Audio Stream Offers Extensive Computer Audio 101

Digital audio specialists Audio Stream are offering an easy to grasp insight into computer audio with their new article series Computer Audio 101. The articles span most issues one might have without getting overly detailed or nerdy.

Bowers & Wilkins In a Fibrillating Fairy Tale Sale

EVA AutomationLoudspeaker high-ender Bowers & Wilkins have left their 1965 roots in an acquisition from ex-Facebook CFO Gideon Yu and his company EVA Automation. In these circles it’s a bit of a tic inducing piece of news. Now what? What do rich guys know about music? Well, for starters only rich people could afford the high-end products to begin with and there is nothing genetically music hating about being rich, so perhaps it is a need for capital no one knew existed. Welcome, Gideon Yu, to a spot in the world where words do truly buzz and products are given the love so many products surely miss.

Sonos is Shrinking, Hopefully Not Shrivelling

In a blog post today, Sonos CEO john Macfarlane says that Sonos will be laying off an unspecified number of employees in a strategic move towards streaming rather than locally stored music. Staff reduction is serious enough in and of itself but the move they make towards streaming music may well be a serious blow to certain parts of the user base, namely those who listen to classical music and those who have many rare recordings. Try and find Eric Burdon’s Last Drive on a streaming service or even one of Solti’s Ring Cycle recordings. Sonos has always been problematic when playing back classical music, or any compound pieces for that matter, following this strategy things are not exactly looking like it will change. So, will we be seeing Sonos turning into a voice controlled transistor radio? I hope not but it certainly does look awfully lot like it will. The fact that Mr. Macfarlane refers to what we must assume are those who support local media as “laggards” doesn’t exactly help.

A Star Extinguished

blackstarA star burned out today. Perhaps not the one shining the brightest but arguably the firmamentally most prominent of stars. A man of artistic integrity to the point where it almost broke him followed by a restored artist balancing arts with the personal integrity he then lacked. Eventually the mark he left on the world is unequivocal and his latest album a worthy swansong,  as it so tragically turns out. It would have been just like him to do that deliberately, wouldn’t it?

Honey, I Shrunk Our Mu-So

Naim Mu-SoNaim managed to shrink the Naim Mu-So into a cube of 20cm3 and called it… wait for it… Qb. No ill feat on the shrinking side. Slightly off their rocker on the naming ditto. Specs are roughly the same as usual albeit given the smaller form factor having smaller speakers and with less to drive, a smaller set of amps. The high and mid drivers are positioned in an X-Y configuration for compactness and the subs appear to be push-pull. The mother Mu-So is stunning to behold already. With these little babies dispersed around the house, you are likely to win an award in your local interior decoration magazine and sound good winning it. Multi room sound took another leap today.
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Meridian’s MQA is Gaining Traction

Among the first news tidbits from CES in Las Vegas, a few drops of MQA support color the hi-res waters. Among mainstream audio product vendors Bluesound announces an upcoming update to support MQA, Tidal have already shown it and now HTC announces MQA support on their One A9 Android phone. Norwegian audiophile record company 2L as well, will be supporting MQA.

B&O Changing Your Room Again

beolab-90-bang-olufsen-form-follows-function-4B&O just put a big fat squiggly line under their room correction abilities introduced with their space traveller’s speaker, Beolab 5. With the new Beolab 90 we can now more or less refurnish our living rooms and always sound good in the process. Each speaker houses 18 drivers and two massive D-Class amplifiers. Inputs range from your usual line-in over balanced XLR to all the digital ins under the sun. This one’s going to be interesting to hear.

Sonos Turning The Decks

sonosplay5Sonos are turning the decks yet again and reissues the Play:5 in a new guise. This time with the long anticipated TruePlay room correction. With it comes TruePlay support on all other units except the PlayBar. When high rollers [and brothers in dissimilarity] B&O, Lyngdorff and Bose, to name a couple, use room correction and today almost all surround sound receivers offer the same, it is odd to leave the PlayBar out of the game. But there you have it.

sonosnew52The Play:5 is completely redesigned and should be a refreshing whiff both visually and sonically. It shows a glimpse of what we have coming down the road. The speaker has an accelerometer driven orientation detection, automatically disabling speaker elements in horisontal dual speaker mode. Layout of speaker drivers has been optimised as has the actual cabinet construction. No word yet as to whether there are changes in the amplifier but it would be a natural move.

Yamaha MusicCast

Yamaha Restio ISX-80Boasting compatibility with Bluetooth Audio, Apple Airplay and the prevalent streaming services, there is no shortage on Yamaha MusicCast on the connection side of things. At the other end of the cable, the system permeates almost the entire audio infrastructure of Yamaha, covering A/V receivers, active network speakers, stereos and soundbars. You can play music from a CD and stream it anywhere, as well as, of course, ubiquitous network stored bits and pieces. It appears to even support Dolby Atmos. Now, that’s a first. Supported file types include Flac, Aiff and DSD (on A/V receivers and audio equipment that can read the discs), in resolutions up to 192KHz/24-bit.

What Hi-fi? just released an almost painfully happy mini review of the system. Do go and have a look. What they zoom in on, are things like being able to not only feed all MusicCast components from a Bluetooth source separately, you can even attach Bluetooth players to them, for instance a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Finally someone who stands up to B&O and their decades old and wonderfully future proven Beolink. Sonos and their comrades (you know who you are) could definitely learn something here. Definitely.

Interesting Short on Sonos

UK magazine What Hi-Fi? just wrote a short on what Sonos is and what it does. The short is, in short, rather short. But it does tell the story without much fiddling about meaning, of course, that it lacks a bit on the technical details.

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