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Michael Lavorgna  |  May 28, 2014
It's official. Apple is buying Beats for $3 billion. From an article in the NY Times, "The Beats brand will remain separate from Apple’s, and Apple will offer both Beats’s streaming music service and premium headphones." Initial reports (see ours) had Beats priced at 3.2 billion so someone took a haircut but at these prices how painful could that really be. We'll also be keeping an eye on the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 2 for the announcement of Apple's rumored move to 24-bit downloads. We shall see (soon!).
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2014
With more than 50 new features and a new stripped down look (which I like), Pure Music 2 is available now (here). Current users who purchased Pure Music after January 2013 get PM 2 for free. If you purchased your copy before that, you can upgrade to PM 2 for $44.95 until May 28, 2014 after which the upgrade price goes to $74.95.

New features include:

Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2014
Mytek has announced their new flagship DAC, the Manhattan:
"The Manhattan DAC Headphone Preamplifier represents Mytek's finest achievement. We Listen first and foremost, from the quality of our designs to our customers voices. In this vein, we created a device who's look and feel is only surpassed by its sound."
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 13, 2014
Thanks to reader CG for pointing us to this article on MacRumors (see article) which claims Apple will introduce 24-bit capability with the launch of their updated mobile app iOS 8 coming June 2 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). At present, iOS 7's music app is limited to 24/48, which in and of itself ain't bad, and while you can have your iOS device play back greater resolutions using Onkyo's HF Player (see article) and an external DAC, internal playback is currently limited to 16-bit.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 09, 2014
The Financial Times has reported that Apple is in talks to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion as early as next week (see report). As the article points out:
One motivation for the Beats deal may lie in shifts in music consumption. Subscription services are the biggest growth area for the music industry, with revenues increasing 50 per cent to $1.1bn in 2013, according to a recent report by the IFPI, the global music industry association.

But downloads fell 2 per cent to $3.93bn – the first annual decline since Apple launched its iTunes store in 2003. iTunes is still the world’s largest music download service.

How big is this potential deal? Let's look at some numbers.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 06, 2014

Thanks to reader Nick I. for the heads up on this. Very apropos. Sprint's new htc one (M8) Harman/Kardon Edition ($679) smartphone coming on May 9 includes a 24/192 DAC, $150 earbuds, 160GB SD storage, and a special promo deal for 6 months free of Spotify Premium.

Michael Lavorgna  |  May 05, 2014
HDtracks has just launched a new website/blog that will cover music and hi-fi albeit not in your typical fashion. Or so they say:
You can read our “Ask The Audio Guru” column and get tips and advice from our in house expert Michael Trei, read our “Listening to Music” column from Dr. Jules Coleman or “Casual Reactions” by Herb Reichert. What you are not going to read is the same old product reviews and album reviews.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 30, 2014
Head on over to the BBC's website to watch and listen to an interesting interview with Blue Coast Records owner and DSD pioneer Cookie Marenco. "Cookie Marenco: Pioneer of high quality digital music recording" is part of the BBC's Women in Tech, "a series of stories profiling the most innovative, pioneering and successful women and how they are changing an industry traditionally dominated by men."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 30, 2014
It's official. The AURALiC Aries pictured above and below will make its fully tricked out debut in Munich, May 15-18, 2014. Handsome devil, isn't she? The fuss over the Aries basically comes down to the fact that it represents the first hi-fi device that can stream DXD and up to double rate DSD over WiFi. Inputs include Dual-Band high-speed WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 port. Outputs are USB, AES/EBU, Coax and TOSLINK. Control of Aries is left up to the Lightning DS App for iOS and Android devices (Android version coming September 2014) or the desktop app which should be ready by year's end.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 22, 2014
Auralic recently changed their Facebook page with the addition of the above cover photo. Nice. My guess is this is their new Aries Wi-Fi streamer that we saw in prototype form at CES earlier this year (see report). To refresh, the Aries uses dual band Gigabit Wi-Fi (802.11ac) to stream up to DXD and DSD without wires. The Aries is due to make its official launch in Munich.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 21, 2014
US Federal Copyright Law does not protect music recorded before Feb. 15, 1972. This Copyright protection, however, can be provided at the State level, such as NY State, which is where Vivendi SA's Capitol Records Inc and UMG Recordings Inc, Sony Corp's Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp and ABKCO Music & Records Inc. have filed their lawsuit against Pandora for an unspecified sum, as reported by Reuters.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 15, 2014
How do we gauge success? The Kickstarter goal for the Pono campaign was set at $800,000 which was the minimum amount required for the project to get funded. Exceeding that goal by more then 7 times must qualify as an unqualified success. Perhaps the more interesting and informative number is this goal was generated from 18,220 backers who are also potentially future PonoMusic customers. Compared to iTunes 600+ million users that's, well, not very many but let's also keep in mind that Pono was one of the most-funded campaigns in Kickstarter history. But is that the appropriate metric to gauge Pono's success? I don't think so.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 10, 2014
MacRumors has re-reported (see re-report) a rumor started by blogger Robert Hutton (see his original post) based on unnamed sources that iTunes will begin selling 24-bit downloads in June. Of this year.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 09, 2014
The tireless guys at LH Labs are about to do it again—crowdfunding their latest portable product the Geek Wave. The Wave acts as an add-on to your smartphone providing extended battery life with its internal charger, music storage ("at least 258GB"), and of course their own DXD/DSD-ready DAC and headphone amp to boost the performance of your phone.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 31, 2014
Scott Wilkinson has just posted his hour-long interview with record producer/recording engineer Alan Sides over on TWiT.TV. They touch on many subjects of interest to AudioStream readers including the importance of higher sample rates, Pono, harmonic structure, the horrors of brick wall filters, DSD, and more.

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