Art Dudley Posted: Jul 09, 2016 1 comments
It was 89°outside at 11am on the opening day of Capital Audiofest in Rockville, MD, a day when the high temperatures were predicted to reach the mid-90s—the show continues today and tomorrow. One could be forgiven for asking: why not spend the day at an audio show in a nice, newly renovated, air-conditioned hotel? Why not, indeed. There are 58 individual exhibits here, representing God-only-knows-how-many different brands: Munich High End it ain't, but then Munich isn't a 25-minute Metro ride from our nation's endearingly dysfunctional capital.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 09, 2016 1 comments
Michael Fremer may be Stereophile's Mr. Analog but he was mightily impressed with the Moon 780D digital processor from Simaudio, which never meets a source of data it can't turn into music. Herb Reichert gets excited by an affordable tube preamp from Rogue, as does Fred Kaplan over an expensive VTL tube preamp; and Art Dudley and John Atkinson get much musical enjoyment from Sony and PSB speakers, respectively. And as well as our regular "Analog Corner," "Listening," "Gramophone Dreams," "Aural Robert," and "Industry Update" columns, Sasha Matson interviews Ayre's Charley Hansen—the "Wizard of Boulder"—Robert Baird talks to power-pop icon Bill Lloyd, and Robert Schryer kicks the issue off by examining how audiophiles can get into their "Happy Zones."
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Jul 08, 2016 1 comments
The August 2016 issue of Downbeat includes the results of its 64th annual Critics Poll, and, as usual, I'm in accord with some picks, in discord with others. (I should say, I started to cast my votes in the poll, but something went wrong with the server halfway through and I never got back on.)

Many of the results are strange, as democratic theory would predict of any poll that involves many candidates. (It's conceivable, for instance, that the winner of a category might be someone who was nobody's #1 choice: maybe this musician was everyone's #2, but the picks for #1 were so split, among so many other candidates, that the universal #2 rose to the top.)

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John Atkinson Posted: Jul 06, 2016 Published: May 01, 1991 4 comments
I do quite a bit of headphone listening during the day, making use of their convenience to shut out the office hubbub while I get down to serious copy editing. The system I use is modest—a pair of no-longer-available Sennheiser HD420SLs driven by an Advent 300 receiver I bought for $75, with CD source provided by a Denon DCD-1500 II—but I get quite a bit of musical satisfaction from it.
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Peter W. Mitchell Barry Fox Peter van Willenswaard Posted: Jul 05, 2016 Published: Apr 01, 1991 2 comments
Editor's Note: In the 21st Century, lossy audio data compression, in the form of MP3 and AAC files, Dolby Digital and DTS-encoded soundtracks, and YouTube and Spotify streaming, is ubiquitous. But audiophiles were first exposed to the subject a quarter-century ago, when Philips launched its ill-fated DCC cassette format. What follows is Stereophile's complete coverage on both DCC and its PASC lossy-compression encoding from our April 1991 issue.—John Atkinson
Bill Sommerwerck Sam Tellig Posted: Jul 05, 2016 Published: Aug 01, 1986 2 comments
There's a race on between Sony and Matsushita, to determine who can build the smallest battery-operated CD player with the most features. Sony currently holds the lead with its second-generation D-7 ($300), about 30% smaller than the first "pocket" CD, the D-5. Most of the reduction is in height; both players have a horizontal cross-section only slightly larger than the CD itself. The illusion of smallness is further enhanced by an angled front panel with beveled edges.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jul 05, 2016 4 comments
The three-day Capital Audiofest runs July 8–10 at the Hilton Hotel at Twinbrook Metro in Rockville, MD. With new, noon–8 pm opening-day hours designed to accommodate 9-5ers eager to top off their Friday with great sound, and completely renovated rooms that should offer even better acoustics than before, the at-capacity show promises 38 exhibit rooms (including 14 large rooms and one two-room suite), and a combined Marketplace/CanMania with 20 exhibitors total. Put that all together, and you end up with 103 exhibitors and brands combined.
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Jana Dagdagan Posted: Jul 02, 2016 110 comments
Apple is reportedly in exploratory talks to acquire Tidal. Though it's possible that nothing could come of this, and much of the online chatter surrounding this news is processed, regurgitated press release—I'd like to contribute to the speculation by sharing my thoughts: I think it's exactly what the world needs. It would be an intelligent move on Apple's part that would simultaneously benefit listeners, musicians—and of course, boost the high-end audio industry.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jul 01, 2016 7 comments
Primephonic, a Netherlands-based site that prides itself on its superior classical music metadata, has launched in the United States. Currently devoted to hi-rez classical downloads in WAV (stereo), FLAC (stereo/surround), and DSD (stereo/surround), Primephonic also intends to launch the beta version of its high-quality streaming service later this year.
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Kalman Rubinson Posted: Jun 30, 2016 4 comments
The SOtM sMS-1000SQ Windows Edition with AudiophileOptimizer and Roon: Not only does that very long name require finger-twisting shifts between upper and lower case, it really doesn't tell you what the sMS-1000SQ WE is.

Korean manufacturer SOtM, Inc. describes it on their website as a "music server based on Windows Server OS besides the original Linux [Vortexbox] OS based sMS-1000SQ." I'd describe it as a Windows-based PC that's designed and optimized to manage a database of music files and stream the music to local or networked DACs, and that supports multiple options for file management, playback, and target devices. (Hmmm: that's not much better, is it?)