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    by Published on 02-15-2017 01:14 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
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    I met Jim Marshall just after he’d shot someone.

    And bam! I’ve discovered that, knowing it or not, a writer might be waiting all his life for an opening line like that. Although I’m not really sure how true it is. I could have asked about it over the years, but it just never came up. That’s how he was introduced to me, he didn’t deny it, and the person introducing us had known him for many years, so I believed her, and meeting him that first time gave me no reason to doubt it. ...
    by Published on 02-05-2017 09:16 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. MQA
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    At CES 2017 Tidal announced it was streaming MQA masters and MQA Ltd announced software decoding of the MQA signal. Two big items for all of us who enjoy music. Immediately the questions and conjecture started flowing. It's human nature. We ask questions and make guesses about what's happening, when we don't have all the information.

    Shortly after the announcements I setup a meeting with MQA's Bob Stuart to get more details about decoding MQA signals. I wanted to know the differences between software and hardware decoding and where rendering comes into play, in addition to many other items.

    A PhD isn't required to enjoy MQA. This article is my attempt at explaining how decoding and rendering work, from a civilian perspective. Most of us have seen the music origami graphs and deep technical explanations, but have no idea what any of the information actually means for us, enjoying music at home or on the go. I want to help members of the CA community understand how to get the best sound quality out of MQA. ...
    by Published on 02-01-2017 02:50 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes
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    This just in. Much more to come.


    "We're very excited to announce that Roon 1.3 is going live today! This is our most ambitious release ever – in the works for nearly nine months – but we think it's been worth the wait. With new streaming hardware support, audio processing, DSP, file handling, metadata management, and social sharing, there are new features and improvements in almost every area of the product.

    We've incorporated hundreds of suggestions from you, and thrown in a few of our own:

    "With the 1.3 update, Roon now streams to Sonos devices! This means all the users in a home – with one app and one music collection – can play music to Sonos, Airplay, Squeezebox, Sooloos, and any of over 50 Roon Ready devices available today.

    We've added a whole family of audio and DSP features with a 64-bit audio pipeline, including dynamic range analysis, EQ, upsampling, crossfeed for headphones, and adjustments for headroom as well as corrections for speaker phase and delay.
    ...
    by Published on 01-31-2017 12:04 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Vinyl
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    Editor's Note: This is the first article in CA's new "Digital Vinyl" series. The upcoming topics include dynamic range, loudness wars, high resolution digital, disadvantages of vinyl and myths, clocks and sample rates, mechanical reflections in vinyl and reconstruction of the digital signal in real time, among others. This series will focus on both digital and analog audio, in addition each article will include terrific audio samples from Igor's project. What follows is an introduction of the series' author. I think you'll find both Igor and the series refreshing. - CC

    First of all I want to thank Chris, that he decided to open a new regular column on the subject, which can cause a lot of controversy and debate. Vinyl, LP - these are concepts that cause many of us, fans of digital audio, to usually smile, and often contemptuously. According to my observations, many members of CA have prejudices against these categories, and these prejudices have the right to exist. I initially want to assure all of you that we are talking here not about vinyl, but only about digital sound, and even more about computer digital sound. ...
    by Published on 01-24-2017 08:07 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Speakers
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    In the first of a series of loudspeaker reviews, the Dynaudio Focus 600 XD full range tower is first up. This “all in one” full range, DSP optimized active 3-way floorstander, is a techno tour de force of computer aided design optimizations. In my review of the Vancouver Audio show, there were a handful of advanced loudspeaker designs that use Digital Signal Processing to optimize the performance of the offering. The Dynaudio’s were one of those speakers that I was curious to listen to and measure. In this review, I provide subjective listening impressions and objective measurement results.


    Loudspeakers reviews are difficult to write as it comes down to personal preference, aside that everyone’s listening environments and equipment are different. However, this approach is designed so that my listening experiences and objective measurements results, as compared to industry guidelines, should translate almost 1:1 to virtually anyone’s listening environment. I show an example of this from half way around the world.
    One goal is to characterize each loudspeaker against a set of industry guidelines, and build up a library of subjective listening impressions and objective measurements. The industry guidelines referenced in this article show a high degree of correlation to listening preferences and objective measurements, spanning 40 years of research and development. Covering not only the loudspeakers, but also the listening environment.


    For the acoustic listening environment, as long as one is within the specs as described in the industry guidelines, then the review characterization and measurements should translate to one’s environment with a high degree of confidence. My stereo setup is offset to the left of center, along the long wall, firing across the short width of the room. In addition, not the most favorable room ratio and my room is quite lively. Still, with a little ingenuity, I am able to meet the industry guidelines for early reflections and reverb time and so can you.
    ...
    by Published on 01-20-2017 11:46 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
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    This might be a short one today, because it’s all about a story I heard once, and it’s a short one at that. But I never use three words when I can get away with ten, so sit down and we’ll begin with a visit to the Bay Area. I was up there for Thanksgiving, and I had my usual lunch with Bob, my lawyer, guide and friend for over forty years. I can’t say enough about Bob, but it’s not about him, so let’s get to the tour.

    I hadn’t been in Bob’s home for a long time, and he was showing me around when we got to his den, and the first thing I saw was this big old stand-up record player, and I was stopped cold. He said it was from 1913, and he picked up the lid to show me the 78 rpm disc on the turntable. It was one of my favorite boogie woogie pianists, Albert Ammons, and the song was “Early Morning Blues.” Then he flipped it over and I flipped out: it was Sidney Bechet playing “Viper Mad.”

    A Sidney Bechet record! Dude played clarinet and soprano saxophone, and he was so excellent! Bechet (pronounced Bih-SHAY) was born in New Orleans in 1897 to a musical middle-class creole family, and, self-taught, achieved notice at six playing in his brother’s band; by his teens he was the only player in New Orleans who could share the bandstand with Louis Armstrong without embarrassing himself. Bechet was one of the founders of jazz, but not many know about him, and although everyone recognizes Louis Armstrong as being among the first jazz artists to put their craft on wax, Bechet beat him to the studio by several months. That may seem insignificant now, but at the time it was quite important.

    While playing in London, Bechet discovered the straight soprano saxophone, and quickly developed a style quite unlike his warm, reedy clarinet tone. His saxophone sound has been described as "emotional", "reckless", and "large," using a very broad vibrato, common to some New Orleans clarinetists at the time. Bechet was known for his forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and that distinctive, wide vibrato. ...

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