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Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 04, 2013
Thanks to friend and colleague Stephen Mejias of Stereophile for forwarding this interesting news, of the good news/bad news variety:
In January of this year Amazon introduced AutoRip, which gives customers free digital versions of CDs they purchase. Today we're excited to announce that we're extending AutoRip to vinyl records. Now when you buy any AutoRip vinyl record, the MP3 version of that album will instantly be delivered to your Amazon Cloud Player library for FREE. You can then download or listen to the music on your Android phone, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, Kindle Fire, and more even before your vinyl record arrives.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 20, 2012
In a widespread rumor first reported by Business Insider and based on a single unnamed source (I guess they're really loud), Beats Music/HTC has bought music streaming service provider MOG. Exactly what Beats Music/HTC wants with MOG's 14M+ tracks and reported 500k subscribers remains to be seen but in a related rumor Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, who bought 51% of Beats last year for a $300M investment in the company, has been looking to differentiate their service by focusing on music and offering their own streaming service for their smartphones and tablets. A MOG acquisition sure reads like a nice pre-packaged solution.

What this means to current MOG subscribers and if this rumor is in fact something more than that will have to wait for further information. As of now, MOG is not talking.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 27, 2013
In another sign of the increasing popularity of high resolutions downloads, Bleep has created a special 24-Bit section on their website. While this may not seem like much, I view this as a good indication that the search for better quality music downloads is starting to bubble to the surface of even non-audiophile music sites. Now we just need some DSD titles of popular music to show up on the download scene and I'll be dancin' in the streets.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 24, 2013
Onkyo has come out with an app for the iOS devices that allows playback of PCM files at rates up to 24/192 and DSD (DSD files are converted to PCM prior to playback or sent as DoP):
Users seeking the ultimate in high-resolution audio performance can make an in-app HF Player Pack purchase (US$9.99) to enable FLAC, DSD, WAV, and AIFF playback of up to 192 kHz with 24-bit sampling (these files are loaded via a simple drag-and-drop operation on an iTunes-equipped PC prior to synchronization). This in-app purchase also enables selectable upsampling from 44.1 kHz to a possible 192 kHz, and an HD phase-linear equalizer with an incredible 20,000 bands of adjustment in 64-bit mode.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 23, 2014
What's the bad news? As I see it, the bad news about the fact that Mogwai's new album Rave Tapes is available as a 24/96 download from HDtracks (get it here) is the fact that Mogwai and Sub Pop don't tell anyone about it on their respective websites. What better way to promote the availability of higher quality versions of your music than to promote the higher quality versions of your music?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 17, 2011
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  |  Oct 23, 2012
OK. So it's no Squeezebox but the new $3,000 McIntosh McAire is Airplay compatible, includes Wi-Fi capability (requires a wireless router), an Ethernet port, a USB input for iOS devices, and a line level RCA input. This upscale 8 x 19.4 x 17" 31lb network boombox houses two 4” woofers, two 2” midrange drivers and two ¾” tweeters. There's an included remote and a Mc-App for controlling playback which appears to be limited to Airplay or iOS-stored files as there's no mention of UPnP or DLNA. Hmm. But it does have McBlue Output Meters!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 22, 2012
On January 19, 2012 the U.S. Justice Department seized about $50 million is assets of file sharing services company Megaupload and shut down all of the websites under the Megaupload corporate umbrella. 18 domain names were seized including Megavideo, Megalive, Megapix, Megabox, and CUM.com (formerly Megaporn, Megarotic, and Sexuploader). Megaupload is accused of copyright infringement and conspiracy and more and the accused face up to 20 years in prison. The prime suspect in the case is one Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) who founded Megaupload and who appears to live a larger than life lifestyle.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 28, 2013
Kal Rubinson has reported over on Stereophile that Oppo has made their BDP-103 and BDP-105 players DSD-compatible with a recent firmware upgrade (still in beta). "Now, here's the really good news. The Oppo will play multichannel as well as stereo DSD and that makes the Oppo the least expensive multichannel DSD-file player by a wide, wide margin. I have been enjoying glorious multichannel downloads from Channel Classics' website as well as a couple of their spectacular "live" session files (Mahler Symphony 1 and #) made at the recording and without edits. Wow is all I can say."

Read Kal's full report here.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 10, 2012
As a follow-up to The Emperor's Old Clothes: In Theory Is Where I Do My Best Practice, I thought it worthwhile to point you to Soundkeeper Recordings who offer various versions of the same music for download in different bit/sample rates. For free. Here's why...
One thing that comes up repeatedly in discussions with other music lovers and audiophiles regarding CD vs. high resolution digital formats, is the fact that most folks have no means of making a valid comparison. Often, the high resolution version of a record is mastered at a different session, sometimes by a different engineer. At many so-called "format shootouts", one hears level differences, EQ differences, etc., making a true comparison of the formats impossible. Astute listeners realize these are comparisons of different masterings and not of the formats themselves.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 08, 2013
Hardware manufacturer VOCO and online music retailer/streaming service provider Murfie have teamed up to deliver 'Murfie HiFi' a CD-quality streaming service. The Murfie HiFi service consists of music you've either purchased from Murfie or music that was ripped from the CDs you sent to Murfie (at a cost of $1.00/per CD) and the new lossless streaming service only works with VOCO products. From the press release:
The collaboration marks the launch of Murfie's newest streaming service, Murfie HiFi, specifically for VOCO—the first service ever to provide lossless streaming playback online.

"VOCO's mission has always been to provide a top notch music experience, and a partnership with an industry innovator like Murfie furthers that mission,” says CEO and Founder of VOCO Wade Fenn. "Murfie provides an unprecedented service that couples seamlessly with our technology. Streamed music has never sounded better!"

Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2012
Thanks go to Vincent Kars for pointing out the similarities between the proposed playGo AP1 and a unicorn. From playGo:
The playGo AP1 is an Airplay®-enabled receiver that wirelessly streams audio from iOS devices to speaker systems through WiFi or Ethernet. The audio output circuitry used in the playGo AP1 can traditionally be found only in audio equipment that is priced at $1,000 and higher. In addition to providing true Hi-Fi quality and plug and play usability, the playGo AP1 is a fully featured audio player platform that supports audio streaming from almost all your media sources by combining DLNA support with AirPlay technology in one elegant package.
And like a unicorn, the AP1 doesn't exist just yet...
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 02, 2012
From the Press Release:
Santa Monica, CA—Monday, July 2, 2012—Beats Electronics LLC, the company co-founded by legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre with Interscope, Geffen, A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine, announced today it has agreed to acquire the award winning on-demand digital music service MOG.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 22, 2014
(Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)

Last night at the Producers and Engineers Wing's seventh annual Grammy party, which "will Highlight Sound Quality", Neil Young was given an award "for his commitment to excellence and ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music." And Neil gave a speech. Here's a part of it (and the video of the entire thing):

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