• The Computer Audiophile

    by Published on 04-29-2015 08:52 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Network Audio


    Over the years I've researched countless software and hardware combinations, based on the Raspberry Pi, for use in HiFi audio systems. I'm not alone. Audiophiles all over the world have been trying to squeeze every ounce of audio quality from the device since its release in February 2012. During the early attempts it was "nerd city" with massive tweaking and lackluster results. Now, with the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, the right software, and a few optional add-ons, audiophiles have a simple solution for HiFi sound starting at around $50.

    After publishing the previous CA Geek Speak article with instructions for using a Beaglebone Black as a UPnP renderer, I noticed many user comments seeking additional features. Members of the CA Community asked for WiFi, Spotify, and different audio output options among other things. Satisfying these needs wasn't possible with the hardware limitations of the Beaglebone Black. Thus, I went back to the Raspberry Pi platform and pieced together three different solutions for bit perfect playback. ...
    by Published on 04-10-2015 10:01 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Disk Storage,
    3. Speakers,
    4. Wireless,
    5. Music Hub / Controller
    Article Preview



    Those of us who care about music and sound quality, and wish to stream music around our houses, finally have a product that fits the bill. We are no longer stuck with Sonos. The Bluesound ecosystem, consisting of storage, streamers, and speakers is a much needed upgrade over the whole house systems that became so popular over the last several years. Bluesound is a well designed system with components that work together or independently. The Bluesound Pulse is a loudspeaker with built-in streaming capability. The Bluesound Vault is a NAS with built-in CD ripping and streaming capabilities as well as outputs for both analog and digital audio. Control of the Bluesound components is accomplished from a number of devices including a very nice iOS app for iPad and iPhone. Over the course of my review I was very impressed by the entire ecosystem of components and applications. I pushed the wireless capability to its limits and found a couple fairly small quirks / bugs in the apps, but certainly no showstoppers. I highly recommend the Bluesound ecosystem for people looking to sack Sonos and move into something with superior sound quality and for those who are finally ready to jump into the streaming audio water for the first time. ...
    by Published on 04-03-2015 09:44 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes

    The first ever Computer Audiophile get together has been scheduled! Thanks to CA member petaluma for getting the ball rolling and keeping track of who can attend the event. There have been a few ideas thrown around since we first starting talking about such an event and I now have the firm details. The event will be very informal, without any presentations. Just a bunch of like-minded people getting together for an afternoon. I look forward to seeing everyone there! ...
    by Published on 04-01-2015 08:24 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Editorial

    March 30, 2015 was a big day for TIDAL. The streaming service re-launched with an additional tier of service, exclusive content, and new ownership. Nothing promotes products like celebrity, and TIDAL laid the celebrity on pretty thick during its press event at Skylight at Moynihan Station in Manhattan. The event was somewhat uneventful for those seeking details over enthusiasm, and featured the biggest names in music looking as awkward as toddlers waiting for instructions during a kindergarten graduation ceremony. Overall, we didn't learn much new about TIDAL. The existing TIDAL HiFI lossless service that people have been using since its original launch in late 2014 remains the same. However, the press sure loves to hate and chum the waters with enough link bait to hook every naive reader the world over. Some of the headlines and prose written about TIDAL this week would make the unlearned reader think the service will fail within the month but still fill up the bank accounts of undeserved rich artists. Based on Press reaction, TIDAL would have been better off to Rick-roll everyone at the event. At least the hipster press would have eaten that up and waxed poetically about how great it was. While I won't be watching reruns of the press event, I will keep using TIDAL HIFI like I have since the days of WiMP it's predecessor. Let's take a look at what some of the press had to say about TIDAL. ...
    by Published on 03-30-2015 11:39 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes
    Article Preview



    Nothing compares to celebrity when it comes to getting the word out and garnering support for a product. Since Jay Z's company recently agreed to purchase TIDAL, the service has gone from being well known in HiFi circles to being pushed by artists like Kanye West, Madonna, Coldplay, Rhianna, Beyonce, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk and more. It's really cool to see a product that many of us love for streaming lossless audio quality, be sprung into the mainstream. In a way it feels like our "HiFi baby" is leaving the nest. Tonight at 5PM Eastern Jay Z will stream a live press conference about the re-launch of TIDAL. It's expected TIDAL will announce some exclusives from artists like Kanye West and a second tier of service. TIDAL HIFI will remain lossless at $20 per month if purchased through the TIDAL website or $26 per month if purchased through the TIDAL iOS app (increased price because Apple takes a 30% cut of the sales price). The second tier of service is called TIDAL PREMIUM. This tier will stream 320 kbps MP3 quality and retail for $10 direct or $13 through the iOS App Store. I confirmed both the streaming quality and pricing with TIDAL headquarters in Oslo, Norway this morning.

    Click over to Twitter to follow the #TIDALforALL action all day and look below to watch the live press conference tonight at 5PM Eastern. ...
    by Published on 03-27-2015 03:52 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes
    Article Preview


    Yesterday Amazon launched its unlimited Cloud Drive and today Coppertino, the company who created the Vox music application for OS X, announced it will soon be releasing what it calls the Loop Music Locker. The Loop Music Locker is pretty cool in that it's built right into the Vox player, will upload nearly any type of lossless audio format including FLAC, APE, ALAC, AIFF, WAV, for a total of 43 formats, store unlimited amounts of data in the cloud, and enable users to stream this content in full lossless quality. In a way this is like a mix of Amazon Cloud Drive and TIDAL HIFI with the exception that it only contains the music one owns (no subscription music). Streaming from the cloud to the Vox Mac app and Vox iOS app are supported as is offline caching, just like TIDAL. Loop Music Locker will cost $49.99 per year or $4.99 per month.

    Readers looking for a peak at the beta version of the Loop Music Locker can sign up HERE. ...
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