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Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 15, 2012
the dCS Vivaldi stack

Earlier today I made the 50 or so mile trip into Manhattan for the US premier of the dCS Vivaldi Digital Playback System at NYC retailer EARSNOVA. As you can see, the Vivaldi system continues the dCS tradition of the stack. From top to bottom we have the Vivaldi DAC ($34,999), Vivaldi Transport ($39,999), Vivaldi Master Clock ($13,499), and the Vivaldi Upsampler ($19,999). The Vivaldi stack represents a ground up redesign and all out assault on the state of the art as dCS defines it which adds up to $108k more or less and the ability to play back nearly every digital format you can get your hands, hard drive or NAS on including CD, SACD, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA, ALAC, MP3 (could you imagine?), M4a, AAC, OGG, DXD (24/352.8 and 384kHz), and DSD (via DoP which dCS initiated).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 10, 2014
From the Press Release:
SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 – DENVER, CO – Deezer, the premier digital streaming music service, and Sonos®, an innovator in wireless home audio products, today announced an exclusive partnership that will bring streaming High-Resolution Audio (HRA) to music lovers around the world. Deezer’s product “Deezer Elite” is the first global HRA streaming service available to consumers and it’s offered exclusively through Sonos, a system of smart speakers that let you stream all your favorite music to any room in your home in high fidelity sound. As part of the global launch, US consumers can access a Deezer product on their Sonos system for the first time ever.

Music quality has gone backwards from vinyl to CDs to MP3s and Deezer Elite reverses that trend. For the very first time, music lovers everywhere can stream music with the depth and richness of what the artist intended. Deezer Elite subscribers can choose from Deezer’s 35 million track library and stream FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files at a standard of 1,411 kbps or higher in any room, or multiple rooms together through Sonos speakers and components.

But wait....
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 19, 2016
But if you want their CD-quality streaming service, Deezer Elite, you can only get it through Sonos (sigh). So what are we getting from Deezer? Another $9.99/mo. 320kbps lossy streaming service (there's no free tier for US customers).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 27, 2014
DG just launched their new Discovery App on the Apple App Store. Initially consisting of 450 albums "in high quality audio streams" (no specific bit rate provided), the label says they hope to add up to 20 new albums per week. The service costs $3.99/month or $35.99/year if you pay in full up front. "Every week Deutsche Grammophon’s editors will present new listening recommendations in the form of hand-crafted playlists and artists and composers in-focus as well as featuring articles telling the story behind the music, made available to the app by Sinfinimusic.com."
Rafe Arnott  |  Dec 06, 2019
Devialet has created a box unlike any other, and there’s no hyperbole in saying that the design caused a whirlwind of controversy and awe in the audiophile hobby when it was released almost 10 years ago.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 29, 2012
Maybe it's not dead but it sure looks like Logitech turned it into a "smart radio" with no outputs of any kind. Once I recover from slapping my forehead I'll post more info (sigh).

After a good night's sleep...

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 25, 2012
The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) recently released its “Digital Music Report 2012” that shows a very healthy and growing global digital music market.
Digital music revenues to record companies grew by 8 percent globally in 2011 to an estimated US$5.2 billion. This compares to growth of 5 per cent in 2010 and represents the first time the year-on-year growth rate has increased since IFPI started measuring digital revenues in 2004.
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  |  Dec 20, 2012
There are three main approaches to room treatment—treat the room, treat the music, treat yourself (i.e. do nothing). The main problem with room treatments is they usually look like room treatments and most people prefer that their home look more like a home than a recording studio. I have found that everyday items like books and LPs can help and unlike traditional room treatment slabs and cylinders, the more books and LPs you have the better off you, your home and your decor are. But what about treating the signal to fit your room?
Dirac Live® is a state-of-the-art digital room correction technology which optimizes the sound system both in terms of the impulse response as well as the magnitude frequency response. The result is a substantially improved musical staging, clarity, voice intelligibility, and a deeper and tighter bass, not just in a small sweet spot but in the entire listening volume.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 11, 2012
Animal Collective Centipede Hz

I was led to the Domino website by Stephen Mejias' post about Dan Deacon's America. Of course I wandered, clicked, and listened to lots of other music and then I landed on the page for Animal Collective's latest (which sounds amazing) Centipede Hz. In addition to the usual format offers including CD, double LP, and deluxe double LP (already sold out) I noticed this:

Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 27, 2012
We were inspired to launch the new site at the end of January when Neil Young came out with a bold statement. Neil wanted to hear and sell his songs as full size high resolution files, but didn't know how he could do that. The next day we were contacted by a writer from Wired.com magazine to provide source information for his article. The day after that came this article and several of our sites were highlighted.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 10, 2015
photo credit: Emotiva

Emotiva has announced two new portable DAC/Headphone Amps—the Big Ego ($229) and the Little Ego ($169) both capable of playing back up to 32/384 PCM data. Each DAC offers three digital filters for tailoring the Ego to your liking; the Symmetrical filter offering equal amounts of pre- and post-ringing, the Asymmetrical Low Damping filter which essentially does away with pre-ringing coupled with several cycles of post-ringing, and the Asymmetrical High Damping filter that reportedly preserves tonal qualities "like resonance and warmth".

Rafe Arnott  |  Sep 26, 2019
There’s something to be said for big monitors hooked up to hi-fi racks bursting with gleaming alloy boxes in a chic, modern, designer showroom.
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).

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