Hi-Res Audio

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 16, 2015
I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra on all of my father's hi-fis as they changed throughout the years. My dad was a fan, he'd seen Sinatra live many times throughout their lives, and it always seemed to me that Sinatra meant more to my father than just a favorite singer. Similar, I'd always supposed, to what Jimi Hendrix means to me. So I cannot help but think of my father when I hear Ol' Blue Eyes which is a wonderful emotional thing. In The Wee Small Hours from 1955 was Sinatra's first 12" LP release and its melancholy blue is one of my favorite of his colors.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 02, 2015
Crunchy funk. Part Parliament, part Prince and a whole lot more, D'Angelo's first record in 14 years since Voodoo is a mind blowing expanse of serious soul. Black Messiah was initially intended to be a 2015 release but D'Angelo chose to rush it out in response to "the nationwide protests over the police killings of unarmed black men" according to an article in the NY Times. I'm happy he did.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 26, 2014
Ho ho ho! What better way to celebrate the season than with a real chestnut. Ellington's Indigos is their "dance" album, according to the original liner notes by Irving Townsend (taken from the LP), and boy does it swing. The cherry on top of this particular release from High Definition Tape Transfers is it's available in DSD128, transferred from a 15ips 2-track tape, which marries superb sound with superb music.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 11, 2014
From the press release:
Developed by Meridian, MQA is a breakthrough technology to reverse the trend, in which sound quality has been continually sacrificed for convenience. Vital elements of our music have been thrown away to fit thousands of songs into a pocket or millions in a cloud. With MQA there is no sacrifice; it brings us right back to the enthralling sound of live music. MQA captures and preserves nuances and vital information that current music files obscure or discard, but in a file that is small and convenient to download or stream.
MQA stands for Master Quality Authenticated and is Meridian's answer to delivering high resolution quality in a lossless compressed proprietary format that squeezes down even 24/192 files to roughly the size of CD-quality files. But that's not all.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 05, 2014
Part of me dislikes re-buying records mainly because there's so much new music I'm interested in that I can't afford to buy. So the re-purchase, the reissue, gets in the way of music discovery to some extent and that is a trade-off I'm only willing to make on some occasions.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 24, 2014
Just a few weeks ago we had Flying Lotus' album You're Dead! (see review) with his ruminations on, well, death so I thought I'd balance that out with this week's pic Caribou's Our Love (City Slang) a collection of songs about...love. Dan Snaith is Caribou and this is his forth album as such and Our Love is a smoky, luscious, dance floor infested electronic soul machine of love.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 07, 2014
In honor of John Lennon's 74th birthday on October 9, eight studio albums, two compilations, and the John Lennon Signature Box are making their high resolution debuts. All titles have been digitally remastered in 24-bit for the first time from John Lennon's original mixes.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 17, 2014
From the press release:
The announcement of the first live concert recording in DSD follows an agreement between Acoustic Sounds and Warner Music Group (WMG) to provide the company’s digital download music service with more than 1,200 high-resolution, mainstream albums by some of the most dynamic names in music.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 09, 2014
From the press release:
September 09, 2014 —HDtracks.com, the world leader and pioneer in high resolution audio digital downloads, is pleased to announce the launch of its popular online store, http://www.HDtracks.com, in Germany and http://www.HDtracks.co.uk in the United Kingdom. With today’s announcement, German and UK music fans who want to experience music the way it was meant to be heard will now be able to enjoy the most extensive catalog of their favorite music in unprecedented audio quality, via HDtracks.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 05, 2014
Test tracks. I kind of dislike the term, reducing music to a tool for audio, but playing the same music on different equipment can be a very helpful way to determine difference. One of my favorite albums, and therefore one of my test tracks, comes from Jimmy Scott; All The Way available as a 24/192 download from HDtracks. If you don't know Jimmy Scott, he recently passed away at the age of 88 and his solo recording career began with his first album Very Truly Yours back in 1955 on Savoy but his carrer spanned all the way back to the late 1940's when he sang with the Lionel Hampton Band (Scott's vocal was uncredited on the album). Scott suffered from Kallmann's Syndrome which among other things left him with a distinctive contralto voice. Scott sang ballads, the classics, yet his way with them was truly unique and to my ears, and many others, quite extraordinary; haunting, sensual, sublime.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 02, 2014
Pedram Abrari, Pono’s EVP of Technology, responded to, he actually pretty much bitch-slapped, Roger Friedman for Friedman's faulty post, "Neil Young’s Super MP3 Player, Pono: Won’t Be Coming in 2014". First off, we all know that the Pono Player is not an MP3 player, d'oh!, but Roger also got his facts wrong in terms of what's being delivered when. The first batch of Pono players scheduled to ship in October are on schedule according to Abrari, "We are in fact on schedule and will be meeting our Kickstarter commitments."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 25, 2014
Three people from the Guardian, Tim Jonze, the Guardian’s music editor, Jason Phipps, the Guardian’s head of audio, and Samuel Gibbs the article's author, sat down in Graham’s Hi-Fi in London’s Islington with a Linn hi-fi and listened to a few tracks in MP3, CD-quality, and high res.

Here's what Jonze had to say:

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 21, 2014
From the Press Release:
New York, NY, August 20, 2014 — The 137th Audio Engineering Society Convention (October 9-12, 2014, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles) will feature a High Resolution Audio (HRA) program Friday, October 10, 2014. The direct result of a collaborative effort between the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the HRA program will include a number of panels and sessions that address the current and future direction of HRA from various perspectives, including content creation, digital distribution, licensing of hi-res music files, archiving, subscription models, marketing/promotion of hi-res music, compatibility of playback devices and more. These panels and sessions will feature some of the brightest minds in the business as they discuss some of the most current and controversial issues concerning the rapid adoption of high-resolution audio across the industry.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 08, 2014
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  |  Jul 11, 2014
You could write a book about The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan but I find it much more enjoyable to just listen to the album. When I saw that Acoustic Sounds had it in DSD, I jumped and boy oh boy am I happy I did. The DSD version of Freewheelin' sounds simply spectacular through the Auralic Vega DAC. It is at once immediate, present, rich, full, and vibrant. It makes the CD sound pale in comparison. If you're a fan of early Dylan, I am, and you have the ability to play DSD files, you'll want to add this to your library.

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