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


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05 / 28 / 16

Hi-Fi World's July 2016 Issue Features Many Hi-Fi Reviews
Hi-Fi World July 2016 IssueEnjoy the Music.com has just posted the July 2016 issue of Hi-Fi World magazine! This issue features reviews of the Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A, Dali Opticon 2, Unison Research Unico, ExogalComet DAC, T+A PA 2000 R, Icon Audio hHP8 MKII, Blue Aura v40 Blackline, Kennerton Magister, Oracle Paris MKV, Van den Hul MC-One Special and more. Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says, "We were surprised to learn Bowers & Wilkins have been sold to new owners, if less so that Tannoy's Coatbridge plant will close, something that has been on the cards for months since Behringer's Music Group took over last year. Since both are global brands with a valued customer base I doubt they will be diminished, so much as re-structured. Tannoy design is likely to take place in Manchester with product being built in China. I've seen big Wharfedales being built by five men at a time in IAG's Shenzhen factory – and a very good job they made of it too. Music Group specialise in professional audio so they could spin Tannoy off: just look at what happened to Bentley, Rolls Royce and Mini. Germany excels in this sort of thing." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World at this link.

 

05 / 27 / 16

Pre-Order Now: Limited Edition Star Wars Hologram Vinyl LP
Star Wars Hologram Vinyl LPWalt Disney Records is set to release a new hologram vinyl version of the original motion picture soundtrack for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With score conducted and composed by five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams and liner notes by the film's director, J.J. Abrams, the double LP features a 16-page booklet on 180 gram vinyl. This one-of-a-kind vinyl set, hand etched by Tristan Duke (Jack White's Lazaretto) of Infinity Light Science, offers a 3D hologram experience featuring the Millennium Falcon on Disc 1/Side B and a TIE Fighter on Disc 2/Side B. For optimal viewing, use a direct light source or simply hold a mobile phone flashlight above the vinyl to view the holograms. Tristan Duke founded Infinity Light Science in 2008, a research laboratory with an emphasis on laser holography, interferometry, light-field imaging, hand-drawn holography, and relativistic imaging. The must-have vinyl album also features Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) for an optimal listening experience. Disney Music Group has joined forces with Pro-Ject Audio Systems to showcase this unique, next-level advancement in holographic vinyl technology with the Elemental turntable, a combination of minimalist design and maximum performance from the world leader in high fidelity turntables. The two brands will collaborate on co-promotions at retail, online, and radio. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2-LP hologram soundtrack will be shipping on June 17, 2016. The Star Wars hologram vinyl set is available for pre-order right now on Amazon.

 

 

Schiit Audio Explains Why They Are Currently Not Supporting MQA
Schiit Audio Explains Why They Will Not Offer MQA SupportSchiit Audio has announced that they would not be supporting MQA, a proprietary and perhaps lossy compression audio format claiming "studio quality sound you can stream or download." Schiit Audio feels that it is important to support its customers – and potential customers – by clarifying the company's position on MQA, so that they may choose another DAC provider that backs the format, if they feel it is important to them. "Although there are still many questions to be answered about MQA, we feel we know enough to make a decision," said Jason Stoddard, Schiit's Co-Founder. Stoddard outlined the primary reasons: 

1. We believe that supporting MQA means handing over the entire recording industry to an external standards organization. MQA wants:

• Licensing fees from the recording studios
• Licensing fees from the digital audio product manufacturers
• Hardware or software access/insight into the DAC or player 
• Subscription fees from every listener via Tidal, and/or royalties from purchases of re-releases by the recording industry

2. Our experience with standards-driven industries is sub-par. Consider the surround market. Companies making surround processors now have to support a dizzying array of different standards, none of which is a market differentiator, and the exclusion of any single standard can mean commercial failure. The result is a market in which competition is stifled and consumers are confused.

3. We don't believe MQA is a differentiator for high-end DACs if it is available on phones. Consider SRS, the Sound Retrieval System, as an instructive example. Before being acquired by DTS, it claimed to be on "over a billion devices." However, there is little evidence any consumers considered SRS a must-have, differentiating technology.

4. We consider MQA to be yet another "format distraction" that makes high-end audio more confusing and insular. This is a reflection of our position in the market – nearly 1/3 of our revenue is from $99 and under products, and we have one of the youngest customer bases in the industry. It is our experience that when someone starts getting into great audio, they just want a product that will make their current music sound better, rather than one that requires additional investment in streaming subscriptions or new releases.

5. We feel that, even from a market perspective, many questions need to be answered. When will we see MQA on Tidal? At what cost? What percentage of the library will be MQA? How many releases should we expect to see from Warner in the next 12 months? What will be the cost? Again, a historic example may be cautionary. Consider Sony and DSD. DSD is a Sony technology that they promoted, and yet they released very few recordings in DSD.

 

Mike Moffat concurred, saying, "In addition to the market questions outlined by my partner, there are many performance questions (about MQA) that cause great concern. Actual decoded bit depth for both MQA and non-MQA DACs, claims of 'lossless,' the need for MQA to tweak their decode algorithm for a specific DAC (and their ability to perform this optimization on-schedule for a DAC manufacturer who might be, well, a little smaller than HTC,) the impact on the DAC manufacturer's own proprietary technology and product development, and the impact on the DAC manufacturer's own competitiveness."

Moffat further opined that Schiit Audio considers the further development of in support of the primary 16-bit/44.1kHz PCM format to be of the most value to its customers, citing extremely strong sales of Schiit Audio's multi-bit DAC products, and the positive reception to its "DACs for the music you have, not the music you have to buy," message. Asked if there was any chance Schiit Audio might support MQA if it became the dominant format in the market, Moffat answered, "If it becomes the dominant audio technology, or even a very popular second-place format, we would have to evaluate it in the same way we evaluate other lossy compression standards, such as home theater surround formats, Bluetooth codecs, and MP3 variants."

Addition comments not within the above press release:
"For the record, I've repeatedly asked MQA to send me their encoding and a decoding device/software so I can make an independent study on its transparency, etc," said Steven R. Rochlin, Creative Director for Enjoy the Music.com. "Over the past many months MQA has repeatedly refused my request. Having an independent third party familiar with compression techniques would benefit both MQA and those who may use this technology. This will enable everyone to have a better understanding of it's strengths and weaknesses versus other compression techniques such as widely used lossless FLAC."

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
mp3PRO Format Splits Digital Audio Signal In Two For Higher Quality Audio
mp3PROAs Microsoft's streaming audio Windows Media File is audibly better than the the same file like-encoded by mp3, the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany has now officially released the new mp3PRO format. While Enjoy the Music.com was among the first to report on this new venture between electronics manufacture Thompson and the Fraunhofer Institute in January, the new mp3PRO format claims to provide virtually the same audio quality of normal mp3 audio files, yet at approximately half the file size. mp3PRO audio technology is both backwards and forwards compatible with current mp3 decoders. Think of it like an mp3 version of the popular audiophile CD format HDCD. New, more advanced psychoacoustics techniques are employed to ensure the perception of high-quality music, yet at file sizes upwards of 1/10th that of 16-bit/44.1 kHz compact disc. To quote the Thompson website "...mp3PRO encoder splits audio recordings into two parts. One part analyzes the low frequency band information and encodes it into a normal mp3 stream. This allows the encoder to concentrate on less information and allows it to do a better job of encoding. This also maintains complete compatibility on old mp3 players. The second part analyzes the high frequency band information and encodes it into a part of the mp3 stream that is normally ignored by old mp3 decoders. New or upgraded mp3PRO decoders will tap into this part of the stream and put the two bands back together, resulting in the full audio bandwidth." Bringing things back to 2016, you can still freely download and use the mp3PRO encoding software at this link.

 

05 / 26 / 16


Is It Live, Or Is It... Better?
Roger Skoff writes about listening to music both ways.
Article By Roger Skoff

 

05 / 25 / 16

Enjoy the Music.com Celebrates Our 200th Report
Enjoy the Music.com Celebrates Our 200th Report
High-end audio site marks the industry's most extensive show coverage online.

Enjoy the Music.com is celebrating our 200th combined music event and show report online! This celebration continues highlighting our site's 20th anniversary and ability to deliver as an innovative industry leader at providing key information within the high-end audio industry to a worldwide audience. From legacy web pages and video reports to live streaming events, no other audiophile magazine within the consumer electronics industry has innovated to such a high degree while seamlessly integrating the most modern technologies to empower and educate a global audience. Our goal is to enrich the lives of music lovers with a message that resonates with their lifestyle. Read More

 

05 / 24 / 16

Pro-Ject The Classic Turntable Mates Classic And Modern Techniques
Pro-Ject The Classic TurntablePro-Ject Audio Systems is very proud to present their The Classic turntable for the company's 25th anniversary celebration (€950 with standard cartridge and € 999 with the 2M Silver version). Heinz Lichtenegger started his turntable career close to 40 years ago and their new The Classic uses a compact, simple and elegant frame design established by manufacturers in the 1950s. As with Pro-Ject's famous Debut model, they wanted to create an easy-to-use plug & play product, but with better sound due to enhanced isolation techniques. Thanks to the modern damping materials such as TPE (Thermo Plastic Elastomers), they are able to design a very effective subchassis construction. Isolating the platter and tonearm from the resonances of the motor and main plinth is the aim. The platter of The Classic is precisely machined out of a special aluminum alloy, again with TPE included, which offers special damping abilities. This turntable's subplatter and main bearing construction are similar to Pro-Ject's Debut. It's hardened steel, bronze-bushing, and teflon-bearing mirror resulting in a very smooth low noise running of the bearing. The main difference to the Debut bearing is the tolerances, which are lower by a factor of 10 and therefore more precise (0.005%). A very sophisticated part, the subplatter, is accurately machined and guarantees very good isolation between bearing noise and the platter itself. The radical, newly-designed Classic Tonearm is the result of 25 years of experience in mechanical construction. The tonearm tube is made out of a sandwich of carbon and aluminum: carbon for stiffness and speed, and aluminum for better damping. The carbon bearing assembly with its pin-point Zircon bearing provides ultra-low friction. A new expensive Japanese base ball bearing allows a better lead of the tonearm wire and increases the free movement of the tonearm. The counterweight incorporates a TPE damper which allows us to reduce the amplitude of the tonearm cartridge resonance frequency by 50%. Included with Pro-Ject's The Classic turntable is an Ortofon 2M (Silver for upgrade) moving magnet cartridge. This Silver version is a cartridge exclusively designed for Pro-Ject Audio Systems by Ortofon. We improved the sound and dynamics of the recognized 2M series by implementing pure silver coils instead of standard copper. However, as the tonearm offers excellent damping and flexibility as well, its effective mass can be called middle heavy, so it is also a very good partner for MC cartridges.

 

05 / 23 / 16

T.H.E. Show Newport Brings High-End Audio Gear To SoCal
T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 ReportThe Home Entertainment Show Newport (T.H.E Show) 2016 marks the sixth year of this informative, fun, and relaxing southern California event. T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 will be held at The Hotel Irvine in California from June 3rd through 5th, with a special VIP and Press Day on June 2nd. Visitors to T.H.E. Show Newport can visit the Headphonium exhibitors, the Marketplace, Vinyl, CD, and Accessories vendors all in one location-a giant 15,000 sq. ft. Grand Ballroom within the center of the Hotel Irvine. A very special event in 2016 is a memorial to Richard Beers, who was the President of T.H.E. Show and passed away this year. Attendees of T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 can enjoy gourmet food trucks, a giant high-end auto show, live entertainment day and night, wine tasting, and many more popular educational seminars orchestrated by the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society (LAOCAS). Of course you can enjoy our T.H.E. Show 2015 coverage here.

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
Digital Theater Systems Announces 5.1-Channel 24-bit/96kHz Format

DTSDigital Theater Systems, Inc. (DTS) has announced their new 5.1-channel 24-bit/96kHz format during the recent Audio Engineering Society (AES) conference in Amsterdam. This new format enhances the previously available 24-bit/96kHz format that was only two channels of sound. Both the old and new format include full motion video as well to compliment the audio. The new DTS format can also be employed on the new high-resolution DVD-Audio discs so that both DTS and DVD-Audio can reside on the disc together. Furthermore, the new format is backwards compatible with the decoders currently in consumer's homes.

 

05 / 21 / 16

Amphion Krypton3 Floorstander Has Been Further Refined
Amphion Krypton3 Floorstander Has Been Further RefinedFinnish home audio speakers and studio monitors manufacturer Amphion Loudspeakers has launched their updated Krypton3 (€7500, with wood veneers being €7800), the successor of the multiple awards-winning namesake. This highly innovative three-way reference speaker, which is the result of more than 15 years constant development and enhancement, employs a completely redesigned crossover. Utilizing Amphion's revolutionary approach to its implementation, this development was originally introduced in the company's studio monitors line where accuracy of reproduction and detail are of extreme importance. An innovative cardioid midrange as applied in Krypton3 allows it to perform exceptionally well even in small rooms and close to big windows. Krypton's unique design is claimed to avoid room acoustics and deals with ease any phonic irregularities, which traditional speaker designs cannot cope with. Krypton3 reduces unwanted reflections from both the side and back walls, so you hear less of the room and more of the speaker. A unique crossover approach, together with the new double-vented tube and the proprietary papyrus 8" midrange, are said to convey the musical message better than ever before. The midrange clarity and the waveguide, coupled with the power and immediacy achieved by the large cone area of the two 8" units are capable of moving huge amount of air while preserving the nuances. A 1" titanium tweeter integrates with a pair of 8" paper and 10" aluminum cone drivers. The crossover frequencies are 160 Hz and 1200 Hz, with the Krypton3 presenting a 4 Ohms load. and having an 89dB/W/m sensitivity. Overall frequency response is from 22 Hz to 30 kHz. Dimensions are 1370 x 240 x 470 mm and each unit weighs a hefty 72 kgs.

 

05 / 20 / 16

HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage
HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage Part 5

TIDAL Electronics And Loudspeakers

Mark Johansen's ZenSati sILENzIO, Angle Mini And Cable Lifters

Top 10 Award: JH Audio Layla 12 Driver In-Ear Monitor

HEGEL ROST Stereo Integrated Amplifier

Top 10 Award: Furutech Nano Crystalฒ Formula Connectors

 

Merrill Audio Gold Series Christine Reference Preamplifier
Merrill Audio Gold Series Christine Reference PreamplifierMerrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs has just announces their Gold series Christine Reference Preamplifier ($12,400). The Christine Reference Pre-amplifier is built with the finest components and attention to every detail including hand routed PCB layout of each trace. Placement of the trace, length of the trace, multi-stage power supplies, and the selection with matching of the finest components has been taken to the highest level. This balanced configuration preamplifier also has an isolated power supply and the Christine Reference Preamplifier is built via hand soldered connections. Silver plated pure copper wire with Teflon sleeving are only some of the engineering that makes the Christine Reference Preamplifier so special. Each unit is hand built and tested from the board level up to the finished unit. An external AC/DC Power supply unit ensures very quiet operations. The multistage power supply is so good, that power cords do not make a difference and the unit is impervious to noise on the AC line. Frequency response is up to 800 kHz (0.1dB), signal to noise is 110dB and total harmonic distortion is an extremely low 0.003%. A specialized volume control operates from -84dB to +26dB in 0.5dB steps. Of note is that there is a preset gain range of +/- 12dB so you can easily match your source to take the best advantage of the volume settings. There are a total of four stereo inputs and two balanced outputs plus a 12 Volt trigger for home automation. There is also a setting for polarity 0 or 180 degree reversal.

 

Steve Vai Passion And Warefare 25th Anniversary 180 Gram Double LP
Steve Vai Passion And Warefare 25th Anniversary 180 Gram Double LPFriday Music will celebrate the legendary guitarist Steve Vai's landmark solo breakthrough with the stunning Passion and Warfare -- 25th Anniversary Edition. This exclusive Friday Music first time 180 Gram audiophile vinyl pressing is impeccably mastered and enhanced on two LP CLEAR LPs with four recently unearthed bonus tracks, featured in a first time gatefold cover presentation and pressed at R.T.I. Passion and Warfare established the guitarist as a solo force to be reckoned with. Recorded entirely in Vai's 'Mothership' home studio, Passion and Warfare represents Steve Vai as a melodic, heavy guitarist with a gift for remarkable composition and a deep desire to convey the mystical and the metaphysical through his every last note. The result was nothing short of stellar. The album was championed by critics and was name the best album of 1990, plus they showered Steve Vai with individual awards. Guitar Player awarded Vai the titles of Best Rock Guitarist for the fifth year in a row and Best Overall Guitarist for the third year in a row, while Guitar World named him Best Rock Guitarist and deemed "For the Love of God" the year's best guitar solo. Passion and Warfare was commercially successful. Boosted by the fan-favorite video for "The Audience is Listening," which received heavy rotation on MTV, the album peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard 200, which is no small feat for an instrumental guitar album. This crossover appeal set the stage for Vai's continued successes throughout his career.

 

05 / 19 / 16

Audio Engineering Society Conference Concerning Augmented Reality
AES Augmented Reality ConferenceThe inaugural AES International Conference on Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality, to be held on September 30 and October 1, 2016, will be co-located with the 141st AES Convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center's West Hall. The two-day program of technical papers, workshops, tutorials and a manufacturer's expo will throw a unique spotlight on the creative and technical challenges of providing immersive spatial audio to accompany virtual-reality and augmented-reality media, which is demonstrably the fastest-growing section of the entertainment-audio markets. The conference will attract content developers, researchers, manufacturers, consultants and students, in addition to audio engineers seeking to expand their knowledge about sound production for virtual and augmented reality. The companion Expo will feature displays from leading-edge manufacturers and service providers looking to secure industry metrics for this emerging field. The rich and varied conference program will provide an overview of the AR / VR creative process, applications workflow and product development, while creating an activity hub to focus attention on the expertise the Audio Engineering Society can offer these expanding creative communities. Costs range from $195 for a 1-Day Pass for AES members ($295 for a 2-Day Pass) and $125 for accredited students, to $280 / $435 for non-members; early-bird discounts also are available. "Film director George Lucas once stated that sound represents 50% of the motion-picture experience," considers co-chair Andres Mayo. "This conference will demonstrate that convincing VR and AR productions, using a variety of playback devices, require audio that follows the motions of the subject, and produce a realistic immersive experience. Our program will spotlight the work of leading proponents in this exciting field of endeavor, and how realistic spatial audio can be produced from existing game-console and DSP engines." 

 

05 / 18 / 16

HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage
HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage Part 4

Cardas Audio Clear Network CAT 7 Ethernet Cable

Top 10 Award: Stromtank S5000 Massive Battery Power Sine Wave Unit

Nordost Heimdall 2 Headphone And Ethernet Plus Norse 2 Cables

More HIGH END 2016 coverage coming soon! Check back daily.

 

Rotel Electronics RA-1592 Stereo Integrated Amplifier
Rotel Electronics RA-1592 Stereo Integrated AmplifierRotel Electronics has introduced the RA-1592 stereo integrated amplifier ($2499) built upon the award-winning Rotel RC-1590 preamplifier and RB-1582 MK2 power amplifier within single chassis design. Music is an integral part of our lives and Rotel believes that listening to music should take its appropriate role accordingly. Rotel's RA-1592 stereo integrated amplifier provides an optimal solution for hearing a musical performance the way the artist intended, whether its from modern digital sources or classic analog vinyl recordings. The power supply section is the heart of an amplifier and Rotel has not cut corners on its design. It's is a classic Class AB design with 200 watts per channel into 8 Ohms, and features a rugged power supply with a massive toroidal transformer, coupled to select T-network, and slit-foil capacitors. The result is a power supply that won't sag and distort under complex speaker loads or dynamic signal transients. A specially-engineered high-performance preamplifier section incorporates a superb 32-bit/768KHz AKM digital-to-analog converter and analog stages of the highest quality. The DAC and surrounding circuitry supports a vast array of source inputs including DSD capable PC-USB (24-bit/192kHz), three coaxial, three optical, integrated aptX Bluetooth and a front mounted USB iPod input. For analog music lovers, there is a MM phono stage input, XLR balanced input and three analog RCA source inputs. User selectable A-B speaker outputs with five-way binding posts, RCA pre-output and dual subwoofer outputs provide flexibility in installation. The amplifier protection circuits monitor DC offset, overcurrent, short circuit and temperature to protect both the electronics and attached speakers. Custom integration features include RS232 and Ethernet IP control, two trigger outputs, remote IR input and automated digital signal sense power control for easy integration with streaming sources and control systems.

 

05 / 17 / 16

Burson Audio Supreme Sound OpAmp V5i
Burson Audio Supreme Sound OpAmp V5iBurson Audio has announced their Supreme Sound OpAmp V5i ($39). The inception of their latest product originated as a result of a partnership with leading microchip foundry. Together, they have created an integrated version of Burson Audio's V5 FET circuitry. In order to overcome many of the inherent limitations associated with ICs, they have externalized parts of its circuitry and completed those sections with high quality discrete components. The newly developed Burson V5i is a hybrid audio OpAmp, which is both partially IC and discrete. The company feels it bears the sonic signature of its bigger brother, the V5 discrete OpAmp. When designing the Burson V5i, their goal was to create a product that was to manage. Similar to the size of a typical DIP8 OpAmp, the V5i is the easiest plug-in upgrade for any audio project. The new V5i has bandwidth of 50 MHz, so it is far beyond the typical 20kHz.

 

05 / 16 / 16

HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage
HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage Part 3

Top 10 Award: Pro-Ject DAC Box DS2 Ultra, Plus Classic And VTE R / VTE L Turntables

Top 10 Award: Ortofon MM And MC Phono Cartridges

Acoustical Systems Apolyt €260,000 Turntable

Top 10 Award: Astell&Kern AK300 Portable Hi-Res Audio Player And AK Recorder

More HIGH END 2016 coverage coming soon! Check back daily.

 


<<< REWIND <<<
Ortofon 2M Mono SE MM Phono Cartridge
The future is mono!
Review By Clive Meakins

 

AURALiC Lightning DS iOS Version 3.0 Is Now Available
AURALiC Lightning DS iOS Version 3.0 Is Now AvailableAURALiC has just announced their Lightning DS iOS version 3.0 update. New features include in-app integration with AURALiC account, adding Random Play function of entire music library (Go Queue and click 'Play Now'), plus they added a special setup guide for AURALiC's ALTAIR Streaming DAC. Also new is adding a 'Buffering' renderer status, message hint for choosing how you want to play an album after you have manually organized your playback queue and a new app icon. There were also improvements with this version 3.0 such as reduce storage usage by clear some unused artworks after restart (iPhone), adding options to choose wired or wireless connection in setup guide (iPhone and iPad). Show file that been scanned in Lightning Server setup guide (iPhone and iPad), improve text color in Now Playing interface (iPad) and other user interface optimization (iPhone) have been done. Small fixes include expired TIDAL/WiMP log on session have now been removed automatically (iPad), unable to select device with password protected (iPhone), and album artwork in Now Playing will now show up correctly (iPhone). Device volume in Now Playing has been corrected as has Qobuz Playlist and Purchase data incorrect (iPhone) plus new firmware reminders. Duplicate items in Lightning Server menu under particular situation (iPhone), app now responds after you try to add a big playlist to device queue (iPhone and iPad), and lastly the 'Cancel' button in Search toolbar works when you click it for the first time (iPhone).

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
RIAA Addresses U.S. House Committee About Streaming Music
RIAAThe Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) who represent recording labels and not musicians and songwriters is now showing their true colors as today a U.S. House subcommittee will hear from various musicians/songwriters and music industry executives concerning being properly compensated (paid) for having their music sold/streaming online. Appearing before the House Subcommittee on Courts include MP3.com President Robin Richards, RealNetworks Chairman and CEO Rob Glaser, singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett [who represents the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)], Edgar Bronfman Jr., executive vice chairman of Universal Music Group parent Vivendi Universal, and songwriter Mike Stoller [who represents the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA)]. "We think the copyright office is well positioned to issue the rules necessary to get the online market moving," said Cary Sherman, general counsel for Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Mean while Carey Ramos who is an attorney for music publishers said "The reality is that songwriters have been ignored -- or taken for granted -- in the debate over distributing music on the Internet... Some Internet companies and record labels want the music publishers to let them use their music for free -- or else have the government step in to force the publishers to do so. That is self-serving and, some might say, hypocritical -- but not fair." The many major recording labels looking to launch their own online music services are deeply concerned as there is no current standard fee, if any, to compensate musical artists for their work if it is streamed online. While the major record labels wish they did not have to pay musical artists, they may be considered just as guilty of stealing music as millions of Napster users have been doing for many months. Of course no one would call the major recording labels thieves for not paying for online music... or would they?

 

05 / 13 / 16

HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage
HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage Part 2

Top 10 Award: Gryphon Audio Designs Kodo And Mojo S Speakers

Avantgarde Acoustics Uno XD Powered Hornspeaker

TechDAS Air Force One $100,000 Turntable

WBT NextGen WBT-0703 AG/CU, WBT-0708 AG/CU And WBT-0718

Kharma Enigma Veyron EV-2 Loudspeakers And Amplification

Top 10 Award: Theoretica Applied Physics BACCH-SP, Marten Speakers And Engstrom Electronics

Egglestonworks And Rogue Audio

Nagra And Wilson Audio

Tim De Paravicini EAR 825 Q

MBL Noble Series

European Audio Team EAT E-Glo Phono Preamplifier

More HIGH END 2016 coverage coming soon! Check back daily.

 

Pro-Ject Audio Systems Mahler No. 2 Symphony On 180 Gram Vinyl LP
Pro-Ject Audio Systems Mahlers No. 2 Symphony On VInyl LPPro-Ject Audio Systems is very proud to celebrate Zubin Mehta's 80th birthday with a very limited edition Mahler's No. 2 Symphony on limited edition vinyl LP pressing. Together with Universal Music (Decca), Pro-Ject Audio Systems proudly presents iconic Zubin Mehta albums in cooperation with The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. On April 29th Zubin Mehta celebrated his 80th birthday in the beautiful Brahms-hall in the Viennese Musikverein. Mrs Lichtenegger in representation of Heinz Lichtenegger was handing over Zubin Mehta's birthday present: A limited edition vinyl record and the matching turntable Debut Carbon Esprit SB. This record is a must-have for music fans of the analogue era back on heavy-weight double vinyl. Presented with original artwork, this recording has been carefully mastered from the original Decca analogue tapes at Abbey Road Studios. It is available with original gatefold cover as strictly limited edition exclusively for Pro-Ject Audio Systems (only 2000 copies worldwide). The first movement is very dramatic. Mehta opens with a very tense, brisk tempo. Mehta never rushes, but never drags. The timpani is very well-defined, however not overpowering, throughout the movement, as well as throughout the entire disc. The Andante is played very well. The phrasing is wonderful. The Scherzo starts out the best I have ever heard. Two crisp, crystal clear Timpani strikes. The next two strikes are softer, then the next two are even softer, which gives it an amazing affect. This recording from 1975 has everything you could possibly ask for. Mehta's perfect tempi, great signing by Contrubas, Ludwig and the Vienna Staatsopernchor. The Vienna Philharmonic, particularly the brass, play just like the virtuosic ensemble that they are. Go and get it ASAP.

 

05 / 12 / 16

HIGH END 2016 Achieves Excellent Trade Visitor Growth
HIGH END 2016 Achieves Record Growth From Trade VisitorsHIGH END 2016 in Munich made a splash as the world's largest trade fair for the high-end audio industry. There were 518 exhibitors from 42 countries (+2% increase over 2015), 19,489 attendees in total (-6%), and 7053 trade visitors from 69 countries (+7%). In the 35th year since its founding, the HIGH END has impressively underscored its significance as the world's leading trade fair. A remarkable 518 exhibitors from 42 countries – more than 60% of them international exhibitors – presented an extensive overview of the worldwide audio industry market from 5 to 8 May 2016 at MOC Munich. Nowhere else does the industry showcase its technology more extensively, or in higher quality, than here in Munich at the HIGH END trade fair. Around 20,000 visitors enjoyed summery temperatures and brilliant sunshine on their way to the Bavarian capital to marvel at the latest developments related to high quality audio playback. This is commensurate to the high standards which characterized last year's trade fair. The Public Friday turned out to be the day with the most attendees by far, with several thousand music fans being drawn to the numerous trade fair stands. "The HIGH END plays a decisive role for the audio industry," said Branko Glisovic, managing director of HIGH END SOCIETY. "Making the advantages of high-quality music playback accessible to a broad public remains important. The HIGH END has done an outstanding job in this process. Over the last few years in particular, the international presence at the trade fair has been increasing, which is good for the entire industry. I hope that this trend continues and more and more people continue to realize that the cultural value of music can only be experienced by means of perfect audio reproduction with technically sophisticated products." You can see Enjoy the Music.com's HIGH END 2016 show report at this link.

 

05 / 11 / 16

Bowers & Wilkins Redefines Speaker Tech With Their New 800 D3
Bowers & Wilkins Redefines Speaker Tech With Their New 800 D3Bowers & Wilkins seeks to redefine loudspeaker sound quality with their new 800 D3 ($15,000 each). As the flagship model of the new 800 Series Diamond, the 800 D3 takes the company's innovative technologies developed for the new series to the ultimate conclusion. The result is said to be the best loudspeaker Bowers & Wilkins has ever produced. The most immediate visual differences between the new 800 D3 and the 802 D3 is the size of the new speaker's low frequency enclosure and twin bass drivers. The 800 D3 features two 10" Aerofoil bass drivers, as opposed to the two 8" drivers on the slightly smaller 802 D3. However, the bass drivers are not only larger: they also utilize a unique carbon fiber construction for an even stiffer, more pistonic cone and are optimized for linearity and low distortion. The drivers also benefit from a higher specification motor assembly with upgraded magnets for increased control and crossover improvements that offer a considerable upgrade over the 802 D3 in terms of performance. Bowers & Wilkins' 800 D3 deploys the same size Continuum cone, Turbine head and solid-body tweeter assembly as the 802 D3. However, improved crossovers and capacitors combine to raise the resolution of these vital areas in order to better match the 800 D3's excellent bass performance. Even with all these changes, the 800 D3 sports a similar load and sensitivity to the 802 D3. These innovations, when teamed with improvements to the series as a whole, such as dramatically stiffer cabinets, a more robust Matrix bracing system that involves thicker slats, and the thoughtful application of aluminum and steel bracing where it is required, means the new 800 D3 represents the pinnacle of reference quality sound for the company. Bowers & Wilkins says that low frequency drive unit distortion is 10dB less that the previous model. The 800 D3 will be available in July 2016 in Piano Gloss Black and Rosenut finishes.

 

05 / 10 / 16

HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage
HIGH END 2016 Show Coverage
Part 1

HIGH END 2016 Opening

Harmon's Mark Levinson And JBL

KEF Atmos And Blade Two Speakers

Kuzma Stabi XLDC And Stabi SD Turntable Plus Zerovibe 6050P Isolation Platform

World Premiere! Hands-On Review Of The Dynaco ST-70 And ST-1

More HIGH END 2016 coverage coming soon! Check back daily.

 

05 / 09 / 16

Warner Music Group Licenses MQA Digital Remastering Technology
Warner Music Group Licenses MQA Digital Remastering TechnologyWarner Music Group (WMG) has announced a long-term licensing deal with music technology MQA. The agreement – the first between MQA and any major music company – will increase music fans' access to hi-resolution music globally. The agreement paves the way for recordings from WMG's diverse roster of acclaimed artists and its world-renowned catalogue to be made available in studio master quality through MQA distributors. MQA is a technology that remasters a digital audio file to reduce the data/bandwidth needed to and then adds a flag / authentication to ensure a bit perfect delivery. By delivering the sound of the remastered studio masters from WMG's iconic labels, MQA will enable the listener to step into the magic of the artists' original performances. MQA music is currently available via High Res Audio, Onkyo Music, e-Onkyo, 7digital, 2L and Technics Tracks. Over the coming months, MQA will expand to more streaming platforms and into download stores worldwide. "This collaboration is a giant step forward for MQA and music fans everywhere" says Bob Stuart, creator of MQA. "We have been working tirelessly to ensure labels, studios, artists, services and playback partners understand the potential of our technology and the responses have been overwhelming. MQA is about bringing the most authentic sound to music lovers all over the world and WMG is our first major partner to help drive this mission forward." Craig Kallman, Chairman and CEO of WMG's Atlantic Records division, said "The digital music era has been all about convenience. It is fantastic that we can listen to virtually any song, anywhere, any time. In that process, however, convenience has trumped sound quality, and we have gotten further away from the sound that artists work so hard to create. MQA makes hi-resolution music easy to stream or download to any device. Music fans will love it when they hear it, and WMG is thrilled to be partnering with MQA to take the next step in bringing hi-resolution music to consumers across the globe."

 

Pi 2 Design Triode Vacuum Tube Amplifier For Raspberry Pi Platform
Pi 2 Design Triode Vacuum Tube Amplifier For Raspberry Pi PlatformPi 2 Design is now offering a hybrid tube amplifier for the Raspberry Pi platform ($119). Pi 2 is excited to introduce the first tube amplifier specifically designed for any of the 40-pin versions of the Raspberry Pi SBC family. The 503HTA Hybrid Tube Amp HAT, designed and manufactured by Pi2Media (a division of PI 2 Design), is a High Quality I/O Shield designed to bring "Sweet Tube Sound" to the Raspberry PI family of Single Board Computers. This HAT allows the Raspberry Pi SBC to drive Headphones from 32 to 300 Ohms with ease and fidelity. Based on the popular Bravo V2 design with all recommended Mods, the On-Board PCM5102A DAC drives the single stage 12AU7 (or 6922) tube. The Class-A Output Stage is comprised of the IRL510 and LM317A. The dedicated heater supply ensures zero crosstalk. A small Hat size add-on that connects to the PI I2S port. The 24-bit/193kHz DAC is the -112dB THD PCM5102 used to convert the I2S stream to drive the triode tube stage. Tube rolling is supported as the 503HTA supports both 12AU7 / ECC82 or 6922 / 6DJ8 / ECC88 types. Individual Anode Bias Adjustments plus selectable Series/Parallel Heater Drive insure the perfect setup for virtually any tube says the company. Headphone output is via a rugged 3.5mm jack plus selectable output resistance between 1.5, 32 and 100 Ohms. Gain Select Switch offers three settings to select output voltage to the optimal level for each Headphone to provide approximately 2V, 4V and 6Vrms.

 

MOD Kits DIY Announces The Step Ladder Passive Input Attenuator
MOD Kits DIY Announces The Step Ladder Passive Input AttenuatorMOD Kits DIY offers their new Step Ladder kit, which is a passive input attenuator using high quality components for excellent reliability. True-bypass mode provides the maximum signal level. The attenuator pot and two toggle switches allow for flexibility in the amount of signal attenuation when not in bypass mode. Treble bleed capacitors in the circuit allow you to retain crisp high frequencies even at maximum attenuation. The Step Ladder is ideal for anything from getting a slight boost while playing single-note acoustic guitar leads or for jumping from clean to overdrive in a high-gain electric guitar amp. Its compact size (3.75" x 1.5" x 1.25" enclosure) fits in most guitar cases and battery-free operation means it'll be ready to go whenever you need it. MOD Kits and Assemblies are designed to give novice and experienced musicians the opportunity to build or modify their own amps, effects pedals and guitars. All kits come with easy-to-follow instructions and use point-to-point wiring. All effect pedals, passive and amplifier kits come with a pre-drilled enclosure and all necessary parts are included. All you need to provide are hand tools, a soldering iron and solder. Most effect pedals operate on a 9V battery; for a longer lasting option, a 9-volt adapter can be purchased separately.

 

05 / 04 / 16

Hi-Fi+ May 2016 Issue Is Now Available Online
Hi-Fi+ May 2016Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the April 2016 issue of Hi-Fi+ magazine! This issue features reviews of the Burmester Audio Phase 3 complete system, Naim Audio NAC-N272 and NAP300 / Focal Sopra No. 2, T+A Elektroacoustik PDP3000HV and PA3000HV / Estelon XB, Primare PRE60 / ATC SCM150 ASL, Audio Research GSi75 / Wilson Audio Sabrina, Schiit Audio YGG Drasil / Ragnarok / Mr. Speakers Ether C, Magnum Dynalab MD209, COS D1, REL T/9i, IsoTek EVO3 Initum, HiFiMAN HE400S and more. Within his editorial, Alan Sircom says, "The complete system is a hard concept to get across to high-enders. The notion that all high-end products work with all other high-end products is very strongly dug into the audiophile psyche, at almost all levels. Nevertheless, the fact remains that audiophile systems are best constructed with a mind to the system in its entirety, rather than a motley collection of devices that will magically sound wonderful simply by putting them together. The key aspect to take from the systems assembled here is the thought that went into them. Even those that are a relatively simple amp+speaker system are more bespoke and thought out than anyone might guess from the reading. This essentially puts much of the onus on system building back to the distributors and dealers, because it's simply not possible to run through every combination of components in order to find the one that works best. That's someone else's job!" See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ at this link.

 

Futuresource Consulting: Headphones Market @ $11.2b, Up 11% In 2015
Futuresource Consulting: Headphones Market @ $11.2b, Up 11% In 2015Futuresource Consulting, a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, says that the worldwide headphones market is worth $11.2 billion as prices accelerated by 11% in 2015. New research from Futuresource Consulting reveals that the worldwide headphones market enjoyed another year of robust volume and price growth in 2015. Shipments grew 7% to reach 331.3 million units, while retail value surged by an impressive 19% to $11.2 billion. The average price paid for a pair of headphones rose by 11% in 2015, to $34. Wireless headphones are also a major growth area, with volumes doubling in 2015 to comprise 14% of the overall market. Other features, such as in-line microphones are becoming standard, whilst noise cancelling is witnessing a revival in 2015 owing to the feature's inclusion in premium wireless headphones. As a result of these additional features, sales of headphones in the $25 to $49 category grew by 55%. Sales in the sub-$25 category meanwhile actually fell by 1%. Brand leaders like Sony, Beats, JVC and Apple all enjoyed a strong 2015. However, competition remains diverse across the price spectrum with Beats and Bose being particularly strong at the premium end, accounting for 40% of overall market revenues. The research shows that demand in the leading markets of North America and Western Europe will slow due to saturation, whilst developing markets of Africa and Asia with a huge base of smartphone owners will fuel growth during the forecast period to 2020. "The rise in the average price of headphones is due mainly to the increased consumer appetite for additional features," commented Rasika D'Souza, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "For example, more people are using headphones during sports and fitness activities and they are now buying models which are designed with this purpose in mind. This trend is most evident in North America and Western Europe. However, headphones with health tracking features have not yet caught on, with consumers preferring alternative dedicated wearable devices."

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
Parental Advisory Label On 'Offensive' Music
RIAABecause of last month's critical report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report concerning recorded music and the language used with it, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in combination with the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) have formed a new Parental Advisory compliance task force to assist the recording industry in implementing guidelines to insure what some consider to be offensive is properly labeled. "We are going to do a better job – in particular in those areas pointed out in the FTC report where the industry's implementation of its own guidelines was lacking," said Hilary Rosen, RIAA President and CEO. "This task force will ensure that the steps we announced late last year to strengthen our popular Parental Advisory Program are being properly implemented. "We have supported the Parental Advisory program since its inception, and we welcome the opportunity to work with RIAA on improving it," said Pam Horovitz, NARM President. "We take our responsibility to parents very seriously. We are committed to supporting the work of the joint task force in ensuring that all aspects of the Parental Advisory program work well, particularly the newest guidelines which relate to the Internet."

 

05 / 03 / 16

Bowers & Wilkins Is Acquired By Internet Company EVA Automation Inc.
Bowers & Wilkins Is Acquired By Internet Company EVA Automation IncBowers & Wilkins, the British audio brand founded in Sussex, England, in 1966, has been acquired by Silicon Valley based EVA Automation Inc, a technology company founded by Gideon Yu. Bowers & Wilkins is the market leading maker of high-end audio equipment, especially loudspeakers including monitors, floorstanders and Bluetooth models. It has forged its position through a relentless commitment to high quality innovative research, development and build. EVA Automation will integrate fully with Bowers &Wilkins' unmatched acoustic engineering prowess by offering innovative A/V technologies and product vision that will enable Bowers & Wilkins to grow faster and further. Joe Atkins, incumbent owner of Bowers & Wilkins, will remain as CEO and will work closely with EVA and Yu to continue to develop Bowers & Wilkins' position as a world class highly integrated AV company. Gideon Yu is well known for helping to build world-class companies including Facebook, YouTube and Square and will act as Executive Chairman for Bowers & Wilkins Gideon Yu commented, "Bowers & Wilkins brings an incredible brand, experienced and well-respected team and commitment to making high-end audio equipment of unmatched quality. We at EVA share their same product vision and passion for home entertainment and look forward to creating fantastic home A/V experiences together as one combined company." Joe Atkins commented, "This is an exciting time for Bowers & Wilkins – a brand of true heritage and quality. In Gideon Yu and EVA Automation we have a true innovator in the technology sector."

 

Merging NADAC Audiophile Server Features Roon Labs Technology
Merging NADAC Audiophile Server Features Roon Labs TechnologyMerging Technologies, a Swiss manufacturer with 25 years of experience in developing groundbreaking professional Audio and Video products for a wide range of entertainment and media industries, is proud to announce that the result of a new partnership with Roon Labs will be on display on stand 3-L10/M07 and in the Special Sound Demonstration in Konferenzraum K1B at the HIGH END 2016 show in Munich. The concept of Roon's ground breaking player program being offered in integrated solutions is not new; there being many existing partners with products available, but this will be the first time that the focus will shift to a complete turnkey and networked solution offering multichannel capability up to DSD256 and DXD. The Merging NADAC was launched at the 2015 HIGH END to much acclaim and has been fortunate to have received several rave reviews for its amazing transparency and for the advantages of the RAVENNA / AES67 networked solution. A variety of player solutions including Merging's own Emotion player can be used with an external computer but this concept is not the first choice for all users. The 'single box' solution with the software and the server combined with a DAC removes the need to have a computer in the living room. The ease with which the whole system can then be controlled by tablet or smart phone enhances the user experience significantly. Integration details such as direct control of the NADAC volume and mute from the Roon user interface also adds to the overall ergonomics by simplifying the control of the entire system from one single page on one single tablet. Roon is well known to provide a superlative user experience with its friendly interface and the most comprehensive database available for the music lover seeking information on all aspects of his favorite track. Marrying Roon to the best sounding and most transparent DAC available and providing multichannel playback would be noteworthy enough but the addition of true networking advantages provides a degree of in-home flexibility that users could only dream about. Merging also announced that this solution can be retrofitted to all Merging NADAC units already in the field and to any units shipping from now on, meaning early adopters can take advantage of the upgrade if they wish. Pricing and options for this solution, as well as cost for the upgrade of existing units and delivery date will be announced at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2016.

 

G9 NERO Phono MM Reference Quality Vacuum Tube Phonostage
G9 NERO Phono MM Vacuum Tube PhonostageG9's just announced NERO Phono MM phonostage (€20,000) is a reference quality, two chassis design that provides high-end audio features for vinyl replay. Employing a vacuum tube phono stage with transformer equalization, features include special suspension type tube mounting for zero acoustic feedback, very special transformer RIAA equalization, point-to-point wiring, no coupling capacitors and transformer coupled output. With NERO Phono MM, G9 enters the phonostage market with their own truly innovative solution. They designed an original equalization circuit without any capacitors and resistors, which are lossy and damaging to complex musical signal. Instead we use lossless RIAA-transformer and 'invisible' resistors, G9 engineers chose the internal impedance of a triode tube. Their circuit has tremendous overload margin (30dB) and, contrary to competing products, keeps this margin constant throughout the entire sonic frequency range. Philips SQ tubes are selected for low microphony and exemplary noise and distortion performance. Another G9 know-how are the company's phonostage output transformers. They are wound by hand with a bespoke copper wire on a M4 steel core and all natural electrical insulation materials. All transformers are designed and mounted to offer maximum interference protection and the power transformer is located in a separate chassis. Music lovers may use G9's NERO Phono MM as a 47kOhm load for moving magnet cartridges and moving coil step-up transformers. Vacuum tube compliment includes a 5U4G for rectifier, one EL84 and E188CC per channel. Output voltage is 0.7V while input voltage is 5mV. Input impedance is 47kOhm. RIAA accuracy is maintained to within +/- 0.5dB, and overall frequency response is rated from 8Hz to 24kHz at -1dB.

 

05 / 02 / 16

Feniks Audio's New ESSENCE High-End Computer Speaker On Kickstarter
Feniks Audio's New ESSENCE High-End Computer Speaker On KickstarterPremium computer speaker manufacturer, Feniks Audio based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, has launched their latest range of high end speakers. Feniks Audio's ESSENCE active sound system now available on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform is said to offer the ultimate in desktop sound quality in a compact high-end speaker. Made using the highest quality components and featuring a cabinet of special grade die-cast aluminum, the ESSENCE combines style and substance without compromising on sound quality. With a compact and modern design, the speakers are compatible with a full selection of inputs including USB, optical TosLink and analog. In addition, there is an audiophile-quality amplified headphone output. Feniks Audio's new system has an integrated 24-bit/96kHz DAC designed by world-renowned electronics specialist Gordon Rankin (based around the latest ESS Sabre DAC) and a custom-designed 4.5" coaxial driver unit with an extremely light moving mass of just 4.5 grams. Each speaker consists of three aluminum panels with a series of grooves along the joints, locked together under immense forces with stainless steel bolts. This design reduces unwanted resonances to a minimum and results in exceptional clarity of sound. The ESSENCE also has a seamlessly integrated volume wheel with a Teflon washer at the top of the active unit, making changing listening levels an easy task. The Kickstarter campaign runs until May 31, 2016 and ranges from approximately $1250 to $1670 depending on the color and finish option.

 

05 / 01 / 16

Enjoy the Music.com has posted our May 2016 Review Magazine.

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

 

AXPONA 2016 Show Report
AXPONA 2016 Show Report (Audio Expo North America)

 

Montreal Salon Audio // Audio Fest 2016 Show Report
Montr้al Salon Audio // Audio Fest 2016 Show Report

 

www.HighEndAudio.com... The future is in your hands.
My Memo To The Industry Part II
www.HighEndAudio.com... The future is in your hands.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Lifestyle: Roger Skoff has some thoughts about our hobby.
Lifestyle
Roger Skoff has some thoughts about our hobby.
Article By Roger Skoff

 

IIT... IP... Network... AV over IT won't hurt you.
Industry Point Of View
IT... IP... Network... AV over IT won't hurt you.
Article By Rob Ziv, CTS, Almo Professional A/V

 

High-End Audio Is Dead! Or Is It?
<<<Rewind<<<
High-End Audio Is Dead! Or Is It?
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

ex & Audio A clear case of discrimination! Article By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES
Sex & Audio
A clear case of discrimination!
Article By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES

 

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona With Cerachrom Bezel
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona With Cerachrom Bezel
A legendary Swiss mechanical watch manufacturer refines their racing legacy.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Pearlmaster 39 Everose With Diamonds
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Pearlmaster 39 Everose With Diamonds
A modern girl's new best friend is Rolex's Everose gold and 713 diamonds.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King
It's good to be King!
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Abyss AB-1266 Planar Magnetic Headphones Review
Abyss AB-1266 Planar Magnetic Headphones By JPS Labs
The journey is the destination.
Review By Dave Hanson

 

Tavish Design Minotaur Hybrid Vacuum Tube Amplifier Review
World Premiere!
Tavish Design Minotaur Hybrid Vacuum Tube Amplifier
A marriage made for a discerning music lover.
Review By Ron Nagle

 

Gold Note Meditteranneo Turntable, B5.1 Tonearm, & Tuscany Gold Cartridge Review
World Premiere!
Gold Note Meditteranneo Turntable, B5.1 Tonearm, & Tuscany Gold Cartridge
Italian beauty delivers delightful music.
Review By Tom Lyle

 

Mi Headphones Built By Xiao Mi Review
World Premiere!
Mi Headphones Built By Xiao Mi
An absolute bargain!
Review By Christopher Tan

 

ZMF X Vibro MK II Headphones Review
World Premiere!
ZMF X Vibro MK II Headphones
Bespoke craftsmanship and uncompromising sound.
Review By Dave Hanson

 

Grimm Audio Adds Three New Products Including Their LS1be Speaker
Grimm Audio Adds Three New Products Including Their LS1be SpeakerGrimm Audio adds three new products to their catalog, expanding their range of integrated music playback systems. The most prominent novelty is the LS1be. This top class loudspeaker features a new Berylium tweeter with a CNC milled aluminum waveguide, jointly developed by Grimm Audio and Seas. The super light and stiff tweeter membrane offers a big improvement in delicacy and precision. To match the high performance of this tweeter, the amplifier and converter electronics of the LS1be received careful tweaking. Grimm Audio selected Hi-Macs for the new cabinets, a modern and very rigid material. Counterweighting the superb quality of the treble performance, a new LS1s-dmf subwoofer was added for the low end. Mechatronics expert Rob Munnig Schmidt developed a Digital Motional Feedback system that, by means of feedback from an accelerometer on the cone, reduces distortion by a staggering 30 times. The linearity of the LS1s-dmf is therefore exceptionally good, which leads to a clean and tight but also natural bass that is the perfect partner for the Berylium tweeter. The full LS1be system brings the listener again closer to an experience of total transparency, which is the company's ultimate goal. To offer the LS1 quality to a broader audience, Grimm Audio introduces the LS1a. This is a more cost effective sibling of the LS1, where the company focused on maintaining all important aspects that make the LS1 sound so special, and compromising only in areas where this was passable. This makes the LS1a to a playback system with a very high price-performance ratio. The original LS1 benefited from the gathered knowledge and received a few updates. It remains to be "the most exciting piece of non-audiophile audiophile gear", as Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical, put it.

 

Dirac Research Technology Chosen For OPPO Sonica Speakers
Dirac Research Technology Chosen For OPPO Sonica SpeakersSwedish audio technology company Dirac Research has just announced that OPPO Digital's new range of Sonica Wi-Fi Speakers (starting at $299) will feature Dirac Room Calibration, a brand new and easy-to-use room correction software tailored for Android and iOS devices. The OPPO Sonica speakers deliver superb sound quality in a compact package and come equipped with Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Bluetooth capabilities. OPPO Sonica speakers with Dirac technology will be available in Q3 2016. The listening environment is often the most challenging aspect of creating an audio system because it introduces unwanted colorations of the sound. Looking for the best solution, OPPO has selected a new technology from Dirac, the world's leading provider of digital room correction software. Dirac Room Calibration for OPPO is an advanced patented technology that analyzes the speakers and room together, automatically making corrections to remove unwanted colorations and deliver optimized sound. "Your listening room is actually one of the most important components of your sound system, which is why digital room correction helps so much in improving the sound quality," said Dr. Mathias Johansson, CEO of Dirac. "We are pleased that OPPO has selected our new Dirac Room Calibration for their next-generation Sonica Wi-Fi Speakers. We saw a great match with OPPO's heritage of providing innovative, high-performance products along with strong value to consumers", Johansson added. Jason Liao, CTO of OPPO Digital, said "Dirac has become the world leader in room correction technology and we are excited to integrate the new Dirac Room Calibration into our Sonica Wi-Fi Speakers. This software comes with high-level room correction capabilities and a user-friendly interface. You can easily measure and fine-tune your speakers from your mobile device with Dirac Room Calibration. We expect that our users will greatly improve their music listening experience with this advanced technology." Dirac Room Calibration software has an intuitive user interface application for both Android and iOS devices. This tailor-made digital signal processing software reduces one of the largest problems in any Hi-Fi sound system – sound quality degradation due to anomalies within the listening room. Using the built-in microphone inside mobile devices to analyze the loudspeaker and the room together, Dirac Room Calibration provides a powerful and tangible sound quality upgrade. Users will experience improved clarity, tighter bass and a more natural overall sound presentation. This sophisticated algorithm brings out the full potential of any entertainment system.

 

 

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