Next Wave Audio

An overview to enable novices and shy audiophiles alike to move ahead with hi-resolution music playback.


Have you heard of Pono? It’s the soon-to-be-released, portable high-resolution music player from rock legend Neil Young, and it’s one of many “hi-res” players that are all the buzz. Some months back, the media was flooded with reports of Pono’s Kickstarter campaign, which raised an unprecedented $6.2 million dollars from supporters. That’s a lot of money from people whose enthusiasm for better quality playback via high-resolution sound has led them to endorse Young’s efforts to “rescue an art form” from the throes of sonically degraded MP3s and the limitations of red book CD sound.

You may think that Pono, LH Labs’ forthcoming Geek Wave, and the portable high-resolution players currently available from Astell&Kern are relevant only to young, headphone-toting, pop music diehards. They’re not. Rather, Pono and crew are the market response to demand for higher quality audio at affordable prices. <snip>

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 Jason Comments Off

THE Show in Newport – Jason’s Blog


Friday morning, May 30, was Day One of T.H.E Show Newport Beach. With the opening bell struck, as it were, by a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the lobby of the Hilton that I miss due to a very slow kitchen at the adjacent Atrium hotel, I dash from hotel to hotel to discover, instead of a frayed red Mylar ribbon or a row of hot, class-A amplifiers, a line of audio hot-rodded classic and contemporary cars….
60 reports later:
The show is over and here’s Kurt Hopke of the San Diego Audio & Music Guild helping his friends at Audio Revelation pack up their gear. As I made my way back to the Atrium Hotel where superb musician William Artope Jr. was wishing us all adieu, I was already reflecting on the fact that, as Stereophile‘s sole reporter at the show, I had no choice but to arbitrarily skip a bunch of rooms, some of which, to my deep regret, premiered new equipment. My apologies to everyone whose accomplishments I passed over.
I was also reflecting on the past, present, and future of T.H.E. Show Newport Beach….


Sunday, June 8th, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Audiophile Music Reviews and Stories

(This is what will occupy all my time for the next 7 or 8 days)
No sooner has the Munich Show ended than T.H.E. Show Newport Beach is set to commence. Running from May 30 through June 1 in the Hilton/Atrium hotel complex that lies directly across the street from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, Southern California’s installment of T.H.E. Show promises well over 300 exhibitors in 180 active sound rooms, 40–45 additional headphone exhibits scattered over two Headphoniums and other locations, and at least 15 vendor booths crammed with goodies galore. <snip>
Wilson Audio Specialties’ Sasha Series 2 loudspeaker ($29,500/pair), which began shipping in March, celebrated its formal California debut on Saturday, May 24, at Music Lovers Audio in San Francisco. Handsomely accompanied by recording engineer Peter McGrath (above), Wilson’s Director of Sales for North America, and Rich Maez of Boulder Amplifiers, whose electronics joined a dCS front end and cabling from Shunyata, Transparent, and Synergistic Research, the Sasha Series 2, aka Sasha 2, more than lived up to its promise in a less-than-ideal room whose set-up included Synergistic Research’s HFTs and FEQ and Grand Prix Audio’s Monaco equipment racks.<snip>
Resplendent in impeccably tailored designer tails, complete with sequined lapels, white-maned, buffed Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky proudly strode onto the stage of Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday evening. Appearing as part of San Francisco Symphony’s Great Performer Series, the 51-year-old artist smiled graciously through prolonged applause before demonstrating what too many years of singing heavy Verdian roles can do to an essentially lyric voice. <snip>

West Bay Opera brings its season to a triumphal close with a production of Mozart’s Magic Flute, which showcases what a company on a tight budget can achieve. <snip>


Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Montreal Show


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Such is the story of the Montreal Audio Show akaSalon Son et Image (SSI), which takes place this coming weekend, March 28–30. The Chester Group may be sponsoring the show for the first time, and longtime show organizer Michel Plante may have ceded the reins to his partner/wife, Sarah Tremblay, but both the location (the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel) and the show structure are pretty much the same.

Tremblay expects about 80 exhibitors—the same as last year—holding forth in 80–100 rooms. To please up to 7000 attendees, <snip>


Friday, March 28th, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Universal Music Group’s Blu-ray/Hi-Res Initiative


Part 1:
Thumbing their collective nose at pundits who predict the imminent demise of physical media, Universal Music Group has begun reissuing select back catalog and new releases in Pure Audio (audio only) Blu-Ray 24/96 and/or 24/96 download formats. The first of the classical titles appeared in February, with more rolling out all the time.

To get the skinny on UMG’s plans for Blu-ray and hi-res, I conducted two separate interviews with folks in the UK. The first, with Barry Holden, the extremely committed and highly articulate VP of Classical Catalogue at Universal Music, appears below. A second discussion with Joshua Phillips, High Fidelity Pure Audio Product Manager for UMG’s pop catalog, and Olivier Robert-Murphy of the Pure Audio Association, will follow <snip>

Part 2:


Universal Music Group (UMG) is currently fulfilling its promise to release hundreds of 24/96 High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-Ray (audio only) titles in 14 countries by the end of 2014. While many of these titles are from its rich back catalog, a few are new. These include, on the pop front, George Michael’s Symphonica, and for classical, one of my 2013 R2D4s, Jonas Kaufmann’s Wagner.

To fresh your memory, the data on Red Book CDs is limited to a sample rate of 44.1kHz—44,100 samples of data per second—and has a word length of 16 digital bits per sample. This yields a range of 65,536 possible values. UMG’s High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-rays, on the other hand, are sampled at 96kHz—96,000 samples of data per second—and have a word length of 24-bits per sample, which yields 16,777,216 possible values. Among the sonic benefits of this increase are richer tonality, truer timbres, increased air and depth, and a greater sense of “you are there” reality. Utilized at their full sonic potential, Blu-rays up CD’s dynamic limit of 96 decibels to 144dB. Not that anyone who values their hearing would want to listen to 144dB

One of UMG’s slogans for its 24/96 High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray initiative is “No compression • No video • No compromise.” While there’s more than a fair amount of hype behind the claim that listening to 24/96 material, whether on High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray or via uncompressed downloads, delivers music just as the artist intended it to be heard, there is no question that, with material originally recorded and mastered without compression in 24/96 digital format, that 24/96 has the potential to get you close to what the recording and mastering engineers heard on their studio monitors or through headphones.


Friday, March 28th, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Everest Records Rebirth


Over half a century after the creation of the prized Everest Records catalog, most of whose 78 classical titles were recorded between 1958 and 1961 on 35mm magnetic tape in three-channel stereo, 61 titles have now been remastered and released in multiple formats. In addition to physical CD and downloadable Mastered for iTunes versions, a still-expanding, luscious hi-res treasure trove of Everest titles may be downloaded from HDTracks’s Everest Records pages. All HDTracks titles, remastered from the master tapes in 24/192, are available in both 24/192 and 24/96 versions.Among the gems of the Everest catalog are the very first recording of Aaron Copland conducted of his own work, <snip>


Friday, March 7th, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Save The Stereo!

— Save The Stereo Project: News Report #1 —
MUST READ LINK: Save The Stereo Project Feedback200+ feedback comments have now been posted on SaveTheStereo.com.If you submitted feedback for Save The Stereo Project, it has been published in one of six pages in the Feedback section.  You will not believe the quality and quantity of feedback we have received.

400 Participants, 700 Facebook Fans, 6,300 Visits, and Counting!

We are very excited to announce some stunning participation numbers for Save The Stereo Project – especially considering the project is only eight weeks old.  Thank you!

Stereophile.com Article Brought 1,925 Visits to SaveTheStereo.com

Jason Victor Serinus’ February 16th Stereophile.com article, “You Really Can Help Save The Stereo” has sent 1,925 visits to SaveTheStereo.com.  Thank you Jason and the Stereophile team for supporting the project.


Save The Stereo Project will hold its first vote on starting Monday, March 17th.  You will be notified via email.

To keep up the momentum, please forward this email to your industry colleagues, music lovers, and audiophiles.  Ask them to check out SaveTheStereo.com, and complete the survey – today!

Thank You!

Thank you for your time and feedback for Save The Stereo Project.


Gordon White, Founder
Save The Stereo Project

Monday, March 3rd, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Genesis and Linn at Elite Audio Systems San Francisco


How often have you encountered someone reciting your obituary? That’s what happened when he of the living dead visited Michael Woods’ aesthetically sensational Elite Audio Systems showroom in San Francisco on February 22, only to discover Gary Leonard Koh, CEO of and chief designer for Genesis Advanced Technologies, declaring, “The days when people sat in one sole sweet spot listening to music are over.
Dismayed to learn that my purportedly dying breed has already died off, I perked up when Gary posited his imposing Genesis 2jr line-source loudspeakers ($85,000/pair) as being far more listener-friendly than Wilson Audio loudspeakers. And that was but one of two audacious statements uttered at Elite Audio Systems from the CEOs of Genesis and, six days later, Linn. <snip>

Jason Victor Serinus • http://www.jasonserinus.com
Music and audiophile critic, and Whistler Extraordinaire.
**The Voice of Woodstock • The Pavarotti of Pucker**
Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Jared Sacks: DSD Present and Future



Some months back, SACD and DSD champion Jared Sacks, founder of Channel Classics, stopped by Casa Bellecci-Serinus in Oakland for an extended chat about the history of his label, recording in DSD, and his new NativeDSD.com download site. I started our conversation by asking Jared to share his history with music and the industry with Stereophile:
Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Stereo is Evil

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, General, Humor, Jason, Video Comments Off

Bay Area Audiophiles Hear the DaVinci 384K DAC

Last Saturday, BAAS members were treated to a private sitting with the trend-setting DaVinci DAC.

Impressive in both design and specs, members noted in particular the impressive soundstage that the unit projected.

The music played, all hi-res except for the Montserrat Figueras tribute, was either classical or jazz: excerpts of Haydn and Beethoven string quartets, Mozart, Ole Bull’s very romantic violin, Paul Motian and Vince Guaraldi’s jazz, Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall’s period instrument Monteverdi, and, in the second session, Kumiko’s Steve Reich on marimba. A fine tribute to a pair of fallen artists.

Thanks again to Jason Victor Serinus for hosting. His fine room, system, and expert musical selections make auditions a treat.

And, of course, special thanks to Larry Ho and Light Harmonic for supplying this elegant piece of reproduction equipment. You can learn more here.


Monday, December 12th, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, Equipment, Events, Jason Comments Off

Spiral Groove Turntable Impresses Digital Audiophile(s)

BAAS membership reflects the current trends of audiophiles worldwide. As such, the majority (including myself) listen to digital these days. So it was interesting to see how our first “analog event” in several years would be received.

About 30 BAAS members gathered at Jason Victor Serinus’ home yesterday to listen to the latest in analog source technology, delivered by Allen Perkins of local manufacturer Spiral Groove (SG).

The system featured the following gear from SG:sg.jpg

  • Spiral Groove SG 2 Turntable ($15,000)
  • Spiral Groove SG Tonearm ($6,000)
  • Lyra Cartridge ($6,000)
  • Lehmann Audio Decade phono section ($2,400)
  • Spiral Groove preamplifier (projected $15,000)

An impressive array, to be sure!

I am quite familiar with Jason’s system and listening environment, at least for digital sources. Here are my impression of yesterday’s sights and sounds:

  • The SG gear is beautiful to look at, and even better to listen to. Furthermore, it’s practical. For example, it can be set up by one person in 30 minutes (!). Simple elegance.
  • All told, I listened to the system for five hours. I heard fewer than a dozen tics or pops. This is a new record for me <g>. Especially notable: not a single record was treated in any way during the event. No rituals – just load & play. (Sorta like a CD…) [One member told me that the sound was clean because only vintage older "virgin" vinyl was used.]
  • Allen’s description of the engineering design choices that guided him made a lot of sense to me.
  • The sound in the second session was a bit tighter than the first. (This is not unusual. I think it’s caused simply by the gear being more fully warmed up.)
  • Nordost Odin cables are the real deal. At one point we substituted the preamp’s power cable with a Odin. Wow.
  • For the first time in a very long while, I was thinking “…maybe I do need a turntable…”

We also conducted several listening tests on digital sources. These allowed us to compare several digital exemplars to state-of-the-art analog. I’ll say here that two things were apparent:

  • Analog rocks. There’s a reason why so many audiophiles are driven to turntables (see this article from today’s NYT). – they can sound great!
  • PS Audio’s(PSA’s) new “Perfect Wave” stack combines outstanding ease-of-use with media flexibility and great sonics. That’s a tough combo to beat! Very nice kit, especially for audiophiles wishing to get into high-resolution without going to a computer. (Digital sources that I consider “reference quality” generally have price tags beginning at 2X the PSA tariff.)
  • I preferred the sound of the Wavelength Wavelink USB audio interface to that of the the transport (many members agreed). I don’t think it yet matches the best in firewire converters, but it sounded quite detailed and transparent to me (especially on hires material).

Note that Jason’s description of the event – and activities leading up to it – can be found on the Home secrets Blog.

Sunday, December 6th, 2009 Analog, Audiophile, Bob, Equipment, Events, Jason 2 Comments
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