LATEST ADDITIONS

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Feb 04, 2013 0 comments
Jonathon Hollis (Takato14 on Audiostream.com) of Hamilton, Michigan is the happy winner of our AudioQuest DragonFly and Sydney Interconnect Sweepstakes. Hollis uses the DragonFly as a USB DAC with his Open Pandora PocketPC (pictured above). He doesn't go anywhere without it. Congrats Jon and thanks for participating!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 04, 2013 0 comments
Thanks to reader Martin O. for pointing us to this, the first new album from My Bloody Valentine since 1991's Loveless. That's a long time. m b v sounds just like My Bloody Valentine (how could it not even if it didn't?) which is a good thing to my ears all heavy and somber and hook-laden. The other noteworthy thing about m b v is the way its being released—you can buy the CD ($22), LP ($30.50 includes the CD), or download ($16) which is not uncommon but what is and shouldn't be is the CD and LP come with a free download and you get to choose between 320kbps MP3, 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV, and 24-bit/96kHz WAV versions. If you opt for just the download, you still get to choose the format for the same price. Nice.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Feb 01, 2013 2 comments
Aaron Neville’s latest release, My True Story, is available as a hi res download from HDtracks (96/24, 192/24). Aaron is returning to his “roots” performing doo-wop rock ballads in this album. The recording also features Keith Richards on guitar with a great band. There are no lush strings behind Aaron’s smooth vocals; just a tight band with excellent backup singers including Eugene Pitt, Booby Jay, Dickie Harmon, and Joel Katz.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 01, 2013 1 comments
Congotronics from 2004 is the official debut release from Konono Nº1 who use electric likembé, a version of the thumb piano, and other instruments made from salvaged scrap found in their native Kinshasa, Congo along with group vocals and plenty of percussive drive for an intoxicating over-driven sound. From the Crammed Discs website:
The band was founded back in the 1960s by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembé (a traditional instrument sometimes called "sanza" or "thumb piano", consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator). The band's line-up includes three electric likembés (bass, medium and treble), equipped with hand-made microphones built from magnets salvaged from old car parts, and plugged into amplifiers. There's also a rhythm section which uses traditional as well as makeshift percussion (pans, pots and car parts), three singers, three dancers and a sound system featuring these famous megaphones.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 31, 2013 16 comments
Its Magic
People looking to play hard drive and Internet-based music without a computer have one choice—a network player. You could argue that a network player is a computer but that's missing the relevant point which is some people don't want to tie up their computer for use as a music server. They'd rather use a computer as a computer. So a dedicated device is their solution. The Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 gives you most everything you'd expect from a network player including the ability to play up to 24/96 music from Network Attached Storage (NAS), USB-based storage, the Internet, and it throws in a 24/192-capable USB DAC to boot.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 29, 2013 12 comments
The 99 dollar DAC
How low can we go? Schiit Audio has answered this question with the Modi USB DAC coming in under the $100 mark by an entire dollar. While I don't like to focus on price since performance is why we buy audio gear, there's no getting around the fact that the Modi is $99 and that number represents the least expensive DAC to come through AudioStream HQ so far. What's more, the Modi's outward appearance doesn't tip its low cost hand, at least to my eyes, with its custom steel chassis. So yea, Schiit have gone and done it, offering up what appears to be one heck of an audio bargain with the Modi USB DAC but let's look beyond prices and appearances and see what a Benjamin buys these days.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 26, 2013 0 comments
The Bill Dixon Orchestra Intents and Purposes

Stereophile's 2012 Records To Die For has just come online. R2D4 is one of my favorite features and John Atkinson was kind enough to ask me to participate for the first time in 2012. You can see my picks here.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 25, 2013 12 comments
It seems like every generation feels that their music is the best. Our music is the most original, the most artful, the most meaningful. All this new stuff is just crap or worse, derivative crap, and all of the older stuff is mostly just oldies. Some people will stretch their veneration a generation or century or more in order to land on their music-of-choice, but the tendency to lay claim to a specific point in history as being the origin of the best music (or art or literature or architecture) is common. And that's a damn shame because we're missing out on other worlds of bests.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 25, 2013 0 comments
Deep Rumba A Calm in the Fire of Dances

Lisa Hershfield of HDtracks asked for a new list of 10 Picks from the ever-expanding HDtracks catalog. I happily obliged and you can see them here.

My old list, which was replaced by my new list is still near and dear to me so I've reproduced it here for posterity. You'll notice that this list puts sound quality after music quality.

Steven Plaskin Posted: Jan 25, 2013 0 comments
Over the years, I have found Patricia Barber to be an acquired taste. Her latest recording Smash, is for me, my favorite Patricia Barber recording. Her original songs are quite good and somewhat more melodic sounding than some of those found in her previous works. Smash was recorded and mixed by Jim Anderson who has done previous recordings for Patricia Barber including Companion, Modern Cool, and Café Blue. Unlike some of the recent Concord Jazz hi-res downloads I have purchased, this recoding is not dynamically compressed and comes in at a DR 11. The overall sound quality is excellent with the 192/24 version presenting an upfront sound to the vocal that is natural with a bit of warmth.

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