Spoti-fi? Mar03

Spoti-fi?

As reported by The Verge via a posting on Reddit, Spotify is now testing an upgraded service that will allow its premium subscribers to stream losslessly for an additional $5 or $10 a month. Although Spotify would not confirm or deny the allegation when asked about it by Billboard, I suspect given the number of users who reported receiving an email to sign-up for the new service, they are indeed testing a new “hi-fi” service. But should you care? Let me first give you the audiophile party-line: Lossy streaming is evil and always has been since its inception. In fact the MP3 and its ilk have single handily ruined a generation of...

Review: Audeze iSINE 10/20 In-Ear Monitors Feb13

Review: Audeze iSINE 10/20 In-Ear Monitors

Introduction Over the last few years, Audeze has gotten a lot traction in the prosumer marketplace. It first started with the EL-8 series ($699), an open-back and closed headphone design that featured many of Audeze’s planar magnetic technologies all wrapped in a snazzy German designed package. Perhaps even more importantly though, the EL-8 also became the launching pad for the CIPHER, a 24-bit DAC with DSP Lightning cable that provides an end-to-end audiophile class solution for any iDevice. Then of course came the SINE ($449), the world’s first on-ear planar magnetic headphone and really the company’s first...

Review: iFi Audio’s Pro iCAN Headphone Amplifier Feb09

Review: iFi Audio’s Pro iCAN Headphone Amplifier

Introduction As I sure many of you are already acutely aware of, we’re big fans of iFi Audio. You see unlike a lot of vendors who treat their circuit designs as if they were highly classified secrets, iFi is very open and honest about all of their products. In fact, iFi is one of the few companies I know of that even freely shares high-resolution pictures of every circuit board they fabricate. Couple that with the fact that these Brits are very community focused, vetting feature and collecting feedback constantly, makes iFi, at least to our ears, one of the defacto leaders in the low- to mid-tier marketplace. So when iFi announced...

CanJam NYC 2017 Feb08

CanJam NYC 2017

My history with CanJam NYC goes all the way back to the very first one held in 2006. If memory serves, it was held at the same American Legion Hall in Babylon, New York that the un-official Head-Fi East Coast meet was held (and still is) every year. Back then, CanJam was a lot more grassroots – only a handful of vendors were parading around their wares, attendance was in the hundreds not thousands, and some of the attendees had tables themselves, generously showcasing their own reference systems for other Head-Fiers to hear. But times have changed. And I mean that in the very best possible way. CanJam NYC is now a massive brouhaha...

The Basic Schiit: Modi Multibit and Vali 2 Review Jan21

The Basic Schiit: Modi Multibit and Vali 2 Review

Introduction When I first reviewed Schiit Audio’s original Modi/Vali stack many moons ago, I walked away very impressed to say the least. Not only was it a cost effective solution for the budding audiophile, but it sounded better than a lot of other systems for a fraction of the price. However, Schiit’s entry level stack still had some major drawbacks. First, the number of inputs and outputs on the Modi were quite limited preventing it really from being a general purpose standalone DAC. Secondly, though the Vali offered up some very pleasant analog warmth through its novel use of miniature tubes, you couldn’t really roll...

Angry Metal-Fi: The Best & Worst Sounding Records of 2016

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. 2016 was another so-so year for dynamics in metal, with the number of hyper-compressed, brickwalled recordings far outweighing the number of well produced ones. Yet I still remain cautiously optimistic since our little Metal-Fi community is slowly but surely becoming not so little anymore, with more and more headbangers joining the cause everyday. But even more importantly, I see many of our readers transforming their passive aggressiveness toward poorly produced metal into outright...

Alex’s Top 10 Albums of 2016 Jan01

Alex’s Top 10 Albums of 2016

What’s ironic about 2016 is though it was a terrible year in general by most standards, it was a great year for metal. So good in fact that it was very hard to even come up “a list.” Like many of you, I keep an internal running tally of my favorite releases throughout the year. But this year that list pushed way past the two dozen mark, which made it very difficult to weed it down to just the ten records you see before you. I think that’s why to some extent many of the lists from all my favorite metal sites are so varied this year, with only a few common records between them. A good indicator that 2016 was indeed a...

A Tale of Two Strange Loops Dec28

A Tale of Two Strange Loops

Like I’ll bet many of you, I discovered Mithras‘ On Strange Loops via Mark L.’s fantastic review of it over on Angry Metal Guy. In his review back in October, Mark described Loops as “the most warped and transcendent death metal 2016 has yet produced,” and now with just a few fleeting moments left in the year, I still can’t find any real flaw in that assessment. Unfortunately, Loop’s production choices leaves a lot to be desired. Clocking in at a abysmal DR4, but really a DR3 once you take out the instrumental track “The Last Redoubt” out of the picture, Loops sounds like one hot garbled...

Angry Metal-Fi: On DR Scores

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. I know it can seem like it sometimes, but Metal-Fi’s whole existence isn’t just to criticize every hyper compressed monstrosity that gets released. On the contrary, our main goal is to raise awareness, particularly within the metal community, that production has intrinsic value, and that as a community we need to make a concerted effort to cherish those artists, labels, and engineers who consistently deliver great sounding recordings. But when I claim that production has...