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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.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 02, 2014 10 comments
You can't tell but I'm jumping up and down. Knees to chest jumping, arms flapping about in sync with excitement over the new album Bécs from Austrian guitarist and electronic musician Christian Fennesz. Released on Editions Mego just a few days ago, Bécs is the long-awaited companion piece to 2001's Endless Summer and it was O-so-worth the wait.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 01, 2014 15 comments

I just came across this short, 2-minute+ video sponsored by the Audio Engineering Society (AES) from 2000 and found it very interesting and relevant, especially in view of all the anti-Pono talk of late. Watch the video and see if you agree.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 01, 2014 4 comments
I recently completed my reviews of the full suite of Bluesound products including the Vault (see review), the Powernode/Duo (see review), Node (see review), and Pulse (see review). I was impressed with the lot, finding the Bluesound products mature beyond their years in terms of both the user friendly interface and overall sound quality. I had an opportunity to ask Bluesound's Chief Brand Officer, John Banks, some questions about Bluesound to hopefully get a better picture of this new company.


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