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rrstesiak
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Digital is the Future & the Best Media

All:

I've done it.

Ever since I found the sheer pleasure of 192/24,88.2, and 44.1 digital flac from HDTracks, ripping CD's, and ahem, other places.... I am hooked and convinced this is not only the most convenient medium, it is sonically superior to all others, including:

1. vinyl (unless you want to spend $5,000 or more, then I will yield to the vinyl purists; of which I formally was...a similar argument can be made though if one spent >$5,000 on a killer DAC.)
2. Reel-to-Reel...same Master resolution now available, without the hiss..in spite of Mr. Dolby's genius.
3. CD The files at 44.1 played through my Bryston dual-mono DAC are superior; and one can get higher resolution than 44.1. Again, same with vinyl, a $10,000 transport/DAC may be quieter than my media pc.
4. audio cassette same as reel-to-reel only less resolution
5. DXD, SACD...these are just different storage media for digital files!

So... I honestly am so convinced now I actually sold off my Rega P1 turntable, Vincent PHO-8 Phono Stage, and NAD 516BEE transport/CD.

Again, for under $3,000, no other media can touch a good media server + Bryston BDA-1 or better DAC.

I arrived at $3,000 to allow $2,000 on the purchase of a new dual-mono DAC, and $1,000 on a media server. This is just the budget for the front-end...back end is whatever your ears and budget prefer. (Pre-amp/AMP/Integrated/Speakers/Cables/etc).

I myself am in the process of building a dedicated, rack mount music server that handles Apple Airplay as well as FLAC mdp clients for iPAD, ANDROID and iPHONE devices; all for $250!!! That is 15% the cost of the actually less capable $1800 Bryston BDP-1 USB. See my post in the Digital Sources section if curious.

Any opinions for or against my claims?

Listen On!

Ron

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Looks like we've come full circle

That sounds reminiscent of what the industry was saying about digital 33 years ago when CDs first came out - that digtial technology is as good as analog if not superior, even with the lowly Redbook. It is also reminiscent of what the industry was saying about HDCD, 20 bit mastering, DVD Audio, and Blu Ray Audio. You would think at some point they would run out of superlatives. But riddle me this: if as you say the new digtial is superior to analog in terms of noise and resolution why can't you hear the original analog tape hiss on the digital remastering, I.e., AAD or ADD, the same analog tape hiss you can hear very clearly on vinyl? Something's missing, no? The real advantage at theoretically of digital is far greater Dynamic Range and Signal to Noise Ratio, orders of magnitude above analog... theoretically. Unfortunately the way things have player out, as it were, the recording engineers have taken the ironic tact of aggressively compressing dynamic range. See the irony?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Geoff:

That was a very well written response..

To be dead honest, you are absolutely correct in that I *CAN* hear tape hiss on ANALOG master recordings..which is sadly the majority of Jazz and Classical recordings. However, with Digital mastering, there is black, inky silence and zero hiss.

But you make an excellent point.

As for the previous digital formats, I think we are finally at a convenience and resolution of master quality..so that race is over. The only challenge left is to wait for more releases in 192/24. As for the older classics, at least there will be no wearing of magnetic or vinyl media and the level of hiss will not increase; nor the quality of signal degrade.

However, to further agree, even the all digital work flow introduces the loudness wars and too much compression on many recordings; however, there are some gems out there like Bob Marley: Legend, as a 192/24 example, that sound like the master in a studio.

Best Regards,

Ron

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We're actually close. Very close.

I agree that digital is light years ahead of analog technically comparing say CDs to vinyl. If you compare SNR and Dynamic Range potential digital is far superior. 20 dB is nothing to turn ones nose up at. But what about the sound? Are you saying high resolution downloads are far superior to Redbook CD? Maybe we should work up a matrix of sonic characteristics vs medium. Hi Res vs Redbook vs Vinyl vs Cassette tape. Characteristics like speed, warmth, tonality, air, presence, separation of the instruments and notes, naturalness, treble grain, wetness, musicality, etc.

Cheers,

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica
We got your artificial atoms right here!

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OK, let's take a quick look at the Dynamic Range Database

This is the link to the Dynamic Range Database, page 1 of the David Bowie section. What is interesting, see if you agree, is that of all the various releases and reissues thereof in the various media, it doth appear that vinyl by and large has the best dynamic range. Actually when compared to digital releases and reissues of the last 20 years vinyl crushes digital when it comes to dynamic range. Interesting, no? This same relative comparison of vinyl to digital seems to hold across all artists, as it turns out I've taken a look at quite a few.

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list/1?artist=David+bowie

Geoff Kait
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Geoff:

If you carefully re-examine your David Bowie link and find the DVD-Audio ripped lossless file, it compares to and in many cases surpasses vinyl in this database. And that is most likely only a 96/24 5.1 file; as opposed to 192/24 stereo.

My argument still stands: the new digital frontier of high resolution downloads and the DACS to play them back is here NOW; and is in fact shown to be equal to or better than vinyl using your own reference with a DVD-Audio rip resolution.

Best Regards,

Ron

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Let's look more closely at the data
rrstesiak wrote:

Geoff:

If you carefully re-examine your David Bowie link and find the DVD ripped lossless file, it compares to and in many cases surpasses vinyl in this database. And that is not even a 192/24 file.

My argument still stands: the new digital frontier of high resolution downloads and the DACS to play them back is here NOW; and is in fact shown to be equal to or better than vinyl using your own source with a DVD rip resolution.

Best Regards,

Ron

Let's take a quick look at the data presented on the David Bowie page. What you will find is yes the Ripped DVD file scored highest but the other ripped high resolution files did not do as well, nor did they do as well as the vinyl issues in many cases. So, actually there's no clear consensus as to which medium is superior in terms of dynamic range. In fact, when you review many artists who are represented on the Dynamic Range Database I think you will conclude that vinyl has not suffered the aging of aggressive compression lo these past twenty years and is almost always superior to its digital counterpart in terms of dynamic range. Yes, there are exceptions, like the ripped DVD file. It's an outlier when you look at all the data. We should also be careful to mention that while dynamic range is an important audio parameter, is is not necessarily the overriding audio parameter. It depends on who you talk to. You were probably late to the party when we discussed the Bob Dylan recording Modern Times on this very forum last year, especially with respect to the (limited) dynamic range of the recording. As I just intimated a post or two ago there are many audio parameters that should be considered when evaluating a recording. We could list a lot of audio parameters, in fact I already did. This is sort of getting to the point I suspect of why there has been such a long debate with respect to digital vs analog over the years. Digital seems to be theoretically light years ahead of analog yet in practice analog actually demonstrates very high dynamic range, supposedly digital's Coup de Grace. Hel-loo! Looking at the data more carefully what we see is that while digital should win hands down the dynamic range competition that is simply not the case. And even more to the point, analog vinyl and tape for whatever set of reasons simply seem to inherently sound more coherent, more natural, with better treble response, fuller more extended bass response, better separation of instruments, more realistic tone of instrument, more human sounding voices, less irritating in a number of ways, and more engaging and musical. At least in the opinion of your humble scribe. What we need to do is create a matrix of media vs audio parameters and weight the parameters. Some might weight dynamic range higher than others.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica
We do artificial atoms right

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reply #2

Geoff & All:

To answer your first questions about CD quality vs. vinyl and listening tests, I can admit I believe vinyl to be still superior to most if not all CD recordings; with my only caveat I have never had the pleasure of auditioning a high calibre cd player. But in the digital file realm, yes, I agree vinyl beats 44.1/16. However, as the resolution increases, the digital format I believe now surpasses all other media.

As for the speed, warmth, tonality, air, presence, separation of the instruments, treble gain, and I will add Bass response, room acoustics, reverberation, etc...I have witnessed hearing ALL of this extra sonic information on a few well mastered 192/24 recordings. I believe digital is just at such a point where it is at a resolution sufficient enough to capture nearly all of the musical "code" or "information" and a decent $2,000 DAC can play it back. (dual-mono design minimum, balanced).

On the other hand, there is nothing quite like the pleasure of a very good turntable and the Bass dynamics and rhythm and pace. But I fear most of those other subtle yet haunting qualities you refer to just are not able to be captured on vinyl as well as they can be on digital.

Ideally, I would love to spend another $3,000 on a good vinyl setup in addition to my digital setup; but I just can't afford it. Since my digital chain has now far surpassed my $1,000 vinyl rig, I have sold it as well as the NAD CD Player/Transport as it just didn't make sense keeping them as I hadn't amassed too many records and CD's.

Best Regards,

Ron

ps. I am still very much a vinyl fan and miss it...I just am a pragmatic person and realize presently my digital front end is very very good and so am embracing that format if and until extra income becomes available to dip into higher end turntables and possibly moving coil and very good phono stages.

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Chasing the dragon

I feel it's only fair to point out that DVD Audio was introduced in 2000 and is defined as 192/24 in stereo format. So, I wouldn't get so enamored with these sorts of "advanced" digtial formats as they have already been through the wringer as it were. The debate rages on. ;-)

On the Wiki page for DVD-audio you will find the following notes:

"DVD-audio was considered extinct by 2007."

And,

"Sound quality
Researchers in 2004 found no detectable difference in audio quality between DVD-A and SACD[14] (and subsequent research found no detectable difference in audio quality between SACD and CD).[15]"

.........................

Your hearing is only as good as the best sound you've heard. ~ Old audiophile axiom

What is it that audiophiles strive for so relentlessly? Are they chasing the dragon? ;-)

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Geoff:

Yes... I am chasing the dragon!

Thank you for following me on this journey... I'm very surprised the topic hasn't attracted more listeners. Either everybody has jumped on the vinyl resurgence bandwagon or the title isn't attention grabbing enough.

Oh well.. We had a good debate.. And I consider the topic still active.

I really would love to audition a rega p-3 or better turntable and a decent phono stage next to my digital chain if I could.

Bear in mind my conclusions of digital overtaking vinyl are based on a rega p-1 and a Vincent Pho-8 phono stage, an ortofon red 2M cartridge...a good intro system, but I know there are a lot of possibilities for improvement to make this a fair battle.

Best Regards,

Ron

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i will be standing by

in case I didn't mention it before my system for some years included naked Quad 57s, no grills, no dust covers, all tube electronics with regulated everything, a special version of my sub Hertz iso platform capable of holding a Special Maplenoll air bearing everything turntable with 50 pound platter, air pump with 500 feet of air tubing and two count 'em air buffers ensured smooth laminar flow. Arcici stands for the Quads and DIY Enid Lumley Cable Tunnels for all cabling, aircraft electron tubes and power cords. so, you can probably see why I kind of tolerate listening to digital of any sampling rate or word size. :-)

I will stand by and resist posting to see if some intrepid new posters check in.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica
Advanced Audio Conceits

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Quad 57's!??

Geoff:

Quad 57's are on my very short list of all time favorite speakers.

I am strongly considering purchasing Magneplanars..have you ever had the opportunity to compare quads vs. maggies?

Best Regards,

Ron

ps. I am sure that vinyl rig blew away my current digital rig!

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Lack of interest

This particular dead horse has been kicked repeatedly. We had extensive conversations regarding the merit of cassettes vs vinyl vs digital in another thread. I am personally abstaining until I upgrade my DAC, CD transport and phono stage (which I think I have settled on). I also need to get a few true 24/192 tracks that are duplicates of my vinyl and CD collections. I will offer an opinion then. Right now my analog setup is just better than my digital so it isn't a fair comparison.

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Maggie's Farm
rrstesiak wrote:

Geoff:

Quad 57's are on my very short list of all time favorite speakers.

I am strongly considering purchasing Magneplanars..have you ever had the opportunity to compare quads vs. maggies?

Best Regards,

Ron

ps. I am sure that vinyl rig blew away my current digital rig!

I have not directly compared Maggie's and Quads, not sure how one would do that now that I think about it. I have had the opportunity to listen to many planars including the later Quads, Sound Labs (the really big expensive ones), Martin Logan, Koss Model 1A, Magnapan Timpani 1B, and Big Maggies (used to be in the TAS reviewer Jacob's monster system downtown DC which I heard through the grapevine now includes the Continuum turntable, are you familiar? ;-). I suspect it would be a challenge to figure out which one is the best as it depends on a great many factors not the least of which are set up, cabling and associated electronics. The word on the street is the Maggie's are real good. I trust my answer is not too evasive.

Geoff Kait

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Keeping NAD 516 CD player

All:

Bizarrely enough, my humble NAD 516 CD player throws a seriously larger soundstage than my digital media server I am building!

I have no idea why, but I am throwing my full effort at bringing the digital server I am building up to true audiophile standards.

My first educated guess is the power supply. It is a huge 750 watt pc supply.... When I build my final prototype, I am definitely going to switch to a linear power supply which is known to improve sonics on these devices.

Equally as important, there are very lightweight, minimal, commandline-only installs of linux..as well as realtime and low-latency specialized kernels. Implementing this OS change with the linear power supply should merit significant audio benefits in terms of distortion and latency; possibly recovering the soundstage.

I'll keep posting updates as the new project progresses.

Best Regards,

Ron

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Bierfeldt's Dead Horse

Bierfeldt:

You are correct the whole analogue vs digital is a dead horse.

However, I am approaching it at the unique angle of attempting to build a true high end media server for pennies on the dollar.
It is my trials and tribulations with this new project that inject some life into this debate.

To reinforce my point, I believe technology has come to the point of matching master quality audio when 192/24 material is available, and I'm trying to build a machine that will extract as much of that information as possible and pass it onto my Bryston DAC.

I look forward to hearing what digital components you ultimately decide on as well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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How to rip CDs like a pro

I'm posting this cause it seems like an appropriate thing to do, notwithstanding the stubborn refrain of naysayers, "But you can't change the sound because the data on the disc is physical and therefore not amenable to change. They are ones and zeros! Hel-Loo!" Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. For those of you out there ripping files you can improve the sound of your ripped files since the same problems that exist for playing CDs exist for ripping them, anytime the laser is involved problems exist. It's the way God planned it. So without any further ado here are some things to consider the next time you try ripping CDs.

1. Damp the CD using three symmetrical lengths of electrical tape 1 1/2" long arranged axially on the label side of the CD.

2. Ensure the CD transport is absolutely level. As fate would have it the chassis itself is usually not actually the same level as the CD when it's sitting on the tray. Hint: You might have to remove the cover of the player.

3. Use one of the audiophile approved CD treatments like Essence of Music or Auric Illuminator on the data side of the CD prior to ripping.

4. Use the Super Intelligent Chip on the CD prior to ripping. The CD is thoroughly treated in 2 seconds.

5. Use Dark Matter on the label side of the CD prior to ripping. Reduces background scattered light for Better Signal to Noise Ratio.

6. Color the inner and outer edges of the CD prior to ripping with black and green markers, respectively.

7. Use tray masking of the correct color. This also improves Signal to Noise Ratio.

8. For rippers with deep pockets there is the CD trimmer to consider. The typical out of round CD wobbles during play and produces jitter. The trimmer simultaneously cuts back the angle of the outer edge that itis said reduces background scattered light problems.

Happy ripping,

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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I am going with the Cambridge DAC

I am going to give the Cambridge 851N with a Cambridge CXC CD Transport a shot first. The Cambridge 851 DAC gets a great rating here, is modestly priced and has awesome features. As long as it outperforms my current Marantz I will be happy which is not going to be as easy as it would seem. If it doesn't, then I will likely go with the Marantz Reference NA-11s1. Gotta love Crutchfield's return policy.

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851N

Dual differential DACS, AES balanced IO.... Sounds good to me. Let us know your initial impressions when you get it.

Best Regards,

Ron

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referencing

Gentlemen, a good discussion and peaceful which I think is great! The question I have for you is where's the referencing?

Let's say I put on Uakti Mapa (listening to it now), and want to make changes to the stage and tone for example. I don't see you guys addressing this issue, which to me is the hobby itself, along with many other variables. Can you make this conversation more practical?

thanks

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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NAD 516BEE vs ?

Hi Ron

A little confused, you said

"Bizarrely enough, my humble NAD 516 CD player throws a seriously larger soundstage than my digital media server I am building."

before this you said

"So... I honestly am so convinced now I actually sold off my Rega P1 turntable, Vincent PHO-8 Phono Stage, and NAD 516BEE transport/CD."

mg

My question is, with the selling off of the products, how are you able to make judgement calls, with you saying the now system does not perform up to the stage level of the NAD?

I'm just trying to get a feel for where your going and how you are planing on getting there without the opportunity for judging? Didn't you just throw the reference baby out with the bath water? Don't get me wrong, just trying to get a take on how and why your making your statements. I've been in the referencing game a long time and presently have here 15 digital front ends, going to pick up number 16 in a few minutes, with 3 main listening rooms and 3 other burnin rooms, and tons (I mean tons) of tweaks and voicing tools. Your referencing is looking more and more like typical plug & play. Could you give us more of your method so we can share our approaches as well, hopefully leading us to certain levels and standards?

thanks, and thanks for your threads and thoughts on the hobby

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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Good catch- MG!

Good catch- MG!

we all know that the physical medium (CD/DVD/LP/SACD) is NOT going away anytime soon...

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finding the best in the hobby

I can only speak for myself and others I listen with, but part of the fun of this hobby is to be a part of going all the way and the rituals we have made a part of our lives. As in the studio, or in home, hall or mastering room, every source deserves to be treated with the respect it's worthy of, and as far as all of these sources we've really only just begun. I hope none of them go away and some even get revived. Being an audiophile is as much being a historian as it is exploring the latest. Our TT system is half way accross the country, but everytime I take one of my friends into the record shop and smell that vinyl and LP covers I reach for my visa card.

this hobby is like what Rocky said

"I just gotta be around it Mick"

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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Simple answer

I ended up keeping the NAD 516 at the last minute when a reference listen of miles Davis revealed a larger soundstage than the same song in hirez digitial.

I will take this opportunity to tune the performance of my hand built music server to exceed the performance of the CD player.

Some planned improvements or possibilities :
1: move to linear power supply
2: move to real time Linux kernel to minimize latency
3: substitute SoTm audiophile quality usb controller

All of these will cost under $200, still making this a very affordable system.

In all honesty, I am finding the challenge of beating the CD player to be one of the most fun things I have done in this hobby so far.

Best Regards,

Ron

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Quick interrupt! Question on hi res files

Sorry to interrupt but I know about as little as anyone about hi res files and how they are generated. Anyone happen to know where these files come from and how they are produced or generated? I'm referring to the original hi res files, if there is such a thing, if that's not too much of an oxymoron. Are they generated from original master analog tapes? Are they remastered as master discs then ripped as files? How do the companies that distribute hi res files obtain the files? When a company advertises hi res downloads what are they referring to or it there no standard for what hi res means?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Good to read! Ron.

Good to read! Ron.
keep us posted when you complete your mod on the NAD spinner.

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Source of files

I mostly use HDTracks as my source. Here is a link describing their quality:

http://www.hdtracks.com/quality

Best Regards,

Ron

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Hi res source
rrstesiak wrote:

I mostly use HDTracks as my source. Here is a link describing their quality:

http://www.hdtracks.com/quality

Best Regards,

Ron

Thanks for the link but im pretty sure the info on that page doesn't answer the question. Their page on quality is more of a propaganda info page IMHO. :-) The question I'm asking is basically how is the hi res file obtained? Especially if the original source is analog tape. The reason for my question is related to why tweaking and modding CD rippers improves the quality of the ripped files.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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HD Tracks

OK, here's a question similar to mine someone asked on another audio forum (great minds think alike). I am pretty sure the poster on the other forum is asking the same question I am. Here's what the other poster wrote,

"I really enjoy hi-res computer audio music files I've downloaded from Liaison in Europe. These files were recorded direct to digital and I download them as 24/96 FLAC or WAV files. There is an obvious improvement in dynamics, soundstaging, noise floor and detail over CD that make it worth the small increase in $$.
My understanding is that all, or at least the vast majority, of downloads offered by HD Tracks are nothing more than existing older standard resolution analog masters transferred to PCM or DSD format digital files. Standard resolution recordings transferred to a hi-resolution format cannot produce hi-res music files. An analogy is transferring a steak served on a small plate to a larger plate; the steak will still taste the same and there is no improvement in taste. Music originally recorded on a multi-track analog reel-to-reel recorder will have limited dynamic range, a higher noise floor, a limited frequency response and less detail than the same music recorded directly to digital.

I know there currently is a lack of major artists taking advantage of hi-res, direct to digital recording of their music. Most of the truly hi-res music seems to be coming from lesser known artists. I've found that i Trax in California and the Liaison Music Shop in Europe are 2 good sources of true hi-res recordings.

So, my question is to those that have downloaded supposed hi-res music files from HDTracks: Are you disappointed by the sound quality of your purchases from HDTracks? I would think you would be, since I believe you're listening to standard resolution files that should sound no better than CDs or records you may already own of the same material."

Cheers everybody,

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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I find this to have been a very interesting article

Check out this article from when the Pono player was released. The test itself is not strong, but interesting links and it points out that the vast majority of content is at CD resolution unless it can be remastered specifically for hi res. Very little is recorded hi res direct to digital. HDTracks should be facing the same issue.

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/it-was-one-of-kickstarters-most-successful-109496883039.html

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Reply and UPDATE

All:

Wrt the Pono, my sistem is in an entirely different league with dual mono DAC design and separate music server and decent creek amplification. It's comparing apples and oranges. Needless to say, it's also trying to compare a headphone to speaker system. Any differences heard in high resolution media are magnified with my system to a pleasing and noticeable degree.

As for my music server, after loading the real time Linux kernel, I can hear significant improvements in the presence and aura and ambience of instruments as well as an expanded soundstage. At least it now honestly and eerily exactly MATCHES the performance from my NAD 516 used as transport to same Bryston BDA-1 DAC as is the music server. It makes sense that it matches the NAD as the same DAC is being used.

Lesson learned: the realtime Linux kernel reduced jitter to audiophile levels as hypothesized.

This is a good milestone achieved. Reference recordings were Miles Davis: Kind of Blue at 192/24, Peter Gabriel: So at 48/24, Moby: Play at 96/24, and Led Zeppelin I at 96/24 with their red book CD counterparts.

I am looking forward to hearing what the linear power supply and, if necessary, the SoTm usb PCIe interface will achieve. I may also break out the big guns and add an aes16e or Juli@ card to bring balanced AES to my music server.

Moving onwards and upwards,

Ron

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OK, let me play Devil's advocate for a second

OK, is it possible that your conclusion (that6 digital is the way to go, and especially music servers, is a foregone conclusion based on your apparent bias toward high technology and education in computer science and high technology? I am pretty sure they refer to this phenomenon as expectation bias or perhaps placebo effect or even some sort of prophesy. Once one ahs made his mind up to move in a particular direction, be it solid state, tubes, music servers, turntables, whatever, it's very hard, actually increasingly hard, if not impossible to get that person off his game. Pretty sure that's what they refer to as Backfire Effect. I'm just playing Devils advocate here. no offense intended.

Because its what I choose to believe. - Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus

Geoff Kait
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reply to Geoff

Geoff:

I agree in what you say is wisdom and true.

In this case; however, and I am certain most readers would agree, I do believe high res digital music downloads are the future of home audio. This just happens to also correspond with my background.

A little gadget called the iPod...which morphed into the iPhone..has already proven that for the masses, digital downloads FAR FAR FAR exceed any other media purchased; inlcuding vinyl, CD, SACD and other formats.

It's just a matter of time until the high end consumer catches on with the always better and cheaper newer products being released which will allow the audiophile a pleasant experience with computer audio.

I fear at this point it's still a little awkward to resort to a tiny front display on a music server or an iPad or Android Tablet or smart phone to browse one's collection...but again..it's only a matter of time.

Best Regards,

Ron

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Hi res downloads - Knight in Shining armor?

Ron wrote,

"In this case; however, and I am certain most readers would agree, I do believe high res digital music downloads are the future of home audio."

Not sure I agree with your detective work. On what do you base that conclusion? Have you perchance conducted an independent poll I'm unaware of? ;-). When you say most readers do you mean 51%, perhaps 75% or even 90%? And are we now settling audio disputes by voting on them? Or even worse by imagining what some anonymous collection of audiophiles out there somewhere must be thinking. This sounds suspiciously like the claims of the promoters of Redbook CD back as early as 1982, that 16/44 digital captures all the information perfectly and that Shannon or Nyquist theory proves it! ;-) And the barbarians who support archaic technologies like turntables and cassette players are nothing more than deluded knuckle dragging agnostics who obviously aren't technical enough to comprehend the superiority of the whole digital revolution. ;-)

I provided a methodology and matrix for subjectively comparing any type of audio formats recently on this forum. I would opine that a survey of readers who sat down and took the time to actually compare audio media and fill in the boxes of the matrix would probably be a more rational approach. But hand waving and cheerleading doesn't make much sense to me when trying to get to the bottom of all this.

"This just happens to also correspond with my background."

Coincidence? My point is that if high technology were actually the knight in shining armor you say it is what ever happened to CDs, you know, the high technology audio knight in shining armor that promised perfect sound forever yet in practice sounded thin, two dimensional, hollow, unmusical, threadbare, bass shy, honky, like paper mâché or cardboard, and plain irritating? You seem to be saying that DVD Audio as a viable audiophile format should be resurrected from the dead. ;-) As far as I can tell the whole "digital revolution" has been a long series of fits and starts, with longer and longer word sizes and higher and higher sample rates as if that was the solution to the problem folks had with the sound of digital. Like the labyrinth inside the album of the Rolling Stones gatefold album Their Satanic Majesties Request, you just can t get there from here might be the real answer.

Geoff Kait
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Reply to Geoff

Geoff:

I only have one word to say to prove digital has surpassed all other media in the mass consumer markets:

iTunes.

I can add some more... Spotify...TIDAL..Pandora....etc....

At any rate, I don't need to quote a single source. It is common knowledge Apple largely pushed us into the digital realm years ago beginning with the iPod. Nevertheless, a quick google search revealed this New York Times article claiming digital is in fact the most popular format; surpassing vinyl and CD:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/15/business/media/global-online-music-sales-slightly-surpass-cds-and-lps.html?_r=0

I think where you are getting hung up is the high-end market. I already stated that is a separate market, but even there we have the likes of TIDAL and orthers making inroads.

Resistance is Futile!

Cheers,

Ron

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Now we're on the same page

Ah, surpassing other media. Now I get it. You're not really trying to say it sounds better, just that it's a better seller and perhaps more convenient. I think I might be able to agree with you on that. Along the very same lines as Taylor Swift being the No. 1 selling artist, as the article points out. It's a popularity contest.

Geoff Kait
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"Digital is the future" sounds prophetic

"Digtial is the future" just might be one of the most prophetic proclamations ever made in audio. And it's corollaries, Perfect Sound Forever and Digital Ready. Now, the question is, especially in light of all the rumpus regarding hi res downloads, whether that proclamation is actually a self fulfilling prophecy, not with respect to convenience or popluarIty but to sound quality. OK, what is a self fulfilling prophecy, you ask? Here is a brief run down on the definition of self fulfilling prophecy. I humbly submit some of the inaccuracies self-promotional claims promulgated by the digtial audio industry, if I can call it that, are that digtial is inherently more accurate than analog, that it provides more information (than analog), that it provides higher dynamic range, that the high frequency response provided by digital - even with 44.1 kHz sample rate, is completely sufficient for capturing all the high frequency information, that bass performance is better than analog and that spatial information is complete and superior to analog. In addition the terms hi res and high resolution don't seem to have any official definition. So, I submit the proclamation Digtial is the future and the best medium is actually nothing new. Mfgr from it, it's a restatement of what the digtial audio industry has been claiming all along.

SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY
A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior. Although examples of such prophecies can be found in literature as far back as ancient Greece and ancient India, it is 20th-century sociologist Robert K. Merton who is credited with coining the expression "self-fulfilling prophecy" and formalizing its structure and consequences. In his 1948 article Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, Merton defines it in the following terms:

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.[1]

In other words, a positive or negative prophecy, strongly held belief, or delusion—declared as truth when it is actually false—may sufficiently influence people so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy.

Self-fulfilling prophecy are effects in behavioral confirmation effect, in which behavior, influenced by expectations, causes those expectations to come true.[2] It is complementary to the self-defeating prophecy.

Geoff Kait
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Reply to Geoff

Geoff:

My statement that "Digital is the Future of Audio" was not intended to carry the weight of a "prophecy". It is merely my educated and experienced opinion.

I go into very specific details with my particular implementation of a digital music server/streamer in my post titled:

"$250 Digital Music Server Equaling $1,800 - $2,400 Commercial Servers!"

in the "Digital Sources" Forum here on Stereophile.

As for claiming digital is merely the most popular media, for now that is correct; as it is simply a convenience factor for most people as well as massive advertising from Apple when they released their iPod.

However, I am also stating that at some point in the near future, digital, with the ever decreasing cost of computer components, will fall in price from thousands for a music server to under $1,000. This will open the technology to many more people; including the Audiophile community. Wearing my "audiophile" hat, if I listen to a digital source that is well under $1,000, and it rivals $2,000 worth of Analogue gear, I'm going to sit up and take notice!!

I will submit that with today's audio technology, and with Vinyl specifically, that the best vinyl/analogue setup would still beat the best digital setup. This is where my leap of faith and "prophecy" comes in. As I have been in Information Technology since 1994, I have witnessed the ever increasing capability of computers and the birth of the iPod as well as the ever decreasing cost of the digital platform. It's just a matter of time before the logistics of producing an outstanding digital front end for far cheaper than it's analogue counterpoints reaches critical mass and the masses as well as the audiophile community takes serious notice.

Best Regards,

Ron

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UPDATE

All:

As documented in my thread in the Digital Sources forum, my little Linux server now significantly outperforms my NAD cd trasnsport. The most recent increases in performance can be attributed to moving from my way overkill Linux workstation to a brand new Braswell based ultra low power motherboard with integrated CPU consuming only 7 watts! Also, it is driven by an AC Adapter like a laptop and is totally silent. I understand further power supply upgrades are possible via Linear power supplies, but just moving from the huge and noisy 750 watt internal power supply to the silent AC adapter is a significant improvement.

Next steps are to purchase a case and possibly upgrade to a PCIe dedicated sound card or audiophile USB port. However, these upgrades may not be necessary judging by its present sonic characteristics.

Best Regards,

Ron

Ps. Current costs are approximately $400; this cost includes the nearly $200 M2TECH USB/SPDIF converter. I am actually amazed at how little investment has been required to get to this level of audio performance.

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Final thoughts

Just want to point out the following bullets. Bang, bang!

O Room acoustics are independent of medium, so whether the medium of choice be vinyl, tape or hi res downloads you can still wind up with bog standard sound if you don't mind your p's and q's.

O Cabling is independent of medium, so you can still wind up with a bucket of slop if you don't mind your p's and q's.

O All of the Belt stuff is independent of medium. Morphic resonance like,justice is blind.

O Vibration isolation is critical to achieving high res sound even in systems without CD players or turntables.

O Let me reiterate the argument for hi res is the same argument for Redbook: better resolution, lower noise, higher dynamic range. It was also by no small coincidence the same argument for DVD-A, 20 bit remastering, 24 bit remastering, SACD, and Blu Ray. Has anyone really looked at the specs on Blu Ray Audio? Gotta be killer. Why aren't we talking up a storm on Blu Ray Audio?

O No matter what medium you deal with, even Hi res downloads, there's no escaping the detrimental effects of power transformers, especially those big honking toroidal transformers that accompany Linear Power Supplies in such things as modded CD players. In fact, the induced magnetic field issue applies to ALL wire and cabling in the system whether we wish to acknowledge it or not. The only good magnetic field is a dead magnetic field.

O There remains the sticky issue of wire directionality no matter what medium one gets behind. This sticky wicket of wire directionality applies to all fuses not just audiophile fuses and applies to ALL cabling in the system whether one wishes to sweep it under the carpet or not.

So, what should you bring away with this? Well, for one no one media can guarantee your admission into the Audiophile Magic Kingdom, otherwise known as Audio Nirvana and the End of the Rainbow. One must constantly on guard for all of the little gremlins and that plague our systems. It's really a question of getting on top of the science. As the stranded astronaut dude in The Martian comments on his predicament of how to survive on Mars until the rescue mission can get there four years in the future, "Looks like I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this."

Cheers,

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Reply

Geoff:

You brought up topics my design does not address.. I found your feedback to be good.

I'm surprised more listeners haven't participated in what I thought would be a topic of much more listeners.

Maybe the vinyl craze has everyone transfixed? Who knows.

At any rate, thanks for the feedback of those who did participate -

Kind Regards,

Ron

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there would be more.....

Hi Ron

There are reasons why more don't join in.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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This just in!

From Mike L. Over on AA.

"Ivan,
it was fun seeing you at RMAF.....too bad we were too late for the Magico room.

not true.....44.1 does not sound better. but I would also agree that the native resolution of the recording can limit what resolution sounds best. but assuming some level of higher rez than redbook to start out, or starting out as analog, then the higher rez native resolution should sound better. I prefer almost always to hear any recording in it's native format. which includes tape, direct to disc Lp, and any digital.

I have what is said to be the best PCM dac, the Trinity Dac, and I can say unequivocally that while the redbook is superlative, higher rez.....88, 96, 176, 192 is better.....as you go up the steps better and better.....generally.

the Trinity dac has easily the finest sounding redbook I have yet heard. it overcomes all the inherent artifacts of PCM playback and takes it to another level. as a 15 year very strong proponent of dsd and a person with 3000+ CD's sitting dormant 'for years' until 6 weeks ago, I was blown away by hearing redbook on the Trinity dac. it changed my world view of things digital. but....and this is a big but......it takes a very high effort to overcome PCM's artifacts. dsd is much easier to approach optimization.

I have 7 terabytes of PCM, and another 8 terabytes of dsd, and so I have plenty of data to have a pretty good idea of how this works. I also have a server set-up which is pretty SOTA, the CAPS v4 Pipeline with additional hot-rodded LPS units added.

last month I ripped 1500 of my 3000 CD's.....and after I recover from all that i'll rip the remaining 1500. I'm delighted to be reacquainted with my old CD friends in their shiney new clothes. lots of great music which now sounds so much better.

cheers,

mikel"

Geoff Kait
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This is the beginning of a new era

This is precisely to what I am referring.

If one has a high end (expensive) digital setup, it can sound very very good... Perhaps beating out vinyl and definitely CD players.

However, it will take a year and a half more of Moore's Law and general economics of "more powerful and cheaper" electrical components before we see this level of performance in the sub $1,000 category.

It's only a matter of time.

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The cost of tea in China

Later in that thread on hi res downloads and Redbook and behind Mike L reveals the cost of the Trinity DAC he is so enamored with is 58 Grand. Let's hope all that technology filters down to the working man in a hurry. :-)

Geoff Kait
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Answered on different thread.

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Reply to Geoff

Geoff:

I missed the part where it mentioned the cost of the digital system. Yikes!

Perhaps it will take more time than expected for the technology to lessen in cost.

Regards,

Ron

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Trinity was First A-bomb test. There's also Holy Trinity...

I can point you to the hi res and Trinity DAC thread if you like. Michael, please don't elaborate. Heheheh

Folks would be a lot better off if they believed in too much rather than too little. - PT Barnum

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Further observations regarding the Dynamic Range Database

These are some further thoughts on the Official Dynamic Range Database, a compendium of the minimum, average and maximum dynamic range measured for a great many albums,

o By and large reissues of popular albums became more and more compressed dynamic range wise as time goes by.

o Some of the biggest sacred cows have been the biggest victims of dynamic range compression. For both reissues AND new releases. Examples, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones. Once these artists were recorded with great dynamic range but those days are long gone. Just take a gander at the Dynamic Range Database to see what I mean.

o In some cases you will observe that DVD-A produces the highest Dynamic Range of the various media on which an artist appears. Disregarding that fact for a moment, the medium with the next highest dynamic range is Vinyl. In fact, for most artists, vinyl is far and away the big winner when it comes to dynamic range.

o CDs unfortunately fare rather poorly especially when examined over the last say 30 years, with the unmistakable drift downwards to the point where instead of GREEN, GREEN, GREEN is shown for Average, Minimum and Maximum dynamic range on that particular recording it's RED, RED, YELLOW or some such thing. Could even be RED, RED, RED.

o Some artists have for whatever reason escaped the whole dynamic range compression thing. Frank Zappa springs to mind.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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vinyl & personal experience

Hi Geoff

How do these sound on your turntable?

Don't you think that instead of quoting and referencing what others think, it would have more meaning for you to talk about your recent personal experience?

For example

I have a listener in Malaysia who moved his RT Square slightly and says the dynamic range increased dramatically with the soundstage becoming far more realistic, moving forward as well dropping back into layers with far more presence and dynamic impact within those layers. He talked about the tone & timbre of specific instruments within that stage and how he was able to shape the specifics at will.

How do you tie this in with dynamic range testing, and your personal experience with making some of these recordings more or less dynamic in practical terms? In other words, how does what your saying relate to your or anyones actual listening experience?

Someone saying Tape, Vinyl, File or CD is relative to someones own experience and level of skill as a participating listener. Same holds true with recording, production and testing of dynamic ranges.

Another example

A listening test among several high end listeners was just conducted with an audiophile club in Singapore where the listeners all used the same recording and went around to several of the listeners homes and compared. There were several types of sources used during this including vinyl, tape, CD and files. Once they agreed on the system that gave the best performance, it was revealed that the source used was an MP3.

I've personally attended a few of these events in different parts of the world and in every case it came down to the specifics of system setups and not the source. Most recently a test was conducted Discrete vs Eqed systems. The Equalized system outperformed the discrete system by quite a margin.

My point is, this hobby is about actually "doing" and the conditions of that doing. These wide sweeping general statements don't mean a whole heck of a lot to the hobbyist conducting more advanced listening. Digital vs ? is only talk until the practical application is applied, and when so, there is a huge range of variables to consider when doing listening or testing.

I find that experts in the industry can sometimes be limited by their experiences or lack of. Proof is in the doing and at what level of listening is taking place. Articles & reports are only as accurate as the level in which the conductor is conducting, and this is usually all over the map in levels.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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