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Digital music

No need for a second take, the company is indeed called Schiit Audio and it's pronounced just as you'd expect. Though rather suggestive of audio products best avoided at all costs, the company actually has excellent pedigree in the shape of Mike Moffat. The firm's co-founder is the inventor of the DS Pre, the first DSP-based outboard digital to analog converter on the market. Moffat and company have spent the last five years researching digital filter algorithms, a quest that has ended with Yggdrasil, a flagship multi-bit DAC with a true closed form filter. Read More

Wren Sound Systems has added a new model to its V5 wireless speaker range. Where the other three units are geared toward either Bluetooth, AirPlay or Play-Fi, the V5US supports all three wireless technologies for "near-universal device compatibility" and lossless audio streaming. Read More

When a high-end audio maker announces a new product, a high price tag is almost guaranteed to accompany its release. Indeed, NuPrime Audio's amps, preamps, DACs and heaphone amps are usually found in the four figure range, but not its new uDSD. The high resolution digital-to-analog converter and headphone amp will retail for under two hundred bucks. Read More
The Jambé takes bits of electronic drums, hand bangers and finger tappers and mashes them all up into one traditional-looking percussive instrument. Its makers say that a special combination of materials and sensors allow it to read every playing nuance, transforming the mighty wallop of a drum stick into thunderous sounds or a gentle tinkle from light finger taps with the help of an iPad or iPhone processing brain. Read More
The (relatively) brave new world of digital music consumption can arguably more than satisfy the aural needs of most music lovers, but vinyl and CD collectors also enjoy a visual feast in the shape of album art. Sure, you might get some small pixel pleasure with your MP3, and if you're lucky perhaps even a PDF booklet, but you're unlikely to get anywhere near the satisfaction you'd get from some concept art and band info on a 12 inch square of cardboard or a glossy paper flip-book in a jewel case. The high fashion house of Astrella has linked the digital and the physical with a line of t-shirts where streamed music is part of the package. Next month, shoppers at two Bloomingdale's stores will be able to get access to music and more with the help of their smartphones. Read More
There are many iOS apps that offer onscreen versions of musical instruments and, though a convenient way to practice chord positions or to quickly jot down a song idea, they can be a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. In 2013, Zivix launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to bring a backpack-friendly MIDI guitar designed for the mobile musician called the JamStik to production. Now the company is back with an improved mini guitar that boasts better picking detection and processing speed, and uses Bluetooth LE instead of Wi-Fi to keep surfing channels open while playing. Read More
Among the raft of new consumer audio products that Samson Technologies took to CES last month was a desktop speaker system for computers, laptops and tablets. The company says that the Meteor M2 stereo speakers promise studio quality sound that breaks barriers in desktop audio at volumes that go "well beyond its compact size." We got our hands on a review system and have spent much of this month putting those claims to the test. Read More
As far as equipment bulk goes, digital DJs can have a much easier time of it than their vinyl spinning and scratching counterparts. But even if your groove controller of choice is something as portable as Pioneer's DDJ-WeGO3 or as compact as IK Multimedia's iRig MIX, the loudspeakers that will get you heard above the party chatter can add significant weight to a gig bag. The UK's Tibo Electronics has taken an all-in-one approach with its new Urban 500 DJ station, which sits a media controller atop a 500 W speaker tower with wheels on the bottom to help you trundle to your next gig. Read More
Though certainly convenient, listening to music through earphones plugged into a smartphone is not always a satisfying experience. Some music lovers, like myself, prefer to carry around a dedicated high quality audio player, while others who like to groove on the move might give the source audio a welcome boost by using a mini middleman like Cambridge Audio's DacMagic XS. Either way, higher quality comes at the expense of increased pocket bulk. The folks at Hong Kong-based Zorloo claim that they've managed to shrink down a digital-to-analog converter, headphone amp and control board to dimensions small enough for integration into the inline playback/volume controller of the company's upcoming Z:ero earphones. Read More
As you might expect, Bang & Olufsen's take on the one-stop-shop wireless music system for the living room is both stylish and expensive. The two part BeoSound Moment system comprises a hub that's compatible with B&O's entire range of wired and wireless speakers, including those boasting the company's Immaculate Wireless Sound technology, and a tablet-like wireless touch interface. When used together, they integrate digital music collections and streaming services into one unit that can match tunes to a listener's mood. Read More