High-Performance Audio Reviews
Music News, Show Reports, And More!
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High-End Audio / Audiophile
& Music Industry News
11 / 30 / 22
Florida International Audio Expo 2023
The Florida International Audio Expo will soon celebrate their fourth annual event in Tampa. From February 17th through 19th at the Embassy Suites Westshore, this is your chance to explore an exciting showcase of products such as turntables, amplifiers, headphones,
hi-res DACs, loudspeakers, cables, and much more! Many exhibitors will offer the curious, newcomers, and longtime enthusiasts an opportunity to enjoy the music! A wide variety of
reasonably-priced and premium luxury high-fidelity audio gear will be showcased for you to sample within
many suites throughout this exhibition. You'll be able to meet and chat with exhibitors and thousands of music lovers too.
Several headphone and portable / personal audio companies have smartly taken advantage of the Florida International Audio Expo's special rate on suites for their demonstration space. Located at the Embassy Suites Westshore in Tampa, there is scheduled to be an outstanding 12 floors of exhibits for you to explore. Enjoy the sun and fun of Florida, with the perfect location that is only minutes from downtown, the gulf coast
beaches, and Bush Gardens (or slightly longer drive to NASA, Disneyworld, Universal Studios, etc). What makes this show fun is the pleasure of sharing great music,
and music discovery, with newfound friends. There will be an abundance of things to see and do during the Florida International Audio Expo 2023. We look forward to
seeing you there! Exhibitors can book
rooms now at the Florida International Audio Expo's website.
11 / 29 / 22
Spotify Reports Q3 2022 Earnings
According to Spotify, "The majority of our key metrics surpassed guidance in
Q3 2022, led by Monthly Active Users (MAU) and Subscriber outperformance and healthy Revenue growth. Similar to last quarter, MAU growth saw notable acceleration, with net additions reaching a record Q3 high of 23 million, while Subscribers came in 1 million ahead of guidance. Gross Margin came in below expectations, mainly due to
an unfavorable adjustment to prior period estimates for rights holder liabilities. We also saw a margin impact due to slower than forecast advertising growth given the challenging macro environment. Free Cash Flow was a positive 35 million in the quarter. Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, we are generally pleased with our overall results."
"We remain focused on delivering against the objectives we shared at our 2022 Investor Day while maintaining a strong balance sheet profile," says Spotify. "MAUs grew 20% Y/Y to 456 million, 6 million above guidance. Net additions of 23 million represented our largest ever Q3 growth. MAU strength across all regions led by Rest of World and Latin America as a result of successful marketing campaigns and OEM strength. Premium Subscribers grew 13% Y/Y to 195 million, above our guidance, aided by promotional intake and household plans. Total Revenue grew 21% Y/Y to 3.0 billion while Premium Revenue grew 22% Y/Y to 2.7 billion. Ad-Supported Revenue grew 19% Y/Y to 385 million." Note that operating expenses grew 65% Y/Y (or 51% constant currency), largely reflecting various growth initiatives that were greenlit toward the end of 2021 and the impact of recent acquisitions.
11 / 28 / 22
The Capital Audiofest 2022 Fab
Five My selection of the Top Five best sounds of
Capital Audiofest 2022 Show Report By Greg Weaver Welcome
to the reveal of my Fab Five, the five most accomplished, most musically
engaging systems that I encountered at this year's Capital Audiofest. Have you
ever wondered criteria I use to make these selections? Well, it comes down to a symbiosis of many attributes. I listen for faithful
replication of instrumental tonality, is it presented with vibrance, color, and
texture? I listen for the level of authentic dynamism that a system can
recreate, how well can it convey subtle nuance and shading in the most tranquil
of passages, and by contrast, how faithfully is it able to portray realistic
scale and dimension on the most energetic. Then too, there is the importance of
resolution and the resultant transparency that it affords. ---> The Capital Audiofest 2022 Fab Five.
11 / 25 / 22
Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022 Fine music on the 5th floor Part A.
Show Report By By Rick Becker
Jarred Dunkerson of Black Ice was in when I visited and this year he was running
his Black Ice gear with Klipsch Forte IV speakers, a popular speaker among
entry-level audiophiles who are likely to aspire to the Black Ice gear. Last
year I was particularly impressed with the Fusion F360 preamp which has controls
for the spatial imaging of the soundscape. The Foz Phono Stage below it has
individual adjustments for left and right channels as well as a bypass. His new introduction was the black Aries
headphone amp with built-in DAC projected to be $2500 to $3k, with two phone
jacks that will appear early next year. ---> Capital AudioFest Chronicles
2022 5th floor Part A.
Deutsche Grammophon STAGE+ Classical Music
Deutsche Grammophon, a division of Universal Music Group and longtime prestigious name in classical music since its foundation in 1898, has announced the launch of STAGE+. STAGE+ is a new classical music subscription service offering
live streams, a huge video archive, and new audio releases all on the Deutsche Grammophon platform. According to their press release, "This new streaming service has been designed to place audiences at the heart of what happens on stage. Subscribers will be brought closer than ever before to Universal Music Group's roster of world-class artists and beyond, via a wide range of content including exclusive live premieres; long-form concert and opera
programs; music videos; documentaries and behind-the-scenes interviews; new audio releases, as well as albums from the legendary Deutsche Grammophon and Decca
STAGE+ offers a rich array of content in the highest possible quality according to their press release. Music formats include Hi-Res Audio and Dolby Atmos. Thanks to partnerships with leading international opera companies, orchestras, concert halls and festivals, STAGE+ will be able to showcase the best new performances every week. STAGE+ represents a step change in the audio/visual presentation of classical music online. "We are about to enter an exciting new era for streamed classical performances," says Deutsche Grammophon's Vice President Consumer Business, Robert Zimmermann. "STAGE+ will explore the limitless creative and curatorial possibilities that digital technologies have to offer to bring the creative work of DG's artists and beyond closer to their audience."
11 / 24 / 22
The Wrong Thing Hi-fi and the sound
of real music.
By Roger Skoff For
many years, imaging and soundscaping have been my primary criteria for judging
the sound of recordings and the equipment we play them on. I can remember being
thrilled and truly excited about the (Avalon) speakers I was listening to and
about the room that I was listening in when I first heard the original cast
recording of 42nd Street [RCA CD RCD1-3891]. I was sure, sitting
there, that I could not only hear and physically "place" the sound of each tap
of the heels and toes of a whole chorus line of dancers. ---> Read Roger Skoff's The Wrong
IFPI Engaging With Music 2022 Report
IFPI, representing the recording industry business worldwide, today released Engaging with Music 2022. This is a global report on how people around the world enjoy and engage with music. Based on the responses of more than 44,000 people in 22 countries, the report is the largest music study of its kind. Music fans are listening to more music today than ever before, spending on average 20.1 hours listening to music weekly (up from 18.4 hours in 2021).
More than 45% of fans choose paid subscription services 46% of respondents use subscription audio streaming services, which offer uninterrupted and on-demand access to millions of licensed tracks. Music is integral to
people's mental and physical well-being according to their report. While 69% of people say music is important to their mental health, 68% say that music is important when they exercise.
According to the IFPI, "There are more ways than ever for people to engage with music today More than three-quarters of those surveyed enjoy music in multiple formats the highest on record. On average, people across the globe use more than six different methods to engage with music ranging from video streaming to terrestrial radio, television, film, gaming soundtracks, creating short-form videos and much more. Music is central to
people's engagement with short form video apps 63% of people agreed that music plays a central role in the time they spent watching videos on short form video apps. People listen to diverse range of music genres Alongside popular genres such as Hip-Hop, Rock and Pop, more than 500 different genres were identified by at least one respondent including
"Sertanejo", "Samba", "Disco-Polo" and "Dangdut" contributing to a rich mixture of local and global music available to music fans across the globe."
11 / 22 / 22
Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022 Rick continues with the 6th
floor Part B.
Show Report By Rick Becker Here a Margules I-240 tube integrated power amp ($6k), operating in Class A,
produces 25 Watts into 8 Ohms per channel to drive a tall Scansonic speaker
nicely with good resolution and very nice bloom. Below that was a Margules DAC or streamer. An RSX
Max Power Cord ($1850) was identified, but the information was sparse. The
Scansonic speaker, a more affordable sub-brand of Raidho from Denmark, seemed to
be their flagship MB6 B model. In the next AV Luxury Group room was a Raidho
Acoustics TD2.2speaker driven by a Jeff Rowland 1500 WPC Daemon Super Integrated
amp. That was a beautiful Oracle CD player on top of an Aurender n20 streamer
and on the shelf below that was Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series
3 that was running with a USB re-clocker behind it. ---> Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022 6th Floor Part
YouTube Surpassed 80M Music / Premium Subscribers
YouTube, an extremely popular destination for enjoying music, now has over 80,000,000 music / premium subscribers. Furthermore, between July 2021 and June 2022 YouTube paid over $6,000,000,000 ($6 billion) to the music business. There's be incredible growth for YouTube as this is a 30 million member increase from the 50 million the company announced last year.
"YouTube's twin engine of revenue subscriptions and ads is the real deal,"
says YouTube's press release. "In September, we announced a $6B revenue contribution to the music industry, with 30% coming from user generated content, and now we've reached this 80+ million milestone by building a subscription service with the music industry that puts fans FIRST. Hopefully these milestones demonstrate our commitment to becoming the #1 contributor of revenue to the music industry.
According to YouTube, "YouTube Premium is all of YouTube and YouTube Music, ad-free and available to play in the background or offline, on your mobile device or your TV. And now
we've leveled it up even further with features like afterparties, which grant exclusive access to livestream content (like the in-person premiere of
Adele's music video floating down a lazy river drinking wine), plus access to discounts on the latest hardware and services from Google.... Since the launch of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium,
we've built partnerships with companies like Samsung, carriers like SoftBank (Japan), Vodafone (Europe), and LG U+ (Korea), and Google services such as Google One. These partners were critical in helping us reach this 80 million subscriber milestone and will continue helping us enhance the music experience for fans around the world."
Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022 Rick Begins... 6th Floor Part A
Show Report By By Rick Becker A year ago there were maybe 45 rooms at Capital Audiofest and almost everyone wore
a mask. Then Gary Gill quit his day job and helped organize the Pacific Audio
Fest in Seattle that occurred in August. This past weekend, Capital jumped up to
the league occupied by AXPONA and featured around 92 rooms. It was a big-league
show, at least by North American standards. Enjoy the Music.com sponsored an industry get-together on
Thursday night for the people who toiled that day setting up their rigs. I
rolled into town, arriving an hour late for the event after making two wrong
turns without the aid of GPS or a co-pilot. Gary offered me several tickets for
drinks. I picked one and the bartender set me up with a Fat Tire. I milled
around, bumping elbows, and snapped a few photos. ---> Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022 Rick Begins... 6th Floor Part A.
audioXpress' December 2022 Issue
Is Now Available audioXpress' December 2022 Issue Features:
From The Editor's Desk: Wireless And Wired
The Proof Is In The Testing
An Approach To Designing RIAA Networks
The LNA-100 Low Noise Amplifier With Filters / Voltmeter
Power Transformer Parameters, Selection, And Testing
Unusual Vacuum Tubes
Installation, Distributed Audio, And Multiroom
Improving Wireless Audio Part 2
Using Ultra-Wideband Technology
And Much More!
Within his editorial, J. Martins says
"Although unintended, this issue of audioXpress offers a very interesting comparison between the thriving installation market and the complexity of consumer mainstream technologies, while also revealing the convergence trends. From wired to wireless, the two Market Updates featured in this issue detail technology evolving and adjusting to different requirements at its own pace. In the process that will eventually lead us to a world of Wireless Audio, many efforts and even companies that pioneered the early streaming audio and multiroom systems have been left behind. And sometimes evolution serves up strange twists. Due to the mighty power of the mobile industry and the spectacular rise of smartphones, Bluetooth technology ended up being perceived by consumers almost as synonymous with wireless audio even if wasn't designed for that and barely handles it." ---> audioXpress' December 2022
11 / 15 / 22
Music.com's Great Holiday Gift Guide 2022 Welcome one and all to our extraordinary 17th annual Great Audiophile Gift recommendations! We all love gifts, yet getting something special for a passionate music lover can be quite challenging! Our annual Great Audiophile Gift wish list brings you some truly spectacular ideas for music lovers. There are so many wonderful products we can recommend to our longstanding loyal readership. All recommended gifts this year are reasonably priced to be kind to your wallet. We have gifts that will make your vinyl junkie smile, plus a few surprises along the way! Everyone here at
Enjoy the Music.com wishes you and yours a prosperous, joyous, and healthy holiday
season. ---> Enjoy the
Music.com's Great Holiday Gift Guide 2022.
Fraunhofer LC3plus Hi-Res Audio Wireless
Fraunhofer Institute, for decades a leader in codec research and development that is widely accepted as a global standard, has announced their LC3plus codec. The new LC3plus has received the highly valued Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification as issued by the Japanese Audio Society (JAS). They are an
independent organization that is said to guarantee that sound is reproduced as accurately as possible, even when listening over a wireless connection like Bluetooth. Fraunhofer's LC3plus codec was developed as an open standard and is published as ETSI TS 103 634. It features a dedicated High-Resolution mode, which provides best-in-class Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) and Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N) performance. The codec operates in its sweet spot between 125 and 250 kbps per channel while allowing seamless bitrate adaptation up to 500 kbps per channel.
Their new LC3plus codec system provides noticeably lower energy consumption, while also making the connection very robust and less prone to errors that can occur in wireless environments. LC3plus High-Resolution meets the criteria set by JAS, in particular the support of a 96 kHz sampling rate, at least 24 bits per audio sample, and the ability to reproduce frequencies of 40 kHz and above. Implementing LC3plus High-Resolution as the codec of choice for wireless transmission. The Fraunhofer IIS technology combines best-in-class performance at extremely low energy consumption with the benefits of an open audio standard.
11 / 11 / 22
Live Nation Entertainment Q3 2022 Report
Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV), the leading live entertainment company comprised of Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Media & Sponsorship, has reported outstanding revenue that is up 63% to $6.2 Billion in Q3 2022. This was also the highest quarterly attendance with over 44 million fans across 11,000 events (89 million fans attended 31.000 events year-to-date). Per fan spending growth was up 30% through September 2022 at USA amphitheaters, with more than 115 million tickets sold.
According to Live Nation Entertainment, "Fans around the world continue prioritizing their spend on live events, particularly concerts. Despite varying economic headwinds including inflation, we have not seen any pullback in demand, as on-sales, on-site spending, advertising and all other operating metrics continue showing strong year-on-year growth. With this demand, revenue was up over 60% relative to Q3 of 2019, with each division up at least 30%. Operating Income was up 95% to $506 million, with all divisions up at least 60% and AOI was up 45% to $621 million, with all divisions up at least 25%."
11 / 10 / 22
Tonight: Join Enjoy the Music.com's
Party @ CAF 2022 Enjoy the Music.com is sponsoring tonight's Capital Audiofest's 'Happy Hour'. Vendors and members of the press will join us for complimentary food and beverage from 6:00 pm through 8:00 pm at the Hilton Hotel Olive's Restaurant / Bar on Thursday night. We look forward to seeing you
there! ---> Learn more and see our
Capital Audiofest 2022 show report.
Toronto Audiofest 2022 Show Report
Part 4 Lower level rooms and ground floor in part
Report By Rick Becker Coming down from the
Second Level I stepped off the elevator and went to the KEF display near the
registration area. I admired this presentation numerous times in passing during
the show. Three pairs of colorful KEF speakers and a KEF subwoofer stood in
front of a digitally created backdrop that was pure eye candy. As you can glean from the photo, the displays in
this area were busy and the mezzanine to the immediate right looked like an
extension of the restaurant with virtually no one there, even at this early
afternoon hour. The grey KEF LS60 wireless floorstanders ($7000
USD) were the tight ends on this offensive line and I was caught off guard by
their diminutive size. ---> Toronto Audiofest 2022 Show Report Part 4.
11 / 08 / 22
Capital Audiofest 2022 Is This Weekend
Capital Audiofest (CAF) started out in 2010 as a very casual show and has evolved into a well-organized and well-attended event. CAF is recognized as a fun, friendly, and family-oriented show where you often see families strolling from room to room listening to music and auditioning gear. You can also browse the multiple bins of vinyl LP records, CDs, and hi-fi accessories in the Atrium Marketplace. During the event there is wonderful live music plus, for the second year in a row,
Enjoy the Music.com is sponsoring the Thursday night vendor / press party with live music and free drinks!
CAF has opened up many new floors during 2022 with over 150 exhibitors representing hundreds of premium luxury audio brands from around the world. There may also be over 50 Atrium Marketplace vendors including at least two dozen vinyl/LP sellers, making the show a veritable Record Fair. Qobuz may once again set up a Listening Lounge in the Plaza II Ballroom, for show-goers to sample streaming and turntable set-ups with headphones, and just hang out and chill, with free Wi-Fi. We look forward to seeing you there this
weekend. ---> Capital Audiofest 2022 show
coverage by Enjoy the Music.com.
11 / 07 / 22
The Absolute Sound's
December 2022 The Absolute Sound's December 2022 issue features the following:
Editorial: How Could He Betray Us? TAS' High-End Audio Hall Of Fame
SME Model 60 Turntable And VA Series Tonearm
Triangle Art P-200 Phonostage
Burmester 159 Monoblock Power Amplifier
Metronome DSC Network Player
dCS Vivaldi Apex DAC
Theoretica Applied Physics BACCH-SP Adio Stereo Purifier
Rogue Audio Cronos Magnum III Integrated Amplifier
Synergistic Research SRX Series Of Cabling
...and much more!
Within his editorial, Robert Harley says "A few months ago, I was speaking on the phone with a manufacturer who was pitching me on the idea of the magazine reviewing the manufacturer's ambitious new product. After learning about the product during the call, it was obvious that Jonathan Valin was the ideal reviewer. Jonathan has extensive experience in, and enthusiasm for, the category; he has a large reader following; and his writing ability and style would perfectly fit with this potentially groundbreaking product. But when I proposed Jonathan for the review, the manufacturer balked. Why? Because Jonathan had favorably reviewed another product in the same category. The manufacturer assumed that Jonathan had some sort of allegiance to the other manufacturer. In the manufacturer's mind, his product simply couldn't get a fair
shake." ---> See what's within
this issue of The Absolute Sound.
11 / 04 / 22
Toronto Audiofest 2022 Show Report
Part 3 Musical magic while listening on Level 2.
Report By Rick Becker Level 2 was
comprised of a hallway of hotel rooms, a bunch of conference rooms, and a
walkway around the atrium where there were a variety of tables with either
silent or headphone displays. Stepping off the elevator, there was a table with
a cable vendor in either direction. One was for Audio Sensibility
very familiar to me as I've very favorably reviewed many of their products
since they first began. And the other was Neotech, a relatively quiet
company on the high-end scene. It turns out Steven Huang of Audio
Sensibility is now doing the importing and marketing for Neotech
in Canada. Audio Sensibility bulk cable is built to his specifications by
the same large Taiwanese cable company that owns Neotech (and
also does OEM production for a number of big-name cable companies in the
industry). ---> Toronto Audiofest 2022 Show Report Part 3.
Hi-Fi+ November 2022 High-End
Audio Magazine Hi-Fi+'s November 2022 issue
features the following:
Editorial: The Golden Age Of Hi-Fi
Meet Your Maker David Steven / Chris Hales Of dCS
Burmester 217 Turntable, Arm And Cartridge
AURALiC ARIES G1.1 Wireless Streaming Transporter
Constellation Audio Andromeda phono stage
Monitor Audio Platinum 300 3G floorstanding loudspeaker
Raidho TD2.2 floorstanding loudspeaker
Neat Acoustics Petite Classic stand-mount loudspeaker
Meze Audio 109 Pro open-backed dynamic headphones
Audeze LCD-X planar-magnetic headphones
Within this month's editorial, Alan Sircom says
"It's almost a clich้ for editors and writers in today's audio world to proclaim it a 'Golden Age', but it's said for a reason. While that first Golden Age of Hi-Fi saw the birth and proliferation of stereophonic sound in the home and that second Golden Age was the start of that 1970s underground movement that became high-end audio, today's audio world is one of huge scope; you can carry your entire your hi-fi system (and your music collection) in your pocket, or you can devote whole rooms to playing and storing your music. And people happily do
what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+
magazine at this
11 / 03 / 22
North America Premiere Review!
Kronos Discovery Turntable Drive-by reviewing at Long Valley.
Investigates A Treasured Turntable. It
was supposed to be a nearly five-hour trip but my wife missed a turn on the
shortcut and took the Shooting Brake through an all-terrain parking lot to buy
lunch at Subway. Then there were accidents on I-80 to slow us down.
Nevertheless, Bill Parish was all smiles, as usual, when we pulled into GTT
Audio to get a listen to Louis Desjardins' latest masterpiece, the Kronos
Discovery turntable. Bill had sent me his GTT video newsletter
with a pow-wow after David W. Robinson, Editor in Chief and Senior Writer
Maurice Jeffries of Positive Feedback had spent an afternoon listening to the
new turntable. Emails flew and Louis sent me a copy of Alan Sircom's review in HiFi+
magazine. I emailed Louis and told him I thought it was a very good
review. He replied that he thought it was an Excellent! --->
Kronos Discovery Turntable Review.
Enjoy the Music.com's
Plus Our Toronto Audiofest 2022 Report
This month's magazine features our extensive Toronto Audiofest show report, with our Capital Audiofest show coverage coming soon! We also review an outstanding reference preamplifier, two reference floorstanding loudspeakers, a music streamer, cables / various tweaks, personal audio, multiple videos.... All that and more within our November Review Magazine. As always, in the end what really matters is that you... enjoy the music.
Dynamic Sounds Associates Phono III Preamplifier Review Exceptional performance, and versatility to
Review By Greg Weaver I first met Dr. Douglas Hurlburt, the incredible force
behind Dynamic Sounds Associates, in the mid-1990s when I moved to Southern
Maryland to manage a chain of Fitness Centers. At that time, he was a member of
my newly discovered local listening group, and his home was in Potomac, MD, some
15 miles NW of D.C. My first visit to his home with our listening group was more than merely
memorable. Not only had he just finished a major revision of his KEF CS5
speakers, resulting in the publication of a paper in the Journal of the
Audio Engineering Society (Vol. 48, #3, March 2000, pages 147 through
167) that revised and expanded the theory on passive radiator loudspeakers
originally published by Richard Small in 1974, but he drove his newly rebuilt
KEFs with a set of remarkable mono amplifiers, the precursors to his amazing Amp
I, each the size of a small end table, which he had designed and built himself. --->
Dynamic Sounds Associates Phono III Preamplifier Review.
FiiO BTR7 Portable Bluetooth
Review The shape of things to come.
Review By Paul Schumann When
arriving at the University of Texas at Austin as a freshman, I didn't have a lot
of stuff on hand. That's because I flew down from New York and could only listen
to music with the Pioneer tape deck I recently purchased and a pair of
headphones. While I did have some tapes that were recorded back home, if I
wanted to listen to any new music, I would have to buy them as pre-recorded
cassette tapes. While enjoying those tapes and their limited sound quality at
the time, after a few years they had disintegrated to the point of no return. I
never got around to replacing them with vinyl later on, so the albums purchased
during that time are closely associated with my freshman year of college. I
think what intensified that association was listening to them using headphones,
which is a more intimate experience for me. After receiving the FiiO BTR7 Bluetooth Amplifier I was
reminded of those times. --->
FiiO BTR7 Portable Bluetooth Headphone Amplifier Review.
Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors Capital Audiofest
2022 Happy Hour Enjoy the Music.com, high-end audio's celebrated online site since 1995 and a leader in providing industry news, gear reviews, and show reports is pleased to announce that we're sponsoring Capital
Audiofest's 'Happy Hour'. Vendors and members of the press will join us for complimentary food and beverage on
Enjoy the Music.com loves luxury premium audio, and so we're inviting both
exhibitors and members of the press to join us from 6:00 pm through 8:00 pm at the Hilton Hotel
Olive's Restaurant / Bar on Thursday night. We look forward to seeing you there! --->
Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors Capital Audiofest 2022 Happy Hour.