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Article: The Show Newport, Day 2


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The positive thing about the "vinyl researgence" is that IF the people buying vinyl are younger people it MAY lead them to exploring other high quality music playback rather than just sticking with iTunes downloads and Spotify.

 

Apart from that IF and MAYbe the vinyl sales are a drop in the ocean though they are the only growth in sales (rather than streaming) at least in the UK from sales figures I've seen.

 

(This isn't disagreeing with Chris' comments on vinyl)

 

PS. another plea ... After the show any chance of you going back and putting captions on your photos as not all are clear what is on display...

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Nice article Chris. Keep stirring. There is a lot of BS being slung around in audiophilo-land and stirring is the only hope we have.

 

I believe there is more difference cause by mic selection, placement and compression than all of the formats and resolutions combined.

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I think the quad DSD argument was not about NATIVE Quad DSD recordings (of which only a miniscule amount exists), but HQP DS modulation up to Quad DSD with your favourite RBCD material. RBCD is the most ubiquitous format available, at least in digital.

 

Upconversion means you get the "best" human recording effort and the most suitable playback format…win, win.

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Totally agree with you regarding vinyl Chris. Audiophiles who use vinyl always have and will always continue to, the new growth in sales over the last few years are mostly from a younger generation, i'm very doubtful that they are doing it because of the quality, the majority are picking up on vinyl because it's trendy and retro and the cool new thing to do.

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I think the quad DSD argument was not about NATIVE Quad DSD recordings (of which only a miniscule amount exists), but HQP DS modulation up to Quad DSD

 

No, the speaker discussing it was talking about native Quad DSD recordings and Analog to Quad DSD transfers.

 

If you have Quad DSD playback, the good news is that you can try all of the above - native Quad DSD recordings, Analog to Quad DSD transfers and music upsampled to Quad DSD. :)

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In regards to your numbers: the so called audiophile market is a minuscule, almost insignificant niche of the market for the big labels. So, comparing anything that might be considered "audiophile" to anything mainstream is relatively apples-and-oranges. That said, I agree with you that the vast majority of vinyl sales growth is to bearded and mustachioed hipsters is purely a fad. The idea they are seeking "quality" is an assumption that you really can't make. I'd venture a cheapish ipod dock will sound better than a similarly priced all-in-one record player like you can pickup at your local urban outfitters.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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If vinyl was really "coming back" you know that the big players in the audio industry would be all over it. They spend money doing surveys and using software to scour the 'Net for insight into what prospective buyers are seeking. And if the vinyl medium for highest quality source is in some revival you'd see better quality manufacturing (lathes and such) coming back. Anyone hear if that's really a growth industry. For growth I think we all know it continues to be portability, streaming, the death of the album in favor of songs without any concern for liner notes (hey, just Google it), etc.

Steve Schaffer

Roon Nucleus/ dCS Vivaldi Upsampler - DAC - Clock / Spectral DMC-30SV preamp / Spectral Anniversary monoblocks / Wilson Audio Alexia 2 / Shunyata Everest / Shunyata interconnects & power cables & Ethernet / Uptone EtherREGEN switch / Cybershaft OP21A-D / Uptone JS2

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I have no doubt about the sound quality value of higher sample rates. Even in my middle of the road-ish main audio system, playing the same song at different sample rates, I can tell you which is which. My wife, who professes to not be able to hear anything really can also tell. We've had guests over who got up from the dinner table and went in to listen to a song they knew well and listened to a lot on CD, wanting to know why it sounded so different. With one significant set of exceptions-

 

As you so correctly pointed out, the quality of the people making the music is more important than sample rates. (To a point... 128k sample rates do, in fact, suck.) More precisely, the decisions made in producing and finalizing the music for distribution are more important than sample rates. I have a recent glaring, blaring example in the new Alabama Shakes album. I'd picked it up on iTunes when it first came out since I was on the road for a bit and wanted to listen. Meantime, my wife bought the album for me from HD Tracks. I can assure you, it sounds no different in the iTunes version than in the 44/24 HD Tracks version. The music is squashed down - or should I say squashed up - into such a narrow "hey listen to me" loud and flat dynamic range that it may even be OK at 128k. Several other groups I like a lot have the same issues - the Black Keys, for example, compress the daylights and some of the soul out of their music for release.

 

Thankfully not everyone does it. As Joan Armatrading points out in the great review on one of the other audio sites, what we get is all squashed up compared to what you listen to in the studio, because musicians and producers know that music gets listened to on a whole huge range of devices, most of which are NOT decent quality home audio systems. By the time you've made something sound good for an FM station through a crappy car radio, it doesn't matter if its iTunes or 192/24. I'm in recording and mixing studios from time to time, and have heard the debates about whether to mix for the little cheap speakers or the nice big ones.

 

I now try to sample-listen to anything new before buying in any format. Listening to samples on iTunes seems to be a decent predictor - if it sounds dynamic on iTunes, it'll be more dynamic in a better file format. If it sounds AM radio-ish, iTunes gets my money. But quad rate DSD... well, my ears top out at double rate.

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Chris

I was there yesterday but did not have luck to meet you.

Re vinyl

Went to Kubala room and listened to Fremer,s Dean Martin 192 followed by newly reissued vinyl:there was no doubt about vinyl sounded much,much better.

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Chris

I was there yesterday but did not have luck to meet you.

Re vinyl

Went to Kubala room and listened to Fremer,s Dean Martin 192 followed by newly reissued vinyl:there was no doubt about vinyl sounded much,much better.

Great to hear you like the vinyl. I've never had an issue with people's sound quality preferences.

 

I wonder if the two versions were from the same master or as Joel asked, if the digital was a vinyl rip. Either way, your preference is your preference :~)

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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On contrary, I have all digital stuff at home including DCS and I like it ,but as I stated before,the sound from Kronos turntable was clearly superior:everybody agreed :so it was not only my preference but 15? more listeners.

Mr Fremer knows the source of his music ! I do not.

 

To clarify I am not in vinyl now but may be I should

 

I could not find John Quick and his Roon presentation.

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Amen on the very reasonable comments around digital sample rates and the "resurgence" of vinyl Chris.

 

Absolutely, the work of an excellent artist, producer, mastering engineer trumps whatever beneficial putative effect can be heard from hi-res 24-bits/Quad DSD/ 96kHz+ samplerate any day.

 

Curious about the MQA demo - did they compare with a standard lossless 16/44 of that Sinatra/Flack/Clapton&King? At least until now, I didn't believe they did any A/B comparisons...

Archimago's Musings... A "more objective" blog for Rational Audiophiles.

Free The Music - No MQA!  :nomqa:

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Amen on the very reasonable comments around digital sample rates and the "resurgence" of vinyl Chris.

 

Absolutely, the work of an excellent artist, producer, mastering engineer trumps whatever beneficial putative effect can be heard from hi-res 24-bits/Quad DSD/ 96kHz+ samplerate any day.

 

Curious about the MQA demo - did they compare with a standard lossless 16/44 of that Sinatra/Flack/Clapton&King? At least until now, I didn't believe they did any A/B comparisons...

So far Meridian has been saying A/B demonstrations aren't possible because they are using newly mastered material. To A/B this stuff we'd need the master tape. Or, they could have just made non-MQA versions at the same time the MQA versions were made but elected not to.

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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So, Chris, like my demo comments from CES, how the heck does the listener know what MQA is bringing to the party? Yes, the system sounded good...so what! Lower bandwidth uploading (for the site) and downloading (for the consumer) is not exactly an audible benefit, so we need audible benefits. I find it absurd, frankly, that here we are 5 months later (than CES) and they still can't muster an a/b.

 

Great coverage so far...thanks.

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So, Chris, like my demo comments from CES, how the heck does the listener know what MQA is bringing to the party? Yes, the system sounded good...so what! Lower bandwidth uploading (for the site) and downloading (for the consumer) is not exactly an audible benefit, so we need audible benefits. I find it absurd, frankly, that here we are 5 months later (than CES) and they still can't muster an a/b.

 

Great coverage so far...thanks.

Your MQA comments were echoed by many people I talked to this weekend.

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Looks like MQA really is keeping on its promises of better sound so far?

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