IAA's Top Picks
From music, to gear, to random items, we’ve curated our top picks that will bring joy to audiophiles.
Frank Zappa & The Mothers - Over-Nite Sensation 50th Anniversary 4CD/Blu-Ray Audio
As a follow-up to 2022's successful "Waka/Wazoo" reissue, The Zappa Family Trust and Universal Music Group have joined forces once more to bring fans a similarly-extensive 50th anniversary release of 1973’s Over-Nite Sensation. In terms of immersive content, the set not only includes new 5.1 & Dolby Atmos created by Karma Auger and Erich Gobel at Studio 1LA but also a high-resolution digital transfer of Frank Zappa’s original four-channel quadraphonic mix from the ½-inch master tape.
Yes - The Yes Album LP/CD/Blu-Ray Audio Super Deluxe Edition
Nearly a decade after Panegyric’s acclaimed CD/Blu-Ray edition with new stereo & 5.1 mixes hit shelves, Steven Wilson revisits Yes’ breakout classic with an amazing new Dolby Atmos mix. Though we've long felt that The Yes Album ranked among his best 5.1 efforts, this new Atmos mix simply has to be heard to be believed. The four height speakers are treated not just as a novelty addition, but full-on ‘equal partners’ in the mix. In addition to ‘you-are-there’ reverbs and delays, they carry a number of ‘main’ elements such as lead guitar, keyboard, and background vocals.
Bruce Soord - Luminescence 2CD/DVD Hardback Book Edition
The Pineapple Thief frontman’s third solo outing contains some of his most beautiful and heartfelt compositions to date, all wrapped in a breathtaking immersive presentation. Luminescence is available in a number of configurations including a three-disc deluxe edition, featuring a DVD with stereo & 5.1 surround sound mixes of both the main album and a full length ‘bonus’ album called Our Ship Sails At Dusk. If you enjoy Soord's unique brand of melancholy mostly-acoustic rock with some experimental elements, then this is certainly another must-have release.
Jethro Tull - The Broadsword & The Beast 40th Anniversary Monster Edition
The long-awaited 5CD/3DVD deluxe edition of Jethro Tull’s 1982 synth-rock epic finally arrived in September 2023, complete with a plethora of previously-unheard session recordings and brand new stereo & 5.1 surround sound mixes by Steven Wilson. Similar to Wilson’s past 5.1 remixes of the Jethro Tull back-catalog, the rear speakers are used quite extensively throughout for ancillary elements like flute, backing & double-tracked vocals, keyboards, strings, rhythm (and in some cases lead) guitar, and percussion.
XTC - The Big Express CD/Blu-Ray Deluxe Edition
The latest entry in a series of comprehensive and acclaimed reissues from XTC’s back-catalog earns the Swindon band’s underappreciated 1984 album a much-deserved reappraisal. After listening to the new 5.1 & Dolby Atmos mixes, it becomes abundantly clear that a traditional two-channel stereo soundstage was simply not enough to accurately express the band’s grandiose vision for this album. The Big Express translates so seamlessly into these immersive formats that it almost sounds like it was recorded with multichannel reproduction in mind.
King Crimson - Larks Tongues In Aspic 50th Anniversary Edition
In what is surely the final word on King Crimson’s 1973 avant-garde epic, the new 2CD/2Blu-Ray 50th anniversary deluxe edition contains brand-new stereo, 5.1 & Dolby Atmos remixes by Steven Wilson. The prior 5.1 mix was generally a bit showy in its deployment of the back speakers, while the new version offers a more seamless three-dimensional immersive soundstage. The Dolby Atmos mix builds upon the strong foundation of the new 5.1, spreading the instrumentation onto an even larger canvas to absolutely stunning effect.
Neumi Atom 4K Ultra-HD Digital Media Player
The Neumi Atom 4K offers an easy and affordable way to add video, photo, and music playback to any TV, new or old, at up to 4K Ultra-HD quality. Just attach a USB drive or SD card with your media files, select a file, and play! It is simple and intuitive to use with no complicated settings or controls. The Atom 4K additionally supports playback of Dolby Atmos MKV & MP4 files over HDMI pass-through.
The Who - Who’s Next/Life House Super Deluxe Edition
In what is surely the most anticipated reissue of 2023 for many immersive music fans and audiophiles alike, this massive 11-disc box set is set to deliver the final word on the British rock band’s 1971 opus. The most exciting aspect of this reissue is undoubtedly the Blu-Ray disc containing brand-new 5.1 surround sound & Dolby Atmos remixes of the original nine-song Who’s Next album and fourteen associated studio recordings by Steven Wilson. Experience this classic in a brand new way on September 15th.
Kali Audio IN-5-C 3-Way Powered Studio Monitor
At under $500 per pair, this California-based speaker manufacturer’s affordable new powered monitors are the perfect building blocks for a professional-grade Dolby Atmos studio. Even for a consumer home theater system, we’d argue that they’re a great-sounding and affordable alternative to many higher-end passive models from brands like Bowers & Wilkins, Martin Logan, etc. With the IN-5-C, more unrivaled detail, lower distortion, and a soundstage that must be heard to be believed
VLC Media Player
Though there are a number of media player software packages that support the MKV format, the simplest method we could identify for playing back the files sold through IAA’s shop would have to be using HDMI pass-through with VLC Media Player. VLC Media Player is a free ‘swiss army knife’ media player, offering support for PCM formats like FLAC and WAV in stereo/multichannel as well as the various flavors of Dolby Digital and DTS via bitstream over HDMI.
Behringer UMC1820 Audio Interface
Aspiring audio engineers often face a daunting budget hurdle, given the prohibitive expense of quality recording interface. Behringer’s UMC1820 is a great starter unit for the burgeoning bedroom producer, capable of recording up to eight channels of pristine 192-khz/24-bit lossless audio via its internal MIDAS preamps. Additionally, its eight line outputs are perfect to drive a Dolby Atmos-equipped mixing studio. The UMC1820 removes barriers to brilliant sound, no student debt required!
Polk Audio XT90 Dolby Atmos Height/Up-Firing Speakers
Polk Audio’s XT90s bring affordable Dolby Atmos sound to home audio enthusiasts. These standalone speakers fire audio upward when paired with an Atmos-capable receiver, adding height and immersion without demanding expert installation. Designed for convenience, the XT90s can sit atop Polk’s matching MXT60 floorstanding or be mounted on the wall via keyhole slots.
Barclay James Harvest - Once Again 50th Anniversary CD/Blu-Ray Deluxe Edition
Cherry Red Records’ extensive Barclay James Harvest reissue campaign highlights the British progressive rock band’s sterling 1970s output. 1971’s Once Again is the latest entry in the series, featuring fantastic new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes from Stephen W Tayler alongside the rare quadraphonic version. For immersive music fans who love exploring subtle sonic variations, this album is a real feast for the ears.
Gentle Giant - Interview CD/Blu-Ray Deluxe Edition
The eclectic prog-rockers’ eighth studio album is the latest to receive new immersive mixes from Steven Wilson, as part of a long-running reissue campaign from Alucard Records. This inexpensive release comes loaded with every permutation of the 1976 album – stereo, quad, 5.1, Dolby Atmos, and instrumental – on a single Blu-Ray disc. It’s an essential addition to any surround music fan’s collection, perfectly capturing the band’s captivating and unique sound.
Ultravox - Quartet 6CD/DVD Deluxe Edition
Ultravox’s 1982 album Quartet is the latest to be revisited in a series of acclaimed reissues from Chrysalis/Parlophone. Produced by George Martin, the album yielded several U.K. top-20 singles including “Reap The Wild Wind” and “Visions In Blue. Steven Wilson’s 5.1 surround mix highlights the band’s synth-rock fusion, placing distinct instrumentation and vocals all around the listener. This new immersive experience imbues an irresistible energy and charm to the 80s classic.
Suede - Suede Blu-Ray Audio
Suede's iconic 1993 debut enters the world of immersive audio with stunning new 5.1 and Dolby Atmos mixes by Steven Wilson. Though originally recorded on a shoestring budget, Wilson’s remixes imbue the record with a hi-fi quality and allow the listener to greater appreciate the subtler details. This essential release lets fans experience a classic album in breathtaking new dimensions.
Black Sabbath - Paranoid (Quadio) Blu-Ray Audio
After several years of inactivity, Warner/Rhino’s acclaimed Quadio series of Blu-Ray discs featuring remastered quadraphonic mixes from the 1970s returned with a bang in June 2023.Four titles are currently available exclusively through Rhino’s web store: Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies, The J. Geils Band’s Nightmares, Jefferson Starship’s Red Octopus. and Black Sabbath’s sophomore outing Paranoid. Long sought after by fans, Paranoid remains Sabbath’s solo immersive release and has never sounded better.
The Pineapple Thief - How Did We Find Our Way? 1999-2006 Box Set
In the first of a planned series of box sets, frontman Bruce Soord has remixed The Pineapple Thief’s first six studio albums in immersive audio. Fans have long awaited these new 5.1 and Dolby Atmos versions of the band’s earliest releases, from their 1999 debut Abducted At Birth up to 2006’s Little Man. Standouts include the Smashing Pumpkins-esque "Private Paradise," the moody "Perpetual Night Shift," and epics "Remember Us" and "We Love You." A treat for longtime fans and new listeners alike.