The Guardian Top Classical Music Events of 2016 – 1. Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at the BBC Proms, 2. Enescu’s Oedipe opera/oratorio, 80 years after its premiere, 3. New conductor of the Birmingham Symphony, Grazinyte-Tyla, 4. Kevin Volans’ Fourth Piano Concerto, and his 12th String Quartet, 5. Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard performing Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux outdoors, 6. The Stravinsky Series put on by the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Raumfeld Introduces Google Cast for Audio to its Speakers – The free update is for all current Raumfeld Wi-Fi speakers, and gives users access to over 100 new music apps, including Google Play Music, Spotify, Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, SoundCloud, Qobuz and Juke. A spokesman said this allows music lovers to discover new tunes, find old favorites, create their own playlists or try out playlists from others. A single device can be made part of different speaker groupings, and it’s even possible to combine Raumfeld speakers with other cast-enabled speakers. The various streaming services make it possible to listen to the perfect soundtracks for each location and mood. It works on either iOS or Android. The Raumfeld speakers are German-engineered and support digital files, playing them back in true high fidelity, controlled via the free app.
Listening to MP3s Can Actually Drain Your Emotions – according to a new study by the Audio Engineering Library. Researchers found that MP3s can affect the emotional characteristics of musical instruments by enhancing or weakening them. Low-quality compression can significantly affect the timbral and emotional characteristics of a song. It can add negative and neutral emotional characteristics like mystery, scary, shy or sad. The researchers found that trumpet is the most affected instrument, and horn the least affected. Strangely, compression didn’t affect one emotion, that of anger. So switching to higher-res audio isn’t just good for your ears, it’s also better for your emotional wellbeing.
The Gadget Website Recommends Budget Home Audio Items – t3.com says for multi-room and wireless you can’t do better than Chromecast Audio at $35, but if you’re only beaming music from Apple devices, an Airport Express at $99 will play thru any kit with a 3.5mm input. For DACs at low price they suggest either the Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 or the Onkyo A-9010, both at $299. For 5.1 surround in the home they suggest the Pioneer SP-PK22BS system at about $400, and for just a pair of speakers they like the Roth OLI RA2 for about $189 a pair online. If a soundbar makes more sense, they recommend LG’s SH7B, about $500, or Edifier’s CineSound B7 at about $300. They also suggest finding audio hardware on sale second-hand and going for models a few years old rather than the very latest. Always a good idea with home audio. (The “legacy” stuff is often better!)