Meridian Audio’s MQA Jan26

Meridian Audio’s MQA

Meridian Audio has been causing quite a lot of ruckus of late with their announcement of MQA (“Mastered Quality Authenticated”), a new format that is supposedly going to revolutionize the way we listen to music. In fact, over the last couple of months a number of notable vendors have been getting on the MQA bandwagon. Yet from watching the fancy marketing videos and perusing Meridian’s website, it’s not even clear what MQA actually is? Luckily, Stereophile’s resident engineer, John Atkinson, wrote a tremendously insightful article about what the technology is and a how it works. In a nutshell, MQA is not really...

Everybody Was Pono Fighting Jan23

Everybody Was Pono Fighting

Alex recently covered an article that appeared in The New York Post written by James Covert, which was a surprisingly reasoned and well researched piece detailing why the Pono music store is largely a cynical exercise. At the end we also mentioned a similar article in Gizmodo, which we did not cover in detail. That article, written by Mario Aquilar, is much more openly hostile to the entire concept of high-res audio, and after reading it, I expected to see some pushback from the traditional “audiophile” press given Gizmodo’s reach. Sure enough, Michael Lavorgna of Audiostream was quick to respond. I actually don’t think Lavorgna is entirely...

Schiit Fulla vs Light Harmonic Labs Geek Out Jan20

Schiit Fulla vs Light Harmonic Labs Geek Out

Introduction I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like to sit back and reminisce about the good ‘ole days. You know, when the HeadAmp pico was all the rage and you had to wait several months just to get your greedy little hands on one. I remember when mine first arrived. I was so excited. I had just acquired a pair of Triple-Fi’s, and I was mainly using my notebook’s headphone out to drive them (yuck). Suffice it to say, I fell in love with that little black box so much so that I wound up carrying it every where I went. I even went so far as to buy it a specialty made leather protective jacket to keep it warm...

The Serpent & The Sphere Vinyl Follow Up Jan16

The Serpent & The Sphere Vinyl Follow Up

Opinions on Agalloch’s latest, The Serpent & The Sphere, have certainly been mixed. I for one quite enjoyed the band’s approach this time out and was not bothered by its slow builds and arguably repetitive nature, but then again I’m not the world’s biggest Agalloch fan, so perhaps I didn’t have such high expectations for this album to begin with. “Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation” does indeed take its sweet old time getting started, but once things do really get moving, the track really gets under your skin, and that driving bass line is a real delight. Immediately slowing way back down with “(Serpens Caput)” may have not been...

It’s The Loudness War Dummy Jan12

It’s The Loudness War Dummy

Yesterday, James Covert of the New York Post wrote a great article about how some of the product engineers behind the Pono have their doubts about the benefits of high-res audio: “Product engineers for the shaggy rock icon’s newly released Pono digital music player have privately admitted they aren’t convinced that the high-resolution audio files it plays have any significant technical advantage over CD-quality files, sources told The Post.” Oh, it gets better. A lot better. Apparently Pono execs are banking on the large population of “number-obsessed” audiophiles to buy into the whole “higher sampling rate...

Paul Chain – Alkahest

Forgotten Legends is an ongoing series where we look back on those extraordinary yet often overlooked albums that are essential to any serious metal collection. They can be of any format, released at any time. As always, a dynamic range measurement is provided for reference. Paul Chain. Paolo Catena. Paul Cat. Paul Chain Violet Theatre. P.C. Translate. The Improvisor. Experimental Information. If you don’t recognize any of these names, I’m not surprised. Even the most passionate, self-professed doom buff routinely fails the Paul Chain litmus test. Yet his 1995 masterpiece, Alkahest, is one of the greatest doom records ever...