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    by Published on 12-04-2015 09:20 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Speakers,
    3. Wireless,
    4. UPnP / DLNA
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    Imagine this: You place an audio playback system in your living room and enjoy the hell out of your favorite music with your family and friends. This is something I could only imagine, but for many people this is something they remember. Back in the day people placed a stereo console in their living rooms and partook in all the fun that goes along with listening to music with others. Sadly, over the years these “beautiful” pieces of audio furniture were replaced by separate components and soon relegated to man caves. The wonderful hobby of listening to music moved from a shared experience to a companionless commitment. Even worse than a room in the basement, where there’s a chance the guys could hang out for a while and listen to a couple tracks before being summoned upstairs to join the rest of the party, is the solitary loneliness of listening to music through headphones. The shared experience of listening to music has been obliterated by keep-it-to-yourself audio and the antisocial pseudo-communal experience of sharing yourself with others online, but only from the comfort of your empty house. I am way over on the introvert side on the introvert / extrovert continuum, but I still enjoy sharing the things I love with friends and family … while the friends and family are physically in the room, not simply reachable via Internet Protocol from an iPad in an isolated nook of my living room. In addition to sharing the music I love with others, the ability to share high quality sound with others is also important. Without an easily accessible and conveniently placed high end audio system in a common living space, this sharing of good sound just isn’t going to happen. Sure, my three year old daughter comes down to my listening room now and then, but imagine if I could bring all the music and all the quality to her on a daily basis. That would be priceless. While the dream of doing this is priceless, the reality of doing this here and it’s made possible my England’s Naim Audio. Having the Naim Mu-so in my house has enabled me to bring my favorite (and my daughter’s favorite) music, in high quality, to her and has enabled me to share the fine qualities of a high end component with friends who had no idea such a product exists. I don’t know how many times I’ve told friends that a Bose iPod dock isn’t the height of living, but now I can casually let them experience the joys of high quality music and fine craftsmanship while getting together to create new shared experiences we’ll remember for a lifetime. ...
    by Published on 11-25-2015 10:49 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Wireless,
    4. USB Interface,
    5. UPnP / DLNA
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    The exaSound Playpoint Stereo/Multichannel Streamer (Jack of All Trades, Master of at Least Four!)

    When the computer audiophile world began to embrace the onset of ethernet-based music streamers, it was slowly becoming clear that not all DACs could seamlessly take part in this (general use) computer-less setup. As DAC manufacturers pushed for better and better integration with computers, some of them went as far as creating specific drivers to take advantage of direct handshaking with such higher resolution formats as raw DSD (as opposed to getting one's DSD packed in a PCM carrier, aka DoP). This integration often had sonic payoffs, but made plug-n-play Linux UPnP streamers, looking for common drivers in the USB Audio Class 2 category (aka UAC2) too pedestrian to be able to talk to these DACs. And although some of this has changed over the past couple of years (Linux code lines now embrace some native DAC drivers of various manufacturers, above and beyond UAC2) some DACs still would rather interface more closely with proprietary drivers. One such DAC manufacturer that has espoused this direct driver philosophy is exaSound. ...
    by Published on 11-20-2015 11:08 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
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    Yeah, it’s a long one this time, but you should see what I took out. I’ll be honest: What we’re talking about, plus or minus, happened in the early sixties, so yeah, we’re talking about the era that everyone’s heard enough about: the Sixties. To get from the sixties to the Sixties, we’re going to start with folk music, which was a small but growing movement in the late 50’s, then blossomed around 1962. In its early days it was a little like punk rock in the mid-seventies: it was very visual so it got a lot of press, but it didn’t sell a lot of records. Folk music set the stage for the Sixties, provided the tinder, as it were. But for it to happen, for it to ignite, it needed a spark. Today we look at the spark. ...
    by Published on 11-13-2015 01:34 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Editorial
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    I've had this dream for the last few years. Not a dream in the REM sleep sense of the word, but rather a dream in the "wouldn't it be great if…" sense of the word. Yesterday I received an email that finally sparked me to write about this dream in the hope that just maybe I could nudge someone or some company, even if only a tiny bit, in the right direction, or at least in my direction. Technically it's fairly easy to accomplish the subject of my dream. Almost all the pieces are already in place. In addition, if this dream came to fruition, it would be a win for everyone involved. Consumers would be spending money on something they want and everyone else would be making money from something they are already doing. As a consumer I've been waiting to hand over my own money for three years. If only the subject of my dream existed and someone was willing to accept my money :~) ...
    by Published on 11-03-2015 03:51 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    6. AES/EBU Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
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    Late last night I was about to conduct a final listening session with the Schiit Audio Yggdrasil DAC. I planned to finish writing this review after listening to one, maybe two albums. After all, I really didn't need to listen to the DAC for another minute, let alone another couple of hours. I already spent quite a bit of time with the Yggdrasil, but I just had to give it one more listen. I turned out the lights and turned up the volume on a Constellation Audio preamplifier. A track or two into the first album and I knew my plan for the evening was moot. I was not going to be able to stop listening and start writing. The sound was so good and the experience so enveloping, that I couldn't stop listening until the cause of my head bobbing switched from incredible music to incredible sleepiness. Hours after the listening session began, I had to call it a night and get some rest. I was eager to write, but I was in no condition to concentrate and collect coherent thoughts. This is the kind of component the Yggdrasil is, one that can suck the listener in and alter one's plans for the evening. I've enjoyed the Yggdrasil so much since I took delivery of the unit that I can say it's unequivocally one of the best DACs at reproducing acoustic music I've ever heard. Of course this DAC is fabulous at amplified / electric music as well, but there is something about its ability to convey realism when reproducing acoustic instruments that is remarkably alluring. In my experience, sound quality of this caliber comes at a price that most of us simply can't afford. We read the reviews of ultra high-end products as aspirational buyers who may one day get lucky enough to find a gem on the used market for well below the original price. Many audio enthusiasts know what I'm about to say, but those who are unfamiliar with the Yggdrasil, and Schiit Audio in general, should stop skimming this review and pay close attention. The aforementioned sound quality of the Yggdrasil, Schiit Audio's top-of-the-line digital to analog converter, can be had for $2,299 USD. That's a new-in-box component with a fifteen day return policy and a five year warranty, for less than the cost of sales tax on many items in this wonderful yet sometimes crazy world of high end audio. Come along as I share my extraordinary experience with the Schiit Audio Yggdrasil digital to analog converter. ...
    by Published on 10-21-2015 12:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
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    I don’t know- maybe not even nine people. I know that Mick, Keith, Charlie, Pierre, my pal Johnny, the engineer and Johnny Depp know about the egg. And me. Maybe no one else. But I have the proof. It’s in my car. And I have a challenge for you audiophiles out there. But first we meander.

    Everyone and everything affects everyone and everything else, and we all know about that butterfly in Africa that causes a hurricane in Florida or something like that, and you get the drift. In the spring of 1998, my pal Johnny was late for rehearsals in Toronto, where he’d join up with the Rolling Stones, already at work for their next tour, which they were going to call “Bridges to Babylon.” Johnny rolled in and waited for them to come out of their lunch break. No matter who you work for or what you do, sometimes waiting is what you do, but if you’re on the clock and it can be avoided, it should. And Johnny always had his roadie gear with him. And that’s how some traditions got started.

    During rehearsals for a tour in the Eighties, Keith once opined that he was always away from home and never knew which direction home was, and he missed that. Rock ‘n’ roll rolls on duct tape, and a) it’s always in plenteous supply, b) in various colors, c) Johnny knew where to get some and d) he had his compass, and he was there to work, so Johnny made a 3-foot-round tape compass with the arrow pointed due north. Without knowing Johnny had gotten there, Keith came out of the dining area, saw the compass and said, “Johnny’s here!” I know Johnny so I understand that. ...

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