Saturday 22 July 2023

Qobuz now in Canada. Finally, Roon integration and a taste of lossless multichannel streaming. Thoughts on the future of audio streaming.

Finally after all these years. Despite bugging them at least since RMAF2019, it has taken ages but at last as of April 2023, Qobuz is now available here in Canada. As you can see, price in Canadian dollars is reasonable at CDN$10.83/month yearly subscription or $13/month if you prefer month-to-month. I see a 60-day trial here; there are 3-month trials out there as well so look around for one that might apply to you.

With competition these days, the price is in line with other services offering up to 24/192 lossless hi-res content; here are the current prices in Canada:

Amazon Music HD - CDN$10.99/m ($8.99/m Prime members)
Apple Music Individual - CDN$10.99/m
Spotify Premium Individual (lossy Ogg Vorbis) - CDN$9.99/m
TIDAL HiFi (16/44.1) - CDN$9.99/m
TIDAL HiFi Plus (MQA, likely FLAC hi-res transition in August) - CDN$19.99/m.

Saturday 15 July 2023

Pacific Audio Fest 2023: Part III - Final show musings... On sponsorships, seminars, unique listening opportunities (DSD256 vinyl sounds great ;-), and suggestions.

Collected promo materials, PAF2023.

Having published on the products seen at PAF2023 in Parts I and II, I thought it would be interesting to take some time to chat about other experiences from this show and parting observations.

These observations might apply at other audiophile shows as well.

Saturday 8 July 2023

Pacific Audio Fest 2023: Part II - Hotel wing audio rooms. A few words on sound quality, and emotional connectedness.


Let's continue exploring Pacific Audio Fest 2023 beyond the main ballroom and larger rooms from last time. As you're probably aware, audio shows take place in hotels with companies renting out rooms to show off their gear. At PAF2023, we have 4 hotel "wings" to explore located on the first, second, and thirteenth floors.

Mercifully, PAF2023 isn't a big show which allowed me to enter each room and have a listen over the leisurely 3 days (Friday to Sunday) that I was in Seattle. Let's go for a stroll and see what each room had to offer. While I don't think I missed any of the rooms, I'll only highlight the ones that seemed most interesting...

Saturday 1 July 2023

Pacific Audio Fest 2023: Part I - Ballrooms, marketplaces, and the larger rooms... Thoughts on vinyl / LP at "hi-fi" demos.

At the time of publication, it will have been a week since the Pacific Audio Fest 2023 (June 23-25). Compared to last year, they held it about a month earlier. As usual, I took a number of photos at the show and figured it would be fun to do some reporting on what was seen and heard, offering impressions from my notes and memories of the time in Seattle.

To start, let me remind everyone that while audio shows are fun, they are definitely not the best places to listen for sound quality. This is better done at a local dealer showroom you might be familiar with or best in the comfort of home. Typically at shows, we're treated with unfamiliar music. Even if the song is familiar, they might be playing from a streaming remaster or off an unfamiliar LP. Room acoustics vary widely, and attendees are typically shifting in and out, chatting during the visit while you're trying to appreciate the music.

Nonetheless, there is something to be said about the importance of that first impression for attendees of what we hear. In an age where much of our purchasing habits come from online sources and web-based transactions, being in the presence of these devices, and the impressions they leave us with, are powerful in directing whether we're likely going to explore the brand or specific device. As such, if companies are going to attend audio shows, it is very important that they do it right.