Jana Dagdagan

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Jana Dagdagan  |  Oct 31, 2016  |  37 comments
When Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2016 (RMAF)—the hot hi-fi rager of the Wild West—came to its close, I had one more official stop to make: YG Acoustics.

Located just 30 minutes from Denver in the city of Arvada, is the YG Acoustics facility—including the factory, showroom, and offices. Much like most factories, the exterior is an unassuming vanilla casing, with no evidence of the flavorful, no-compromise, high-tech, high-end speakers living (and being brought to life) inside.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Oct 24, 2016  |  25 comments
We all live with earwax. Some more than others, but none of us are immune.

A buildup of excess wax can potentially cause blockage, tinnitus, an infection, or worse: sudden or partial loss of hearing! (Whatever you do, do not Google image search "earwax buildup.") To the average human, a temporary reduction in hearing is an inconvenience. But to the average audiophile, a temporary reduction in hearing could very well mean fatality. (Said in Mortal Kombat fashion.)

Jana Dagdagan  |  Oct 17, 2016  |  18 comments
Photo: John Atkinson

The 2016 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest has come and gone, and here I find myself, back in the quiet comfort of Brooklyn.

Back with a glass of red wine in my hand, a table full of hot Indian takeout, and a dreamy Chet Baker serenading me through my modest system: a Technics SL 1200 Mk. II turntable with an Audio Technica AT440MLa cartridge (on a Technics headshell), a Fisher 800-C stereo receiver, and a pair of Rogers LS3/5a monitors sitting atop Skylan Speaker Stands.

What more is there to life?

. . . Or so I had thought . . .

Jana Dagdagan  |  Oct 03, 2016  |  27 comments
Last week, I experienced what may have been the greatest day of my life so far: the day I got to see Sir Elton John live in concert for the first time. This happened on September 27, 2016, in Allentown, PA.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Sep 28, 2016  |  5 comments
Picture your typical high-end audio manufacturer.

It can be a spontaneous, self-generated hybrid of black shapes, brushed metals, and varying wooden finishes. You need not limit yourself to a single component or a single manufacturer. Whatever comes to mind first, really.

Got it?

Now picture the exact opposite of that.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Sep 19, 2016  |  13 comments
Last week, John Atkinson and I attended "The Audeze Sensory Experience," Audeze's official launch party for the iSine10 ($399) and iSine20—the world's first in-ear planar magnetic headphones, which will be available in November.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Sep 12, 2016  |  11 comments
The graphic above was created with data provided to me by the CTA (Consumer Technology Association). I understand that this data cannot possibly account for every single pair of Bluetooth-enabled speakers sold in any given year, but I believe that this is the most accurate account of data currently available to us.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Sep 06, 2016  |  31 comments
Photo: Michael Lavorgna

Experience 1
On August 25, 2016, John Atkinson, Michael Lavorgna, and I attended an event at Battery Studios, Sony's Manhattan-based music production facility.

The event itself was very personal, as we three were the only non-Sony people present at this particular session. (There were multiple sessions held that day.) We were introduced to Sony's latest hi-res personal audio products—the "Signature Series," which consists of the MDR-Z1R headphones $2199.99), NW-WM1Z ($3199.99) and NW-WM1A Walkman players, and the TA-ZH1ES headphone amplifier ($2199.99).

Jana Dagdagan  |  Aug 29, 2016  |  17 comments
The graphic above was created with data provided to me by the CTA (Consumer Technology Association). I understand that this data cannot possibly account for every single pair of headphones sold in any given year, but I believe that this is the most accurate account of data currently available to us.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Aug 22, 2016  |  20 comments
The graphic above was created with data provided to me by the CTA (Consumer Technology Association). I understand that this data cannot possibly account for every single turntable sold in any given year, but I believe that this is the most accurate account of data currently available to us.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Aug 15, 2016  |  49 comments
It's a Sunday in suburbia. Sunny, 95°—"sweltering," some would say. The kind of heat where, you grab that cold can of Guinness, and the moment it leaves the cold comforts of the fridge, it's dead on impact.

You invite your good ole non-audiophile pal Stan over. You use a ruse you know Stan will fall for, like "Let's flip some burgers and listen to the cool commercials on Spotify's free tier," or "I just mastered the piña colada and torrented David Bowie's entire discography" (as if the piña colada alone wouldn't be enough to lure that sucker Stan), or "You left your phone at my place, want to come pick it up?" (In this last scenario, you would have to steal his phone first.)

Jana Dagdagan  |  Aug 08, 2016  |  23 comments
The year was 2116, and the Earth was finally great again.

War, poverty, global warming, starvation, racial inequality—these, among many others, were all trivial, long overcome matters of the past.

Generation ZZZZers glided around in auto-piloted, eco-friendly, space/time ships. They communicated with each other via holographic telekinetic mind messages. (Though there was always the occasional hippie, of course, who'd pull out a vintage, non-functioning wePhone 2000 or whatever technological dinosaur was making a comeback these days. Lame, if you ask me.)

Jana Dagdagan  |  Aug 01, 2016  |  6 comments
Guitarist Nels Cline will make his Blue Note debut on August 5—this coming Friday as a download, with CD following on August 19 and LP on September 2—with his album Lovers. It's a beautiful, wide-ranging, 18-track, 23-person-ensemble look inside Nels's soul, and a project that's been in the making for 25 years. It contains a mix of Cline's originals as well as songs by Sonic Youth, Arto Lindsay, Jimmy Giuffre, and Great American Songbook Standards.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jul 25, 2016  |  11 comments
A fleeting memory:

Hazy.
Early morning.
I'm sitting outside Penn Station.
Next to me sits Jim Hall.
A boy with an upright bass walks past us.
"Is that a walking bass?" Jim chuckles.
The boy, in passing, raises an eyebrow, glances over.
Keeps walking, doesn't think twice.
Oh, the irony.

If you are a lover or a maker of jazz (or any music at all) you must be a fan of the legendary guitarist Jim Hall. At least, that is the hope I have seared into my mind, as to not completely lose all faith in humanity.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Jul 18, 2016  |  15 comments
New York, NY—News Bar Cafe, Union Square. It's 11am. Low jazz can be heard playing on the overhead speakers, along with background chatter and the occasional ambulance. Caffeinated beverages and breakfast sandwiches are present. I take a tentative sip of cappuccino, reach under the table for my trusty Zoom H5. Across from me sits jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch. A man who has meant many things to me in my lifetime—a musical role model, a source of inspiration, a friend, a set of frequently played digital music files... I sit anxiously—is it the awe or the beverage? I think to myself: he's now entering the realm of debatable audiophile and breakfast co-conspirator. Cappuccino sip. Let us begin.

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