High-End Audio, High Fidelity Audiophile Industry News
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03 / 07 / 14
Spotify has acquired the industry's leading music intelligence company The Echo Nest. The acquisition supports Spotify's strategy "to grow global music consumption and overall revenue back to the music industry by building the best user experience and music discovery engine for millions of global fans". Keep in mind that The Echo Nest, now owned by Spotify, also handles web traffic for most Internet radio services including their competition too! So who uses The Echo Nest you ask? Leading music and service companies including Clear Channel's iHeartradio, MOG, Rdio, SiriusXM, BBC.com, Foursquare, MTV, Twitter, VEVO, Yahoo!, doubleTwist, Coca Cola, Intel, Microsoft, and Reebok. Many of them use The Echo Nest's platform and solutions to build smarter music experiences that "help fans to better discover, share and interact with the music they love". They currently reach over 100 million music fans every month through 432 apps and sites powered by The Echo Nest. This deal will allow Spotify to "leverage The Echo Nest's in depth musical understanding and tools for curation to drive music discovery for millions of users around the globe. The addition of The Echo Nest to Spotify will also strengthen Spotify's ability to help brands and partners build amazing music experiences for their audiences" says the press release. "We've been fans of The Echo Nest for a really long time and honored to have their talented team join Spotify," said Daniel Ek, Founder and CEO of Spotify. "At Spotify, we want to get people to listen to more music. We are hyper focused on creating the best user experience and it starts with building the best music intelligence platform on the planet. With The Echo Nest joining Spotify, we will make a big leap forward in our quest to play you the best music possible." The Echo Nest will continue to operate out their present headquarters in Somerville, MA and continue to operate in San Francisco.
03 / 06 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com just posted Hi-Fi+'s March edition filled with many great equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue includes equipment reviews of the Alpha Design Labs X-1 portable headphone amplifier/DAC, Magnum Dynalab MD807T Internet media tuner, Lumin A-1 network audio streamer/DAC, Timestep T-01MC MC phonostage, Cavalli Audio Liquid Gold headphone amplifier, Cambridge Audio Minx XI network audio system, Charisma Audio MC-1 MC cartridge and more! In his editorial, Alan Sircom says "What doesn't change is the need for good loudspeakers; even despite a strong trend for headphone replay, loudspeakers in the home remain a vital interest for music lovers of all ages. And in this issue, not only do we have one of the most important high-end loudspeakers ever as our lead feature, but we also are offering one lucky winner the chance to own a unique pair of Wilson Benesch Square Series 2 Square One loudspeakers, custom finished in white with the Hi-Fi+ logo discretely placed on the speaker cabinet." See the March issue of Hi-Fi+ by clicking here.
GIK Acoustics, a leading manufacturer and seller of sound absorption and diffusion products, new FreeStand Acoustic Panel is a movable, lightweight and portable absorption device. The FreeStand Acoustic Panel is a lightweight and easily movable acoustic device and is ideal for any room where wall mounted panels cannot be used. It is also good for rooms with multiple purposes where installation flexibility is key. For listening rooms, control rooms and home theaters, the FreeStand is a solution for use in front of doors and windows. For recording studios, the FreeStand can be used around drums or amps too. GIC Acoustics' FreeStand covers five feet of vertical wall space making it an ideal solution for early reflection points or helping to control overall ambiance in a room. When placed against the wall, the supports leave a 4" gap between the FreeStand and the wall which increases low end absorption. "We developed the FreeStand as an option for customers who need flexibility in the acoustic solutions for their space" said Owner and President Glenn Kuras. "We've always offered a variety of stands as accessories, but with the introduction of the FreeStand Acoustic Panel, customers get the added benefit of an affordable acoustic treatment plus a built-in support. It is a great product for treating rooms that serve other functions – such as living rooms as theater rooms or bedrooms as mixing studios. It is also adept for professional studios where treatments need to be placed in various areas during recording. The FreeStand is lightweight, versatile and totally movable making it ideal for all sorts of uses. They really are a great addition to our product line because they're ready to use out of the box - just wham, bam, put it where you need it. Move it around, use it anywhere. And if your roommate or your wife doesn't like it in the room, just store it away out of sight."
03 / 05 / 14
Liztic has entered into a partnership with HDtracks to bring the experience of high resolution music to every music lover by using Liztic's cross-platform music technology. Liztic is a cross-platform music player and manager, available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. Liztic manages and synchronizes music libraries seamlessly across devices and operating systems. Aside from playing MP3 and CD quality audio, the Liztic app enables users to play uncompressed and high-resolution music files up to 192kHz/24-bit (FLAC/AIFF/WAV) through an external DAC. Liztic is also a personal streaming music player via Google Drive, Dropbox and within local networks. Alas, it seems their software does not handle the popular high resolution DSD format. The Basic version of Liztic is free for the basic version and there are three upgrade options: Pro, Premium and Studio ($3, $10 and $25 respectively). Each uprated version offers increased song synchronization capacity for more devices.
Crestron's new HD-XSPA ($5500) 7.1-channel surround sound processor features multi-channel amplification and DigitalMedia room box in one unit. The HD-XSPA connects directly to a DM switch, eliminating the need for a separate DigitalMedia receiver in the room. A full range of built-in control ports, including RS-232, IR, Ethernet, and relay, allows for programmable control of local devices. CEC pass-through allows control of many devices via HDMI. Crestron's HD-XSPA fully supports 4K Ultra HD sources and displays through four HDMI inputs, the DigitalMedia input, and the HDMI output. S/PDIF inputs include one TosLink optical and two RCA coaxial. Audio signals can also be received from a Sonnex Multiroom Audio System via an AUD-EXT Audio Extender. Audio output options include stereo or mono downmix of the surround sound signal to feed a second listening zone or headphone amplifier. It can also be used to provide an audio return channel to a Sonnex Multiroom Audio System, allowing the local audio to be distributed to multiple stereo zones throughout the house. There is a built-in noise generator for audio setup and DSP with 9-band graphic or parametric EQ, delay, crossover, and compression. The Crestron HD-XSPA decodes all the latest digital formats including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Featuring a high-power, 8-channel amplifier, the HD-XSPA delivers 140 Watts per channel @ 8 Ohms (240 Watts @ 4 Ohms). It includes a powered subwoofer channel too. Compact in design at just 2U, the HD-XSPA saves space in the equipment rack and integrates easily with other Crestron systems and AV equipment.
03 / 04 / 14
Apple just announced their working with leading auto manufacturers to have the company's new CarPlay in-car operating system. CarPlay gives iPhone users an intuitive way to make calls, use Apple Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch. Users can control CarPlay from the car's native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri without distraction. Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will premiere CarPlay this week, while additional auto manufacturers bringing CarPlay to their drivers in the future include BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp. "CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. "iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva." CarPlay provides drivers access to their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio via physical controls or by asking Siri to pull up what you'd like to hear. Apple's CarPlay system requires the main cable to be connected, thus does not reply on limited bandwidth Bluetooth technology. There is no word about the audio capabilities, thus it is anyone's guess if it will play high resolution music files.
Boombox enthusiasts may want to check out Ion Audio's new Road Warrior 200-Watt wireless stereo speaker system ($399). The Road Warrior brings 200 Watts to your party, which is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery that may be charged via 12 volt or wall outlet. Two 10" woofers produce ample bass and midrange; with the upper frequencies being produced by two 1" dome tweeters. An AM/FM radio is built in as is Bluetooth and a 1/8" Aux analog input. Ion Audio's Road Warrior's cabinet is made with MDF that is then covered in soft durable cloth. Cabinet versatility in design shows well here as the Ion Audio Road Warrior can either sit in angled or in upright position. There are multiple recessed handles for easy carrying.
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
03 / 03 / 14
High fidelity audio is making its way to the lifestyle event market as the upcoming RAND Luxury show in NYC will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion tomorrow from 3pm to 5pm. The Luxury Technology Show brings together 50 brands from around the world. Attendees will have two hours to se such notable brands as Creston Electronics, Sony, Velodyne, SIM2 Multimedia, Krell Industries, Westone Music, Audeze, Wren Sound Systems, Astell & Kern, audio DOCTOR, Waterfall Audio Sound Designers and more. RAND Luxury is an International event-production company that caters to fine luxury brands. According to the show promoter, "The primary focus and purpose for these events are to provide 3-4 months of public relations and brand exposure for all of its exhibitors & sponsors." Based in Manhattan, the RAND team says they are best known for their "Evening of Luxury" events where a variety of manufacturers showcase their newest and hottest products. The Rand concept has been featured on television on such stations/broadcasts as CNBC High Net Worth, CNNfn, Fox, ABC & CBS.
03 / 01 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com's March Review Magazine is filed with four World Premiere equipment reviews, a link to Alan Sircom's Bristol Sound & Vision 2014 show report plus some exciting lifestyle and design products including one for your Apple iPhone!
See the March Review Magazine by clicking here.
The Wonderful DIY Experience
Freq iPhone 'Amplifier'
Lotus Motorcycle C-01
Swatch SISTEM51 Automatic Wind Mechanical Timepiece
Duelund Cast Pio (Paper In Oil) Copper Capacitor
Great Prokofiev and disappointing Rachmaninoff concerto's from two young superstars.
From Reference Recordings, fine performances of Strauss blockbusters in wonderful recorded sound.
See the March Review Magazine by clicking here.
02 / 28 / 14
SanDisk's much-anticipated Ultra 128 GB microSDXC card is now for sale ($120)! As the world's highest capacity MicroSD card, you can add them to your portable media player such as the Astell&Kern AK100/120/240 plus many other PMP devices and enjoy hours of uncompressed music! Of course the new 128GB card may also be used within your Android smartphone and tablet too! Many new phones and tablets decide 96kHz/24-bit, with some reaching up to the best 192kHz! The new SanDisk 128GB microSD card delivers twice the speed of 'ordinary' memory cards and is rated to have file transfer speeds up to 30MB/s. It is also water-proof, low/high temperature proof, X-ray proof, magnet proof, and shock proof. Since many of us tend to 'burn through' cards, it is great to see the new SanDisk 128GB microSD card comes with a 10 year warranty. You can buy the new SanDisk 128GB microSD card from Amazon at this link.
The IFPI, the international recording industry association with 1300 record company members from across the globe, has released "Music Remains", which is a 90-second film celebrating recorded music. The video shows a 'race' of sorts as we stroll down recoded music history. The video features a variety of songs, musical instruments and both vintage and new high fidelity audio devices. Filmed at London's world-famous Abbey Road studios, Music Remains shows music at the heart of the story of one family. The film was created by music industry director Steve Milbourne who worked with with director Martin Stirling at Unit 9 Films. In this must-see Rube Goldberg-styled machine we take a wonderful walk through the many years of recorded music history and the devices we used to enjoy the music. The whole project was filmed in two days within Abbey Road's Studio No. 2. There is also a Behind the scenes, a short "making of" documentary. It shows how the production was put together, the building of the Rube Goldberg Machine and the 48 "takes" that had to be tried before a successful run of the machine was made. "The idea was to convey the message that, while technology may be continuously changing, recorded music is always at the centre of people's lives", says Steve Milbourne. "At the same time, we wanted to it to be a very personal story. Pepstar's lyrics are about key experiences - from the meeting of our parents to childhood memories, first girlfriends and family tragedy." Enjoy the Music.com loves this bit of video and have posted it for all to see below.
AXPONA just announced Mark Waldrep, Ph.D., the founder of AIX Records, will hold the first 'Is It Live Or Is It HD-Audio?' shoot out between new folk musician John Gorka and the world's finest surround music playback system plus Enjoy the Music.com can save 15% on tickets too! The event will be held on the opening day of AXPONA in Chicago, Friday April 25, from 2:30 to 4:00 pm in the Madison Ballroom of the Westin O'Hare Hotel. In addition to the state-of-the-art, unprocessed HD-Audio, the presentation will also feature Ultra HD-Video of John from his AIX Records 2007 Blu-ray release The Gypsy Life. A JVC Professional DLA-RS6710 D-ILA projector will display the video on a screen provided by Stewart FilmScreen Corporation. Joining John for this private performance is one of Boston's top singer songwriters Antje Duvekot. Award-winning AIX has been called, "the Bentley of audio labels", so you know this is going to be an event not to be missed! "We've put together one of the most expensive and best sounding high-end audio systems ever demonstrated at an audio trade event with our special partners German Physiks, Vitus Audio, Dolby Laboratories, Bryston, Oppo Digital, JVC Professional Products and DH Labs," said Dr. Waldrep. "Attendees will be able to enjoy songs from my favorite singer songwriter, John Gorka, performed acoustically in the Madison Ballroom and then experience our AIX Records Real HD-Audio recording of John and his band through German Physik's flagship Emperor speakers powered by Danish high-end maker Vitus Audio in an unprecedented fully immersive 5.1 surround configuration." You can save 15% off AXPONA tickets right now at this link.
02 / 27 / 14
Blue Note is celebrating their 75th anniversary with newly remastered vinyl LP releases! Since 1939 Blue Note has showcased some of the world's best jazz musicians at the peak of their career. So to hallmark this special 75th anniversary, two years ago they decided to begin remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalog in hi-definition resolutions of 96 and 192 kHz. Blue Note's goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these incredible recordings. They wanted to ensure their remastered versions represented the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated engineers their hopes was to recapture a sound that had the same feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes. While these new versions will become available in high definition digital format, they also sought to eventually offer them in their original vinyl format too. Thus Blue Note, along with Universal Music Enterprises, launched a major 75th anniversary vinyl initiative that is dedicated to the proposition that their catalog should be readily available at a low cost and featuring high quality vinyl LP pressings and authentic reproductions of Blue Note's iconic packaging. Beginning in March 2014, Blue Note will start rolling out five remastered vinyl reissues every month. Although this program begins in celebration of Blue Note's 75th Anniversary, their catalog runs so deep that reissuing five albums a month will continue for many years to come.
PS Audio's new DirectStream DAC ($5995) is the result of lead designer Ted Smith's obsession with DSD. They claim that "The problem is the PCM decoding process itself: whether a classic ladder-DAC or more modern multi-bit Sigma-Delta type, PCM processors universally mask some of the subtle cues in music, and no amount of upgrading, expenditure, tweaking or improvement can fix this fundamentally-flawed system. In order to extract everything hidden in PCM recordings, a completely new processing method is needed." PS Audio's DirectStream converts all digital inputs, including PCM, to pure 1-bit DSD. The PCM feed is said to become more linear and less edgy according to the company. DirectStream utilizes 66-bit fixed-point FIR filters, eliminates headroom issues common to PCM, flattens noise response in the 20Hz to 100kHz region, uses coefficients optimized for best sound rather than faster processing speed and optimizes hardware-specific operations not possible in software. PS Audio provides an upgrade program for all PerfectWave DAC owners to convert their existing units to the new DirectStream standard.
02 / 26 / 14
Astell&Kern is now delivering their much-anticipated AK240 24-bit/192kHz and DSD portable media player ($2500). Deliveries to the United States will begin March 4, 2014 and customers can right now pre-order the new AK240 at authorized Astell&Kern retailers and online. The AK240 builds upon the success of the current Astell&Kern AK100 and Enjoy the Music.com award earning AK120 players with the visually stunning high-tech redesign and a slew of new features not offered in any other high resolution portable audio players. The AK240 has 256GB internal memory and a microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB microSD card for a total of 384GB of music storage. The dual-Core processor allows the AK240 to process requests and play back high resolution audio files with virtually no lag time and is Wi-Fi enabled to pull music from your NAS drive. It can also use Wi-Fi to connect to high-resolution music download sites directly from the player to purchase and download music tracks. For control, the 3.31" AMOLED touch-screen has an 800x480 resolution. Dual Cirrus Logic 4398 digital to analog converter (DAC) chipsets ensure true dual-mono operation for excellent channel separation, broader dynamic range and wider soundstage. There is also native DSD support including DSD64 and DSD128 files. Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) playback is fully supported as this lossless format provides recording quality that is straight from the studio mastering source. For analog output both stereo and balanced analog is provided. The main housing of the unit features Duralumin, which is an aircraft grade aluminum alloy. The Astell&Kern AK240 may also be used as an USB DAC, allowing the user to connect the AK240 to a computer to provide higher quality sound processing than most sound cards available today.
02 / 25 / 14
Capitol Records and Gogo are partnering with Grammy-Award winning artist Beck on the release of his eagerly anticipated new album titled Morning Phase. For the next 30 days Gogo's 3.5 million unique monthly visitors will have the opportunity to stream Beck's new album Morning Phase in its entirety. Accessing the new album is simple – passengers only need to launch their browser on any laptop, tablet or smartphone and they will be able to access the album from the home page. No purchase is necessary to experience this cloud-breaking promotion, which will be available on all 2,000+ domestic Gogo equipped aircrafts. Beck's Morning Phase features many of the same musicians who played on Beck's 2002 classic Sea Change -– and who also currently accompany him live: Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, and Roger Joseph Manning Jr.. Preceded by the first single "Blue Moon," then comes "Waking Light," the band's orchestral centerpiece "Wave," and recent live debuts of "Morning" and "Unforgiven". Morning Phase is said to "harkens back to the classic harmonies, Californian song craft and staggering emotional impact of that record, while surging forward with infectious optimism." Today, the album is available at Amazon on vinyl LP, CD and digital download plus brick and mortar retailers. Track listing is:
Qualcomm's new AllPlay smart media platform, a wireless whole-home audio solution developed by Qualcomm Connected Experiences, incorporates Qualcomm Atheros wireless technologies to deliver audio upwards of 192kHz/24-bit. The AllPlay smart audio module makes it easy to develop and offer consumers products with seamless streaming of high-quality local and cloud-based content - with high performance Wi-Fi connectivity - across multiple brands and platforms. A broad array of audio equipment manufacturers and streaming music services - including Altec Lansing, iHeartRadio, Panasonic Corporation and Rhapsody - have committed to the commercial release of AllPlay-powered products this year. Initially focused on delivering high-quality multi-room audio, AllPlay is built upon the AllJoyn framework developed as an open source project by Qualcomm Innovation Center. AllJoyn helps developers address the need for secure, universal interoperability among devices and apps in support of the ever-developing Internet of Everything. The AllPlay platform is designed for use by audio equipment and accessories manufacturers, cloud music services and app developers. The AllPlay smart audio module offers Wi-Fi solutions for superior connectivity, which is important for delivering multiple streams of high-resolution audio wirelessly around the home. The AllPlay smart audio module is compact in design and includes a Qualcomm Atheros 2x2 dual-band Wi-Fi SoC, flexible I/Os including USB, I2S, I2C and S/PDIF, on- and off-board antennas, support for multiple digital-to-analog converters, and global regulatory certification. AllPlay media player software package supports lossy, lossless and uncompressed audio codecs including MP3, AAC, AAC+, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, PCM and high-resolution 192kHz/24-bit audio. The software package supports Party Mode playback across up to 10 zones/speakers, multi-source to multi-sink streaming, shared/social play lists; cross-platform Wi-Fi network configuration and Direct Mode streaming, over-the-air firmware updates, and current support for DLNA. Flexible controller apps and SDKs - Cross-platform compatibility (iOS and Android), speaker grouping with capability for individual volume controls for each set of speakers (Party and Multi-Zone modes), and the ability to stream content from handsets, tablets and local media sources. AllPlay Click SDK - Enables music services and software developers to easily incorporate AllPlay functionality into their iOS and Android apps. Early adopter OEM and content partners who are planning to support the platform include Altec Lansing, Aupeo, Grooveshark, and TuneIn to name a few.
02 / 24 / 14
Yahoo's recently purchased Aviate app, which automatically categorizes all of your apps and intelligently rearranges your home screen throughout the day to dynamically give you the apps and information you need most, has added a new 'Listening Space'. As an invite-only beta for the moment, they want to ensure a quality experience for users. To quote Yahoo, "Music is a huge part of our everyday lives and based on what we've heard from you, a big part of yours as well. That's why we're happy to announce our latest update: Listening Space. Plug your headphones into your Android phone and Aviate instantly opens your Listening Space. Like other Spaces, Listening Space automatically surfaces all your music apps in one place. If you want to try something new, Aviate also recommends related music apps so you can download them from Google Play. Once a song starts playing, Aviate detects the song you're listening to and surfaces bios and recent tweets from the artist, upcoming shows nearby, and the ability to listen to top tracks in Spotify. Aviate is learning how to make your phone smarter and we're constantly working to create new experiences, like Listening Space, that simplify your life." Yahoo's Aviate app shows you music apps with relevant information about the artist/band you're listening to, including upcoming concerts too. For the time being, Listening Space is available on devices running Android +4.0 (Samsung Galaxy users with update to Android 4.3+).
Forgotify is a new service from Spotify that features music never played within their 4+ million song files. Are you looking for new music, perhaps songs released years ago yet remain 'undiscovered', to listen and enjoy? Perhaps you are tired of listening to the same 20 or so songs that Clear Channel has deemed to be on their relentlessly tiring play lists on their hundreds of radio stations? If so, then Forgotify may be the site for you! The folks at Forgotify were "shocked to learn that 20% of Spotify's songs (4+ million) had never been played. Not even once. A musical travesty, really. So we set out to give these neglected songs another way to reach your ear holes, and Forgotify was born." Go crazy, break the chains of predictable music and let Forgotify find new music for you to enjoy.
02 / 21 / 14
Audyssey announced Audyssey 60°, which is the company's new technology upgrade for headphone listening experience by bringing depth and spatial awareness. To render a normal soundstage over headphones, Audyssey says that "previous methods have attempted to feed the signal from each side to the opposite ear with little success". Audyssey 60° takes a different approach, developing an immersive listening experience by sending the proper blend of acoustical and psychoacoustical cues to both ears simultaneously. This results in spatially expanded sound perception, creating the impression of a much wider soundstage. Audyssey will be at the Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona, Spain, meeting with phone and tablet manufacturers that have already expressed strong interest in delivering HD audio to their customers. Audyssey 60° is a software-based solution that is quickly and easily implemented in any mobile device, mobile application or personal computer. "With headphones it's impossible to reproduce the soundstage experience of the original recording because headphones can't deliver sound to both ears," said Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's founder and CTO. "As a result, significant portions of the required acoustical and psychoacoustical cues are missing. With Audyssey 60°, we restore this missing information to deliver a natural, more precise listening experience."
Grace Digital now offers the business music and messaging industry's first cost effective customizable streaming on premise radio player and device management web portal. Using a high speed Ethernet or Wi-Fi Internet connection, the GDI-IRBM20 connects in minutes to your customer's overhead background music and telephone system. Customers can then listen to and view your custom channel name, artist, and song title on the easy-to-read display. The GDI-IRBM20 will automatically play your custom stream(s) when powered on for effortless operation. "Grace Digital developed the new Internet radio and management platform to allow music and messaging providers a robust, elegant, yet cost effective solution to provide reliable dynamic streaming content," according to Greg Fadul, Grace Digital's CEO. "While consumer's embraced Internet delivered music, news, and sports a decade ago, we just recently began seeing rapid adoption of Internet delivered business music and messaging. Once business's experience the advantageous of real time cloud based music and messaging services, they never look back." With Grace's web-based radio management tool, a Business Music and Messaging provider registers a GDI-IRBM20 onto your management account - then you control all the core features of your customer's on premise radio such as:
02 / 20 / 14
Denon has released their DA-300USB 32-bit/192kHz and DSD DAC ($499). The DA-300USB is an upgrade stand-alone DAC with headphone amplifier that enables audiophile playback of computer music libraries and streaming audio (from any PC or Mac) via a user's stereo system or headphones. The new DA-300USB DAC boasts Denon's advanced AL32 processing along with high-precision, 32-bit, 192-kHz digital-to-analog conversion technologies. Users simply connect the DAC via its USB-B port to receive computer audio. In additional to USB input there is one S/PDIF coaxial plus two TosLink optical digital inputs. The DAC master clock is design for distortion-free, fully transparent soundstage whilst noise-isolating circuit design prevents distortion via USB connection from computer-generated digital noise. Universal bit-transparent, asynchronous playback of digital audio file formats and streaming audio from PCs via USB-B handle upwards of 24 bit, 192 kHz and DSD2.8 and DSD5.6 native support by DoP (DSD audio over PCM frames). High-quality analog signal (line level) output and headphone amplifier stage may be used to connect to hi-fi amplifiers or desktop speaker systems and headphones. Denon's DA-300USB is an ultra-compact unit measuring approximately 7" x 7" x 2" and can be positioned either horizontally or vertically via the supplied clip-on stand. The minimalist front panel has a power button, headphone output and volume control, a touch input selector switch, and an OLED display that shows the selected input, headphone volume and input signal resolution. Orientation of the display changes with horizontal or vertical positioning of the unit.
TACET's new Vinyl: Check album features new signals and recordings to test and adjust vinyl equipment. This 180 gram record has a total playing time 35:44 and offers such tests as tracking ability, wow and flutter, phase, crosstalk, and tracking angle error. Also included are tests for skating, pick-up arm resonance, strident sibilants and fricatives. Lastly you can check frequency response and dynamics too. This LP fits in seamlessly with an entire series of releases that have been issued by TACET over the years, including My Audiophile Companion [T51], The Audiophile Chamber of Horrors [T54] and others. This gives listeners the means to decide, with their own ears and usually without measurement devices, how well a system functions or sounds. The engineers at TACET have thought up quite a large number of novel tones and signals in order to systematically test the quality of an LP system. Some of them enter into the border area of what vinyl technology is capable of achieving. The LP was created in cooperation with the Analogue Audio Association and with the help of Daniel Krieger of SST Schneidtechnik (SST Cutting Technology).
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
02 / 19 / 14
Leading digital audio developer exaSound Audio Design just unveiled their e22 DAC ($3499). The new exaSound e22 is a third generation DSD256 DAC that brings fine audio to a higher level. It offers to the audiophile community the best DSD support, including native DSD256+ mode at a sampling rate of 12.288 MHz. Unique in-house developed technologies like asynchronous USB interface with error correction, proprietary computer drivers, and Galvanic ground isolation give exaSound DACs is what the company feels it takes to compete with the most expensive D/A converters on the market today. Low distortion, noise, and jitter levels of the e22 greatly extend the accuracy, transparency and dynamics of music reproduction. Compared to its predecessor, the model e20, exaSound's e22 DAC offers 82fs Femto-Master-Clock, an enhanced high-current headphone amplifier, lower noise and distortion levels, a 12V Trigger Output, and heavy-duty USB-B and RCA connectors. The exaSound e22 DAC features:
TVLogic, a leading Korean audio and UHD broadcast monitor manufacturer, now offers their Aurender X100 digital music player. Designed to make managing, viewing and playing digital music collections fun and easy, the X100 supports bit-perfect playback of DSD (DIFF/DSF), WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, M4A, and other major formats at native bit and sampling rates. The X100 is equipped with a high performance USB digital audio output and features a Gigabit Ethernet port for software upgrades, file transfers and network connectivity, two USB data ports, internal hard drive for storage and 120GB solid-state drive cache for latency-free playback. The X100 digital music player incorporates many innovations originally developed for the higher priced Aurender S10 and W20 models, including the solid-state drive cache for playback which is said by the company to completely eliminates jitter, latency and noise resulting from spinning hard drives and compact disks. The X100 uses the same high performance USB digital audio output as their flagship Aurender W20 with proprietary power circuitry to eliminate noise in the audio signal and is carefully shielded against RF interference. While the Aurender X100 can be operated using the front panel buttons, using the Aurender Conductor App for iPad and iPad Mini is the most convenient way to sort, browse and play music, in addition to setting various options on the X100 digital player such as display mode (song information, level meter, playlists, device information), power mode (On/Off or Standby), DAC options and more. Since its inception, the Aurender Conductor App has undergone several upgrades to add new features and improvements in collaboration with Aurender users and industry partners. With just a press of a button or a flick on the iPad, entire music libraries can be instantly sorted into various categories, custom categories, by bit and sampling rates, and by user rating. Designed for large digital music libraries, the Aurender Conductor App has extensive features to make sorting, viewing and playing fast and easy. Suggested retail prices of the X100S and X100L are $2999 and $3499 respectively. You can see Enjoy the Music.TV's video interview with TVLogic's Charles Kim at this link.
02 / 18 / 14
Bowers & Wilkins has just launched their new 600 Series of loudspeakers. The new Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series is said to dramatically improve upon the existing range's combination of outstanding value and high performance. Through the careful application of both established and all-new technologies, every element of its design has been significantly improved in the form of six new models. The new 600 Series utilizes proven Bowers & Wilkins engineering solutions from other ranges – Double Dome Tweeters derived from the CM10 speaker extend the first breakup frequency to 38 kHz, Anti-Resonance Plugs for mid/bass drive units first seen in the PM-1 lowers bass distortion and improves dynamics plus Bowers & Wilkins' iconic Kevlar cones for smooth and articulate midrange. Added to these proven technologies are new advances developed specifically for the new 600 Series, including new Dual Layer aluminum bass drivers and new tweeter decoupling technology. The Decoupled Double Dome tweeter comprises two separate aluminum domes, the second with its center portion cut out and glued to the rear face of the first dome to create a blend of lightness and rigidity. The entire tweeter assembly is then decoupled, being physically separated from the cabinet by a cushioning gel ring in much the same way as our outboard tweeters. The resulting Decoupled Double Dome tweeter is said yb the company to have "stunning clarity and tonal purity plus outstanding imaging and dispersion". A new optimized steel mesh grille prevents accidental or malicious damage in a decorative brushed aluminum plate with a diamond cut logo. The 683 floorstander is the largest speaker in the new 600 Series and uses the Decoupled Double Dome tweeter, an FST midrange driver and new Dual Layer aluminum bass drivers. This new Dual Layer design sees an aluminum bass cone reinforced around its periphery with a second layer of aluminum, for a more effectively damped cone and higher break-up frequency. On the other end of the series, the new 686 is just 6.3" wide x 12.4" high x 9" deep and employs the Decoupled Double Dome tweeter and improved Kevlar driver with Anti-Resonance Plug. Its main 5" driver features a 25mm voice coil for higher sensitivity, and it now has a front rather than rear-firing Flowport. The 686 features a built-in bracket for easy wall mounting but it sounds just as good on a bookshelf too. The complete series pricing is below.
GoldenEar's new Triton One floorstanding tower loudspeaker ($4998 per pair) is the company's new flagship design. The Triton One is an evolutionary speaker that includes and builds upon all the advanced technologies that have made the company's Tritons famous. Excellent performance for both two-channel music or multi-channel home theater, The One is a sleek 54" tall tower that, like the Triton Two and Triton Three, houses a built-in powered subwoofer. The One's powered subwoofer section consists of three forward-facing 5" x 9" quadratic sub-bass drivers in a semi-line-source array configuration. They are driven by an 1600 Watt DSP-controlled ForceField Class D digital amplifier. The GoldenEar designed amp has a Programmable Logic Device based state machine with nearly instantaneous 278 ns update time to manage a myriad of functions including soft-clipping, DC offset control, output-stage saturation control, discrete multi-band limiting and phase perfect crossover to the midrange. The active sub-bass drivers are coupled to two pairs of horizontally-opposed, inertially-balanced 7" x 10" planar sub-bass radiators, which are located on the sides of the cabinet and down near the floor boundary for optimum bass coupling to the room. The computer-optimized frame for the sub-bass radiators is newly tooled and utilizes many small support members arranged to provide distribution of any bending loads for a structure that is both totally rigid, while allowing maximum airflow. Likewise, the unique sub-bass radiator cones are also newly tooled with a complex computer-generated structure which is both extremely rigid and inert. Newly developed Frequency Dependent Bass Loading Technology, utilizing open-cell polyurethane foam damping pads, as well as special hollow-fiberfill, further optimizes low-frequency performance. The upper-bass/midrange and high frequencies are handled by a D'Appolito Array of two GoldenEar engineered spider-leg. A cast-basket improves rear flow through and minimal reflection. The 5.25" drivers surround the company's High Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) tweeter. The bass/midrange drivers incorporate unique Multi-Vaned Phase Plug, which combined with the company's proprietary cone shape, assures smooth extended response to 20 kHz. The HVFR tweeter, which generates high-pressure by squeezing the air achieves an exceptional impedance match to the air for smooth response extending beyond 35 kHz. Overall frequency response is from 14 Hz to 35 kHz, sensitivity is 92dB/W/m and recommended amplification is from 20 to 650 Watt/channel.
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