21st-century classical music - Wikipedia

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I've recently constructed a system, based on my Dell Windows PC, for recording, notating, and playing back musical composition. It consists of the Coda Technologies Finale 2002 music-notation software, the Lynx Studio One soundcard, the Roland SC-8850 Sound Canvas MIDI synthesizer, a Fatar Studiologic SL-161 MIDI keyboard controller, a Creek 4240SE integrated amplifier, the Polk RT25i loudspeaker that I reviewed in September 2001, MITerminator 5 interconnects, and MITerminator 2 speaker cables. My goal was to maximize my computers capability, flexibility, ease of use, and sound quality. My first project was a three-movement classical piece for acoustic fretless bass guitar and piano, which I'm writing for John Atkinson and me to perform at Home Entertainment 2002 in New York City.

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Now that I've covered the basics it's time to get to the music, i.e. how the PS-500 sounds with actual music tracks. Most of my music tracks are 320k CBR MP3's, which are the highest quality MP3's that are generally available. I have a couple hundred FLAC tracks which are uncompressed digital music, but the difference between those and 320k MP3's is very subtle, and normally only expert listeners can tell the differences. I also have a few hundred CD-quality or lower MP3's, which for most of those tracks is all that's available and I'm lucky to have them, so while I enjoy listening to those to whatever extent is possible, I don't use them for evaluating sound quality in a headphone review.

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The Christmas Album3 (95)
The Christmas Album4 (99)
Absolutely The Best (01, Compilation)
Emerson Plays Emerson (02)
La Chiesa (02, Soundtrack)
At The Movies (05, Compilation)
Hammer It Out: The Anthology (05, Compilation)
Off The Shelf (06, To be released mid-April)
Iron Man (TV) (?)
Murderock (?)
With :
The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (67)
Ars Longa Vita Brevis (68)
Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It (69)
Nice (69)
Five Bridges (70)
Elegy (71, Live)
Vivacitas: Live at Glasgow 2002 (03, Live 3CD [2 music, 1 interview])

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For starters, let's be clear that the iPod is a portable music player. While there is no reason not to use the iPod in a home music system, its' fundamental advantage is portability. So, Dave's interesting demo notwithstanding, it makes sense to evaluate the iPod first as a portable player. For this review, I primarily compared the iPod with a portable CD player and another hard disk player capable of storing compressed audio files.

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Now, I must confess something to you. I've been listening to the Grado PS-1000 headphones with an outstandingly clean and punchy 'phones amp, the KingRex HQ-1 (See the current issue's table of contents for my, and Bob Levi's, reviews.), and an old Marantz 8260 CD player. Every time I get a better headphone amp online I find out how good this ten (?) year old CD player has been all the while. And more than that, I find out how important good cabling is. The AC cord is a Wireworld "Silver Electra" model, fabricated from Silver-Clad, Ohno Continuous-Cast, six nines Oxygen-Free-Copper, second to the top of their line. And my interconnect cables between my CD player and the KingRex HQ-1 are a pair of Wireworld's "silver eclipse" model with the same metals in the same configuration. Together they are excellent, nearly unbelievable, at retrieval of details, or low-level information down in the mix. For example, today, listening to the London SACD hybrid recording of Puccini's La Boheme, (Gheorghiu, Alagna, Chailly), I heard a detail I had never caught before. During the "love music" in the first act (section 9; 3:15 in), when Gheorghiu goes up to hit some high notes, a piccolo goes up with her, a fifth (or an octave?) higher. I think I had always heard that as a distortion, or a resonant filling in the soprano's molar that I was unable to do anything about. Today, I realized I had never before heard it through quality gear equal to that described above, and as clearly identifiable as a piccolo. That's not to say you have to go out and spend more of your hard earned cash on cables, immediately. Though it would make me feel secure if the critic I trusted reported, nay, swore he could hear that separation even when the soprano is singing with all her might, the orchestra is at full cry, and most of all, when the piccolo is in sync with the soprano—the guy swears he can hear the piccolo clearly doubling with her the first time through (but not during the repeat, soon after). This is not a trivial thing. The first time the soprano goes up it has the shrill piccolo overtones that make her seem desperate, while without the piccolo she sounds tender, and
loving (not to put too fine a point on it).