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About bluesman

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    Crusty Old Curmudgeon

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  1. I’m researching this, as I may be wrong. I can’t find a remote app that will control a player via BT or a direct WiFi link without a WLAN. Apple used to sell a camera connection kit that could connect a USB drive to an iPhone or iPad. If it’s still available, you could use an iThing as the player with your drive as the file source.
  2. Assuming you’re not looking for serious sound quality, I’d use a Raspberry Pi. You can load any music player you like (Google it - there are at least 20), plug your USB drive into the Pi, and use its analog output to drive a line input on your stereo. Control it with your iStuff - Pis have built-in Bluetooth and WiFi for that connection. You only need an internet connection to download and set up the Pi. The Raspian OS comes with VLC player now, as I recall. It’s pretty good for basic music playback and management, so you don’t even need an additional player unless you prefer the look and feel of Volumio, Rune, etc to VLC. Any such player will sound the same through the analog output - and that’s not bad at all. You’ll need to put the appropriate remote app on your iStuff for the player you choose.
  3. I can not imagine how you concluded that from what I actually said. You didn’t - I did, because it’s true (except that the transients aren’t fake, they’re real). Having done all this and more on my high speed Crown deck and listened through Infinity Reference Standards driven by a Hafler 500, a Citation 2 and a Marantz 8b, I know it’s correct.
  4. That may be true if the goal is simply generating audio output that sounds "real". But it's total nonsense when discussing accuracy in reproduction, which seems to me to be what the OP was addressing. Sounding like one "thinks a piano should sound" is hardly a criterion for judging the quality and accuracy of any component of a playback system. The OP seems to me to be focusing on whether any element of true fidelity to the source is lost in conversion from higher resolution to lower, to wit: "Could there be anything in the original 24/352.8 file that is lost during decimation down to 16/44.1? If so, what could have been lost, considering there’s virtually no music signal above 10kHz anyhow? Is all this hires malarkey really much ado about nothing?" A mediocre recording of almost any "tack piano" (a piano with thumbtacks in the hammers to simulate old, worn felts) will sound a lot more "live" than a better recording of a poorly maintained Baldwin baby grand. The tacks generate sharp transient attacks on the notes, and there's a lot more high frequency energy in the signal - it's simply more convincing when played back through almost any system. The effect is useful in some kinds of music - I did it many times back in the '60s and '70s. By your criterion, this is good sound.
  5. FWIW, Hoff is playing a Steinway D, which is their flagship concert grand. It's a wonderful piano for "general purpose playing", and I wouldn't kick it off my stage 😎 But I do prefer the slightly fuller, richer sound (at least to my ears) of the big Yamaha. I had the same preference in a standard size grand when I bought mine back in 1981, so I have a Yamaha at home a well. The YouTube video of this track is very instructive - it shows mic placement, which explains a lot. When listening to a solo piano in concert, you don't hear any consistent spatial placement of the registers of the instrument. When I first listened to the two files at the heart of this thread, I noted strangely consistent placement of different registers between the speakers. The middle octaves emerge largely from left of center in this recording, while lower and higher octaves often peek out from the right as well as all around. There's no consistency between the ends of the keyboard and the corresponding speakers, but there is consistent placement of fundamentals around 250-500 Hz. Before I searched the posts to find out what the song was and who was playing it, I began to wonder if it was a 2 piano piece in a few spots because notes in the same octave seemed to be coming from two distinct places at once. I think that third mic at the far end of the sound board may be the reason for this. There's also more reflected, delayed sound than I like - my living room is not a cathedral. To my ears, there's a lot more of this "sonic congestion" at places like 3:20 in 005 than there is in 004. I have no idea how this relates to the processing being compared in this thread, but that reverberation does not seem so prominent in the YouTube audio. Perhaps there's some technical explanation in the various analyses in this thread. I also assume (and hope) that the powered monitor facing Hoff was not live during recording. If it was, it had to be contributing to the heavy dose of "ambience".
  6. ...and there's the trigger for overcoming my reluctance to contribute to threads like this. And although the piano was the instrument in question here, this applies to every recorded instrument you hear. Yes, I know that there was a study showing that professional musicians couldn't reliably tell a Stradivarius from a high quality new violin. But the problem is the same for all - if you don't know what was recorded, you can't possibly judge subtleties in the accuracy of reproduction. You simply can not know how that or any other recorded piano "should" sound unless you know what it is. In fact, many differences in "sound quality" among equivalent pianos from Baldwin, Steinway, Bechstein, Bösendorfer, Steingraeber, Blüthner, Yamaha, Fazioli, Shigeru Kawai etc are more easily heard than are the differences among similar electronics, cables, power supplies etc that fuel the flames of AS. No piano at that level is objectively and measurably "better" in any way, but each has its own sound and feel...and its own devotees. Why do they sound different? Start with the scale length, gauge, construction and tension of the strings for the same size piano. Then there's the group of materials from which the frame & sounding board are made. Throw in the way the strings are anchored to the board, held in tune, and supported at the ends of their scale length (the equivalents of the "nut" and "bridge" on a guitar). Then stick the whole thing into a case whose shape, size, construction, material, etc vary from brand to brand and model to model. Most concert stages have 9' grands. Most studio recordings of any quality are made on pianos of over 6', and most clubs at which live recordings are made have pianos of at least 5'10". But any of them might be from any of the above makers, and you simply do not know which is which unless they tell you or you're experienced enough to hazard an educated guess. Pianos are not even tuned the same way, and this greatly affects how they sound. Google "temperament" to learn about the many tunings that can be used. The 12 note chromatic scale used in western music is not divisible into perfect intervals, so tuning a piano to a perfect C major scale will leave it slightly out of tune in any other key. "Tempering" the scale means detuning it a bit to achieve the best compromise across all 11 scales. Many temperaments have been developed and used since Pythagoras defined the system on which most western music is based. Most pianos today are tuned with either "equal" temperament or "well" temperament, but who tunes it, how, and how well will clearly affect how it sounds. You (like pianists, conductors, recording engineers, etc) may prefer the sound of one temperament to another, but most of you were probably unaware of this. Tuning and temperament can also affect the effects of various distortions in the recording / playback chain on the SQ you hear and how you perceive it. Joey Calderazzo (a great jazz pianist, for those who don't know who he is) prefers Blüthner pianos for their warm midrange and a tight lower register that doesn't make a muddy mix with the bass player. He and many other pros avoid Steinways when they can. Angela Hewitt finds Steinways to be "unsubtle" - she plays and endorses Fazioli because "[t]he action is incredibly responsive to every variation in touch, and everything I imagine in my head I can produce with my fingers. It gives me complete freedom to play as I wish. The sound is also very coloured. With the Fazioli you can get great power but also wonderful delicacy which, nevertheless, does not lose its brilliance. The high frequencies and reverberations are always there. This is a great feeling! It has wonderful clarity, especially in the lower register". Her summation of the SQ is worth repeating: "The sound is also very coloured". They all are, in many ways. And to make the issue even more confusing, Wolf Trap recently switched to Steinway after decades of using Yamahas! The Estonia L274 is a very bright concert grand known for its touch sensitivity, making it highly prized for those who favor delicate melodic tone poems like Clair de Lune. The Shiugeru Kawai SK-EX is a very powerful grand with a dark, full rich tone that responds well to big pieces like Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C#m played with a firm touch. The Yamaha CFX concert grand is legendary as a balanced piano with sensitive touch throughout a wide dynamic range. It's felt by many who actually do know "how a piano should sound" to be the best concert grand in the world (if there really is such a thing as the best, which I personally doubt). And Oscar Peterson took his personal Bösendorfer 290 concert grand around the world after discovering it while playing a concert in Vienna in the early 1970s - he wouldn't play anything else once he found his B. So PLEASE stop thinking that you know how a piano "should" sound and trying to judge the accuracy of reproduced music by that criterion unless you know enough specifics about the piano (or other instrument, vocalist etc) you're hearing to do so. You may know how you like it to sound - but that's totally irrelevant to the accuracy of reproduction.
  7. I suspect that no Crown amp has ever been described as warm & pleasant, unless it was by a cat who slept on it 😼
  8. That's fine as long as the machine is not connected to the outside world. Those updates include many security patches that protect against new malware and other exploits, of which there is no shortage and no end. So pull that ethernet plug and turn off WiFi if you're going to keep running 7.
  9. Yes, indeed - and as I said in the first post, "...in Asia, they were distilling and drinking fermented rice and mare's milk as far back as 800 BCE", which was about 600 years before the second century BCE. Whether the first booze was crafted in Asia or ancient Egypt is impossible to establish with certainty. But it was obviously at about the same time, and some authorities favor each as the "first". It doesn't matter for our purposes. I brought it up only because the suggestion was made by Ralf11 that the consumption of wine and Scotch in Japan represents "diffusion of our culture". My point was a correction of that erroneous assumption, since they were distilling alcohol in Asia for drinking 800 years before Christ. Distillation in Egypt prior to the 8th century BCE is documented as having been largely for purification of essential oils and components of fragrance. They didn't drink it. Maybe an Egyptian or two chugged a few shots a year before the first Asian got plastered. If so, I apologize.
  10. I appreciate your knowledge and experience - your beer history is, of course, correct. But beer is not a distillate, and I made no mention of or reference to beer. I was responding to a comment about whiskey and wine - and my history on that is quite correct. Although whiskey is technically made from "beer", that's only because the mash is fermented. There's a growing trend in the US toward distilling ready-to-drink beer into spirits. If you're of a mind to do so, find yourself a bottle of Pine Barrens or Ranger Creek's La Bestia Defavorable for an imteresting experience. I love the stuff!
  11. And this, to me, is the critical difference between American culture and Asian. We assume the worst about everyone. Anger is our default response to anything we perceive as a challenge to our opinions and the sense of superiority they confer on us. There is little or no presumption of honor or integrity on the part of or toward the other party in any dispute, whether real or falsely perceived. If a driver accidentally discovers that he or she is in the wrong lane and wants to move to the correct one before reaching a barrier or other prohibition against lane changing, the typical American response is to assume that the driver is a fool and/or maliciously trying to cut off the responder. The latter takes offense immediately and makes every possible effort to prevent the desired lane change. My wife and I have been amazed at the level of courtesy and consideration most Asians show each other and visitors to their region. We've experienced this consistently in Japan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. There's simply little or none of this mindless reactive anger to things that don't go as hoped and planned. Instead, the default presumption is that anyone can make a mistake and that it was not personal or directed at the other party. As a result, mutual efforts are made to accommodate each other in daily life. We could all benefit from a healthy dose of such tranquility and thoughtful accommodation of interpersonal differences. I suspect that those who enjoy vinyl bars in Japan don't criticize the equipment, the playlists, or anything else about the place. They accept and embrace everything for what it is and try to make each experience the best they can. They may well find things they dislike there, but they'll be as positive as they can and politely suggest how they think things could be even better than they are now. They go out of their way to save face for others and, in doing so, preserve and enhance their own dignity.
  12. I think Focusrite use the current Cirrus CS4272 chip, which is a one-piece ADC & DAC. It’s actually very good - full differential, 114 dB DR. I think the Hifiberry uses a TI (BB) 5122, which is a bit more versatile (eg bit depth and sampling rate availability) but has similar performance specs with the same sources. Both are well designed circuits and you probably wouldn’t notice any difference in SQ.
  13. I’ve been using the NIOSH SPL meter on my iPhone for a while now. It’s free from the App Store and is almost as accurate in the 40-100 dB range as the units our audiologists use, once calibrated to match (an easy task in the Settings panel). It’s far better than Radio Shack & similar.
  14. As a professional musician, I’ve used several USB audio interfaces meant for recording - my current piece is an M-Audio that has a 24/192 DAC in it the equal of “audiophile” units costing 10+ times as much (as does your Focusrite). The Focusrites are excellent and nothing for which to apologize. I’m 99+% sure they all work with all Linux variants as long as you’re using a current release - all current Linux with which I’m familiar are USB 2 compliant for music playback. As I recall, there’s a volume control on outputs 1&2, so you can use fixed output from your player software & control volume with the knob on the 6i6. But if you already have Ethernet where you want to put your player, you can use a Pi player with your NAS as the source - you don’t need the Mac at all. If the Mac is not being used for anything that requires it to be where it is now, you could move it to where you’d put the Pi, plug in the Ethernet cable, and drive the 6i6 directly from a USB port.
  15. Why not drive the DAC directly with the Mac? If you’re adding the Pi as a second player on your LAN or WLAN, all you need is a player/OS package like Rune or Volumio to both access files directly from your NAS and drive your USB DAC. DietPi is another nice little OS that lets you install any of several players easily and is simple as Pi to set up. The Zero has a USB OTG port, not a standard USB. You need an OTG adapter to use it as you would a regular USB port. I’d use a full size Pi - it has a faster, better processor and more flexibility for audio.
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