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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.

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DacMagic – Added the power, what about the glory?

The 225VA transformer has been terminated with a suitable mains lead and power in plug for the Cambridge.  It”s been plugged in and blown a one and a two amp fuse with its switch on surge so it’s running with a 3amp fuse.

This by the way is not the way to do something for long-term use.  This is just as a quick test to see if it’s worth experimenting further and if the results are good the tranny will be mounted in a decent case suitably fused. This is not the type of experiment I suggest for anyone outside of a lab.  The mains is dangerous.

The listening results today are different to those at Malcolm’s last evening.  There it was pretty conclusive that the new supply confused the balance and lost some integration. It wasn’t bad at all, just not quite as well balanced as the original supply.  Shows that Cambridge put some time and effort into the whole package.

Today and in my system the results aren’t quite so clear cut.  There are elements of the same as last night but at the same time the system with the experimental tranny has more drive, is a bit more dramatic on the dynamics front and makes my foot tap more.

It’s really very track dependant: a couple of Paul Simon tracks definitely favoured the larger supply, a Springsteen just showed off the slight forwardness the supply delivered and sounded harsh. Another Springsteen – I’m on Fire – worked.

Would I recommend trying a supply if it were available on some try before buy deal – yes – but only if it were a no strings try before buy deal.  I’m sure that with the, very justified, success of the Cambridge DacMagic there will quite a few companies offering upgrade power supplies.

Finally it might be worth noting that the cost of the transformer delivered was around £35 so it might easily be a £100++ power supply if sold online and all neatly packaged.  Quite a investment for a budget DAC even if it’s a great budget DAC.

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Naim launches NaimUniti

On demonstration for the first time at the Bristol Sound and Vision show February 20-22, and on sale from April 2009, the NaimUniti – the more music box – will deliver the customary Naim sound quality and emotional connection to music to a new generation of customers as well as existing ones.
Naim developed the NaimUniti – never to be called Uniti – in recognition of a growing demand for integrated solutions. Sophisticated consumers are becoming used to converging audio sources but can be reluctant to compromise on quality. Now they don’t have to.

NaimUniti

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Cambridge Audio Dacmagic

I’ve had a the new Cambridge Audio Dacmagic for maybe a couple of months now and its not disappointed.  For two hundred pounds it’s fabulous value.

I started off running it in and using it connected via a Chord Prodac Prodigital coax cable from my Squeezebox 3.  It’s a great match for the SB3, delivering increased clarity and drive over the SB3’s line out. Sort of seems in the right price range for an upgrade to the SB3 as well.

Next was connecting it via USB to my HP Note 2133 to play internet radio.  Using Radio Paradise’s 128AAC stream as the primary source – a great souce of quality music with great sound – it sounded flat and boring.  What was surprising was just how easily it connected and Win XP recognised it straight away.  Really plug and play.

Adding a M-Audio Transit sound card connected via USB and then feeding the output from the Transit via a Chord Optichord optical cable into the Cambridge changed the sound quality completely: dynamics returned, life and energy returned and music was fun to listen to again. Internet radio can sound surprisingly good.

I do have an even better internet radio player but I’m not free to talk about that yet.

Two or more things to try with the Dacmagic yet: a larger power transformer and changing to ASIO drivers as these are supported by the Transit. Might even try the three filters sometime.  I reckon that there is loads more to get out of it if only I had enough time to experiment.

More on these another day.

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Funk LP12 Vector Link

All the kit of parts of my new Funk Vector Link arrived on Friday. Fit and finish look good.

Reading through the installation instructions it appears that there is a good deal of work to do in fitting it. Not being a LP12 guru I have asked a friend who is to assist with the setup.

I’m expecting to carry out the rebuild on Friday so I should have a working fully Funked LP12 by Saturday. Experience, of three people that I know that have fitted the kit, is that the resulting sound is seriously bright for a few days they it settles down to sound amazingly good.

From what I’ve heard at my friends, it works on a hi-fi level: the bass is very tight, the mid open and the top end is clear but refined. Far more importantly it works on a musical performance level.

More on the Funked LP12 Vector Link in about 10 days.

Funk Firm

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Naim Classical adds Hi-res recordings

The Naim Classical label, a division of The Naim Label has just launched two CD/Data DVD Multipacks including 24 Bit 88.2kHz copies of the original masters.

More info and images

www.thenaimlabel.com

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FIP Radio

Can’t take any credit for finding this station as it was a suggestion from Paul Messenger.
FIP is a somewhat idiosyncratic radio station also available on the interweb. Only 128kbs mp3 but it doesn’t sound too bad at all.

Good music without too much talking and not that distracting for me anyway, as I don’t understand French

www.radiofrance.fr

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Chord launches Indigo Plus

The Chord Company has launched a improved version of its Indigo Cable called Indigo Plus.

Click on the Chord Tab above for Images

This cable is a significant improvement over Indigo. Existing owners can talk to Chord or their Chord retailer from March onward about getting their cables upgraded.