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Qobuz Comes to the U.S.A.

By | January 31st, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

Qobuz Comes to the U.S.A.

On January 8, 2019, Qobuz, the French streaming/download service will be available to United States-based audiophiles. The elevator pitch is if Tidal and HD Tracks had a baby, it would be Qobuz. Like Tidal, Qobuz offers tiered subscription streaming but adds the option to purchase downloads of anything you can stream. Qobuz’s three tiers of price and audio quality go like this: for $9.99 a month you can stream 320kbps MP3-quality streams; for $19.95 a month you have access to “16-bit streaming”; for $299 per year ($24.91 by month) you get “full hi-res streaming” and substantial (40-60%) discount on downloads.… Read the full article

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Roon + Qobuz, Tidal = Pandora for lossless lovers

By | January 21st, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Roon Radio? Not a browsable index of broadcast radio streams from around the world but a feature that plays similar music from your library after pressing its blue button from any song, album or genre. Roon Radio can also pick up where the ‘now playing’ playlist leaves off.

Whichever way it runs, users are optionally invited to click ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ on the algorithm’s subsequent selections. Roon Radio is a little like Pandora for your hard-drive.

But not only.… Read the full article

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Chord Electronics announces GoFigure for Android

By | November 22nd, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Looking for a high-end digital audio player and network streamer? Doubtful that you’d find one that sounds as immersive or as transparent as Chord Electronics’ Mojo-Poly. The Mojo is one of the most detailed-sounding DACs money can buy for less than US$1000. The Poly is a direct-connecting streaming add-on module for the Mojo that offers support for playback via Bluetooth, UPnP, AirPlay and Roon Ready or a microSD card inserted into its side.

Catch up on our Poly preview here and our review here, where we found the Mojo-Poly two-fer to be a highly competent network streamer for home hi-fi racks but a screenless thousand dollar DAP that put competition from Sony and Astell&Kern in the shade.… Read the full article

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JPLAY Femto + femtoServer promises better-sounding UPnP

By | November 2nd, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Twelve months ago we reviewed JPLAY Streamer: a playback engine for any music playback app running on a Windows PC. Catch up here. TL;DR? The lower a music playback app’s hit to the host PC’s system resources (e.g. CPU), the less electrical noise generated by the PC and the better any USB-lassoed DAC will sound.

This week the Polish software company has announced JPLAY FEMTO: “a complete network music software player for the most demanding audiophile”. According to developer Marcin Ostapowicz, JPLAY FEMTO will not only improve the sound quality of locally stored music but also Tidal and Qobuz.… Read the full article

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Audirvana Plus for Windows review

By | October 17th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

“Roon. Great functionality, metadata2die4, a user interface that trounces others Hulk-style. All for the price of a good interconnect. Or rent it, like your music.”…say some. It’s not the only party in town though.

I use it. I know it’s good. It does cost a fair wedge and Roon’s in-house coded RAAT protocol is theirs and theirs only. I’m two years in and things move on both inside Roon (via a wealth of updates) but also elsewhere.

Time to revisit an alternative: the new version of Audirvana+.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2018 – Digital

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , , |

RMAF 2018 – Digital

In the past I’ve reported on both digital and personal audio at RMAF in one report. But as RMAF and CANJAM have continued to expand, so has The Absolute Sound’s coverage. Now Chris Martens of HiFi+ will take over personal and portable audio, and I will concentrate on newest digital offerings. As usual, I found an ample supply of new digital components to explore, far more than I could include in one show report. The hardest part of this job is deciding which components to include in the report and which don’t manage to make the final cut.… Read the full article

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A short film about Roon (in three parts)

By | July 27th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Straight to the heart of the matter: Roon streams digital audio, wired or wirelessly, from hard drives, NAS drives and Tidal to endpoints around the house: to AirPlay devices, to Chromecast devices, to Sonos devices, to Squeezeboxen and to Roon Ready devices whose in-house-coded RAAT transmission protocol sees data sent from the Roon server on the endpoint’s say so. We call that asynchronous.

Let’s take a closer look at the Roon endpoints I use at home:

At the heart of any Roon system is the server that puts Roon Core on any sufficiently capable Mac or PC – an easy setup for most people.… Read the full article

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Google’s Chromecast Audio is now a Roon endpoint

By | July 6th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Roon. v1.3. v1.4. v1.5…v1.6? Not quite. At least, not yet. The next software update to roll out to users is a point release but with a knockout new feature: streaming support for Google Chromecast devices.

From Build 333 of Roon v1.5, the Google Home, the Google Home Mini, the Google Home Max, the Chromecast Audio and the Chromecast (Gen 1, Gen 2, and Ultra) will all function as Roon endpoints to join AirPlay streamers, Sonos boxes, the KEF LS50 Wireless and Roon Ready devices.Read the full article

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Coming soon: Audirvana Plus for Windows 10

By | June 1st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

If digital audio playback were just a matter of file storage and playback, of handing off ones and zeroes to a USB DAC, iTunes would be good enough for most of us, even audiophiles.

But things are never as simple as they appear on the surface. Recognising that reducing a music playback software app’s burden on the host device’s CPU and RAM lowers electrical noise and improves sound quality is one Damien Plisson whose Audirvana Plus app sounds quite a bit better than iTunes.… Read the full article

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A room with a μ: Sonarworks @ Superbooth ’18

By | May 9th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Tomorrow, Munich High-End kicks into life, which means today, show exhibitors are setting up some of the world’s best audio gear in oft-hostile rooms, wrestling with loudspeaker placement for optimal sound quality. More likely than not, the loudspeaker demands that it be placed not too close to the front and side walls for best performance. Wall-reflected sound arriving at the listening position can see certain frequencies enhanced and others cancelled out.

In other words, when we listen to a loudspeaker system, we are also hearing the room in which it is placed.… Read the full article

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