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Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 09, 2014
LH Labs are at it again with another successful crowdfunding campaign, this one appearing to be destined to break the $1M mark. The Geek Wave is a dedicated portable high res music player, capable of handling up to 32/384 PCM and double rate DSD. The Wave "...comes with at least 64 GB of internal storage (128 GB available), and is expandable via an SDXC port, which supports up to 2 addtional terabytes." There's a line out to connect your Wave to your hi-fi and of course a headphone output to drive your favorite cans.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 08, 2014
Streaming and vinyl sales are up, everything else is down. Surprised? I didn't think so. Overall, total music sales showed a small decrease of roughly 3% as compared to the same period last year.
"With On-Demand streams surpassing 70 billion songs in the first six months of 2014, streaming continues to be an increasingly significant portion of the music industry," says David Bakula, SVP Nielsen Entertainment. "Streaming's 42% year-over-year growth and Vinyl LP's 40% increase over last year's record-setting pace shows interest in buying and consuming music continues to be robust, with two very distinct segments of the industry expanding substantially."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 25, 2014
Coming soon to a streamer near you from infamous Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is his new lossless streaming service Baboom that promises to connect artists and fans. If you ever needed a sign that streaming services could be a sketchy business, here's a big one. With two recent articles decrying the future of streaming services, one on Fox Business News The Future of Streaming Music Rests with Congress and The music industry is still screwed: Why Spotify, Amazon and iTunes can’t save musical artists from Salon, we have all kinds of people tolling streaming's potential death knell while companies like YouTube, Google, and Amazon double down in the streaming game. These are confusing times, indeed.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 24, 2014
That's right, the blue meters and all from McIntosh's new 24/7 streaming service:
To continue our renowned heritage, we’re proud to offer the McIntosh Music stream, a 24/7 audio stream dedicated to bringing you the best music from across genres and spanning the decades - all in a classic McIntosh interface. Listen from your computer or download the app. Even buy a new must have song you hear.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 24, 2014
Bluesound has upped its streaming real estate value with the addition of Spotify Connect:
Pickering, Ontario, June 24, 2014 — Bluesound, the first wireless digital multi-room system to fully support High Res Audio, is pleased to introduce Spotify Connect to its expanding collection of digital music services. With the upcoming software release, Bluesound owners all over the world can now enjoy Spotify’s new home audio experience with simple hassle-free music control and instant access to Spotify’s curated playlists, personalized radio, and vast catalogue of music in any room of the house. Spotify Connect can also be streamed to multiple Bluesound Players simultaneously in the home, making for an even richer multi-room audio experience.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 23, 2014
Congratulations to the Pono team—CNN has ranked Pono #3 on its list of the top 10 game-changing gadgets of 2014. Along with BAT the first commercial airborne wind turbine, the Glyph 3D headset, Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane SpaceShipTwo, and the SCiO molecular sensor, Pono made the grade even though, "A handful of high-definition music players already exist". What sets Pono apart according to CNN? "...there's very little music available" for existing players and "that, in the end, might be Pono's most practical innovation." More music!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 18, 2014
The streaming music market is hotter than a cat on a hot tin roof with Amazon's recent launch of their Premium service (see article) and now YouTube joining the pay to play game.
"We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind - to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year," YouTube said in a statement.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 17, 2014
Owners of Sprint's new high res-capable (24/192) smartphones, the htc one harman kardon edition and the LG G2, can download a 24-bit sampler from HDtracks:
Welcome to HDtracks! With your purchase of a Sprint smartphone that supports hi-res music files, you are eligible to receive a free sampler from HDtracks, the Ultimate Hi-Res Music Download Source. We have all your favorite music available in studio master quality, and we’d like to give you a little taste of what we have to offer. Download our free hi-res music sampler now and see how easy it is to play back and enjoy.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 17, 2014
PS Audio has decided to join LH Labs in the crowdfunding arena. The Sprout is a full function 50W (4Ω) integrated amp with a built-in 24/192 DAC and you can get one now for the early adopter price of $449 (retail price $799.99). Inputs include Phono (Moving Magnet), Analog (3.5mm), USB (asynchronous 192kHz/24-bit), Digital Coax (any sample rate and bit depth up to 192kHz/24-bit), and aptX Bluetooth (built in). Outputs include a pair of speaker binding posts and a 1/4" headphone jack (1/4" - 3.5mm adapter included) and all of that functionality fits into a desktop friendly 6"W x 8"L x 1.75"H handsome looking case.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 13, 2014
From the press release:
Arlington, VA – 06/12/2014 – DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, in cooperation with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® and The Recording Academy®, announced today the results of their efforts to create a formal definition for High Resolution Audio, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.

The definition is accompanied by a series of descriptors for the Master Quality Recordings that are used to produce the hi-res files available to digital music retailers. These can be used on a voluntary basis to provide the latest and most accurate information to consumers.

 |  Jun 12, 2014
Today, Amazon launched its Prime Music lossy streaming service. All Amazon Prime members (requires $99 annual subscription fee) now have free access to "over 1 million songs" through the Prime Music web-based app or the Prime Music iOS/Android app. We are Amazon Prime members so I took PM for a quick spin by loading an album into "my library". Once I did this, my library was automatically populated with all of the music I've purchased from Amazon that is part of their AutoRip service. In our case, that meant I had about 200 songs in my library from the get go without having to actually do anything. Nice.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 12, 2014
NAD's new Masters M12 Direct Digital Preamplifier DAC

Lenbrook International, parent company to NAD, PSB, and Bluesound, provided a closer look at and listen to their new Master Series products at a press event yesterday in NYC. On hand for the introductions were John Banks from Bluesound (see our Q&A) and Greg Stidson of NAD. Of particular interest to AudioStream readers is the new Masters M12 Direct Digital Preamplifier DAC ($3499) which boasts a modular design, fittingly dubbed MDC (Modular Design Construction), which can accommodate up to 6 MDC boards offering present and future proof features.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 09, 2014
The NativeDSD.com website is gaining momentum. Now with seven labels represented and over 200 DSD downloads available, fans of DSD should be pleased. The latest news is their new "JustListen" label offering "special 'session tapes' and unedited performances that, up till now, are only heard by the production teams and those close to the industry." These "unedited ultra high resolution session recordings" are offered in stereo and multi-channel 64x DSD, 128x DSD, some in 256x DSD, and DXD. Did I mention they're free?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 06, 2014
Press Release:
Lambertville, NJ, June 6, 2014. Channel D, developers of the innovative and award-winning Pure VinylTM and Pure Music® computer audio software for Apple Macintosh computers, and the creator of the Seta® Ultra Wide Bandwidth Balanced Flat Phono Preamplifiers recently was granted US Patent #8,738,16 B2 for "PROXY FILE POINTER METHOD FOR REDIRECTING ACCESS FOR INCOMPATIBLE FILE FORMATS" - in other words, Channel D's novel invention permitting FLAC and DSD files to appear in Apple's iTunes.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 05, 2014
The Mac rumor mill is abuzz again. This time, a report originating on 9to5Mac (see report) suggests that Apple's Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) program will be adding the specifications to allow OEMs to make headphones that connect to iOS devices using a Lightning connector. The report also suggests that this will allow for 24/48kHz playback from iOS devices with a simple software update for iOS 7.1. Perhaps of even greater appeal is the ability to deliver iOS-based DSP solutions as well as app control of headphone features.

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