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24/96

Naim updates award-winning NaimUniti to Hi-res

Naim Audio today confirmed that they have released a significant update for the award-winning NaimUniti. The key upgrade is the support for 24Bit/96kHz (and 24/88.2) playback of .wav and .flac files including fixed point 24 and 32bit files as well as 32bit floating point variants.

The update will be distributed to Naim retailers by a download this week. All the NaimUniti units shipped in February have included the latest code. This shows as Version 2.00.00 when checking the NaimUniti status screen.

More information and images

Naim Label – A new website, a new name and a new URL

The new Naim Label website supports downloads from 320kbs MP3s to 24Bit 96kHz wav and FLAC. Sign up and if you are in the UK you can download a free track from the Naim Label’s new signing William Fitzsimmons. Licensing restricts the download to the UK only.

Naim Label information

Enthusiasm, Over Selling or Spam?

Mid April I bought a few downloaded tracks from Blue Coast Records. They were hi-res recordings and not too bad at all.
Since then the guys at Blue Coast have not left me alone. Every few days I get another email trying to flog me some more.
Am I alone in thinking that this is Spamming me? One email a month trying to sell me some new stuff would be absolutely fine and in fact I might do exactly that and buy some more. But all these emails are just a PITA and I’ve sent the please unsubscribe email.

No more business for them from me.

Another DacMagic power supply trial

Decided to use Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, but slightly more unusually, the DVD-A rip so the source is 24/96. Unlike quite a few DVD-As, this one appears to have some content above 22k. Amazing though, that given the total available dynamic range they still needed to ‘clip’ the recording.  Still sounds rather good though.
To start I compared the standard power supply with the Maplin L54BR.  Pleasant surprise, the Maplin delivers a subtlety of delivery that doesn’t emphasise any particular instruments. The original PS, in comparison, seems to make the bass line and the hi-hat a little more obvious in the mix of Dreams and decreases the importance of Stevie Nick’s voice.

Using track 7 , The Chain, showed the original as having a slightly ‘sharper’ delivery, more detail perhaps but certainly less music. The main difference was in the low end but this changed the overall presentation. The Maplin just delivered more music but in a controlled and balanced manner.

I then dug out the 500VA transformer I’d tried before – now in an aluminium box and with a ferrite on the output – in common with the original Dacmagic’s supply.  This PS delivered more power to the presentation, more extension apparently  but was slightly slower. It had better separation of instruments, but not really more music.

The more comparisons of power supplies I do with the Dacmagic the more impressed I am of the overall balance of the design.

I will carry on using the Maplin PS.  It is easier to hide away, as it isn’t a walwart, and more importantly it improves the performance making it just that little more balanced and even handed.

The music playback system was a HP2133 netbook running Foobar and ASIO drivers connected by USB2 to a M-Audio Transit sound card which was connected with a  Chord Optichord to the Cambridge.

Wolfgang’s Vault

This site should truly sort the music lover from the hi-fi lover.  Register for free on www.wolfgangsvault.com and listen to a choice of a huge amount of live recordings of great bands from years ago.  So far I’ve listened to Elton John, Black Sabbath, Little Feat and  Grateful Dead.  There’s enough music to keep me listening for weeks.

Sound quality is generally rather good.  Good in a bandwidth limited, obviously live but solid sort of way, but one recording did sound as if it was made of a fluttery cassette.

I played it back from my HP2133 into a M-Audio Transit into my Behringer SRC2496 upsampling to 24/88 all feeding my Naim system.  Maybe a bit OTT but well worth the effort.

Thanks to John Atkinson, editor of Stereophile mag for bring this superb resource to my attention

Highly recommended

Hot Tuna Hi-res audio download

This could be the start of an expensive time.

Having found and downloaded FestivaLink presents Hot Tuna at MerleFest 4/28/06 and Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss both in 24/96 from www.hdtracks.com I started to look around for more Hot Tuna live material. I found www.hottunatunes.com. While the downloads on hotunatunes are only available as mp3 or CD res Flacs there are hundreds to choose from. This could get very expensive.

The Hot Tuna hi-res download Hot Tuna at Merlefest is hi-res of sorts. Looking at its frequency content it looks suspiciously like an upsampled 44.1 or at best 48k DAT recording. Sounds rather good though. My first download from the HT site doesn’t sound as good but the music is just wonderful.  Jefferson Airplane was (is) one of my favourite bands and HT may be currently running close behind.  These guys may not be the springiest of chickens but they can sure play.  My first paid for download also came with a free older gig recording in 128MP3.  Sounds rather inadequate in comparison but totally worth a listen they are obviously on a roll that night.

The hi-res Raising Sand is quite different from the CD rip.  It definitely sounds as if it has a higher bandwidth: it sounds smoother, more detailed and just more classy but it doesn’t have the punch or the impact of the lower res CD rip.