Audio News for November 21, 2014

Director Nike Nichols Dies at 83 – Nichols was a visionary in the entertainment business—working as a comic, director, writer, producer, and winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. He made Dustin Hoffman into a star in The Graduate, but his connection to music probably were his early recordings for Mercury Living Presence LPs with actress-writer Elaine May, regarded by many as the very best comedy duo ever. Impressions to Music and seven more are still available on CDs. His fourth wife was ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer.

NativeDSD.com Offers Nearly 400 Albums from 18 Labels in DSD – A site that offers only actual DSD audio files for download sources the music directly from the labels’ own servers, meta-tagged for playback on DACs and music servers and players, and including album art and booklets. Some of the labels involved so far include Channel Classics, Harmonia mundi, LSO Live, Reference Recordings, Challenge, Fone, and Yarlung, with Hyperion, Lawo, Myrios and HDTT coming soon.

Promates Offers Highest-Res Downloads in DXD – The move toward higher and higher sampling rates on downloads to exceed the compromised sonic quality of both MP3-type compression and standard CD quality, has reached a new level with a wide range of albums now being offering by the Promates Music Store in Denmark as Digital eXtreme Definition (DSD) audio files. This process, which uses PCM since it is easier to edit in that format, has been used on many physical SACD releases and is now installed in over 400 recording studios and concert halls around the world.

The main cons of the format are that it is more expensive and the files take up much larger storage space than MP3s, standard CD sources, or even 96K or 192K PCM stereo audio files. Promates recommends the TEAC UD-501 Converter for playback, and also offers a free download of the TEACH HR Audio Player on their web site. A typical album takes about five GB of data, so it cannot fit on a CD but requires a DVD-R to be put on a physical disc, and downloading such an album requires more than an hour, even with a high-speed Internet connection. Also all of the recordings were not made with DXD or even DSD, which may not be required for some of them.

Gold Note Ultimate Turntable – The Italian audiophile company Gold Note has launched their very shiny and very tall flagship turntable, the Belagio Conquest, which is astonishing the high-end industry. It has the longest bearing/spindle ever used on a turntable: 270mm long, and made of carbon steel hardened with a boiling oil process, rectified and polished. It has a power control generator based on Pulse Width Modulation, which allows fine-tuning of the motor’s torque to adjust the “musical character” of the sound. It is also the only turntable with a remote control, which allows control of on/off, speed change, speed control, torque and power control. It is about 48,000 Euros.

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