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    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 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 03-11-2016 01:20 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Network Audio
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    I recently received a message from a service touting online storage of one's music files and streaming of those files to almost any device. I took a look at the service, its apps, and its pricing and thought about whether the CA Community would be interested in the offering. Most of it looked good, but when I considered the monthly charge to store files online for streaming, I started to think about what's already available to many CA readers without adding another monthly charge to their bills. I also thought about the sizable number of readers who don't subscribe to music streaming services such as Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, Spotify, or Apple Music. Then I thought about those of us who have subscriptions to one or more services, but are still unable to stream our favorite remaster of Kind of Blue, Dark Side of the Moon, or any number of Mobile Fidelity albums that will never hit streaming services. I was pretty sure JRiver Media Center had a solution for this problem, but I didn't know how great it was because I honestly had never given it a spin. While testing this JRMC solution, I stumbled on an absolute gem involving JRMC and Chromecast Audio devices. Needless to say, I'm thrilled to write about streaming our music collections around the globe to almost any device for no additional cost to many readers, and sending audio around our homes to $35 endpoints all from the convenience of the JRemote iOS/Android app. Come along and be prepared to spend little-to-no money while increasing your enjoyment of this wonderful hobby. It's not often I get to say that around here, but it's so satisfying. ...
    by Published on 04-29-2015 09:52 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 03-19-2015 02:10 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Software
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    Since the dawn of ripping CDs and downloading high resolution music people have been subjecting the files to audio analysis through applications such as Audacity and Adobe Audition. This type of analysis can be interesting when it reveals a high resolution album was simply upsampled from at 16 bit / 44.1 kHz version. A much more interesting, and more telling, indicator of sound quality can be seen when analyzing a track's waveform for dynamic range compression. Now that audiophiles are streaming lossless 16 bit / 44.1 kHz music from services such as TIDAL HIFI, Qobuz, and Deezer, the question of how to analyze this music becomes relevant. In the past we simply imported the file stored on our hard drive into one of the analysis applications and we had our answers. Because streaming services don't store music on our hard drives in the traditional ...

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