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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 06, 2013 12 comments
With all of the attention DSD has garnered of late, it seemed like a good time to go to one of SACD's creators for answers to some common questions. Andreas Koch was involved in developing the standards and equipment for SACD production, recording, and playback, his company Playback Designs was one of the first to offer DSD capability in a consumer product, and he was also an integral player in the development of the DSD over PCM (DoP) specification. Andreas was kind enough to answer some questions concerning DSD which will hopefully clarify some aspects of how DSD actually works.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 05, 2013 2 comments
American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’ airs tonight at 9:00PM (EST) on PBS (check local listings). Contains previously unseen live footage...Hendrix fans don't really need to read anything more.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 05, 2013 0 comments
I encourage anyone interested in this discussion to head on over to InnerFidelity and read Tyll's response to my piece The Trouble with Listening. I think he does a wonderful job of unraveling this potentially complex and contentious subject. Bravo Tyll!
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 05, 2013 16 comments
The SOtM tX-USBexp Audiophile PCIe to USB Audio Card
The SOtM PCIe to USB 3.0 Card is compatible with Windows 7/8 and Linux. You can power the SOtM card in three ways; through the 4-pin IDE connector that uses your computer's dirty power, externally using a 9V power supply (like the one that came with your cell phone), or with a high quality linear battery-power supply like the SOtM mBPS-d2s Intelligent Battery Power Supply which I'll also be talking about in this review.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 04, 2013 6 comments
The HDtracks website is sporting a new design and while past visitors will recognize the overall layout, there are a few changes that should make browsing more pleasant. First off, you can now scroll through more releases right on the home page and there's a Wishlist feature to save yourself the trouble of remembering. While there were hyperlinks associated with releases on the old site including Artist, Genre, and Label, these are featured on more pages of the new site and releases now get a single page with the different sample rates available from a drop-down menu where the old site split these into multiple pages. For those shoppers looking for more information like DR Values and detailed provenance information for each release, the wait continues.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 01, 2013 6 comments
Rarely has one week sounded so good. A quintet of releases of stunning sonic proportions! Here we have music to fit many moods from quiet introspection to percolating Argentinian pop, to brooding noir-colored chanson, electronic dreams, and dreamy tales. I don't have a favorite among these five wonderful releases unless you talk to me while I'm listening to one in which case it will be it.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 30, 2013 0 comments
For my review of the SOtM sDP-1000 DAC and Pre-Amplifier, I neglected to talk about its Sample Rate Converter. I've righted that wrong and added an addendum to the review.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 29, 2013 7 comments
The folks over at Light Harmonic are at it again, this time crowdfunding their latest desktop DAC and headphone amplifier the Geek Pulse over on Indiegogo. If you followed their last Kickstarter campaign, you'll recall that they raised a whopping $303,000 and change for the little Geek. The Pulse is the desktop version and offers a host of inputs including 2x Coax S/PDIF, 1x Toslink, and 1x USB capable of handling up to 32/384, DXD, DSD64 and DSD128 (natively). Outputs include a pair of RCAs and a 1/4" headphone jack.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 28, 2013 26 comments
Reader Rich Davis asked in reference to the Meridian Explorer:
Is it possible to post measurement test results? I'm interested in knowing the dynamic range, jitter, etc. etc. for each bit rate. Just so I can compare [with] other DACs?

16 bit sounds great, but I have [downloaded] some 24/96 and 24/192 of the same recordings (only they were mastered at later dates and most likely with different equipment) and the 24 bit recordings sound incredible. I HIGHLY suggest going to places like [HDtracks] and obtaining later remastered versions of any recordings you already have.

Some of the recordings are just wonderful sounding on this DAC at 24 bit.

We are currently not equipped to provide measurements at AudioStream but this is something we may consider in the future. Part of the reason for this decision is budgetary, part logistic, and part pragmatic. It seemed to make sense to start with subjective reviews since its through listening that we determine the real value of a piece of hi-hi gear. But let me try to flesh out this position in more detail since this question of measurements and subjective reviews has come up before.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 25, 2013 0 comments
I think that should be spelled Soul[ey]man. Syrian-born Souleyman's latest album, Wenu Wenu is his first to be produced by Kieran Hebden (of Four Tet) in Brooklyn for Domino's Ribbon label. While some have commented that Hebden cleaned up Souleyman's typical lo-fi/over-driven sound too much, I sure don't think so. There's more flavor here than you can swallow in one gulp and if you dig incessant, intense, and soul[ey]ful music, get this.


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