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Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 30, 2012
The Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm with You was one of the first "Mastered for iTunes" albums

A few months ago, Apple's "Mastered For iTunes" PDF made the rounds and made some WAVs causing speculation that Apple may be looking at offering lossless downloads sooner than later. Speculation, as is often the case, proved premature. But this did not ebb Ars Technica's Chris Foresman's interset in the dodgy subject—is the "Mastered for iTunes" approach pure marketing B.S. or does Apple's process actually offer a guideline whereby the end result offers better sounding music.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 25, 2012
During the course of my recent spate of streamer reviews, I came across Vienna, Austria-based StreamUnlimited. If you check out their website, you'll see some familiar faces on both their product page as well as their "Network" page which includes "customers and partners". Among those listed we find Pioneer, T+A, Musical Fidelity, Naim, Simaudio, Wadia, Bang & Olufsen, Sony, Denon, Pro-Ject, Creek, and more. I know what some of you are thinking—Ah Ha!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 12, 2012
"Triode", a very dedicated and generous SBT user and developer, has made his 3rd party app Enhanced Digital Output available for free. Here are the pertinent details:
The app should add support of the following to your Squeezebox Touch:

- External USB dacs using either USB audio class 1 or 2 protocols [USB 1 dacs normally state they support up to 96k sample rates, USB 2 dacs normally state up to 192k]
- Support of 176 and 192k playback via the standard digital output

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 06, 2012
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, Eduard Manet (1862-1863)

Running concurrent with The NY Audio & AV Show, a few NYC dealers have decided to stay home and piggyback on this event by holding their own.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 05, 2012
The NY Audio & AV Show is kicking off next Friday, April 13th at 3:00pm (EST) at the swanky Waldorf=Astoria (I was going to say "ritzy" but that may have caused some confusion). Gentlemen, start your engines. The Show will run the course of the weekend, going until 8:00pm on Friday, 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

AudioStream readers and computer audio enthusiasts will not want to miss the seminar titled: I Want To Take You Higher – The Present and Future of Digital Music Delivery and Playback which will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 2pm - 3pm. Yours truly will be moderating on Saturday and David Chesky will handle those duties on Sunday. Panelists include Rob Robinson (Channel D), Larry Ho (Light Harmonic), David Chesky (HDtracks & Chesky Records), and Andreas Koch (Playback Designs).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 04, 2012
What's he building in there? As reported by Rolling Stone, Neil Young has filed for a bevy of trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that appear to be related to a high resolution music download service. Here's the description from the trademark application:
Audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances; high resolution music downloadable from the internet; high resolutions discs featuring music and video of music and artistic performances; pre-recorded digital media containing audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances for storage and playback.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 20, 2012
Intel is promising optical Thunderbolt cables later this year. What's the big deal? From Intel,
“Copper cables provide adequate data transfer for use over short distances of up to six meters (about 20 feet), but optical cables will be good for data transfers over longer distances of tens of meters”
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  |  Mar 17, 2012
Reader Chris P. sent me an email worth sharing:
I've been scouring the web to see if anyone is reporting new audio features on the latest apple tv. Apple is very light on their audio spec page and I've been secretly hoping Apple would quietly enable higher res streaming to the updated device (to go with the higher res video).

Guessing this wouldn't be a public announcement until Apple itself offered higher res music via iTunes. Probably just wishful thinking but would appreciate any news or thoughts if there are in fact any new features or benefits.

Thanks!

Following on the heels of rumors suggesting that Apple may offer 24/96 streaming from iCloud or downloads from iTunes or perhaps endow the latest version of Apple TV with the same higher resolution-ness, Apple's recent events and new product releases have come and gone not with a bang but a whimper.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 16, 2012
Beginning July 12, 2012 a number of the USA's largest Internet Service Providers including Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and others will begin enforcing an RIAA crackdown on people who download music, movies and software for free from sites and services that do not have the right to distribute copyrighted material. Pirates. Arrr.
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  |  Mar 09, 2012
I think we all about know dynamic compression and the loudness wars but somehow the fact that music which has been severely compressed sounds like crap hasn't reached the minds and ears of some people who make music. I wonder about the inherent logic being applied along with sound-numbing bandwidth limited mastering in order to sound louder than the music played before and after yours if everyone is doing the same thing and broadcasters employ their own signal-processing and volume-leveling. Where does the real advantage come into play?

Perhaps its simply a stand-off—OK let's stop the loudness wars. You go first. Well somebody's got to go first and the people and companies behind International Dynamic Range Day want to help force all of those hands off of the loudness control. All I will add is March 16, 2012 is International Dynamic Range Day, bravo!, and this movement deserves our support.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 08, 2012
An article titled, "24/192 Music Downloads...and why they make no sense", on xiph.org is getting a lot of attention on the audio forums because it claims that 16/44.1 provides better sound quality than 24-bit/192kHz. The author, Chris Montgomery, has also cleverly titled the associated file "neil-young.html" as a wink toward Mr. Young's recent calls for a move away from MP3s toward higher resolution formats. It's also worth noting that according to Mr. Montgomery's Wikipedia page, "Christopher “Monty” Montgomery is the creator of the Ogg Free Software container format and Vorbis audio codec and others" so one can perhaps see why he's taken what Neil Young said so personally.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 05, 2012
After my initial review of the Paradigm A2 powered desktop speakers ($279.99/ea. in Black Ash, $329.99/ea. premium finishes) Paradigm decided to re-think a few design aspects of this loud speaker. Chief among these re-design considerations was to make it, well, not such a loud speaker.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 29, 2012
Thanks to reader Mr. T for pointing us to an article on MacRumors which points to an article in The Guardian that suggests Apple is working on adaptive streaming technology to provide iCloud users with high definition music as long as they have the bandwidth and hardware to handle it.
A source with inside knowledge of the process says Apple has asked a London studio to prepare audio files for a new streaming format that will adapt to bandwidth or hardware capabilities.

"All of a sudden, all your audio from iTunes is in HD rather than AAC. Users wouldn't have to touch a thing – their library will improve in an instant," said the source, who requested to remain anonymous.

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