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    by Published on 04-28-2016 07:27 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. UPnP / DLNA,
    5. RoonReady
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    In mid 2014 I received a call from Sonore's Jesus R. He wanted to discuss an idea. Jesus and his team had decided they needed to move the needle, in a huge way, with respect to computer audio playback. They had built, sold, and supported custom high end music servers for years, but were ready to innovate beyond this somewhat traditional approach. Jesus told me they wanted to design and build both the hardware and software for a tiny microcomputer the size of a credit card, that had a single purpose, to reproduce the best sound quality possible. Then he semi-jokingly asked me if I knew anyone with really deep pockets who'd like to bankroll the endeavor. At the end of our lengthy conversation I concluded that this was another great idea that would never come to fruition because it was simply cost prohibitive for a boutique manufacturer.

    Fast forward to summer 2015, when I received an email from Jesus with the subject, code name = Toaster. The first two sentences said, "For your eyes only. The small board goes on top of the larger board and it's to scale if you want to print it." Attached was the schematic for prototype units numbered 1, 2, and 3 that were already being made as I read the email. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Jesus and his team had successfully pulled off the initial hardware design phase of a project I never thought would see the light of day.

    Seeing a product brought to life from its infancy was pretty cool, at least for me. Readers putting two and two together are probably asking what happened from mid 2014 to mid 2015 to the end of April 2016. As anyone with knowledge of hardware design, prototyping, software development and testing, and sourcing components can tell you, there are more trials and tribulations involved in bringing a high precision product to market than Joe Sixpack could ever imagine. But, that's an interesting story for another time. Today, April 28, 2016 marks the launch of the highly anticipated custom designed Sonore microRendu, a purpose-built audiophile microcomputer designed to unprecedentedly process USB audio. ...
    by Published on 04-20-2016 11:44 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
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    I know- Hitler is the worst human ever! I mean, he was so bad, he _______ (you fill in the blank). So what could I mean by “a new low?” I mean… how low could he go? Well, it seems he could go to twelve, maybe eleven cycles, but what would be the point in that? So today we discuss subsonics, as soon as we get there.

    If you know anyone from the old hippie days in the Bay Area, and you ask, they’ll uniformly tell you that the Summer of Love was in 1967. Some people have even trademarked or copy-written the date and set it in stone. In 1987 they celebrated the twentieth anniversary, etc. So everyone says the Summer of Love was in 1967, but the summer of love was in 1966. I know; I was there before Time magazine wrote a story about it in January, 1967, and by the summer, 300 people a day were moving into the Haight, which was when the hard drugs, the rip-offs, scuffles and other non-peaceful crimes overwhelmed the peaceful people who’d been there for the real deal, and most of them left, many for the hinterlands of northern California where they began following Mendel’s methods and developed the stronger weed we now enjoy. I remember a Stones concert in Oakland in the late Eighties when Mick went back to his dressing room for a breather and a costume change while Keith does the two songs he does every show. Mick introduced him and disappeared while Keith walked up to the mic and said, “Hello, Humboldt County!” ...
    by Published on 04-07-2016 08:16 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Q & A
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    Shortly after attending CES 2016, where MQA was a very hot topic, I realized that there was more speculation about MQA than available facts. Nonetheless, it seemed like everyone had an opinion about MQA. Most people had never heard the final output of the MQA process, an actual song or two, but they were still very eager to render an opinion. Some armchair engineers jumped at the chance to speculate what was going on, based on little to no information. In addition, other learned folks even rushed to judgement about MQA without fully understanding what they were "analyzing." Once I started to see this speculation controlling the narrative and leading interested CA readers down a path that wasn't necessary illuminated by facts, I figured it was a good idea to go right to the source. I talked to MQA's Bob Stuart about some of the questions people had and some of the speculation that was swirling around not only CA but the entire HiFi community. I proposed a question and answer "session" where the CA readers could ask anything they wanted, without censorship, and Bob would respond. Without hesitation Bob agreed. In order to accumulate a good number of questions and to give Bob a decent amount of time to formulate thorough answers, the questioning period was open for one week, after which Bob curated the questions and started writing his responses. Bob was the first to say, "All questions will be answered." As such, the time between the end of the questioning period and the publishing of the answers needed to be ample. I'm sure Bob could have whipped up some talking-point type answers in a day or so, but that's not what he wanted to do and that's not what those asking the questions wanted to receive. Fortunately good things come to those who wait. This week Bob sent me a thirty page document, including eighty-two questions, graphics, references, and a glossary. What follows is a word-for-word reproduction of this substantial document. ...
    by Published on 03-30-2016 10:51 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes
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    In 2006 Peachtree Audio started bringing its first product, the Decco integrated amplifier with USB input, around to dealers in the US. Most of the dealers initially told the Peachtree Audio team that the product would never sell and that nobody was going to connect a computer to piece of HiFi equipment via USB. Dealer Stereo Exchange in New York City completely understood the impact computer audio would have in the high end sector and jumped onboard right away. Not too long after, 300+ dealers took on the Peachtree Audio products and the company was off to a blistering start. After 10 years, and a learning experience or two later, Peachtree Audio was back at Stereo Exchange to launch version 2.0 of the company and kick things into high gear with some major changes to the product line and the way its products are made. ...
    by Published on 03-25-2016 09:08 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. Headphones
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    For those not familiar with Woo Audio’s offerings, the USA-based company has been making high performance loudspeaker and headphone amplifiers for several years out of New York. Owner Jack Woo has successfully piloted the company and built a substantial reputation for quality-made tube stage amplifiers. While the full product rundown includes loudspeaker implementations, most of Woo’s foothold in the marketplace comes directly from its large, perfectly incremental headphone amplifier product line. From their entry level single-ended OTL WA3 amp ($599) to the behemoth WA234 monoblocks ($15,900) Jack and the team have a little bit of something for everyone interested in analog listening. Keeping up with the times requires a bit more than just creating price touch points across a scale. The newest version of the WA7 Fireflies firmly addresses these changes in technology while also tapping into that elusive harmony which happens when the digital and analog realms collide. The two-part package starts at a cool $999 for the WA7 with a solid-state power supply by itself, with the WA7 tube power block costing an additional $749. Bundled together however, you will be able to save a little bit of scratch as the full tube package purchased at the same time will cost a mere $1,599. ...
    by Published on 03-18-2016 11:31 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
    Article Preview



    This’ll be a short one, because I want to get right to the music.

    A few years ago I had some friends over and I played them what you’re about to hear (video below). I asked them to listen carefully and then guess what the instrument was. No one got it, although the one I thought was the closest was… wait for it… the saw. Yes, the common saw, which can be considerably more expressive than you might have thought if you’ve never seen one played. Yes, I said it: played. But let’s not quibble; we’re not here to discuss the saw or saw-playing. That’s right, I said it again: playing.

    Moving on, the instrument under discussion today is the Theremin: both what you know about it and what you thought you knew about it. I’ve a feeling that of all the people in the world I could be writing for, in all the world, this is the group most likely to know about the Theremin. In fact, I’m hoping to see input from some of you who know more than we have here. Let’s see. ...

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