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Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 25, 2012
This past Sunday's NY Times magazine featured an interview with Neil Young that focused on his new autobiography “Waging Heavy Peace”. We all know about Mr. Young's outspoken stance for better sound quality but he's taking matters into his own hands with his own technology called "Pono":
The book, like today’s drive, is a ride through Young’s many obsessions, including model trains, cars like the one we were touring in and Pono, a proprietary digital musical system that can play full master recordings and will, he hopes, restore some of the denuded sonic quality to modern music.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 23, 2012
Today marks the official 1st birthday of AudioStream's unofficial launch and this post marks the 401st I've made over the past year (I didn't plan to hit such a round number, it just worked out that way). Now is as good a time as any to thank all of you for visiting AudioStream and for helping to make this site what it is. I am most thankful to all of the people who comment and share their thoughts, experiences, and knowledge. This helps to foster a sense of community which I see as one of my most important goals. AudioStream is certainly a group effort and you are the most important part of this site's continued success.

Of course there is a business side and other people who remain behind the scenes without which AudioStream would not exist and now is a good time to introduce you to the rest of the team.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 18, 2012
In a pleasant article for the NY Times, Roy Furchgott talks about why you need a DAC (math), some blind testing to determine the preferred DAC from a group of DACs, and how even a relatively inexpensive DAC and computer setup can sound as good as an $1,800 CD player. While this article is clearly geared toward people who are new to DACs, I was surprised to learn their blind listening tests used only Apple Lossless files and MP3s with no mention of HD music which is a shame since even if you're blind as a bat, high definition playback illustrates why CD-quality is an oxymoron.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 15, 2012
the dCS Vivaldi stack

Earlier today I made the 50 or so mile trip into Manhattan for the US premier of the dCS Vivaldi Digital Playback System at NYC retailer EARSNOVA. As you can see, the Vivaldi system continues the dCS tradition of the stack. From top to bottom we have the Vivaldi DAC ($34,999), Vivaldi Transport ($39,999), Vivaldi Master Clock ($13,499), and the Vivaldi Upsampler ($19,999). The Vivaldi stack represents a ground up redesign and all out assault on the state of the art as dCS defines it which adds up to $108k more or less and the ability to play back nearly every digital format you can get your hands, hard drive or NAS on including CD, SACD, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA, ALAC, MP3 (could you imagine?), M4a, AAC, OGG, DXD (24/352.8 and 384kHz), and DSD (via DoP which dCS initiated).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 11, 2012
Animal Collective Centipede Hz

I was led to the Domino website by Stephen Mejias' post about Dan Deacon's America. Of course I wandered, clicked, and listened to lots of other music and then I landed on the page for Animal Collective's latest (which sounds amazing) Centipede Hz. In addition to the usual format offers including CD, double LP, and deluxe double LP (already sold out) I noticed this:

Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 10, 2012
Logitech UE Smart Radio ($179.99)

Here are a few more things that are on deck for review.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 29, 2012
Maybe it's not dead but it sure looks like Logitech turned it into a "smart radio" with no outputs of any kind. Once I recover from slapping my forehead I'll post more info (sigh).

After a good night's sleep...

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 16, 2012
Strategy Analytics of Boston, MA reports:
US streaming revenues will grow at four times (27.8 percent) the rate of downloads (6.7 percent). This growth means online streaming and downloads account for double the share of music spending in the US than globally (41 percent vs. 22 percent).

Conversely, US physical sales are decreasing in 2012 - although less than the global rate - with spending expected to decline by 9 per cent in 2012. Physical spending will be overtaken by digital this year in the US, compared to 2015 globally.

Are CDs dead? Don't you hate when people turn percentages into death sentences? Sure CD sales are trending downward but plenty of shiny discs are still made and sold to the tune of a few billion dollars-worth a year. If that's dead, I'd be happy to tend to its grave for a few million.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 29, 2012
Coming to a Mac near you - JRiver has announced that an Audio-only version of their popular media player software is coming for OS X users by the end of the year. No word yet on when the Video portion, which an important part of the player's appeal for videophiles, will follow. The Windows-version of JRiver is currently $49.98 so I'd expect the OS X version to come in around that neighborhood. Choice is good, more choices are more better.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 24, 2012
Coming up on our 10-month anniversary seemed like the perfect time to enrich our expanding community. Most recently, our series of Q&As generated many interesting comments and I often found myself wishing we had a forum where discussion can follow a more natural course. While we've had the ability to turn on our forums from Day 1 we've been waiting for the right time. And that time is now.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 24, 2012
Does the world need another lossy codex? My friend and TheStreet Senior Technology Correspondent Gary Krakow gave me the heads up on Opus a recently approved free format that purports to be the new King of the Sound Quality and Compression Hill for streaming sounds over the internet (including music). But why another lossy codec now?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 02, 2012
From the Press Release:
Santa Monica, CA—Monday, July 2, 2012—Beats Electronics LLC, the company co-founded by legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre with Interscope, Geffen, A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine, announced today it has agreed to acquire the award winning on-demand digital music service MOG.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 29, 2012
Google's Nexus Q. It's a small world after all.

What exactly is Google's new Nexus Q? According to Google its the "world's first social media player". But what exactly does it do?

The short answer is the Q lets you stream music or movies from the cloud using the Google Play Music app on your Android phone or tablet (running Android 2.3/Gingerbread or higher with access to Google Play). The longer answer is the music and movies have to be streamed from Google Play (Google's Cloud/locker service which restricts your music files to 320kbps MP3s) or YouTube and you have to have an Android phone or tablet to set up and operate the Q since it doesn't offer a remote or on-board controls besides volume.

Jon Iverson  |  Jun 25, 2012
Stereophile is pleased to announce the availability of the free 2012 Recommended Components iPad app.

Available Now
The app is available right now for free download to your iPad in the iTunes store. In iTunes, search for "Stereophile Recommended Components" or follow this link to the iTunes store from your web browser.

This app includes all current Recomended Components as listed in the recent issue of Stereophile as well as additional ratings and listings that could not fit in the print version. There are over 700 component rankings in all and the app is compatible with all iPad hardware versions including retina displays.