Industry Voice

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 14, 2012
This is Q&A 2 of 10 with Media Player/Music Server Software companies. Each Q&A will be presented as its own post, one-a-day (think of it as your daily dose of vitamin geek) so we can digest and discuss one topic at a time. The participants are Damien Plisson of Audirvana, Tim Murison of BitPerfect Sound Inc. (BitPerfect), Dr. Rob Robinson of Channel D (Pure Music/Pure Vinyl), Josef Piri & Marcin Ostapowicz of JPlay, Jim Hillegass of JRiver, (JRiver Media Center), Jussi Laako of Signalyst (HQ Player), Stephen F. Booth of sbooth.org (Decibel), and Jon Reichbach of Sonic Studio, (Amarra).

Question 2...

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 13, 2012
This is Q&A 1 of 10 with Media Player/Music Server Software companies. Each Q&A will be presented as its own post, one-a-day (think of it as your daily dose of vitamin geek) so we can digest and discuss one topic at a time. The participants are Damien Plisson of Audirvana, Tim Murison of BitPerfect Sound Inc. (BitPerfect), Dr. Rob Robinson of Channel D (Pure Music/Pure Vinyl), Josef Piri & Marcin Ostapowicz of JPlay, Jim Hillegass of JRiver, (JRiver Media Center), Jussi Laako of Signalyst (HQ Player), Stephen F. Booth of sbooth.org (Decibel), and Jon Reichbach of Sonic Studio, (Amarra).

Question 1...

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 05, 2012
Dr. Mark Waldrep

I originally corresponded with Dr. Mark Waldrep, founder, president and CEO of AIX Records and iTrax.com, back in September of 2011 when he agreed to participate in our first Industry Voice article, "The Future of Computer Audio". We've been in touch a few times since mainly talking about the appropriate time for Mark to discuss his views on HD downloads in-depth. That time is now.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 29, 2012
Ty Roberts, Gracenote

Ty Roberts is the Co-founder, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Gracenote, keepers of the world's music and video metadata. You could say that Gracenote is the master of metadata (I know I have) and I thought it could be interesting to learn a bit more about what Gracenote does and how they do it.

This Q&A came about in an interesting way—do you recall our post about Neil Young's missing metadata from his new album Americana? Well Stephen Dupont, Gracenote's Director of Sales, Americas and AudioStream reader saw our post, passed it along to Ty who passed it along to 'Neil Young's people at Warner' who are working on getting that missing metadata put back in place. Cool, no? I'm keeping my fingers crossed for word on a HD download version and my other fingers crossed for an interview with Neil Young about the future of HD downloads. Hey, I can dream.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 25, 2012
Barry Diament with his Metric Halo ULN-8 which serves as his mic preamps, A-D and D-A converters

Some of you already know about Barry Diament from his CD mastering days at Atlantic Records where he was the mastering engineer for too many classic CD releases to do justice to with a short list (here's one longer list and I'll cherry pick Led Zeppelin II, Physical Graffiti, and the majority of the Bob Marley and The Wailers catalog to give you a peak at the tip of the iceberg). And some of you may know Barry from his label Soundkeeper Recordings or his audio recording, production, consulting, mastering, and editing services offered through Barry Diament Audio.

You may also recall our Soundkeeper Recordings Format Comparisons post that talks about their free downloads of the same recordings in various levels of resolution (16/44, 24/96, and 24/192) so you can listen for yourself. And others still may have seen Barry's often informative comments on various forums.

Barry Diament was kind enough to agree to this Q&A and as you'll see, his answers are thorough and illuminating.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 20, 2012
Bruce Brown at Puget Sound Studios

In our continuing look at the world of HD downloads that began with my Q&A with David Chesky of HDtracks, one of AudioStream's readers and frequent commentors, kavon yarrum, mentioned Bruce Brown and his "Pro-Audiophile Forum" on the What's Best Forum website as a valuable resource. Indeed this is the case and I recommend anyone interested in exploring and discussing these issues to have a look. I also thought I'd reach out to Mr. Brown to see if he'd be interested in this Q&A and his answer is...obvious. While Bruce gives us a nice concise overview of what goes on in Puget Sound Studios, it's also worth noting that they have done work for HDtracks among many others.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 12, 2012
Based on the comments from Part 1 of our Q&A with David Chesky of HDtracks, I sent along some additional questions. I should say that this process is not perfect and David's answers are obviously to a large extent a reflection of my questions. That being the case, David has offered to continue this dialog so consider this a work in process.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 08, 2012
I'd imagine most of you already know about HDtracks. If not, I'll just say that HDtracks is a music download service, specializing in High Definition downloads and if you want to know more, follow that link or let Google show you the way. What you may not know is HDtracks was founded by David and Norman Chesky who also own and operate Chesky Records, the Grammy Award winning record label, and David Chesky also happens to be a musician, composer, record producer, and audiophile. At the risk of sounding not impartial, if we were to create a wish-list for one of the people at the helm of one of the largest HD music download sites, I can't really think of a better resume. But that's just me.

Over the years, there has been some controversy over some releases sold by HDtracks and there are some ongoing issues and concerns mainly related to the quality and provenance of HD remasters. I recently had an opportunity to speak to David Chesky by phone and talk about some of these issues and concerns.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 08, 2012
Do you remember OraStream? In brief, I got to demo a "proof-of-concept" online service that provided 24/96 streaming rates (>2000 kbps according to the OraStream player). You can read more about that here. Since then Orastream has been busy working toward the launch of their forthcoming lossless music locker service. What's that? Frankie Tan, CEO of mp4sls the developer of OraStream, gave us hint in his comments to my last post, "We'll launch a web-service next for content owners to get their music into Orastream and stream-able on mobile devices and web browsers." For the past few weeks, I've been uploading, storing and streaming back my CD-quality music through OraStream's beta site.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 06, 2012
I sent an email to "technical support" at Other Music regarding their WAV offerings and got a very pleasant response and had a brief but interesting exchange with Gerald Hammill (Other Music Webmaster) that I think is worth sharing. Without further ado...
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 31, 2012
During my recent spate of streamer reviews, I came across StreamUnlimited and also discovered that their streaming technology is included in a number of products from manufacturers including Musical Fidelity, T+A, Pioneer, and many others. I contacted StreamUnlimited via email, the company is based in Vienna, and promptly heard back from Alfred Madlmayer, Sales & Product Manager for StreamUnlimited Engineering GmbH who was kind enough to agree to this Q&A. I directed most of my questions toward their Stream700 product which is the heart of the streaming solution in many Streaming products on the market today.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 16, 2012
As part of our Panel discussion at the NY Audio Show 2012, I Want To Take You Higher – The Present and Future of Digital Music Delivery and Playback which also featured Rob Robinson (Channel D), Larry Ho (Light Harmonic), and David Chesky (HDtracks & Chesky Records), Andreas Koch of Playback Designs was kind enough to share this presentation.

After the seminar, an attendee asked if it would available online and Andreas was kind enough yet again to let us reprint it here.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 06, 2012
[Editor's Note: We're reproducing and sharing this document in its entirety and AudioStream would like to thank Andreas Koch (Playback Designs), Andy McHarg (dCS), Gordon Rankin (Wavelength Audio), and Michal Jurewicz (Mytek Digital) for their efforts in defining a DoP Open Standard]

Method for transferring DSD Audio over PCM Frames
Version 1.1
Presented by Andreas Koch, Andy McHarg, Gordon Rankin, Michal Jurewicz

The USB Audio specification 2.0 defines multiple formats for audio of which standard PCM is only one. A general “raw data” format was also defined that can be used for any kind of data including audio, but unfortunately, no specific format was defined for DSD and with the ongoing proliferation of USB converters in the current market it appears that the opportunity for the official USB specification to adopt a single common method of transferring DSD audio via USB is slowly disappearing. This is an attempt of uniting as many manufacturers as possible and jointly defining a method for transferring DSD via USB. While this method is mainly targeted for USB links it is general enough to be applied to other PCM based links such as Firewire, AES/EBU, S/PDIF etc.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 19, 2012
[Editor's Note: We're reproducing and sharing this document in its entirety and AudioStream would like to thank Andreas Koch, Andy McHarg and Rob Robinson for their efforts in defining an open standard for DSD over USB]

USB Link for DSD Audio via PCM Frames
Presented by Andreas Koch (Playback Designs), Andy McHarg (dCS), and Rob Robinson (Channel D)

Version 1.0
The USB Audio specification 2.0 defines multiple formats for audio of which standard PCM is only one. A general “raw data” format was also defined that can be used for any kind of data including audio, but unfortunately, no specific format was defined for DSD and with the ongoing proliferation of USB converters in the current market it appears that the opportunity for the official USB specification to adopt a single common method of transferring DSD audio via USB is slowly disappearing. This is an attempt of uniting as many manufacturers as possible and jointly defining a method for transferring DSD via USB.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 30, 2012
I recently sent 5 questions to Doug Graham, Naim Audio's International Sales Manager, and he was kind enough to respond to all of them. Naim Audio, as you more than likely know, have an extensive product line that includes each piece of the hi-fi puzzle from front end to speakers and everything in between. Naim has also developed an extensive product line centered around what they prefer to call 'streaming audio' as opposed to 'computer audio'. As the Editor of AudioStream, I won't argue the point. The Naim streaming audio product line includes Hard Disk Players/Music Servers, Network Players, DACs and All-in-one Players.

Naim appears to be addressing both the audiophile community as well as trying to draw in those people looking for better sound quality from their streaming media in a simple all-in-one device. With this in mind, I focused on the broader marker and the wide net Naim is casting. Without further ado, let's get on with the Q&A:

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