This past Sunday's NY Times magazine featured an interview with Neil Young that focused on his new autobiography “Waging Heavy Peace”. We all know about Mr. Young's outspoken stance for better sound quality but he's taking matters into his own hands with his own technology called "Pono":
The book, like today’s drive, is a ride through Young’s many obsessions, including model trains, cars like the one we were touring in and Pono, a proprietary digital musical system that can play full master recordings and will, he hopes, restore some of the denuded sonic quality to modern music.
Vanatoo is a new company and the Transparent One Powered Speakers are their first product. Five years in development, according to Gary Gesellchen one of two Vanatoo founders, the Transparent Ones arrive packing some interesting technology including a USB input that's not connected to a DAC but can handle up to 24/96 data (more on that in a minute), an A/D converter, a 1” silk dome tweeter, and a custom 5 1/4” passive bass radiator that assists the 5 1/4" XBL™ woofer/midrange driver in reaching down to a claimed 49Hz (±2dB) in a 10" x 6 1/2" x 8 1/8" box. If that's not enough for ya, there's a subwoofer output if you feel the need to reach beyond the 40s, bass and treble controls, an AC power inlet so you can plug in your powered devices like an Apple Airport Express, and Coax and Toslink inputs. And if you stick with basic black, that package will run you a hair under $500 for the pair. Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean and was selected as the happiest place on Earth by the New Economics Foundation and its also where Vanatoo got its name. Don't worry, be happy.
Thanks to reader Daniel S. for pointing us to this great article (before my print subscription copy has arrived!) by archivist Will Prentice of the British Library’s Sound & Vision Department. Mr. Prentice talks about our vanishing analogue world and the issues involved with digital archiving, "We have conceptually separated the ephemeral carrier from its everlasting content, and assume that intermediate carriers will be junked every few years."
Listen to a selection from the British Library’s extensive collections of unique sound recordings, which come from all over the world and cover the entire range of recorded sound: music, drama and literature, oral history, wildlife and environmental sounds.
And there are over 50,000 of 'em to choose from. Music selections include the amazing Touch Radio live recordings, the world's largest collection of Decca West African 78s, and much much more. Listen to live recordings of Fennesz, Philip Jeck, Jacob Kirkegaard, Oren Ambarchi, hear Coleman Hawkins and Evan Parker talk about jazz, pull up a chair to original recordings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mahatma Gandhi, John Keats, Ernest Shackleton, J. R. R Tolkien, groove to some 'Wilhelmj' cylinders, Brandenburg Concertos and Arabian Camels, and browse through some blues from Benin.
Today marks the official 1st birthday of AudioStream's unofficial launch and this post marks the 401st I've made over the past year (I didn't plan to hit such a round number, it just worked out that way). Now is as good a time as any to thank all of you for visiting AudioStream and for helping to make this site what it is. I am most thankful to all of the people who comment and share their thoughts, experiences, and knowledge. This helps to foster a sense of community which I see as one of my most important goals. AudioStream is certainly a group effort and you are the most important part of this site's continued success.
Of course there is a business side and other people who remain behind the scenes without which AudioStream would not exist and now is a good time to introduce you to the rest of the team.
Has is really been 16 years since Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry wove their gossamer worldly musical threads into album form? Anastasis (Greek for resurrection) is the duo's new album and it's got all the Dead Can Dance you remember. For fans this is great news, for foes not so much. I have to be, as Glenn Miller said, in the mood but when I'd like to be awash in beautiful multicultural sounds with stunning vocals from Lisa Gerard floating over the top like icing on the Sargasso Sea, Dead Can Dance can certainly tickle that very particular fancy.
Reader Alex H. commented in our Forums that he had become fascinated playing back music through his MacBook Pro but, "...compared to analog, I've found every digital combination I've tried to sound at least to some degree fatiguing and harshly wiry, with a kind of hollow, insubstantial sound that immediately reveals itself to be artificial. It lacks coherence and most of all, presence." He went on to ask, "...can someone recommend a DAC, preferably for under a grand and a half, that sounds musical, involving and relaxed?"
Last night my wife and I stood for eight hours along with a few thousand other people to see and hear Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. This was the opening night for their Wrecking Ball tour at MetLife Stadium (do we need to talk about the cost of insurance?) and we had GA tickets which involved standing in line outside for a few hours and then standing inside for a few more to make sure we got into the Front Pit. And then of course standing for the three and half plus-hour show. But if you've ever seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band you know what to expect and what you expect is to have your spirits lifted for a few hours along with fifty or so thousand of your closest friends (at least during show time).
Jumping into Computer Audio can seem daunting. How and where should you take the plunge? Do you want a server or streamer? Or how about one box that does it all? And how do you get your file-based music to play through a hi-fi? What if they're in different rooms? In Part 1 of 3 we're going to talk about the pieces of hardware you'll need to play back file-based music whether its through a server, a streamer or an all-in-one device. Part 2 will cover the software side of the equation and Part 3 will touch on the most important piece—the music.
In a pleasant article for the NY Times, Roy Furchgott talks about why you need a DAC (math), some blind testing to determine the preferred DAC from a group of DACs, and how even a relatively inexpensive DAC and computer setup can sound as good as an $1,800 CD player. While this article is clearly geared toward people who are new to DACs, I was surprised to learn their blind listening tests used only Apple Lossless files and MP3s with no mention of HD music which is a shame since even if you're blind as a bat, high definition playback illustrates why CD-quality is an oxymoron.