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Taking stock: The Good, The Bad and the Bogus

I'm just shy of two years into this hobby. The new year is often a time of reflection and assessment. So here we go:   Good: I've benefitted from an enormous amount of helpful advice and generosity from folks here, have been introduced to new music, DIY projects, and new ways of looking at things. Listing names seems slightly tacky, and toxic if I manage to forget someone. That should not in any way detract from my sense of gratitude.   Bad: I find myself repeatedly sucked into the same

wgscott

wgscott

 

Rethinking the Computer Enclosure

Some people regard the appearance of a "computer" in an audio system setting as inappropriate and ugly. My wife does. I don't end up seeming to care that much, particularly as I am frequently swapping the things around, but I can surely appreciate the fine touch of someone like Jeffrey Stephenson. See some of his stunning work in wood at http://slipperyskip.com.  

curmudgeon

curmudgeon

 

Player software matters

In some threads, the "bits are bits" claim crops up with music server software. After all, why should a 695$ piece of software sound better than iTunes if both can be bit perfect?   Found this paper, and wanted to share in case some haven't seen it.   http://www.amr-audio.co.uk/large_image/MAC%20OSX%20audio%20players%20&%20Integer%20Mode.pdf   Other papers here: http://www.amr-audio.co.uk/html/dp777_tech-papers.html

david.parker83

david.parker83

 

I should have done this a while ago, but here it is...

Perhaps I should contribute and write a blog that no one will read...   Anyway, I am continuing to slowly rip my CDs using RubyRipper in Ubuntu Linux 11.04 after finding that they do, for some unexplained reason, sound better than the rips done with iTunes. I do have some theories as to why that is, one being that Linux and MPD like FLAC a lot more than any other file type, and the other being that RubyRipper takes a lot more care to get an accurate rip than iTunes does. However, I transcode

AudioDoctor

AudioDoctor

 

Listening to the Ocean

Sometimes, to combat my tinnitus, I just listen to white noise for background. I have found an intriguing substitute with LIDO (Listening to the Deep Ocean environment). LIDO is a website that presents realtime and archived seafloor acoustic observations around the globe in a scientific effort to evaluate bioacoustic factors and identify geo-hazards that affect marine life and the ocean environment. And you can listen in "low quality" or "high quality"!   Check out the site: http://listento

curmudgeon

curmudgeon

 

Three Players and a Shout Out

Over the last two days I've been comparing three players: Puremusic, Audirvana, and Fidelia. All are the versions available for download. I have to say that when I was reading threads in the forums I was puzzled that so many people had multiple players. I couldn't think of any good reason why. Well after a few days I now have a pretty good idea why – they sound different. Very different. All have some strengths and depending on the listeners taste and associated equipment, could appeal to

LBob

LBob

 

Lioness ...

This was my Album of the Evening last night.   http://www.amazon.com/Lioness-Hidden-Treasures-Amy-Winehouse/dp/B0061JPYX2/   Guess this one is a bit controversial (was it a posthumous exploitative cash grab or the real deal treasure trove?). For me, as a big Amy fan, I knew I had to have it -- and it came to me as a Christmas gift -- but I'm still digesting the thing in terms of both music-ness and sonic pleasures. My Foobar2000's Dynamic Range Meter shows only one track at DR 10, with the

curmudgeon

curmudgeon

 

Music Players

Two helpful denizens of this site (Justin and Barrow) suggested a number of music players I should try now that I've got the basic set up working. I wanted to try BitPerfect but I have a problem with the Apple Store (I forgot my user name and password) so I decided to take a look at PureMusic. The download went smoothly which is always a plus and it came up just fine. Pushed play and... nothing. Oops. So per Justin I read the manual. Ahhh. Have to set the output in PureMusic. OK, click c

LBob

LBob

 

Pretty Much Peachy

So the Peachtree DACiT arrived yesterday morning. After taking it in from the cold (couple of hours on the porch in bracing 28 degree Nebraska morning weather) and letting it get to room temperature I plugged the little guy in. Lights came on. Always a good sign. Plugged in the USB cable (nicely idiot proof!), selected the DAC from the system menu, called up iTunes and pushed play. Darned if tunes didn't come out. This is the kind of set up I like!!   First up was the Duncan & Brady (

LBob

LBob

 

Now It Begins

So I have been playing around with the idea of computer audio since my second bookshelf is now nearly full of CDs. It seems like a great idea, as it would solve the space problem, make it much easier to manage the collection, and at least potentially give me equal or (hopefully superior) sonics. The last objective is the deal breaker. I won't compromise on that. The system now consists of an Esoteric SA-10 (intro level) CD player, Ayre K5xe preamp, Bryston 4BSST amp, and Wilson Sophia v1 spea

LBob

LBob

 

AV interfaces: XBMC, Plex, Front Row and all that

More slightly off-topic stuff.   Like many Mac mini owners, my audio server is also a video server. My attention span is better suited to a CD than a two-hour movie, so I seldom sit still long enough to watch movies on TV. But others in the family like to, occasionally. So I have Front Row on the mini, and then I have an ATV2 as well. The mini seems to prefer its HDMI hose to connect directly to the TV, whereas the HDMI from ATV2 goes to my AVR (Marantz NR 1402, which, for a $350 receiver,

wgscott

wgscott

 

Amnesty International and Bob Dylan

You have probably already heard that Amnesty International, as a fundraiser, is to release in late January 2012 an album of some 70 covers of Bob Dylan pieces. You can now listen online and pre-order here: http://www.facebook.com/amnestyusa?sk=app_115392725211599   The 4 CD collection is $24.99, with digital downloads ("high bitrate" MP3s) for $19.99. I will be ripping my CDs to FLAC, thank you.   And here's the complete tracklisting: http://www.nme.com/news/bob-dylan/60580

curmudgeon

curmudgeon

 

Listening session on Music Culture line of products

Along with 14 other subscribers to a local web forum I attended on 10th Dec 2011 a demonstration by the designer and owner Wolfgang Meletzky of his Music Culture line of products. Mr Meletzky was former designer and owner of MBL of Germany, when several years ago he sold off MBL and later started the Music Culture line. The demonstration was held in a demo room of a local hi fi shop in a mall. This room is about 150 to 200 sq ft with the speakers placed about midway between listener and the bac

francisleung

francisleung

 

A Curmudgeonly Top Ten for 2011

Okay, everybody else does this around this time of each year. You will soon get sick of such lists, I suspect. Anyway, my kids and I play this little game of naming our top ten albums (non-classical and non-jazz, those to be worked up later) of the year. This, just off the top of my head in a few minutes, so I'm bound to have overlooked something (and haven't even checked out all of these on the latest iteration of the Cherished-But-Modest Chez Curmudgeon Sound System):   Beirut: The Rip Ti

curmudgeon

curmudgeon

 

My audio system may make me lose my job

I work from home and always have music in the background when I am not on conference calls. Until recently this was more background music. Over the past few months my system has undergone a significantly evolution. Recently I am finding I get distracted from my work by the music. It is not uncommon for me to be nose down in my computer and then my ear catches something in the music and the next thing I know I am no longer working but rather getting engaged in listening.   I can’t tell if t

Jsmith

Jsmith

 

Remotes

I felt like starting a thread on remotes (rather than a blog topic) would be off-topic, but most folks here are presumably users of remote control devices, and probably have a lot of experience.   Edit: I did not see Chris's review of RedEye here until now.   I feel like my remote-control system is adequate, but sub-optimal. It is good enough for me, but the rest of the family doesn't really appreciate my approach very much: Incompetent, often incontinent, psychotic dwarves and obstreperou

wgscott

wgscott

 

Bowers and Wilkins Society of Sound

When I first started out, which was about April of 2010, I bought a year subscription to the B&W Society of Sound, for about $60. After letting it lapse between April 2011 and now, I just renewed it yesterday.   In addition to two selected albums per month, you can download a bunch of stuff from their back catalogue.   The recordings are for the most part 24-bit, 48 kHz recordings. The technical quality has been quite uniformly good, even if the sampling frequency isn't really high. (

wgscott

wgscott

 

Digital updates and the joy of analog

King Rex did in fact ship a U-Power and a UD384 and now I need to find some time to slot it in. I really like that battery pack -- however that review ends up, that widget might just have to stick around to drive the power leg of my Acoustic Revive USB-SP cable.   Burson Audio also sent me a DA-160. Nice DAC! It got a bit rattled in the shipment, however, so that one went back. Still working on out what and when the replacement will be.   In the meantime, the Berkeley Pair (Alpha Series 2 an

Part-Time Audiophile

Part-Time Audiophile

 

FLAC vs WAV vs MP3 vs M4A Experiment

I wanted to try an experiment of measuring any differences between various media file formats as described in the title. Consider this, if you are hearing a difference when you change media file formats (e.g. from FLAC to WAV), then the audio waveform must have changed, and if it is has changed, then that change can be measured. While the waveform pictures in this article are technical, it really is a case of which picture does not belong with the others.   If you are comparing media file fo

mitchco

mitchco

 

Ipod Itunes remote app

I'm a newbie to the computer end of music.I'm getting into this slowly & kind of muddling through.I got a new Mac mini (with Lion OS) running my music with an external 2TB Mercury HD to a Wyred4sound Dac 2 to a Vincent SAT 8 & Edge G6 & Maggie 1.7's.I also have Pure Music as software for I Tunes.The music sounds very good ,even though it has not been set up without the extra tweeks & fine tuning like hog mode etc.I recently purchased an I POD touch to use as a remote.The remote

wooferman

wooferman

 

Hearing What's Not There

Man 'stabbed himself to death' after Them Crooked Vultures gig gave him tinnitus .... went the screaming headline from a few days ago. For a moment, I thought it was some sort of Onion-esque black humor, but it was apparently very real. And very tragic.     FLASHBACK #1 - OCTOBER 14, QUITE A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO   The early morning sun cascades through the floor-to-ceiling windows of my art studio loft and across my bed. But I am already awake, with a sudden deaf-making level of pounding

curmudgeon

curmudgeon

 

Mac Mini question

I am about ready to purchase a mac mini and DAC (?bryston) to hook into my high-end audio system. I've got 2 questions:   1. I was going to run HDMI out to LED screen so I can see computer desktop and programs. But then I need audio out to DAC. Is it possible to "split" video to LED screen and audio to DAC? Which audio out?   2. What is the best digital connection to DAC. Haven't bought a DAC yet.   Thanks Todd

TGoldblum

TGoldblum

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