Audio New for December 15, 2015

Audio Consumers High on Hi-Res –  (Bare in mind this  is from a Consumer Technology Association (CTA) survey:) Over 53% of consumers who purchased audio technology in the past year are interested in hi-res audio, and 77% have researched audio products at a physical store. 41% did their research online. The primary targets are music lovers and audiophiles who are looking for a “better” audio experience. Word of mouth at 32% was the most influential factor, followed by store displays at 29%. Headphones were the most frequently purchased audio product, followed by portable speakers and soundbars. Consumers are using streaming services and apps more, with the at-home figure 86% and the in-vehicle 69%, but beyond playlists and Bluetooth streaming they struggle to conceptualize the benefits of connectivity.

Cutting-Edge Music Techology in “Where is Chopin?” Concert –  Pianist Jenny Q Chai highlights works of Jaroslaw Kapuscinski and Robert Schumann in a NYC concert next month. She explores the relationship between piano and electronics. An artificial intellignece program will be used, along with storytelling techniques common to novels and films. Schumann’s Carnaval selections will be performed, along with a Kapuscinski work titled Where is Chopin?

Marilyn Horne Leads Master Classes and Recitals – Renowned mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne will lead six public events at Carnegie Hall in NYC next month. “The Song Continues” explores the song repertory thru master classes and concerts with the goal of encouraging, supporting and preserving the art of the vocal recital. The series concludes with “The Marilyn Horne Song Celebration,” which will feature guest artist soprano Nina Stemme.

Guide to the Best Home Audio Short of Hi-Res – 1) Pay close attention to speaker placement. Try several different locations until your speakers sound the best. Try putting your head where the speaker might be and the speaker in your sweet spot. 2) Go lossless. Music compressions (a la MP3 files) allows to you hold thousands of songs on your mobile deives, but it does it by stripping out a portion of a lossless digital audio file, usually one 44.1K/16-bit. This was conceived when the Internet was slow and storage of audio files was expensive – not true anymore. If you are planning on investing in a truly good home audio system, you should check out the services dedicated to uncompressed, lossless music – about equal to CD quality. It’s more expensive, but with the modern Internet it’s a no-brainer. And not nearly as expensive as the so-called hi-res downloads which are usually of analog tape originals and not really hi-res at all. Several of the music subscription web sites currently offer lossless files in addition to MP3-type compression files. if you must choose lossy files, go with the 320kbps streaming, which is quite a step up from lower MP3 bitrates (and much higher than most webcasters).

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