Category Archives: Acoustic

Nail In The Sea – Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii

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All Good Things (Honu)

All Good Things (Honu, Hawaiian Sea Turtle)

Open tuning 12-string.

Photos of Honu (Hawaiian sea turtles) on Big Island, Hawaii ~ Aloha ʻĀina.

Photos, Video and Music by David Elias, ©2018, all rights reserved
http://davidelias.com

Birthday Song, Take 4 – free download

Sometimes less is more.

The bare bones approach to writing and playing acoustic with a guitar, voice and harmonica. Sometimes less is more. You can hear it or download for $0.00 if you like.

https://davidelias.bandcamp.com/track/birthday-song-take-4

The bare bones approach to writing and playing acoustic with a guitar, voice and harmonica. Sometimes less is more.

________________________________________

birthday song, take 4
– by david elias

It never really was too far
Not that you could get there in an automobile
Then again it wasn’t near
Not to mention disappearing clear anyhow
Give me your ivory
Give me your whale bone
Give me your ivory
Give me your whale bone

You feel a little worse for wear
And a little longer in the tooth, my friend
You keep a watch with a soldier’s stare
Ends the song that lingered in your youth too long
Give me your ivory
Give me your whale bone
Give me your ivory
Give me your whale bone

Cavalier in the cavalcade
These events will creep up on to pass you by
Happiest of happy days
The woodman watches from his roadside
And sighs

____________________________
released July 11, 2018
Written and Performed by David Elias
Acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocal
davidelias.com

David Elias - Birthday Song - Cover-1400px

 

David Elias - Birthday Song - Studio Wave Graphic

 

Late To The Party – Apologies and 50%

Still Here Still Here Still Here.

DE-Coco-Fronds-Falling

Lots happening here lately as many of you know with an erupting volcano. Above the ground lava has been flowing. Below the ground lots of unrest and shaking going on (300+ over Richter 1.5 on the Island this past 24-hours, many of those above 3.0).

So… I missed the Memorial Day party — hope everyone was safe and well off in spirit and health. Here’s a post party favor of 50% discount of anything I have (23+ titles) on Bandcamp.  All albums, singles, whatever you order until midnight UTC this Sunday June 3rd.

Go here: http://davidelias.bandcamp.com

On checkout use this Discount Code in the popup:  Remember50

That should do it for the discount. Hoping for the best for all especially here on the Orchid Island these days. 

Take care y’all,

~ DE

It’s Getting Green Up Over

It’s Getting Green Up Over.

Spring is still working above the equator, gotta be thankful there. Along with new budding leaves and flowers the interest in MQA as a great way to deliver CD quallity and hi-res PCM to ears via downloads or streaming or CDs continues to grow as well.

Right now you can try a pristine acoustic recording originally mastered as native DSD, and since converted to DXD and encoded as MQA for downloads. It plays on any music player!

If you have an MQA decoder it can unfold the hi-res to 24/352.8kHz. The original master was encoded for MQA by MQA Ltd. as FLAC. The audio files are small and download fast.

Go here to get the 50% off Acoustic Trio….Album of the Week!

Use the code AcousticTrio50 on checkout to get the 50% off.

Have a Happy Spring and thanks for Listening!

~ DE

5 Of My Personal Favorite HiFi Audio Gadgets Under $500.

NOTE: I’m not a gear reviewer, just a serious listener for my own enjoyment as well as recording artist trying to get the best sounds on my budget for preparing and editing my own music.

I’ve always had the need to buy things that were on the economy side as much as possible. But my needs for high quality in a lot of the things I am most fond of, particularly music never wants to bend to economics.

So over the years I’ve become persistently good at finding the right products in my price ranges that give me the best sound and best operation overall for music. In our world of virtual realities this is true of guitars, computers, software, microphones, DACs, Preamps/Amplifiers, Internet access, speakers and other disparate things never lumped together in the past so intimately.

I have some favorites for listening to good recordings!

Feel free to contact me via my web page if you have questions about anything I wrote about here. The revolving product I have to buy every 3-5 years that is not listed below is the PC notebook I use for computer audio, a huge part of my world. I spend $250 to $400 on these and can always find the high end portable notebook I need (currently 6GB RAM, i5 Intel quad core 2.6gHz, 1TB 7200rpm drive, 3 USB, 1 HDMI, 14″ screen, CD/DVD RW, Win7 Pro x64).

Aloha!

~ DE


OPPO HA-2  –  $299
While this product has been updated at OPPO by the HA-2SE model at the same price, I have been using the portable HA-2 headphone amplifier, DSD/PCM DAC, iPhone recharger for several years now since its release.

oppo-ha2

It might be easier to describe this beauty in terms of what it doesn’t do as an optimal mobile HRA device (my term), since it has so many interrelated functions. Overall it is the perfect mobile or home device to handle the digital to analog conversion of music on your computer or iPhone/Android and deliver it to either your headphones/earbuds or wired home stereo/studio.

In addition it has a good 4+ hours of battery that will provide DC voltage to your iPhone while traveling in airplanes and the like. It is portable enough to fit in a shirt pocket or banded together (they provide the thick bands…) with your iPhone in a jean jacket.

The HA-2 charges my iPhone 5S at least 1.5 times during travel, so a fully charged iPhone to begin with can play music with the HA-2 handling DSD64 or 128 and any bitrate PCM you throw at it for flights across the mainland or to Hawaii.

The software player I use to handle hi-res audio files I load onto the iPhone is Onkyo’s HF Player. You download the free version first, then upgrade for $9.99 to handle the hi-res which hands DSD audio to the HA-2 using DoP up to DSD128. All PCM and MP3/AAC can be upsampled to DSD in this mode. Nice!  High Precision gives you better signal to noise ratio (i.e., better sound) at a battery use price.

Onkyo’s HF Player app is accessed from the iTunes setup of your iPhone to load the hi-res files (beware this is klunky but can be done). Otherwise it easily finds and plays all your iTunes songs on your iPhone better than the stock Apple music app (reread the upsample to DSD above).

All in all the HA-2 is an incredible value for delivering the highest quality digital audio to your headphones or your home stereo setup. There is both a line out and headphone jack. The analog volume control gives you precise control over gain on the headphone side. I use it this way to feed my preamp too.

Here’s the PDF user guide:
http://download.oppodigital.com/Docs/HA-2%20User%20Manual%20US%20V1.1.pdf

Oh, and it has a patented fast charging AC adapter that recharges the HA-2 in no time.

 

Meridian Explorer2 MQA DAC – $299

This is the product that for me broke the floodgates of what a listener can actually experience with PCM masters, from CD to hi-res DXD at 24/352.8 or 24/384. It was  the first DAC to hit the streets that decoded MQA in lossless PCM master files of any format (WAV, AIF, FLAC, ALAC, etc.).

explorer2

In 2015 I’d been reading about MQA and all the trials and tribulations of its definition and promises for producing digital audio content as artists and producers had at least heard it in their mastering studio, if not necessarily intended (my humor). It was interesting reading to say the least and the more I read the more interest I had in hearing it.

Using the Explorer2 beginning in February 2016, I started hearing masters created by some of the highest regarded studios in the world, including Norway’s 2L. I was familiar with and owned 2L’s early SACD releases and now saw some of those titles released as MQA DXD downloads.

What I then heard was unlike any PCM master I’d listened to before in the natural sounding reproduction of especially acoustic sounds (my favorite kind).

For $299, the listener had a full PCM DAC up to 24/192 with two outputs for headphones as well as line level to a home stereo/studio setup. That price hasn’t changed as I write this.

This portable (very small and weightless) convenient way of hearing excellent quality PCM of any quality recordings can now be attached via its USB connector to any computer and used to decode streaming music from TIDAL at full “unfolded” rates.

So the streaming bitrate is roughly that of a CD (1.411mbps) depending on the master format (FLAC/ALAC are typically <1.0mbps), but the unfolded bit rate can be as hi-res as 24/192k (9.4mbps, upper limit of the Explorer2, not the limit of all MQA DACs).

My one complaint is the finicky USB connection for this DAC. It seems to lose its USB connection to the PC at the slightest movement. No substituted USB cables seem to improve this condition. It is also slightly annoyingly upside down based on the USB connector orientation which leaves the LEDs facing down.

I believed in the authenticity and comfortable enjoyable listening of what I heard as PCM using the Explorer2 so much that I became an MQA Ltd. artist/content partner and with their help converted all my CD and hi-res masters to MQA encoding for others to download or stream.

 

OPPO PM-3 Closed Planar Magnetic Headphones – $399

Prices for headphones are as volatile in ranges as the Dow month to month. What sounds good sometimes works for some, even as studio/industry standards, but either costs at least twice the PM-3 price, or just doesn’t sound as good to others.

What I found with this comfortable setup is a highly unintrusive sounding headphone that shields me from outside noise distractions (I hate those) and is comfortable enough to wear for a few hours at a time. They have a clean alive sound that isn’t biased towards either sizzling highs or thumping bass lines and kick drum samples.

oppo-pm3

OPPO loves good sound as represented by all of their products and these are no exception in a price range many can afford compared to other big names in studio quality headphones.  A single stereo 1/8″ cable comes with this which is convenient for wearing as well.

You can read about planar magnetic approaches to speakers and headphones elsewhere. I like them because of their flat honest sound reproduction abilities.

 

Zipbuds Pro – about $25

I found and ordered these a couple years back on a whim based on price and the description of the product which included reference to a military grade fibers that don’t decompose in the weather and rain (Hawaii weather decomposes everything from cars to houses to electronic gear in no time).

Also descriptions of the care taken to complete the audio quality as well as patented zipper approach to no-tangle were attractive. A (very very good) noise cancelling mic for iPhone use was a coup de gras.  For $25 what the heck (list may be closer to $50 but easy to find online for $25 or so).

zipbudspro

I had hated earbuds forever, but Zipbuds allowed me to recover from that remarkably. Their product description did not even mention solving one crucial factor that has had me rejecting all earbuds since the earliest Apple iPhone set in 2007: They really hurt my ears to wear.

Zipbuds fit your ears at an angle. There is a soft rubberized attachment fitted in the 3 sizes (SML) they include. The angular thing greatly helps both comfort and sound problems. I never take the Zipbuds out because they are starting to hurt my ears. That is remarkable.

There is clearly a left and right for fit and sound (which changes dramatically if they are reversed). While the R/L is not well marked on the Zipbuds themselves you just need the logo on the zipper facing out and you got it right.

I have also found more than subtle differences in SQ based on how firmly the Zipbuds are inserted in my ears. If I want more bass, I simply push them in a little further. Is that design or simply the convenience of fate?

I’ve shared these as gifts with lots of people, strict audiophiles and otherwise. Without exception they have been received with the same enthusiasm as I have for them.  My second or third set came with  a note in the box with the CEO Rob’s phone number saying to call if I wanted.

So I did call Rob one day and had a great conversation with him about hi-res in general. They are working hard to make it feel and sound right for their customers and have been at it a good long time now in Internet years.

For travel and on the go, nothing beats Zipbuds for quality of sound and convenience. I eagerly participated in their 2016 Kickstarter campaign for their new Catalyst product which is not shipping yet (ok, they are late by a month or two so far…).

Catalyst is a very high quality Bluetooth wireless set of balanced (fitted/weighted) earbuds that deploy AptX and AAC for lossless delivery of sound to the listener without wires.  Check it out.

No wires – 16 hrs battery for playtime, lossless sound quality, comfortable fit. Wireless is where I’m headed in every aspect of what I’m doing with electronics.

 

iFi Audio Micro iTube preamp/buffer – $329

Another great product I have is the original version of this product. It refers to itself as the Swiss Army Knife of Audio.

An iTube2 was just released by this highly innovative and nimble company. iFi-Audio.com has some killer products they deliver to audio lovers at great economy worldwide. Everything from portable DSD/PCM DACs to headphone amps to USB filters and special cables.

ifiaudio-itube

Here’s the relatively new setup I now buy into with my ears: Tube preamplifiers are the best staging device for any good solid state amplifier.

I place the iFi-Audio iTube in between my OPPO 103 SACD/DVD/Blu-ray player and the amplifier I am using (currently NAD 906 multichannel). Having used other preamps and AV processors (all solid state) I immediately found the tube result to be a much more natural sounding delivery from the amp to the speakers.

Everything just sounds better but most noticeable was the serious bottom coming through my Monitor Audio Gold Series towers. I can’t get that acoustic upright or electric bass and kick drum to sound any more coincidentally solid and spacious in the room (wood floors and ceilings) any other way. Voices and instruments also lost edges and yes, even shimmered.

Another huge benefit here for the $329 price is that it will allow many who are mistakenly playing DSD as converted PCM in a player such as the OPPO 103 to now correctly configure the OPPO to convert native DSD directly to analog to send to the iTube preamp.

NOTE WITH CAUTION: To do this make sure OPPO is set to play SACD as “DSD” not “PCM” and disable Audio on HDMI. ****** Be sure not to set SACD playback to DSD unless you have volume control through a preamp or other means – Otherwise you can send 100% gain to your amplifier and do some damage to your speakers, ears and maybe more.******

You can read more on this from my post in 2013: Bartender, Give Me A Sandwich.

I typically use the iTube “Digital Antidote” feature that notably reduces ringing and digital distortion.  I typically do not use the 3D Holographic sound feature.

“Angelo” hits the streets as MQA CD Master download and streaming on TIDAL

“Angelo” Solo Acoustic Instrumental (MQA CD Master) hit the streets today at CDBaby, Bandcamp and TIDAL. You can listen and download from these sites:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/davidelias21
http://davidelias.bandcamp.com

Rare acoustic instrumental spontaneous compositions from a prolific composer – intimate close mic high resolution recordings, mastered for CD release with MQA encoding.

TIDAL streaming playback has been confirmed with MQA encoding (blue light on Meridian Explorer2).

The songs for Angelo were all recorded on the same day. They were inspired in the memory and honor of departed Angelo as spontaneous compositions. All acoustic guitar instrumentals in open tuning representing a variety of stylistic influences from Celtic to Folk to Bluegrass.

Dedicated to Angelo and to the memory of independent artists worldwide. The music is kind of folky, bluegrassy, celtic-new agey…. Hard to put in a box.

This is the second release in a series of “Solo Acoustic” recordings. The first from December 2016 was “Two Track Mind”, 13 solo singer-songwriter tracks available as an MQA encoded CD from CDBaby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davidelias19

Take 30, or Get 55…Happy Holidays

You Came To The Right Place…

Happy Holidays!

Aloha to All – Wishing you the best with a 30% Sale on all titles through Christmas.

Use this Promo Code when you purchase:  TAKE30

The Catalog for PCM downloads is here:  http://davidelias.bandcamp.com

Remember that these MQA encoded files will play through any software media player or burned to a CD!  The sound quality is very good to me and many others at this point no matter how they get played.

You can also download my entire PCM catalog below online (19 albums/titles) for a 55% discount.  Just select that option from any of the album pages you click on. These are the PCM/MQA Masters only, not DSD.

Entire Discography of DE Masters (19 titles) at 55% Off

Buying albums/tracks on Bandcamp also entitles you to stream the same tracks from a web browser or smartphone forever from the Bandcamp page or smarphone app with surprisingly good quality too.

About MQA – Hi-Res
My hi-res tracks gets unfolded up to 352.8k by an MQA DAC.  But the DAC isn’t required to play the hi-res files (SACD gurus think of the hybrid layer, it acts in a similar way).


Just be sure to choose any of the Bandcamp “Lossless” formats: FLAC, ALAC, WAV or AIF.  That’s it.  It plays no matter which you choose. You can also download any format anytime on titles you’ve purchased.


You can send these as gifts too…choose the “Send as Gift” link.


Mele Kalikimaka!  Be Well!

DE

David Elias - CD and Hi-Res Catalog - 30% Sale

Voice Memo – Songs From Hawaii released for downloads and streaming

Aloha!

The MQA master (16/44.1) of “Voice Memo – Songs From Hawaii” is now online with my MQA master download catalog at Bandcamp: http://davidelias-mqa.com

It has a PDF to download with lyrics and notes. There are 30 tracks, all recorded on my iPhone using the stock “voice memo” app. I mastered it at 32/44.1. The download master (16/44.1) was encoded as MQA by MQA Ltd. You can now grab it as MQA online. (Note here, the first printing of the CD is not MQA encoded.)

Thanks again to everyone for listening and for supporting independent artists. If you want one of the printed CDs now (will be online at CDBaby, Amazon, etc. soon) you can let me know. I can mail one to you in the U.S. for $10 through Nov. 30th.

— DE

voicememo-disc2

davidelias-voicememo-songlist

(from the PDF notes…)

~~~~About My Songwriting~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A way to listen to the way my songs get created. I get asked this often enough. Dave, do you write the words first, or the music, or do you look up random things on Google and get ideas… … … ??

I can tell you there is no research in my songwriting. No Google, no newspapers, no references. Not even an idea of what I am going to write about 99.99% of the time. I am a tune player and creator on guitar. That’s usually what I do when I pick up the guitar, play something new whatever comes out. It comes through me sitting there and I don’t think about it much except trying to hear what it’s saying. 99% of the time I play and play and play for awhile then forget it all.

But sometimes the tune is catchy to me and I work on it and keep trying to get it right and eventually it sounds like it has the right shape and notes and well, tune.

So I might start singing along with it at some point during that sitting and see if there’s a singing part to go with the guitar part. No real words but then usually there are real words coming out of me, I didn’t plan them.

So there’s the idea for the song and I just write down the words as I come upon them and turn them into the melody and the song. That’s how I remember the song – that and then I often turn on Voice Memo on the iPhone to record it at that point. Like I just discovered something I don’t want to forget. Which is what I did.

Voice memo….

Sometimes the tunes on guitar don’t have any words. They are enough they way they are. Or words could come later. Or words I’d written down (poetry ok) another time can be randomly matched to a tune. That happens too.

So tune first, words next, song maybe. Or tune first, no words, song maybe. Or tune not quite there, no song, maybe later. Or words sitting on a page to tune just written or written and remembered, song maybe. See what I mean? No plan :)

Just trying to get it right…

Voice memos can help. Decided to try to share some of those in the honest fashion they were created sitting at home just playing for me.