Media Server Reviews

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John Atkinson  |  Sep 17, 2006  |  First Published: Oct 17, 2006  |  0 comments
Don't get the wrong idea. I don't watch trash TV. I am not interested in the doings of people who are famous merely for being famous. I was probably the last to realize that Paris Hilton was not the name of a French hotel. But the kitchen TV just happened be tuned to Channel 4 when I switched it on while I was preparing dinner. No, I do not watch NBC's Extra, but as I was reaching for the remote I was stopped in my tracks by what I saw. The show was doing a segment on the new L.A. home of Jessica Aguilera, or Christina Simpson, or . . . well, it doesn't matter. What does matter was the host's mention of all the cool stuff the bimbette had had installed in her new pied-à-terre: "...and a Sonos audio system, of course."
Rogier van Bakel  |  Aug 12, 2022  |  5 comments
Pop quiz. What does the following verbiage describe? And what does it mean?

"It's about what we love the most. It's about what we hate the most. It's about what we wait for but never happens. Relationships turn on, interrupt, and resume. Or sometimes they just stay still. Floating and suspended. So breathe in. Let go. Let's begin from nothing."

Huh. Any luck yet?

John Atkinson  |  Jul 30, 2019  |  19 comments
Apple may not have been the first to market with a portable digital audio player, but its original iPod defined the genre: a device small enough to fit into a shirt pocket. When companies like Acoustic Research, Astell&Kern, Fiio, HiFiMan, and Questyle introduced portable players that could play high-resolution files, they echoed the iPod's form factor. The exception was the Toblerone-shaped PonoPlayer, but even that was small. The subject of this review is another exception: The DMP-Z1, from Sony's Signature Series, is comparatively enormous—almost the size and weight of a regular preamplifier. At $8500, it's also considerably more expensive than other players.
Kalman Rubinson  |  May 02, 2014  |  15 comments
I've said it before and I'll say it again: High-end audio is the tail of the dog that is the consumer audio business. We have little leverage in determining where the technology is going, even though we undoubtedly know more about it than the average buyer. On the other hand, after the mainstream has determined where it's going (or thinks it's going), the high-end business must accept that, and try to optimize it for those of us who care deeply about getting the best sound. The ubiquitous iPod and its fellow MP3 players kicked off the playing of music files and allowed listeners to carry around their music wherever they went.
Jon Iverson  |  Sep 11, 2008  |  1 comments
Earlier this year, in an online poll, we asked the magazine's readers if they were ready for a music server. The response was startling: 32% of you had already set one up, and 44% were ready to. Only 7% responded "probably not" or "never." In the polls we conduct online, we rarely get this kind of positive consensus about anything audio.
Julie Mullins  |  Mar 04, 2022  |  2 comments
I've been on a Kim Gordon kick lately. It began a few months ago with rediscovering some Sonic Youth albums and picking up Gordon's solo record, No Home Record. I recently finished reading her memoir, Girl in a Band, about her life, art, and musical career. I tend to read books rather than listen to them, but this time I listened with the Audible app, and I found the experience compelling. Gordon's delivery is direct, her voice even-keeled, almost deadpan. She's giving us the straight dope. Subtle inflections are detectable: moments when she felt strong and proud; leftover cobwebs of postbreakup pain. Her humanity came through.
Jim Austin  |  May 15, 2020  |  27 comments
At the 2019 AXPONA, I took part in one of my first official meetings, as editor of Stereophile, with members of the manufacturing community: the German company T+A. They were presenting in the room of Texas dealer Lone Star Audio, which was owned by the late Jim Hench. They had a corner hallway to themselves: two rooms and, at the time when I arrived, a hallway table brimming with coffee and pastries. Fortuitous timing.
Jon Iverson  |  Aug 14, 2009  |  0 comments
"Two years ago I discovered my latest guilty pleasure: Internet radio. As long as it's 192k or higher. My whole buying/download cycle had been reduced. The pleasure and savings have increased. If they succeed in killing Net radio, I'm done with the hobby."—Reader Peter DeBoer, in response to a recent Stereophile online poll.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  11 comments
Is this all there is to it? I had done some superficial investigations of Volumio online, after the Primo was suggested to me for review. I had learned that the Volumio player software is available for several hardware platforms including Windows, Mac, and Raspberry Pi, but I had not tried it before. I discovered Volumio's reputation as an efficient, Linux-based music player, installable with an SD card on minimal hardware and said to support virtually all music formats and resolutions including DSD and multichannel. But I had not experienced any of this for myself.
Wes Phillips  |  Oct 09, 2008  |  0 comments
Last December, when Wadia Digital announced that it was releasing an iPod docking cradle that could access the digital signal before it had passed through the player's own D/A converter, many audiopundits were surprised. I was disbelieving, and nearly told Wadia's John Schaffer that he was shining me on. After all, Apple has tiptoed around the whole issue of consumers being able to digitally copy their iTunes files, going so far as to wrap its iTunes Music Store files in digital rights management (DRM) code.
John Atkinson  |  Jul 22, 2022  |  7 comments
Characteristically, the email from Kal Rubinson got straight to the point: "I have a WiiM Mini that I have played with, but I am not the right one to review this as I am not sufficiently interested in or knowledgeable about wireless streaming. It ... can handle uncompressed PCM via its DACs." "I'll review it," I replied, intrigued by a $99 D/A processor that can stream hi-rez audio via Wi-Fi and that also has an analog input so it can act as a preamplifier.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 01, 2020  |  94 comments
I am a Sharpener. I can acknowledge being a Sharpener—someone who, as explained by Stereophile reviewer/psychology professor Robert Deutsch in our March 2009 issue, tends to look for and exaggerate differences—without feeling a need to enter a 12-step program or confess to a crime. That's because there's nothing wrong with being a Sharpener.
Brian Cheney  |  Dec 11, 2012  |  First Published: Sep 01, 1988  |  0 comments
Editor's Note: We were saddened earlier this month to learn of the death on December 7 of loudspeaker manufacturer Brian Cheney of VMPS, from prostate cancer. He contributed this review to Stereophile almost a quarter-century ago.John Atkinson

The single-brand, self-contained music system has been popular at both ends of the price spectrum. A few hundred dollars at Macy's gets you a rack chock-full of offshore electronics, big speaker boxes, one plug (for the AC outlet), and—bingo!—instant music. Or, call your local Cello specialist and spend 60 times that amount, to roughly the same effect. Now Yamaha, a heavyweight in things from three-wheelers to VCRs, offers this imposing piece of satin-black furniture to the audio enthusiast willing to invest more than the usual amount of effort in order to hear his favorite tunes.

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