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Michael Lavorgna  |  May 23, 2012
M. C. Escher Relativity (1953)

From Ars Technica:

May 23 2012, 9:15am EDT: Op-ed: New digital music licenses good for fans, entrepreneurs, Five new licenses could make it easier to launch online music companies by Cary Sherman (RIAA), David Israelite (National Music Publishers Association), Lee Knife (Digital Media Association)
What have we here? An answer to our digital music distribution needs? Will people be able to buy that HD download from whomever they want no matter where they live? Not so fast cowboy:
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 10, 2012
Thanks to John Atkinson yet again for giving us the heads up (I'll let the Press Release handle the heavy lifting):
San Francisco, May 10, 2012—Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB) announced today that e-onkyo music, the high-quality music distribution service managed by Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corporation, a subsidiary of Onkyo Corporation, will be the first online music distribution service to feature Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound. Expected to launch on May 30, 2012, in Japan and in fall 2012 elsewhere in the world, this service will enable users to download music from 100 album titles (about 1,000 tracks) in Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound. The new Onkyo® A/V receivers (AVR) TX-NR818 and TX-NR717 will support the service.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 05, 2012
The DSD bus keeps rolling along this time with a new asynchronous USB to S/PDIF converter from Simple Design makers of the Sonore line of music servers and DACs. From the Sonore website:
The Signature Series Sonore DSD Converter is an asynchronous USB converter with SPDIF BCN output. The converter can output regular PCM up to 192 sample rate and convert DSD2PCM at 88.2 or 176.4 sample rate. The DSD2PCM conversion is done on board to eliminate computer CPU load and is compliant with the DSD over PCM (DoP) v1 specification. The DSD2PCM conversion incorporates proprietary filters. The converter does not use USB power and is instead powered by a low noise linear power supply. HDMI I2S output compatible with the PS Audio specification is available as an optional upgrade.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 04, 2012
Sonic Studio has rejigged its product line and pricing by eliminating the "Junior" and "Mini" versions and introducing Amarra Hifi ($49), and their flagship audiophile product Amarra (v2.4) drops from $695 to $189 with some minor changes in functionality. Amarra Hifi works with iTunes and supports sample rates up to 192kHz while Amarra can run solo and reaches out to 384kHz. Unfortunately there's no "cache play" with the Hifi version.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 02, 2012
The Pioneer Elite SC-67, DSD-Ready

Hot off the Press Release, Pioneer Electronics is offering two new Elite 9.2-channel receivers, the SC-67 and SC-68, that offer network connectivity (wired and wireless), 24-bit/192kHz playback, AirPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, vTuner® Internet radio, PANDORA® internet radio and access to SiriusXM® Radio, Asynchronous USB input (the SC-68 bumps the USB input up to 32-bit/192kHz), and the big news is they both support DSD (DFF) playback via USB.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 30, 2012
The Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm with You was one of the first "Mastered for iTunes" albums

A few months ago, Apple's "Mastered For iTunes" PDF made the rounds and made some WAVs causing speculation that Apple may be looking at offering lossless downloads sooner than later. Speculation, as is often the case, proved premature. But this did not ebb Ars Technica's Chris Foresman's interset in the dodgy subject—is the "Mastered for iTunes" approach pure marketing B.S. or does Apple's process actually offer a guideline whereby the end result offers better sounding music.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 25, 2012
During the course of my recent spate of streamer reviews, I came across Vienna, Austria-based StreamUnlimited. If you check out their website, you'll see some familiar faces on both their product page as well as their "Network" page which includes "customers and partners". Among those listed we find Pioneer, T+A, Musical Fidelity, Naim, Simaudio, Wadia, Bang & Olufsen, Sony, Denon, Pro-Ject, Creek, and more. I know what some of you are thinking—Ah Ha!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 12, 2012
"Triode", a very dedicated and generous SBT user and developer, has made his 3rd party app Enhanced Digital Output available for free. Here are the pertinent details:
The app should add support of the following to your Squeezebox Touch:

- External USB dacs using either USB audio class 1 or 2 protocols [USB 1 dacs normally state they support up to 96k sample rates, USB 2 dacs normally state up to 192k]
- Support of 176 and 192k playback via the standard digital output

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 06, 2012
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, Eduard Manet (1862-1863)

Running concurrent with The NY Audio & AV Show, a few NYC dealers have decided to stay home and piggyback on this event by holding their own.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 05, 2012
The NY Audio & AV Show is kicking off next Friday, April 13th at 3:00pm (EST) at the swanky Waldorf=Astoria (I was going to say "ritzy" but that may have caused some confusion). Gentlemen, start your engines. The Show will run the course of the weekend, going until 8:00pm on Friday, 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

AudioStream readers and computer audio enthusiasts will not want to miss the seminar titled: I Want To Take You Higher – The Present and Future of Digital Music Delivery and Playback which will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 2pm - 3pm. Yours truly will be moderating on Saturday and David Chesky will handle those duties on Sunday. Panelists include Rob Robinson (Channel D), Larry Ho (Light Harmonic), David Chesky (HDtracks & Chesky Records), and Andreas Koch (Playback Designs).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 04, 2012
What's he building in there? As reported by Rolling Stone, Neil Young has filed for a bevy of trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that appear to be related to a high resolution music download service. Here's the description from the trademark application:
Audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances; high resolution music downloadable from the internet; high resolutions discs featuring music and video of music and artistic performances; pre-recorded digital media containing audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances for storage and playback.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 20, 2012
Intel is promising optical Thunderbolt cables later this year. What's the big deal? From Intel,
“Copper cables provide adequate data transfer for use over short distances of up to six meters (about 20 feet), but optical cables will be good for data transfers over longer distances of tens of meters”
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 20, 2012
In a widespread rumor first reported by Business Insider and based on a single unnamed source (I guess they're really loud), Beats Music/HTC has bought music streaming service provider MOG. Exactly what Beats Music/HTC wants with MOG's 14M+ tracks and reported 500k subscribers remains to be seen but in a related rumor Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, who bought 51% of Beats last year for a $300M investment in the company, has been looking to differentiate their service by focusing on music and offering their own streaming service for their smartphones and tablets. A MOG acquisition sure reads like a nice pre-packaged solution.

What this means to current MOG subscribers and if this rumor is in fact something more than that will have to wait for further information. As of now, MOG is not talking.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 17, 2012
Reader Chris P. sent me an email worth sharing:
I've been scouring the web to see if anyone is reporting new audio features on the latest apple tv. Apple is very light on their audio spec page and I've been secretly hoping Apple would quietly enable higher res streaming to the updated device (to go with the higher res video).

Guessing this wouldn't be a public announcement until Apple itself offered higher res music via iTunes. Probably just wishful thinking but would appreciate any news or thoughts if there are in fact any new features or benefits.


Following on the heels of rumors suggesting that Apple may offer 24/96 streaming from iCloud or downloads from iTunes or perhaps endow the latest version of Apple TV with the same higher resolution-ness, Apple's recent events and new product releases have come and gone not with a bang but a whimper.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 16, 2012
Beginning July 12, 2012 a number of the USA's largest Internet Service Providers including Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and others will begin enforcing an RIAA crackdown on people who download music, movies and software for free from sites and services that do not have the right to distribute copyrighted material. Pirates. Arrr.