Astell & Kern Barnum Edition May26

Astell & Kern Barnum Edition

Let’s just get this out of the way up front: the whole “Astell & Kern” brand is really obnoxious. There is no “Mr. Astell” or “Mr. Kern” in the same sense that Bowers & Wilkins was formed by John Bowers and Roy Wilkins in the mid 1960s. The A&K players are made by iriver (formerly iRiver), a South Korean company that has been producing mass market oriented portable music players for more than a decade. It’s understandable that they came to the conclusion that the irver name didn’t carry enough prestige to support a high-end product line, and I don’t blame them for that, Honda and Toyota did the same thing after all. Astell &...

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Angry Metal-Fi is a series of articles that are cross posted on Angry Metal Guy and Metal-Fi as a collaborative effort to evangelize dynamics in metal. One of the main reasons why Dave and I started Metal-Fi was the simple fact that as experienced audiophiles who also happen to be extreme metal fanatics, we had absolutely no place to congregate. I mean none. The closest you could get to real metal talk is when audiophiles drool over Magico’s in-house CNC machine. That’s about it. Well today is the day we change all that! After a lot of internal discussion, as well as a lot of feedback from all of you, we have decided to start...

Baby Aries May18

Baby Aries

At the 2014 CES show, the Chinese Hi-Fi company Auralic showed a prototype of what was to become their first network audio streamer, the Aries. Put simply, the Aries pulls audio tracks stored on your computer or NAS via your home Ethernet or Wi-Fi network, and sends them on to your DAC so that they can be played on your home stereo. Some streaming services and AirPlay streaming are also supported. The main downside to the Aries, both in the standard and somewhat stripped down “LE” guise, is the price. The standard Aries lists for $1699, and the LE a slightly more modest $999. Even a thousand dollars still puts it out of reach for a lot of...

Roon With A View May12

Roon With A View

According to the third law from British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That’s why I have to laugh when I read this, from The Absolute Sound’s 2008 review of the roughly $10,000 Sooloos music server: “Imagine your entire CD library displayed as album art on a 17″ touchscreen panel. To hear a disc, you simply touch the album art. Suppose you’re not quite sure what you want to listen to, but know that you’re in the mood for some classic jazz. With six finger-taps, Sooloos will display just jazz albums released in the 1950s, or those on the Blue Note label,...

How Record Store Day Saved Vinyl May06

How Record Store Day Saved Vinyl

It’s hard to believe that 2006 was nearly a decade ago, but ‘tis true. iTunes was then six years into its rise to dominate digital music sales, and while it was very effective at stemming the tide of piracy from the likes of Napster and Kazaa, it also had the side effect of absolutely decimating both CD sales and the traditional outlets that carried those CDs. In the mid ‘oughts, music stores were closing left and right. Virgin Megastores? Gone. Tower Records? Bust. It was the same story across the country. iTunes was helping to keep the labels in business, but it was doing absolutely nothing for brick and mortar, and the National...

Pledge Megadeth? Apr29

Pledge Megadeth?

What a year it has been for The Dave Mustaine Project, or if you prefer, the artist formally known as Megadeth. First, out of the blue, both guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover announce their departures from the band within a few hours of each other. Drover claims his exodus was on good terms, but Broderick hints at the fact that his exit really wasn’t. Then Shawn’s brother, Glen, who also happens to be a former guitarist of Megadeth himself, speaks out on why he thinks his brother and Broderick exited stage left so suddenly, mainly blaming Mustaine’s totalitarian control over the band and its output. Many...