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Forgive me Computeraudiophiles, for I have sinned


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5 hours ago, Teresa said:

 

So you can listen to any CD no matter how poorly it was engineered, good for you. I can't, in fact I'm not fond of CDs or 16/44.1kHz PCM, even if well recorded.

 

A 4416 recording, properly downsampled and dithered, should be indistinguishable from the high res version, especially on a high end system.

 

Here are possible reasons you hear a difference,

 

1) A problem with your DAC

2) A poorly executed  downsample (possible on older CDs)

3) Your head wasn't in exactly the same place for each version.

4)  You heard something new in the music when listening to the high res version and attributed it to the high res

5) Expectation bias (a proven phenomenon)

 

Have you tried a blind test?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Teresa said:

 

So you can listen to any CD no matter how poorly it was engineered, good for you. I can't, in fact I'm not fond of CDs or 16/44.1kHz PCM, even if well recorded. I prefer well engineered recordings from audiophile and boutique recording companies who take great pains to make the most natural sounding recordings possible. And I prefer them in DSD or high resolution PCM.

 

 

 

Not all CDs are created equal in SQ.  That is why given a digital playback system, some CDs sound good and some less good.  A good playback system will demonstrate a noticeable SQ difference among CDs.  An exceptionally good playback system will show much less difference among CDs.  

 

One of the key factors in good SQ is the upsampler.  A good upsampler has to have a good algorithm and ample computation power.  If the upsampler is not good enough, the system can still sound very good when playing back hires tracks, because the upsampler is not needed to do a hard job in playing hires tracks.  

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42 minutes ago, bachish said:

 

A 4416 recording, properly downsampled and dithered, should be indistinguishable from the high res version, especially on a high end system.

 

 

 

 

Sound Keeper's web site has tracks of different resolutions for free downloads.  Listen to them.  With my system the 16/44 tracks sounded very similar to hires tracks.

 

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.com/format.htm

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37 minutes ago, vl said:

 

Sound Keeper's web site has tracks of different resolutions for free downloads.  Listen to them.  With my system the 16/44 tracks sounded very similar to hires tracks.

 

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.com/format.htm

 

 Barry Diament wouldn't have gone to the trouble of making the high res recordings in the first place if they didn't sound markedly better to both him and the majority of his customers.

 Unless you are using a Phasure DAC , your results with the comparison pages that Barry has provided more than likely say more about your own equipment/listening discernment. 

The high res versions should have a "more open" sound about them.

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 28-06-2020

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10 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

So you accept that a capable system, however you may perceive such, can produce convincing sound?

 

Frank, I've been happy with my system for about 20 years. Great sound, wonderful sense of space, depth and width. I built it with a mix of objective and subjective evaluations. By luck or by design, it's been sounding incredibly good to me and I kept it unchanged for most of that time.

 

Only in the past few years I've ventured into PC audio, mostly for convenience and because I hated all those thousands of CD cases. Aside from upgrading the DAC and the source to PC+NAS, I kept the rest of the system as is. It still sounds amazing. In the process, I took a side trip into headphone playback and that's been a bit of a learning curve. I'm getting that part sorted out, but there's still quite a bit to learn. From measuring/modeling HRTF to building a head tracker, these are complex, but on-going projects for me.

 

I take these things seriously, and I rarely accept what others say or recommend without having some sort of validation. So you'll forgive me questioning you, as your 'method' is the opposite of what I've learned over the years. What's more, it seems to achieve completely the wrong results, assuming it actually produces results of any kind.

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26 minutes ago, daverich4 said:

 

Well, I for one would like some evidence of that because that sure hasn’t been my experience. 

 

A capable system does not resurrect a bad recording.  A capable system will make some a badly mastered CD sound better, if the bad characteristics are brightness, harshness, etc.

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15 hours ago, fas42 said:

Evidence of what?

 

That capable systems can produce convincing sound?

That one can troubleshoot a system so that it becomes capable?

That "poor" recordings on a capable system are eminently listenable to?

 

etc …

 

  1. Yes, my capable system produces very convincing sound with well engineered recordings.
  2. Synergy between components is very important, as is speaker placement and room acoustics.
  3. Poor recordings are listenable, but not as enjoyable as recordings engineered correctly in the first place. It's my listening time and listening pleasure and I prefer to really enjoy the music I listen to.

 

14 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

So you accept that a capable system, however you may perceive such, can produce convincing sound?

 

Yes, indeed I do. My system produces a very realistic sound stage that extends beyond the outer boundaries of my speakers and is very deep with realistic timbre. With the best recordings it sounds like I am there.

 

14 hours ago, bachish said:

A 4416 recording, properly downsampled and dithered, should be indistinguishable from the high res version, especially on a high end system.

 

Here are possible reasons you hear a difference,

 

1) A problem with your DAC

2) A poorly executed  downsample (possible on older CDs)

3) Your head wasn't in exactly the same place for each version.

4)  You heard something new in the music when listening to the high res version and attributed it to the high res

5) Expectation bias (a proven phenomenon)

 

Have you tried a blind test?  

 

I believe the difference may be indistinguishable to you. Perhaps, you have yet to hear an authentic audiophile or natural recording in high resolution. I will say Telarc or Reference Recording CDs sound more realistic to me than high resolution recordings from the major labels. However, Telarc pure DSD SACDs and Reference Recordings 24/176.4kHz HRx discs and downloads take that realism to a much higher level.  So since audiophile SACDs, DSDs and 24 bit PCM downloads sound so much better than their CD versions, why mess with CD or 16/44.1kHz PCM?

 

Most high resolution downloads are from the major labels, perhaps these are ones you compared. Try some real audiophile recordings from SACDs and high resolution downloads before you condemn high resolution. Here is a list of my favorite audiophile labels which are audiophile from the microphones to the finished product:

 

  • Analogue Productions Originals (recorded live direct to 2-track analog with no editing in Blue Heaven Studios, a church-turned-recording studio)
  • AudioQuest Music (SACDs are back in print reissued by Sledgehammer
  • Blues)
  • Channel Classics
  • Chesky Records (Their philosophy is to create the illusion of live musicians in a real three-dimensional space.)
  • DMP (no editing within a single song or composition as owner Tom Jung believes editing destroys the flow of the music.)
  • Groove Note
  • Linn
  • MA Recordings
  • Opus 3
  • PentaTone Classics
  • Reference Recordings
  • Sheffield Lab
  • Stockfisch Records
  • Telarc (Pre-2009, especially pure DSD SACDs) Pre-2009 Telarc is my favorite audiophile label.
  • ViTaL Records (Vacuum Tube Logic) especially the SACD and DSD versions as rereleased by fonè)
  • Wilson Audiophile

 

Sorry but CDs and 16/44.1kHz just are too compromised sonically for me.

 

To answer your questions:

 

  1. There is no problem with my DAC, I have a Teac UD-501 USB DSD DAC connected to my Mac Mini with a Lush USB cable. DSD audiophile recordings sound the best followed by 24/96kHz or higher PCM.
  2. Poorly made CDs do indeed sound bad, as I pointed out above audiophile CDs sound better than high resolution downloads from the major labels in my system. However, I pick neither option.
  3. I have long-term satisfaction with audiophile high resolution over audiophile CDs. I don't care for major label and other non-audiophile recordings either as CDs or as high resolution music files. So my head as been in all kinds of positions in the over 30 years I have compared CDs to other formats, not just high resolution.
  4. There is so much more to hear in audiophile high resolution recordings, give a listen for yourself. (see recording companies above.)
  5. I originally came from analog and my expectation bias is that digital sucks big time. SACD changed my mind, I was shocked that a digital format could actually sound like music.

 

Yes I have done blind tests.

 

13 hours ago, vl said:

Not all CDs are created equal in SQ.  That is why given a digital playback system, some CDs sound good and some less good.  A good playback system will demonstrate a noticeable SQ difference among CDs.  An exceptionally good playback system will show much less difference among CDs.  

 

One of the key factors in good SQ is the upsampler.  A good upsampler has to have a good algorithm and ample computation power.  If the upsampler is not good enough, the system can still sound very good when playing back hires tracks, because the upsampler is not needed to do a hard job in playing hires tracks.  

 

Agreed. IMHO well recorded audiophile and other naturally made CDs with no EQ, no compression and other studio tricks sound better than highly compressed overloaded modern major label recordings. I just want to point out IMHO the major labels actually made decent recordings in the 1950's to mid-1970's.

 

I have the Teac UD-501 DSD USB DAC is it good enough in your opinion?

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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3 hours ago, vl said:

 

A capable system does not resurrect a bad recording.  A capable system will make some a badly mastered CD sound better, if the bad characteristics are brightness, harshness, etc.

 

“Yet when a setup is at the right level, the miracle happens, every time; my mind ignores all the defects, and just hears glorious, or worthwhile music.

 

Frank’s system does. Your rig must not be “well sorted”.

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22 minutes ago, daverich4 said:

 

“Yet when a setup is at the right level, the miracle happens, every time; my mind ignores all the defects, and just hears glorious, or worthwhile music.

 

Frank’s system does. Your rig must not be “well sorted”.

And, no one but Frank has heard a “well sorted” system.  We are all the losers in these  miracle audio breakthroughs.  Only he can save us, but he just won’t tell us how it is done.  

 

Just idly speculating here, but either he does not wish to reveal his precious secrets and make a fortune from publication of them, or it is total, uncontrolled, boastful audiophile crap conjured by an egomaniac web troll childishly wanting attention.  Take your pick.

 

Anyone up for a holiday pilgrimage to rural Australia to hear these audio wonders for themselves?  They just do not seem to travel well.  I am too busy listening to beautiful music, myself, on my own system, provided that the recordings themselves are excellent.  

 

Oh, you would not believe the fantastic sonic wonders of what I have achieved in mysterious ways.  I am not telling, but I will reveal absolutely all to you for only a few thousand bucks, much less than the trip to Australia. And, I will match my superlative, totally subjective, unconfirmed  verbal descriptions with Frank any day of the week. What a deal.

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7 hours ago, pkane2001 said:

 

Frank, I've been happy with my system for about 20 years. Great sound, wonderful sense of space, depth and width. I built it with a mix of objective and subjective evaluations. By luck or by design, it's been sounding incredibly good to me and I kept it unchanged for most of that time.

 

Only in the past few years I've ventured into PC audio, mostly for convenience and because I hated all those thousands of CD cases. Aside from upgrading the DAC and the source to PC+NAS, I kept the rest of the system as is. It still sounds amazing. In the process, I took a side trip into headphone playback and that's been a bit of a learning curve. I'm getting that part sorted out, but there's still quite a bit to learn. From measuring/modeling HRTF to building a head tracker, these are complex, but on-going projects for me.

 

I take these things seriously, and I rarely accept what others say or recommend without having some sort of validation. So you'll forgive me questioning you, as your 'method' is the opposite of what I've learned over the years. What's more, it seems to achieve completely the wrong results, assuming it actually produces results of any kind.

 

Well, this reply is not going to be the one I wanted to make - the combination of the forum editor and my browser went whoopsy at a key moment, and my earlier thoughts went down the gurgler - the momentum is lost.

 

To summarise, I started using exactly the same method as you, but my experiences told me there was more to it - just having the "right gear" is only the start of the journey, if a convincing presentation is the end goal. My first proper rig ticked all the usual audiophile boxes, but didn't initially produce the higher standard that I'm now interested in - I fluked getting that standard, and the method I used to do that was then the obvious choice to pursue. To this day. Because it works, every time. The only reasons I then "went backwards" in the "quality" of gear I experimented on was less risk in mangling an expensive purchase, opportunity, and the desire to know "how far the method would work".

 

If the "wrong results" are that I get to enjoy every recording, and when I put those "poor" recordings on a typical ambitious rig I just roll my eyes most times - because half the recording just vanishes, and what's left is so tawdry and threadbare that it is of no interest as a listening experience - then I'm happy be in the "wrong place" ... ^_^.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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7 hours ago, daverich4 said:

 

Well, I for one would like some evidence of that because that sure hasn’t been my experience. 

 

The biggest problem is that achieving the necessary standard takes so much focus and attention to detail. The slightest issue cripples the quality, and only awareness of what's going on stops the backslide happening.

 

People regularly hear systems achieve this momentarily - everything aligns for a short period, and it's a "peak listening experience". Then it's gone, or it's not there the next day, or the next time it's switched on - so, some ascribe this to expectation bias, booze, human fraility - all the usual suspects are trotted out, ever time - and just about everyone misses that in fact it did happen; what altered was the system and its environment; the degree of integrity required is not stable, and was lost after that session.

 

What I'm about is locking on to that necessary integrity with a vice like grip, so that it never goes away. If you do this successfully then "peak listening" is always on tap - and is not just a chance encounter, up to the fates when it happens ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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1 hour ago, Fitzcaraldo215 said:

And, no one but Frank has heard a “well sorted” system.  We are all the losers in these  miracle audio breakthroughs.  Only he can save us, but he just won’t tell us how it is done.  

 

It would help if you stop lying ... I have pointed on a number of occasions to others who have followed a similar method, and those people agree about the difficulty of achieving the goal.

 

1 hour ago, Fitzcaraldo215 said:

Just idly speculating here, but either he does not wish to reveal his precious secrets and make a fortune from publication of them, or it is total, uncontrolled, boastful audiophile crap conjured by an egomaniac web troll childishly wanting attention.  Take your pick.

 

I would like to "sell the method", but it doesn't work like that - think, 20 Easy Steps to Becoming a Doctor!

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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Joel, I note that this ends your OP,

 

Quote

 

But, and I know for some this will be controversial, I’ve been listening to ripped CD’s recorded onto tape and loving it. Have I made my copy of the music more accurate than the source? Of course not. I know the copied version is a “colored” copy of the original. And I don’t care. For this audiophile, it’s smoother richer and highlights how far digital still has to go. I could far more easily listen to my reel to reel player for five hours at a time than my digital system. And I still love my digital system . . . but now, just not as much.

 

A few comments about replies to this post.

 

If you want to debate the benefits of custom sata cables, linear power supplies and the like, please do it on the thousand other threads on this site which do that.

If you want to question the value of spending so much money on a dac or using a clock, please do that elsewhere as well. That’s not the point of this thread.

 

If, on the other hand, you want to tell me you have a digital system which matches or exceeds the enjoyment factor you have had from reel to reel tape, please chime in.

Other comments or questions are welcome as well. I’m very new to this reel to reel part of the hobby and, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above, won’t abandon the digital part of my system. But it’s a heck of a lot harder to go back to now.

 

 

If you have changed your mind about what this thread is about I'm fine with that  ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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1 minute ago, fas42 said:

Joel, I note that this ends your OP,

 

 

If you have changed your mind about what this thread is about I'm fine with that  ...

Frank,

 

Whether you think my mind has changed or not, my previous post to you is what I'm standing by.

 

I hope you'll respect my sincere request.

 

Joel

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11 hours ago, bachish said:

 

Thanks for the link. I'II check it out. I have done this sort of thing many times and over the years, due to certain experiences, I have developed a skepticism of my own ears.  

 

Oneof my hobbies is recording - I'm a classical musician. Anyway, when you have the experience of fiddling around with processing settings and being convinced you hear a difference for the better, only to find out the bypass button is pushed, you learn pretty quick about expectation bias and how powerful an effect it is on the brain.

 

 

 

Try the tracks from Lift.  There are enough musical sounds in the recording for a listening test.  Soundkeeper did an excellent job in the recording.  They do not edit or post process their tracks.  What they captured in real time is what we hear.  They take extreme effort to decimate the hires tracks to the CD format.  The Lift CD is one that sounds good on just about any digital playback system.  This is a good example of what the CD format is capable of.  

 

On my system it is not hard to hear the minute difference.  However most of my audiophile friends preferred the CD sound!  Please share with us what you hear.  I shall provide more details later as I do not what to influence anyone who wants to do the comparison.

 

On my system the Soundkeeper CD and hires tracks are definitely better than tape in clarity.

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On 9/13/2018 at 11:16 AM, vl said:

 

It would appear then the sample I heard was quite good in SQ.  I was comparing Sony's second generation CD players with the CDP101 and the CDP101 had more clarity and details.  I ended up buying a second gen Sony CD player that came close but not as good as the first gen CDP101, at half the price.  Even this second gen player was better sounding than my LPs (Thorens TD125, SME3009 Mk2, ADC25) and Revox A77 Mk2 (half track stereo).

 

My issue with CD players before the mid '90s was the upper two octaves not being open enough.  I stuck with Sony and they never sounded harsh.  I only had two CD players, a Sony second gen and a Sony third gen (4x oversampling), which was a little more open in the treble.  Then I moved on to a Sony preamp with their last 1-bit DAC.  It sounded better.  But it was not until after the turn of the century when I moved to a full digital system (digital preamp with room correction and three stereo digital amps) did I hear the open treble.  In some ways some earlier CD players were easier to integrate into a system with good SQ.

I think, given you preferred cd to analog sources in the 80's you are not going to be a reliable reference for tape lovers. 

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