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Interesting Conversations Elsewhere ...


Just came across this thread, on ASR, https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/those-of-you-who-believe-measurements-arent-the-whole-story-do-you-have-a-hypothesis-why-that-is.25416/. This has the usual round of non-thinking comments, but at least a couple of posters are putting up some interesting contributions. In particular, escksu. And, atmasphere - as a manufacturer of tube amps, he's game to want to join in, :).


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Okay, repeating myself here, almost, but this woman has got a great grasp of what the goal is, https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/music-is-fundamental-to-almost-everyone.33831/. I disagree with some of her suggested methods, but her intent is on the money ...


"Density" of the sound in the listening space is a huge part of what makes the experience 'magical' - if a system can't do this without making you uncomfortable, then it isn't, yes, competent; it's not trivial to achieve this, by a long shot, but most certainly is attainable ... :).

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Diving right in the middle of another thread here, which is discussing the performance of another top line DAC contender - for a reason: that the difference between a standard performing rig, and one which is working at a competent level, is quite profound ... https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/lampizator-announcement-launch-of-our-all-new-totl-horizon-dac.33950/page-50


If one hasn't experienced what digital reproduction is capable of presenting, as a step change in the experience, then all the description of what it's like most likely won't make sense - but the comments here help to fill in the picture, a bit more ... :).

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That other forum is a good source of material, for making comments, :D ...


Here, https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/the-best-sound-i-have-heard-was-found-at-jacob-heilbrunns-house.33819/, it starts off well - describing what it's like to listen to competent playback. But then it rapidly degenerates into the usual audiophile twaddle - becoming obsessed with precisely what and what and what was used, and "I wonder how it would sound if they changed to a ..." comments.


This is the usual lopsided thinking of audio enthusiasts, believing that what they hear is entirely shaped by the equipment used - the recording is soft dough, to be baked into something edible by the brilliance of the pastry chef, and the stove.


Ummm, no ... for the 999,999th time, ;)

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This is a good one ... https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/reality-is-overrated-when-it-comes-to-recordings-article-from-music-engineer-producer.33148/


In particular, the OP - I agree ... some of the most impressive recordings I have use OTT production techniques; the albums of the 80's have massive soundstages, with stuff happening in a fantasy of layering and space - and I love it! Something that would almost impossible to pull off, in a live gig by the band, etc; but as sound adventures, they are a true delight!!

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And to be more correct to what this thread should be about, https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/what-specifically-is-better-or-different-about-the-wadax-design-how-do-these-design-choices-manifest-in-better-sound.35197/


An interesting description in one post by Mike Lavigne, responding to a question about what he meant by "a non musical artifact",



where you get information glossed over, congealing on complicated passages, edge here and there assumed part of the recording, smearing of transients, lack of fine micro-dynamics, absence of tonal density, lack of textures and timbral delicacy. i'm sure i've missed many, i did not make a list as it's easy hear when you A/B. lots of little things that add up to a higher realism


Yep. That's as good a list as any ... in many cases, it would take listening to a system that lacks those artifacts, and playing recordings familiar to you, to appreciate how crucial it is to get the areas lacking in integrity under control ...

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Just a post in a thread that nicely sums up the current audio world situation, https://www.stereonet.com/forums/topic/535430-how-do-i-make-digital-sound-as-good-as-vinyl-without-mortgaging-the-house/?do=findComment&comment=6039729.


The key point? That it has taken this long for a keen audio man to get digital to sound, ahem, "analogue like" :). That he can say, "For the first time I am actually relaxing while playing digital". Now, this is an indictment of the audio industry, that it is so difficult to reach this place; you can't just go out and and plunk your money down, and receive a rig that ticks the critical boxes ... without doing a huge amount of research, or going through interminable iterations of gear, trying to attain that level of satisfaction ...

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If the music is not making the moment special, then something needs to be sorted ... came out of the supermarket a couple of days ago, and there was a young girl, in the reverberant section of the ramp, "reserved for buskers", playing a violin. It was, absolutely glorious!! Rich, full, immersive - as far away from what, say, Yehudi Menuhin sounds like as you can get ... in a positive sense ^_^! All the ugliness of violin tone that accompanies substandard playback, and poor musicianship was absent - it was the sort of experience that would make one run straightaway to a music shop to buy one, and spend however long it took, to learn to play it properly ...

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https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/s-pdif-toslink-or-coax-computer-dac.23292/


What I found interesting here, is the cockiness of objectivists who are involved in the audio field - in particular, mansr, who participated in AS for many years. Here, he chooses to take to task those who believe that jitter gets worse with cable length, as a general rule - curious, I googled. And the first link that came up was this, https://www.maximintegrated.com/en/design/technical-documents/app-notes/1/1856.html - a proper study which clearly showed that jitter worsened with longer cables, in an extremely well defined manner.


Now, it was trivially easy for me to find this ... but as seems to be the case with the 'scientific' types in audio, there is a tendency to flare up with agitation at any hint that what audiophiles take into consideration, may actually have some truth in it - when they, the objectivists, personally don't worry about such. And so the battle lines remain drawn, :).

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Looking very interesting ... I would guess that PS Audio have been doing some solid work investigating noise and interference factors, and hopefully their new products have been significantly improved in engineering, to the point where band aids, er, tweaks, are far less necessary.


Is Paul and his crew actually looking much closer to the "right place"... ? We shall see, when reactions start coming in, ^_^.

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More pursuing of people who get "3D sound", https://www.stereonet.com/forums/topic/95817-3d-or-holographic-sound-how-and-tracks-for-testing/.


A good combination of various levels of the experience - note that most use the room to help the brain see the illusion; and that the cost of the gear is fairly irrelevant; and, of course, a focus on the speakers as being all important. What is expectedly missed is an understanding of what's going on - being, that the ear/brain is fed sufficient cues of adequate clarity to be able to 'see' what the microphones saw; and that it becomes easy for the mind to discard extraneous sounds, that is, all the auditory information that is unconnected to the contents of the recording. Nobody, IME, understands that such is a marker for transparency and accuracy of the setup, and is the outcome, every time, when any system is evolved to the necessary degree. This makes it easy to assess competency - how rock solid is the conjuring, under all conditions of one's location in the room, and 'quality' of recording?

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A bit of everything - some with speakers disappearing, and the holographic thing - but the interesting thing is that the quality step is so dramatic; the intensity of the 'new' experience is everything, :). Which is what the journey is about, for me - if the music gives the slightest hint of being "boring", then it ain't in the zone; one of the many markers of capable playback that one's ears are so astute at picking up ...

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A quite excellent run through by the designer of the PS Audio DirectStream DAC, of the considerations entailed in developing a "better" version of what they have sold up to now. Now, this gets pretty heavy duty; but why I mention it here is to point out that "digital to analogue conversion isn't simple" - if you want to achieve best accuracy then you have to worry about, well, everything. In particular, you need to be paranoid about voltages, layout and noise, from everywhere - the job is not done by just adding a few you beaut ICs that "do everything", on a straightforward circuit, in a simple box.


Which is why digital playback has been such a hard beast to tame - most commercial designs don't have the required attention to detail applied to them - and the listener, suffers. The solution many use, like myself, is to add 'cotton wool' in many, many forms around the raw components, to baby them; and hopefully get much closer to the full potential of the playback chain parts.

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From over 11 years ago, at least 3 of the posters have very good understanding of the aural illusion. Which again prompts one to wonder why this has not been investigated, or considered more thoroughly before? And why there is such a strong backlash against those who more strongly promote attempting to understand the behaviour, and developing methods for guaranteeing that one gets that level of presentation?


The battle, on a technical level, is enabling adequate integrity - that this is so fragile, is because of the lack of understanding of what's important, and that the components that one can buy at sensible prices have far too many weaknesses ... we're not there yet!! :D



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By member jazznut, some very nice pics; but the real point, for me, was that he divided his comments on rigs into sections from "disappointing" to "pretty damn good"; based largely on how well the setup was able to get out of the way, and approach convincing SQ. As always, the cost of the gear, and the potential of an individual component had almost zero to do with how it performed on the day - the perfect example is, that Wadax digital gear systems were in the disappointing basket.


How depressing can it get ... ? The fact that in 2022 one can't just plug together components costing almost ridiculous sums of money, and immediately hear a very high standard of SQ, irrespective of room, stabilisation and other conditions shows how far the industry still has to go - the sorting that people like myself do with much lower priced equipment should be completely unnecessary, at this level of rigs ...



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New version of PS Audio's DAC ... the interesting bit, :), is that a last minute SQ improvement is being implemented, at this very moment - by ripping out the carefully designed, meant-to-be-part-of-the-package, analogue volume adjustment circuitry ... why? Because parts which have mechanical aspects are bad news, frequently, in digital audio - one way or another, they introduce noise into the game; and the greater the potential of the setup to have top notch sound, the more obvious can be the degradation, by having such elements in the chain.


So, minimalism can be king in digital sound reproduction, if very carefully finessed - the fact that PS Audio are still learning the importance of this, considering how long they have been in the game, shows how hard it is to break old habits; and that the industry overall still has a way to go, to get a better handle on best methods.

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On 1/9/2022 at 3:36 PM, fas42 said:

And another one at the same place, https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/master-thread-are-measurements-everything-or-nothing.29062/.


Poor Ghoostknight ... how long is he going to last in that nest of vipers? :)


Noting that this is up to 200 pages worth ... has anything been resolved?


Of course not!! The chasm, "valley of despair", shown in the posting at the top of https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/master-thread-are-measurements-everything-or-nothing.29062/page-201

 can also be used to indicate where so many audio people end up, in their thinking - especially a lot of those on ASR :). The problem is, a refusal for people enthusiasts on both sides of the fence to accept that playback chains are generally borderline or worse in their levels of integrity, if their function is meant to be, that which is audibly transparent to the music of the source event capture. One lot wants to measure their way to nirvana, the other knows this is useless, but doesn't have any better method ... a recognition that getting optimum SQ isn't the result of magic(!!!) methods, whether technical or snake oil in character, escapes just about everyone - a long, hard slog of constant attention to detail is too boring for most to contemplate; and hence the ongoing, 200 pages of discussion going nowhere, like above link ... :D.

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I'm finding this extremely interesting - one, being the reactions to a major update on a product, which delivers far superior SQ, by virtue of getting engineering weaknesses sorted; and two, remaining flaws then undermining the usability and perceived quality of the unit ... but, it's in beta, so ...


A particular telling piece of feedback was,




Going back to listening to DS (original version of product), I was surprised how unfocused the music becomes. An obvious example with MK2 is with voice. I could pinpoint the voice that was coming from a singer singing on the stage 10 feet from me. With DS, well, the voice is coming from a singer with 12" mouth.


I do not think I ever thought DS was like that before.



Yes. You don't know what a system is getting wrong, until you hear the system changed in a significantly positive way; which now makes it obvious that the previous was very sub optimal. That's the nature of the journey ... ^_^.

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Another very, very telling thread, https://forum.psaudio.com/t/whats-with-modding-the-ds-mk-ii-already/31639.


Why? Because of the section starting with the post, by Gary_M,



Curious if anyone else is experiencing poorer recordings are now harder to listen to on the DSD MKII?


Which is immediately responded to by the designer of their new DAC, Ted, who puts forward the same thinking I have - the better the SQ, the less "bad recordings" you have, :).


Then the back and forth switches on, with those at the other end of the spectrum reacting, who believe the better the rig, the worse some albums should become ... in my book, "a cut off your nose to spite your face" outlook :P.


Part of this I'm sure is that many remasterings, and supposedly "very good" recordings no longer sound so special - well, it's because they ain't!! :D Quite often, they now come across as being a bit boring, compared to 'difficult' albums - because, the creativity with the sound was never there or as intense, in the first place ...

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A conversation here, which I won't pollute by posting there, :),


The concept within is the question of whether 'magic' components, or technologies are the answer ... umm, no, never. What is touched on and is of note is the idea of "transparent" - which is just another name for something that doesn't audibly distort. So, a really good amplifier, a "transparent" one, could have a 100 units daisy chained, one after the other - and what you hear after the the last one can't be distinguished from the input to the first ... a remarkably simple, obvious concept. So, why in 2023 is it still so hard to achieve ^_^?


So, we go the next step: everything in the chain that is not "transparent" is a problem - do we think making a "transparent", say, amplifier even more transparent is going to magical resolve things? Of course not! The answer, as discussed in that thread, is being aware that there are bits in the path that are the culprits, that impose their signature on what you hear - change that one bit, and everything changes ... . To put it another way, every system sounds like the worse parts of it - not the best parts.


What to do? Pretty straightforward - work out what in the playback path is currently least transparent, causing the most 'disturbing' distortion in what you hear; and sort that. And repeat. And repeat. Until you're happy with what you hear ... so simple, :).

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