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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 17, 2013 1 comments
High Definition Tape Transfers (HDTT), purveyors of "rare classical recordings in audiophile sound" mainly sourced from analog tape will begin releasing DSD64 and DSD128 downloads from their catalog starting this week. Expect between 4 and 6 titles for the initial release and more to follow. If you're not familiar with HDTT, I would recommend a trip to their website but their name provides a nice summary.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 14, 2013 86 comments
There has recently been some hubbub online (and even within some applications!) surrounding the media player JPLAY. Essentially, claims have been made by the people behind two competing (actually complementary) media players that JPLAY is nothing more than a "hoax" and an "audiophile scam". The former claim was leveled by JRiver, both in their software as a warning to JPLAY users as well as online on the JRiver forum (among others), and the latter claim was made by Foobar2000. As you may be aware, our own Steve Plaskin reviewed JPLAY (see review) and found it did in fact improve the sound quality of his system so our position in this skirmish is clear.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 14, 2013 10 comments
Maybe I should have just said, "Buy anything that's released on Analog Africa". Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou from Benin are a monster ensemble mixing lots of worldly influences including a heavy dose of psych funk into their native Afrobeat Vodoun magic for an infectious pulse-pounding poly-rhythmic musical (sex) machine. We can thank Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb for our introduction to Orchestre Poly-Rythmo and for tracking down impossible to find super rare recordings including previously unreleased music in what can only be described as a labor of love.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 13, 2013 6 comments
Bob Stuart of Meridian with Neil Young at Meridian HQ (photo credit: Meridian)

Whenever I hear Neil Young's name these days, I can't help but think Pono. Neil recently paid Meridian a visit at their Cambridgeshire headquarters and got the full tour. You can read all about it on Meridian's website but if you're anything like me you'll walk away still wondering.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 13, 2013 4 comments
UK-based Arcam's rSeries is comprised of "computer and streaming music products". There's the rPac DAC/Headphone amp under review, the drDock iPad/iPod/iPhone dock, the rDAC, rLink S/PDIF DAC, SonLink for the Sonos system, the rCube portable iPod speaker system, and two wireless dongles that work with the rCube and rDAC. The rDAC can be viewed as a portable DAC/Headphone amp but it also works wonders as a desktop device, which is how I used it, feeding your active desktop speakers while serving double time as a headphone amp. The nice thing about the design of the rPac is it includes a volume control for the headphone amp above the associated headphone jack which is on the opposite side of its black aluminum cigarette pack-sized body from the USB input and RCA outputs making it ergonomically friendly for servicing both functions.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 12, 2013 3 comments
The NY Times recently got into the streaming music game offering up a new album each week in its entirety for free. These streaming releases are exclusive, or so they say, so Press Play is worth checking out, regularly.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 11, 2013 6 comments
Albert Ayler Trio, Spiritual Unity

For those of you who don't know ESP-DISK which was founded in NYC in 1964 by Bernard Stollman, you can count it among the most important labels for free jazz, ever. Featuring seminal artists including Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Pharaoh Sanders, and Sun Ra while championing lessor known but equally fascinating music from Lowell Davidson, Giuseppi Logan, The New York Art Quartet, Marion Brown, Patty Waters, Milford Graves, and many many more, I've been on the lookout for CD-quality or better downloads on and off for some time and somehow I missed the fact that a huge chunk of the ESP-DISK catalog is right there for the downloading in lovely FLAC 16/44.1 quality. Hallelujah!

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jun 10, 2013 140 comments
Register to win a HRT MicroStreamer USB DAC (MSRP $189.95) we are giving away.

According to the company:

"microStreamer is a USB-connected and powered ultra high-performance dedicated  amplifier/sound card designed to seamlessly interface with computers, tablets, smart-phones and directly decode the digital audio data stream from the host’s hard drive into analog music for headphone or speaker listening. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and light enough to carry in a shirt pocket, the microStreamer is the newest and sexiest product in HRT's line of award winning DACs. "

[This Sweepstakes is now closed.]

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Jun 10, 2013 0 comments
Photo by Amy Ferrare

Joe Ferrare of Bel Air, Maryland is the lucky winner of our Focal XS Book Music System Sweepstakes. Per Ferrare, these slim-line powered speakers sounded "boxed-in" upon first listen but "really blossomed" over the weekend. Ferrare adds, "The sound stage opened up and the bass tightened." He loves their mixture of good looks and good sound.

Congrats Joe and keep reading Audiostream!

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 10, 2013 1 comments
On Saturday night La Poisson Rouge played host to a trio of powerful personalities: John Zorn, Bill Laswell, and Milford Graves. While the opening band Abraxas tore through some Zorn compositions that lit up the stage with manic energy, in my experience, and this show only served to cement this impression, Milford Graves is capable of putting out enough positive vibrations to heal any army.


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