Category: Music

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A while ago one of our For Folk’s Sake session participants mentioned they were thinking of hiring a PR agent to help with their promotion and asked if I had any opinions or recommendations. At the time I had nothing, but it did get me thinking on the subject and thought I’d share.

Because a man can never have too many hobbies, a few months ago I look on the role of live reviews editor for For Folk’s Sake. As part of this I had the idea of starting up a series of live sessions.

My previous post discussed modifying formats and metadata of music files to improve compatibility with Sonos music streamers. This post focuses on podcasts. I liked the idea of having podcasts automatically downloaded and made available for the Sonos, as it feeds into the idea of being a highly-available source of audio.

Several years ago I had a Squeezebox music streamer. I liked it, but gave it up as it was a pain to keep running due to the requirements and foibles of the server software. After that I just used a generic media streamer for living room music playback, but the interface is awful as you have to slowly scroll through directories with the remote.

I knew Sonos existed, but wasn’t really tempted until I saw someone else’s setup with a Connect Amp (streamer and integrated amp) with Play 1 and Play 5 speakers. The Connect Amp sounded pretty good with bookshelf speakers and the Play speakers were as good as you could expect for the size. Two things I particularly liked were how easy it was to start playing music, a touch on the iPad interface and music comes out, and the multiroom effect. Having the music coming out of all speakers mentally frees you to move around the house without losing the thread, even if it means shifting to a smaller playback device.

Back in 1995, when CDs were still relevant, a company called Pacific Microsonics introduced a new CD encoding method called HDCD that claimed to store 20 bits of audio data on the 16 bit format, whilst still maintaining compatibility with CD players.

At some broadly similar time, I had support for HDCD I was using an the first Musical Fidelity X-DAC. For the curiosity value I deliberately hunted out CDs that had it such as Green Day’s Nimrod, Joni Mitchell’s Hits and, erm... the Independence Day soundtrack. It was slim pickings if I’m honest.

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