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High-End Audio / Hi-Res Audio (HRA) Audiophile Industry News


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07 / 28 / 16

MQA Hires Mike Jbara, Formerly Of Warner Music Group, As CEO
MQA Hires Mike Jbara, Formerly Of Warner Music Group, As CEOMQA, an end-to-end technology that delivers master quality audio in a file that's small enough to stream or download yet backward compatible for today's devices, has hired music executive Mike Jbara as CEO. In addition to day-to-day leadership responsibility, Jbara will sit on the Board of MQA Ltd. Jbara joins MQA from Warner Music Group, where he has held roles as Head of ADA Worldwide, President of WEA Corp. and most recently, EVP of Technology and Business Process. "I am inspired by the principles that have led to the creation of MQA – a commitment to sound quality, intuitive and natural consumer experiences, and the tireless advocacy for the artists' music" said Jbara. "I have had the great fortune to work closely with Bob Stuart and develop a partnership and friendship rarely found. The MQA team is exceptional. I could not imagine anything more exciting than to join this team and pursue that vision." Bob Stuart, Chairman of MQA, said "We are delighted to have Mike join us to take the helm as MQA moves into this next phase. Our mission is to improve the quality of distributed music and to help connect artists to fans. I have known Mike professionally for many years and have immense respect for his technical and industry insight and knowledge, as well as interpersonal and organizational skills. Mike is a good friend and we are looking forward to developing the MQA business together."

 

Mastered Music For Klipsch Reference R6 And R6i Headphones
Mastered Music For Klipsch Reference R6 And R6i HeadphonesKlipsch has joined forces with prolific Canadian rock band Billy Talent to master his new album for Klipsch Reference R6 and R6i on-ear headphones. Their new mastered-for-Klipsch headphones album is to "ensure the band's art, message and emotion translates to listeners the way they intended it to." Billy Talent's new studio album Afraid of Heights debuts July 29 on vinyl LP, CD and 24-bit/96kHz Hi-Res Music digital download. All physical copies of the album include a unique download code allowing fans to access a special high-resolution 'mastered-for-headphones' edition of the album. Klipsch audio engineers worked with Grammy award winning American mixing engineer Chris Lord-Alge to master the album utilizing Klipsch Reference R6 and R6i on-ear headphones. Lord-Alge first gained notoriety at Unique Recording Studios in New York City in the 1980s for his work on James Brown's Gravity. He has gone on to work with some of the biggest names in music, including Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Aerosmith and Muse among many others. Klipsch employed advanced acoustic engineering and sonic signature that emulates the home theater experience inspired the performance, voice and design of the award-winning Reference R6 and R6i on-ear headphones. The Reference R6i on-ear headphone cord includes a three-button remote and mic that allows for seamless control of music and phone calls. "Each track has EQ applied to it to sound best on Klipsch R6 and R6i on-ear headphones," said Vlad Grodzinskiy, Sr. Manager of Product Development – Headphones for Klipsch. "It makes the album sound like you are listening to an audiophile production through a pair of headphones five times the cost of the Klipsch R6i. The album sounds exactly the way it does in the studio." You can see the mastered-for-Klipsch headphones on the video below.

 

07 / 27 / 16

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Tesla Open Back Headphones
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Tesla Open Back HeadphonesBeyerdynamic's DT 1990 PRO (€599) top-of-the-range Pro series model is said to deliver "absolute precision with reproducible results every time, whether in the studio or on site with the customer". The DT 1990 PRO has beyerdynamic's exclusive Tesla technology to thank for its balanced sound profile – combining high levels of efficiency with distortion-free sound reproduction across all signal levels. The highly responsive Tesla transducers have extremely fine copper wires. Its open back design extracts detail from the audio signal, while the construction based on exclusive components and titanium-coated acoustic fabric means that every knob movement on the mixing desk is audible. Its precise and spatial reproduction makes the DT 1990 PRO ideal headphones for music producers, sound engineers, and audiophiles all around the world. High-tech materials ensure optimal wearing comfort. The memory foam-filled ear pads offer excellent fit and comfort, thus enabling prolonged listening sessions. Sound tuning is possible thanks to the replaceable ear pads. Two different variants are supplied with the headphones. One favors neutral, analytical sound, while the other tends towards a somewhat warmer tuning with more bass. Also included are two detachable cables with mini-XLR connectors, allowing professionals to choose between a straight and coiled cable to suit their needs. The DT 1990 PRO is protected from impacts and knocks in everyday studio use by a high-quality transport case. Frequency response is from 5Hz to 40kHz, nominal impedance is 250 Ohms, and maximum SPL is 125dB. Weight without cable is 370 grams.

 

Schiit Audio Modi Multibit DAC Is Their Most Affordable
Schiit Audio Modi Multibit DACSchiit Audio's new Modi Multibit ($249) is the company's most affordable DAC in their Multibit lineup. Modi Multibit is built on Schiit’s proprietary multi-bit DAC architecture, featuring Schiit's unique closed-form digital filter on an Analog Devices SHARC DSP processor. For D/A conversion, it uses a medical/military grade, true multi-bit converter specified down to 1/2LSB linearity, the Analog Devices AD5547CRUZ. "Modi Multibit smashes the price barrier in advanced multi-bit DACs," said Mike Moffat, Schiit's Co-Founder and head of digital development. "It is the most affordable multi-bit DAC built on a modern architecture – from any manufacturer, in any country in the world. It may seem incredible that, just a little over a year year after we introduced our first multi-bit DAC, Yggdrasil, we’re introducing a multi-bit DAC that includes a version of the same digital filter and a real multi-bit D/A converter for 89% lower cost. But we don't believe that you should have to spend a boatload for great sound, so it makes complete sense."

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
Is Sci-Fi Bionic Hearing In Our Future
Will future aging audiophiles with normal hearing loss go Sci-Fi with the new bionics? A recent scientific breakthrough now being tested on those who are profoundly deaf allows them to hear once again via a new system that is not a hearing aid, but a device which converts sound into electrical impulses that sends them directly to the main hearing nerve within a human's head. Due to timely advances within this new medical breakthrough, there has recently been a software upgrade to the system that is said to upgrade sounds heard from synthetic digital tones to more natural sounds. As time goes by this device could offer more sensitivity and resolution than normal human hearing! The next audiophile system upgrade perhaps? FDA approval of this currently priced $50,000 unit is expected by the end of this year. Will we soon be seeing "bionic audiophiles" roaming the hallways of audio shows?

 

07 / 26 / 16

Capital Audiofest 2016 Show Coverage
Capital Audiofest 2016 Show Coverage

Intro To Kemper Holt's Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2016 High-End Audio Show Report

Command Performance @ Capital Audiofest High-End Audio Show

Dr. Vinyl, Larsen, Gamut, Pear Audio, And Ortofon @ CAF 2016

Dynamic Sounds Associates @ Capital Audiofest 2016

GT Audio Works, Sound Insight, Hollis Audio Labs, And Paradox @ CAF 2016

Legacy Audio And Raven Audio @ Capital Audiofest 2016

Odyssey Audio @ CAF 2016

 

1More MK802 Headphones Provide Wired Or Bluetooth aptX Wireless
1More MK802 Headphones Provide Wired Or Bluetooth aptX Wireless1More, a company that uses the latest patented designs and materials to enhance our sound, comfort, and esthetic appeal, has released their MK802 hardwired and Bluetooth over-the-ear headphones ($129.99). 1MORE's MK802 Bluetooth headphones take advantage of Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX coding, Beryllium drivers and features including built-in microphone and remote. With a 40mm large beryllium driver per side, they produce 20Hz to 20kHz, with a special bass level that can be boosted or limited with a convenient switch on the ear cup. The diaphragms are plated with rare beryllium to significantly enhance response time for extremely accurate midrange and highs. The flexible part of the diaphragm is made out of PEEK, a supple and resilient polymer, for deep bass. The 1More MK802 has a headband and ear cup housings that are constructed with TR-90 synthetic titanium for extreme durability, flexibility, lightweight comfort, and modern appeal. The ear cups rotate in four directions to customize your comfort level and ensure noise isolation. Tuned by a Grammy Winning sound engineer, a special collaboration with internationally acclaimed producer and sound engineer Luca Bignardi, 1More sought to perfect the final tuning to deliver a precise representation of your favorite artist's intended sound. Intelligent Control Technology and Microphone provide convenient ear cup controls, which are compatible with Apple iOS and Android, allowing you to control Bluetooth, 1MORE app, volume, select songs, take calls, and activate voice control. Superior MEMS microphone eliminates echo, cross-talk, and background static for crystal clear phone calls. CRS Bluetooth chip with aptX transmission technology provides excellent-sounding wireless listening experience. Included with the 1More MK802 are a 1.2-meter Kevlar core cable enhanced with TPE for comfort with additional in-line microphone and remote. In addition, the MK802s work in conjunction with their downloadable 1MORE Assistant app. Current features include Hearing Protection for monitoring kid's volume levels and for adults concerned with hearing health; Smart Burn-In for optimizing your MK802's sound quality within a shortened time period; 1MORE button for controlling assignable apps right from your ear cup. 1More's MK802 are available in red or blue color.

 

07 / 22 / 16

Nelson Pass' New First Watt F7 Stereo Amp Produces 25 Wpc In Class A
Nelson Pass' New First Watt F7 Stereo AmpFirst Watt's new F7 power amplifier ($3000) is a very unique unit with a two-stage push-pull JFET input and MOSFET for output topology. There are fewer parts than any First Watt amplifier within the F7 power amplifier than any other First Watt design to date. The new F7 has been created as an updated version of the earlier F5 amplifier. Like all First Watt designs, it has a relatively low power of 25 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms) and operates in Class A. Designed with an unusually low parts count, it is the 19th product from First Watt since its founding in 1998 as Nelson Pass' 'personal laboratory'. "The F7 bests the earlier F5," says Nelson Pass. "Comprising even better sound and even simpler circuitry. I spend a lot of time building and evaluating basic amplifier concepts with an eye toward producing the highest quality sound with elegantly simple circuits. There is no such thing as a perfect amplifier, but there is a best amplifier for each type of speaker, music, and listener. Each First Watt model is a unique design and is 'best' in some particular way. They look alike because they all use the same basic chassis and power transformer. On the up side, it makes it easy for me to test ideas and compare different designs with the hardware being a fixed constant." The desire for a simpler circuit is self-explanatory – apart from the aesthetic, Nelson Pass believes that that simpler circuits tend to sound better. "In such a simple circuit, there are opportunities for improving performance by careful choice of transistors, resistor values, voltage and current values and precise matching of parts" says Nelson Uniquely, it incorporates a very innovative balance of very low Negative Voltage Feedback and a small amount of Positive Current Feedback to give an astonishing measure of control over reactive loudspeaker loads. Nelson continues by saying, "Also, I put more capacitance in the power supply and found a clever way to further reduce the effect of high frequency DAC noise and environmental RF. This is a different amplifier. The diversity of audio taste being what it is, not everyone will prefer it. I presume that a certain segment of audiophiles will like it." Dimensions are 17" x 15" x 5.5 (WxDxH) and the First Watt F7 weighs 30 lbs. Warranty for parts and labor is 3 years, not covering shipping costs or consequential damages. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the First Watt Model B1 buffer preamplifier, SIT-1 monoblock power amplifier and SIT-2 stereo amplifier.

 

Dirty AC Power: Getting It Out of Your (Audio/Video) System
Dirty AC Power: Getting It Out of Your (Audio/Video) SystemFor most readers of Enjoy the Music.com, it's no secret that the AC power coming out of your wall outlet is shockingly (pun intended) "dirty." In a perfect world, the AC power in your house should look like a perfectly smooth undistorted sine wave (when viewed on an oscilloscope). In reality, the AC can be corrupted with noise and distortion (dirty AC power looks pretty jagged and ugly on a scope). This noise can be heard as grain, "haze" and a general smearing or foreshortening of the sound field/stage, or can be seen as a reduction of the sharpness, color accuracy and detail of your video image.  (Note: an audible 60-cycle hum or 120-cycle buzz in the system is the result of a grounding problem, which is not related to power line conditioning, and is a whole other subject that could be addressed in a separate article.) The power supplies in your audio/video components are supposed to block all that AC power noise, right? Well, not always. Some components do a better job at filtering this grunge than others. In addition, the voltage coming out of your wall socket can vary widely from the 120/240 Volts you're supposed to be getting (supply voltages can vary in other countries). Read the complete article here.

 

07 / 21 / 16

Cary Audio SI-300.2d Int. Amp With 32-bit/384kHz And DSD 256 DAC
Cary Audio SI-300.2d Int. Amp With 32-bit/384kHz And 256 DSD DACCary Audio's SI-300.2d integrated amplifier ($5995) is another milestone for the company as they venture into the new era of premium audio systems. The SI-300.2d mates a 300 watts per channel stereo Class A/B power amplifier with analog RCA and XLR inputs to a Class A analog preamplifier gain stage. The amplifier itself is biased to run Class A for an extended portion of the power output. The digital section included their best digital circuit topology, digital to analog conversion process, and technologies including their proprietary TruBit Upsampling and OSO reclocking features. Digital inputs include XMOS USB capable of True native DSD up to 256 and PCM/DXD up to 32-bit/384kHz, as well as two coaxial plus an optical, AES/EBU, and aptX Bluetooth inputs. All S/PDIF and Bluetooth digital sources offer 10 TruBit selectable upsampling or PCM to DSD conversion options. On the analog side, Cary Audio's SI-300.2d includes four analog inputs (two balanced XLR and two unbalanced RCA), with one each of the XLR and RCA inputs offering true Cinema Bypass features. A center-mounted machined aluminum volume control is flanked by a pair of gorgeous analog Cary Blue VU meters to the right while the left side text display shows all source information. All this trimmed off by a luxurious aluminum frame highlighting its beautiful design elements. Additional features include a pre/subwoofer output, coaxial and optical digital outputs, IR hand held remote, trigger out, IR sensor input, and Ethernet and Wi-Fi for controlling the SI-300.2d with free iOS and Android apps. The unit weighs 52 pounds and dimensions are 6" x 17.25" x 18" (HxWxD).

 

07 / 20 / 16

Audience Au24-SX World-Class Cables Review
World Premiere!
Audience Au24-SX World-Class Cables
Heightened transparency, focus, plus a more defined and accurate soundstage.
Review By Greg Weaver

 

07 / 19 / 16

Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review
World Premiere!
Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II Stereo Integrated Amplifier
High-end audio's Poster Child for being an overachiever.
Review By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Power Supplies In Audio Digital To Analog Converters
Power Supplies In Audio Digital To Analog Converters
Article By Benchmark Media Systems

 

07 / 18 / 16

EBTB Compact BoXXeR SM 0.5 Two-Way Loudspeaker
EBTB compact BoXXeR SM 0.5 Two-Way LoudspeakerHigh-end audio loudspeaker manufacturer Everything But The Box (EBTB) has officially launched their compact BoXXeR SM 0.5 loudspeaker. As the second in the BoXXeR series, their BoXXeR SM 0.5 is a two-way monitor loaded with 5" woofer and 1" tweeter. Made in Italy, this small monitor is enclosed in stylish high quality that compliments virtually any environment. They offer BoXXeR SM 0.5 covered in genuine or vegan leather and RBTB provides optional unique Cable Management Bag and Spring Suspension Feet. The 5" studio woofer is made with an aluminum die cast basket and 1.5" voice coil as well as waterproof paper cone and rubber surround with DAR technology. A specially selected 1" neodymium tweeter produces the uppermost frequencies. EBTB's BoXXeR SM 0.5 speaker cabinet is made from CNC machined aircraft aluminum with 10mm front and back panels. Birch plywood top, bottom and sides and augmented with genuine leather. Gold plated speaker cable connectors on the rear of each unit ensure a solid and reliable connection. Options include a genuine leather cable management bag and specially made aluminum feet with spring suspension. Frequency response is from 50Hz to 20 kHz, nominal impedance is 8 Ohms and sensitivity is 88dB/W/m. Overall dimensions are 27 x 16.4 x 28 cm (HxWxD) without optional accessories and each one weighs 5.7 kg without optional accessories.

 

07 / 15 / 16

MrSpeakers ETHER Flow And ETHER C Flow Planar Headphones
MrSpeakers ETHER Flow and ETHER C Flow Planar HeadphonesMrSpeakers, a San Diego-based manufacturer of high performance headphones, has announced their ETHER Flow and ETHER C Flow ($1800 each) with patent pending TrueFlow and V-Planar technologies. TrueFlow technology is said to elevate the company's award-winning ETHER and ETHER C headphones to the next level in performance. Specially designed Italian leather ear pads lend a plusher feel to the listener. MrSpeakers' TrueFlow technology works by filling spaces between magnets with a perforated material to form a perforated flat surface that's acoustically similar to an electrostatic stator. By reducing the negative effects of the motor assembly on the audio waveform, TrueFlow significantly increases clarity and detail retrieval. "While developing electrostatic headphones we contrasted them to our planar magnetics and concluded that mass alone didn't adequately explain the differences we heard. We hypothesized diffraction and reflection might be degrading sound more than we'd thought," says Dan Clark, Headmaster of MrSpeakers. "So we created a motor structure that's acoustically similar to an electrostatic stator, which really allowed the music to flow out of a deep-black background with exceptional texture and clarity; hence the name TrueFlow. These new headphones are our most engaging, fun and immersive to date. ETHER Flow and ETHER C Flow include MrSpeakers' hand-made DUM (Distinctly Un-Magical) Cables and will begin being shipped on August 15.

 

Futuresource Consulting Says Home Audio Grew By 24%
Futuresource Consulting Says Home Audio Grew by 24%Futuresource Consulting has announced the latest results from its worldwide audio equipment tracking service. Their survey states that in 2015, worldwide demand for home audio products grew by 24% to 88.2 million units, whilst trade value remained stable at $9.8 billion. Shipments were slightly higher than forecasts outlined in the previous Dec 2015 report, with wireless speakers witnessing stronger sales in some global markets. "Audio is growing strongly in all regions as consumers are relying on smartphones for storing and listening to music content. Bluetooth is included in 60% to 70% of audio devices, including traditional Hi-Fi Systems and A/V Receivers," commented Rasika D'Souza Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "Our latest audio business report revealed that shipments of Bluetooth speakers without Wi-Fi grew by 72% in 2015. It is very apparent that consumers have both realized and are enjoying the convenience and portability that Bluetooth offers." Futuresource Consulting's survey also finds that while growing, the multi-room audio category is under performing and not meeting industry expectations, the result of limited retailer support in store and consumer confusion due to the different Wi- Fi enabled ecosystems in existence. The future for the category continues to evolve as technology giants, such as Amazon and Google push the boundaries further by introducing devices with voice assistance features. The report also found that in 2015, Harman/JBL held the position of top home audio brand with an 11% unit share, whilst Bose was the leader in terms of revenue with an 18% share. Both brands captured top positions in the home audio market as a result of their strength in the Bluetooth speaker segment. So whilst many segments of the consumer electronics and media industry are maturing the audio hardware and music industry would appear to be defying this trend overall. Much still needs to be done to keep the momentum going as technology and consumer expectations are evolving at a faster pace than ever before. Industry innovators and leaders will be invited to discuss this at the next Futuresource conference, Audio Collaborative 2016 - from Renaissance to Evolution, to be held on November 8th at the Ham Yard Hotel in London.

 

07 / 14 / 16


<<< REWIND <<<

VPI Industries Classic 3 Turntable
One powerhouse turntable and tonearm combo!
Reviewed By Anthony Nicosia

 

Noble Audio Katana In-Ear Monitor Features 9 Drivers Per Side
Noble Audio Katana In-Ear MonitorNoble Audio has just announced their new Katana in-ear monitor that features a unique 9-driver per side configuration ($1850 for universal, custom SLA / Acrylic from $1650 / $1850 and custom-made Prestige version starts at $2850). Named after the Katana sword, which is a high precision instrument, Noble Audio's Katana is a tribute to the exclusivity and craftsmanship of the finest examples of Wizard's latest design. Katana in-ear monitor features proprietary Noble drivers throughout in a unique 9 balanced-armature / drivers per side configuration. With an extended top-end that produces airiness and outstanding imaging, Katana's balance and control are said to be the mark of a master that continues to refine his craft according to Noble Audio. The company says that "the upper drivers are mated with a lush mid-range, impactful low-end, and Noble's signature coherency, Katana is a serious tool in anyone's arsenal." Noble Audio's Katana also features the updated Noble universal form factor and geometry with creative precision machined aluminum housings. They are sensitive enough to reach high volume output levels with smartphones as well as portable amplifiers and portable digital audio players. Each Noble Audio Katana is hand-assembled and precision matched. A detachable cable with industry standard two-pin configuration (0.78 mm diameter) in included. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Noble Audio Noble 3 universal fit IEMs and the Kaiser 10 (K10) custom IEMs.

 

Enjoy the Music.com Announces Our Dedicated Facebook Page
Enjoy the Music.com Launches Dedicated Facebook PageEnjoy the Music.com has just launched our dedicated Facebook page, which joins our dedicated social media pages including Twitter. Updates, music and more will be appearing within Facebook and Twitter plus we plan to have many fun giveaways too! You can be amongst the first to learn about our latest show coverage, high-end audio equipment reviews, and think pieces. "During our soft launch in early June we received hundreds of likes on our new Facebook page" said Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin. Facebook users can easily find us @EnjoyTheMusiccom and our Twitter page is available @EnjoyTheMusic.

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
RIAA And Professor Felten: Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI)
Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA)While the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) has been denying sending a threatening letter to Professor Edward Felten from releasing his paper concerning how to defeat various music protection schemes, Felton has filed a lawsuit against the RIAA. Now the RIAA is asking for a dismissal of the lawsuit against them by Professor Felten. To quote the motion submitted to the District Court of New Jersey "Defendant Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA), did everything it reasonably could to assure Plaintiffs there was no controversy between them and the RIAA with respect to matters identified in the original Complaint. Plaintiffs’ true agenda, however, is not to adjudicate a real dispute but to obtain favorable press attention and to secure an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Plaintiffs have therefore filed an Amended Complaint full of vaporous imaginings and chimerical fears. We respectfully submit that even the Amended Complaint fails to pass muster, and must be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." This court case is of great concern due to the implications it may cause for future scientists to publish research and how this concerns the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and First Amendment rights. The entire RIAA legal motion paper as handed to the District Court of New Jersey yesterday and can be seen by clicking here (PDF). Furthermore, while many in the audio industry seem to be removing themselves from this important news development that greatly concerns future findings, Enjoy the Music.com is the only audiophile website to publish the complete scientific papers that Professor Edward Felten was to present earlier this year. To see Professor Felten's paper click here. If you would like to see the letters Felten has received, click here.

 

07 / 13 / 16

CanJam London 2016 Show Scheduled For August 13th And 14th
CanJam London 2016 ShowCanJam Global, the world's premiere headphone audio expo produced by Head-Fi.org, is holding their CanJam London 2016 show at the contemporary Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in Central London on August 13th and 14th. As one of today's hottest trends in consumer electronics, CanJam London will bring you the latest and greatest in headphone audio technology. Produced by Head-Fi.org and sponsored by Enjoy the Music.com's partner HiFi+ Magazine plus EchoBox Audio and Noble Audio, CanJam London 2016 will feature products from over 80 of the industry's leading companies in more than 15,000 sq. ft. of event space. With exciting new product introductions, educational seminars, a highly targeted attendance of consumers, industry affiliates, and members of the press, this is the consumer electronics event that you cannot afford to miss! Enjoy the Music.com will be reporting on CanJam London 2016 show as this is a must-attend summer Head-Fi event.

 

Impex Records Announces Elusive Disc As New Distributor

Dear Friends,

Impex Records Announces Elusive Disc As New DistributorSince opening Impex Records in 2010, my team and I have committed ourselves to every facet of each new release. Impex Records has made over 25 LPs (with three more coming), 11 Gold CDs and 2 SACDs (with another coming). As is often the case, our business grew and our needs exceeded our human resources. We needed a great partner to expand our reach, dig deeper into the vast panoply of record vaults, and merge the various listening choices and tastes of the world's many varied cultures. Impex Records found that partner with their distributor and friend Bob Bantz and Elusive Disc. Our vast, combined distribution network, along with Elusive Disc's decades of experience with audiophile software and hardware means more targeted products with Impex Records' bespoke attention to detail, forward-thinking presentation, production process and multi-cultural savvy will bring audiophiles and music lovers all over the world a new level of top-tier products. By joining forces, Impex customers will have access to a larger catalog and a one stop shop experience, faster ship time, great customer service and more great quality Impex new releases annually. We even have a few surprises in the works... It's going to be quite an exciting journey and we look forward to you joining us. I thank you all so very much for all your support and commitment over the past 6 years.

With Gratitude,

Abey Fonn
Impex Records

 

07 / 12 / 16

Why Do WAV And FLAC Files Sound Different?
Why Do WAV And FLAC Files Sound Different?
Article By Dr. Charles Zeilig And Jay Clawson

 

HIFICRITIC's Latest Issue Is Filled With Great Reviews And Think Pieces
HIFICRITIC Volume 10 Number 2 April / May / June 2016Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the latest issue of HIFICRITIC magazine! This issue includes Stan explaining the history behind and some endemic problems of the separate pre-/power amplifier combos whilst Jason Kennedy spent three days going around Europe's biggest hi-fi shows. Julian Musgrave reviews various pre-amps and passive system controllers from Music First Audio, Townshend, Bespoke Audio, Gamut, Exposure, Glasshouse and Hattor. Other hi-fi gear reviews include the Focal Sopra No2 floorstander, Thorens TD124 vintage turntable from the 1960s, dCS Rossini player and clock, First Watt M2, Cambridge Audio Azur 851N, Benchmark AHB2, Wilson Audio Sabrina, Naim NAP 500, XTZ TUNE 4 amplified speaker, Vincent SV-700 hybrid valve/FET integrated amplifier, Rogue Audio Sphinx V2 affordable hybrid integrated amplifier, Roksan Caspian RPP phono stage and much more. Within his editorial 'Moving Towards The Future Of Music' Paul Messenger says,"As we rush headlong into the future, let us not forget that hi-fi has been around for most of our lifetimes, and that most of what the music business considers as progress has been about improving access and convenience rather than quality, through such initiatives as the widespread popularity of MP3-encoded files. I'm currently feeling somewhat exasperated, as my computer, iPad and smartphone have decided to stop communicating with my Naim UnitiServe, and I've not the slightest idea why. I've tried restarting various bits and pieces, so far without success, and the control Apps simply refuse to make the connection." See what's within this issue of HIFICIRITC at this link.

 

07 / 11 / 16

XTZ TUNE 4 DSP / Powered Monitor Reiew
XTZ TUNE 4 DSP / Powered Monitor
Active speaker system from Sweden that's committed to direct sales.
Review By Harriet Bryant

 

Vinyl Sales Up 17%, Streaming Up 50%, Digital Album Sales Down 17.7%
Vinyl Sales Up 17%, Streaming Up 50%, Digital Album Sales Down 17.7%According to BuzzAngle, a site that provides a comprehensive view of total music consumption, U.S. consumption of music continued to grow in the first half of 2016. "With the pace of audio streaming more than doubling activity tracked over the same period last year, total industry consumption was up by an impressive 6.5%. The recording industry can thank ongoing growth of on-demand streaming for most of the uptic, as on-demand audio and video streams grew by a combined 58%. Album consumption rose by the aforementioned 6.5%, when the contributions of song streams and sales are factored in with album sales. Similarly, the combined impact of streams and digital sales saw song consumption gain by a robust 29%. (Note: Utilizing industry standards, 10 song sales or 1,500 streams= 1 album sale; 150 streams= 1 song sale.) King of the hill in the first half of the year is Drake, whose "Views" ranks as the top album while his "One Dance" is the most consumed song of the year. Meanwhile, even as the sales of downloads and CDs have slowed, an offering once presumed dead-the vinyl LP-continues a resurgence that has lasted more than a decade, 17% ahead of 2015's first six months. Quick takes from the 6-month data: A The 58% gain in overall streaming was juiced by a 108% swell for audio streams, a category that saw a year-over-year growth of 97% in 2015. Audio stream plays in the first six months more than doubled those from the same period last year. There were 209.4 billion on-demand streams in this half-year. More than half of those, 114 billion, were audio plays, marking the first period in which streams from audio services like Spotify and Apple Music exceeded video streams from YouTube, Vevo and the like. With a 23% gain, video streams totaled 95 billion. As happened in 2015, digital song sales continue to fall quicker than digital album sales in 2016 (declining by 24.2% and 17.7%, respectively), tracks still outsell album downloads by more than a 9 to 1 margin. As was the case in 2015, digital accounts for more than half of albums sold in the first half of 2016 with a 53% share. Even with the vinyl's 17% gain, a CD erosion of 11% meant physical album volume fell by 9% from the first half of 2015, yet physical can still mean a lot to some large sellers. Adele's "25", for example, stands as the second best selling album of the year, and 65% of the 1.25 million it rang this year came from physical product, the large majority of those CDs." You can see the full report in PDF form at this link.

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
Napster Needs To Improve Song Blocking Technology Says Judge
NapsterIn a San Francisco federal court yesterday U.S. District Court Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled that popular song-swap service Napster is not allowed to resume operations unless it can improves its song blocking technology to achieve better than a 99.4% success rate. While the Napster has been offline for just over a week, their engineers are working on databasing their fingerprint technology that can identify copyrighted songs and prevent them from being swapped on the Napster service. CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Hilary Rosen said "While we appreciate that Napster is attempting to migrate to a legitimate business model, its inability to prevent copyright infringement from occurring on its system has only hampered the development of the marketplace in which it now hopes to compete." If we fast-forward to 2016, it appears the same type of problem is occurring within YouTube as members are posting copyrighted music.

 

07 / 08 / 16

Hi-Fi+'s July Issue Features Many Reviews And T.H.E. Show Coverage
Hi-Fi+ Magazine137 July 2016Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the July 2016 issue of Hi-Fi+ magazine! This issue includes T.H.E. Show Newport report plus high-end gear reviews of the Stax SRS-5100 electrostatic headphone system, HiFiMAN Edition X planar magnetic headphones, Questyle CAS192D, CMA800P, CMA800R Golden Reference DAC, preamp, and mono headphone amps, Final Sonorous III dynamic closed-back headphones, Kennerton ODIN planar magnetic headphones, Noble Audio Savant custom-fit in-ear monitors, Trilogy Audio Systems 931 headphone amplifier, Vivid Audio B1 Decade standmount loudspeaker, Conrad-Johnson GAT S2 line stage preamplifier, ADX Riva S portable Bluetooth loudspeaker, Audiovector SR1 Avantgarde Arrete standmount loudspeaker, Rothwell Signature One phono stage and Black Rhodium Thunder, Hercules, and Titan loudspeaker cables and power cords. Within his editorial 'Counter-Culture Geek Chic Personal Audio', Alan Sircom says, "All aspects of portable and personal audio have seen marked increases in interest and sales in recent years, but the personal audio world has seen the most consistency – manufacturers vying for personal audio sales positions face a massively contended marketplace, while personal audio products are more considered, more expensive purchases. This allows for smaller brands to really carve out a niche, in a manner not wholly dissimilar to their domestic audio counterparts a generation or two ago." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ at this link.

 

YBA Passion PH150 And Genesis PH1 MM / MC Phonostages
YBA Passion PH150 And Genesis PH1 MM / MC PhonostagesYBA's new Passion PH150 and Genesis PH1 ($5200 and $2200 respectively) MM/MC phonostages are designed by Yves-Bernard André in France. YBA's Passion PH150 (pictured) easily accommodates both moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) cartridges with a selector control on the front panel. There are three stereo sets of RCA inputs on the rear panel for MC, High MC and MM, with output being unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR. The circuitry has been designed so that it will automatically sense which type of moving coil cartridge is being used and settings will adjust accordingly. This is in keeping with YBA's philosophy to avoid any unnecessary switching on the signal path. There is also a separate rear panel switch to select between low and high output moving coil cartridges. The power supply of the PH150 is separated from the main circuitry. As amplification in phono pre-amplifiers is high, separating the power supply is said to give a dramatic improvement to performance. However rather than provide two separate boxes, we have chosen to separate the power supply within the one chassis. This gives us the opportunity to use the standard style of Passion casework and front panel design features. YBA's Genesis PH1 phonostage caters for MM, low output MC and high output MC cartridges. The selector control on the front panel of the PH1 has only two options (MM or MC) even though this phono preamplifier accepts high output MC. The circuitry has been designed so that it will automatically sense which type of moving coil cartridge is being used and settings will adjust accordingly provided the correct selection is made from the toggle switch on the rear panel. The internal power supply of the PH1 is provided by 10 NCR18650 batteries charged via a 24V power adaptor. The power adaptor can remain connected and switched on at all times. When the unit is fully charged it switches off internally. It will automatically switch on when required. Keeping a full charge is ideal. YBA designs their own MC step-up transformers in France for both phonostages.

 

07 / 07 / 16

Capital Audiofest 2016 High-End Audio Show Begins Tomorrow!
Capital Audiofest 2016 High-End Audio Show ReportCapital Audiofest (CAF), from Friday July 8th through Sunday the 10th, is the premier East coast audio show that you can count on to deliver great sound. CAF is taking place at the Hilton Hotel Rockville in Rockville, MD, which is close to Washington D.C. Attendees can enjoy thousands of dollars in high-end audio gear plus audiophile music all within a truly fun experience. In 2016 the CAF are also bringing into the spotlight the return of CanMania as an integral part of the overall event. During CAF they will be giving away a high-end audio system valued at $12,000! "We have had a tradition of giveaways at all of our previous shows, it's always been a big crowd pleaser," said Gary Gill, the promoter and owner of the Capital Audiofest. "After all who doesn't like free stuff But in the past it has been components and accessories; this year we'll be giving away an entire system! This is no lightweight system either, it consists of top notch components from VPI, Alta Audio and complete connection suite from Luminous Audio." The system includes Alta Audio's new Rhea speakers, VPI 299D Limited Edition integrated tube amplifier, VPI Scout Jr with Ortofon 2M red cartridge, and Luminous Audio connection package. Enjoy the Music.com's Capital Audiofest 2016 show report will be posted online shortly.

 

07 / 01 / 16

Apple May Buy TIDAL, Yet Perhaps Not Just For Hi-Res Audio
Apple May Buy TIDAL, Yet Perhaps Not Just For Hi-Res AudioIt is being reported that Apple is in talks to buy online streaming music service TIDAL, which is mainly owned by Jay Z and company. Apple could benefit by offering more songs and album exclusives, as many highly popular artists are part owners of TIDAL. While audiophiles might be hoping for the Hi-Res Audio factor playing a part, yet odds are it is more for the financial benefits of bringing advanced exclusive songs and albums to the Apple family to flesh out Apple's online music service that is in competition with Spotify. During financial network discussions this morning, never once did they mention higher resolution music streaming TIDAL offers versus the lower quality that Spotify and Apple currently deliver. Of course Apple could easily offer their own proprietary high resolution online streaming music format, which follows the history of Apple versus licensing (or buying) MQA's Hi-Res Audio format. Jay Z is the main owner of TIDAL with Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Jack White, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Alicia Keys, Usher, Chris Martin, Calvin Harris, deadmau5, Jason Aldean and J. Cole having financial interest as well. Note that TIDAL claims to have 3,000,000 subscribers in March 2016 while Apple has 13,000,000. In contrast, Spotify is said to currently have 30,000,000 subscribers.

 

Enjoy the Music.com's July Review Magazine Is Now Available
Enjoy the Music.com brings on heat within the July issue of our Review Magazine. We have two hot World Premiere audiophile reviews plus just published this week's most talked about study "A Meta-Analysis Of High Resolution Audio Perceptual Evaluation by Joshua Reissa of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Joshua finds that Hi-Res Audio can be heard and proves it within this not-to-be-missed study. We've also just completed our coverage of T.H.E. Show Newport with over 25 pages of great audiophile gear! Please keep in mind not all articles and reviews appear below, so be sure to see our Review Magazine's main homepage to access them all.

 

T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 Report
T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 Report
The Home Entertainment Show Newport 2016

HIGH END 2016 Munich Audiophile Show Report
HIGH END 2016 Munich Audiophile Show Report

 


A Fantastic Opportunity!
Working together brings high-end audio more presence.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin

 


It's All Good
Roger Skoff writes about the state of our hobby, and is well pleased.
Article By Roger Skoff

 

 A Meta-Analysis Of High Resolution Audio Perceptual Evaluation
A Meta-Analysis Of High Resolution Audio Perceptual Evaluation
Article By Joshua Reiss

 

Westlake Audio Tower 5 Loudspeakers Review
World Premiere!
Westlake Audio Tower 5 Loudspeakers
I say go for it!
Review By Tom Lyle

 

Gryphon Audio Designs Kalliope DAC Review
<<< REWIND <<<
Gryphon Audio Designs Kalliope DAC
A cost-no-object 32-bit/384kHz & DSD512 DAC for those who desire the very best.
Review By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Audiosmile LBM - Little British Monitor Review
World Premier!
Audiosmile LBM - Little British Monitor
A considerable upgrade for desktop speakers that packs a punch!
Review By Christopher Tan

 

Charisma Audio 103 $750 Phono Cartridge Review
Charisma Audio 103 $750 Phono Cartridge
So affordable that you won't cry when wearing it out.
Review By Rick Becker

 

Hegel HD30 32-bit/192kHz DAC Review
Hegel HD30 32-bit/192kHz DAC
A truly exceptional DAC!
Review And Images By Greg Weaver

 

McIntosh MC75 & C22 Tube Preamplifier ReviewMcIntosh MC75 & C22 Tube Preamplifier Review
<<< REWIND <<<
McIntosh MC75 Monoblock Tube Amp & C22 Tube Pre
McIntosh's latest re-introduction of their classic audio components.
Review By Anthony Nicosia

 

06 / 30 / 16

Australian Hi-Fi's Latest Magazine Issue Is Now Available
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine July / August 2016Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the July / August 2016 issue of Australian Hi-Fi magazine! This issue includes how Munich's HIGH END show has taken over from Las Vegas' CES as the most important event on the audio calendar. Audiophile equipment reviews include the Yamaha CD-S3000 SACD player, Krix Neuphonix MkII loudspeakers, Einstein 'The Tune' integrated amplifier, Meridian Explorer2 DAC, Bryston 14B3 power amplifier, JBL Studio 530 loudspeakers, and Stax RS-L700 earspeakers. Within his editorial titled 'Crowd-Funded Hi-Fi: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?', Greg Borrowman says , "It costs a lot of money to get an electronic hi-fi product to market. So much money that in the past only very large companies – or very dedicated individuals – were able to manage it. These days, thanks to the modern miracle that is crowd-funding, anyone can raise the money to build a product, often within only a few days. No more need for expensive bank loans or pesky shareholders or worse, demanding business partners: Just crowd-fund it. That's what a company called Kreyos did when it thought a waterproof, voice-activated smart watch would be a good idea. Lots of ordinary people also thought it would be a good idea too, and quickly contributed $US1.5 million (using the Indiegogo platform) towards building that watch. But when the company finally delivered the watch to its backers ('way beyond the promised deadline, by the way) it was not the watch it had promised to those people who had paid their money. The final product was not waterproof, lacked support for either Google Now or SIRI, and did not have the promised voice control for emails, messages and making calls." See what's within this issue of Australian Hi-Fi at this link.

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
61% Of 18 to 24 Year Old Internet Users Have Downloaded Music
According to the company Ipsos-Reid, who has over 20 years in surveys and logging public opinions and habits, 51% of Internet users aged 18 to 34 in 30 countries have enjoyed downloaded music from the Internet. While college students seem to be quickly embracing music from the Internet, approximately 61% of Internet users aged 18 to 24 had downloaded music by 2001 as opposed to "only" 53% by 2000. As for other age groups, 29% of Internet users aged 35 to 54 have downloaded music while 16% of Internet users over age 55 have enjoyed music from the Internet. This all adds up to 38% of all Internet users within this 30 country study have downloaded music.

 

06 / 29 / 16

T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 Report
T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 Report

Critical Mass Systems, Constellation, J-Corder, AudioQuest, MasterBuilt Audio And Von Schweikert Audio

ModWright Instruments, Daedalus Audio, WyWires And GIK Acoustics

Audioengine W3 Wireless System And HD6 Powered Speakers

Zu Audio Druid MK. V, Modern Console No. 1, And Zu Audio DL-103 Cartridge

Valve Amplification Company (VAC) And Nola Brio Speakers

 

McIntosh Labs C2600 Tube Pre, MP100 Phono Pre & MVP901 Player/DAC
McIntosh Labs C2600 Tube Pre, MP100 Phono Pre & MVP901 Player/DACMcIntosh Labs, has just announced their new C2600 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier, the MP100 Phono Preamplifier and the MVP901 Audio Video Player ($7000, $2000 and $5500 respectively). Building upon the C2300 and C2500 – two of the most successful McIntosh vacuum tube preamplifiers – is the C2600 that incorporates the best of the previous models while adding McIntosh Labs' advanced digital audio section and upgraded tube circuitry design. The C2600 is a versatile preamplifier with an expansive set of 16 inputs to connect virtually all analog or digital music sources. Analog inputs include 3 balanced, 4 unbalanced plus 1 each dedicated Moving Magnet and Moving Coil phono inputs. Digital inputs consist of 3 optical, 2 coax, 1 USB and 1 McIntosh exclusive MCT connection. Three sets of balanced and unbalanced analog outputs connect the C2600 to the rest of the system. The C2600 features a 32-bit/384kHz, DSD digital-to-analog-converter (DAC) and is capable of decoding and playing DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 plus DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. For headphone listening, the addition of Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) brings an added dimension to the music. Home Theater Pass Thru allows for seamless integration into a multi-channel home theater system. The MP100 is the first dedicated phono preamplifier from McIntosh and is designed to help both new and experienced vinyl lovers get the most fidelity, performance and – most importantly – enjoyment from their albums. Like all McIntosh products, the MP100 is packed with features designed specifically for the vinyl lover including: Moving Coil and Moving Magnet inputs; Moving Coil and Moving Magnet adjustable loading (6 settings each); balanced and unbalanced analog outputs; optical, coax and USB digital outputs; and a Mono switch for when playing mono records to decrease noise and play the signal correctly. When used with a properly configured conversion program, the MP100 can "rip" the records to a computer via USB to produce high quality digital files. The digital outputs are fixed to 24-bit/96kHz to capture the full dynamic range of a record while optimizing digital file size. If an album has a very loud section, the digital output clipping protection prevents harsh sounding and speaker damaging distortion from being recorded to the file. Compact in size at just 3" tall, it shares the same 11.5" narrow chassis design as the MXA70 Integrated Audio System, MHA100 Headphone Amp and MB50 Streaming Audio Player. McIntosh Labs' MVP901 Audio Video Player can be an integral part of any home theater system. With its ability to upsample 1080P and lower resolutions to 4K Ultra HD, it can breathe new life into a vast movie library and is a perfect complement to the 4K compatible McIntosh MX122 or MX160 home theater processor. Built in decoding of Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio will put the viewer in the center of the action. The MVP901 can also pass the latest object-based 3D audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D to the compatible processor for truly encompassing surround sound. CDs, SACDs and DVD-Audio discs can be enjoyed via an 8-channel, 32-bit/192kHz DAC that's used in stereo quad balanced mode to produce high fidelity audio. The HDMI output can be used for multi-channel music playback. Three USB ports allow playback of audio and video files from flash drives. Network streaming and BD-Live is available through the Ethernet connection.

 

Queen Mary University Study: People Can Hear Difference In Hi-Res Audio
Queen Mary University Study: People Can hear Difference In Hi-Res AudioQueen Mary University of London (QMUL) has released an article about their study that shows, scientifically, that people can hear the difference in high resolution audio. "Listeners can hear a difference between standard audio and better than CD quality, known as high resolution audio, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London. The study compared data from over 12,000 different trials from 18 studies where participants were asked to discriminate between samples of music in different formats. Dr Joshua Reiss from QMUL's Centre for Digital Music in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science said: "Audio purists and industry should welcome these findings – our study finds high resolution audio has a small but important advantage in its quality of reproduction over standard audio content." Many in the music industry have been split as to whether people can really hear a difference between CD quality music and high resolution audio – even celebrity musicians have entered the fray with new music streaming services: Tidal launched by Jay-Z and Pono players and music service spearheaded by Neil Young and crowd funded through a Kickstarter campaign. Both streaming services launched in the last two years have been met with scepticism. However, this new study found that listeners can tell the difference between low and high resolution audio formats, and the effect is dramatically increased with training: trained test subjects could distinguish between the formats around sixty per cent of the time. Writing in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, the research suggested that careful selection of stimuli, such as using long samples of more than 30 seconds, may play an important role in the ability to discriminate between the formats. Dr Reiss explained: "One motivation for this research was that people in the audio community endlessly discuss whether the use of high resolution formats and equipment really make a difference. Conventional wisdom states that CD quality should be sufficient to capture everything we hear, yet anecdotes abound where individuals claim that hi-res content sounds crisper, or more intense. And people often cherry-pick their favourite study to support whichever side they're on. "Our study is the first attempt to have a thorough and impartial look at whether high res audio can be heard. We gathered 80 publications, and analysed all available data, even asking authors of earlier studies for their original reports from old filing cabinets. We subjected the data to many forms of analysis. The effect was clear, and there were some indicators as to what conditions demonstrate it most effectively. Hopefully, we can now move forward towards identifying how and why we perceive these differences." The samples analysed were mainly classical and jazz music, though it's not clear for which type of music high resolution recording and playback made the biggest difference. 'A meta-analysis of high resolution audio perceptual evaluation' by Joshua D. Reiss will be published in the June issue of Journal of the Audio Engineering Society." Enjoy the Music.com has published A Meta-Analysis Of High Resolution Audio Perceptual Evaluation at this link. 

 

 

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