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Jim Smith

Track preload affects sonics - HELP!!!

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I wrote about this phenomenon a bit over 10 years ago in Get Better Sound, referring to how many CD players & transports sounded better if you let them play a bit and then restarted the CD at the beginning. bad-news.gif

I haven't mentioned the effect with some computer sources, but it definitely exists - at least with my MBPs.

Letting a track play for 10 seconds or so - then restarting it - is not subtle. what.gif

This is irregardless of what track preload settings I can make with Audirvana.

 

I also use Maintain's Cocktail to help me eliminate unwanted/unneeded processes.

Also, restarting the computer (which clears the used ram), and clearing all caches still makes no difference with this effect.


In other words, EACH track sounds better if played briefly and then restarted.

Thought I would come out of the frustration closet and see if anyone can suggest a fix, while staying with the MBPs, which I need when traveling for RoomPlay voicing sessions... blush.pngBow.gif

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Can't help you with the computer (mis)behaviour, but certainly noted this factor with a CD player, very strongly, years ago. Currently still using CDs, but if it exists with the CDP being used I haven't got to a level of SQ yet where this may be an audible influence. A local audio friend who uses normal media players as source discovered that the precise sequence of accessing a track, and initiating play made a difference; worked out the best combinations of settings and actions, and now it's a standard ritual when listening.

 

Why does it happen? I suspect it varies per component, and it's all to do with some electrical, interference or processing activity that needs to stabilise over some period, or by performing a certain action. Can be very irritating to deal with, and once one is aware of the behaviour you can't forget that it's there! ;)

 

What to do about it? With processor based playback I would experiment, experiment, experiment - until I found some combination of actions and settings that was least annoying, that I could live with. The real answer is that the engineering of the device needs to be improved so that this sort of nonsense doesn't happen - but with commodity items that's never going to happen, :). In the long term, track down and move to another computer, etc, which doesn't show this trait - is perhaps the best strategy.

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"In other words, EACH track sounds better if played briefly and then restarted."

 

Seriously, friend, life is far too short. 

 

".. is not subtle"..

 

this the go to remark from those who listen to micro details and not music. Just IMO of course. 😎

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Thats interesting Jim. I run Xxhighend in RamOS I wonder if running both your OS and audio program in OS may make a difference. When I restart this Ram OS it always sounds better from a fresh start. I will try what you have experienced. 

Going from the audio program running on a normal computer to all running out of Ram is huge in sound upgrade something you could trial.

Robert

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1 hour ago, Ishmael Slapowitz said:

".. is not subtle"..

 

this the go to remark from those who listen to micro details and not music. Just IMO of course. 😎

 

Unfortunately, it can be the difference between the music sounding a bit flat, tired, uninteresting - versus sparkling, lively, something that engages one emotionally. That is, subjectively, it matters a great deal - for some people.

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33 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Unfortunately, it can be the difference between the music sounding a bit flat, tired, uninteresting - versus sparkling, lively, something that engages one emotionally. That is, subjectively, it matters a great deal - for some people.

As psychiatrist,  this stuff plays in to the worst OCD tendencies. 

 

Show me the same results blind. How about captures off the DAC analog output Measurements? This sort of magical stuff

should be able to be measured.

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Another good reason, if you need any more, to keep a computer out of your music reproduction system. Any decent dedicated digital music streamer will preload at least a whole song before pressing its own little play button. 

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1 hour ago, Doak said:

Another good reason, if you need any more, to keep a computer out of your music reproduction system. Any decent dedicated digital music streamer will preload at least a whole song before pressing its own little play button. 

Boom. Precisely 

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2 hours ago, Ishmael Slapowitz said:

As psychiatrist,  this stuff plays in to the worst OCD tendencies. 

 

Show me the same results blind. How about captures off the DAC analog output Measurements? This sort of magical stuff

should be able to be measured.

 

Distortion is not magical. "Should be be able to be measured" is correct, but the industry hasn't taken the interest in devising useful tests - inertia is an effective tyrant.

 

In the meantime those who are interested use their ears - those who are not interested can be comforted by reassuring measurements of competence :).

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17 hours ago, Ishmael Slapowitz said:

The premise of this thread is silly, and lead many who should be enjoying good playback down the primrose path.

 Not at all.  Musical engagement - when it can be even greater - is the reason for pursuing this issue.

 

On another board, I mentioned that the level on some transients - when the track is replayed after a few seconds - appear to be slightly louder, enough that I might try to measure it at my listening seat.

 

I could say that your response is "just silly", but you are certainly entitled it to your opinion, no matter how crudely stated.

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18 hours ago, Ishmael Slapowitz said:

I am not a measurements guy, trust me. But there is no distortion. 

 

The premise of this thread is silly, and lead many who should be enjoying good playback down the primrose path.

 

There is always distortion from playback systems, no matter how expensive or optimised they are - if there wasn't, a rig would always sound identical playing back a particular recording :). Some distortion types are very easy to measure, others much less so - and I worry, a lot, about the latter varieties.

 

Unfortunately, the hard to measure versions have a lot to do with conveying the quality of vitality, and 'naturalness' in recordings - but very few people take these areas seriously, which is a shame.

 

Again, the real solution is to engineer the playback components to a much higher standard - but that's unlikely to occur in the short term ... workarounds, etc, are usually the best option, as it stands.

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18 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

There is always distortion from playback systems, no matter how expensive or optimised they are - if there wasn't, a rig would always sound identical playing back a particular recording :). Some distortion types are very easy to measure, others much less so - and I worry, a lot, about the latter varieties.

 

Unfortunately, the hard to measure versions have a lot to do with conveying the quality of vitality, and 'naturalness' in recordings - but very few people take these areas seriously, which is a shame.

 

Again, the real solution is to engineer the playback components to a much higher standard - but that's unlikely to occur in the short term ... workarounds, etc, are usually the best option, as it stands.

I don't disagree with your post, Yes of course there is always some sort of distortion, heck there is distortion at the point of mic or DI capture. Just as there is bacteria in every morsel of food we eat. The question is does it matter.

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2 hours ago, Ishmael Slapowitz said:

I don't disagree with your post, Yes of course there is always some sort of distortion, heck there is distortion at the point of mic or DI capture. Just as there is bacteria in every morsel of food we eat. The question is does it matter.

 

Yes, I agree the heart of it is, does it matter? IME, it does. The types of distortion that particularly prevent the mind from perceiving a convincing illusion are the most critical to sort out - because the difference in the subjective sense of what one hears is quite dramatic. Unfortunately, it's a whole lot of little, insidious shortcomings, weaknesses in the system overall that do the damage - which can all be resolved if one takes the time to do so.

 

Audio playback can deliver the same oomph as live performance of music - but this is extremely rare, because very few people take the steps to 'debug' their rigs sufficiently.

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2 hours ago, Ishmael Slapowitz said:

There is absolutely zero corroborating evidence to your claim aside from your subjective observations. Quite frankly it tells me there is some flaw in your digital  playback chain

 

Even if we suspend disbelief and say it is so, starting every track or album after a bit of playback would destroy any enjoyment far more than any claimed issue.

 

Heck, I have a lot of live performances to attend in the coming months, I will ask the performers to play a minute of each piece or song and then start again to clear the air of any sonic residue. 😎

 

I DO think this thread is silly, but just my opinion. 🤠

 

You realize this is the guy with the 10 pages of commonly known stuff inflated into an entire book, right?

 

It's like arguing with a used car salesman about camshaft lift and combustion flame spread velocity.

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23 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

 

You are just the type of guy that audiophiles need to see for help on their "system" !!

 

Yeah. He would be about as much help as you would be ! :P

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14 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

 

You realize this is the guy with the 10 pages of commonly known stuff inflated into an entire book, right?

 

It's like arguing with a used car salesman about camshaft lift and combustion flame spread velocity.

Yes, I know of the book. 🤠

 

Not related to to it, is floating the notion of digital gremlins that need to be snuffed out has been going on for ages, and there are clearly some legitimate issues and very practical fixes. This however, to me, is ridiculous

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29 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

 

You realize this is the guy with the 10 pages of commonly known stuff inflated into an entire book, right?

 

It's like arguing with a used car salesman about camshaft lift and combustion flame spread velocity.

I also just noted a plug for the book in the OP..also no audio system listed...unless I am looking in the wrong place, I just see a resume.

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On 3/4/2019 at 11:28 AM, Jim Smith said:

I wrote about this phenomenon a bit over 10 years ago in Get Better Sound, referring to how many CD players & transports sounded better if you let them play a bit and then restarted the CD at the beginning. bad-news.gif

I haven't mentioned the effect with some computer sources, but it definitely exists - at least with my MBPs.

Letting a track play for 10 seconds or so - then restarting it - is not subtle. what.gif

This is irregardless of what track preload settings I can make with Audirvana.

 

I also use Maintain's Cocktail to help me eliminate unwanted/unneeded processes.

Also, restarting the computer (which clears the used ram), and clearing all caches still makes no difference with this effect.


In other words, EACH track sounds better if played briefly and then restarted.

Thought I would come out of the frustration closet and see if anyone can suggest a fix, while staying with the MBPs, which I need when traveling for RoomPlay voicing sessions... blush.pngBow.gif

 

Hi Jim - 

I remember reading an essay on this, which I am quite irritated I cannot find to link here. 

 

In any case, from memory, I think that the effect is quite real and easily documented, but I think it has something to do with auditory memory not with playback performance.

 

The second time round, you already know what to expect and your attention is better focused, or something like that.  In any case, it would be interesting to see what real honest to John measurements say about it.

 

I am pretty sure my memory is correct, but I wouldn't bet a beer on it. :) 

 

Yours,

-Paul 

 

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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

 

You realize this is the guy with the 10 pages of commonly known stuff inflated into an entire book, right?

 

It's like arguing with a used car salesman about camshaft lift and combustion flame spread velocity.

 

 

Well, I would rather have that "used car salesman" help with setting up a system or room than almost anyone else I can name. It will sound better with his advice, or will work a lot better. 

 

Best advice he gave me?  Put your *wife's* chair in the sweet spot. (grin) 

 

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