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Steven Plaskin Posted: Feb 19, 2013 4 comments
Playback Designs MPS-3 CD Player/DAC
The MPS-3 CD Player, while offering a CD transport, is really a full featured DAC with Asynchronous USB input that supports high resolution files of up to 384/24 kHz PCM and 6.1 MHz DSD through USB with either a PC or MAC. A better name for this product is the Music Playback System 3. Playback Designs offers the same product without the CD transport for $6500 that is called the MPD-3.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 18, 2013 11 comments
Vol. 08 Winter 2012 of Net Audio included an entire section devoted to DSD

There are a few lists that I maintain for AudioStream including the ever-popular HD Download Sites and what began life on November 2, 2011 as "DSD-Ready DACs (A Short List)". At that time, there were four DACs from three companies including Playback Designs, EMM Labs, and the then lowest-priced contender the Mytek Digital Stereo 192-DSD DAC ($1,695). Today this list has grown to include some twenty eight companies.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 15, 2013 1 comments
Elizabeth Harris is Grouper and Hold/Sick was originally released as a 7" tour single in 2010. I'm really using this download as a good excuse to introduce Liz Harris/Grouper and would recommend diving into her full length LPs, if you can find them.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 14, 2013 7 comments
Teac UD-501 Dual-Monarual PCM/DSD USB DAC ($849)
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 11, 2013 37 comments
Meridian Enters the Fray
The USB bus-powered Meridian Explorer is a small, portable 24/192-capable asynchronous USB DAC, headphone amp, and it can also function as a 24/96 USB to S/PDIF converter. There's a mini USB input on one side of its oval tubular extruded aluminum body and two 3.5mm outputs on the other. One of those outputs is fixed and is meant to connect to your hi-fi while also doubling as a 24/96 mini Toslink output. The other 3.5mm output is variable and meant for driving headphones. Based on listening impressions, I'd say the Meridian Explorer is damn well capable of driving you to musical distraction. And it does so for $299.00. Welcome to the beautiful and competitive world of computer audio.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 11, 2013 8 comments
Digital room correction. Or should we call it virtual room correction since we're not correcting the room, we're adapting the music's bits during playback to better suit the room. But in order to correct something, you first have to understand what, if anything, needs correcting. Of course you can perform room correction by ear and you very well may come away with a sound that suits your tastes. But to really understand what's going on with the sound in your room, you need to analyze. You need to abstract the musical information into forms that represent various aspects of sound. The Dirac Live Room Correction Suite not only shows you how your music looks, it also shows you how they feel it should look.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 08, 2013 2 comments
Burial's Kindred three-track EP was released in 2012 and I'm finally getting around to getting around in it. And man, is there a lot to get around within. Pounding, throbbing, gristle-y bass keeps things moving through layers upon layers of sound, scratch, pulse, and ethereally malformed vocals all adding up to one super sonic trip.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Feb 04, 2013 0 comments
Jonathon Hollis (Takato14 on of Hamilton, Michigan is the happy winner of our AudioQuest DragonFly and Sydney Interconnect Sweepstakes. Hollis uses the DragonFly as a USB DAC with his Open Pandora PocketPC (pictured above). He doesn't go anywhere without it. Congrats Jon and thanks for participating!
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 04, 2013 0 comments
Thanks to reader Martin O. for pointing us to this, the first new album from My Bloody Valentine since 1991's Loveless. That's a long time. m b v sounds just like My Bloody Valentine (how could it not even if it didn't?) which is a good thing to my ears all heavy and somber and hook-laden. The other noteworthy thing about m b v is the way its being released—you can buy the CD ($22), LP ($30.50 includes the CD), or download ($16) which is not uncommon but what is and shouldn't be is the CD and LP come with a free download and you get to choose between 320kbps MP3, 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV, and 24-bit/96kHz WAV versions. If you opt for just the download, you still get to choose the format for the same price. Nice.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Feb 01, 2013 2 comments
Aaron Neville’s latest release, My True Story, is available as a hi res download from HDtracks (96/24, 192/24). Aaron is returning to his “roots” performing doo-wop rock ballads in this album. The recording also features Keith Richards on guitar with a great band. There are no lush strings behind Aaron’s smooth vocals; just a tight band with excellent backup singers including Eugene Pitt, Booby Jay, Dickie Harmon, and Joel Katz.


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