How beautiful can music be? Or maybe the better question to ask in the context of a hi-fi show is do we sometimes forget that people make music for people? With all of our attention focused on hardware, I think we may at times lose sight of the point of all of our audiophiling but people like Fan-Ya Lin remind us in a not subtle at all way that the beauty of music lies in its making. And people are ultimately both the makers and receivers of this gift.
The Mojo Audio Universal Media Server (starting at $1,799.95) is based on a modified Mac Mini and adds the Mojo Audio external Joule II Power Supply (pictured far right). If you visit the Mojo Audio website, you'll find there are a number of options including a 2.3/2.5GHz i5 or 2.7GHz i7 processor, 2 to 8GB of RAM, Solid State Drive sizes from 90GB to 240GB, AC and DC filters, Internal filters, and power cord options. There's also a Mac Mini upgrade kit available for $1,000 for people who prefer to roll their own.
The Alpha PS1 powered speakers ($300/pair) from PSB feature a 3/4 aluminum dome tweeter, 3 1/2" polypropylene cone/rubber surround woofer, and a 20W Class D amp all wrapped in what you can see is a nice gloss black desktop-friendly 4 1/2 x 7 7/8 x 6 7/8" package. Inputs include 1 pair of RCAs and a 3.5mm Aux Input and there's a subwoofer output but from the few minutes I spent listening to these little wonders, you may not feel the need.
The i-Fi Micro line from Avatar Acoustics is brand spankin' new and comes to you courtesy of "trickle-down technology licensed from AMR and aimed primarily at the future, Computer Audio generation." Hey! That's us and we're here! While the i-Fi line was on silent display the iDAC ($299) tempted with its asynchronous USB input that can handle up to 24/192kHz source material, headphone amp, and analog volume control. You can add the optional iUSB Power Plant ($199) that offers "super regulated power with Isoearth and Isopower technology providing two USB outputs, one for power and another for audio/power."
"It's creepy and awesome". I think that may be one of the ways my friend and colleague Stephen Mejias of Stereophile described the new album from Michael Gira’s Swans, The Seer. Stephen talks about The Seerhere and you can listen to the album on Soundcloud and you can buy the triple LP ($30), CD ($18), Special Edition 2CD + DVD Digipack ($23) or WAV download ($18) directly from Michael Gira's Young God Records. Did I metion its heavy?
I will not be using one of the 20 or 30-minute tracks as my demo reference for RMAF 2012 which starts today at noon but I may fantasize about what that would be like if I'm subjected to any boring & breathy female vocals. On with the Show!
A number of readers asked a very relevant question after reading my initial review of the Wadia Digital 121Decoding Computer—how abouti its preamp? And as with the Mytek review, my answer was, good question. Armed with the Pass Labs INT-30A which allows you to bypass its passive preamp stage, I put the Wadia 121 to the preamp test.
ReDigi, "The Pre-Owned Digital Marketplace" is being sued buy EMI for copyright infringement. In its claim against ReDigi, EMI is asking for $150,000 for each song from the EMI catalog that they claim ReDigi re-sold illegally. At the heart of this case lies a very important question whose answer will turn your downloaded digital music library into an asset similar to your record or CD collection or it will turn it into a worthless bunch of bits in terms of resale value. This begs the question—why do record labels expect consumers to pay ownership rates for something we do not have ownership rights to?
Here's one announcement from RMAF 2012 that particularly piques my interest:
Resonessence Labs will introduce its latest product, CONCERO at this years RMAF in Denver 12th-14th October, just 12 months after releasing its award winning INVICTA product.
The CONCERO is the processing engine from the INVICTA DAC, packaged to be used with your existing high end audio components. Capable of operating in three distinct modes, you may use CONCERO as a USB, 24bit/192kHz Asynchronous DAC, an SPDIF DAC, or as a USB to SPDIF bridge. CONCERO reponds to the standard Apple IR Remote controller for ease of use.
Just the other day, I was reflecting on the number of components I have acquired from local dealers, or purchased after reading a series of reviews that pronounced the component as being state-of-the-art in performance. Upon first listening to the component in my system, I would be in sonic ecstasy for the first thirty minutes noting the exceptional detail or impactful bass I was hearing. But after about an hour of listening, I became disinterested and could no longer concentrate on the music I was playing. Something was clearly missing that the review and my audio store auditions failed to identify. I usually blamed the recordings and found myself playing the same old titles that sounded “good” on my system. Claus Jackle of AcousticPlan feels he has a solution to this issue with his DigiMaster DAC.