Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 22, 2011  |  44 comments
Do FLAC files sound inferior to WAV files? Or more generally, do lossless compressed file formats (FLAC, ALAC, APE...) sound worse than their uncompressed twins? I've seen the argument that due to the extra processing imposed on your computer by FLAC, for example, during playback, this method is more prone to computer-introduced timing errors. Stepping back from this scenario for a moment, everyone seems to agree that the less your computer does during music playback the better it sounds so it would make sense to apply this same logic to the actual playback process. No?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 21, 2011  |  10 comments
Todd Garfinkle of MA Recordings contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in receiving some of the MA Recordings factory-produced DVD-ROMs for review. "Yes" was my immediate answer. Soon thereafter a package arrived containing seven, yes seven, DVDs containing hours of music. But let's start at the beginning. Do you know about MA Recordings? Their mainstay is recordings produced and engineered by none other than Todd Garfinkle and Todd prefers a simple setup consisting of two custom omnidirectional microphones, "the signals of which are "fed" through exotic audio cabling into handmade and customized recording equipment, designed specifically for MA". And an actual place is used for recording as opposed to a recording space. Or as the MA website describes them, "large, acoustically significant environments such as classical concert halls, churches and galleries."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 19, 2011  |  2 comments
National Science Foundation
For Immediate Release
New software tool provides unprecedented searches of sound, from musical riffs to gunshots.

Audio engineers have developed a novel artificial intelligence system for understanding and indexing sound, a unique tool for both finding and matching previously un-labeled audio files.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 18, 2011  |  1 comments
I can remember the first time I saw a picture of the Bel Canto SET 40 power amplifier which employed a pair of 845 triode output tubes surrounded by some cool-ass Metropolis/Tesla/Frankenstein-looking tube cages and thinking—these guys are different. Fast forward to today which is a far cry from any of the futures envisioned by anyone even in 1990 when Bel Canto Design first opened its lab for business and we find a bevy of products housed in the same clothes regardless of function; switching power amplifiers, preamplifiers, DACs, a CD player, a CD transport, and an integrated amplifier. While the tubes have disappeared, the feeling that these guys are different remains.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 17, 2011  |  6 comments
No, not my review, the speakers. I've been informed by Caster Communications, the company that handles PR for Paradigm and others, that the Paradigm Shift A2 will get a re-working to deal with their self-noise as noted in my review and others. Details on the exact changes as well as the launch date of the revised A2 Shift are currently TBD.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 16, 2011  |  1 comments
I enjoy Audirvana's old free player which I use mainly on my iMac creating on-the-fly playlists from my NAS drive. Works like a charm. The Audirvana people have been busy with the launch of their $49 Plus version and they've just announced iTunes integration (if you can't beat 'em, integrate 'em).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 16, 2011  |  11 comments
Do you know what this device is? What it does? Is it a prop from Star Trek? A 3D printer? A base station receiver for alien transmissions? Coum transmissions?

Take a guess or if you already know then guess its weight.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 16, 2011  |  0 comments
The new NHT SuperPower powered mini-monitors ($199/each) are coming next month to the retail market and to AudioStream Central for review. Each SuperPower packs a 90 Watt amp, a 4.5” woofer and 1” silk dome tweeter in a desktop-friendly 9"H x 5.5"W x 6.75"D sealed box. One interesting SuperPower option, beyond those rugged looking 10 GA solid steel DeskStands ($59/pair), is the PVC PC ($99) passive volume control:
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 15, 2011  |  4 comments
Singapore, 10th November 2011 – MP4SLS, a Singapore-based company dedicated to reshaping the delivery of digital audio entertainment, today announced the launch of a new digital audio format that allows listeners to experience high-resolution streaming audio via smartphones and tablets, without concern for delays due to buffering and other anomalies associated with limited bandwidth.

ORASTREAM is a network adaptive streaming audio platform that provides real-time high quality audio to end users. It is based on the MPEG-4 Scalable to Lossless System (SLS) audio codec. By utilizing fine granular scalable audio in SLS and bandwidth estimation algorithms, ORASTREAM provides end users with the opportunity to consume high quality audio in real time over the Internet and mobile networks. ORASTREAM comprises two components: an adaptive streaming server and adaptive streaming client player.

I am consuming some streaming Sinatra at 24 bit/96 kHz (@ >2000 kbps according to the OraStream player) right now and he/it sounds great. Streaming music at 24/96 to the desktop over HTTP. Pinch me.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 14, 2011  |  0 comments
Let's get the not so good technical news out of the way up front–the DAC 1 Wireless USB Digital-to-Analogue Converter transmits and receives at 16 bit/ 44kHz max. We're talking CD quality sound (actually potentially better since we're also talking about computer-based audio). The good news is the DAC 1 creates its own point-to-point 2.4 GHz wireless network meaning you don't need to have an existing wireless network to plug and play.