September, 2015

Sprout now $499

Scott McGowan, creator of Sprout, always wanted the price to be within reach of his peer group. When first envisioned the perfect price for this all-in-one high-end music system was $399, a dream dashed quickly when we added up the initial bill of materials. Over the three-year-long development process we kept upgrading internal components and performance until music sounded just right. We went for it with a better amplifier, DAC, phono stage, preamp and Bluetooth module. And then we looked again at the cost to build and sell it through our dealer network; $800.

Scott’s goal with Sprout was simple, create an elegant, easy-to-use box that would introduce first-time buyers to high-end audio. He made it to fit into today’s smaller homes, with styling that complements, rather than intrudes or offends. He wanted its owners to be proud of their systems and their music collection. Sprout would become a friend, rather than one more baffling techno-gizmo abandoned in a corner. Two knobs, no remote to lose, no learning curve or online tutorials. Just music. And Sprout was wildly successful with…Audiophiles, not so much first time buyers. And we learned from Sprout’s launch.

We learned that there is a price barrier for younger, first time buyers and crossing over $500 wouldn’t fly with them. I wrote, in a recent press release:

“Building Sprout was a leap of faith on our part, and required a major investment that we’ve repaid, paving the way to restructured partner pricing. To us, and our dealers, developing the future of our industry is far more important than maintaining standard margins. So, to make Sprout accessible to even more music lovers, we’re cutting the price to $499. Sprout was a bargain at $799; at $499, it’s a total no-brainer.” 

And so it is. Sprout is currently available at this price only in the United States, but we soon will extend it to many countries in the world through Amazon International. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Go, Sprout, go!

A lot to take in!

We live in an amazing time when a push of a button brings the works of the world’s greatest artists, composers and producers into our homes, cars, and phones–yet much can be confusing.

Paul’s Posts strives to unravel technical questions, build community and give readers an entertaining daily dose of audio and thoughtful subjects. Over the last few weeks we have been covering a huge amount of territory: slap echo and how to remove it, addiction to music, Ear openers and room pillows, USB jitterbug improvements, room reflections as friends, how to profit from problems, and tomorrow part II of my foray into pirate radio.

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UK review
DirectStream is one of the most heavily reviewed DACs in the world. Unique in its ability to bring out of CDs what few have heard before, it’s won product of the year owners can be rightfully proud.

Chris Martens writes in HiFi Plus. “The DirectStream DAC is one of the most analogue-like digital audio products I’ve yet heard. By this I mean that its sound reminds me of a very high-quality analogue reel-to-reel tape deck, but of course without any tape hiss at all.”

Read the review



Pink Floyd Video

Here is a short video from Romanian animator Sebastian Cosor that brings together two haunting works from different times and different media: The Scream, by Norwegian Expressionist painter Edvard Munch, and “The Great Gig in the Sky,” by Pink Floyd.

Munch’s horrific Great Scream in Nature is combined in the video with Floyd’s otherworldly “The Great Gig in the Sky,” one of the signature pieces from the band’s 1973 masterpiece, Dark Side of the Moon. The vocals on “The Great Gig” were performed by an unknown young songwriter and session singer named Clare Torry.

Watch the short video



Pressing Vinyl

Here’s another great video and story to enjoy.

Last year, 13 million vinyl LPs were pressed, which seems like a lot. But that number’s far more impressive when you consider just how few pressing plants there are.

The New York Times printed a story on reviving an old pressing plant and it’s awesome to watch the process they go through.

Watch as we learn how the older machines are revived, the challenge of pressing vinyl, from vinyl pellets to biscuits to the final flat platter with many grooves.

Watch the short video