Audio Streams

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 30, 2015 8 comments
Back in the day, I owned a Sony Walkman cassette player. I loved it. I took it everywhere I went, listening to Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Neil Young (with and without Crosby, Stills & Nash), Miles, Coltrane, and more. Having music move around with me seemed a giant step into a more perfect future in which we could color our experiences with sound.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 04, 2015 13 comments
Hi-fi is serious business—at least, for the people whose business is hi-fi. For listeners, among whom I count myself at least some of the time, I'd say that the serious-business aspect of hi-fi is less so. Our sole job, after all, is to enjoy music. The deeper our enjoyment, the richer our experience—and the richer the experience, the deeper our enjoyment. Therein lies the quest: to deepen our enjoyment of music.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 21, 2015 15 comments
Everything these days has a computer inside it, but you wouldn't call a car a computer. Same goes for music streamers—what we at AudioStream.com also call network players. While a network player has a computer inside, I don't consider it a computer because it's designed to do just one thing: play music.

A network player connects to your home network via Ethernet or WiFi, searches for network-attached storage (NAS), looks for the Internet to connect to streaming services, and serves up all of this music through an app that typically resides on a smartphone or tablet. The theory goes that, being purpose built, a dedicated network player should sound better than a full-blown computer, the latter's multitasking abilities degrading its ability to get us to dance, literally or figuratively.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 30, 2014 1 comments
Do you travel? Commute, perhaps? Just like to listen to music privately around the house? No matter—the Astell&Kern AK240 is the luxury choice in high-resolution portable music players (footnote 1). It even comes with a lovely leather case that beautifully cradles its angular beauty. The AK240 can play all of your PCM files, up to a resolution of 24-bit/192kHz, as well as DXD and single- and double-rate DSD, natively, and can do so from its internal storage, from a microSD card, or from your computer via WiFi or a wired connection. It can also function as a DAC or USB-to-TosLink converter. I'm not so sure there's much left wanting.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 05, 2014 7 comments
". . . seizing and incorporating . . . There is nothing about us which is more strongly primitive."—Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power

I am a collector. Books, records, art, music, knickknacks, old blurry anonymous photos, and more—hanging, sitting, standing, and shelved, they surround me where I sit and follow me around our home. In collecting, less is certainly not more, and I believe that part of its appeal is that our collections help define not only who we are but who we'd like to become—or, perhaps, how things are and how we'd like them to be.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 01, 2014 7 comments
I'm the editor of AudioStream.com, Stereophile's sister website devoted to computer audio. We review all manner of hardware, software, and music related to file-based playback, and offer helpful (we hope) "How To" articles as well as interviews with industry people—all designed to ease your journey to and through the world of computer audio. I envision my new Stereophile column, "Audio Streams," as an extension of this mission—and the addition of that trailing, plural s gives me some leeway to explore a wider range of hi-fi topics.

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