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Everything posted by bluesman

  1. It’s common for an SD card to show a much lower capacity than it has, eg when formatting it. There are many reasons for this, such as prior formatting into multiple partitions with different file systems on each, so that an OS will not recognize one or more. Windows will ignore ext4, for example. Google “restore full SD card capacity” or similar query and pick the method that appeals to you. It can also be caused by malware, card defects etc - but it’s usually from prior formatting. Space recovery will not recover your files - it will delete everything on the card, so don’t do it to a card with any contents you need and haven’t backed up. There are ways to recover “lost data” if they’ve been written to a file system that’s just not readable by one OS (eg Android). Another Google search will reveal alternatives for doing this. The first pass would logically be to insert the card into devices with different operating systems to see if one will read and access everything. After that comes a host of free and paid software (like this) that may or may not work to retrieve data that are corrupted or MIA for other reasons. To avoid this, I use SD Formatter to reformat every card to full capacity that shows as smaller, before putting anything fresh on it. Finally, make sure your phone can access the amount of storage you insert - there are limits on this for many operating systems and hardware.
  2. But it’s an excellent way for many to get critical education and experience. Those who just want to listen need easy, efficient, transparent aids to optimize their systems. But to those for whom knowledge about what’s in the boxes and how it all works enhances their audiophilic enjoyment, tweaking can be a valuable and pleasurable learning experience. If you’re learning from the effort (or just enjoying it), it’s productive time well spent.
  3. I can’t make that kind of judgment between them. Both are very well crafted, multi-tracked recordings of outstanding musicianship - they’re just very different in everything from concept to final presentation. As a musician, I much prefer listening to Dire Straits. Between the fine playing and the variety of guitars on LoG, I find fresh inspiration each time I hear even one track. When facing the OP’s dilemma, each album has a role to play. The problem with using DS as an evaluation tool is that there’s no reference standard against which to compare it when played through alternative systems. We can’t know how it’s supposed to sound because it’s not a recorded performance - recording it was the performance. The album is its own and only reference standard. Their live performances of tunes from it were meant to sound as much as possible like the record (which they could only approximate), rather than the usual effort to make the record sound like the band. Sure, many touring bands want their concerts to be perfect covers of their recordings - but DSOTM used studio tricks that go far beyond most recordings and set a new bar. Dire Straits could and did play all 5 tunes from LoG pretty much exactly as recorded. Knopfler’s National resonator guitar has a known sound, so it’s easy to say how accurately it’s being reproduced. There are several different guitars on it, and each sounds different from the rest - if they don’t, you need a better system. Knopfler’s hand is in every aspect of that album, and he clearly made sure its sound was captured well and properly. He’s playing a single cone National on one track, and its sound is easily distinguished from a National tricone (like the one sitting next to me right now). His 12 string sounds like a 12 string, not a processed 6. Nylon strings are clearly different from metal strings. The entire album is a great snapshot of the live sound of the band despite its multitracked methodology. This makes it an excellent reference to help inform the OP’s decision. I listen to Dire Straits a lot more than I do to PF because I prefer the music. But “better” doesn’t really apply, the way I see it.
  4. From your earlier post, I would have expected you to say that Love over Gold sounds much better than DSOTM on your system. So now I'm more than a little confused. DSOTM is certainly one of my favorite albums ever - but it's rock. I actually drove (or as she erroneously recalls it, "dragged") my wife from Philly to DC (a 3 hour drive) to buy the original British vinyl when it was first released (and extremely hard to find in the US) because a record store on Dupont Circle had and held for me their one copy when I called them. But it's about as electric and engineered as they come. It was recorded in pieces on a 16 track machine with multiple synthesizers and some serious electronic manipulation. Then it was manipulated even more, mixed and mastered to maximize its dramatic sonics and spatial presentation in both stereo and quadriphonic versions. Love over Gold, on the other hand, is a much lower key production that features Mark Knopfler's playing of several wonderful acoustic guitars. He plays multiple 6 string acoustic guitars on it, both nylon and steel strung, plus a 12 string and his old National resonator guitar. You don't need to know which is which to recognize that you're hearing different guitars, as the distinctly different sounds of each should be apparent on any decent system (of which yours is absolutely one). The acoustic beauty of his instruments and playing is a large part of the sonic appeal of this album and can be heard delicately but clearly among the other instruments and vocals. In fact, the entire album is much more delicate and much less "electric" than DSOTM. This is why I recommend learning about the recordings you're hearing, so you can understand your own likes and dislikes in equipment well enough to find what you want and avoid what you don't.
  5. I seriously doubt that - but I may have been forced into playing more blame games with manufacturers and vendors than you have. I really don't believe that they're as naive or ignorant as their responses often suggest. They're simply trying to avoid being blamed for dissatisfaction that originates in "innovative" customer use of their products in ways they hadn't foreseen or intended. And the line staff who respond to most such inquiries seem to be as concerned about keeping their jobs as they are about saying and doing the right thing to us. Most with whom I've had to do this were clearly just covering their asse(t)s, e.g. "It's your internet connection", "It's your router", "It's your operating system", "It's your configuration", "It's your player / streamer / DAC / preamp / amp / speakers / wires / configuration / diet / location / weather / scotch / Zodiac sign..." etc. Only those with a broader vision, true passion for their pursuits, a spirit of adventure, respect for each and every customer, and the self confidence to tackle problems they hadn't encountered before respond positively and constructively starting with "we don't know, but let's find out". Most simply don't go the extra mile. You may recall a thread I started many moons ago because my brand new and highly touted DAC wouldn't hold its USB connection when turned off - the USB cable had to be unplugged and plugged back in before turning it back on. The manufacturer's service tech responded by email that it was because I was running Linux and they don't support Linux. Their website says quite clearly that Linux is a supported platform, which I documented with a big screen shot from their own site. The next response was that there are so many variants of Linux that they couldn't possibly keep track of them to make sure each one works with their product. I had it connected to ROCK on a NUC, which is not what I'd call rare or esoteric - it's probably one of the most common platforms to which their DACs are connected. I only posted the encounter on AS after giving up and deciding to leave it on 24/7. I finally received a response months later from Customer Service (through AS) asking if they could be of any help. I'm also a lot older than you are, Chris. So I remember when customer service was typically much better. I bought a new Crown SX724 in 1974, exactly when the first back-coated tapes were introduced. As their transports had been on the market for years already, they were never tested with back-coated tape - and it squealed loudly because the back coating stuck slightly to the pinch roller material they used. My dealer told me to call them directly because this was a brand new problem and they'd want to know about it. He also told me that he'd gladly exchange it for a Revox or take it back for a full refund, if it simply wouldn't work with the latest tape. I called Crown, got a very nice response, and was told they'd get back to me. A few weeks later, I came home from the hospital to find my wife watching John Haines (Crown's service manager) taking my deck apart on our living room floor. He brought multiple new capstans, pinch rollers, and other parts and did a lot of adjusting before leaving me with what he thought were the three best rollers they'd developed in the weeks since I called. He asked me to use each for a while and report back to him so they could change their production specs, retrofit unsold dealer stock to the one that worked the best, and notify current owners of the problem and its solution. They never even mentioned that it wasn't designed for back-coated tape. It's this kind of enthusiasm and integrity that make one a delighted customer. Although satisfied customers return, they'll look at other buying opportunities. Truly delighted customers never consider going elsewhere if they can get what they want / need or a satisfactory substitute from a source that delights them. I will never buy another product from that DAC manufacturer. But I was a loyal customer of my dealer until he retired. I ended up with items I'd never even considered because he carried, recommended, and stood behind them - and I agreed with his opinion after trying them (like a pair of early Sony monobloc power amps, a Yamaha B2, a McIntosh MX110, an Apt Holman preamp, a Hafler 500 etc). I had to buy my Rogers LS3/5as elsewhere because he brought in a pair for both of us to evaluate for several weeks, concluding afterward that he loved the sound but they weren't worth their cost because of their limitations (power handling, dynamic range, nominal 15 ohm impedance, etc). He was a true gentleman about it, even asking me to bring them in several times in so we could compare them to new designs he and Fred Martin were developing. The wise consumer buys the seller as well as the product.
  6. I want to know if there’s a difference between 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven and 45 minutes in a 275 degree oven........and if there is, am I able to taste it? I’m more than a little surprised to find audiophiles who don’t want to know if what they think they hear is there, how it got there if it is, and if it is but they don’t hear it - why not? I can’t imagine that such knowledge and interest could interfere with the enjoyment of music. Chacun à son goût.
  7. I strongly suspect that most designers, engineers and manufacturers know that there’s no such thing as “the best” - because, with rare exceptions, there isn’t. The two most likely reasons for the approach you describe are probably the desire to achieve their specific vision for the performance of a product and the need / desire to minimize complaints about product performance from users who alter or ignore their recommendations. There are many philosophies and strategies for business success. Some incorporate and even promote user choice in an effort to please those who want it (and because they recognize that there’s no “best”). But most are based on the beliefs that each product or service offered represents and embodies somebody’s vision for it (designer, engineer, owner, etc) and that the vision will be preferred by enough buyers to make it a success in the market. So they dissuade users from trying to change it.
  8. I have a Flirc on the Pi 4 in our living room system, because it looks great and cools well. The core temp right now is 46C, after weeks of being on 24/7 in an ambient 22-23 room with low air flow. But I bought a few inexpensive fan cooled plastic cases like this one for the 3B+s and 4s I use to test and develop ideas and projects. There are several like this one complete with switched SMPS and heat sinks for $15 or less. This one's a Kupton and now shows as unavailable on Amazon. The ones I use on 3 B+ (branded Bonrob & bought in January) are also now unavailable - but there are several other choices almost identical in design and construction. Many of these inexpensive accessories come and go, so you can't rely on finding the exact same one again. These fan cooled plastic cases keep temps down very well. An overclocked, ZRAM'ed Pi 4 running from a USB3 SSD (no SD card at all) pushed to its limits as a DAW (details in an upcoming article in the Value Proposition series) never tops 62 even at full tilt boogie. My most aggressively rodded 3B+ idles in the 30s and is never above low 60s even with CPU usage above 95% for complex tasks. I use a 40 pin GPIO extension ribbon through the side slot in the case, so I can keep the fan in place when using HATs (with the fan power wires either on tiny homemade ring connectors under the GPIO plug or extended and connected to the pins on the HAT end). Even if you don't want to use these switched PSs for audio, they're great for development and other frequent on-off use. They keep your Pi safe when you're booting repeatedly by making it easy to shut down from the command line or GUI and restart by pushing the button. If you get in the habit of plugging and unplugging, you will eventually corrupt your SD card and have to start again with a newly burned image.
  9. Hi & welcome! The Allo Wifi dongle is set up for your board and should work fine. As I recall, it's an 802.11n device (300 Mb/sec at 2.4GHz), which is more than enough bandwidth for dsd as long as your wifi network is also at least that fast. Enjoy it!
  10. This is a perfect example of the educational value of just listening. Dollars to donuts, what you're describing is more the result of the way the recording was made than how it's played back. Virtually all "electric" music (pop, rock, commercial et al - and even a lot of jazz) is recorded as individual parts or small units, by acoustically isolating the players and their mics and/or having them lay down their parts individually while listening to backing or other timing tracks. These are then assembled into a simulation of ensemble performance by engineers and producers in post-production. The performers are placed in space electronically by balancing left to right and using DSP to create the spatial image desired by the engineers and producers. The result is simply not as natural and 3 dimensional as it is when the ensemble is recorded live with good microphone use in a good setting. You can and should hear these differences on any decent playback system. This is not at all important to most non-classical artists and engineers, who are concerned with how perfectly they achieved their concept of the recording and its overall effect on potential buyers. The genres don't demand a natural sound stage, which is largely because there is no such thing for 99+% of studio recordings of pop / rock / etc - the performers never actually play together at any stage of recording. I think it's worth any audiophile's time to research the making of at least a few of the albums they listen to a lot, to learn how recording methodology translates to playback. Read, listen, repeat. There's an amazing amount of technical info about many well known recordings, both in print and on the web, if you look for it. And you should be able to correlate what was done in recording with what you hear in playback. A little web searching + a lot of listening will teach you a lot, e.g. here's a description of how Steely Dan recorded: "The stories of Fagen and Becker's 'obsession' are legion. For instance, when working on their second album, Countdown To Ecstasy (1973), they ran an eight-bar loop of two-inch tape to an idler wheel outside the control room in an attempt to achieve drum machine-like precision in the rhythm section. Steely's web site, www.steelydan.com, proclaims with some pride that because of a faulty tape machine used on the recording of Katy Lied (1975), the band refused to listen to the final album. When working on Gaucho (1980), they pioneered the use of engineer Roger Nichols' freshly developed Wendel sampling drum machine and audio sampler (12.5kHz/12-bit) for drums and percussion. An indication of the amount of overdubbing, splicing, and re-recording that went into their quest for perfection was that Nichols and Scheiner used up 360 rolls of tape recording Gaucho [bolding added by me]." [The perfect timing of the rhythm section in Steely Dan recordings is actually unnatural. Even human metronomes like David Garibaldi, Kenny Aronoff and Steve Gadd sound a bit more human than they do metronome. With any decent system, you can hear the unnatural perfection of a drum machine or timing-corrected sampler, as distinct from the natural subtle variance in live drumming. Even the regular strokes on a ride cymbal or the classic syncopated high hat riff will show minor variation in both timing and tone on some hits.] And there's a ton written about the recording sessions that created Miles' Kind of Blue, e.g. "instruments were left/center/right with the two track mix folding the center channel to both the left and right channels. As Marks reports, only the center channel microphones used by Davis and bassist Paul Chambers had 'send and return' lines to and from the 30th street studios concrete echo chamber but leakage from the other instruments into their microphones, (plus the converted church's natural reverb), probably accounts for the recording's spacious ambience and its overall coherent reverberant field." [You can hear the slightly harsh and "physical" echo chamber effect of their makeshift reverb in the bass and trumpet as distinct from the overall "roominess" of the church on the original vinyl, but less so (at least, to my ears) on remasters.] "The mono original (and reissue) provides a better overall instrumental balance, with greater emphasis on the piano and more solid imaging. Yes, its not as ethereally spacious, but it better layers and balances the instruments in my opinion and if you remain unconvinced that mono can produce three-dimensionality, this record will convince you." [There's a CD out now with both versions - mono and stereo - on it. It's well worth the price.] "[T]he 'magic' on the original pressing cannot be fully duplicated elsewhere in terms of the air and space available when the tape was fresh—even with the 3-2 mixdown and that's taking into account the high frequency 'bump' produced when the tape was played 1.25% fast on side one's recorded tracks. The cymbal decay that seems to go on forever on the original isn't there to the same degree on any of the reissues. Drummer Jimmy Cobb is famously quoted as having said about the KOB recording '...you clearly hear the wood of the drumstick against the cymbal.' And while you can on all versions, it's best presented on the original. On the other hand, the original is, as Calbi notes, 'bright' as was the style of the day." And the following info about player placement is critical to knowing whether you're hearing what was on the original recording. It also helps you understand differences among the multiple remastered versions now available: "Because Kind of Blue was recorded in multitrack mono, without the use of any real stereophonic microphone techniques, the instruments appear in fairly constricted left, center, and right locations." "The center image, Davis' trumpet plus Paul Chambers' bass, was solid as a rock—so shockingly solid that at first I thought the center speaker was on. It wasn't." "Between the first recording session, which accounts for the album's first three tracks, and the second, which accounts for the last two, the sax players swap track assignments. For the first three numbers, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane is on the left and alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley is on the right; for the last two, Adderley is on the left and Coltrane on the right." Moral: save that money for music, and "read, listen, repeat."
  11. Your D50S (which, as you describe it, is the model you have despite andrewinukm's reference to the earlier - and different - D50) is a wonderful DAC and your amplifiers are equally fine. This is a great pair to drive LS50s and Roon Bridge on a Pi 4 is an excellent endpoint. You can now play files of any practical resolution and format with wonderful sound quality. Swapping for the suggested alternatives in this thread may alter your SQ a little bit, but this is purely a matter of personal preference - none of these is "better" than the rest, although some may be more pleasing to one of us than to another. I currently have and listen regularly to multiple systems that include variants of most of the equipment discussed above, including a Prima Luna amplifier, an iFi DSD, an SMSL SU-8 balanced DAC, JBL and Edifier powered speaker systems, Rogers LS3/5a, 7 Raspberry Pi 3B+s and 4s, a NUC running ROCK, a Parasound preamp, a Nuforce preamp, a Wadia digital amp, etc. Everything we're talking about in this thread is as good as or better than most alternatives anywhere near the price range, as good as most of the rest, and almost as good as "the best". How big a gap is defined by "almost" is also purely personal preference, and the width of that gap lends itself well and often to semantic manipulation. I strongly suggest that you enjoy what you have for an extended period of time while trying potential improvements in room treatment, DSP, DAC filters, etc. Give each change enough listening time to really get to know if and how it affects SQ. Switch back and forth. Try many different source programs. It can be very revealing to compare different versions and formats of the same program material to see what differences you can and can't hear and to compare what you hear to reputable published reviews, e.g. original vs remastered, stereo pair vs multimiked recordings of the same ensembles, and so forth. Your system is a great platform for learning - why not take advantage of it? You'll become a better educated, more experienced audiophile while enjoying a lot of music.
  12. Roon 1.3 will now recognize the LS50W as an endpoint. This is new - earlier versions did not. They won’t play DSD or DoP, if that’s a problem for you. But they do handle up to 24/192 and sound mighty fine. I think there’s a KEF app that lets you stream your files up to 192k directly to the Ws, but I don’t know anything about it.
  13. If something is inaudible in isolation but has audible effects on other factors, its presence is audible even if it makes no sound of its own. I think this is directly important. Look no further than a silent person on a creaky step - you hear the normally silent step because an inaudible person stepped on it. DC is silent - but a voltage drop that makes its way to an audio signal as a DC offset can affect SQ. Then there’s the question of why it’s “below the level of audibility”. Is it making sound at an SPL below the threshold of audibility? Is it producing AC out of the frequency range of audibility? Or is it making otherwise audible sound that’s masked to inaudibility by other sounds in its environment? Each cause has its own set of direct, audible consequences, eg intermodulation or sucking amplifier power.
  14. Perhaps you missed the animated disclaimer I added at the end, Chris. I love it so much that here it is again to underscore how seriously you should take my response above.
  15. Sleepless nights wondering why they can’t hear a difference.
  16. As a flexible and rational objectivist, I focus first and foremost on what’s in the glass. Then I analyze the data to see if the level is stable, rising or falling. If it’s stable, is it static or in a dynamic equilibrium? If it’s falling, where’s the leak and where is the loss going? If it’s rising, what’s the source and do I really want or need more of whatever’s in it? Etc.
  17. This discussion is very interesting. But I submit that SQ is neither linear nor measurable because there are no direct metrics and no defined upper and lower limits. Do we approach 100% asymptotically but never reach it? What’s 0 - playback that’s so bad you can’t tell what instruments were recorded? so bad that you can’t tell if it’s music or random noise? Even if you think 100% is a perfect creation of a live performance, getting agreement that your system does this would be difficult. And if you have 100% at home, would you ever change a component again? There’s a nice website and podcast series called musical-u that sure educates and entertains me. You all might find it enlightening too - it discusses and examines a lot that goes into our perception of sound and SQ. There are discussions of everything from how frequencies in music determine what we hear to ear training methodology. Try it - you might like it.
  18. A p value of 0.1 means a 90% probability, not 99%.
  19. You’re also not that far from Frostbite Falls. You may even have met some of our audiophile colleagues who studied statistics at Wassamatta U.
  20. And there really are a few clinging to each end of the bell shaped curve. But most of us are like most of us. Only in Lake Wobegon are the children all above average.
  21. To bring this back OT, well done DBT could help determine if network platforms and components make discernible difference in SQ.
  22. The critical factor in choosing a test is whether it can answer the question being asked. As you point out, the question asked by audiophiles is often unanswerable and therefore untestable as asked. It’s not possible to determine if a given cable improves SQ with blinded testing - for a start, one audiophile’s smooth is another’s muddy. But it’s possible to determine if there’s a consistent difference between two that subjects can identify with 95+% consistency in enough well done blinded listening trials to be statistically significant. Correctly identifying one alternative from another with 95% certainty in well designed and well conducted DBT is objective. And this can be useful info. The “best” questions for any study are objectively measurable, as you point out. But many healthcare decisions are made on the basis of parameters that can be as vague and nebulous as “how real it sounds”, e.g. sense of well-being, intensity of pain, Quality of Life Years, patient satisfaction, and likelihood of recommending. Picking and using good tests to get valid, repeatable results is dependent on what question is asked, how it’s asked, and in what form an answer is sought. And measurement systems are less reliable than we believe. Even “simple” blood pressure measurement is not simple, e.g. 3 consecutive readings 5 minutes apart can vary widely. Other factors ignored by those who oversimplify DBT include consistency among multiple raters and consistency of the same rater over time. If a subject correctly identifies A or B in 95% of presentations in one trial session but averages 53% over 5 identical sessions, that 95% session is not representative - it’s random chance. Controls are also needed. Present the same alternative to raters multiple times and see if they think they perceive differences that aren’t there.
  23. Unless I missed it, you haven’t said why you want to put a preamp between your DAC and your power amplifier. Are you trying to change your SQ in some way? I know the Junior has a knob on the front - is it not a volume control? You might want to invest $58 in a Nobsound balanced zero gain “preamp” from Douk Audio before putting a lot more money into something you may not need. It has a decent Alps volume pot and 2 sets of ins & outs (XLR and RCA). I think it’s a great little item when you need a volume control stage and nothing else. Some reviews say a buffer stage like this improves SQ, although I haven’t found this to be the case with any system I’ve ever had.
  24. Maybe they just don't know enough about it to do it right (or that it's not a valid methodology for answering the question being asked). You're talking about a fairly sophisticated methodology that requires specialized knowledge. When you encounter a specious application of it, you'd be of much more help identifying the flaws in it than simply dismissing it. Name calling reduces you to the level of those you're criticizing. As they say at the airport, if you see something.......say something. But you're only part of the solution if what you say is meaningful and constructive. Otherwise, you're part of the problem.
  25. As a tenured professor at a university medical center, I and my colleagues rely on DBT as a valid research tool. Well designed, properly powered double blinded clinical trials have been the basis for many major scientific achievements that have saved countless lives. If the p value on well chosen, appropriately tests of the delta between a placebo or control cohort and the active study cohort is 0.02, there was a 98% probability that the observed effect occurred because of the intervention and a 2% probability it happened purely by random chance. I don’t understand how you can dismiss this as not being objective. The problem with most amateur DBT is how it’s done, not the principle behind it.
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