Audio News for May 20, 2016

by | May 20, 2016 | Audio News

Major Change at Universal Music Group – The parent company of the classical and jazz labels DGG, Decca Records and Classics, Mercury Classics and distributed label ECM, has, according to a May 19 announcement, “deepened [its] commitment to jazz and classical music [and the] company’s unwavering commitment to building on its rich history in both genres” by lumping all those US labels together with jazz label Verve under the new Verve Label Group, managed by Danny Bennett (the son of Tony Bennett). Verve, is now in its 60th year, having become known as the label of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simon, Stan Getz and Billie Holiday. They also oversee the Impulse! Records imprint. The word “crossover” was used repeatedly in the press release. We don’t what this means. Will UMG/Verve follow Sony’s model of pairing Joshua Bell and Placido Domingo with pop stars, and encouraging Yo-Yo Ma down the Silk Road? Will they respect the unique approach to modern jazz of producer Manfred Eicher?

Fiio X7 Supports Files & Formats Which iOS Players Don’t – The Chinese company with a solid reputation for low-cost, high-quality audio hardware, and has a full range of devices of which this is the latest. It is $600 on Amazon and the Android device supports nearly all commonly-used audio formats: MP3, AAC, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WMA, WAV, AIFF, APE, and OGG at sampling rates up to 384kHz and up to 64-bit resolution, as well as DSD up to 5.6MHz. It comes with 32KB internal storage and you can add 128GB on various microSD cards. It weighs about 50% more than the iPhone 6, but has the ability to play all of your music.

One of Many Ways to Track Users as They Browse the Web is Audio Fingerprinting – Researchers at Princeton scanned a million websites and found that a number of them use AudioContext API to identify an audio signal that reveals unique browser and device combination. It relies on the way a signal is processed; and AudioContext API fingerprint is a property of your machine’s audio stack itself. 715 of the top one million websites are using WebRTC to learn the local IP address of users.

Hi-Res Logo Extended to Streaming Services – The music industry has extended its Hi-Res Music logo from downloaded songs to streamed songs to help consumers identify recordings that meet the hi-res music definition developed in 2014. That means better than CD quality sound at a minimum sampling rate of 48K and minimum 20-bit resolution. The files and streams must be sourced from studio masters meeting the same minimums. “The masters include digital masters created from analog masters.” This doesn’t make any sense at all and must be an error. Especially since the two sentences follow one another. An analog master is not hi-res. Period. Sure, double-track 30ips analog masters are better than other analog master recordings, and direct-discs are even better, but they are not hi-res.

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