Category Archives: Music

Music Discovery in the 21st Century

Are streaming services evil? For some. For others, they are the gateway to new artists, concerts, and record purchases. Audiophiles that have made the leap are in this latter camp. There’s more to life than the next Beatles reissue. Read on to learn how Roon, Qobuz, and Tidal combine synergisticly to promote artists and music. Roon 1.6 Radio is the secret.

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Home Networks for Streaming Audio

I’ve not written on audio and networking in a while but over the holiday I read Jason Stoddard’s Schiit Happens about his return to the high fidelity equipment industry as co-founder of Schiit, a maker of personal audio and value oriented high end audio. I found the book after I had ordered my Schiit Gungnir Multi-bit DAC. Over the break I had also watched a video in which Mike and Jason (the founders) talked about how Schiit came to be and this, that, and the other thing. They are toying with the notion of offering a new product which Mike kept calling Schiit Pi. This got me thinking I should write about my streaming environment again as I had improved it significantly in 2018.

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Roon and Tidal

About a year ago I installed Roon Audio and began using it without Tidal. In my original configuration, Roon Audio ran in a VM hosted by my FreeNAS storage server. It delivered audio to either an Apple TV or a Google Chromecast Audio. Both were connected to a Cambridge DACmagic converter by TOSlink. For the first year I passed on the Tidal subscription, assuming that it, like Apple and Amazon streaming, sounded horrid. Then I got curious.

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New Music

It’s been a busy winter music wise. After watching Arron Embry, Ryan Keen, and some others, You Tube pitched Shaun Kirk and Kim Churchill who popped up in My Playing for Change subscription. I found Arron Embry at work listening to the clip linked above. Ryan Keen is courtesy of the London iTunes festival app. Apple produces this gig each summer and offers each set for streaming. Often, the opening acts are rising stars getting their first big event exposure. iTunes Festival is the UK equivalent of the Newport Folk Festival but it is not restricted to folk. Every genre of small ensemble music, jazz, classical, pop, singer songwriter, is there is some measure.

And over on the Jazz side, another serendipitous You Tube find, young Beka Gochiashvili, a Georgian teenager who has attracted the attention of the likes of Chick Corea, Bryan Blade, Lenny White and others. Beka is a force of nature. At 16 he picks up a lick by ear and makes it his own, playing in paragraphs. He’s quick but, more important, he can think on his feet taking a musical idea and making it his own. He’s studying at Juliard to get his theory, composition, and business skills. If you poke around on the Tube, you can find his recital videos from his trio lab. He’s one of those rare people who have the technique, something to say, and the arranging and leader skills to pull it together an make music that is more than the sum of its parts.

One of the miracles of the digital age is that folk’s formative years are being recorded and published. All of these guys are great and they’re all self produced. Well Lenny White produced Beka’s record (iTunes). Wonderful things are happening, none of them at a major label. ┬áBeka’s Trio Recital is something else. Here are these three teenagers playing their hearts out trying to keep a properly professional face for their professors. Don’t let ’em steal your groove face, Beka.