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Audiophiles: Dead or Dying?


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So, the state of the audiophile "hobby". Essentially all mainstream and mid-market products marketed towards the "audiophile" are trash. Chip amps, class-D, switching wall wart supply consumer shovelware garbage. No one cares about speakers, everything are cheap mass-produced headphones and IEMs. The resurgence of records ended up just being a lifestyle ornament. The pursuit of quality audio seems to be strictly relegated to retirees spending their savings and using up their credit on boutique manufacturers who still make audiophile grade equipment. Have you tried to educate modern "audiophiles" about the hobby? They don't want to hear it. In fact they just don't care about high-quality audio, it's mostly just a lifestyle accessory to them.

 

Is there absolutely nothing to be done about it? Do we just have to accept most people don't care enough about quality audio to support a mass audiophile market? Do we just have to accept audiophile equipment competes for yacht and RV money?

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I have, what I consider to be, a nice system, but surely not "yacht level." Not even "L'il Yachty."
 

I agree that some of the vinyl stuff is lifestyle/nostalgia adornment, but not all. 
 

I think some of this is a matter of awareness and education. There are a lot of things competing for our attention, and most of them don't involve sitting in place, focusing and taking it all in. 
 

How many young people do you see at the philharmonic? Not too many. My orchestra friends all worry about that...where will the money come from in the future? Heck, I barely attend, and my friends are playing.

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And I thought I was a crusty old curmudgeon 🤪

 

There’s room in the world for us all, nothing you’re saying is harmful or offensive, and you have a perfect right to your opinion.  I don’t even take issue with your expressing it here - after all, we’re all family on AS.

 

But........I think you’re wrong on many counts.  It’s not all trash.  Good small and inexpensive speakers abound and are selling like hot cakes.  The resurgence of vinyl is niche and split between those who recognize and enjoy the experience and those who consider the medium to be an integral part of their art.  Vinyl is not synonymous with audiophile - most records were played on simple, consumer level “record players” from their mass market debut until cassettes took over.  
 

Good audio cost a relative fortune before digital came along.  My Marantz 7c and 8 cost $500 in 1960. That’s $4k in today’s dollars.  My Thorens TD125 sold for about $300 in 1969, which is about $2300 today.  With my SME arm, a good cartridge (I forget which one I bought with it), and a pair of Rectilinear speakers, it was a $10-$12k system in today’s dollars, and it was far from the best at the time.  I can buy a complete system (yes - with speakers) today that sounds better for well under half of that.

 

3 hours ago, GUTB said:

Have you tried to educate modern "audiophiles" about the hobby?


Are you sure you’re not trying to educate modern audiophiles about the hobby as it was when my Thorens was new?  Evolution’s not a very social companion - either you go with her or she’ll leave you behind.  He (or she) who hesitates is lost.

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5 minutes ago, charlesphoto said:

For all the time and money I've put into my hifi systems, one of the best musical times in recent memory was dancing around my eight year old daughter's room to Queen's Greatest Hits played on a $50 Echo Dot. Priceless. 

And that Echo Dot sounds a lot better than the Motorola transistor radio I got for the same money in 1959!

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18 minutes ago, bluesman said:

And that Echo Dot sounds a lot better than the Motorola transistor radio I got for the same money in 1959!

 

No kidding! They are impressive little things - perhaps not for appreciating the individual details of an orchestra, but for something like Queen totally hits the spot. 

SERVER CLOSET (in office directly below living room stereo):NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule (Uptone LPS 1.2)>

LIVING ROOM: Sonore opticalRendu Roon version (Sonore Power Supply)> Shunyata Venom USB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 160 Bolt Down>Chord Rumor 2>Audio Physic Compact Classics. OFFICE: 10Gtek FMC>Naim Unitiqute V1>NACA5>KEF Ls50's. BJC 6a and Ghent Catsnake 6a JSSG ethernet; AC cables: Shunyata Venom NR V-10; Audience Forte F3; Ice Age copper/copper; Sean Jacobs CHC PowerBlack. Isolation: Herbie's Audio Lab. 

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5 hours ago, firedog said:

Hell, you can get great results using a Raspberry Pi as a streamer and that's less than $100. Even $50.

 

You just proved his point !   😜

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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23 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 

You just proved his point !   😜

 
Really? I thought Gumby's claim is that all low-priced audio equipment is shite. 

Everything matters... when brewing coffee.

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7 minutes ago, kumakuma said:

 
Really? I thought Gumby's claim was that all low-priced audio equipment is shite. 

 Streaming, especially using the above mentioned is nowhere near as good as can be obtained  locally with good source equipment when playing even CDs from before the Loudness wars, no matter how pleasing it may sound to easily satisfied people like yourself and Frank .😜

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 minute ago, sandyk said:

 Streaming, especially using the above mentioned is nowhere near as good as can be obtained  locally with good source equipment and, even CDs from before the Loudness wars, no matter how pleasing it may sound to easily satisfied people like yourself and Frank .😜

 

???

Everything matters... when brewing coffee.

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1 hour ago, sandyk said:

 Streaming, especially using the above mentioned is nowhere near as good as can be obtained  locally with good source equipment when playing even CDs from before the Loudness wars, no matter how pleasing it may sound to easily satisfied people like yourself and Frank .😜

 

Double ???

 

The source of the data which encodes music is not relevant ... if the engineering of the whole replay chain is good enough. Buffering, and all sorts of other strategies, can ensure that the output from the DAC is pristine - it's only poor implementation of part of the overall that drags the quality down; that can be sorted, depending upon how motivated the listener is.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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1 hour ago, Archimago said:

Streaming lossless vs. local playback/CD with the same original data obviously doesn't make a difference if it's bit-perfect to your DAC. It's not whether it's "pleasing"; it just doesn't factually matter.

 

 

 Utter rubbish ! Even the PSU area of a computer can  change a little how a Digital Music file sounds, even changes to the PSU area for the OS SSD such as a much cleaner low noise +5V supply.(see attached +12V to Dual +5V PSU <4uV noise)

I am by far from the only member that has reported marked improvements by using a Linear PSU, or improved voltage regulation to the ancillary devices such as SSDs and USB areas. for a PC or Server too.

The front end matters whether you want to believe it or not. Do you really believe that the 100s of A.S. members that retrofitted the Uptone Linear PSU and reported marked improvements in SQ were hearing a different stream of 1s and 0s before and after the changes ?

I don't doubt that you believe that all the reports were due to EXPECTATION  BIAS , which is highly insulting to those many members, as well as the majority that post in Rajiv's massive thread in the Music Servers section of the forum.

A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming 

I note that you also appear to believe that high res is also a waste of time, despite the numerous reports to the contrary , and measurements by highly qualified members like Jussi , and YES, I was able to hear and report back ,clear and accurate differences between Frederick V's posted X and Y files where an original 24/96 file was converted to 16/44.1 and back again.. 

  A recent suggestion by one and a half to securely earth the cases of the internal SSDs in my Desktop PC by measuring the mV difference between their cases and the 0 volts of the internal SMPS PSU, and reducing it by earthing improvements resulted in MARKED improvements in SQ via Coax SPDIF WITHOUT any change in the exported Binary Data. In fact, the original saved file on my old internal HDD, now sounds markedly worse than when this file is copied from there  to another internal SSD/HDD  or USB Memory stick when played from System Memory after these changes, when played with JRiver 26.

 NO, I did NOT expect any more than minimal changes at best, when I followed Gary's advice.

 

I would also recommend that other members using Desktop PC's try one and a half's suggestions. It won't cost them any money either, just a few minutes of their time.

(The 0 volts of an SSD or HDD is internally connected to their metal case)

Dual +5V PSU for 2 SSDs.jpg

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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44 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 

 Utter rubbish ! Even the PSU area of a computer can  change a little how a Digital Music file sounds, even changes to the PSU area for the OS SSD such as a much cleaner low noise +5V supply.(see attached +12V to Dual +5V PSU <4uV noise)

I am by far from the only member that has reported marked improvements by using a Linear PSU, or improved voltage regulation to the ancillary devices such as SSDs and USB areas. for a PC or Server too.

The front end matters whether you want to believe it or not. Do you really believe that the 100s of A.S. members that retrofitted the Uptone Linear PSU and reported marked improvements in SQ were hearing a different stream of 1s and 0s before and after the changes ?

I don't doubt that you believe that all the reports were due to EXPECTATION  BIAS , which is highly insulting to those many members, as well as the majority that post in Rajiv's massive thread in the Music Servers section of the forum.

A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming 

I note that you also appear to believe that high res is also a waste of time, despite the numerous reports to the contrary , and measurements by highly qualified members like Jussi , and YES, I was able to hear and report back ,clear and accurate differences between Frederick V's posted X and Y files where an original 24/96 file was converted to 16/44.1 and back again.. 

  A recent suggestion by one and a half to securely earth the cases of the internal SSDs in my Desktop PC by measuring the mV difference between their cases and the 0 volts of the internal SMPS PSU, and reducing it by earthing improvements resulted in MARKED improvements in SQ via Coax SPDIF WITHOUT any change in the exported Binary Data. In fact, the original saved file on my old internal HDD, now sounds markedly worse than when this file is copied from there  to another internal SSD/HDD  or USB Memory stick when played from System Memory after these changes, when played with JRiver 26.

 NO, I did NOT expect any more than minimal changes at best, when I followed Gary's advice.

 

I would also recommend that other members using Desktop PC's try one and a half's suggestions. It won't cost them any money either, just a few minutes of their time.

(The 0 volts of an SSD or HDD is internally connected to their metal case)

Dual +5V PSU for 2 SSDs.jpg

 

I didn't see anything in your post that addresses "streaming lossless vs. local playback/CD".

 

Based on what you have said, I would expect streaming to provide better quality sound because you wouldn't have all the PSU issues associated with local playback from computer or CDP. 

Everything matters... when brewing coffee.

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18 minutes ago, kumakuma said:

I didn't see anything in your post that addresses "streaming lossless vs. local playback/CD".

Tom

You appear to believe that the converted file that they are playing was created using a very low noise perfect server, and that there is no degradation in the TX and RX paths.(Jitter etc.) You don't even know that the music you are listening to hasn't had some degree of compression or is even a bit accurate copy of the original Music CD or file. Add to that ,that no WiFi connection which of necessity uses modulation and demodulation techniques is completely blameless, any more than a conversion to Toslink and back again either, as much as we would like to believe it is . That is why many now prefer an Ethernet connection, where even then, many get improved results when using an Ethernet Regen.

 

Are you able to directly save any of your streamed music for comparison purposes ?

 

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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5 minutes ago, sandyk said:

Tom

You appear to believe that the converted file that they are playing was created using a very low noise perfect server, and that there is no degradation in the TX and RX paths. You don't even know that the music you are listening to hasn't had some degree of compression or is even a bit accurate copy of the original Music CD or file. Add to that ,that no WiFi connection which of necessity uses modulation and demodulation techniques is completely blameless, any more than a conversion to Toslink and back again either, as much as we would like to believe it is . That is why many now prefer an Ethernet connection, where even then, many get improved results when using an Ethernet Regen.

 

Are you able to directly save any of your streamed music for comparison purposes ?

 

 

You appear to be confusing local streaming like Rajiv and many, many other members here are doing with streaming from services like Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, etc.

 

I am, of course, asking about the former.

 

 

Everything matters... when brewing coffee.

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8 minutes ago, kumakuma said:

 

You appear to be confusing local streaming like Rajiv and many, many other members here are doing with streaming from services like Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, etc.

 

I am, of course, asking about the former.

 

 

The 1st and 2nd sentences still apply, as does the question I asked

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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Just now, sandyk said:

The 1st and 2nd sentences still apply, as does the question I asked

 

I don't stream music but even, if I did, it would be music that I ripped or downloaded myself so the idea of saving the streamed data seems to make little sense to me.

 

The fact that numerous members here locally stream their music suggests that the benefits greatly outweigh the issues you have raised.

 

 

 

 

 

Everything matters... when brewing coffee.

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Everybody have fun tonight. 

 

Everybody Wang Chung tonight.  

 

Words to live by.

 

 

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | Sablon 2020 cabling, PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

 

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