LATEST ADDITIONS

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 15, 2013 0 comments
PSB now offers the perfect matching mate to their very impressive and Greatest Bits award winning Alpha PS1 Powered Speaker ($299/pair see review) with the SubSeries 100 Subwoofer ($249). Capable of extending your listening pleasure down to 39Hz (±3dB) with a 50W internal amp driving its 5 1/4" woofer in a sealed box design, for PS1 owners looking for more musical enjoyment the SubSeries 100 Sub represents the proverbial no-brainer, imo. The SubSeries 100 offers RCA L/R and LFE Input Options and rear-mounted volume and crossover frequency controls (50Hz - 150Hz) to blend the sub's output to taste.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 15, 2013 0 comments
Newcomer Bluesound had their lineup on mostly silent display but their Vault music server ($999 pictured far right) was put into service along with gear from NAD and PSB. The Vault can handle MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF files with up to 24/192 resolution and comes with 1TB of storage and a CD drive for ripping. The Vault also offers an Ethernet input for accessing Internet Radio, streaming services (WiMP, rdio), and network shares. There's also a USB Type A input for connecting to USB storage and a free iOS or Android app for remote control.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 15, 2013 0 comments
Hegel also showed off their brand new Super Headphone Amplifier/DAC ($399) that promises "perfectly flat frequency response regardless of the load" according to Hegel. Capable of handling up to 24/96 via its USB input, the Super will be available just in time for Christmas.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 15, 2013 0 comments
Oslo, Norway based Hegel unveiled their new H80 Integrated Amplifier/DAC ($2,000) which offers 5 digital inputs (2 coax, 2 optical offering up to 24/192 playback, and one 24/96-capable USB), a pair of analog RCA inputs, a single XLR input, and a 75W/channel integrated amplifier in one nice understated package. We were treated to several comparisons including a head-to-head with the H80's predecessor the H70 which showed the newer unit to have a "sweater and smoother" sound according to my notes. Coupled with a McBook Air running Audirvana, a pair of Magico S1's ($12,500), and Nordost Red Dawn cable, the H80/Magico combo proved to be engaging and well-matched partners.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 15, 2013 0 comments
Sony unveiled their HAP-EZ1ES file player ($1,999) along with the TA-A1ES Integrated Stereo Amplifier ($1,999), Sony's first amp in 14 years, at RMAF. The EZ1 (I'm assuming the phonetic reference is intentional) can handle PCM files with resolutions up to 24/192 as well as 2x DSD and comes with a 1TB internal hard drive and a rear-mounted USB input so you can attach an external drive for additional storage. The file player upsamples all incoming data to 2x DSD and three's a firmware upgrade coming that will allow you to defeat this process if you so desire. Metadata is captured through Gracenote and control comes via the front-mounted controls or more realistically through an iOS or Android app. There are also Ethernet and Wi-Fi inputs to connect you to the rest of the world's music.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 13, 2013 1 comments
Acoustic Sounds Founder and CEO Chad Kassem (standing stage right)

Along with my colleagues at Stereophile, I was invited to attend a little DSD listening party in the Acoustic Sounds room. Acoustic Sounds founder and CEO Chad Kassem walked us through their new DSD Download site, www.superhirez.com, and gave us an overview of their approach to running a DSD download business which is centered around providing high quality music downloads and ease of use. They are also working on including provenance information for their DSD downloads and the guys at Acoustic Sounds understand the importance of transparency and sharing this information when its available. If you haven't already visited, the SuperHiRez website offers a Computer Audio How To Guide by Dr. David W. Robinson the Editor-in-Chief at Positive Feedback Online, a Hi Rez glossary, a software and hardware guide, and a "What is DSD?" page. Oh and lots of delicious DSD downloads for sale.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 13, 2013 7 comments
Jared Sacks, who we know from his Channel Classics record label, presented his new venture Native DSD Music (www.nativedsd.com) to a full house in the On A Higher Note room at RMAF. Jared explained that his years of experience in the SACD and DSD download business have "taught him what not to do" and one of those lessons has to do with quality. Every label that offers DSD downloads through www.nativeDSD.com has to sign a contract which stipulates among other things that the music they sell through the site wil be native DSD. This means either DSD recordings or DSD music sourced from analog tape.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 11, 2013 0 comments
As fas I'm concerned, everyone needs a little Blixa in their life. Actually more than a little and I've certainly made due with more than my fair share. From his earliest and most clamorous days with Einstürzende Neubauten to Silence is Sexy, to his stint as a Bad Seed with Nick Cave, and even his outing with Alva Noto, I've been enjoying Blixa in one form or another for decades. And its been rich and rewarding. Now we've got Still Smiling his collaboration with Italian composer Teho Teardo that adds strings courtesy of The Balanescu Quartet and cellist Martina Bertoni to Blixa's multilingual vocals and Teardo's guitar. Lovely.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Oct 11, 2013 1 comments
I have always enjoyed the music of Jimmy Webb. Going back to Richard Harris performing "MacArthur Park" and Glenn Campbell singing "Galveston" brings back many good memories.

Jimmy Webb’s new release Still Within The Sound Of My Voice, offered in 24/44.1 on HDtracks, presents new versions of these classic songs. As in his previous release, Just Across The River, Jimmy teams up with a stellar group of performers. Carly Simon, Lyle Lovett, The Jordanaires, Keith Urban, David Crosby and Graham Nash, Joe Cocker, Art Garfunkel, Amy Grant, Kriss Kristofferson, Marc Cohn, Rumer, and America. The song "MacArthur Park", sometimes ridiculed by reviewers, teamed up Brian Wilson singing in the background with Jimmy Webb. The song has withstood the test of time and is probably considered a classic Jimmy Webb tune.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 10, 2013 4 comments
SOtM "Soul Of the Music"
The battery-powered SOtM sDP-1000 DAC and Pre-Amplifier has a host of digital and analog inputs, it can handle up to 32-bit/192kHz PCM files as well as single rate 64x DSD, while offering both RCA and XLR outputs. It can, therefore, act as the heart of a hi-fi system handling a number of sources including a turntable as long as you add a phono pre into the mix. It wraps all of these functions into a very nicely designed aluminum-wrapped form.

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