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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 24, 2012 3 comments
PSB Speakers Alpha PS1 Powered Speaker ($300/pair)
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 23, 2012 3 comments
Tinariwen is Tamashek-Berber for "deserts", and Aman Iman means "water is life". While the players of the collective that make up Tinariwen are Tuareg peoples from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali, their lives have been nomadic living in refugee and rebel camps. The group's founder, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, built himself a guitar from scraps when he was a child after seeing one in a cowboy movie and he learned to play by listening to among others, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. You can hear all of this and more in their 2007 release Aman Iman, a powerful and richly rewarding record.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 21, 2012 2 comments
Michael Green of Swansea, UK has had enough. Instead of griping about dynamic compression and the loudness wars, he's decided to send record labels and retailers a message:
As music lovers we are fed up [with] the compressed albums available today and would like to see uncompressed albums released, along with High Definition (24 Bit) music downloads. We believe that this is the way forward to reintroduce people to music the way it’s meant to sound.
You can join in the campaign by going here and signing Michael's petition.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 21, 2012 4 comments
I don't mean to pick on Neil Young especially since he's been one of my favorite musicians for decades (even before Decades) and he's also one of a few high profile musicians leading the charge for better sound quality and away from MP3s but his newest album, Psychedelic Pill is only available in download form as a "Digital Bundle" for $10.99 and this bundle is no bundle of hi-rez joy. Rather its, hold onto your irony board, MP3s.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 21, 2012 1 comments
In an article for Pitchfork, musician and songwriter Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi talks about the business model behind streaming services including Pandora and Spotify. And its not a pretty picture.
To put this into perspective: Since we own our own recordings, by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one-- one-- LP sale. (On Spotify, one LP is equivalent to 47,680 plays.)
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 21, 2012 8 comments

Throwing Muses
The Asus Xonar Essence One comes in three versions; the standard ($599), the One Plus Edition with Op-Amp Swap Kit ($699), and the unit under review the MUSES Edition (footnote 1) so named for its use of the MUSES 01 Op-Amps from New Japan Radio Co. Ltd. While I wouldn't call the Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition inexpensive at $899, I would say it leans toward the budget side of things, all things considered. With very solid build quality, a 24/192-capable Asynchronous USB input, two S/PDIF inputs, a preamp, a headphone amp, and optional "Symmetrical 8X upsampling", Asus has thrown a lot into the Essence One including the muses.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 16, 2012 9 comments
The Schiit Bifrost DAC has garnered a lot of buzz for its price/performance ratio. And I mean a lot of buzz from reviewers and forum posters alike. And when a product delivers performance well beyond its price, especially if that price is perceived to be low, that component may as well be sainted or knighted (depending on your point of view). Saint Denon 103, Sir Touch of Squeezebox, and today's specimen under scrutiny, Sir Bifrost of Schiit.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 16, 2012 0 comments
Erasurehead's industrial nightmare captured in sound. What more can a guy ask for?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 15, 2012 6 comments
Gordon Rankin. photo credit: Art Dudley

Gordon Rankin, the founder and designer of Wavelength Audio, is responsible for among other things the first consumer DAC to employ Asynchronous USB. You can find his Asynchronous USB Steamlength™ technology in a number of highly regarded DACs including his own Crimson, Cosecant, Brick, and Proton as well the Halide DAC HD, AudioQuest Dragonfly, Grace M903, Aesthetix USB products, Ayre DX-5, QA-9 and the Berkley Alpha USB. I'd like to thank Gordon for taking the time for this Q&A and I hope you enjoy this peak inside Wavelength Audio.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 14, 2012 23 comments
iFi iUSBPower
My desktop setup has evolved into an iMac running Audirvana, the Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC, AudioQuest Victoria cable, into the ADAM A3X powered speakers. I listen to this setup every day more and less and I enjoy it every time I listen to it. While it's not perfect, nothing is in hi-fi except enjoyment and as I said, this setup works in that regard for me. So why mess with enjoyment?


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