Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 02, 2012

from MTV c.1993 featuring Michael Fremer! and Neil Young!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 02, 2012
Warren Zevon

[reader and frequent commenter deckeda shares an intimate recording]

My "Pick 1" is a 1976 Warren Zevon performance in a live radio studio broadcast. So it's basically a bootleg, but a sanctioned one available at (His son Jordan gave the approval.)

Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 01, 2012
Sharon Van Etten

While Neil Young rightfully rails against the poor sound quality of the MP3, I still feel MP3 and other lossy formats have a use. And the best use is free access to music. Ya know, discovery. The wonderful "First Listen" series on NPR is currently streaming (at 128 kbps) the complete yet-to-be-released record Tramp from Sharon Van Etten. For free. The entire record. The idea is if you like it, you'll buy a real copy (and no, I do not mean the crappy iTunes or Amazon lossy download version—remember, do not pay for crappy quality lossy music). I've pre-ordered the Deluxe Bundle (LP + CD + more) from Jagjaguwar (official release date 02/07/12). See, it worked.

You can listen to Sharon Van Etten's "Tramp" in its entirety too. For free. You just have to click and listen before the release date (after that, NPR removes the music).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 01, 2012
Thanks to reader Mr. T for pointing us to this more recent and more extensive interview with Neil Young on where he expands on his distaste for the MP3.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 31, 2012
The PMP300 ($200) from Diamond Multimedia was among the first portable MP3 players to hit the market which it did in 1998. The diminutive PMP300 (3.5 x 2.5 x 0.625") came with 32MB of internal memory (about 1 hour of music at 128kbps) and also offered a Smart Media flash memory card slot for expansion of up to 128MB. The PMP300 housed a proprietary connector and the included cable connected it to your PC's parallel-port for copying your MP3s from PC to PMP300. Powered by a single AA battery, the PMP300 provided about 8 hours of music per battery.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 30, 2012
I recently sent 5 questions to Doug Graham, Naim Audio's International Sales Manager, and he was kind enough to respond to all of them. Naim Audio, as you more than likely know, have an extensive product line that includes each piece of the hi-fi puzzle from front end to speakers and everything in between. Naim has also developed an extensive product line centered around what they prefer to call 'streaming audio' as opposed to 'computer audio'. As the Editor of AudioStream, I won't argue the point. The Naim streaming audio product line includes Hard Disk Players/Music Servers, Network Players, DACs and All-in-one Players.

Naim appears to be addressing both the audiophile community as well as trying to draw in those people looking for better sound quality from their streaming media in a simple all-in-one device. With this in mind, I focused on the broader marker and the wide net Naim is casting. Without further ado, let's get on with the Q&A:

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 28, 2012
Tom Waits: Bad As Me available as a 24-bit/96kHz download from HDtracks

I first became aware of Tom Waits in a car in 1976 on the way to a concert at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ. My friend Artie's older brother had a few of his friends bail out at the last minute on a Rick Derringer/Foghat show (at least that's how I remember it but I can't seem to verify the accuracy of my memory or this double bill) and we happened to be in the right place at the right time to be invited. During the car ride over and back, we listened to Tom Waits' newly released Small Change while Artie's brother and his friends sang and we all drank along (Budweiser). I seem to remember them playing "The Piano Has Been Drinking" over and over and thinking—this is more than great music.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 26, 2012
Wiley: Evolve or Be Extinct

[This is part of a new series which I introduce here and I'm very happy to have my friend and colleague Stephen Mejias of Stereophile fame write the inaugural entry]

I've spent this entire week writing those little 100-word blurbs that make up Stereophile's semi-annual "Recommended Components" feature. Every day, from around nine in the morning until around eight in the evening: distilling, trimming, summarizing, finding new ways to say "this" lacked "that" but nevertheless excelled at "this."

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 26, 2012
The basic organizational approach of AudioStream centers around hardware, software and music. According to various tracking methods, so far posts concerning music are not as popular as software which are not as popular as hardware. So I've decided to launch a new and ongoing music series titled - Pick 6! because music is, in the end, the point of the software and hardware we talk about here on AudioStream.

The idea is simple—pick 6 of your favorite music downloads, email me your list including a link to the source, and I'll publish them. Every once in a while they'll be a Pick 6! guest picker (like the first one by Stephen Mejias above) from in and around our industry.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 26, 2012
Speaking up at the Sundance Film Festival, Neil Young spoke out against shitty sound quality. He told MTV news:
"I'm finding that I have a little bit of trouble with the quality of the sound of music today," Young said. "I don't like it. It just makes me angry. Not the quality of the music, but we're in the 21st century and we have the worst sound that we've ever had. It's worse than a 78. Where are our geniuses? What happened?"