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    by Published on 03-06-2011 12:25 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Speakers,
    4. USB Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    7. Preamp

    Over the last year I participated in a few computer audio seminars around the country with Peachtree Audio’s David Solomon. During the events I spent a fair amount of time listening to the Peachtree Design 5 loudspeakers. Every time I listened to these speakers I commented positively about either the aesthetic design, build quality, or impressive sound quality. The one thing left to do was listen to the D5 speakers in my own listening room where familiarity with the environment would lead to much more accurate judgments. Fortunately David offered a pair of D5s for review while we discussed my review of the new iNova integrated amplifier. I accepted the offer to review the speakers and the amplifier as a complete system. There was no hiding the fact I liked the D5s based on previous experience. That also meant I had high expectations for these speakers. On the other hand I hadn’t listened to the iNova enough to leave a lasting impression in my mind. That said I still had high expectations because of its lineage. I liked the original Nova very much. In fact I liked it too much according to some Computer Audiophile readers. It was time to find out if the Design 5 speakers were as good as I previously thought, if the new iNova was anything more than an original Nova with an iPod dock, if Peachtree refined the highly regarded Nova into something better, or simply sat on its laurels riding the previous wave of success.
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    by Published on 03-01-2011 11:39 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Announcements,
    3. Downloads / Streaming

    HDtracks recently teased its customers with an email suggesting it would soon make history. This email was similar to Apple's history making teaser before offering The Beatles' music in very low resolution. Many audiophiles yawned and moved on after The Beatles announcement. Today HDtracks announced it's offering The Rolling Stones at 24/88.2 kHz and 24/176.4 kHz. This announcement is certainly no yawner for computer audiophiles who've been eagerly awaiting quality mainstream music downloads for years. The Rolling Stones material available exclusively at HDtracks originates from the, "same [ABKCO] masters as the SACDs" said HDtracks co-founder David Chesky. In fact Bob Ludwig mastered the DSD files for the HDtracks downloads. History making or not this is a huge announcement and major step toward dragging the high end audi industry into the next phase of high quality playback.
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    by Published on 02-28-2011 02:43 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Music Servers,
    3. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface

    Demian Martin and Ray Burnham of Auraliti must frequently feel like Russel Ziskey teaching Basic English in the movie Stripes [Link]link. Almost everybody mispronounces their company name Auraliti. I admit to mangling the name a few times myself. An easy way to learn and remember the correct pronunciation is to repeat the words Audio and Reality as fast as one can over and over. Soon enough the tongue and lips get lazy and a shortened version of the two words is spoken as Auraliti. The name rhymes with the company's tagline - Welcome to the new audio reality. Auraliti's first product is the PK100. The name is not nearly as creative but mispronunciations will be very limited. The PK100 is an extremely basic yet highly refined purpose built file player. Readers seeking a multi-purpose computer capable of playing music and calculating the monthly grocery budget should look elsewhere. Computer audiophiles seeking a simple user interface, with no user intervention required or allowed, and automatic bit perfect playback of music from 16/44.1 kHz through 24/192 kHz may want to seek a new audio reality with the Auraliti PK100.
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    by Published on 02-22-2011 01:18 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes,
    3. Downloads / Streaming

    It's not often that rumors make the front page of Computer Audiophile, but this one is too big to ignore. I awoke this morning to an inbox full of links to articles talking about improved sound quality from the iTunes Store. Disbelief was my first reaction. After reading a couple of the articles I believe this is going to happen and I couldn't be more excited. It looks like Apple will offer 24 bit downloads through the iTunes Store for a premium price. There is no speculation as to the sample rate (44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz) of the future downloads. In the articles discussing the new developments are a couple quotes from Dr. Dre. One quote that I really like has Dr. Dre saying people should hear the music the way he does. CA Readers who watched the Grammy Awards will recognize this phrase from the HP tablet commercials with Alicia Keys echoing the same "Hear it like I do" phrase. Better sound quality and hearing music like the artists hear it is a wonderful thing.
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    by Published on 02-18-2011 01:51 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Disk Storage

    Sunday January 9 was the final day of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Sundays at CES I usually head over to the main show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center to meet most of the computer hardware and software company reps. This year was no exception. As usual the show floor was very crowded with people and full of every electronic product imaginable. Thanks to the developers of the CES iPhone app I found my way to the Synology booth to meet with Product Marketing Manager Douglas Self. While talking and perusing Synology's products I set eyes on a tiny Network Attached Storage (NAS) device capable of holding four 1 TB 2.5" hard drives. My first (over exaggerated) thought was, "where has this been all my life?" One month later the Synology DS411 Slim became part of my computer audio system and I fell in love with the device as much as someone can fall in love with an inanimate object. The incredibly practical DS411 Slim is very quiet, inexpensive, and full of features.
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    by Published on 02-14-2011 01:35 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes,
    3. Software,
    4. Hardware

    One of my daily routines is listening to The Adam Carolla Show podcast while reading and responding to email each morning. Last Friday Adam interviewed well known recording engineer of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and artist Alan Parsons. Alan discussed his work for EMI during The Beatles recording sessions at Abbey Road and his disdain for the original release of Let It Be. The whole podcast is pretty interesting but the gem mentioned by Alan Parsons is his new video series called The Art & Science Of Sound Recording. At first blush this may appear irrelevant to audiophiles but upon further investigation most Computer Audiophile readers will find many nuggets of information that enhance the listening experience. From Edison to iPod to file formats, sample rates, and training oneself to how to listen. This video series has value for those in the music industry and those of us who consume the products of the industry. After the introduction a twenty-six minute Digital Audio & Computers video is recommended. Alan and very respected engineers discuss using the best Analog to Digital (ADC) and Digital to Analog Converters (DAC) when the budget allows and how acute Sheryl Crow's hearing is while recording.
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