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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 28, 2013 10 comments
In Part 1 of our Q&A, John Swenson covered "What is Digital?". You should consider that required reading for Part 2 since he builds on that foundation here. Part 1 also includes John's bio if you'd like to know more about him. Now let's get on with Part 2:

Can you explain how things other than "the bits" could have an effect on the analog output of a DAC?

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 28, 2013 28 comments
Online music and gear retailer Acoustic Sounds will begin offering DSD! Wednesday, August 28th! That's right, here's the first source for popular titles from artists like John Coltrane, Muddy Waters, and Cat Stevens in lovely resplendent DSD. Kinda makes you glad you have that DSD-ready DAC. You do have one, right?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 27, 2013 8 comments
In another sign of the increasing popularity of high resolutions downloads, Bleep has created a special 24-Bit section on their website. While this may not seem like much, I view this as a good indication that the search for better quality music downloads is starting to bubble to the surface of even non-audiophile music sites. Now we just need some DSD titles of popular music to show up on the download scene and I'll be dancin' in the streets.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 27, 2013 6 comments
Thanks to my friend and colleague Stephen Mejias for pointing me to this short but sweet article in the Economist, The sound of music: Dr Dre’s creation of a market for costly cans may herald the return of true hi-fi.
"Since consumers have been persuaded, largely by Beats, that it is worth paying a fair whack for some half-decent headphones that look nice, perhaps they could be persuaded—especially since the storage capacity of many portable devices is now huge—to turn their backs on cheap mp3s and seek out recordings in true high fidelity."
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 27, 2013 6 comments
The Director
The Director is Meridian's step up in terms of size and sound quality from their smaller and headphone output-endowed Explorer (see review). Meridian views the aptly named Explorer as a portable player whereas the Director is meant to sit and remain connected to your hi-fi. I've now had a chance to listen to the Director for a few weeks and compare it to its smaller sibling side-by-side. If you've already read my Director preview, feel free to skip ahead to the listening section.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 23, 2013 4 comments
If I make a list at the end of this year, Julia Holter's Loud City Song on Domino Records will surely be near the tippy top. I'm almost reluctant to try to pigeon hole its sound but I'm reminded of bits and pieces of Kurt Weill and Laurie Anderson but most of all I'm reminded of Julia Holter. Only better. Yea, I'm going on that limb and suggest that Loud City Song is her most mature sounding and fully realized release yet which kinda makes sense as its also her first true studio release. And I liked last year's Exstasis just fine. But I'm learning to love Loud City Song.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 20, 2013 9 comments
Over on Audio Asylum, our own Steve Plaskin (Mercman on AA) posted some comments on Music Software. In the responses, John Swenson offered up some answers to some questions we've been dealing with here on AudioStream most notably in our conversation with Charles Hanson, Gordon Rankin, and Steve Silberman (see article). So I contacted John and asked him if he'd like to expand on those thoughts here on AudioStream and he kindly agreed. John also provided a bio which is included at the end of this piece to give you some background on his background.

Here's Part 1 starting at the beginning...

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 19, 2013 29 comments
Calyx Audio Femto DAC ($7,000)
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Aug 19, 2013 1 comments
Mike Nilan of Syracuse, New York is the randomly selected winner of the Light Harmonic LightSpeed USB Cable sweepstakes. The LightSpeed was reviewed recently here at Audiostream by Steven Plaskin, where he said "Its special qualities of speed, detail, soundstage and ambience reproduction, along with its low noise capabilities, place it among the finest USB cables I have yet heard." Seems Mike scored big!
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 16, 2013 4 comments
The iFi iTube active tube buffer/preamplifier is actually more than that. The iTube includes two "active correction circuits" that are meant to improve your listening experience, just like the New Old Stock (NOS) General Electric 5670 tube that's hidden inside the iTube's aluminum shell. I suppose purists have already begun the cold sweats as thoughts of tampering with bit perfection outweighs the promise of greater enjoyment. But let's leave theory behind and see what the iTube delivers, sound wise.


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