Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 14, 2014 1 comments
Ryan Hunn is Illum Sphere and Ghosts Of Then And Now is his first full-length released on Ninja Tune. There's a lot of music out there that sounds like Ghosts Of Then & Now especially if you don't like to listen too closely. But if you decide to listen in, there are all kinds of rewards mixed in the mix, layers upon layers of sounds coming together and falling apart to reveal moments of beauty, I'm admittedly always on the lookout for moments of beauty, among the beats.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 13, 2014 15 comments
Wherever You Go...
Hugo. No, wherever Hu-go...Oh never mind. The Chord Hugo is a portable DAC/Headphone amp capable of passing up to 32/384 PCM, DXD, and DSD 128 data through its FPGA-based DAC to your headphones or hi-fi. There's a digitally controlled volume knob which you can bypass when running Hugo in DAC-mode, multiple crossfeed filter settings for enhanced headphone listening, micro USB, Coax and Toslink S/PDIF inputs, as well as A2DP aptX Bluetooth input so you can stream to the Hugo across the airwaves from iOS and Android devices. Everything is wrapped up in sparkly silver hard-anodised precision milled aircraft-grade aluminum with colored lights and level indicators shining through.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 12, 2014 8 comments
A Silent NAS is a Good NAS
The QNAP HS-210 is a two-bay fanless UPnP/DLNA compliant Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that can accept up to two 4TB drives. As a dedicated music server, especially one that may live within the confines of a listening room, the most important features for a NAS are performance, reliability, which has a lot to do with which drives you buy to populate your NAS, and noise. The last thing you want or need is a NAS with a noisy fan whirring away while you play your music. The other thing the QNAP HS-210 potentially has going for it, which is plainly obvious at a glance, is its horizontal form factor and black and brushed metal aluminum body. If these traits have you shaking your head "yes", I'd recommend reading on. If on the other hand these things mean nothing to you because your NAS sits in another room and it can make all the noise it wants, and you could care less about how it looks or the kind of space it occupies, feel free to take a pass.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 10, 2014 0 comments
Chord Hugo ($2,395)

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

Steven Plaskin Posted: Feb 07, 2014 3 comments
Croz is David Crosby's new album; his first new solo studio release in 20 years. In spite of Crosby’s run-ins with the law, this rock legend has endured and has produced a wonderful solo effort with significant contributions from his son James Raymond on keyboards and vocals. A stellar group of musicians were enlisted for Croz including Steve DiStanislao on drums, Shane Fontayne on guitar, Marcus Eaton on vocals and guitar, and Steve Tavaglione on woodwinds, with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet. Also contributing to the album was bassist Lee Sklar and Mark Knopfler on guitar.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 07, 2014 4 comments
I've been listening to and enjoying Marissa Nadler's solitary sounding folk songs since her debut album Ballads of Living and Dying released nearly 10 years ago. July is her new album, her 6th full length and first on Sacred Bones, and she is joined by some good company to bring her music further out into the open. I always hear desolation in her distinctive and beautiful voice which feels touched by bitter cold sea air. Even in July.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 04, 2014 4 comments
A Powerful Musical Duo
The Bluesound Powernode delivers network-, smartphone-, tablet-, and Internet-based music via wi-fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth while also packing an 50 Watt Direct-Digital Amplifier and a 24/192-capable DAC designed by NAD Electronics in one small round-cornered cubed package. The Duo is a sub/satellite speaker system designed by Paul Barton of PSB that has been optimized for use with the Powernode and together they can deliver music anywhere your wired, wi-fi, or Bluetooth range allows. Each come wrapped in gloss white or black with steely metal highlights.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 03, 2014 1 comments
For those of you who have been waiting for a Stereophile review of the Auralic Vega, over which I admittedly gushed (see review), a review by none other than John Atkinson has been posted on the Stereophile website. Of course this review includes John's measurements which is a feature I know some of you would like to see included here on AudioStream. Perhaps some day...In the meantime, check out John Atkinson's review of the Auralic Vega on Stereophile.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 31, 2014 2 comments
Negra Branca is Marlene Ribeiro of Gnod, "figureheads of a stoner freakscene based around Islington Mill in Salford" according to The Guardian, and its also the title of her debut album. Chill. If you live pretty much anywhere north of south Florida you'll pardon the reference, but Negra Branca is one laid back slow burner of psychedelic proportions with lovely bass lines moving amid synth waves, found sounds and percussion lapping up against the beat with dreamy vocals floating in and around the mix. I'm reminded of Sun Araw with less ganja and Grouper minus the deep melancholy.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 30, 2014 37 comments
If we'd like to promote the notion of better-than-CD-quality downloads, a good place to begin is deciding what to call them out in the real world. This tag should be able to live in the wilds, like on record label and band websites, right next to "Buy from iTunes" and "Download from Amazon". Problem number one is obviously the fact that the better-than-CD-quality market is fragmented among multiple retailers as well as coming with geographic restrictions. Let's assume technology can take care of this issue, and it can, and set our sights on that tag. What should we call better-than-CD-quality downloads out in the real world?


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