• The Computer Audiophile

    by Published on 01-16-2017 12:37 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Editorial
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    Note: This post has very little to do with audio and less to do with computer audio. If you're only looking for such information please skip this post. If you want to read an interesting story and find out about a good music related book, continue on. Much more information about MQA, after my lengthy discussion with Bob Stuart in Las Vegas, is forthcoming in another article.


    CES 2017 started with a bang. Thursday morning Tidal dropped 30,000 MQA tracks and everyone could decode the tracks in software, starting immediately. Music lovers everywhere were listening to old albums again for the first time. Some loved it, ...
    by Published on 01-06-2017 12:59 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. 2017 Consumer Electronics Show
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    Today was full of surprises at CES 2017. Tidal announced 30,000 tracks available immediately in what it calls master quality (MQA), Napster announced high resolution streaming, Pandora did everything except announce high resolution streaming (look for it soon though), MQA announced software decoding in Audirvana and the Tidal desktop app, Roon communicated it would have full software decoding soon, Chord announced the Hugo 2, Blu mk II, and Poly, Klipsch featured really cool products for reasonable prices, and I heard some great sound.

    Now, where to start? I guess I'll cover this is the order I saw / heard it today.

    Before leaving the hotel room this morning, I was able to release the good news that, effective immediately, Tidal was streaming 30,000 tracks in MQA, and MQA decoding was now available in software. Both of these are big news. Tidal was ready to go with MQA long ago, but the record labels just didn't have the content to deliver. Once the number of titles hit critical mass, Tidal flipped the switch on Master Quality. MQA is included with HiFi Tidal subscriptions for now, we'll have to see if there is an added cost for Master Quality at a later date. ...
    by Published on 01-04-2017 10:54 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Books
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    Inside the Horrific Guns N’ Roses ‘Hell House’

    How a one-room space on Sunset became ground zero for sex, drugs, depravity, and talent in the 1980s L.A. rock scene

    By Mick Wall

    . . .


    Although it was Duff McKagan who had booked what Guns N’ Roses were already calling “the Hell tour” to Seattle, once they returned to L.A. in June of 1985, one thing was clear: with Tracii Guns out of the picture, the band had a leader, and that leader was W. Axl Rose. “Axl always had this kind of vision of where he wanted to be,” Slash would tell me. “What he wanted the band to be. He didn’t like people he thought were trying to hold him back.”

    With Tracii now out of the way, and the other band members unready to challenge a guy so seemingly set in his own mind, Axl was ready to assume leadership. Sure, Duff was determined to keep pushing forward; like Axl, he wanted to rehearse regularly and get the show on the road as soon as possible, but he would yield to the singer in terms of writing. Slash and Izzy, who were more involved in the writing process, were so laidback (and increasingly ...
    by Published on 12-27-2016 10:35 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Basics
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    Hello Guys - Just a quick note during this usually relaxed week between major holidays. I was recently a guest on The Next Track podcast to discuss DACs. The information is fairly light and easy to understand, and may be valuable for those who don't eat, sleep, and breathe digital audio. Give it a listen and subscribe to The Next Track is you're interested. Kirk and Doug are down to earth guys who love music and computers, similar to many readers of CA. I hope you find the 35 minute episode helpful and enjoyable. ...
    by Published on 12-22-2016 07:06 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Software
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    Note: I originally started this piece as an in-depth look at Android for audiophiles. I wanted to do the research and educate people so they didn't have to spend their time combing the entire Internet. I figured the article would be a great resource for getting the best sound out of an Android device. After several days of research, talking to experts, even talking to Google, this article turned in a little different direction. There are major problems with Android audio. I ran into them. I tried to provide details and some workarounds, amid my frustration. - CC

    I purchased my first iPhone on June 9, 2008. It was the 3G model. Back then, I didn't really use it for audio because the world was a different place. That phone was maxed-out at 16GB of storage, there were no major streaming music services, analog audio output was less than good, and there were zero devices capable of extracting digital audio from an iPhone. As future iPhone versions were released with more storage, streaming services appeared with lossless offline downloads, and external DACs capable of turning an iPhone into a pretty good audio device became available, I switched from my 160 GB iPod Classic and began to depend on my iPhone for mobile audio playback.

    On September 7, 2016 the iPhone 7 was announced. I was set to upgrade from my iPhone 6 Plus, but was very underwhelmed after watching Apple's presentation. I thought about keeping my 6 Plus until the "magical" iPhone 8 is released, but decided it was time for a change. I switched to the Google Pixel phone running Android. When switching to an Android device, it was very important to me to use an official Google phone. Google ensures its phones have the "real" Android experience, without bloatware, and will be updated to the newest version of the Android operating system as soon as it's released. On the other hand, manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola, and Huawei use such customized versions of Android, it's hard to believe they can still use the Android brand. Bloatware an lack of updates are two major issues with non-Google Android phones. Anyway, I made the switch to a 128 GB Google Pixel, and the quest for audiophile quality audio from Android started immediately. I literally hadn't received the phone yet, and I was already trying to find the right audio-related accessories and the best way to output bit perfect audio. ...
    by Published on 12-12-2016 01:48 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Editorial
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    It's nearly time to close out 2016 as it's probably 2017 in Australia by now and the Summer 2017 editions of magazines are about to hit the shelves. First, we must give credit where credit is due. Throughout the year, manufacturers, software developers, engineers, distributors, and dealers all put in countless hours to bring us the products that improve our musical lives. Most of these products were in development long before we got our hands on them in 2016. While it's easy to complain about one aspect of a product not meeting our needs or expectations, we should all keep in mind that product development isn't easy. People in this industry have put their careers on the line to bring products to market. Others have put their entire companies on the line to develop new products that they just knew the market would embrace.

    Needless to say, we have the easy part. Sit back in a comfortable chair with remote in hand, listen to great music, and repeat. Evaluating products and reducing years of others' hard work into a few paragraphs can't do these products justice. I encourage everyone to get out to the nearest dealer, or online dealer for those in many areas, and listen to everything this wonderful hobby has to offer. Here at CA we only review a very limited number of components each year. There are many other fine products discussed in the forum that likely deserve much more attention than we can provide. That said, we pick and choose carefully and only review products that meet strict criteria. Of those products, the following are the best of 2016.

    P.S. We don't hand out participation trophies or awards just for producing a product. There are no classes of products here, or even runners-up. Only the best. ...
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