I had a fairly lengthy and pleasant exchange (30 some emails back 'n forth) with reader Tom D. that began with Tom asking how he could get iTunes-based music to play through his recently purchased Marantz AV7005 AV Preamp/Processor. But that was only the beginning. While we came to a workable solution for Tom's specific situation (which I believe is rather unique so not worth getting into the details here), I found his comments in one of our most recent emails well worth sharing:
In his article for the NY Times, Steven Kurutz presents an interesting case for the future of high-end audio. He essentially offers up two distinct listening options; one representing convenience and poor sound quality, i.e. lossy compressed download and streaming music formats, and the other the "scratchy joys of vinyl". What Mr. Kurutz obviously misses is the growing number of CD or better quality downloads being offered by non-audiophile sites including Boomkat, Bleep.com, and Soundcloud. And if you want to find music-loving audio geeks, what better place than computer audio!
Crazy Clown Time is filmmaker David Lynch's first official solo record and it's a doozy. Think American Gothic Blues twisted. Or maybe the home recordings of Tom Waits' crazy influential uncle. I've been enjoying it and I think you may too. But if you need more convincing...
Larkin Grimm's Parplar released on Michael Gira's Young God label in late 2008 is a study in simple, contained strangeness. Guitar, strings, and backing vocals all spare and sparse like a cold wind blowing over an open field. I picked up Parplar when it came out and have been enjoying its strange fruit for years. Available from Bleep.com in FLAC format.
From the first minute I hit the Venetian's crowded elevator bank to the last, I could not help feeling behind. There's no way one person can cover everything at CES and T.H.E. Show unless their area of coverage is defined to include only those companies whose name begins and ends with an X.
French company 3D Lab. was new to me but they offer a complete line of electronics from multi-format players, to Network Players, to DACs, to preamps, amps, and integrated amps. On display and in use was the Nano UPnP [Network] Player (€1,700), Millennium Preamplifier/DAC (€6,000) that offers 2x Coax S/PDIF, 2x Toslink, AES/EBU, and USB inputs that can handle up to 24/192 data. There are also 5 analog RCA inputs and RCA and XLR output pairs. A pair of the M Millenium monoblock amplifiers (€3,200/each) drove a pair of the Jean Marie Reynaud Concorde Supreme speakers ($14,000/pair).
I'll start by saying I've been a fan of 47 Labs designs from the first time I saw and heard the 4706 Gaincard and 4713 Flatfish. It helped that Herb Reichert wrote about the 47 Labs Gaincard (Listener, volume 5, number 2 Spring 1999) since he was a favorite writer on Hi-Fi and someone I felt I could relate to in ways that included non-Hi-Fi stuff (now that I've had an opportunity to meet Herb on a few occasions, I discovered I was righter than I knew). If a minimal design aesthetic appeals to you in a general sense, i.e. you enjoy the work of Ray and Charles Eames, Donald Judd, Ad Reinhardt, the Bauhaus, etc., then the design approach of Juni Kimura should tickle a similar fancy. Juni Kimura's quote, "Only the simplest can accomodate the most complex" adorns the 47 Labs US Distributor's home page.