LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 02, 2011
This pocket-size (5.6" by 2.2" by 1.4"), 9.5-oz, Bluetooth-enabled powered stereo speaker with “subwoofer” is guaranteed to blow your mind. Even the usually deaf gadget writers for mainstream publications—the guys who go gaga for Bose—sat up and took notice when they heard the original foxL a few years ago. The Soundmatters publicist waited for the Platinum version to be released before contacting me for a possible review. I’ll take that as a compliment.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 01, 2011
Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo

Six inches of snow more or less doesn't sound like anything to talk about. But in October in NJ when the trees are still ripe with multicolored leaves and power lines weave in and out of their branches for nearly every mile of the town you live in and then some, it spells outage. We lost power on Saturday at around 6pm and our local power company expects to have it back "by Thursday or Friday".

So here I sit in a lovely hotel room looking out over the closed pool with not a drop of snow in site. I plan to take a long shower, get some warm dinner (and cold beer) and get back to AudioStream(ing) soon. Sorry for the lull.

If you haven't seen Werner Herzog's film Fitzcarraldo I cannot recommend it highly enough. It tells the tale of a man obsessed with music and bringing his beloved opera to an isolated Peruvian village. During these few days of silence, I see the genius in owning a mechanical Victrolla for those times when we need music's warming embrace and have nothing more to power it than desire.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 28, 2011
I may have to request a review sample. After all it is computer audio, isn't it. The Numi toilet comes with a built-in iPod/iPhone doc, speakers (yes, speakers too), pre-programmed audio (The Minutemen's greatest hits?), eq, motion sensor activated auto lid opener, 6 user presets so the Numi can remember your preferences including music-of-choice, heated seat and foot warmer, and much much more. At $6,400 the Kohler Numi is clearly targeting those who have more than they need. Oh and the Numi automatically close the toilet lid which may end up saving in marriage counseling costs.

"The luxury toilet market is coming back very strong in other parts of the world." said Kohler's president and CEO David Kohler.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 28, 2011
"The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is a lossless audio codec developed by Apple and deployed on all of it's platforms and devices for some years now. Apple is making the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) available as an open source project." MAC OS Forge
If this was a chess game, I'd be keeping my eye on Apple's Queen who appears to be positioned to finally offer 24 bit downloads through the iTunes Store. As it stands with ALAC going Open Source, music download sites can now offer high definition music in an iTunes and iOS device compatible format. No more converting FLAC to MAC-happy formats.

How big is this news? It depends. But I envision a room within Apple HQ with nothing in it but a big switch labelled "ON".

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 27, 2011
I have a bunch of confessions to make the first being I used to frown on docks in amps. I viewed them as a blemish on the face of serious listening, an affront to our finer sensibilities. This impulse to look at things that make life easier with scorn (screw caps, auto-focus, stretch-waist jeans [actually, they deserve our scorn]) as we age is something we need to fight with all the force our gray hairs and beer bellies (I'm not saying you have one but I know I do) can muster. Listening to music is supposed to be fun, dammit!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 26, 2011
The idea of high resolution downloads continues to be a thorny issue. With the release of the remastered 24/96 version of Nirvana's Nevermind, some consumers expressed outrage over the amount of dynamic compression apparently employed during the remastering process.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 26, 2011
Hello Michael,

I'm very enthusiastic to see a site dedicated to computer audio. One thing would help immensely is to see an article clearly explaining what happens when file bit rate doesn't match either USB or Dac bitrate.

Take a file at 24/192hz, via USB 1.0 into a 96hz Dac? What happens? When are files upsampled? When are files downsampled? What is the file bitrate? What is the USB bitrate? What is the coming Dac bitrate? And what is the Dac output bitrate?

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 24, 2011
One of the questions in terms of deciding whether or not to go down the native DSD-road is—where does one get DSD music? While you can rip SACDs, that’s the subject of an entire article on its own but suffice it to say it is not a simple procedure (you can start here). In terms of downloads, I’m only aware of one source at present www.downloads.net and their DSD offerings are $40/album and the selection is limited to under 20 titles.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 24, 2011
The Chapter Audio Notepad ($2,500 available in December) was on mostly silent display in the On A Higher Note Room at RMAF (you can read about the main event here). The Notepad is a Class D amplifier that puts out 150W into 8 ohms and includes Chapter's Stream DAC, a USB input, an ethernet port and wireless connectivity using Apple's Airport wireless protocol. The Notepad will stream music from your wireless source of choice and reportedly supports streaming up to 24/192 via Ethernet and a reported 24/96 wirelessly.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 21, 2011
I'll start by saying I've been a fan of 47 Labs designs from the first time I saw and heard the 4706 Gaincard and 4713 Flatfish. It helped that Herb Reichert wrote about the 47 Labs Gaincard (Listener, volume 5, number 2 Spring 1999) since he was a favorite writer on Hi-Fi and someone I felt I could relate to in ways that included non-Hi-Fi stuff (now that I've had an opportunity to meet Herb on a few occasions, I discovered I was righter than I knew). If a minimal design aesthetic appeals to you in a general sense, i.e. you enjoy the work of Ray and Charles Eames, Donald Judd, Ad Reinhardt, the Bauhaus, etc., then the design approach of Juni Kimura should tickle a similar fancy. Juni Kimura's quote, "Only the simplest can accomodate the most complex" adorns the 47 Labs US Distributor's home page.

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