“With piles of snow in the back yard, ice storms rolling across the northern States, and a Christmas tree still gracing a corner of the living room, the holiday will be with us for a while longer. Along with the tree, I’ve been living with a small but exciting powered speaker system that redefines clarity and versatility on the desk top.” Oliver Masciarotte tells.
A graduate of the Lowell Institute of MIT, Oliver A. Masciarotte has spent over 35 years immersed in the tech space, working on facilitation, optimization, marketing, and product development for clients such as WHYY, the San Francisco Symphony, Harper Collins, The Hit Factory, Universal, NASA Johnson, Sony and Apple. His writings include To Serve & Groove (TS&G) from Other Munday Press, the first book on file–based playback for the home, along with well over 100 articles in sundry trade publications. As an invited presenter at numerous trade conferences and member of the AES, SMPTE and DCS, he enjoys comparing notes with other audio–obsessed wackos and informing folks about technological best practices. Masciarotte is currently CX Director at Minnetonka Audio Software, a leading developer of audio codec and loudness control solutions for engineers, OEM and enterprise markets.
“Sometimes, it’s the little things that drive you crazy… take, for example, gain. It seems there’s always too much or too little, never the perfect Goldilocks amount.” Oliver Masciarotte test-drives the Tisbury Audio Mini Passive with adjustable gain switches as a solution. “For modest or minimalist systems, the Mini Passive is a no–brainer; versatile, compact, low cost and aurally unobtrusive.”
High style and higher fidelity, the ARCONA 40’s exceptional voice draws you into an ever deeper infatuation with your music; It commands, “Just sit still and listen!” Oliver Masciarotte reports.
Thinking of buying headphones? Here are four In–Ear Phones from thinksound, Etymotic, RHA and Ultimate Ears to consider. Each is exemplary for their cost and represents “excellent value in their class.” Read what $60 to $400 buys you in terms of fit, finish, features and sound quality…
The USB dongle form factor for DACs has become not quite common, but certainly not a surprise. With the fairly rapid appearance of DXD and multi–rate DSD downloads, many consumers desire a future–proof purchase that will play everything. To address that market, LH Labs decided to… get weird! Oliver Masciarotte reports that “It’s a tiny techno tour de force, and a bargain to boot… highly recommended!”
“A long time ago, there were ‘radios,'” writes Oliver Masciarotte in opening his review of the Audioengine B2 Bluetooth speaker, a genre he considers the “modern equivalent of a hi-fi clock radio, without the clock.” A step up from battery-powered portables, most of which fail to meet his expectations, Oliver considers the B2 “a tough one to beat.”
Now in its fifth year, the California Audio Show provides an ears–on listening experience for the nerdiest region of our nation. Of particular interest were local and lesser known brands, along with a few product debuts. Since all work and no play makes for a desultory OMas, a late night field report is also on offer.
Supertweeters have gone in and out of vogue over the years, with moving coils, ribbons, quasi–ribbons and piezos to choose from.” writes Oliver Masciarotte in his review of the ENIGMAcoustics Sopranino supertweeter. “… Why bother with ultrasonics?” Oliver discovers the sonic effects of a modern implementation of the concept with three different loudspeakers.
“I am not a Bits Are Bits kinda guy,” writes Oliver Masciarotte. “Just because I do not yet have a theory that explains the underlying mechanism of an effect, that doesn’t invalidate my sensory experiences.” Oliver dives into the perplexing world of USB cables and concludes that “The VU-1 is an affordable tweak that really does improve any USB source.”
“The diminutive MyDAC is Micromega’s first foray into the standalone DAC market ” writes Oliver Masciarotte in his evaluation. “This is not a ‘me too’ product, but yields a high level of performance at an entry level price. Its welcome ability to extract the essence of a file is a beautiful thing… MyDAC is a strikingly tremendous performer.”