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tmtomh

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  1. Thanks! When @JoshM does a new Best Version of, I have to jump in! 😀
  2. @JoshM, once again a fantastic article, filled with great background info, passion for the music, and of course excellent sonic analysis. And once again, you arrive at the correct conclusion as well! 😀 I've been a huge fan of the Nunn/Wood mastering ever since I first heard it around maybe 2015 - I thought it blew the others away for all three albums. It is indeed possible that Five Leaves Left is not as much of an improvement because it's just the mastering that's new compared to 2000 rather than the digital transfer of the analogue source, but I feel that too clearly surpasses the 2000 remaster. It wasn't until last year, though, that I became aware that the Nunn/Wood mastering had been pressed to CD in the form of the Japan mini-LP issues from 2013. They were not super-cheap, but I snapped them all up, brand new, from CD Japan for about $30 each including the more expensive shipping (since EMS is suspended from Japan to the US during the pandemic) and I love them. One curiosity, though - when I put rips of the CDs in my computer playback system and look at their ReplayGain values, the three albums differ significantly. In particular, Bryter Layter is 9-10dB quieter than the other two albums. I don't know if this is just the CDs or is also true of the high-res files. Did you encounter this? Oh, and finally - the only downside I can see of this mastering is that it kind of spoils you for other Nick Drake releases. I have the Treasury SACD and I like it, but the mastering is IMHO not nearly as good.
  3. If you were willing or able to articulate what I misrepresented about what you wrote, then it would be possible to give credence to your indignance. As it is, though, you've responded twice to the same comment and have said nothing of substance either time. You have, however, engaged in name-calling and ad hominem attacks, which as you know are now against forum rules more clearly than ever before. @The Computer Audiophile, this is what happens when subjectivist members of the forum get the message that they can respond to any use of logic or reasoning by an objectivist with the claim that the objectivist is just using logic to troll them. It narrows the range of feasible discourse between subjectivists and objectivists to nothing.
  4. This comment illustrates a key part of the problem with this conversation. I wrote that objectivists don't rely on measurements alone - they use them to rule out some gear, and then they still have to consider other factors, and of course they still listen and evaluate on that basis. I also wrote that subjectivists don't purely use their ears, and also take measurements into account. You've responded with selective and completely one-sided "agreement," concurring that subjectivists use measurements to rule out bad gear - precisely what I wrote about what objectivists do - and you've acknowledged exactly... nothing about what objectivists do. In essence, I said, "Both objectivists and subjectivists are more nuanced than the stereotype," and you responded, "Yes I agree, subjectivists are more nuanced than the stereotype." As for the "controversial" topic of cables, the question of whether or not measurements tell us a lot or "tell us little," is precisely the source of the controversy. So you can assert that cable measurements tell us little, but it's nothing more than an assertion, since there are plenty of us who believe that cable measurements are quite useful. Similarly, your own comment shows that the majority of people who enjoy this hobby do in fact use measurements as a diagnostic tool ("e.g. a speaker frequency curve falls off a cliff below 60Hz"). The differences among us are about how much of a diagnostic tool, in regard to which equipment, and in regard to which measurements. So it's hard to see your articulated viewpoint here as anything other than a tautological formulation: If someone uses measurements in a way and to a degree that you agree with, they're a subjectivist, because you like subjectivists and you don't like objectivists. If someone believes that speaker measurements are of use, they are - or at least can be - a subjectivist, since that's okay with you. But if someone believes that cable measurements are of use, they are an objectivist, and therefore they are bad because they are factually incorrect since you know that cable measurements are of little use. It's a perfect example of the attitude that generates push-back from objectivists on this forum. The form that push-back has taken has at times been out of line - but the push-back itself is entirely justified.
  5. Thanks for your reply, Chris. A belief in measurements is "absolutely the simplest thing possible" only if one agrees with your caricature of that belief as "1+1=2, my work is done here." It's the same thing you did in response to @Archimago's comment above - ignore and dismiss every bit of nuance in what he wrote, and instead say that his comment "reminds you of" people who like everything to be black and white - the most simplistic version of an objectivist that you can conjure. This is straw-manning. No one gets to buy or audition infinite brands or models of equipment. Everyone uses heuristics to winnow down choices and make their decisions. So someone who believes in measurements might, for example, rule out certain pieces of equipment if they measure poorly. That still leaves a lot of other pieces of equipment that measure well. That person still would need to consider the build quality, features, aesthetics, price, and other factors - and that person still would need to listen to the equipment and decide if it was to their liking. The notion that an objectivist doesn't factor listening into their decision-making and pre- or post-purchase evaluation is fanciful. What a belief in measurements and technical aspects does help with, however, is precisely an understanding of what one might be hearing when one's components interact and one hears something that sounds off, or when one is looking to improve the sound of one's system and is trying to make a decision about what to swap out or upgrade. If the high end sounds grainy at times, is that because of the speaker tweeters, the digital source component, the DAC, the amplification, the interconnects, the power cord, the ethernet cable, or the room acoustics? The world of "anything goes" is not about being open to things. It's about willfully closing oneself off to some portion of the existing knowledge we have about how this stuff works. Using technical knowledge and measurements does not enable us to come to an instant certainty about what's going on, but it does enable us to reasonably discern what factors are extremely unlikely to be relevant, and what factors are possible or highly likely to be relevant. To be clear, I don't expect everyone else to agree with that - and I certainly don't expect others to use measurements to guide their journey if that's not what works for them. But I do object to the claim that those who do use measurements are not engaged in the journey and are not open and do not listen. Virtually every objectivist here will readily volunteer that measurements cannot describe or predict 100% of what we hear - and you and every other subjectivist regularly uses measurements and technical knowledge to help shape your perceptions and guide your thinking. Many things go, yes - but as a matter of fact not everything goes. Finally, objectivists do not have the franchise on the self-satisfied sniff. For every objectivist who tells someone that any DAC with xyz measurements will sound essentially the same, there is a subjectivist - or two, or three - who will tell someone that if they don't hear a difference between two bit-identical digital files, it's because their system isn't resolving enough or they haven't upgraded their power cords, or they're too close-minded to really, truly listen to the soundstage differences between different ethernet cables. These subjectivist responses are just as pat, tautological, and intellectually lazy as the objectivist positions that you are calling out. There are simplistic, lazy thinkers on both sides, and nuanced thinkers on both sides.
  6. How is relying on others’ listening impressions any more active or any more rigorous a use of one’s brain than analyzing measurements? How is the conviction that measurements have limited or no useful correlation with sonics any more or less black and white than the belief that measurements and sonics have a fairly strong level of correlation? How does a belief in measurements reflect the human desire for simplicity any more than a belief that one need not pay much attention to measurements? it seems to me that the desire for certainty and for comfortably restricted arenas of inquiry cuts across the objectivist-subjectivist divide, and that a generous (or even accurate) reading of Arch’s comment would be a productive way to move forward.
  7. It's interesting that your second comment emphasizes the lack of correlation between measurements and sonics, while your first comment - "How much an individual is willing to pay for diminishing returns" - presumes a fairly smooth and reliable correlation between price and sonics. Personally I have found the reverse - that the price-sonics correlation is weaker and less reliable than the measurement-sonics correlation.
  8. This is an extreme, highly disparaging statement, and such statements require some evidence if they are to be taken seriously and not be viewed as bad forum behavior. So too does the placing of the word reviews in scare-quotes require some explanation or justification if it s not to be considered gratuitous nastiness with no substance behind it. I would encourage anyone reading this thread who does not already have a strong opinion about ASR to visit the site and decide for themselves.
  9. I'll give you a pass on going off-topic since you added that smiley face at the end. 🙂 Seriously, though, for me it's not a matter of trusting or not trusting Amir's listening reports. I just don't care about them because they are of little value to me. He finds DACs that measure well - and even DACs that measure mediocrely - sound pretty much transparent. That's not surprising to me. He finds that underpowered or poorly measuring headphone amps don't sound very good when driving demanding high-impedance headphones. Also not surprising. And he finds that cheap AV receivers whose noise and distortion specs are 25-40dB worse than better equipment, and whose current handling is far inferior to better equipment, don't sound great. Also not a revelation. His listening tests of speakers I find to be interesting but not very useful either, because transducers are the least accurate, most distorted components in any system (assuming everything in the system is properly engineered), and therefore I find both measurements and listening reports not terribly decisive or helpful - with speakers my view is that one is dealing with more variability and bigger tradeoffs, and so the measurements from speaker to speaker are going to be less similar than from, say, DAC to DAC, and the listening impressions are going to be more shaped by listener preference than by a listener's ability to discern transparency. Put simply, I would consider buying a DAC without listening to it first, but not speakers. So I don't "trust" Amir's listening reports because I don't really trust anyone's listening reports. 🙂 As for MQA, I don't think anyone at ASR has been more vocal in arguing with Amir about MQA than I have. And yet somehow his favorable view of MQA has not impaired his brain so much that it makes him unable to operate his AP analyzer. So all good.
  10. That's a shame since room acoustics are important and their impact on the sound can be demonstrated very easily by both listening and measurements. In fact, room acoustics are one of the strongest areas of agreement among subjectivists and objectivists. Of course, room acoustics do become irrelevant with headphones, and if you are using a stereo system that - as you have said yourself - is akin to headphones with the ear cups pulled away slightly, then room acoustics aren't going to be an issue for you because you're engaged in near-field listening. But your use case is not all use cases, and room acoustics are significant in non-nearfield listening.
  11. Like I said, we'll have to agree to disagree.
  12. This is manifestly untrue, and so we're going to have to agree to disagree.
  13. You don't think you're overgeneralizing about objectivists here? Even AS's favorite "love to hate, narrow-minded, biased" objectivist, Amir over at ASR, routinely investigates component interactions in his tests. He tests DACs using different inputs; he compares RCA vs XLR inputs and outputs; he tests headphone amps with headphones of different impedances; he tries USB galvanic isolators with multiple DACs; he has "rolled"/swapped op amps in multiple pieces of equipment in order to compare the op amps in more than one "test bed"; he has used different Windows drivers to feed his test signals into equipment when he's gotten strange measurement results; he's added new types of measurements to test or capture certain interactions his members have asked about; he tests for thermal stability; he tests amps at different impedance loads; he opens up equipment to look at grounding, component quality, and possible causes of power supply noise getting into the audio stream; and he's tested multiple pieces of reviewed equipment with each other, for example he's tested a DAC with digital outputs as a USB-optical converter feeding another DAC. So I don't see how you can make your claim that objectivists could investigate equipment interactions or electrical "gremlins" but don't holds any water.
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