Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 24, 2013 19 comments
In my quest to find a suitable replacement for the discontinued Logitech Squeezebox Touch, I came across the Rasberry Pi. Anyone on a similar quest has more than likely been tempted by the Pi and if you're anything like me, you found its $35 price tag coupled with the promise of streaming capabilities from network attached storage and USB audio output too good to pass up. So I ordered myself some Raspberry Pi, loaded up a few instances of music player software and got to playing. I will say up front that so far I have mine working with CD-quality files through an older USB 1.0 DAC.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 24, 2013 16 comments
The Focal CMS 40 powered speaker is referred to as a monitor on the company's website. A subtle distinction perhaps but a monitor is meant for monitoring records during production whereas a speaker is meant to be used when the production work is done. So a monitor is a tool for listening whereas a speaker is a tool for enjoyment. Some listeners, like audiophiles, for example, do both and a speaker like the Focal CMS 40 is practically made to order.
Steve Guttenberg Posted: Apr 23, 2013 2 comments
Can You Handle the Truth?
What the heck is a "monitor" speaker? The word was initially applied to actual studio monitors, but it quickly came to be associated with any small- or mid-size bookshelf speaker. The M-Audio BX5 D2 is a bona-fide active (self-powered) monitor that can be used as a reference in a home studio (or desktop system). Accuracy is de rigueur for monitors, so if you're searching for a speaker with a sweet sound that makes everything, including nasty MP3s sound good this little guy won't cut it, but well-recorded electronica, jazz, classical, or most types of acoustic music the BX5 D2 will be a treat for your ears. They list for $299 a pair, but I've seen them going for closer to $230 online, and for that kind of money it's hard to beat.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Apr 22, 2013 33 comments
The topic of audiophile USB cables seems to elicit endless debate from computer audio enthusiasts. Many heated arguments have taken place at internet audio forums arguing the merits of these cables. There are those that feel that the improvements heard by using an upgraded USB cable versus a standard Belkin printer cable are purely imaginary.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 19, 2013 2 comments
Line The Clouds is filled with nursery-rhyme simple songs with spare instrumental accompaniment coupled with abstracted sounds that together weed their way into your thoughts like tiny Trojan Horses packed with emotions. Ashley Paul is a jazz and improv-trained multi-instrumentalist who seems more comfortable with dissonance than melody and she uses her squeaky sax, clarinet, flute, piano, percussion banged and bowed, plucked guitar, bells, and voice to tell small tales in a minimal manner. If you like the idea of something along the lines of Christina Carter meets Maher Shalal Hash Baz orchestrated by Harry Partch, you'll dig Line The Clouds .
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 18, 2013 0 comments
A day after posting, "Now we need more content providers to step up to the plate giving us access to a wider selection of DSD downloads. I'd say it's only a matter of time.", this message greeted me in my Inbox:
We would like to welcome Fidelio Recordings to DSDFile.

First release is the classical master piece From The New World.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 18, 2013 3 comments
DSD via DoP and SDHC
Before going to press with this review, I figured I'd give it one last lap around the 'net to see if I could locate some information regarding when (or if) the Fostex HP-A8C would be able to play back DSD over PCM/USB. I stumbled on a post by 'AnakChan' on HeadFi that pointed to the Fostex Japan website and lo and behold there was firmware version 2.01B with DoP (you can get it here). Once I downloaded and updated, all I had to do was navigate to the USB over PCM menu option, enable it, and I was streaming DSD over USB in no time. Lovely. Why this firmware revision from November 2012 is not yet available on the Fostex International (English) website is anyone's guess. The latest version to be found there is 1.31 which does not include the DSD over USB option so you are stuck playing back only DSF formatted DSD files through the HP-A8C's SD (or SDHC) card reader. And that's kind of a drag.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2013 3 comments
from Wikipedia: The Birkin bag is a handbag by Hermès, handmade in leather and named after actress and singer Jane Birkin. The bag is a symbol of wealth due to its high price and elusiveness to the public. Its price ranges from $9,000 to $150,000. Costs escalate according to the type of materials.

"Eighteen thousand?" The curious show goer asked. "No, eighteen hundred." The exhibitor answered.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
This is exactly how you get more people involved in hi-fi (from the Audio Arts room)

I would call the NY Audio Show a great success by near any standard. The New York Palace Hotel was crowded with show goers of all ages, sexes, shapes, and sizes. There was plenty to see and hear, I would say the rooms generally sounded just fine, and there were many interesting and informative seminars to take part in. Apparently not everyone feels that there are too many hi-fi shows, least of all the many attendees, which should come as good news to the business interests.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
MBL and NY dealer Sensorium AVR teamed up to put on what can only be described as The Big Show. Complete with ticket-holder only entrance, this room provided one compelling answer to the question—how can we get more people interested in hi-fi.


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