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Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 24, 2013
Onkyo has come out with an app for the iOS devices that allows playback of PCM files at rates up to 24/192 and DSD (DSD files are converted to PCM prior to playback or sent as DoP):
Users seeking the ultimate in high-resolution audio performance can make an in-app HF Player Pack purchase (US$9.99) to enable FLAC, DSD, WAV, and AIFF playback of up to 192 kHz with 24-bit sampling (these files are loaded via a simple drag-and-drop operation on an iTunes-equipped PC prior to synchronization). This in-app purchase also enables selectable upsampling from 44.1 kHz to a possible 192 kHz, and an HD phase-linear equalizer with an incredible 20,000 bands of adjustment in 64-bit mode.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 18, 2013
the VAULT. Photo credit: Bluesound

Newcomer Bluesound held a press event yesterday at 60 Thompson Hotel in Soho (nice!). Along with other members of the press, John Banks, Bluesound's Chief Brand Officer, and Tony Williamson, Product Support Manager, introduced us to the Bluesound brand and products. For some sense of their place within the world of hi-fi, Bluesound is owned by the same parent company, Lenbrook Industries Limited, that owns NAD and PSB and they've leveraged this family of businesses in the design of their products.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 03, 2013
One week from today I fly out to Denver, CO for the 10th annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I've already received a number of emails announcing new products that will make their debut in Denver and RMAF always promises to deliver tons of hi-fi fun. If there's anything special you'd like me to check out, just let me know.
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."

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