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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.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 22, 2013
Coming "within 8 weeks", the new Resonessence Labs Herus DXD/DSD DAC ($TBD but it must be less than the $850 Concero HD but how low can they go?) can handle up to DXD PCM data and native DSD! There's a USB Type B input on the other end so you need a USB cable to connect the Herus to your computer. Stay tuned for more info when its available.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 20, 2013
And the list goes on (and on) and appears to include the complete Bad Seeds catalog. Coming in 12 days from Boomkat.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 13, 2013
Bob Stuart of Meridian with Neil Young at Meridian HQ (photo credit: Meridian)

Whenever I hear Neil Young's name these days, I can't help but think Pono. Neil recently paid Meridian a visit at their Cambridgeshire headquarters and got the full tour. You can read all about it on Meridian's website but if you're anything like me you'll walk away still wondering.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 12, 2013
The NY Times recently got into the streaming music game offering up a new album each week in its entirety for free. These streaming releases are exclusive, or so they say, so Press Play is worth checking out, regularly.

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