Ariel Bitran

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Jul 12, 2012 2 comments
On Monday, July 2, 2012, Beats Electronic LLC, the company most popular for their bass-bumping and market-dominating Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ headphones, announced their acquisition of on-demand music service MOG, a music streaming service that offers users access to over 16 million songs via wired or wireless connection.

MOG users can access their vast library of music and user-created playlists through an internet browser-based website platform, connection to a streaming device on a home network like the Logitech Squeezebox Touch, or by streaming to a mobile device. Speaking of mobile devices, guess who else is in cahoots with Beats? In August 2011, Taiwanese mobile device manufacturer HTC acquired a 51% stake in Beats, a purchase equal to about $300 million dollars. This partnership allowed for HTC to integrate Beats Sound Systems into their phones.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Jun 13, 2012 4 comments
“Dude. Whatever,” jabbed my drummer.

“But I need new over-ears,” I pleaded.

“What do you want me to do about it?”

“Nothing, I guess. Maybe show some sympathy?”

“Fuck off.”

It was getting serious. I was getting my drummer involved, but he didn’t care.

He didn’t care that my Sony MDR-V150s distorted at high volumes and always pinched out a chunk of hair from my balding scalp after I took them off. He didn’t understand that my favorite Grado SR60s (More SR60 links: Corey Greenberg’s review and Jim Austin’s review) had a broken earpiece frame rendering themselves un-wearable in stereo. Even some Grado SR125s that JA brought in for me to borrow were dead in one channel, and the headband on Stereophile’s sample of Monster Beats Studio had a crack down the center. I did not want to break them with further use. Listening to music in my cubicle had become near-impossible. My in-ear headphones hurt after an extended periods of use (that includes 8 hours at a desk); plus, the right channel in my Etymoic ER6s is silent. I always feel awkward playing music lightly through my desktop speakers, barely interrupting everyone else around me. I need it loud, and I need it to myself.

Then the Sennheiser HD 428s came into to my life.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: May 21, 2012 7 comments
Stereophile is not all about reviewing hi-fi, and thanks to our all-knowing and thrill-seeking Music Editor, Robert Baird, we cover exciting new releases in each monthly issue for you to consider on your hi-fi escapades. In this post, I listen to all records we reviewed available on streaming services MOG and Spotify from our May 2012 issue, provide my own two-cents, and link to the playlists from the two services. With a premium account, one can stream at 320kbps Ogg Vorbis files from Spotify, and MOG users can stream 320kbps MP3s for free!

******

Links:
The MOG May 2012 Playlist: Inflections

The Spotify May 2012 Playlist: What is a Song?

The May 2012 Playlists were a tough one to make at first. I was having technical difficulties with MOG. Whenever I paused Carolin Widmann and Alexander Longquich’s Schubert performances, the playback buffering would freeze and restart from the beginning of the album. MOG resolved this issue internally, as it was not happening the next day, but it was nevertheless frustrating. I could not get up to pee without having to restart the Rondo in B Minor, D. 895, Op. 70. First-world problems.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: May 09, 2012 30 comments
At the 2012 NYC hi-fi show, I was chastised by a random showgoer for using a “dynamic-less” recording as a reference in the Legacy room. Now with the help of the Unofficial Dynamic Range Database, I can find the dynamic range measurements of many of my favorite recordings, including the record ridiculed by one spiteful audiophile. Was he right about its dynamics?

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Ariel Bitran Posted: May 08, 2012 0 comments
Photo by Terrell Clark

Friday, May 11, at 5pm: Sight + Sound (Studioplex, G8, 659 Auburn Avenue, Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta, GA) hosts its grand opening as both a contemporary art gallery and high-end audio equipment retailer. The gallery will showcase artwork from local artists while exhibiting gear from T+A, Nordost, and Elipson.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 26, 2012 0 comments

Wabaam! Another month, another Stereophile. My how time flies when you are reviewing hi-fi.

Compared to the enormous April issue that hosts our chunky Recommended Components listing, May is petite but still packs a powerful punch loaded with insights and audio enhancers. Enhancers you ask? What might those be? Well how about bell bronze gongs! And magic fuses! And audio to make you cream…I mean, P.W.B.’s Electret Cream, which according to AD, just might work if you rub it in the right place.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 23, 2012 5 comments
Stereophile is not all about reviewing hi-fi, and thanks to our all-knowing and thrill-seeking Music Editor, Robert Baird, we cover exciting new releases in each monthly issue for you to consider on your hi-fi escapades. In this post, I listen to all records we reviewed available on streaming services MOG and Spotify from our April 2012 issue, provide my own two-cents, and link to the playlists from the two services. With a premium account, one can stream at 320kbps Ogg Vorbis files from Spotify, and MOG users can stream 320kbps MP3s for free!

******

Links:
The MOG April 2012 Playlist: A Pensive Month

The Spotify April 2012 Playlist: Pure Fun

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Stephen Mejias Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 20, 2012 11 comments
Stephen Mejias: On Thursday, April 12, Stereophile’s editorial assistant, Ariel Bitran, and I left the office at around 5pm, walked over to Grand Central, hopped on the 6 train, and made our way to New York City’s Lyric Hi-Fi.

As Ariel discussed last week, Lyric was one of two premier NYC dealers—the other was Stereo Exchange—that opted against participating in the New York Audio & AV Show, and instead held their own events.

Because both Lyric and Stereo Exchange are successful operations, run by smart people, we figured they must have good reasons for doing things their own way. But, even as the weekend approached, those reasons weren’t fully clear. Were financial obstacles impossible to overcome? Were issues of logistics too much of a burden? Had there been some sort of communication breakdown between the dealers and the show’s organizers? Did it simply make little sense for Lyric and Stereo Exchange to participate, or were they just being hard-nosed, stubborn, elitist?

Perhaps we would find some answers inside.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 19, 2012 9 comments
Prior to the onset of the Chester Group’s New York Audio & AV Show, there had been some controversy in regards to big-time local dealers Stereo Exchange and Lyric hosting their own events the weekend of the show. These events brought in big brands such as Totem, McIntosh, B&W, and Audio Research, who would be presenting exclusively at their stores. Would these dealer events keep participants away from the New York Audio & AV Show? How would these coinciding events affect one another? Were these signs that the show organizers had not done the work necessary to motivate exhibitors to participate in the New York show?

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 18, 2012 2 comments
From an email’s distance, Jeff Catalano and his dealership High Water Sound seemed an enigmatic business in my mind, selling esoteric hi-fi from a downtown NYC loft. So, I was a little intimidated to visit his room, but to my surprise, Catalano is as non-elusive as you can get, beaming with joy about hi-fi and music and even wearing a Triumph shirt(!), the true sign of an everyman. He tells me he is committed to selling gear that brings the most emotion out the music.

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