converted to PCM prior to playback or sent as DoP):
Users seeking the ultimate in high-resolution audio performance can make an in-app HF Player Pack purchase (US$9.99) to enable FLAC, DSD, WAV, and AIFF playback of up to 192 kHz with 24-bit sampling (these files are loaded via a simple drag-and-drop operation on an iTunes-equipped PC prior to synchronization). This in-app purchase also enables selectable upsampling from 44.1 kHz to a possible 192 kHz, and an HD phase-linear equalizer with an incredible 20,000 bands of adjustment in 64-bit mode.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 24, 2013 13 comments
the SOtM sMS-1000U Music Server atop the prototype Linear Power Supply

SOtM "Soul Of the Music" Server
A music server is a computer. I know you already knew that but I figured I'd state the obvious anyway as a lead in to the most important criteria for any computer destined to act as a music server. Among these criteria I count ease of use as being paramount to worth. If there's anything at all cumbersome when it comes to operation, I'd say that pretty much disqualifies said server as a contender. After all, using a Mac or PC as a music server can be pretty simple. Next on the list of important items is sound quality. Again, if said server doesn't outperform a regular old computer, what use is it? Thankfully the folks at SOtM seem to think along these same lines.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 23, 2013 0 comments
Totaldac d1-server (4,990euros incl VAT in EU, 4,590euros ext VAT out of EU)

Here's what's in-house or en-route to AudioStream for review.


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