“Audiophiles care too much about sound.” ~ Stephen Mejias
The sure sign of an addict is the recursive "I'm never going to...again". I'm never going to buy another version of Kind of Blue but I did. The most interesting question here is exactly what are we addicted to? Is it the music? Or is it the sound? If we go by the strict definition according to Merriam-Webster, an audiophile is "a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction". Sound reproduction? Really? Not "music reproduction"? According to the Urban Dictionary, an audiophile is also a bunch of other things including, "One who enjoys sex acts involving the ear.", "Someone who usually looks at young audio equipment. And rapes it through various input and often output sockets.", and "This is a person that makes you break out in a cold sweat and shudder when he says 'So something interesting happened today...'"
Tal National hail from Niamey, Niger where they enjoy rock star status and their sound is infectious, joyous, incessant, transcendant, intense, and funkin' fun. Kaani is their third album but the first to get an international release on FatCat Records. Hamadal "Almeida" Moumine the lead guitarist is also the band's leader, a teacher at SOS Children's Village, and a judge by day. Noted for their hours and hours-long live shows which occur most nights of the week and help account for the band's ultra-tight interplay, Tal National may very well be the hardest working band in Niger.
A totaldac Package
The totaldac d1-server is based on an 800MHz ARM based Cubox minicomputer running RTLinux (Real-Time Linux) and the MPD music player daemon. There's an integrated "digital reclocker" which accounts for a large chunk of the d1-server's price—the d1-digital reclocker is available as a stand alone device from totaldac for about $4,900 while you can pick up a Cubox 2" cube computer for around $100. The d1-server comes in the same chassis as the d1-dual DAC I was so impressed with when I reviewed it (see review) and continue to be each time I give it a listen.
Thanks to Charles Hansen for the heads up on this news—AlpineSoft has added DoP (DSD over PCM) functionality to their VinylStudio vinyl ripping software (v8.6). Now you can rip your records to DSD (or PCM up to 32/384 if you prefer) on the cheap as long as you have a DSD-capable analog-to-digital converter (the Ayre QA-9 and the PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter happen to be two such ADCs).
I'll go out on a limb and suggest that most any ornithologist is a sweetie. Throw in some St. Francis of Assisi, chromesthesia or sound-to-color synesthesia, church organist, birdsong, modes of limited transposition, and Japanese music and you've got an unbeatable recipe for loveliness. I will also note that Olivier Messiaen held the position of Professor of Harmony at the Paris Conservatoire from 1941 until his retirement in 1978 and that is by far the loveliest job title I know of—Professor of Harmony. Olivier Messiaen also composed some pure lovely music and if you act within the next 3 days, you can get yourself a whole flock for a prix spécial pittance.
A Dragonfly Killer?
AudioQuest's original Dragonfly DAC (see review) seems to have inspired a number of similar products while igniting the whole 'micro-DAC' market. And for good reason. The original Dragonfly was small, portable, easy to use with hi-fi or headphones, and it sounded good. Putting it on AudioStream's Greatest Bits list was a no-brainer. Kicking it off of that list is also a no-brainer because AudioQuest have gone and done it. They've come out with a Dragonfly killer.
Loki Loki! DSD for $149!
The guys at Schiit seem to look at the world of audiophiles somewhat askance while selling stuff that audiophiles want. It's an interesting stance, askance, and they seem to take a similar view of DSD while offering the Loki, their latest assault on the "high" in High End and what it is is a dedicated DSD DAC. That's right, the Loki won't convert PCM data so you'll have to take care of that elsewhere. The Loki will accept 64x single-rate DSD over the DSD over PCM protocol (DoP) and hand off an analog signal to your hi-fi. Or, um, lo-fi if you prefer.