Welcome To The Jungle

AudioStream Introduction

The bass from the Morcheeba cut playing through Tidal Hi-fi was throbbing deeply through the stone floor of my house.

I could feel it in my feet as I walked behind the sofa at the far end of my living room to grab the mail which had just slid through the front-door slot, and interrupted my thoughts on writing this post.

The cut was “Never An Easy Way” off their ’96 album Who Can You Trust? and I got to thinking I might have unconsciously chosen this seminal trip-hop outing from founding members Skye Edwards and the brothers Godfrey as inspiration for this, my introduction on AudioStream.

Because really, who can you trust?

I hope it will be me.

I’m an unknown entity around these parts, taking over from a man well known to readers for a number of years, and who I have great respect for: Michael Lavorgna.

A few things about me that you should know… I don’t have a barn like Lavorgna, but I do have a bungalow. I wear glasses like Lavorgna, and am also blessed with facial hair. I prefer sneakers to boots. I have a deep, binding love for music.

I’m source agnostic, I’ll listen to tape, or vinyl just as easily as a CD, a high-res file, or streaming audio. They all have their strengths, and weaknesses, but it is computer audio that is surging ahead to the forefront of technological research and development in the industry, and the main focus of this website. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of recorded playback that there have been so many high-fidelity – or computer and tech – companies pouring so much time and energy into pushing the envelope of what a single medium – in the form of digital-audio – is capable of reproducing.

Music content companies like Tidal, Spotify, and Qobuz are all jockeying for position as the preferred source for millions of song titles over the Internet in what has fast become the game of the century for content delivery.

To what effect?

Mainstream consumers are now able to experience a level in sound quality from even an entry-level DAC, computer-audio related product, or smartphone that is light years ahead of what was available even just a year ago and those who seek their aural thrills at a higher price point now have access to hardware and software delivering previously unimaginable levels of resolution and fidelity.

Which makes this endeavour daunting in some aspects – and crazy exciting in others – because I have to construct a baseline of performance for computer audio for myself and AudioStream moving forward.

This will take me a little while to establish, because while I have plenty of firsthand experience listening to ultra high-end computer audio rigs at trade shows, I need to step up my game somewhat on the home front. To that end, I’ll be reaching out to manufacturers in the coming days and weeks to secure a number of DACs, preamplifiers, amplifiers, loudspeakers, cables, etc. to fill my midcentury bungalow and get you – the readers – up to speed with me as I explore what’s available in the wide world of high-end, and consumer audio.

Lavorgna made AudioStream into one of the most respected, personal and informative computer-audio websites in the industry and I plan on keeping it irreverent, relevant, wholly mesmerizing, packed with reviews of amazing gear, super-helpful information, tips, tricks, tweaks and most of all fun.

There will be some rejigging of format, contributors, and direction in the months to come, but I don’t plan on leaving any of our readers behind, in fact I’m inviting you all to join me moving forward as I punch my way through the wet paper bag that is reviewing high-fidelity gear on the Internet.

That said, I also plan on bringing as many new readers as I can over to this dark, silicon side of audio.

This is a huge opportunity, so bear with me as I get the ball rolling on this site – this altar of electronic musical technology – and start to transform it into my own unique vision.

There’s a disturbance in the force of audiophile journalism, and it is probably me, but I hope to bring balance and peace to the tribes who hail from both sides of the analog/digital divide.

But it’s going to be you, the readers who make or break my efforts. So I say to you: “Help me Audiophiles… you’re my only hope.”

NeilNZ's picture

Why hello there.... are you going to maintain the Lovely Recordings column? I've found some good music there.

blang11's picture

I echo your sentiments about Michael Lavorgna. He really accomplished something with Audiostream. It has become an invaluable resource for me and my audiophile journey. Best of luck to you, Rafe! I look forward to seeing content here again. I too would love to see the new music columns stick around in some form. Are we ever going to here your thoughts on the Focal Sopra 2s you started reviewing some months ago?

bobflood's picture

there would be no justification for AudioStream as a website so please pay as much attention to the software delivery (music delivery) side as to the hardware side. I know that the old school still clings to the ownership model and I am in that age bracket so I understand the appeal. I got my first serious system at 18 over 50 years ago. But, the younger people mostly are in the rent it, take it for free or steal it if necessary mindset so some form of streaming is definitely the future of music delivery (and other media as well.

Good luck as you have big shoes to fill and high expectations to exceed.

stevenneilsimon@mac.com's picture

Hello Rafe! Welcome.
What happened to Michael Lavorgna? I missed out on his departure.

Anton's picture

I love reading old VHS boxes, as well!

My resolution is too low to see what’s on your shirt.

Anton's picture

Audio Note!


Those play LCD Soundsystem very nicely!

BK Audiophile's picture

For me, one of AudioStream's biggest draws was the community that Michael built around music. Over the last few weeks, while the site sat dormant, I realized just how much I relied on this site for new music recommendations. Please revive Lovely Recordings! I'll happily contribute.

pdxdon's picture

Welcome aboard one of my favorite sites. I enjoyed Michael's writing and hope he is doing well. I alternate mostly between CDs and streaming Tidal, and though I am a boomer, welcome the rent model. I wish you success and a minimum of trollers!

CT0wens's picture

Your journalistic contributions to the industry in the past have been distinctive in many ways -- thoughtful writing, fresh perspective, great art direction with a good eye for detail, great videographer as well... I'm just glad the powers that be have been paying attention. I look forward to more. Cheers.

Sue's picture

I hope you don't mind if I hang around for awhile I'm putting together a computer system and could use a few pointers from the experts. Best of luck with your new digs.

Rafe Arnott's picture

I really appreciate all the positive comments here – thanks for the warm welcome. Music will continue to figure prominently here, but it will be a refresh in its presentation, and voices.

Again, please bear with me as I organize everything and get my beard trimmed.

bullethead's picture

congrats! you have a reader here.

MrMoons's picture

To your newest journey. Subscribed!

J McGuire's picture

Michael is definitely missed. Having said that, I've always enjoyed your writing and observations, Rafe. Nice to see the Canadian representation, too! Looking forward to this - welcome aboard and best of luck!

Sue's picture

Is it my imagination, or have some of the profile photos been blacked out?

Anton's picture

Check yours tonight at 11 pm, it will be dark, as well.

Sue's picture

I thought maybe they were in the witness protection program.

Anton's picture

It's very nice that you are here to support Rafe!

Best wishes, as always.

Christian Goergen's picture

Depends on the handling of the discussion of MQA issues, as far as I'm concerned.

Sue's picture

MQA is a scam.

slcaudiophile's picture

hello rafe! don't sweat the haters! do what you do best and all will work out. in fact, i joined AS specificlly because you moved here and are one of a handful writers in this industry i trust.

take your time, do things as you see fit and all will work out.