Category Archives: Released in 2013

Norwegian Bits Are Just Purer

ECM-2-header2

Norwegian high-end dominatrices Electrocompaniet, have entered the stage and now offer digital purity for the discriminating audiophile. The ECM2 is a no-frills streamer that plays from a multitude of sources, from low-fi internet services to hi-res digital masters on your network. What stands this device apart in the world of inch-thick aluminium fronts, is the EMC2’s ability to stream video in HD. And not just that; it does it in 24bit/192KHz! Take a bite at that!

Digital attenuation allows you to stick it straight into the power amp and lets you sit in the couch and do you business straight from a phone of your choice [if it runs iOS or Android, that is] or from a DLNA controller.

Sonos Play:Cool

play1Not entirely unanticipated, Sonos released a cool little addition to their Play family of products. When the Play:1 turned up in the FCC last month, speculations as to what exactly it would be started to spread. Ending at a family lunch when someone leisurely suggested surround sound satellites. Bingo.

Considering that the Play:3 and Play:5 don’t exactly make you go frolicking with audiophiliacity, this even smaller form factor is certainly not intended for the discerning listener. It is, however, a neat little cousin that will play nicely with most living rooms in exactly the home theatre configuration mentioned.

With the Play:1 Sonos have introduced a new feature; an on-device skip/pause button. Via  software update this functionality will come to the rest of the Sonos family shortly.

Danish Newspaper Explains Sound Degradation

Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, today explains how the work flow from recording over mastering to distribution ands actual play-back, through poor choices and historical left-overs, introduces artifacts and degrades sound quality. For once it is someone who have actually done their homework and produced a tremendously readable article.

“One thing is notes that are missing, another thing entirely is unwanted notes sneaking in, not in harmony with the others.”

This is a cardinal statement in the article, showing that the author, Norwegian rocker Geir Gråbein Nordby, has heard the light, so to speak.

The article brought today, is in fact a month old article from Norwegian magazine Lyd og Bilde, but bringing this kind of article in a Hifi magazine is one thing, bringing it in a national newspaper is something else altogether. The original article does stand out a bit, though, including spectrograms of sound in different formats and resolutions.

Bluesound

01Canadian newcomers (and to some extent, former NAD dudes) Bluesound are going abroad with their jazzy looking 24-bit audio streaming system. A few weeks ago they appeared in Hifiklubben in Sweden and now they are available in Denmark as well. The system includes an optional server, ever so aptly named Vault, which can rip CDs in numerous formats, store them and stream them to the Bluesound players as well as act as a player itself. The satellite players come in three flavors: Node, Powernode and Pulse. The Node is a streaming client with analogue and digital outputs, natively supporting up to 192KHz sampling rates. The Powernode is akin to the Node adding a 90W class D amplifier to free it from a hifi system. The Pulse is a completely self contained system with 80W amp and speakers. In other words, a system not unlike the Sonos family; except in 24-bit resolution.

Control is done from a desktop computer or from the now ubiquitous smartphone or tablet. Presently only iOS and Android is supported.

Unlike Sonos, the Bluesound devices can access files from USB devices. It is unclear if each device can stream these auxiliary inputs autonomously, though.

Sonos Playbar

playbarSince some time last year, when the Sonos Playbar name showed up in FCC findings, rumors have speculated on whether it was a TV-playbar for surround sound or something more like a under-cupboard-music-bar. Then last week Sonos lifted the curtain to what indeed turned out to be a surround sound bar for the TV.

The idea is pretty nigh hand, considering the ever present conundrum of wiring satellites and minimising the cable chaos in general. On its own, the Playbar gives you 2.1 system. Add a Sonos Sub and you automatically get 3.1 and add another 2 Play:3’s at the rear and you get full 5.1. Further than that it cannot go, but for most it should suffice. The other Sonos components cannot be paired with the Playbar for surround because they don’t have the sufficient wifi-specs for the low latency needed to sync with video.

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