Steven Plaskin

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Steven Plaskin  |  Nov 09, 2012  |  1 comments
Sessions From The 17th Ward is Amber Rubarth’s latest release on Chesky Records. While HDtracks refers to her music as folk, there is a wide variety of music on this download with songs written by Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Amber’s own songs accompanied by her guitar. Along with Amber, is Dave Eggar:cello, Chuck Palmer: percussion, and Tim Snider: violin.
Steven Plaskin  |  Oct 08, 2012  |  4 comments
Just the other day, I was reflecting on the number of components I have acquired from local dealers, or purchased after reading a series of reviews that pronounced the component as being state-of-the-art in performance. Upon first listening to the component in my system, I would be in sonic ecstasy for the first thirty minutes noting the exceptional detail or impactful bass I was hearing. But after about an hour of listening, I became disinterested and could no longer concentrate on the music I was playing. Something was clearly missing that the review and my audio store auditions failed to identify. I usually blamed the recordings and found myself playing the same old titles that sounded “good” on my system. Claus Jackle of AcousticPlan feels he has a solution to this issue with his DigiMaster DAC.
Steven Plaskin  |  Sep 28, 2012  |  1 comments
Lions and Integers
Last May, I wrote about a pre- release beta given to me by Damien Plisson of Audirvana Plus. It was Damien’s creation of a music program that would support integer playback for OSX Lion/Mtn. Lion. Many of you will remember that OSX Snow Leopard supported native integer playback for many DACs. A number of us felt at that time that integer playback, a more direct form of playback with less processing, sounded better. Unfortunately, with the release of OSX Lion, native integer playback was no longer supported by the operating system. While I was disappointed with this change in OSX support, I was thrilled with the improved sound of OSX Lion. Lion sounded less dark, had a bigger soundstage, and better definition in the low end than its predecessor even though it could not utilize native integer playback.
Steven Plaskin  |  Sep 27, 2012  |  0 comments
The Hoff Ensemble Quiet Winter Night 2L (192/24)

This wonderful recording is a blend of jazz and folk with Norwegian songs sung by Norway’s top vocalists including Helene Boksle, Sondre Bratland, Unni Wilhelmsen, Tomine Harket and Cecilia Vennersten. Now I have never heard of any of these singers, but the album fits together beautifully. As the title suggests, this is quiet reflective music with a touch of melancholy that is very well recorded. A large acoustic space with deep bass. And yes, this recording has dynamics; an overall DR13. Another 2L showpiece.

Steven Plaskin  |  Sep 18, 2012  |  2 comments
When I reviewed the Synergistic Research Tranquility Base with my MacBook Pro, I was asked how it performed when used with my DAC. I’m now ready to answer this question.
Steven Plaskin  |  Sep 07, 2012  |  3 comments
Blue Coast Records is offering a free group of performances recorded at the 2012 California Audio Show. To access the downloads you must register with Blue Coast Records. The recordings were made live direct to 2 channel using the Sonoma System at 2.8 MHz.
Steven Plaskin  |  Aug 24, 2012  |  0 comments
Linn Records download of Sasha Cooke with the Colburn Orchestra If You Love for Beauty is my download pick of the week. Yarlung Records uses minimalist audiophile recording techniques and prefers to record in concert halls as opposed to studios. This 88.2/24 recording has wonderful acoustics for this mezzo-soprano with terrific performances of the Mahler "Ruckert Leider". I also enjoyed Chausson’s "Poeme de L”Amour et de la Mer".
Steven Plaskin  |  Jul 30, 2012  |  20 comments
A Crimson Introduction
Back in 2006, I remember J. Gordon Rankin posting a thread in one of the audio forums announcing his plans for a new USB DAC called the Crimson. Over the next six months, I exchanged weekly e-mails with Gordon that described the designing and building challenges he faced when trying to come up with a final design of the Crimson. I realized at that time that Gordon Rankin was one obsessed audiophile when it came to a design that would carry the Wavelength Audio name. He would not release the Crimson until he was satisfied that it was the best he could build.
Steven Plaskin  |  Jul 26, 2012  |  36 comments
Meeting Tranquility
At the last CES, numerous visitors to the Synergistic Research room were commenting on a new base for computers and components that improved their sound when they were simply placed on the base. My curiosity was aroused with these reports. Could a computer’s sound that is fed to a DAC be significantly improved by simply placing the computer on a base? Given the number of audiophile tweaks that exist, I entered this testing with quite a bit of skepticism. After all, I have tried numerous stands including those from Symposium and Back Diamond Racing with limited success when used on my laptop. Toss in some Shakti stones and fancy footers with again, limited improvement, if any. But having previously met Ted Denney of Synergistic Research, I knew that he was not in the habit of exaggerating his products capabilities.
Steven Plaskin  |  Jul 25, 2012  |  6 comments
The Listening Room: