Echo Chamber: Room Acoustics Part 1 Mar22

Echo Chamber: Room Acoustics Part 1

At the very tail end of 2016, I decided it was time to leave my sleepy home in upstate NY and head west to Portland, OR. Rather than deal with shipping all of my audio gear out, I felt it was a better idea to use the opportunity to sell much of what I had and give my setup a major overhaul, and so I waved a fond farewell to my Naim Supernait, Lindemann DAC, and Silverline speakers. In their place are an Electrocompaniet AW-60FTT power amp and EC-4.7SE preamp, Simaudio Moon 380D DAC, and Audio Physic Virgo V speakers. All the new gear is great of course, but as soon as I first stepped foot in my Portland apartment, I knew that there would be...

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...

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...

Poly Rhythms Jan26

Poly Rhythms

Great Britain’s Chord, makers of some of the best sounding (and oddest looking) audio equipment around, had two big new introductions at this year’s CES: a follow up to their wildly popular Hugo, and a wireless streaming companion for the Mojo, which our very own Alex reviewed around this time last year. Though larger than the Mojo, the new Hugo 2 ($2300) is still quite portable, measuring 5.1” x 3.9” x 0.8” – noticeably tidier dimensions than its predecessor. Packed into its compact aluminum enclosure is the latest version of Chord’s custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA DAC chip, which is claimed to offer improved timing, noise, power...

Dave’s Top 10 Albums Of 2016 Jan06

Dave’s Top 10 Albums Of 2016

As John Oliver aptly put it, “Fuck 2016.” While I am very happy to bid the year a not so fond farewell, I was at least able to take some comfort in some really fantastic releases this year. Interestingly, while Alex and my best of the year lists are usually pretty different, (“Do you likes it? Then I hates it!” -Alex) this year there was a surprising amount of overlap. Too much really, and so some albums that would probably have made my list ended up on the cutting room floor just to keep things interesting, which of course isn’t to say that any of the following are undeserving. Dynamically, I’m afraid the industry is still...

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...

KEF Cuts The Cord On The LS50 Dec12

KEF Cuts The Cord On The LS50

The Adobe Flash Player is required for video playback.Get the latest Flash Player or Watch this video on YouTube. KEF has been building speakers featuring their famous “Uni-Q” concentric driver for decades, but it was the LS50 monitor first introduced a few years ago to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary that really gained them widespread attention outside of the traditional high-end speaker market. The LS50, supposedly “inspired” by the classic BBC LS3/5 monitor, is anything but old fashioned. A wooden box was eschewed in favor of a state of the art cabinet design with a curved baffle designed to control both external resonance and...

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...