April 2019
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In absentia: an AXPONA 2019 preview

By | April 11th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

AXPONA is the USA’s largest regional audio show. It takes place this weekend at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center in Chicago. I won’t be there. Ha! As with every year, this Stateside event is too close to Munich High-End to justify punching a 12-day hole in my review schedule: five days to get to and from Chicago; five days to report on what I saw; and two or three more days for the double dose of jetlag to subside.… Read the full article

5 reasons why the iPhone is a poor choice for portable audio

By | April 5th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Pragmatism vs. Idealism? I practice the former to show the latter the door. In the laptop world, that means Apple: a Macbook (Standard/Air/Pro) has been my primary work tool for the past 13 years. I tried switching back to Windows in 2018 with the Microsoft Surface Book 2. The hardware is terrific (coil whine aside) but the operating system (still) makes me twitch. Back to the Mac…

When it comes to smartphones, I’m not in love with Google’s Android operating system; that hardware providers and telcos are permitted to install their own software layer and/or apps spoils any UX consistency.… Read the full article

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Everybody knows…

By | March 31st, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: |

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That’s how it goes.
Everybody knows.

Read the full article

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F.U.S.E vinyl box set to sell for £300!

By | March 29th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Dimension Intrusion. A 1993 album from Richie Hawtin released under his F.U.S.E alias, first via his own Plus 8 imprint and later via Warp as part of their Artificial Intelligence series — electronic music refashioned for home listening with sci-fi movies a strong influence.

Twenty-five years on, original CD copies of Dimension Intrusion are still relatively easy to come by. The 2LP version not so much. Even harder to find are vinyl copies that haven’t done a tour of duty in a DJ box.… Read the full article

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KIH #65 – Reprogramming the Munich machine

By | March 26th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Woe be me. Stick around. You might see yourself in the mirror.

That’s because you’re a showgoer, too. You’ve saved up to book the hotel and flight. You’ve even brought a credit card with big dynamic headroom just in case one of your favourite vendor sells discounted display samples that fit into your luggage.

Once the doors of the M.O.C. open, your mind stops. You’ve of course read about how big this annual Munich show is but in person, it’s a whole other gig.… Read the full article

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KIH #64 – Get real!

By | March 20th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Real people fi. Oops. Cursed by dualistic language, once we write that, we’ve turned ourselves into despicable judgmental dunces. What does that term make the rest? Hifi for faux people? Let’s try again.

I just want to document what ‘real’ people apart from diehard audiophiles might/should do with small speakers like these Amphion Argon3s. For evidence, your prosecutor of the cause presents exhibit A. That’s my wife’s room. It’s how she has always set up her bedside system around her MacBook with external DVD drive.… Read the full article

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The inconvenient truth about MQA on iOS

By | March 13th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

The email that read “Stream Tidal Masters everywhere: iPhone now supports MQA” called for immediate care. This wasn’t Apple embracing MQA technology directly but an extension of Tidal’s existing MQA support.

Two years ago, Tidal made its repository of MQA ‘Masters’ streamable to anyone subscribing to the company’s ‘Hifi’ tier — and at no extra cost. Nice. The announcement covered Tidal’s MacOS and Windows apps.

Last year, Tidal rolled out MQA support to Android devices and earlier this week, per the aforementioned email, iOS app users were now being invited to the MQA party.… Read the full article

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The sensual world

By | March 7th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

There are many reasons to applaud Steven Brykman’s article for Ars Technica on Why Vinyl Records Survive in the Digital Age. Vinyl’s playback ritual and tactility are well-trodden paths but Brykman takes these ideas further. Unencumbered by simpleton audiophile thinking that vinyl must compete against digital audio, he posits that: that vinyl reflects the past from which it came and must be similarly carefully handled. “Designing for multiple senses can be more powerful than designing for just one,” opines Brykman.… Read the full article

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Tangled up in Bluetooth

By | March 4th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Like music streaming services, Bluetooth audio sound quality is determined by the codec that carries digital audio (the music) from source to destination; from smartphone to wireless headphone.

Unlike music streaming services, Bluetooth audio offers no lossless option — at least not yet. All codecs used for Bluetooth audio transmission are lossy. Before music can be sent from smartphone to wireless headphone, its file size must be reduced to meet Bluetooth’s (lower) bandwidth requirements. A small part of the original file is discarded.… Read the full article

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