Audio News

Audio News for October 1, 2013

Did You Know There Are Many Lyrics Sites?; Sony Puts Premium on New Hi-Res Digital Walkman Devices; Look Out for Play-Fi; James Levine Returns to Shine at Met Opera

Published on October 1, 2013

Did You Know There Are Many Lyrics Sites? – There are over 70 lyrics sites, and that doesn’t include lyrics integrated into other services. One of the top sites leading the charge for licensed lyrics is LyricFind, which has licenses with over 3000 music publishers, web sites and music services around the world.  They generate millions of dollars every year for music publishers for lyrics use, and it’s growing each year. There have been two high profile lawsuits against lyric sites: namely, LyricWiki and LiveUniverse, but both sites are now shuttered and the domains seized.

Sony Puts Premium on New Hi-Res Digital Walkman Devices – [But just in Japan so far.]  For those who prefer Walkman hardware to Sony’s app, they have three models at from $273 to $405 in Japan, which use Android 4.1 and feature 192K/24-bit audio playback of AIFF, WAV, FLAC or ALAC. The size options are 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. They also have access to Google Play and can games as well as other apps. They are said to last thru 77 hours of music playback. One model with 16GB of space is only $182, and there’s also an update to Sony’s waterproof in-ear Bluetooth headphones. (So THERE! Astell&Kern and Pono…)

Look Out for Play-Fi – Present systems for whole-house wireless audio—such as Sonos and AirPlay— tend to be expensive and proprietary as well as lacking some high-end audio points. The Play-Fi standard, which is backed by DTS, is trying to fill that niche. Play-Fi is a multi-device standard controlling playback on various speakers in the home. It is a combination of a PC, Android or iOS controller, a server (which uses DLNA or other web services) and speakers or receivers. Dannie Lau formed Phorus, based on Play-Fi, to design a multiroom system that worked like a Sonos setup but without the price or bandwidth limitations. It is capable of streaming at a much higher quality than Bluetooth, by using one’s Wi-Fi network. CES in 2014 should have a number of different Play-Fi devices to show.

The technology doesn’t rely on a proprietary mesh network like Sonos and isn’t limited to control of only one speaker. It uses a peer-to-peer type system so that all players take a part of the load. While Play-Fi is so far limited in its streaming services to Pandora, more will be added soon. The competitors currently support many various services.  File support is so far limited to CD quality but support for hi-res is in the works. Phorus players support Bluetooth and soon will support Apple AirPlay. They also have the ability to switch between three different connectivity options. The Phorus devices are about half the price of the Sonos devices. Play-Fi is manufacturer-agnostic; customers can mix and match component from different manufacturers. If they can add hi-res and apps like Spotify, Play-Fi might be a most worthy replacement soon.

James Levine Returns to Shine at Met Opera -  Levine, 70, had been absent from the opera house for two seasons because injury and illness; some some doubted he would ever reappear, but he led his beloved musicians like a man rejuvenated when he returned to the house he has called home for over 40 years. He conducted a sizzling performance of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte on September 24th. He used a 6X6-ft. mechanical podium to hoist his wheelchair up about three feet. The interior can rotate 180 degrees, allowing him to turn to face the audience.




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