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Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 28, 2015
In three days I'll be heading to Denver, CO for the 12th annual RMAF. Billed as the largest consumer audio and home entertainment show in the United States with over 160 exhibition spaces filled with products from about 400 companies from around the world, there'll be plenty to see, hear, and report. I'll be focusing my attention on what's new in computer audio, lining up some future Q&As, seeing friends, and ideally hearing some great music that's new to me.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 21, 2015
I don't typically publish press releases unless they pique my interest. This one does:
Boulder, CO: 9/18/15: Last year veteran audio manufacturer PS Audio introduced Sprout, a small integrated amplifier designed to appeal to entry-level buyers and attract younger enthusiasts to audio. CEO Paul McGowan felt this step into untested waters was needed to help specialty audio survive and grow...
Jon Iverson  |  Sep 08, 2015
We've worked out another special deal for readers to celebrate the new Chesky Dunnun Kan release.

From now until October 31, 2015, readers of this website will get a 25% discount on the new 24-bit high resolution Dunnun Kan album and/or anything in Chesky's hi-res catalog on HDTracks.com.

To Get Your Discount:

Click on this link and then use CHESKYSTEREO25 for the offer code when you check out. (To go directly to the new Dunnun Kan album page only, use this link.)

Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 26, 2015
Bluesound Gen 2 family portrait (models starting at $299). All photo credit: Bluesound

I missed yesterday's Bluesound press event which I was very much looking forward to (remnants of food poisoning made the trip to NYC daunting). If you remember back to when we were first introduced to Bluesound (see Intro), the company sits under the Lenbrook Industries Limited umbrella along with NAD and PSB whose knowledge and technology helped build the Bluesound line. I was very impressed with every Bluesound piece of kit I reviewed back in 2014, so I was very excited to hear about Gen 2. Here's the scoop from Bluesound:

New York, NY, August 25, 2015 – Bluesound, the first wireless digital multi-room music system to fully support high-resolution audio, today unveiled Gen 2, an all-new platform that represents a reinvention of virtually every aspect of the product’s design and performance. Bluesound’s new line-up of multi-room wireless streaming digital music players, along with two entirely new models, features a fresh, compact industrial design, enhanced features and reengineered performance across the board.
Jon Iverson  |  Aug 07, 2015
We've worked out a special deal for readers to celebrate the new Chesky You're Surrounded release.

From now until September 7, 2015, readers of this website will get a 25% discount on the new 24-bit high resolution You're Surrounded album and/or anything in Chesky's hi-res catalog on HDTracks.com.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 22, 2015
I was holding up on talking about this story until it seemed like a real story. Well it does. Here's the crux of it; Apple charges a 30% fee to streaming services for every iOS customer that signs up for their service through the Apple App Store. So services like Spotify, Tidal, and Rdio bump up their regular $9.99/mo pricing to $12.99/mo in the App Store so they don't take the 30% Apple hit. Which makes Apple Music's $9.99/mo competitive streaming service a comparative deal. To add insult to injury these same streaming services cannot point out on the Apple App Store that you can get their service for $9.99/mo if you just buy direct. Nor can they include a link to their respective websites, offer a free promo (Apple Music does), or a family plan (Apple Music does) according to Apple's App Store guidelines. Is this fair?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 16, 2015
As music consumers move from ownership to access on a global scale, the music industry and its technology partners the streaming services haven't figured out how to run the business they're running. Who pays the price for their incompetence? The people without whom this business would not exist—musicians and songwriters. Thankfully Rethink Music has taken on the task of unraveling this unholy mess.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 16, 2015
Mr. Young let me introduce you to Tidal, Qobuz, and Deezer Elite. They have what you want.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 23, 2015
With but one open letter, Taylor Swift puts an end to Apple's plan of not paying royalties during the free 3-month trial period of their soon to be released Apple Music streaming service. Here's Swift:
"I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

...

"But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."

Bam!
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".

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 08, 2015
Of course we care about sound quality at AudioStream so it's kinda pointless for me to dig into the Apple Music service because you can get better sound quality from Tidal Hi-Fi, Qobuz, Deezer, and others including hi-res streaming from Naxos/OraStream. But seeing as I lasted the 3 hours+ of the Apple Show, I'll say some more.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 08, 2015
A man of few words, even for Twitter.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 08, 2015
Multi-multi-millionaire Tim Cook is due to announce his new streaming service today at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (begins 1:00PM EST) and people are asking—Who cares? "Tim Cook and Apple have enough of my money already." comments John who prefers to remain anonymous. John continues "Besides, why would I pay Apple $120 a year to listen to the same music I can listen to for free on Spotify?"
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 03, 2015
I was listening to some tunes last night, switching between JRiver and Roon on my MacBook Pro and suddenly a note appeared in the Roon app announcing an update. The app restarted and bam! I was playing DSD, including DSD128, through Roon in no time flat. Nice.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 01, 2015
While I typically don't regurgitate press releases, I do enjoy hearing about improvements to existing products that deliver sonic rewards. From the Bryston Integrated Audio Device (IAD) press release:
“There were several important factors that led us to develop the IAD,” reported Bryston VP James Tanner. “We were confident that by eliminating three connection points, hand selecting and testing all of the components and shifting to our meticulous in-house manufacturing that we could improve transient capability while enhancing low resolution detail,” Tanner added. The Bryston IAD is also directly powered by the BDP-2’s premium quality linear power supply rather than by a power source shared with the motherboard.

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