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Google Play Music Timeline

This really interesting chart shows popularity of music genres over time.  This is the explanation from Google

The Music Timeline shows genres of music waxing and waning, based on how many Google Play Music users have an artist or album in their music library, and other data (such as album release dates).

Interactive version

More information

Google Play Music Timeline

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Naim Label releases first Super Hi Definition download

Naim Label releases Meet Me In London – the label’s most successful recording – as a 24bit/192kHz download.

An early downloader can win a Naim ND5 XS network player

Some 14 years after the original recording was released as a Naim Label CD, Meet Me In London by world-renowned guitarist Antonio Forcione and sublime singer Sabina Sciubba is being reborn, but this time as a super hi definition download.

More information and images

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Multi-award-winning Naim HDX gets SLC SSD

May 6 2010 High-End Show, MOC, Munich. Naim confirms, in an aggregate of abbreviations, that the multi-award-winning Naim HDX is to be offered with a 16GB Enterprise grade, Single Level Cell (SLC), Solid State Drive (SSD). This totally silent drive will contain the operating system and includes space for future upgrades. This and the performance upgrades are an upgrade option for existing HDX owners.

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The Beatles Remasters

I have copies of the original The Beatles CDs from when they came out in around 1987, as the EMI press office kindly supplied them. I’ve never been a huge Beatles fan so, other than the first plays when I reviewed them back then, they have sat on my shelves unplayed.

With the massive amount of publicity (some would say hype) surrounding the new remastered Beatles CDs I thought it was time to dig out the old ones  and compare them to a couple of the new editions.

I chose Revolver, my wife’s favourite and The White Album, the one that I dislike least.  You will notice below the comparisons of the dynamics of two tracks.

Top two images: Yellow Submarine, Original and Remastered
Bottom two images: Back in the U.S.S.R., original and remastered
Click on an image to open a larger version

As you can see there has been some work done.  From what I’ve read they have talked about limiting to bring things up to date.  From what I can see and what I can hear they have cleaned up the sound , firmed up the bottom end considerably and added a degree of compression that is unfortunately almost essential for any modern release.  Compared to say the last Metallica released this is absolutely sonically fantastic dynamics wise.  Compared to the originals, somehow while they have more presence and more punch they also sound a touch too loud in places. The vocals in Back in the U.S.S.R. just shout.  Pity.

I know I’m biased, as I’m not a Beatles fan, but would I buy these new CDs for pleasure? No.  Will I listen to any again in the next few weeks? Yes. However, as I’ve just learn’t that the new Prefab Sprout album is in the post the answer may now be No.

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What is that music playing please?

It’s somewhat unfair to name check  Magico over this irritant at the Munich High End Show but theirs was the room that irritated me the most.

Why? Because they were playing some choral music that sounded fabulous, excepting a bit of room boom, and I wanted to find out what the music was.

I’m sure I’m not alone in being interested in finding new music.  The trend to music servers or music from laptops or memory sticks is great for the ease of the companies doing the demos, but there is a really strong tendency to hide what is playing.

In the case of the Magico demo the problem was exacerbated by the demo maestro being in the corner furthest from the entrance and the room was absolutely full.

It would have been to intrusive to cross the room in front of the audience so I asked the rest of the staff in the display area of the room.  Maybe too many people had asked, maybe it was a bad day.  Whatever, I left the room feeling irritated and still without the name of the track.

Totally unfair on Magico: had they been running a bad demo or using uninteresting music then I wouldn’t have commented.

So a plea to companies running demos at hi-fi shows: besides good systems, good choice of music and pleasant atmospheres can you please just make it easy for us music fans to find out what you are playing.

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Naim XS Series

Naim Audio the UK’s leading manufacturer of high-end hi-fi products announced today the launch of the new XS Series. The XS series is the first slim-line series to carry a brushed anodised black fascia.  The new fascia signifies that the XS series is a step up from the i series.

More information here

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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

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My sentiments entirely

Very interested to read on Amarra’s website and I paraphrase ‘it’s easy to make music sound good on a computer but hard to make it sound fabulous’.  I think they have been listening to my conversations.

Next week I’m in Munich for the High End show and by coincidence will be sharing a booth (or to be more exact one of my clients Thorens is sharing a booth) themed Sources of the Future – as it’s vinyl and streaming – with Higoto who are Germany’s streaming experts.

The demos will be of Thoren’s new Tri-Balance turntable, the Logitech Transporter and a Macbook running iTunes with the Amarra software into a Weiss DAC.

Should be very interesting.  It’ll bring out all the digits is digits posts again, especially as Amarra is around $1500.  That means the price of Mac Book Pro , Amarra and DAC will be around £5-6k.  Cheaper than my CD player. But will it deliver as much?

Will it be fabulous hi-fi or fabulous music?