Tidal is here. A review from ToneAudio.

I've been using Tidal's new high-resolution music streaming service. It sounds so much better than Beats, Spotify and Pandora!  Here is a review of their service from our friends at ToneAudio. ToneAudio publishes a free online audio review magazine which you can receive free to your inbox each month. www.tonepublications.com. They also review music, wine, high-end cars and more cool stuff.  The review:

A First Look At Tidal’s Music Streaming Service

A First Look At Tidals Music Streaming Service

Along with all the wacky things that happened in the world today, TidalHiFi launched their music streaming service.  So the quote goes, “who needs another rock and roll band,” and it might be said with equal weight, “who needs another music streaming service?”

But we do.

Unlike all the other streaming services, Tidal is serving up their music at 16/44.1 resolution.  For those not so techie, this is pure CD quality resolution, not the dumbed down mp3 files that everyone else is offering.  And the difference to anyone that cares is huge. Yes, yes, I love analog and my vinyl, but I’m totally tired with the thought of moving 12,000 CDs and 6,500 albums this May when Pamela and I move into Portland’s Pearl district and an 800 square foot apartment.  Millions of tracks, served up on my iPod, through the digital output to my dCS DAC?  Sign me up.

I love music, that’s the reason I bought my first decent stereo system in the first place when I was about 17 years old.  38 years later my enthusiasm hasn’t waned, but lugging around physical media has.  If you had been sitting next to me in high school (like our web editor, Ellen Green was) and whispered in my ear, saying “dude, someday you’ll have 20,000 albums,” I would have never believed you.  But it’s 2014 and I do.

If you’re the rabid music collector that has ten or twenty pressings of everything, the idea of streaming CD quality music probably doesn’t sound like anything that impressive.  But if like me, you’re a music lover, who even after purchasing almost 20,000 albums, cringes when the person behind the counter at the music store says, “find everything you need?” This is your lucky day.  Of course I found everything I fucking needed, I just couldn’t afford to bring 1,500 albums home today.  Duh.

Even with todays music servers, you still have to rip all those darn CD’s that you no longer want and then, depending on the size of your music collection, you might just have to become a part time IT guy as well.  Who needs it?  Not me.  The Tidal service sets you free and allows you to discover and enjoy music without any of the headaches.

So, how does it work?

Unlike the logjam that is Spotify, you’ll be up and listening to music in about 90 seconds with Tidal.  Give em a user ID, password and credit card number.  Download the app – bingo!

Like most other systems, there is an artist, album and track layout, with others favorites, etc etc. You can stream on your iPhone or iPad instantly through headphones, and if your phones are up to the task, you’ll immediately notice the increased fidelity that streaming 16/44 makes.  But we’ll argue about that more later.

Using my iPhone 5 as the physical streamer proved decent, but the larger screen of the iPhone 6+ definitely makes this all more readable for those of us 50 and over.  Interestingly, the Bluetooth connection between the Apple TV and the iPhone 6 makes for a much better musical interface, with a much bigger and more fleshed out sound, the 5 sounding like mp3 by comparison.  An hour into the demo, it’s getting a lot more interesting.  Yeah, they’ve got 12 Tommy Bolin albums in the queue.  Hmmm.  Keith Richards, check.  The new Annie Lennox album, double check.  No Tim Curry yet though, or the Beatles, but they expect to flesh the catalog out sooner rather than later. Do I really want to move all that vinyl in May?  I’m thinkin EBay.

How does it sound?

With so many audiophiles peeing themselves about DSD downloads, seriously, I could care less.  I’ve got a couple of great DAC’s in the house and for the most part, this vinyl lover can live happily every after with 16/44.  And who knows, maybe Tidal will start streaming high res files one of these days.  Until I know for sure, I’m not giving the guys at HD Tracks another penny, and neither should you.

While the sound quality via Bluetooth is excellent, hardwiring the connection from the iPhone, going via USB is much, much better. A quick listen of Laurie Anderson’s Home of the Brave instantly reveals how much more musical nuance is brought to the party – particularly in the upper registers.  Now, the Bluetooth connection sounds like early CD, with a bit of graniness. However, the Iphone does not use the latest, greatest Bluetooth protocol, so there’s probably more performance to be had here.

Tidal does not mention what master is used for any of these tracks, but a side by side comparison of the Laurie Anderson stream from Tidal and the original CD reveals no discernable difference between sources, via the dCS Paganini stack.  So the rest of you should be ace.

The bad with the good

As awesome as all this is, there are still a few things to be addressed, but for a 1.0 release, Tidal is pulling all A’s.  First, they don’t have everything, so you can’t dump your whole music collection just yet.  But there is a lot to listen to, and I was truly amazed at the catalog depth they’ve pulled off out of the chute. Bluetooth playback is still slightly glitch, but it is with every other Bluetooth device I’ve used, so we’ll call this a neutral.

However, that’s about 3% neutral to bad, 97% awesome.  Sound quality when Bluetooth is on point is excellent, and hardwiring your iDevice to your DAC sounds as good as any transport or streamer.  Tidal is promising Sonos and other streamer compatibility in the near future, so you can count on this getting better too.

The ability to make and save favorites and playlists is also quite good, but being wishful, if Meridan licensed the Sooloos interface to Tidal, the combination would be untouchable.

All nitpicking aside, Tidal offers a way to ditch all or most of your physical media, and have the music you love whenever and wherever you want it, all for $20 a month.  If this isn’t worth an Exceptional Value Award for 2014, I don’t know what is.  I can’t think of a better way to enjoy music!  Now you can be the guy with the major music collection without lugging all those boxes of albums around.  And, they are streaming music videos too…



Neil Young, Pono Music and Paradigm Prestige loudspeakers

Neil Young Chooses Paradigm Prestige For Pono Demos

Pono's Kickstarter campaign launched seeking to raise $800,000. In less than a day, Pono had already surpassed it's goal, and was closing in on $900,000. As a reward for campaign participants, Neil is hosting special dinner & demo events in major cities across the USA demonstrating Pono's 24/192 streaming capability. 
To maximize the Pono Demonstration Neil has chosen Paradigm Prestige series as the loudspeakers for his Pono demonstrations. The Paradigm Prestige series is completely designed and crafted in the Paradigm Canadian facility. 

We are happy to offer Paradigm's new performance series of Prestige loudspeakers beginning in mid to late November.


Sonos & Hear More Music team up to provide a BOOST!

The Sonos BOOST available at Hear More Music.

Unparalleled wireless reliability or create a Sonos Home Theater setup

  • No skips, delays or drops – even in homes with wireless problems
  • Comparable broadcast strength to expensive enterprise-grade routers
  • Offers complete, 360-degree signals through walls and ceilings
  • Neutralizes network interference from other wireless devices
  • Also works to wirelessly connect the Sonos PLAYBAR with SUB and rear speakers for surround sound
  • Add additional BOOST modules around the home for increased coverage
  • Can replace the Sonos Bridge in homes with connectivity issues
  • Available only through Sonos custom integrators such as us --->  Hear More Music in Rockford, IL.


Limited Time: Free Paradigm Center Channel Home Theater Speaker

As northern Illinois' authorized Paradigm loudspeaker dealer we are happy to announce this special Paradigm promotion.  Get a free Center channel speaker with the purchase of either the Monitor 7, Monitor 9 or Monitor 11 loudspeakers.  Give us a call or email if you would like product information and to place your order.  Office number is 815.877.6832. Email is hearmoremusic@gmail.com.  Thank you!

* Limited to Monitor Series 7 speakers depicted in these offers and in the Heritage Cherry finish only. US Only.

BUY A PAIR of Monitor 7, 9 or 11's and get the matching center channel FREE!

BUY A PAIR of Monitor 7, GET a Center 1 FREE!

BUY A PAIR of Monitor 9, GET a Center 3 FREE!

BUY A PAIR of Monitor 11, GET a Center 3 FREE!

* Limited to Monitor Series 7 speakers depicted in these offers and in the Heritage Cherry finish only.

BUY TWO Monitor Center 3's and get A THIRD ONE FREE! 

Perfect as a trio under a screen or in a low cabinet with a large flat panel on top, buy two Monitor Center 3 speakers and get a third one for FREE!

* Limited to Monitor Series 7 speakers depicted in these offers and in the Heritage Cherry finish only.


Rockford Register Star's 'What Rocks?' survey- Vote for us!

We'd appreciate your help and your vote!  Now through September 14 voting is open for the annual 'What Rocks?' survey by Rockford Register Star.  Please cast your write-in vote for us under the Goods and Services category.  You can vote each day thru 9/14 so as they say in Chicago...vote early and vote often!  http://rrstar.secondstreetapp.com/l/Rockford-Register-Stars-What-Rocks-Readers-Choice-2014/Ballot/GoodsandServices?refresh=true

Thank you!


Tone Audio Issue 65

Another great issue is now available. Open the pdf and enjoy on the go.  Check out the review too of the Peachtree Audio stereo amplifier. Need a high-end amplifier for your home system?  Consider Peachtree Audio- call or email me if you have questions. Happy Labor Day!


Beo Play online blog

Back in my retail days I worked for two local audio/video retailers...Appletree Stereo and Columbia A/V.  We were lucky enough to be Bang & Olufsen dealers.  I always enjoyed their sleek and modern design and their electronics had very good sound quality.  I just came upon their company blog and thought I would pass it along to you.  Enjoy.



Remote control apps for Anthem's new MRX A/V receivers

The highly anticipated Anthem MRX Control App for iOS and Android is now available for free download on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Anthem's newest 310, 510 and 710 audio/video home theater receivers are for people who want the best audio performance and doesn't offer all the useless features of most other poor sounding A/V receivers. In general I don't like A/V receivers, they have to many useless features and buttons, 'surround modes' and just sound BAD.  Anthem is opposite- quality sound is their first priority. If you are interested in a quality sound sound system, please give us a call or send an email.


Sonos SUB in matte finish discontinued- get one while you can

SONOS BLACK MATTE SUB DISCONTINUED (but the glossy one continues!)

Want some matte-black BOOM in your Sonos system. You'd better hurry.  Sonos has decided to discontinue the SUB subwoofer in a Black Matte finish.  The black gloss SUB is not affected and hopefully will have improved availability.

As demand for SONOS SUB continues to grow they have decided to consolidate production to one finish rather than continue to produce two. Makes sense but to bad because the matte finish is super sweet. We'll be sorry to see it go.

Black matte SUB will be available while supplies last. We have a few in stock at this time. If you want one you should contact us asap.

And if you don't yet own a Sonos SUB subwoofer you are missing half of the music.  Not only does it add low and musical bass but adding the SUB allows your main speakers to concentrate on only the midrange and treble frequencies, improving the overall sound and musical detail.  SUB is compatible with any Sonos amplified component.  Have questions? Give us a call or email.