LATEST ADDITIONS

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 13, 2014 8 comments
Accredited investors take note: for as little as $5,000 you can own a piece of PonoMusic. "From now through August 30, 2014, you can invest as little as $5,000 and receive equity ownership in PonoMusic alongside Neil and other music industry legends." The Company is looking to raise $2.5M in equity investment through this Crowdfunder campaign and they're already more than half way there with nearly $1.7M pledged to date.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 13, 2014 8 comments
Here's a quote from a recent article on Pono from Popular Science:
"MP3s employ audio-data compression to reduce file bandwidth, which lets you carry thousands of songs in your phone but limits the music’s dynamic range."
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 12, 2014 13 comments
The Little Integrated Amplifier/DAC That Could
The Sony UDA-1 incorporates a 20W x 2 Class AB amplifier (into 4 ohms) and a 24/192 and single and double rate DSD capable DAC (Burr-Brown PCM1795) into a handsome black or silver aluminum covered chunky little chassis. 20 Watts isn't much power but if you have speakers that aren't very demanding, and my DeVore The Nines at 91db and 8 ohms aren't, you can get away with 20 Watts. As a matter of fact, the little UDA-1 from Sony drove The Nines to my sonic satisfaction. There are however some operational quirks you must contend with if you use a Mac to get the most of outta that DSD DAC.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 11, 2014 14 comments
Reader Patrick Butler offered this response to the AVS/AIX High-Resolution Audio Test post and it made me smile so I thought I'd raise its profile. Enjoy:
person 1. "I'm repeatedly hearing something different between a and b."
person 2. "I can't think of any scientific reason why there should be any difference. Therefore, you must be nuts."
person 1. "Seriously, you should have a listen. This is really cool."
person 2. "I want no part of your insanity. It might be contagious."
person 1. "Suit yourself."
person 2. "I feel compelled to stalk you all over the internet to share my anecdotal story about your condition."
person 1. "Who's crazy?"
person 2. "Clearly, my amateur diagnosis should be enough."
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 08, 2014 2 comments
O my. Talk about a dynamic duo...Two of Norway's finest singer/songwriters, Jenny Hval (we loved and still love her Innocence is Kinky) and Susanna have teamed up for what sounds to me like a concept album of extreme proportions. Intimate, jarring, noisy, lovely and challenging filled with fluids (milk, blood, honey, spit...), body parts, and enigmas (e.g. where do I end and the world begin? Or so I imagine). Jo Berger Myhre joins in on double bass and zither, and Anita Kaasbøll is the third voice you hear while everyone is credited with the effects and noise that scar these songs. Lovely.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 05, 2014 43 comments
photo credit: Devialet

Luxury Goods
It's funny how in hi-fi some people look at beautifully made gear with scorn. As if that beauty were worse than secondary to its main purpose of playing music. As if beauty was misplaced, as if it was just plain wrong. Of course we're talking about personal taste and nothing more. I happen to appreciate the way things look (and feel) and this pertains to hi-fi as much as anything else. And I find the Devialet kit to exhibit this love of design both in terms of how it looks and feels and of course how it plays music.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 04, 2014 44 comments
Scott Wilkinson and Dr. AIX, aka Mark Waldrep, have teamed up to provide a high res listening test. The test consists of three tracks with two samples of each; one in 16/44.1 and the other in 24/96. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to listen to all six files and determine which is which. Check out the AVS Forum for all of the details. Interestingly enough, at least one person so far has taken these files, loaded them up into the Foobar2000 ABX comparator and picked the correct files every time. But this really shouldn't come as a big surprise, should it?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 01, 2014 13 comments
Histoire de Melody Nelson is, for all intents and purposes, a dirty record. There's no doubt that some people would love to stick a big warning sticker over the entirety of its delightfully mischievous cover. But why Histoire de Melody Nelson now? Originally released in 1971, its as fresh as ever and I've been digging it for some time on vinyl and now, thanks to Qobuz Hi-Fi, I've been streaming the crap out of the CD-quality version.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Jul 31, 2014 135 comments
Synergistic Research’s latest implementation of their Uniform Energy Field Technology, better known as UEF, has resulted in a new product designed to balance close proximity electromagnetic fields in electronic circuits. The product is called the Electronic Circuit Transducer or ECT. These tiny devices, approximately the size of the previously reviewed HFT (High Frequency Transducer), are placed on D to A chips, fuses, near vacuum tubes, capacitors, transformers, op amps, and analog and digital cables. The ECTs can also be placed on the exterior of the chassis to improve the electromagnetic environment of the component. Synergistic Research states that high frequency noise is reduced with a resultant drop in the perceived noise floor. Compression of the sound is decreased with application of these devices on your electronic components. Improvements in clarity and definition, along with soundstage size and air, are claimed to improve with use of the ECTs. The ECTs convert ultra-high frequencies that are found with RFI-EMI circuit board component emissions to more musically consonant frequencies.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 28, 2014 7 comments
credit: Spotify

"When people say that Spotify doesn’t pay anything, I can tell you it’s not true." Billy Bragg

In an article on the Independent (see article), three artists are interviewed who actually support Spotify. Bragg continues, "If you’re getting a lot of plays, you’re going to make some decent money." What's decent money? Independent musician Ron Pope says, "When I started I was averaging a million or so plays a month on Spotify, and now I’m getting four million. I have 76,759,686 total plays on Spotify, and earnings of $443,826 to date." So what's all the negative press relating to streaming services being cheapskates about?

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