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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 03, 2012 4 comments
How does a free Studio Master download every day from now until December 25th sound? Hint: Good! I'll let Linn tell the story:
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 03, 2012 7 comments
It's that time of year again so let's just get on with it!
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 30, 2012 4 comments
Gavin Bryars' "The Sinking of the Titanic" is, to my mind, a beautiful piece of work. I've been on the lookout for the original LP version which was released on Brian Eno's Obscure Records label in 1975 (it is Obscure No. 1!) which includes the equally sublime "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet". Today's pick was recorded at the 49th International Festival of Contemporary Music at The Venice Biennale on October 1, 2005 at the Teatro Maliban. It features Gavin Bryars on double bass, Philip Jeck on turntables, and the Italian ensemble Alter Ego on Strings, Brass, Wind, Percussion, Keyboard, Tape Recorder and sound design. And the results are, again to my mind, lovely and deep with one of the hugest heapings of sad submerged nostalgia you're likely to encounter on record.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 29, 2012 65 comments
A file format shootout. A DSD versus PCM grudge match. Bit wars. A sample rate smackdown. Can 24/96 take 24/192? Does DSD stomp PCM?

There's a lot of buzz about DSD, talk of CD's demise, and music offered in various PCM formats from CD-quality up to 24/192. What's a person who cares about the quality of their music reproduction experience to do? And the answer is, listen. I got the idea to listen to various files in different resolutions and formats after receiving some comments on my Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC review asking about double rate DSD or 128x DSD. Namely, is 128x DSD better than 64x DSD. It sure sounds better, mathematically! But the only way I know to figure out if one thing sounds better than some other thing is to listen. So that's what I set about doing.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 27, 2012 9 comments
Fun Factor
Sometimes, most times for non-audiophiles, when you buy a piece of hi-fi gear you want to hook it up, plug it in, and enjoy your music. This kind of enjoyment mainly means dancing, singing along with your favorite songs, playing air guitar or air cello for the more sophisticated listener, and genrally just having fun. Fun with music. I'm not saying that audiophiles don't do all of these things, I'm just saying they tend to add a lot of baggage to this relatively simple prospect. And if nothing else, the Monitor Audio WS100 speakers are all about fun.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9 comments
I was following one of those interesting Internet threads based on and around Elliot Mazer. For those of you that don't about producer, executive, technologist, and project leader (according to Wikipedia) Elliot Mazer, he has been in the music business for decades as a record producer for many classics including Neil Young's Harvest, Janis Joplin's Cheap Thrills, and the music for Martin Scorcese's Last Waltz to name just three very heavy hitters. Mazer also helped develop AirCheck, a system for monitoring when songs are played on the radio and TV, which was eventually sold to Radio Computing Services, Inc (RCS). Lately, he's been consulting to among others, Orastream which is where the string started for me.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 26, 2012 5 comments
Steve Nugent is the founder of Empirical Audio and if you frequent Audio Asylum or AudioCircle, you'll have undoubtedly seen his posts as audioengr. Empirical Audio makes a number of products including the Overdrive® SE USB DAC/Pre, Synchro-Mesh Reclocker, Off-Ramp USB Converter, and the Short Block USB Filter. As you can surmise from this list, external clocking speaks to a certain design approach and focus on among things the elimination of jitter. We talk about this approach and lots more in this Q&A and I'd like to thank Steve Nugent for his time and for participating in this Q&A. Enjoy!
Steven Plaskin Posted: Nov 24, 2012 9 comments
Pure(r) Music
In March 2010, Channel D released their music server software Pure Music for OSX. Since then, Pure Music has been one of the reference programs I have used to evaluate music, computer hardware, and audio components due to its neutrality and excellent reliable functionality. Version 1.86 had reached a high degree of reliability with a wealth of functions. Gapless track playback and memory play, CoreAudio Device HOG Mode Exclusive Access support, native device nonmixable integer mode for OSX Snow Leopard, automatic sample rate switching, and native DSD streaming for DACs that support DoP are just a very few of the many features available with this program. All of these features beautifully integrate with the iTunes interface for access to one’s music library while using the Pure Music audio playback engine.
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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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