Ariel Bitran

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Ariel Bitran  |  Aug 10, 2012  |  5 comments
Kyle studied Film and TV at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He had a freakish obsession with penguins and spent hours at a time glued to his Macbook watching downloads of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing. I studied marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business, counted down the days till the release of Guitar Hero I for Playstation Two, and once paid $20 for a broken drummer monkey known as Trick Star because I wanted to feel free and alive. In the summer of 2006, Kyle and I decided to start listening to vinyl. Why? Because vinyl was cool, and we were not.
Ariel Bitran  |  Aug 03, 2012  |  20 comments



(Where am I? Oh. Bed.)


“Alright, alright! I’ll get up!” I yelled at my phone. Slowly, I pulled myself out of bed on an early Saturday morning after a long night out. How did I get home? Something was needed in order to wake me up. Zeppelin’s Presence was on the Rega P1. Perfect.

Ariel Bitran  |  Jul 19, 2012  |  5 comments
Lenny Abramov thought he found immortality in Eunice Park, the woman who gave him the will to live. He thought he found it in his job, where he sweat endlessly soaking through his acrylic shirts while mindlessly serving Joshie, a back-stabbing “friend”. Eunice would leave him too. In fact, the only true happiness Abramov ever found and returned to were the sounds of his mother and father’s native Russian tongue, their coddling words and thick, laborious accents. In their speech, he could reconnect to the compassion they shared, the basketball they played, and his basement bedroom. Abramov’s parents were the only thing he had, until they died. He was left with bells “tolling, deep and sonorous and thoroughly Russian.” Lenny never chose his parents. He never chose their boundless affection. It was the sound of bells at their deathbeds that reminded him he was loved.
Ariel Bitran  |  Jul 17, 2012  |  2 comments
It had been many years since Stephen or I had been to Irving Plaza, but an invitation from Klipsch would grant us another encounter. Performances that evening included neo-punk new wave group the Tom Tom Club featuring Tina Weymouth (bass) and Chris Frantz (drums), both of the Talking Heads, opening for headliner the Psychedelic Furs, a band iconic for their soundtrack chart-topper “Pretty in Pink”.

In a partnership with Live Nation, Irving Plaza, a Live Nation-owned venue, redubbed itself “Irving Plaza Powered by Klipsch” as we discovered on the billboard under the marquee.

Ariel Bitran  |  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.

Ariel Bitran  |  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.

Ariel Bitran  |  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!


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.

Ariel Bitran  |  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?

Ariel Bitran  |  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.

Ariel Bitran  |  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.