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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 20, 2012 12 comments
There are three main approaches to room treatment—treat the room, treat the music, treat yourself (i.e. do nothing). The main problem with room treatments is they usually look like room treatments and most people prefer that their home look more like a home than a recording studio. I have found that everyday items like books and LPs can help and unlike traditional room treatment slabs and cylinders, the more books and LPs you have the better off you, your home and your decor are. But what about treating the signal to fit your room?
Dirac Live® is a state-of-the-art digital room correction technology which optimizes the sound system both in terms of the impulse response as well as the magnitude frequency response. The result is a substantially improved musical staging, clarity, voice intelligibility, and a deeper and tighter bass, not just in a small sweet spot but in the entire listening volume.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 19, 2012 4 comments
Our top 10 (each) HD releases from 2012 (and some from before that) selected by yours truly, Steve Plaskin, and Jon Iverson = 30 great-sounding music picks. Enjoy!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 19, 2012 11 comments
While we're waiting for 2013 and Neil Young to reveal all of the facts about his Pono player/service that appears to be based on a proprietary file format, Korea's Iriver has come to market with a portable player that supports good old-fashioned 24/192 files. The Astell&Kern AK100 MQS Portable System ($699) features a Wolfsen WM8740 24-bit DAC and 32GB of internal memory and can accommodate two 32GB MicroSDHC cards for total storage capacity of 96GB. The MQS Player supports WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG and APE formats (no AAC or Apple Lossless support) and sports a 2.4″ LCD IPS color screen and Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP/HFP and is about the size of a deck of cards (3.11 by 2.33 by 0.57 inches and weighs 4.30 ounces). There are optical audio outputs to connect to your DAC of choice, a micro USB port for charging and syncing media, a 5-band equalizer, and of course a 3.5mm headphone jack.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 18, 2012 6 comments's Top 10

It's that time of year for everyone's "Best of" lists so here's my list of the best lists. Feel free to share yours so we can make an even bigger list of lists! Most of the music mentioned is available as a CD-quality or better FLAC or WAV download mainly from and Boomkat, and some are available as 24-bit "Studio Master" downloads from Qobuz (geographical restrictions apply to some albums).

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 16, 2012 10 comments
The current issue of Stereophile magazine includes, among many other interesting articles like a review of a pair of speakers for under $40!, an As We See It titled, "The Road to Analog-Sounding Digital: Are We There Yet?" penned by yours truly. I'm not going to give anything away except to say that regular AudioStream readers should recognize my point of view.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 14, 2012 0 comments
A big thank you to my friend and colleague Stephen Mejias for the heads up on this O-so-fascinating collection of field recordings from Lawrence English.
Field recordings hold a special place in my heart - part active listening, part hunting, part happy accident, part polaroid, part archive - though wholly personal. No two recordings made in the same place at the same time will be identical and therein lies the beauty of the work. Similar to photography or portraiture, the artist selects the frame and what to prioritize, within that frame (either in pre or post production). These choices ultimately help shape the ways in which the listener can come to and understand the sounds.
Songs of the Living and And the Lived In are two records-worth of found sounds from around Lawrence English's and our (disappearing) world and he's made them available for free. Yes, for free.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 13, 2012 4 comments
I know we're only talking about $0.99 (introductory special, price goes to $1.99 tomorrow), but there's something about this that just seems...all wrong. I certainly enjoys my vinyl but that enjoyment is wrapped up in the physicality of the entire experience from shopping for records in a real record shop (usually with friends), to carrying my new finds home, to placing one on the platter, queuing it up, sitting down with the album cover in hand and listening. I also enjoy flipping through my virtual music library on my iPad and the growing number of HD and DSD downloads makes shopping online that much better. But these experiences are, happily for me, separate and distinct. Why muddy the waters?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 13, 2012 19 comments
Good Things Come In Small Packages
During my review of the Resonessence Labs Invicta DAC, I thought, to myself, wouldn't it be interesting if they offered just a DAC? Stripped away all of the additional functionality like the preamp, headphone amp and the front-mounted SD Card Reader and gave us just-a-DAC? Well the guys at Resonessence Labs must have read my mind because they've delivered just that (and more).
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 12, 2012 8 comments
Schiit Modi $99 USB DAC pictured with the Schiit Magni $99 1.2W Discrete Amp

Hot off the press release:

Modi is the most advanced USB DAC in its price class, featuring an asynchronous USB interface with plug-and-play, driverless operation on both PCs and Macs, a 32-bit AKM4396 D/A converter, and an active filter stage built around the AD8616 operational amplifier to drive long cables. It supports all bit depths and sampling rates from 16/44 to 24/96. Like Magni, it’s made in the USA and features a warranty 2X longer than most of the products in its price class.
And the amazing part is its $99. As in less than 100. And its available now from Schiit.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 12, 2012 0 comments
Larkin Grimm Parplar
Larkin Grimm's Parplar released on Michael Gira's Young God label in late 2008 is a study in simple, contained strangeness. Guitar, strings, and backing vocals all spare and sparse like a cold wind blowing over an open field. I picked up Parplar when it came out and have been enjoying its strange fruit for years. Available from in FLAC format.


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