The Audio Traveler

Where Epicurus stops to listen, but only after 8.
  1. Due to the terrible events that unfolded in Manchester, England on Monday evening, Part-Time Audiophile will not be publishing today. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to the family, and friends of the victims and all those affected by this senseless tragedy. We will be back with regular coverage Wednesday. Thank you for your understanding. –Rafe Arnott, Editor-At-LargeFiled under: Announcements Tagged: bombing, Manchester, news
  2. Tidal Audio from Germany put on an outstanding presentation at High End in Munich, and Dr. Pangiotis Karavitis, and I took part in an invite-only audiophile press event for a private listening session while there. Company CEO, and chief designer Jorn Janczak was on hand to discuss not only the massive, top-of-the-line La Assoluta loudspeaker, but the brand new Camira DAC, and Ferios monobloc which builds on the current Impulse Stereo Amplifier. I’ve spent time with big Tidal systems before, but not with the La Assoluta, and not with the new FPGA-equiped, discrete R2R ladder DAC Camira feeding the massive loudspeakers via a pair of 300-watt Ferios (Tidal cabling was also being used throughout). There was a musical translation to the sound which my brain associated with a small handful of other ultra-high end systems. Systems that leave an impression of deep power reserves, and dynamic headroom. I played a variety of Tidal 16/44 tracks, and heard several high-res local files during the session, and experienced a linearity, transparency, effortlessness and cohesion to the sound from the Tidal system that left an indelible emotional connection to the music on me. I look forward to the next opportunity to spend time with components from Tidal, and this curated set-up [...]
  3. Turntable, turntable, turntable, turntable, turntable, turntable, turntable. DAC, DAC, DAC, DAC, DAC, DAC. CD/SACD, CD/SACD. Reel-to-reel. This would be my count if I had to choose a ratio at the High End Show in Munich this week for analog, and digital sources. There’s no doubt in my mind that the turntable is still the medium of choice for manufacturers to showcase their equipment. The DAC/computer is next, with CD/SACD significantly lagging in numbers behind that, and the sudden resurgence in the last year of reel-to-reel showing as strong as CD/SACD in my estimation. What does it mean? Well, to me it shows the resilience of a format (the stereo LP) that is going on 70 years old, and can sound as good today as the day it was pressed. There’s very few formats in any medium that have this innate archival longevity. Reel-to-reel? No. Magnetic-media degradation is well documented. CD/SACD? No. CD, and SACD suffer from rot. In fact according to the United States Library of Congress the phenomenon of CD rot is a real problem. They cannot yet pinpoint a mean time frame for all CD failure due to variance in manufacturing, but they’re worried enough about the impact [...]
  4. You can now upgrade your AudioQuest DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red to include support for MQA with a firmware update. We’ve upgraded a few of our Red Dragonfly’s over at Part-Time Audiophile today, and encourage you too as well. The process takes less then 5 minutes, and then you can enjoy a little MQA + Tidal Masters using the Tidal desktop application on your computer. Upgrade instructions: Install the AudioQuest Device Manager application. You can download it from here.  It is supported on: Windows 7 and Windows 10 Mac/OS2. Launch AudioQuest Device Manager3. Click on “Check for Updates” 4. Click on “Update Now“ In less then a minute, your Dragonfly will be updated and the AQ Device Manager will automatically close. If you launch the Audioquest Device Manager again, you should see that your Dragonfly is up to date with firmware v1.06. Important tip: When updating your Dragonfly, plug it directly into a USB port on your PC. ( AudioQuest Device Manager was not able to discover the Dragonfly when the AQ Jitterbug was in the signal path. Post firmware upgrade, we re-inserted our handy AQ Jitterbug ) Tidal Desktop Application: After upgrading my Dragonfly RED, the Tidal Desktop app [...]
  5. Tweaks are aplenty in this industry, some that work, and others less so. But when it comes to reducing vibration, I have been a longstanding believer. At T.H.E. Show @ Newport, HRS introduced the Vortex feet.  I was impressed at the impact that they had on various T+A components in Sunny’s High End Audio Video room during some quick listening. Newport peaked my interest, so I naturally had to try Vortex feet under my Dan D’agostino Stereo Momentum amplifier which rests on a HRS M3X isolation base (shelf). In my experience, the addition of the Vortex feet was almost more impactful then the introduction of the HRS isolation base in my listening room. Back to the High End 2017, as I was roaming Hall 4.1, I managed to get a sighting of Michael Latvis, Chief Engineer at HRS. I needed to introduce myself and get the scoop on what black magic is going on inside those Vortex feet? What crazy voodoo is Michael Latvis doing? Why was the impact of the HRS Vortex feet more significant then the original configuration of just a HRS M3X isolation platform?  Here is what Michael told us… “There is a lot of airborne vibration [...]
  6. I felt small. I’m six-foot-two-inches tall, but making your way around The High End Show at the colossal MOC in Munich can be a humbling experience in spatial ratios. While some system set ups were of the manageable living-room size, many were of the gargantuan variety that would require dedicated listening rooms, and a most tolerant family, spouse or partner to accommodate: the Silbatone room would require a separate home.   The throaty roar that these altars to high fidelity were constantly being summoned to release rumbled, and reverberated throughout the building from hall to hall like thunder, and had show attendees lined up 10-deep in some rooms to experience this aural thrill that 99% of us can only hear at shows like High End. This got me thinking about conversations with some audiophiles I’ve spoken with, or heard from who are openly condemning, or questioning the veracity of large, megabuck systems as being “removed from reality.” I for one absolutely respect, and endorse this pursuit for large-scale playback, and a cost-no-object approach to research & development of ultimate hifi reproduction. I liken it to science, and medical developments: without pure research there is no growth or fundamental progress. Think about areas like loudspeaker enclosures, [...]
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