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Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 16, 2013
Yours truly penned a four-page intro to computer audio that appears in this month's Sound & Vision. This marks the first edition of the new merged titans Home Theater + Sound & Vision and it's chock full of sights and sounds to explore.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 12, 2013
The Light Harmonic Geek Kickstarter campaign ends today. You can still get the Geek USB DAC/Headphone amp that can handle up to 24/192, DSD (64x and 128x), and DXD playback for $159 (regular retail price will be $299). There are also two additional options that have been added and include "Super GEEK - At this level, you will get a suped-up GEEK. This GEEK's amplifier is 1.6 times more powerful than GEEK's original amp— 720 mW!" ($189), and "Super-Duper GEEK - At this level, you'll get a seriously radded-out GEEK. This GEEK's amplifier is 2.2 times more powerful than GEEK's original amp— 1000 mW!" ($219).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 11, 2013
After reading Getting Started With Computer Audio Part 3: Music, a very kind reader pointed me to the Grammy.com website and their presentation and related video feature Lost In Translation: An Exploration of Lossy vs. Lossless Audio Formats. Presented by Grammy-award winning engineer Andrew Scheps, this is actually a two-part presentation wherein Part 2 lets people listen to different music delivery formats.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 11, 2013
photo credit: Cindy Carpien/NPR

What Does A Song That Costs $5 Sound Like? by Laura Sydell tells the story of Cookie's experience with SACD and DSD as well as Cookie's Blue Coast Records.

One day she invited a dozen engineers and artists to do a blind test of three different audio formats. Analog tape recording, high-resolution digital (better than CD) and DSD. "Tape was still everyone's choice in a blindfold test," says Marenco, but they all agreed "that DSD was the closest thing to tape."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 05, 2013
Neil Young has posted an update to the PONO Facebook page:
To everyone who loves music –

I’m very happy to bring you some good news. All of us at Team PONO have been focused on getting everything right for our early 2014 launch of Pono.

The simplest way to describe what we’ve accomplished is that we’ve liberated the music of the artist from the digital file and restored it to its original artistic quality - as it was in the studio. So it has primal power.
...

Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 04, 2013
From the Acoustic Sounds announcement:
Acoustic Sounds Inc. of Salina, Kan., the worldwide leader in audiophile recordings, signed an agreement today with Sony Music Entertainment Inc. to provide the company’s new digital download service with albums that have been produced or remastered in Direct Stream Digital (DSD), the highest resolution audio technology available.

The deal, which follows an earlier agreement reached with Universal Music Group, includes hundreds of recordings from Sony Music’s vast catalog. All of these recordings will be licensed to Acoustic Sounds’ SuperHighRez.com, the first high-resolution music service to offer mainstream albums in DSD.

Yeowza!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 03, 2013
OK I guess we're going to call it HRA (High-Resolution Audio). I kinda liked HD but maybe that's just me. In a press release dated today, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced their support for HRA:
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 03, 2013
Spotify wants to reach out and into your hi-fi with its new Spotify Connect service. We're talking about an iOS App (Android and desktop apps are in the works) and hardware-based wi-fi solution so only compatible devices will work with this new Connect feature but the idea that you can direct your music streaming from your phone to your hi-fi is, well, appealing. See for yourself.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 29, 2013
From the NIN website:
Hesitation Marks was mastered in two different ways - the standard, “loud” mastering (which is what you’ll find on the CD, on iTunes, and everywhere else), and also an alternate “audiophile” mastering, which we’re offering as a free download option for anyone who purchases the album through nin.com. For the majority of people, the standard version will be preferable and differences will be difficult to detect. Audiophiles with high-end equipment and an understanding of the mastering process might prefer the alternate version.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 28, 2013
Online music and gear retailer Acoustic Sounds will begin offering DSD downloads...today! Wednesday, August 28th! That's right, here's the first source for popular titles from artists like John Coltrane, Muddy Waters, and Cat Stevens in lovely resplendent DSD. Kinda makes you glad you have that DSD-ready DAC. You do have one, right?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 27, 2013
In another sign of the increasing popularity of high resolutions downloads, Bleep has created a special 24-Bit section on their website. While this may not seem like much, I view this as a good indication that the search for better quality music downloads is starting to bubble to the surface of even non-audiophile music sites. Now we just need some DSD titles of popular music to show up on the download scene and I'll be dancin' in the streets.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 27, 2013
Thanks to my friend and colleague Stephen Mejias for pointing me to this short but sweet article in the Economist, The sound of music: Dr Dre’s creation of a market for costly cans may herald the return of true hi-fi.
"Since consumers have been persuaded, largely by Beats, that it is worth paying a fair whack for some half-decent headphones that look nice, perhaps they could be persuaded—especially since the storage capacity of many portable devices is now huge—to turn their backs on cheap mp3s and seek out recordings in true high fidelity."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 13, 2013
The first prototype GEEK.

Light Harmonic who brought you the $20,000 Da Vinci DAC (see review) and the $1,000 LightSpeed USB cable (see review) have just launched a Kickstarter campaign for their newest DAC—the portable GEEK. The first 100 backers can get the GEEK for $99, while the projected retail price will be $299. Capable of handling up to 24/192, DXD, and DSD playback, the GEEK sports two outputs, a headphone amp, and "3D audio technology that moves the sound from between your ears to all around you."

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 08, 2013
Hardware manufacturer VOCO and online music retailer/streaming service provider Murfie have teamed up to deliver 'Murfie HiFi' a CD-quality streaming service. The Murfie HiFi service consists of music you've either purchased from Murfie or music that was ripped from the CDs you sent to Murfie (at a cost of $1.00/per CD) and the new lossless streaming service only works with VOCO products. From the press release:
The collaboration marks the launch of Murfie's newest streaming service, Murfie HiFi, specifically for VOCO—the first service ever to provide lossless streaming playback online.

"VOCO's mission has always been to provide a top notch music experience, and a partnership with an industry innovator like Murfie furthers that mission,” says CEO and Founder of VOCO Wade Fenn. "Murfie provides an unprecedented service that couples seamlessly with our technology. Streamed music has never sounded better!"

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 06, 2013
Did I mention I got new glasses? It was time to give in and get progressive lenses which as you may know allow you to have reading glasses and corrective lenses for distance in one frame without the bifocal age line. And it's a good thing since I may have otherwise missed our mention in the September 2013 issue of Men's Health (with Tom Brady on the cover sporting his new haircut). I'm very appreciative of the opportunity nonetheless since spreading the word for better sound is an essential part of our mission.

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