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Interesting comments from a Naim dealer - must read!


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Interesting, said, with my best British accent.

 

 

http://forums.naim-audio.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8772903417/m/9322994627

 

 

Claims regarding sound improvements from an upgraded power supply for an external hard drive, if I read it properly. Disappointment at not being able to use their expensive USB cable to connect to the hard drive.

 

Claims that several ripping engines were tested, all sounded different, the Naim version was the best - natch - and iTunes sounded horrible.

 

enjoy,

clay

 

 

 

 

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He,

 

don't want to be rude, but both of you are feeding very similar debates here on CA.

 

It's not very hard to find the same laughable issues here : bit for bit vs (kind of/position on) media - cables - software playback quality - ...

 

I haven't read the whole stuff, but what is it that you find outrageous there, that is not here ?

 

Just curious,

Elp

 

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Moved to create an account by that. Good to see that Emperors new cloths syndrome is alive and well and apparently knows no geographical boundries. Not quite sure however why a Kiwi Naim dealer would speak with a british accent oh well.

 

But seriously a lot of very interesting thought provoking and useful material on here despite the excesses of a few so keep up the good work.

 

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Hi ELP - As I said, I'm not into bad mouthing people on other sites. I think it's much better to voice criticism directly to the person who made the comments. This usually means posting on another forum if that's where the comments originated. Thus, I'm not going to list the things I find a bit over the top on the specific Naim thread in question.

 

Can you point to something similar here on CA where you think I was feeding similar debates? I'm interested to read your opinion on this one as I don't think I've gone over the top while keeping a very open mind.

 

Thanks ELP

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Hi Chris,

 

fair enough not to spit at the face of the defenseless :) That was really not my intention.

As I said, I haven't read the whole thing, so I must be missing something here, that seems very outrageous to you all. But since you won't comment it, I will still be missing it (maybe my understanding of english is too limited...).

 

As for pointing parts of CA, no, there are far too many of them (and I don't have time to recollect them all).

What I meant was : If I take random comments on the other forum thread, I'm reading the very same debates that take place here.

 

For instance, I read a thread of the same files uploaded/downloaded, with the same crc, sounding clearly different according to some, no later than yesterday here on CA. I'm not saying that's not true (altough as a software architect, I don't buy much of it) but definitely that looks like the same kind of debates. So why would you be participating (or not participating, which is also a clue) into such debates here, and find them ridiculous outside CA ?

The question of the software playback quality, although presumably bit-perfect, is consistently debated here too. XX(High?)End vs the rest of windows players, Amarra vs the rest of windows/mac os players, ... Again something that's debated into both places. Cables too are oftenly raising questions here, not to mention tests.

 

My feeling was that it was looking like a loopback directly to CA contents, and I found that amusing that you were all laughing. Now I like CA very much, and especially the ability to debate everything.

But I hate when it comes to feeling superior to others, which is a typical forum plague.

Sorry if my feeling here is all wrong.

 

Elp

 

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Wow, it's a small world....

 

As relayed on the Naim forum, I listened to the system concerned however I wasn't present when said listening tests were undertaken. I ran a few CD's and listened to a couple of Hi-res tracks off the HDX (BTW, the Naim rig sounded awesomely natural).

 

In the defense of Pure Hi-Fi you'll have to excuse the odd possible faux pas in Bruce's run down as you may have picked up they are relative newbies to CA. But with the advent of Naim's HDX and DAC, they are on a trial/error learning slope like many of us.

 

Granted, the post raises more questions than answers but if they heard what they heard then I'll accept that.

 

Perhaps I'm being defensive here and OK, PureHIFI is a dealer and they put it out there but I think that by bringing that Naim post to the fore here at CA does smack of a tad smugness and it isn't cricket old chap!!

 

It's all good Clay!

Respect.

:-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naim 282/250/hi-cap/cd5xs/dac/stageline, mac book pro/fidelia/amarra hifi/halide bridge, rega p3/24, focal utopia scala

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Hi Elp - There certainly are conversations here that are similar to the one over on the Naim forum. However when they do pop up here I do leaves comments expressing my opinion. One recent thread pertained to two identical files sounding different. You can see my comments here

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Computer-Audiophile-CD-Ripping-Strategy-and-Methodology#comment-30199

 

Here is a snippet from my post. I usually post my opinion on every topic I can including some I find similar to the Naim post. The Naim one was even more over the top than the two identical file conversation, but I don't think it's too far off from the recent conversation here about putting tape on the CD drive when ripping to get better rips. I totally see your point and it's very valid. I just disagree when it comes to my participation or non-participation in such topics.

 

Have a great day :~)

 

"In the spirit of the bulk of the above discussion, I will go on record as stating I do not believe two identical CRC'd files can sound different if all else is equal. In my opinion it's nonsense to believe two of the same thing could give different results if all else is equal. In a way it seems like people are imagining something smaller than a "bit" like a sub-bit that may be different, thus causing a sonic difference. There is no such thing as a bit (binary digit) that's in between zero (off) and one (on). Were are not talking about quantum computing, qubits, and the superposition of bit values here. It's my belief people are barking up the wrong tree. Looking for differences that make things unequal in the playback system is likely the cause of sonic differences people are hearing."

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Chris,

 

I was a little provocative as a result of my overall feeling (that I tried to explain) ;)

 

Definitely, I'm not questioning the quality of your involvement, and your comments are always awaited.

 

CA is the only place where I read/post.

I can't think of a better driven place.

 

Elp

 

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....equals market opportunity! Quite a number of industries exist almost entirely on the back of people's insecurities - health, beauty, whacko food - and none more so than high end audio! Create a doubt, create a product that addresses that 'doubt' - classic.

 

At least in the public arena of forums the opportunity exists to challenge some of this 'doubt' creation!

 

Me? I certainly used to be quite insecure about my system, but now I'm not so sure.

 

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Y'know, there's actually a *load* of entirely engineering based plausible reasons why any or all of those observations could be heard. There's so many variables in a demonstration like that, the numbers of permutations are hard to characterize. That's even leaving out the variables between individual observers.

 

Just as an example or two...

 

If you've ever worked on a system that includes digital-analog conversion, you know that the cleanliness of the clock is *very* important. Any noise or undesired tones on this clock can and will be evident at the system output. Well, guess what? One of the top couple contributors to the degradation of the clock signal is the power source. This can be corrupted in far too many ways to discuss here.

 

Part of the designer's job is to minimize the effects of any external noise source that might affect the clock, within the constraints of the design. Constraints like manufacturability, size, weight, and cost. It takes really significant effort to minimize incoming signals that originate on the power mains from getting through to the clock. Not too many people are willing to pay for that.

 

When you connect to the AC mains for your power source, it's a lot like tapping into the storm sewer system for your drinking water. A three terminal regulator is NOT adequate to do the filtering job. This can be measured with test equipment. It should be no surprise that changing from one switching supply for a hard drive plugged into the wall to another *could* possibly have some real and measurable effect.

 

What these supplies might add to the power mains or even directly to the system through some common mode or other connection is impossible to say without some kind of measurement or other analysis.

 

As far as two seemingly identical files sounding different, just how far fetched is that, really? If you look at explanations of how hard drives store data, you can quickly learn that except under some controlled circumstances, various portions of the files can be placed almost anywhere on the disk platters. Ever defragment your hard drive? Who knows where the various parts of each file were placed.

 

Accessing these file segments requires a lot of mechanical movement to align that portion of the platter with the drive head. This takes power supply current. Does the current this takes and the noise that is generated migrate through the system? Maybe. So, it's possible that if one file was somewhat contiguous on a platter and a second copy was not, different system results could take place even though the basic file was the same as far as the bit content goes.

 

It's really easy to dismiss people's observations as a bunch of baloney if that suits the circumstances. When many people or even just a few trained people all make the same observations, there probably is a reason if you dig enough. Yeah, it could be some deluded group think conclusion, an illusion, or even fraud. But it should be able to disprove any observations just as easily as it would be to prove them.

 

No, I don't have a horse in this race. I've never even heard any Naim equipment. But I have heard for myself similar effects that "experts" have said were impossible and that I was imagining what I observed. It's funny how that always seems to go. First, the observation is labeled as Bull$*&^. Then some measurements are made, and they're labeled the same. Later, an explanation is offered which gains the same title. Then a remedy is tried, which also gets the same name. Then some time later, one or all of the experts make this wonderful discovery... Sadly, this is how it works, not just in audio.

 

 

 

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don't have time for individual responses to all posts, so I'll try to encapsulate everything here.

 

First off, yes, it was probably not 'cricket' for me to guffaw in print. For the record my laughter was induced when I had believed that they actually heard a difference between USB cables connected to their hard drive. I re-read it, and realized my mistake, but by then well, I was already laughing.

 

Regarding 'interesting' as said in a British accent, rather than Kiwi, let me explain. This is a word often used (in my old firm) to explain the potential clash between American optimism & British dry wit in corporate settings. To wit, when presented with a wacky idea by an American subordinate, the British manager might say 'interesting', when he means 'not bloody likely', or worse.

 

CG, yes, I agree that there might be valid engineering reasons for some of this, just as there are contrary reasons why it shouldn't matter in a well engineered product. As one of the posters said, although rather more pointedly - if these observations are true, the Naim must be quite sensitive to outside influences.

 

As for my own contribution to the same sort of audiophile nervosa, I won't disagree with any who might see a bit of hypocrisy. (Sh)It happens, and thanks so much for pointing it out, even if it should have been obvious. The short story is - I am (usually) very open-minded about what can be heard by others - more so than most, it would seem - although I don't make purchases or recommendations based on such, rather, I try to understand what could be a "real world" basis for that which I do not experience/hear.

 

Chris has made it quite clear that he allows open discussion here on CA (without agreeing with all positions, frequently sharing his dissenting position).

 

And in the small world department, I noticed this post at HDD Forum, where former members Tim, Ashley, Shenzi, and Darren hang out.

 

Finally, it's probably obvious to many but - I take a much more hard line view with respect to the comments of manufacturers/dealers/etc. than with individual posters. That there guys were calling iTunes rips 'horrible' and suggesting that the Naim rips were clearly better is clearly 'over the line' from my perspective.

 

We all have our own perspective (as to the placement) of the lunatic fringe, and of course, no one thinks they are one of the lunatics.

 

yes, it's all good.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

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In my mind, a lot of what some call audio nervosa is very real.

 

For a whole collection of reasons, people hear differently and interpret sounds differently. No matter how inconvenient that may be for some groups. So to dismiss out of hand what people might hear is just plain folly.

 

Where I personally have an issue is when some well meaning people, and some who may not be, offer explanations that are not based on nothing but explanations that work for them. Or pay off for them. However, these goofy explanations do not necessarily negate the observation.

 

If you went to the physician and told him/her that you had a pain in your arm, that is a valid observation. Whether the same level of injury or damage would cause pain of the same magnitude in anybody else is up for question. But, it's your arm and you're in pain. When you tell the physician you remember bumping into something, that also is a good observation. When you suggest that maybe Martians targeted you for some bumping experiment, you might be making a very accurate assessment, but you may not have any reason to think that other than it came into your head and sounded good. It could be true, of course, but just having it pop into your head as an explanation may be hard to explain. It might be better to stick with your observation of getting bumped so the doctor can treat your arm.

 

On the other hand, a lot of people's angst over their audio system is based on some form of insecurity or some psychological reason that a professional in the field might be able to explain. Changing out equipment and all that when in fact you are not able to tell the difference is not very reasonable. Just because someone somewhere really can hear a difference they find meaningful, does NOT mean you will. So, sweating over something that your auditory processing system just isn't attuned to is silly. BUT, that does not mean that because you can't hear something that others can not. And vice versa. Honesty with one's self just has to be a virtue.

 

Back to self-enforced radio silence. Arguments like this don't add to my own enjoyment of the hobby.

 

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Very well said, CG

 

"On the other hand, a lot of people's angst over their audio system is based on some form of insecurity or some psychological reason that a professional in the field might be able to explain. Changing out equipment and all that when in fact you are not able to tell the difference is not very reasonable. Just because someone somewhere really can hear a difference they find meaningful, does NOT mean you will. So, sweating over something that your auditory processing system just isn't attuned to is silly. BUT, that does not mean that because you can't hear something that others can not. And vice versa. Honesty with one's self just has to be a virtue."

 

The last sentence, in particular, bears repeating (again), so I shall.

 

"Honesty with one's self just has to be a virtue."

 

One of the things I personally find most frustrating in this hobby is the insistence of those who can/do not hear something that it is not possible for others to do so. Apparently, I've shown evidence of just such behaviour.

 

many thanks,

clay

 

 

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Thanks for your posts, CG. I find that people who quickly debunk what others (plural) claim to hear do so on some combination of shaky theory, poor thinking and inexperience with critical listening. I mean, by physics, everything affects the sound of a component, every resistor, every capacitor, every power-line leaping lizard. I have never understood what is so controversial about that. And if it takes a trained ear to hear some of those differences, well, c'est la vie, that's our universe for you. And if snake-oil salespeople can exploit the necessary subjective element in differentiating sonic qualities, well, c'est la vie, that's our universe for you. But these latter do not add up to a theory that sonic differences do not exist. That's just poor thinking, a faulty inference based on an inadequately developed intuitive faculty.

 

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Thanks Clay for taking my comment in the light-hearted nature it was meant.

 

I agree with your statement below. Definitely not apples with apples in the i-tunes and HDX comparison. Bit like comparing an Alfa with a Maserati. Both are good but do different jobs at different price points.

 

Clay said -

That there guys were calling iTunes rips 'horrible' and suggesting that the Naim rips were clearly better is clearly 'over the line' from my perspective.

 

 

 

Naim 282/250/hi-cap/cd5xs/dac/stageline, mac book pro/fidelia/amarra hifi/halide bridge, rega p3/24, focal utopia scala

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As CG has correctly pointed out, in this industry at times it is hard to know what to dismiss out of hand as being plainly ridiculous, and that which is an effect we don't understand.

 

I'm firmly in the "I don't understand how different players if configured the same can sound different" camp, and I couldn't say I can hear a difference, but that doesn't mean to say that differences don't exist, or that people who say that can hear them are liars.

 

Additionally, you have various subtle interactions between components that, again may or may not be audible to anyone on any system.

 

With all of these things, please consider the context of the tests being done, and the actual magnitude of changes being heard. In this case, on a Naim forum by a bloke selling an HDX, with no way of verifying how everything is set-up, it does rather smack of a salesman selling stuff.

An interesting point with regard to e.g. switching PSUs affecting equipment in the chain, is whether the equipment that is affected is either poorly designed, or extra-revealing, and, again your mileage may vary.

 

Some things I would have trouble accepting:

 

As a thought experiment, rip the same CD using say iTunes and EAC. Now take both files, and verify they are the same. If you copy these 2 files onto 2 identical, blank memory sticks, play them twice, and can hear a difference between the second set, I'd be really hard pressed to accept it...

 

Now, add some 0's to the start of each track, and see if it sounds different... ( my thoughts on this are on AA )

 

A final point, which is this: People have different tastes, as stated by CG. This is a marvellous thing - how boring would the world be if everybody thought the same car was the best, or the same kind of holiday, or speakers, or DACs?

 

your friendly neighbourhood idiot

 

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"how boring would the world be if everybody thought the same car was the best, or the same kind of holiday, or speakers, or DACs?"

 

Yeah - how could you one up your neighbor in a world like that??

 

BTW, those would be interesting tests...

 

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As long as Linn don't!

I read the Blog from the NZ dealers, very interesting sales push, the usual overextending of facts to help sell products.

Everyone does it, so why are we so upset about it?

Just sit back, relax, and listen to some music.

 

Don't hurt me CA peeps......

 

Michael J. Howell[br]Macbook Pro, Airport Extreme Base Station, AppleTV, Majik, Numerik, Katans. Linn Silver and Audioquest 3 Toslink, AQ - Indigo (bi-wire), Mapleshade Bedrocks (yes these actually work).

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