Hi-Res Audio

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Steven Plaskin  |  May 23, 2014
I have always enjoyed the Linn Records’ recordings of the Dunedin Consort. The JS Bach Matthew Passion has been a particular favorite of mine.

This latest release from Linn features the Dunedin Consort, John Butt conductor and director, performing a reconstruction of the Mozart Requiem as it was performed in 1793. This recording also provides separate reconstruction of the first two movements of the Requiem as performed at Mozart’s funeral in 1791.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 04, 2014
I looked up badass in the dictionary:
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 03, 2014
Thanks to reader Juergen R. for alerting me to what appears to be the fact that two of the tracks from Beck's wonderful Morning Phase included in the 24/96 download from HDtracks are sourced from MP3. Juergen commented in the original DotW post:
"Besides the high compression for this kind of music, where the bass drum kicks extremely often into hard limiting and the bass notes most times also, I have recognized, that for example the Track 10 and also Track 11 of the 24 Bit 96 kHz HighRes versions are 100 % for sure from 44k1 MP3. They show all the typical 44k1 MP3 artifacts of modulating a 16 kHz low pass filter with level. So we have 2 MP3 tracks sold as 24/96 HighRes. This 2 MP3 tracks are also valid in the other releases, not just the HighRes release, All other HighRes Tracks are based on 44k1 sources with the same DR and Bandwidth, as with the CD release."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 28, 2014
Popular music and the album. Two concepts that may have seen better days, at least if we try to connect to popular music that isn't from our youth. Perpetually renewed while we go about getting older, popular music can be hard to keep hold of over time. Beck's new album Morning Phase (Capitol) is a true album's worth of pop tunes that flow seamlessly from one to the next. At once emblematic and earthy, Morning Phase unfolds to reveal a slow growing intensity while remaining so easy to love it feels as if we've known each other for years.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 21, 2014
"Stately, plump Buck Mulligan..." Some things are easier than others which makes some things more difficult than others. That's in no way a value judgement, it just is the way it is. Conquistador!, Cecily Taylor's second classic record on Blue Note, Unit Structures being the first, recorded in October 1966 (19 freakin' sixty six) may initially sound like music that's not very easy especially if we look at the top of the charts from that same year which included "Last Train to Clarksville" by The Monkees and "Born Free" by Roger Williams. I first listened to Conquistador! many years after its initial release, coming to it from trumpeter Bill Dixon's music who is part of Cecil Taylor's sextet here. In this context, Conquistador! is positively generous, with plenty of repeated themes to hold onto amid all of the beautiful clatter.
Steven Plaskin  |  Feb 07, 2014
Croz is David Crosby's new album; his first new solo studio release in 20 years. In spite of Crosby’s run-ins with the law, this rock legend has endured and has produced a wonderful solo effort with significant contributions from his son James Raymond on keyboards and vocals. A stellar group of musicians were enlisted for Croz including Steve DiStanislao on drums, Shane Fontayne on guitar, Marcus Eaton on vocals and guitar, and Steve Tavaglione on woodwinds, with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet. Also contributing to the album was bassist Lee Sklar and Mark Knopfler on guitar.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 23, 2014
What's the bad news? As I see it, the bad news about the fact that Mogwai's new album Rave Tapes is available as a 24/96 download from HDtracks (get it here) is the fact that Mogwai and Sub Pop don't tell anyone about it on their respective websites. What better way to promote the availability of higher quality versions of your music than to promote the higher quality versions of your music?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 10, 2014
Miles Davis + Jeanne Morreau + Louis Malle = Smoldering hot jazz.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 27, 2013
Some of the most outstanding musicians representing the different cultures of this part of Eastern Europe, together with the soloists of Hespèrion XXI and myself, have delved into this extraordinary historical, traditional and even modern musical heritage to study, select and perform it, thereby creating a genuine intercultural dialogue between the different cultures that have so often been torn apart by dramatic, age-old conflicts.—Jordi Savall
Voices of Memory: Bal·Kan: Honey & Blood: Cycles of Life fills 3 SACD's-worth of space, over 3 hours of beautiful, effusive, wild, and passionate music from Eastern Europe. You can read more about this wonderful collection on the Alia Vox website and I recommend reading all of what Jordi Savall has to say about it.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 20, 2013
Ali Akbar Kahn is a master of Indian classical music. His main mojo making machine is the sarod which you can see pictured in the album cover's art. Indian Architexture is a stunning recording of Ali Akbar Khan playing his sarod with tabla accompaniment by Swapan Chaudhuri. Together they present four ragas each nearly a half hour in duration. Originally released and recorded by Waterlily Acoustics, you can think of Indian Architexture as a spiritual journey in sound, a meditation, spritely ambient drone, minimalist music maximized, background music for practical flights of fancy, foreground music for awakening, or simply L'invitation au voyage.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 17, 2013
I think its fair to say that Charlie Hansen, Ayre's Founder and Designer, is not exactly a fan of DSD. Thankfully, that didn't stop him from offering DSD-capable versions of Ayre's QB-9, DX-5-DSD, and now the QA-9 thanks to AlpineSoft's VinylStudio DoP vinyl ripping software. What the guys at Ayre have gone and done is ripped parts of three tracks to single-rate DSD and 24/192 using the QA-9 so we can compare DSD to PCM. But there's more...
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 06, 2013
“Comparison is the death of joy.” ~ Mark Twain

“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...'"

Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 20, 2013
From the original album's back cover, "We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas...." from Demian by Hermann Hesse

Santana's Abraxas, originally released in September 1970, was the band's second album and it rocks hard. It also percolates with Latin rhythms and boogies with jazz-tinged influences but overall I'd say it rocks. Hard. We just saw the release of a remastered version of Kind of Blue (see review) from HDtracks and now Acoustic Sounds has begun tapping Sony's DSD vaults (are we in a golden age of music-loving goodness or what?) and one of the first offerings is Abraxas. The question on many people's mind's is, "How does it sound?". Stunning, is my answer.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 19, 2013
One audiophile stereotype is the notion that we buy the same old music over and over and I'd imagine it is such a cliché'd image because it is largely true. I would say that the majority of high resolution audio download sales are reissues since not a heck of a lot of new music is released in high resolution formats. Sure there's some and if we can accept 24-bit as the definition of high resolution, I'm beginning to, sites like Boomkat and others are offering 24-bit downloads of new music. Yeah! But if there ever was a granddaddy of all reissues, a record that's seen more pressings and formats and re-pressings and reissues (and reissues of reissues), it has got to be Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 08, 2013
I'll say up front that I loved this record before I heard it. That's right, Archie Shepp, saxophone player extraordinaire and one of our greatest living artists, has a new record. No, not a reissue, a new record on his own Archieball label recorded live in France on Sept 9 2012 at the Jazz à La Villette Festival, June 14 2013 at CNCDC de Châteauvallon, and on June 17 2013 at Les Nuits de Fourvière Festival with his Attica Blues Orchestra. I Hear the Sound swings like Duke, romps like Mingus, and sings the blues like, well, Archie Shepp. I Hear a Sound is a re-telling of Shepp's 1972 Attica Blues LP originally released on Impulse! as a tribute to the rebellion that took place within the walls of Attica State Prison. Let's let Archie Shepp tell us about it (from the excellent liner notes):