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    by Published on 05-22-2016 06:21 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
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    There was a brief time in America between the beatniks and the hippies, and that was the time of the folkies. The Sixties was a time of cultural change, and among the precursors of the change was the new interest in folk music. Actually, to say that the interest in folk music was new would be disingenuous; what we now call folk music used to be known as… music. It chronicled the thoughts of the day, and some of those songs are still around, although their meanings have generally fallen into don’t-know-don’t-careville. Por ejemplo, it’s commonly understood that song we all sang, “Roses, roses, pocket full of posies, all fall down,” was about dying from the Black Plague in London in 1665. As recently as the 1920’s and ‘30’s, we had the folk music that came out of the deep South and the Okie Dust Bowl migration of the 30’s, and some of that turned into jazz, blues and rock. Before the new jongleurs* like Bob Dylan showed up in the early Sixties, folk music was mostly songs from the past, although the irony must have been noted that at one time, those songs had been written, they’d been topical. Sure, songs about romances sweet and tragic were always topical, but we’ve been singing about the erosion of London Bridge since at least the Sixteenth Century. Still do, yo. ...
    by Published on 05-12-2016 02:29 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. 2016 Munich high End
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    (Note: Part one of my Munich show coverage is all in words. Part two will be photos and videos.)

    The 2016 Munich High End show, or as I call it, the Super Bowl of HiFi, is in the books. It was the best audio show I've ever attended, by a long shot. The venue was fabulous, the number of exhibitors was enormous, the sound quality in a number of rooms was great, and the vibe at the show was delightful. I ran into people from all over the world and was so pleased by everyone's upbeat and enthusiastic demeanor. I even shared an Uber ride with a couple of vinyl / CD spinning folks with whom I pleasantly debated the pros and cons of physical formats versus computer based listening. Speaking of Uber, I had two other great experiences with the service in Munich. I was picked up at the airport by an Uber driver named Dmitri. In a scene that Hollywood couldn't have scripted better, he turned on the radio and I heard the DJ speaking in German. The only thing I understood was the name David Hasselhoff. Once the music started Demitri cranked the volume and we were off, my trip had started with a bang. On the way back to the airport after several days in Munich, I was picked up by an Uber driver named Serhat in his impeccably clean Mercedes. Once we hit the road, he said that the speed limit signs with a circle and slash through them indicated that there was no speed limit. He then hit the gas, driving me to Terminal 1B at 200 km/h. What a great city. What a great show. What a great time.
    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. ...

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