• Bits & Bytes

    by Published on 07-02-2015 01:44 PM
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    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.
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    by Published on 06-13-2015 10:54 PM
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    Invariably, whenever I meet fellow computer audiophiles at audio shows or dealer events we always ask each other what the other is using. Depending on the context and location, asking someone what they are using might have illegal undertones or lead to a nice conversation about audio systems. I enjoy hearing what everyone is using for both hardware and software. For the most part people seem to have a good grasp of the hardware options available. When the conversation turns to software I am usually a little surprised by how many people have never heard of some very popular applications. It's like some people selected iTunes or MediaMonkey back in 2007 and have never wondered or cared about anything else available. There's nothing wrong with that approach and it's an approach I often suggest for hardware. If one is happy with his system, there is no need to make a change. Software just seems different though. Maybe it's the comparatively low price or rate of change and feature enhancements that leads me to think people should frequently snoop around for ways to enhance their listening experience through software.

    On the other hand, I run into many computer audiophiles who either own or have tried more applications than I knew were available. That's the fun part for me, learning what people are doing and picking up a link to a new application. What follows is my attempt to introduce you to a new application ...
    by Published on 04-03-2015 09:44 AM
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    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 03-30-2015 11:39 AM
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    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
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    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. ...
    by Published on 03-26-2015 10:31 AM
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    Unlimited cloud storage for $59.99 per year is here! Thanks to CA reader joelha for bringing this to our attention! Here is the deal: Amazon Cloud Drive has recently enabled what it calls "Unlimited Everything." This allows people to store nearly any type of file on Amazon's cloud for less than $5 per month. The service also has tiers for unlimited photo storage and limited video storage, but for computer audiophiles this unlimited tier is fantastic. I just signed up for the three month free trial and am testing the upload right now. My recent switch to a Windows based NAS enables me to install Amazon's Cloud Drive uploading application right on the NAS. I simply selected the folders storing all my music and everything is uploading as I type. I have no plans to play the music directly from Amazon's cloud, but as a backup this is terrific. Currently Amazon supports access to the files from a number of mobile platforms as well as Windows and OS X desktops. ...
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