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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 13, 2014 8 comments
Thanks to reader CG for pointing us to this article on MacRumors (see article) which claims Apple will introduce 24-bit capability with the launch of their updated mobile app iOS 8 coming June 2 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). At present, iOS 7's music app is limited to 24/48, which in and of itself ain't bad, and while you can have your iOS device play back greater resolutions using Onkyo's HF Player (see article) and an external DAC, internal playback is currently limited to 16-bit.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 13, 2014 26 comments
Qobuz Co-Founders Yves Reisel (left) and Alexandre Leforestier

France-based Qobuz (pronounced cow-buzz and named after a traditional two-stringed instrument of Central Asia) is one of the premier online music retailers of CD-quality and high resolutions downloads. Qobuz is also one of the first sites to offer a CD-quality streaming service, if not the first, and in my opinion it is also the most advanced website for music download sales and streaming services around. One peak at their home page on any given day will tell a lot of what you need to know—podcasts, blogs, hi-fi, editorials, and more, Qobuz embodies many of the best qualities of online sales combined with a healthy human touch. Yves Riesel, Qobuz's Co-founder and CEO, was kind enough to agree to this Q&A and I'd like to thank him for his time and answers.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 12, 2014 4 comments

With all of the subtlety of a blunt instrument, South Park takes on illegal downloads in their inimitable fashion.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 09, 2014 9 comments
The Financial Times has reported that Apple is in talks to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion as early as next week (see report). As the article points out:
One motivation for the Beats deal may lie in shifts in music consumption. Subscription services are the biggest growth area for the music industry, with revenues increasing 50 per cent to $1.1bn in 2013, according to a recent report by the IFPI, the global music industry association.

But downloads fell 2 per cent to $3.93bn – the first annual decline since Apple launched its iTunes store in 2003. iTunes is still the world’s largest music download service.

How big is this potential deal? Let's look at some numbers.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 09, 2014 0 comments
Two Italians, Nicolò Fortuni and Nico Vascellari, pay tribute to the sounds of Brazilian carnival music while infesting "mostly live" percussive rhythms with industrial noise, electronics, and some occasional freaky possessed vocals on Novos Mistérios their second LP and first on Hospital Productions. This music is rich and wet, overflowing with sounds, colors, and beats creating a wild and deep sonic world for you to find your inner tribesman within.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 07, 2014 33 comments
Get Your Geek On
The LH Labs Geek Out caused quit a stir when its Kickstarter campaign raised over 300,000 clams. While early adopters were able to get their Geek Out for as low as $99, the current selling price begins at $199 and goes to $299 for the unit under review which is the Geek Out 1000. The 1000 refers to the output power in milliwatts and there's also a 450 mW version "for < 100 ohm impedance headphones" ($199), and a 720 mW version "for 100-300 impedance headphones" (+$50). The 1000 is "for > 300 ohm impedance headphones" all according to LH Labs. The aircraft-grade aluminum wrapped Geek comes in five colors all of which can handle PCM rates up to 32/384, DXD, as well as single and double rate DSD. LH Labs is a relatively new division of parent company Light Harmonic, makers of the pricey and pretty Da Vinci Dual DAC (see review).
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 06, 2014 2 comments

Thanks to reader Nick I. for the heads up on this. Very apropos. Sprint's new htc one (M8) Harman/Kardon Edition ($679) smartphone coming on May 9 includes a 24/192 DAC, $150 earbuds, 160GB SD storage, and a special promo deal for 6 months free of Spotify Premium.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 06, 2014 46 comments
I had a friend over to hang out and listen to music. I know, what a strange idea! We shared both the center seat and my iPad which functioned as our remote, accessing my NAS-based music library. I happen to have a number of duplicate album titles since I own some recordings in CD-quality and higher resolutions. My friend was in the hot seat, in control of the remote, and he wanted to play another track from a recording we had listened to earlier from the lovely 24/96 download of Ella and Louis (HDtracks). This is one of those instances where two versions of the album exist and I had not marked either version with its resolution so there was no way for him to tell them apart. So he picked one, while not blindly, without knowing whether we would be hearing the CD-quality version or the HD version, and hit "Play".
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 05, 2014 2 comments
HDtracks has just launched a new website/blog that will cover music and hi-fi albeit not in your typical fashion. Or so they say:
You can read our “Ask The Audio Guru” column and get tips and advice from our in house expert Michael Trei, read our “Listening to Music” column from Dr. Jules Coleman or “Casual Reactions” by Herb Reichert. What you are not going to read is the same old product reviews and album reviews.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 05, 2014 2 comments
Murfie offers an interesting twist on the marriage of CD collecting and ownership coupled with a streaming and download service delivering perhaps the best of both worlds. After all, one of the knocks against buying downloads is we don't really have ownership rights to them—we can't re-sell them. Murfie, founded by Matt Younkle and Preston Austin in 2011, aims to deliver high quality downloads and streams to members from CDs you actually own—a service that combines the convenience of the cloud, with the permanence of collecting.


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