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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 22, 2014 5 comments
(Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)

Last night at the Producers and Engineers Wing's seventh annual Grammy party, which "will Highlight Sound Quality", Neil Young was given an award "for his commitment to excellence and ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music." And Neil gave a speech. Here's a part of it (and the video of the entire thing):

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 22, 2014 7 comments

Regardless of how you look at the data, the truth of the matter is hard drives fail. Some sooner than others which is the good news/bad news aspect illustrated by this fairly exhaustive, more so for the Seagate drives apparently, 27,000+ drive study by cloud storage provider Backblaze. While this is certainly worth a full read since Backblaze talks about specific models (hint: if you want the most reliable, pick Hitachi) the take-away point that anyone with music stored on a hard drive should take away is—Back Up Your Music!

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 21, 2014 23 comments
A Musical Vault
The Bluesound Vault is in a category all by itself, at least for the time being. The Vault combines 1TB of Network Attached Storage (NAS) with a DAC and digital volume control so you can connect it directly to your hi-fi with a pair of regular old RCA interconnects. Using the very slick Bluesound app on your smart gadget or tablet of choice you can be playing scads of music in no time flat. No computer or external storage need apply. But that's not all.
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Steven Plaskin Posted: Jan 20, 2014 0 comments
The M1 DAC is built by Bricasti Design, a small private Massachusetts company that was founded in 2004 by Brian Zolner and Casey Dowdell ; both ex-Harman Specially Group employees. Brian previously worked for 20 years with Lexicon where he ultimately became VP of worldwide sales. Casey also worked for Lexicon as a dsp software engineer and helped develop the algorithm for the surround processing Lexicon Logic 7 that was able to distribute multi-channel sound on two-channel media. It should come as no surprise that the first product offered by Bricasti Design was the M7 Stereo Reverb Processor. The M7, introduced in 2007, is now used by many top recording engineers and studios. The M1 DAC was introduced in 2011; its development made possible from the financial success of the M7.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 17, 2014 3 comments
After CES I wanted something else. Nothing too slick, nothing too Daft Punk ("Giorgio By Moroder" being the most popular show tune at CES 2014). I'd downloaded Mutual Benefit's Love's Crushing Diamond a few weeks back but it didn't take hold until this week. It was the salve I needed. Just what the doctor of music ordered.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2014 3 comments
Its easy to lose sight of the music just as its easy to lose sight of your senses in Las Vegas. So many things are screaming for your attention in every sensual way possible. Sights, sounds, smells, its difficult to hear yourself think which I imagine is the point. But sensory overload is hardly the ideal environment for listening to music on the hi-fi. It's like trying to enjoy some delicate sashimi with ketchup and fries.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2014 0 comments
the dCS Vivaldi stack

Even though I was on a mission to cover everything, I missed a lot. It's inevitable. I never made it to the Convention Center which could easily take up a full day's worth of time. There were also rooms I ran in and ran out of because they didn't have anything new, or I missed something, or they didn't have any "computer audio" (there weren't many of those) but I still managed to snap a picture and even take a listen.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2014 0 comments
Do you care about what your hi-fi gear looks like? How about what it feels like? How its designed and built? I do. Which is one reason why I don't see eye to eye with blind testophiles—hi-fi is not just about sound. Nagra seems to get that and, for my tastes and proclivities, makes some lust-worthy gear. Their new HD DAC ($23,750) is no exception. Plays up to 24/384 and 2x DSD while offering a host of digital inputs, single ended and balanced outputs, as well as a volume control so you can go amp direct. But then you'd have to do without the Nagra preamp. Hmm.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2014 0 comments
In the On A Higher Note room, Philip O'Hanlon had a special treat in store (Philip always does). "I'm going to play you the quietest demo you've ever heard." Philip proudly stated. And he proceeded to do just that by playing lovely music at an absurdly low but completely lovely-sounding level through the Eclipse TD-M1 active wireless speakers ($1,300). The TD-M1s are single driver speakers with an integrated NOS DAC that can handle up to 24/192 data and includes AirPlay compatibility, an asynchronous USB input, 3.5mm analog Aux input, and a USB Type-A input. Philip was feeding the TD-M1s with music from an iPad and the sound was in a word completely captivating.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2014 2 comments
No trip to T.H.E. Show, or Vegas for that matter, would be complete without a trip to the NFS Audio room hosted by the ever jovial and hospitable Anton Dotson and Michael Alazard. Unfortunately I hit the NFS room too early in the day to sample their wares but I can still recall the kick their home made Limoncello packs. Cheers!


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