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Rexp

Fatigue free listening

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Digititus, fatigue, glare, the feeling you just want to turn the music off after a while to give your ears a break. Now not everone suffers from this but its the biggest problem with digital playback for most folks. One way to alleviate the problem is to listen to lo-res, quite a few members prefer Spotify to Tidal/Qobuz for example. I've gone back to using the headphone out of my laptop rather than external DACs cos, although its lower res, it doesn't make my ears bleed. Any more solutions out there? 

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It should not be this way. Digital glare means the system synergy is not quite there. 

Ultimately whether it is usb reclocker/filter, power system upgrades, or separating the server from the endpoint through many of the devices out there in the market, there must be synergy. 

IMHO, if you can place headphones on your ears, play music for 2 - 3 hours and take 40 winks between tracks, you kinda of suceeded in tackling digital glare.

 

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3 hours ago, Blackmorec said:

When a system is really cookin’ with hi-res files, the knock-on benefit is that low resolution also starts to sound really good....not hi-res standard but way good enough to listen to very regularly without major sacrifice. 

 

Dunno what you are specifically referring to when you use the term "low resolution" but, if you are talking MP3, the difference from listening to hi-res on a well configured system could, depending on the quality of the recording, amount to a "major sacrifice".


"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"- William Bruce Cameron

 

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Fatiguing playback is just another way of saying that that a system has audible, but hard to pin down, distortion. It's also hard to completely get rid of, in digital - but it's most certainly possible in fact to do this. Success delivers effortless SQ, which can be run at any volume level you want; and that one can listen to all day, without the slightest discomfort.

 

Persistence in tracking down every gremlin in the playback chain is the only real solution - there are no short cuts! ... The one last thing you haven't done to 'debug' the replay setup will make the sound unpleasant at times - and it will remain so until the issue is addressed.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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15 hours ago, Rexp said:

Digititus, fatigue, glare, the feeling you just want to turn the music off after a while to give your ears a break. Now not everone suffers from this but its the biggest problem with digital playback for most folks. One way to alleviate the problem is to listen to lo-res, quite a few members prefer Spotify to Tidal/Qobuz for example. I've gone back to using the headphone out of my laptop rather than external DACs cos, although its lower res, it doesn't make my ears bleed. Any more solutions out there? 

 This suggests that you need a better source than the current laptop that you are using.

An example of this is the marked improvement many members reported after retrofitting an Uptone Linear PSU to their Mac Minis, despite using the same DACs etc.

Does the DAC performance improve if you run the Laptop off it's battery ?


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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1 hour ago, sandyk said:

 This suggests that you need a better source than the current laptop that you are using.

An example of this is the marked improvement many members reported after retrofitting an Uptone Linear PSU to their Mac Minis, despite using the same DACs etc.

Does the DAC performance improve if you run the Laptop off it's battery ?

On battery the fatigue is reduced but not eliminated. Also using an external DAC makes hi-res and lo-res (youtube/internet radio etc) sound fatiguing after a while. I'm currently using some cheap active speakers but found the same with my main system back in the UK, I've also demmed many high end digital sources from DCS Vivaldi down and found the same issue. 

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3 minutes ago, Rexp said:

On battery the fatigue is reduced but not eliminated.

 

If you are using a high quality DAC, this appears to confirm that your source is the main problem.


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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29 minutes ago, Rexp said:

On battery the fatigue is reduced but not eliminated. Also using an external DAC makes hi-res and lo-res (youtube/internet radio etc) sound fatiguing after a while. I'm currently using some cheap active speakers but found the same with my main system back in the UK, I've also demmed many high end digital sources from DCS Vivaldi down and found the same issue. 

 

Having the same speakers, one of the key issues would be sensitivity, by the speakers, to mains noise ... I would suggest doing some experiments where all electrical devices in the residence are unplugged, and seeing if the SQ significantly improves. If so, that tells you what's going on ... how you deal with that is up to you.

 

Rule of thumb: ALL audio gear is impacted by electrical noise and interference - the more expensive the equipment, the greater the chance the rig will be annoyingly affected by this. The only long term solution is to work methods of fully isolating the circuits of the components from this degrading factor - the fatigue levels in what you're hearing will only disappear when this is fully under control.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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15 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

Hi Rexp,

much of this topic was covered in the "can bad recordings sound good" thread. I agree with those that advocate better source quality combined with good quality gear and proper implementation. You of course already know what Frank will say ......

 

Great digital sound has now been available for many years and at "affordable prices" (insert definition here).

 

I suggest start a thread with your gear listed and budget available for possible upgrade paths.

 

 

I've just stated I've demmed many hi-end digital sources and found them fatiguing and your response is to say no they are not? 

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12 minutes ago, Rexp said:

I've just stated I've demmed many hi-end digital sources and found them fatiguing and your response is to say no they are not? 

 

yeh, sorry i missed that. I guess it's true that some high end sources are not what they are cracked up to be.

 

Accepting you have high-end gear, decent recordings shouldn't be fatiguing on a decent playback system that is well configured. So what gear are you using?


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

yeh, sorry i missed that. I guess it's true that some high end sources are not what they are cracked up to be.

 

Accepting you have high-end sources, they shouldn't be fatiguing on a decent playback system that is well configured. So what gear are you using?

I'm starting from scratch again, what source do you suggest I demo for as little money as possible? 

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Is digital really the cause of fatigue?  I am not sure, I have been listening to digital source since the very beginning of the introduction of CD to the public and before that vinyls some of it pressed from digital recordings.  With the improvement of the gears or with the degrade of my ears, I hardly find the difference of analog or digital.  

 

If I concentrate very hard when listening to gears or albums, I may have the fatigue but not because of the gears or albums but myself for spending too much concentration and my mind is very tired after a while. 


MetalNuts

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1 minute ago, Rexp said:

I'm starting from scratch again, what do you suggest I demo for as little money as possible? 

 

That's why I suggest start a thread dedicated to gear recommendations and budget rather than come at it from a fatigue perspective. The latter would need to be emphasized as a priority in that thread.

The first thing to ask is have you ever heard excellent sound quality that didn't sound fatiguing?

 

I would be listening to different components, preferably auditioning at home if possible. Schiit audio has been recommended in other threads


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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1 minute ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

That's why I suggest start a thread dedicated to gear recommendations and budget rather than come at it from a fatigue perspective. The latter would need to be emphasized as a priority in that thread.

The first thing to ask is have you ever heard excellent sound quality that didn't sound fatiguing?

 

I would be listening to different components, preferably auditioning at home if possible. Schiit audio has been recommended in other threads

That is a good question, I've heard dsd playback that didn't sound fatiguing but didn't want to go down that route due to limited source material. Ideally a streaming option is my preference. 

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8 minutes ago, Rexp said:

That is a good question, I've heard dsd playback that didn't sound fatiguing but didn't want to go down that route due to limited source material. Ideally a streaming option is my preference. 

 

There are others that know way more than I about dsd playback. There must be PCM gear that has 'dsd like' sound. They might upsample or whatever. Have you tried software upsampling?


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

There are others that know way more than I about dsd playback. There must be PCM gear that has 'dsd like' sound. They might upsample or whatever. Have you tried software upsampling?

I've tried roon upsampling, sounded different not better. I want to go to a shop, listen and buy off the shelf, rather than tinker with software. 

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5 minutes ago, Rexp said:

I've tried roon upsampling, sounded different not better. I want to go to a shop, listen and buy off the shelf, rather than tinker with software. 

If you give a budget i am sure others will chime in...probably a bigger response in a "what should I buy" thread. Good luck :)


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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Just now, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

If you give a budget i am sure others will chime in...probably a bigger response in a "what should I buy" thread. Good luck :)

Thanks, I wanted to establish a dedicated thread cos many folks feel the same. Budget is as little as possible. 

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11 hours ago, Allan F said:

 

Dunno what you are specifically referring to when you use the term "low resolution" but, if you are talking MP3, the difference from listening to hi-res on a well configured system could, depending on the quality of the recording, amount to a "major sacrifice".

In a really well matched and highly network-optimised system, lo-res material like Swiss Radio Classic (128kbps MP3) will meet every single audiophile desire, from beautiful accurate tone, wide and deep acoustical stage, accurate instrument placement, excellent dynamics and micro-dynamics and most important the overall beauty, rhythm and gestalt of the music.

The same system playing hi-res files will exceed most audiophile’s expectations, creating a facsimile of the recording venue and populating it with musicians playing instuments, such that music sounds like its being played by instruments rather than a reproduction of sounds made by instruments. 

The point is, while the hi-res stuff is stunningly good, the lo-res stuff can be highly enjoyable and rewarding, so not a major sacrifice, especially when the program material is of a very high quality.

 

And just for the record, I prefer the sound of my engine and exhaust to the sound of an MP3 file playing on my car’s ICES.

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On 7/25/2020 at 9:57 AM, Rexp said:

Digititus, fatigue, glare, the feeling you just want to turn the music off after a while to give your ears a break. Now not everone suffers from this but its the biggest problem with digital playback for most folks. One way to alleviate the problem is to listen to lo-res, quite a few members prefer Spotify to Tidal/Qobuz for example. I've gone back to using the headphone out of my laptop rather than external DACs cos, although its lower res, it doesn't make my ears bleed. Any more solutions out there? 

 

It is important to understand the difference between symptoms and illness. Syndrome is a collective name for a number of symptoms that are typical of a particular disease, but which are not the disease itself. Irritation, listening fatigue and a decreased desire to listen to music in a sound system are symptoms that something is not right. I can not answer what causes the problems you have, but what I can do is tell you what I “know” about this.

 

First of all, it is important to identify and understand which things / devices are the ones that create the problems with listening fatigue. That is easier said than done, but in my opinion there is no other way.

 

What I want to say is that just because you hear the problem more clearly with your separate DAC does not automatically mean that it is the one that generates the listening fatigue you experience. It is possible that your DAC may just let you hear other shortcomings in the system. With that said, a DAC as well as an amplifier or a pair of headphones can all contribute to poor sound and listening fatigue. 

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2 hours ago, Blackmorec said:

In a really well matched and highly network-optimised system, lo-res material like Swiss Radio Classic (128kbps MP3) will meet every single audiophile desire, from beautiful accurate tone, wide and deep acoustical stage, accurate instrument placement, excellent dynamics and micro-dynamics and most important the overall beauty, rhythm and gestalt of the music.

The same system playing hi-res files will exceed most audiophile’s expectations, creating a facsimile of the recording venue and populating it with musicians playing instuments, such that music sounds like its being played by instruments rather than a reproduction of sounds made by instruments. 

The point is, while the hi-res stuff is stunningly good, the lo-res stuff can be highly enjoyable and rewarding, so not a major sacrifice, especially when the program material is of a very high quality.

 

And just for the record, I prefer the sound of my engine and exhaust to the sound of an MP3 file playing on my car’s ICES.

You're a very lucky man, do you think this SQ is attainable at a lower cost than your Innuos Statement? 

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1 hour ago, Summit said:

 

It is important to understand the difference between symptoms and illness. Syndrome is a collective name for a number of symptoms that are typical of a particular disease, but which are not the disease itself. Irritation, listening fatigue and a decreased desire to listen to music in a sound system are symptoms that something is not right. I can not answer what causes the problems you have, but what I can do is tell you what I “know” about this.

 

First of all, it is important to identify and understand which things / devices are the ones that create the problems with listening fatigue. That is easier said than done, but in my opinion there is no other way.

 

What I want to say is that just because you hear the problem more clearly with your separate DAC does not automatically mean that it is the one that generates the listening fatigue you experience. It is possible that your DAC may just let you hear other shortcomings in the system. With that said, a DAC as well as an amplifier or a pair of headphones can all contribute to poor sound and listening fatigue. 

I've narrowed the problem down to the digital source or source material as when I plug a tape deck in there is zero fatigue. 

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