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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 11, 2015 3 comments
photo credit: Jon Iverson

During and after every Hi-Fi show, we're inevitably asked, "What did you like?"

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 09, 2015 0 comments
You may know Merging Technologies as the makers of the Pyramix audio workstation or perhaps from their network audio converters, the Horus and Hapi family. Or you may know them because they created DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition). Merging has been around for about 25 years in the pro audio world and they've just released their first consumer product, the NADAC (around $7500 for the 2-channel version) Network Attached DAC.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 07, 2015 Published: Jan 08, 2015 9 comments
49 bucks buys you some of the soundest improvements I've heard for anywhere near the price.
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Posted: Jan 06, 2015 5 comments
Speaking of lifestyles, Neil Young was at CES 2015 to talk about Pono. While I love listening to Neil's stories, some of his facts may not be up to snuff, there are plenty of other players that do what the Pono Player does for example, but in the end, I'm not worried. Having a spokesman for better sound quality like Neil Young is good for everyone involved and even those who aren't as fas as I'm concerned. But to get to the headline, I spoke to Pono's EVP of Technology Pedram Abrari after the presentation and confirmed what Jason Serinus from Stereophile told me—the Pono Player will be DSD-capable "soon, sooner than you think". Cool.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 06, 2015 0 comments
You hear the term "Lifestyle" bandied about quite a bit at hi-fi shows. Some companies mean it more than others. Naim has gone all out and delivered an all-in-one system call Mu-so ($1495). This single box contains everything you need to make music including 450 watts of power (six 75 watt digital amplifiers, one for each of the six custom-designed speaker drivers), a 3-way bass reflex system, DSP, UPnP, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth/aptX, 2 digital inputs, USB input, iRadio, multiroom streaming, and a control app to make everything work.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 05, 2015 5 comments
Today, Naxos and OraStream announced Classics Online HD*LL (COLHD*LL), "The first high-definition and lossless classical music streaming service that uses adaptive bit-rate streaming technology".
COLHD*LL is available worldwide, for downloads and streaming of HD- and CD-lossless quality classical music. It enables music lovers to easily access an extensive library of classical music, in high-quality audio. It is the first consumer music service to stream lossless audio higher than 16-bit/44/1kHz quality. Using patented technology, HD- and CD-audio streaming occurs without delays in buffering large (lossless) audio files.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 05, 2015 1 comments
It's back. Very soon, I'll be on my way to Las Vegas for the International Consumer Electronics Show. I've received tons of email invites for connected devices for the kitchen, the gym, the tennis court, and more promising to keep me fit, trim, and up-to-date. Wearable, portable, and smart, our futures look to be a connected mesh of data monitoring our every move, breath, and stroke. How unpleasant. Thankfully, I also got a lot of emails pertaining to Hi-Fi and computer audio.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 02, 2015 2 comments
Crunchy funk. Part Parliament, part Prince and a whole lot more, D'Angelo's first record in 14 years since Voodoo is a mind blowing expanse of serious soul. Black Messiah was initially intended to be a 2015 release but D'Angelo chose to rush it out in response to "the nationwide protests over the police killings of unarmed black men" according to an article in the NY Times. I'm happy he did.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 31, 2014 11 comments
We moved in 2014 and this is my new listening room: the barn. This is where the seriously fun listening takes place.

2014 has been a busy year. Steve Plaskin and I reviewed over 50 products, we continued our Q&A series with a number of interviews, provided show coverage, industry news, How To articles, our Download of the Week, and more. We've also seen a shift in people's music consuming habits, with streaming on the rise and downloads and CD sales on the wane. Vinyl also continues its growth spurt which to my mind is a signal of a happy, healthy mix. If I had a crystal ball, I'd say that in 2015 we'll see more of the same with a larger focus on the quality of the listening experience.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 30, 2014 11 comments
Amarra sQ, a DSP (Digital Signal Processing) engine, is designed to work with streaming services while bypassing Apple's Core Audio. sQ is for Apple OSX only and it costs $29.99. What it delivers is the ability to customize your music's EQ, employ various dither settings, and generally I found that it makes streaming services sound better. What more can you ask for?