• The Computer Audiophile

    by Published on 07-21-2015 10:23 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
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    CA contributor Gilbert Klein is back with another article in The Music In Me series. This one is well worth the lengthy read - Editor

    This one is going to be a stretch for both of us, but you trust me, right? What? What have you heard? Whatever. Youíve got time for this, I hope.

    Yes, I know of late Iíve posted essays about olden times. I promise my next post will take us to modern times, to Burning Man, in fact. But for this one Iím going to ask you to take a leap of faith with me from the practical, historical and logical to the archaically possible. Today I want to go where experts play, and open up a new category.

    I donít know which bars or tour buses youíve been hanging out in, but I know people who vigorously debate which was the first rock Ďní roll record. Specialists may debate the first rock song or the first rock record; I want to discuss the first rock moment, the very first time that rock music reared its pointy little head. Among debaters, there seem to be six principal contestants for the honor of first rock record, and Iíll put links to all of them at the end of the post. My premise is rooted in a very simple point: if it rocks, itís rock. Itís a visceral thing, yeah, and you know it when you feel it, but when did it happen for the first time? ...
    by Published on 07-15-2015 01:18 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes
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    Here we go again, Uncle Neil is grabbing headlines talking about sound quality. This time Neil is pulling his music from streaming services because, "I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music."


    For the most part I like when Neil talks to the masses about sound quality. This time he's rubbing me the wrong way. I'm calling BS on this move being about sound quality. Never mind the fact that Neil's music is still available on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, and Tidal, I'm assuming he will pull everything from streaming services as his statement says. In my view this has nothing to do with sound quality. ...
    by Published on 07-14-2015 09:22 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Appearances
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    The Los Angeles and Orange Country Audio Society, The Source A/V, and Audio Plus Services (Focal, Naim) are putting on a large dealer event this month. I'll be in attendance as the "digital seminar guest" and would love to see the SoCal contingent of CA at the event! Everything starts at 12 Noon on Sunday, July 25, 2015 and runs until 6:00PM. The event will be a great opportunity to hear the new Naim Statement system with a pair of focal Grande Utopia loudspeakers as well as a range of other Naim / Focal systems. I'll probably be speaking about how much I love vinyl playback Ö oh wait, that happened last time I was in Southern California. Only kidding, I'll be giving a seminar on digital audio and fielding questions from anyone willing to ask. I hope to see you all there! ...
    by Published on 07-09-2015 12:46 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes,
    3. Downloads / Streaming
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    I must start by saying that I'm a diehard card-carrying audiophile. I've loved great sounding music for as long as I can remember. I've had some form of "high end" audio system for almost as long. Sure, the equipment can be a marvel of engineering and very aesthetically pleasing, but nether trait equates to anything without enjoyable music. Thus, the reason I'm talking about the much hated MP3. I've loved great music, with or without great sound, forever. MP3 is a lossy codec that's "responsible" for removing much of the music from the music. However, when it comes to enjoying music, I'd rather listen to Pearl Jam on an AM radio than listen to some audiophile classics pristinely recorded and mastered at the highest sample rate and word length. This brings me to a well known, yet somehow unknown, MP3 "album" that's available for free. Yes, free as in beer. ...
    by Published on 07-02-2015 01:44 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes

    Hi Guys, just a quick update from my travels this week. Iím currently flying over northern California on my way home to Minneapolis. Iíve been in the Bay Area for four days working on a couple music servers. My task was to install Windows Server 2012 R2 and Audiophile Optimizer to squeeze every ounce of sound quality from a computer. The end result surprised me very much. I had some reservations about the install and the efficacy of going to such great lengths tweaking a PC. I figured the sound would improve, but I didnít figure it would improve by so much. This week I heard the best digital playback Iíve ever heard. Period.


    Iím not at liberty to divulge the entire hardware formula used this week, but I will talk about the software and the final outcome. What I found was similar to what many computer audiophiles have been saying for quit a while, the combination of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Audiophile Optimizer is fantastic.



    I started the project by getting a copy of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 and downloading Audiophile Optimizer. I prepared the hardware with a new SSD for the operating system and a couple 1TB SSDs for music storage. Installing 2012 R2 was pretty simple and nearly identical to installing any new Windows OS. On the other hand, installing and configuring Audiophile Optimizer is a different story. This software isnít for those who canít or wonít read the 52 page setup guide. Fortunately the setup guide is thorough and provides enough information for users to at least get their systems up and running.
    ...
    by Published on 06-25-2015 03:31 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Music Servers,
    3. Network Audio,
    4. USB Interface
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    I've been using Aurender music servers for several years. In 2011 I reviewed the Aurender S10 and in 2014 I reviewed the flagship W20 model. I've watched the company closely over the years, including traveling to its headquarters in Seoul, Korea in 2013. During this time Aurender has made substantial improvements to both its hardware and software. Features that used to be unique have become commonplace and no longer set Aurender apart from the crowd. Continuing to evolve and lead has meant integrating features like the TIDAL streaming services at a very high level and releasing the free product update to its customers quickly. I will not be surprised if Aurender updates its products to support Roon as an audio endpoint (RoonSpeakers) soon after Roon Labs releases its software development kit (SDK). In addition the company has recently expanded its line of server products to include the X series, globally launched in 2014, and N series. Prices for Aurender's entire line range from the entry level N100 at $2,499 to the piŤce de rťsistance W20 at over $17,000. No matter what Aurender hardware one uses, the software is the same. Customers who buy into Aurender at the entry level receive the same software as those using the top-of-the-line. With very few exceptions for items requiring AES or S/PDIF output the software functionality is identical. Over the last few weeks I've been using the Aurender N100H with my current reference system. The sound quality from this system has been stellar as has the entire experience. The new Aurender Media Manager (AMM) application, updated iOS app, and the N100H hardware itself combine to make a very solid solution that touches all the bases for many music aficionados and audiophiles alike. ...
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