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Audiophilia Forever: An Expensive New Year’s Shopping Guide


The Computer Audiophile
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Interesting article and great cartoon. 

 

204C6100-F0EA-4E5B-9D76-8C32A3244570.jpeg

 

The goal of audiophilia can never be reached. The quest itself is the point.

Illustration by Janne Iivonen

 

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/audiophilia-forever-an-expensive-new-years-shopping-guide

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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We audiophiles want timbal accuracy. We want the complex strands of an orchestral piece disentangled, voice recordings that reveal chest tones and a clear top, pianos that sound neither tinkly nor dull, with the decay of each note sustained (not cut off, as it is in most digital recordings). We want all that, yet the sound of live music is ineffable. The goal can never be reached. The quest itself is the point.

 

Ineffable? ... nahhhh!!! It's just how our hearing reacts to sound, and a competent rig can get it all happening ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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8 minutes ago, fas42 said:

with the decay of each note sustained (not cut off, as it is in most digital recordings).

 

 Or are they often lost in low level noise artifacts on playback ?

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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16 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 

 Or are they often lost in low level noise artifacts on playback ?

 

That is indeed what happens ... I have a perfect example of such sitting here, which is completely divorced from audio recordings playback, a Yamaha PSR keyboard, of early 1990's vintage. This is the ancestor of the Motif units, which are highly regarded currently, and was the high end unit, at the time. It has a Yamaha acoustic grand voice, which intelligently plays samples from a real such piano - but you wouldn't think this from switch on, from cold: the tone is terrible, it's like a cheap Casio, or worse.

 

From experience, I know what to do: leave this electronic instrument on 24/7, and playing constantly, at decent volumes. After about 3 days it reaches optimum, and it has "fool you!" timbre in this grand piano sound - the sound at the beginning of the conditioning bears almost zero relationship to the end sound.

 

What's happening is that the low level artifacts when cold are truly horrendous, and completely destroy the believability of it being a piano. This is the same behaviour that often occurs in audio rigs, except it's more subtle in the latter.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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"that feverish discontent, that adolescent ecstatic longing for more" 

 

Amen! I'm enjoying my journey too much to give up on that elusive destination yet :P

Synergistic Research Powercell UEF SE > Sonore OpticalModule (LPS-1.2 & DXP-1A5DSC) > EtherRegen (SR4T & DXP-1A5DSC) > PinkFaun modded Buffalo BS-GS2016P (Farad Super3 & LPS-1.2) > (Sablon 2020 LAN) Innuos Zenith SE server > (Sablon 2020 USB) Innuos Phoenix > (Sablon 2020 USB) PS Audio Directstream DAC > PS Audio M1200 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers 

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Hi Chris,

 

Thanks for sharing the article - good to know that not everyone thinks we are a bunch of looneys.

 

I have owned a few of the items mentioned including the Linn Sondel LP12 back in the 80s, and the Devialet is the hub of my current system. My source now is an Auralic Mini (fed by an SB Booster power supply) with my CDs ripped onto an internal 500G SSD drive together with a Tidal subscription. I use the Devialet's internal DAC, active crossover (set at 70hz) and 220w power amp to drive a pair of ATC SCM 19 speakers, which in turn are paired with two SVS SB 2000 subs.

 

The Devialet and speakers cost about US$8k a few years ago (I bought them as demos at a Hi Fi show in Melbourne) and the subs and Mini another $1500. Say $10k all up and with a bit of effort you could pick it up now for around $8k used. My point is that you can have both convenience and excellent "Hi End" sound for a lot less than the numbers quoted in the article.

 

I appreciate that we all have our own idea of what represents good value, but when you consider equipment of this calibre can comfortably last 10 years, and is early upgradable with firmware, then compared to the cost other of hobbies, such as golf & snow skiing (which can cost $5k "every" year because of club memberships etc), and the fact that we / I listen to it every day, I actually think that today's high end audio is inexpensive.

 

If you buy quality gear together with a Tidal subscription, and amortise it over say a 10 year period then you can have an amazing selection of great sounding music at your fingertips for less than $1,000 per annum. You would actually pay less than that because you would likely sell it for say 30% of its initial value.

 

Anyway, I think that a well implemented digital audio system combined with a lossless streaming service represents amazing value for today's music lover.

 

My 2 cents.

 

Ajax

 

 

 

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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6 minutes ago, Ajax said:

The Devialet and speakers cost about US$8k a few years ago (I bought them as demos at a Hi Fi show in Melbourne) and the subs and Mini another $1500. Say $10k all up and with a bit of effort you could pick it up now for around $8k used. My point is that you can have both convenience and excellent "Hi End" sound for a lot less than the numbers quoted in the article.

 

I appreciate that we all have our own idea of what represents good value, but when you consider equipment of this calibre can comfortably last 10 years, and is early upgradable with firmware, then compared to the cost other of hobbies, such as golf & snow skiing (which can cost $5k "every" year because of club memberships etc), and the fact that we / I listen to it every day, I actually think that today's high end audio is inexpensive.

 

If you buy quality gear together with a Tidal subscription, and amortise it over say a 10 year period then you can have an amazing selection of great sounding music at your fingertips for less than $1,000 per annum. You would actually pay less than that because you would likely sell it for say 30% of its initial value.

 

I'm totally with you on this. Expensive cars can only be driven so much, golfing only in the summer (here anyway), skiing only in the winter, etc... A great audio system can be heard 365 days per year, for several hours each day. Plus, there are no maintenance costs such as tires, new alternator (mine went out on Wednesday), and insurance. If I added up how much my father spends on a golf membership to a championship course here in MN, I bet he could've purchase one heck of an audio system. The six-figure initiation fee just to enter, the three-figure monthly minimum food expenditures, plus all the new golf clubs etc...

 

It sounds crazy, but perhaps our hobby is more reasonable that previously thought. To us anyway. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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6 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Plus, there are no maintenance costs such as

Well ..there are sometimes maintenance costs otherwise the a/v gear services would be out of business. Once a customer of mine pushed one of new $8k DPA DAC's buttons and suprisingly ..all of them fell into the DAC's box x-D Obviously the DAC has been serviced free of charge (guarantee) but if the same thing happened 2 years later..

 

BTW:

 

What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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On 1/13/2018 at 10:27 AM, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

I'm totally with you on this. Expensive cars can only be driven so much, golfing only in the summer (here anyway), skiing only in the winter, etc... A great audio system can be heard 365 days per year, for several hours each day. Plus, there are no maintenance costs such as tires, new alternator (mine went out on Wednesday), and insurance. If I added up how much my father spends on a golf membership to a championship course here in MN, I bet he could've purchase one heck of an audio system. The six-figure initiation fee just to enter, the three-figure monthly minimum food expenditures, plus all the new golf clubs etc...

 

It sounds crazy, but perhaps our hobby is more reasonable that previously thought. To us anyway. 

Chris,

 

I'm right with you on this. A number of my friends are in disbelief at what I sometimes pay for audio gear. My response is always that I don't play golf, I don't take expensive vacations, I don't own a Porsche (many of them are in the Michigan club)etc. Not to mention, as you noted, I can use my audio system 365 days a year, it requires no maintenance (okay, maybe occasional tubes) and will be there for as many years as I choose to enjoy it. 

 

JC

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