Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 31, 2013 32 comments
French composer Cécile Schott, aka Colleen, plays and sings a nuevo-medieval sounding suite on viola da gamba, clarinet, cello, guitar, organ, piano, and percussion with overdubs and repetitions, weaving exquisitely tender and fragile texts that float away like smoke as you take them in. There are touches of Washington Phillips' stunning What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?, rural sacred minimal timeless folk sounds rooted in more than music and sounding at times like their origin is some ancient musical machine. The Weighing Of The Heart is Colleen's first record in six years since her lovely Les Ondes Silencieuses and its a personal and deeply introspective record for life's stiller moments.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 30, 2013 32 comments
If you follow any of the audio forums online, you will inevitably encounter the point of view that states—auditory memory is short-lived and/or faulty at best. While I tend to agree with this point of view in terms of trying to recall the sound of a given piece of hi-fi gear, I don't think we're dealing with the entire story.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 29, 2013 23 comments
Calyx Audio Femto DAC ($7,000)
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 27, 2013 11 comments
High Definition 1.0
The High Resolution Technologies (HRT) Music Streamer HD is a straight forward device that takes your computer's USB output and converts it into an analog signal that your Hi-Fi can understand. The "HD" part of the name refers to the Music Streamer's ability to handle up to high definition 24-bit/192kHz data—with Apple computers. Windows users can play back up to 24/96 via USB 1.0. According to Scot Markwell of Elite AV Distribution, my contact for this review, "HRT has a very strong philosophy that their products should be 100% Plug-and-Play, without the need for 3rd-party drivers that are not as of yet robust and reliable enough to warrant having our customer base attempt to work with them." I'd say that pretty much makes the Music Streamer HD a Mac-only device.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: May 27, 2013 1 comments
Dan Thomas of Lunenberg, Massachusetts is the grinning winner of the Logic 3 Scuderia R200 Headphone Sweepstakes here at He's happy with their comfortable fit and solid seal. He screams, "They're perfect, portable, and Ferrari!" With the top dropped down and the sun in his eyes, Dan is straight up chillin'. Congratulations and enjoy!
Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 24, 2013 1 comments
Laurel Halo's Quarantine was The Wire magazine's number 1 album from 2012. While there's not much need to say more in terms of a recommendation, Quarantine took me some time to cozy up to. Its sound is so foreign, sounding perfectly extraterrestrial or if you prefer its as if you woke up within a William Gibson novel, it took me a few listens to sink comfortably into the rather uncomfortable landscapes that Laurel Halo paints. Now, listening to Quarantine is a special trip with each listen.
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Jon Iverson Posted: May 21, 2013 149 comments
Register to win a Focal XS Book Music System (MSRP $299.00) we are giving away.

According to the company: "Whatever your musical taste, uncover all the power and emotion your music, movie and gaming collection has to offer with Focal’s elegant and compact desktop 2.0 active loudspeaker system. Based on 33-years of acoustic research and over a dozen patents, Focal has created the ideal powered desktop loudspeaker system that will delight your senses while delivering years of dependable service. Hear exactly what you’ve been missing; experience just how good desktop music can sound."

[This Sweepstakes is now closed.]

Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 17, 2013 6 comments
Here's another re-recommendation that originated from Stephen Mejias. Lucrecia Dalt's Commotus released on Human Ear Music in 2012 is her second record and its filled with ideas, rhythms, sounds, melodies, smokey and sultry stuff, with Lucretia's lovely vocals hovering near the surface all fragile-like and haunting. I've listened to Commotus on nearly infinite repeat and it just gets deeper with each listen.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 16, 2013 0 comments
Pieter Bruegel the Elder's "Das Schlaraffenland" (1567) which I got to see on my first day in Munich at the wonderful Arte Pinakothek

"It's how all hi-fi shows should be." I heard this sentiment expressed by more than a few people about the Munich High End Show and I agree. While the MOC where the event is held does not offer the last word in friendly room acoustics, the benefits of the place far outweigh the sonic pitfalls. And these benefits include location, location, and location. I'm not sure you can pick up the vibe at the Munich show and transplant it just any old place.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 16, 2013 3 comments
The Zero 1 (€9000) from Avantgarde Acoutic wins my award for best Trendspotting piece of kit because the Zero 1 packs up pretty much everything you need minus the source(s) into a horn loaded package. You get a DAC, preamp, and amp with USB, Toslink, S/PDIF, AES/EBU, and optional analog inputs stuffed inside a pair of horn-loaded loudspeakers. And I mean loud. The Avantgarde presentation was in German but the Zero 1s easily speak to anyone with ears who cared to listen and I found this room's sound to be among the most compelling and physically vibrant at the show. The Zero 1's speakers are rated at 104dB and their associated amps at 2x 50W for the midrange and tweeters, and 1 x400W for the bass and the combo had no problems filling Avantgarde's very large exhibition room with pulse pounding yet finely nuanced music.


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