Schiit. In. Stereooooooo! Nov18

Schiit. In. Stereooooooo!

Since its inception, Schiit has been focused exclusively on the headphone market. Of course there was never anything stopping you from using one of their DACs with a home stereo, and the Ragnarok can drive speakers perfectly well, but home based two channel just wasn’t what Schiit was after. Well, for those of us that have been clamoring for Schiit to put their engineering might into a genuine, dedicated power amp and line-stage preamp, the wait is finally (almost) over. The amp, which Schiit calls Vidar, puts out 100W into 8 Ohms, doubles that into 4 Ohms, and doubles that in bridged mono mode into 8 Ohms. The price? $699. You might be...

Review: Sonore microRendu Oct06

Review: Sonore microRendu

Introduction For the past several years, I’ve been listening to all of my digital music via a home built, PC based music server initially running the VortexBox operating system, and more recently, Daphile. My server is a near twin of the original Computer Audiophile “C.A.P.S.” design, with the only real differences boiling down to the aforementioned headless Linux operating systems in place of Windows and JRiver Media Center, and initially a PPA Studio USB output card (now an UpTone Regen) in place of Chris’ recommended SoTM USB card. The advantages of the CAPS server are many. The upfront cost compared to traditional commercial music...

Vinyl Follow Up: Katatonia – The Fall Of Hearts

I’m sure everyone has their favorite Katatonia album. For me, it’s 2006’s The Great Cold Distance that reigns above all others, with both album tracks like “Soil’s Song” and “July,” as well as B-sides “Unfurl,” “Code Against The Code,” and “Dissolving Bonds,” remaining not just some of my all time favorite Katatonia songs, but favorite songs full stop. I would also say that the latter are superior to any of the tracks on Night Is The New Day (That’s not saying much. -Alex). Happily, the band rebounded after that disappointment in 2012 with Dead End Kings, but I think it is this year’s release, The Fall Of Hearts, that is their...

All Your Schiit In One Place Sep02

All Your Schiit In One Place

Schiit has already launched a number of new products this year, so when I learned about another Schiit Show being held again in Marina Del Ray, I figured they had something big up their sleeve. Instead of several new launches as per last year’s show, this time it was just one: the Jotunheim – the Land of the Giants in Norse mythology. Schiit has always resisted combining a DAC and headphone amp into a single box for several reasons. Obsolescence is a major one, as DAC technology improves much faster than amp technology, and if everything is in one box and you want to upgrade the DAC, you have to replace everything. A typical...

Spotify Gets Metal Aug19

Spotify Gets Metal

Spotify announced the creation of twelve new original shows earlier this year, covering a wide range of genres and aspects of music culture. One of the shows, which Spotify is calling “Landmark,” is a documentary style format covering important artists, groundbreaking albums, and big moments in music history, and kicking off the whole thing is “Landmark – Metallica: The Early Years,” which explores the creation of the band through the release of Ride The Lightning in four parts. Metallica’s early days with Mustaine on lead guitar and a couple of other guys who were in the band for about ten minutes is hardly untrodden territory, but it’s...

Vinyl Follow Up: In Mourning – Afterglow

  In Mourning’s superb 2008 debut album Shrouded Divine instantly made me a fan, and was a nice kick in the ass for a Swedish metal scene that had gotten rather stale by that point. The album weaved together progressive and melodeath cues quite well, with standout tracks like “Amnesia,” and “Past October Skies (The Black Lodge Revisited)” demanding repeated listens. The band returned two years later with Monolith, which while perhaps a bit more simplistic and straightforward than its predecessor, was still a very enjoyable melodic death romp nevertheless. I eagerly awaited In Mourning’s third release, The Weight Of Oceans, and then,...

Them Schiit Boys Did It Again Jul29

Them Schiit Boys Did It Again

When I talked about the Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC late last year, I figured that was about as low as they could get on the price scale with a modern R-2R DAC – not something based on a chip that Philips made a million years ago. Modern resistor ladder DACs are considerably more difficult to design and engineer than the usual cookie cutter Delta-Sigma DACs, particularly at the entry-level where most of them are a very similar collection of off the shelf op-amps and chips. This is primarily because R-2R DAC chips intended for audio are no longer made on a large scale, and so companies are either left with adapting chips intended for...

What About The Wax? Jul22

What About The Wax?

Since Alex thoroughly broke down the excellent new versions of Agalloch’s Pale Folklore, The Mantle, and Ashes Against The Grain remastered by Colin Marston, I thought I should cover the analog versions for those that may be curious. Starting with Pale, the album was first released on vinyl in the North American region in 2005 by Profound Lore (PFL 012). There were 400 copies of the double LP pressed on blue, an ultra limited, 40 copy white version, and an unobtanium, 60 copy limited wooden box set hand numbered by John Haughm himself, with the vinyl on white/blue splatter. Since all of these are impossible or near impossible to buy today,...

The Myth And Reality Of Mastering Jul15

The Myth And Reality Of Mastering

A little while back, Pitchfork posted an article written by Jordan Kisner about the “dark art” of mastering music. Unusually, the article lead with a brief overview of what went wrong with the production of Death Magnetic, or rather, what fans perceived had gone wrong. This is unusual because when most conventional outlets talk about mastering, the first rule of the Loudness War is you don’t talk about the Loudness War. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives generally end. After a cursory explanation of what mastering is, the article gets to this gem: The mastering engineers I spoke to for this story kept using the same phrase when...