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Posted: Jun 12, 2014 5 comments
Today, Amazon launched its Prime Music lossy streaming service. All Amazon Prime members (requires $99 annual subscription fee) now have free access to "over 1 million songs" through the Prime Music web-based app or the Prime Music iOS/Android app. We are Amazon Prime members so I took PM for a quick spin by loading an album into "my library". Once I did this, my library was automatically populated with all of the music I've purchased from Amazon that is part of their AutoRip service. In our case, that meant I had about 200 songs in my library from the get go without having to actually do anything. Nice.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 12, 2014 5 comments
NAD's new Masters M12 Direct Digital Preamplifier DAC

Lenbrook International, parent company to NAD, PSB, and Bluesound, provided a closer look at and listen to their new Master Series products at a press event yesterday in NYC. On hand for the introductions were John Banks from Bluesound (see our Q&A) and Greg Stidson of NAD. Of particular interest to AudioStream readers is the new Masters M12 Direct Digital Preamplifier DAC ($3499) which boasts a modular design, fittingly dubbed MDC (Modular Design Construction), which can accommodate up to 6 MDC boards offering present and future proof features.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 11, 2014 3 comments
Michal at Mytek R&D Studio in Brooklyn, testing the new DSD ADC prototype circuit (June 2014)

I first met Mytek's Michal Jurewicz at RMAF 2011. This event marked the official launch of AudioStream as well as the debut of Mytek's first consumer DAC. At that time, the Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC at $1695 represented the least expensive DSD-capable DAC by a good margin and remains, imo, very competitive in terms of its price and performance. Michal was kind enough to participate in this Q&A where we focus on DSD, misconceptions, and Mytek's place in the world of hi-fi.

Steven Plaskin Posted: Jun 10, 2014 76 comments
all photo credits: Synergistic Research unless otherwise noted

When I first heard that Synergistic Research was bringing out a new USB cable, a thought occurred to me. Just how much better could this cable be made considering that the Synergistic Research Active USB SE cable was recently upgraded with the new UEF Tuning Circuits? The Uniform Energy Field Technology Tuning Circuits consist of the gray and silver cylindrical devices that attach to the active shield of the Active USB SE cable and fine tune the sound of the cable. I have found that the UEF Tuning Circuits provide a smoother, more revealing sound with enhanced bloom. But after reading about the Galileo series of cables, I discovered that this series applies Synergistic Research technologies not found in the Active USB SE cable.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 09, 2014 6 comments
The website is gaining momentum. Now with seven labels represented and over 200 DSD downloads available, fans of DSD should be pleased. The latest news is their new "JustListen" label offering "special 'session tapes' and unedited performances that, up till now, are only heard by the production teams and those close to the industry." These "unedited ultra high resolution session recordings" are offered in stereo and multi-channel 64x DSD, 128x DSD, some in 256x DSD, and DXD. Did I mention they're free?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 06, 2014 4 comments
Press Release:
Lambertville, NJ, June 6, 2014. Channel D, developers of the innovative and award-winning Pure VinylTM and Pure Music® computer audio software for Apple Macintosh computers, and the creator of the Seta® Ultra Wide Bandwidth Balanced Flat Phono Preamplifiers recently was granted US Patent #8,738,16 B2 for "PROXY FILE POINTER METHOD FOR REDIRECTING ACCESS FOR INCOMPATIBLE FILE FORMATS" - in other words, Channel D's novel invention permitting FLAC and DSD files to appear in Apple's iTunes.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 06, 2014 4 comments
I was stumped. Stymied. Should I pick the malleable electronica, the woozy sexy dreamer, the retro cool love letter, or the NY School rocker? My mood these past weeks has been all over the place and all over these choices and more due in part to that damned Qobuz Hi-Fi streaming, flip flopping (there goes my political career) back 'n forth until I settled on D) all of the above. What the hell, you can never have too much music, right?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 05, 2014 7 comments
The Mac rumor mill is abuzz again. This time, a report originating on 9to5Mac (see report) suggests that Apple's Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) program will be adding the specifications to allow OEMs to make headphones that connect to iOS devices using a Lightning connector. The report also suggests that this will allow for 24/48kHz playback from iOS devices with a simple software update for iOS 7.1. Perhaps of even greater appeal is the ability to deliver iOS-based DSP solutions as well as app control of headphone features.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 04, 2014 7 comments

Here's an interesting if questionable video I just came across from streaming service WiMP that's meant to show off the benefits of their CD-quality streaming service WiMP HiFi. WiMP, like the Qobuz Hi-Fi lossless streaming service I've been so enamored with (see article), delivers CD-quality streaming. This video is meant to let you hear the benefits of lossless music and the harmful effects of lossy encoding. But does it? You be the judge.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 03, 2014 1 comments
6 Sawbucks
Think of the places and ways you can spend $60. The possibilities are limitless and in hi-fi, six Hamilton's doesn't typically buy you much. Even in the virtual cable isle, you'd have to move way down to the "Budget" section to find anything in this price range. Today we'll be listening to a DAC, of all things, that'll run you sixty bucks. Bam!


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