Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 21, 2014 4 comments
"Stately, plump Buck Mulligan..." Some things are easier than others which makes some things more difficult than others. That's in no way a value judgement, it just is the way it is. Conquistador!, Cecily Taylor's second classic record on Blue Note, Unit Structures being the first, recorded in October 1966 (19 freakin' sixty six) may initially sound like music that's not very easy especially if we look at the top of the charts from that same year which included "Last Train to Clarksville" by The Monkees and "Born Free" by Roger Williams. I first listened to Conquistador! many years after its initial release, coming to it from trumpeter Bill Dixon's music who is part of Cecil Taylor's sextet here. In this context, Conquistador! is positively generous, with plenty of repeated themes to hold onto amid all of the beautiful clatter.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Feb 20, 2014 18 comments
Wyred 4 Sound is well known to many audiophiles as a company that builds quality high end audio products at reasonable prices. The company was started in in 2007 by E. J. Sarmento who previously worked at Cullen Circuits. The company has grown from its initial offering of the 200s amplifier to a complete line of preamps, power amps, DACs, and music servers. Wyred 4 Sound offers 6 DAC models with 3 versions of the DAC-2: DAC-2, DAC-2 DSD, and the DAC-2 DSDse.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 18, 2014 54 comments
MiND Reader
The Simaudio Moon MiND (MOON intelligent Network Device) is a UPnP/DLNA compatible renderer or more commonly a network player or streamer. In other words, the Moon MiND lets you play back your file-based music without a computer. Just add Network Attached Storage (NAS) and you'll be streaming your music in no time. A lot of people are also wondering—is the MiND an audiophile version of the popular and discontinued Squeezebox Touch? Let's find out.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 17, 2014 3 comments
My Ayre QB-9 DSD review is in the works. Included therein will be a comparison between the old QB-9 and the new QB-9 DSD. Should be interesting. Let the best Ayre win!
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.


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