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tmtomh

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  1. I don't quite believe that you didn't know that the @The_K-Man was posing a rhetorical question rather than an actual question - and if if it were an actual question, I don't quite believe that you didn't know the answer. The production and mastering on Rumours are dynamic and not peak-limited. As for the sonics of Rumours, I actually think they're a bit overrated compared to what a lot of folks say about the subject, but it is nevertheless a very nice-sounding album. For vinyl folks the white-vinyl Dutch LP has a very good reputation. For digital folks (and I am one of those), there's a bit of a cult around the original Japan "target CD" mastering, which is very warm and "analogue" sounding but IMHO overrated. And there's the early 2000s DVD-A and SACD mastering, which is really excellent.
  2. There's some very good info in this thread, but with respect I would suggest you head over to AudioKarma.org - that place is filled with people who have years, sometimes decades, of rebuilding and repairing every aspect of speakers and can give pretty solid advice as to what to test first and what the pros and cons are of cleaning a switch, trying to repair the switch, sourcing a replacement for a switch, rebuilding a crossover, and so on. AudioKarma is not my go-to for knowledge on modern digital audio or for a culture dedicated to measuring equipment performance. But when it comes to using measurements to diagnose equipment problems and work on repairs, and when it comes to advice on how to go about determining what to repair and what to leave alone, I find the folks there to be among the most valuable on the internet. Don't go down the Frank rabbit hole. It never ends.
  3. Yes, I agree as well. I play mainly digital sources and generally find them superior, but I have zero trouble believing in the euphonics of vinyl (and analogue more generally). Tape his and/or vinyl surface noise definitely can add a perception of air or ambience. People complain about noise reduction making the sound dead or artificial, and it can indeed do that when overused. But I am convinced that even lightly applied, well-implemented noise reduction can produce this same perception of deadening, even if one shows that the "difference file" - the sound of just the hiss or noise that was removed - contains zero musical information. Likewise, it has been shown that narrowing the L-R channel separation of bass frequencies, as is often done for cutting vinyl, tends to increase DR Meter readings and can increase the perception of dynamics (because low frequencies have such disproportionate energy levels). And then there's what I believe is the most significant contributor to the euphonics of vinyl: L-R channel crosstalk. Vinyl crosstalk is notably worse than digital, and it's also much more variable - it increase more, and more unpredictably from LP to LP and playback system to playback system, as you go up in frequency. The result is that vinyl playback has more crosstalk, and more unpredictable crosstalk, and probably a level of crosstalk that has strong correlation with the musical material in the grooves, than digital - and this upper-frequency crosstalk greatly impacts perception of the treble tone and the soundstage/air of the upper mids and treble. I have no systematic evidence for this, but I am convinced it plays a major role in the perceived sound of vinyl that many people like so much. Myself, I have found that "digital harshness" in the midrange and treble has more or less vanished (except with intrinsically awful masterings of course) as I have improved my system - upgraded my components yes, but just as much or even moreso as I have optimized speaker placement and applied some acoustic treatments. (Bass traps are really important of course, but recently I have been surprised at how much just a single 2" thick acoustic panel placed on the front wall between the speakers can do to improve imaging in the mids and highs, presumably because it damps reflections between the speakers.) For this reason, and with this experience, I find myself getting bored or tired of the softness of most vinyl playback, including very good digital rips of vinyl, and preferring more of a straight digital experience in my system. YMMV of course - I'm discussing my own preference for digital mainly just to make it clear that when I discuss vinyl's euphonics I am not trying to backhandedly justify the superiority of vinyl. IMHO vinyl clearly has nonlinearities that can in some cases, for some people, contribute to euphonic listening.
  4. @ARQuint I think you need to take seriously the point that @Archimago makes, which has been made by many others previously as well, and which has been ignored, as far as I recall, by every other mainstream audiophile press representative who's posted in this thread (excluding Kal from that since he's not been a partisan in this particular argument): AS is not a formally edited publication - it is a forum. @The Computer Audiophile does publish articles of course, but they are simply one type of content here and clearly marked as such. This place, like any forum, allows members not only to comment on content, but also to create it themselves by starting threads. That makes this place qualitatively different than a magazine. One can talk all one wants about how being an editor at TAS or Stereophile is not as powerful as people think and about how the stable of writers and reviewers has lots of autonomy - that is no doubt true, but it still is a much more tightly controlled outlet than a forum like this. And so to point out how AS has advertisers, and how AS has subjectivist views and reviews, does not actually make the case that AS is very similar to TAS. Note that this dissimilarity is true regardless of one's value judgment about the quality or usefulness of TAS and AS. A site that is primarily a forum allows for a much "flatter" hierarchy of authority of voices, primarily because it more easily allows for: Responses to articles to come in the form of other articles, giving the responder a peer relationship and equal prominence on the site as the original author; and Discussion threads to carry on a conversation for days, weeks, months, or even years, giving multiple voices far more prominence and staying power than the Comment section under an article. (Even here the comment sections of articles are far shorter and die out much more quickly than the companion threads Chris sets up for discussion of those articles in the forum proper.) Now, you have been quite active - obsessive even - in pointing out the sometimes negative impact this forum structure has on the civility level and the signal-to-noise ratio of the discussion. Fair enough - but my point (and the point many others are making) is that to be as fair-minded as you claim you are, and as fair-minded as you are constantly urging or chiding others to be, you need to acknowledge the clear benefits of this format over the more tightly controlled TAS format (whose web site does not even have a forum section as far as I can tell). Virtually any content substantively critical of MQA that has appeared in TAS and/or Stereophile showed up there in large part because of the groundswell of criticism of MQA at places like this. I try to be open-minded in general, but on this point I am convinced. Now, one might argue that it took time for TAS and/or Stereophile to publish any real, technically based (or business model based) criticism of MQA because these publications filter and vet issues and cannot and should not rush to judgment like the forum here does. That argument would hold water if the mainstream audiophile press had not rushed to heap praise and adulation on MQA without bothering to check if any of Bob Stuart's technical claims where, you know, true. Put more simply, if burying the hatchet means agreeing to disagree, we can't do that until we have clarity from you about what we actually agree or disagree about. And as far as MQA, I confess I have absolutely no idea where you stand on it - and as far as I can tell, that's because you haven't ever clearly said where you stand on it, nor has your publication (if it has an editorial stance on it).
  5. I've had good results with so-called de-clipping software - but only in some cases. One cannot look at a waveform and determine the extent to which it is "recoverable." It depends how much conventional compression was used (in the mixing, the final mastering, or both) in addition to the peak-limiting used at the final mastering stage. And it depends on how hard the mastering engineer rode the peak limiter. To be clear, it's always possible to undo at least some of the peak limiting - that's not the issue. The issue is whether it's possible to restore the peaks so you have both (a) a natural-looking range of amplitudes in the de-clipped file, and also (b) a sonic result that does not unduly distort the frequency balance of the original. I've tried to de-clip/de-limit some material where the only way to significantly restore the peaks is to set the de-clipping threshold to a sufficiently low amplitude that the de-clipped result lacks bass impact. Because bass frequencies have so much energy, bass is vulnerable to being "scooped out" if you set the de-clipper too aggressively. But for some mastering jobs, if you set the de-clipper more conservatively, the buzzcut original waveform still looks like a buzzcut, but at lower level and with a smattering of "stray hairs" (restored peaks) sticking out. In my experience, de-clipping works about half the time.
  6. Frank's entire calibration regimen is based on a rejection of the notion that there's any objective calibrator or standard or device that can be used as a reference. It's a variation of hyper-subjectivism and it's what fuels a lot of the audiophile industry (although I hasten to add that I don't view Frank as an audio subjectivist per se, because he appears to be after some version of high fidelity/realism/accuracy that's different from the more euphonic goals that some folks have). I'm fine with Frank doing things this way, and even with him sharing his experiences here - free speech, live and let live, and so on. And it's clear that for Frank, analogously to those in our hobby who really enjoy endless equipment swapping and tinkering, the rejection of an objective standard is what opens up all the contrived mysteries and options that make for hours and hours of enjoyable experimentation. The only problem I have is when Frank ventures - as he inevitably does - into "objective references are just 'theory' and don't actually make for good sound/good picture quality" territory. Then he's just like those folks who go beyond liking tube gear, and venture into claiming that tube gear has higher fidelity because of its distortions and nonlinearities. Frank, you seem like such a nice and good-natured guy, and I applaud your spirit of exploration, but dude, your eyes + broadcast TV signals do not equal anything close to a proper calibration app or setup.
  7. Yes, SACD ripping has now become easier - and very affordable. In fact, the series of 2012-era Sony Blu-ray Disc players that can rip SACDs are available on the used market for as little as $30.
  8. Agree 100% - and I hope my comment about understating the difference did not come off as a criticism; it was not intended as such. Thanks again Josh - your TBVO pieces are among the most useful music comparisons anywhere online.
  9. Another fantastic comparison by @JoshM - thank you! Your reviews exemplify the best (IMHO) aspects of subjective and objective listening tests. The DR Meter, R128/crest, and EQ plots are there for those of us who value them - and the subjective impressions are specific, including specific moments and instruments in specific songs, so others can listen for the same things and judge for themselves. As always (at least so far), I agree with Josh's appraisal RE Songs from the Big Chair (haven't had a chance to re-listen to The Hurting yet). The 2006 I'd never even entertained for the reasons Josh notes. As for the 2014 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray/deluxe version, I hadn't listened to it for about 4 years and when I put it on just now, I immediately heard the leftward shift in the soundstage - yuk! (Correctable in software or with a balance control of course, but why bother, especially since it doesn't sound better than the other versions?) That left the original 1985 mastering and the 2014 flat transfer - and if anything, I would say Josh has understated the difference. Yes, the EQ and overall sonic signature is quite similar; but to my ears the 2014 flat transfer sounds quite a bit clearer with better detail retrieval - and unless I was hearing things, the soundstage seems slightly wider as well (perhaps owing to the increased precision and "air" in the mix that I hear in the 2014 vs the 1985). Finally, I know it's apples to oranges, but I will put in a plug for the 2014 Steven Wilson remix, which I've always loved and I think is well worth having. It's a matter of taste because while it remains true to the original mix, it does change what are arguably the two most signature aspects of the original mastering that mark it as an '80s mastering: The Wilson remix has bigger, more impactful bass; and the Wilson remix removes (or at least tames) the slight treble "halo" that gives the original that '80s "sheen." The result is IMHO something that sounds closer to recorded musical performances by all the musicians - aka it sounds like a rock band - while the original '80s mastering sounds more like a cohesive "production," with the sound being more a single unit. Personally I slightly prefer the Wilson remix because I think '80s mastering often sucks when it comes to getting drum sounds right (when there are real drums at all), and the Wilson restores a "live," realistic sound to the drums and entire rhythm section. So I like to have both mixes of this album available to me - the Wilson as noted above, and the original because, well, it's the original and the one we all grew up with! So echoing Josh's recommendation, I would suggest folks who are really into this album get the 2014 SHM-CD or SHM-SACD for the original mix, and the 2014 Blu-Ray for the Wilson remix (simply because it tends to be available more cheaply than the DVD-A version, which is obtainable only as part of the larger 2014 deluxe package).
  10. The mini is a nice choice because it's going to be cheaper and quieter than a Mac Pro, and for music playback just as capable.
  11. I hear what you're saying, but Brinkman was called out, by name, repeatedly, and eventually was banned from this forum for the behavior you note. So too have I and others called out folks by name (by quoting and responding to their posts), criticizing their overuse of "shill" accusations and their over-reliance on attributing sinister motives to those they disagree with. I appreciate your presence on this forum, and unlike @ARQuint you are not a one-note participant, but IMHO the reason we see an imbalance in criticism and commentary in this thread is simply because among those who care about MQA here, there simply are more who are concerned about it than who are fans of it.
  12. It's been done, repeatedly, in this thread, by multiple members of this forum. And you pointedly have not seen fit to engage any of those substantive critiques, instead staying in the Civility Police lane. So you are complicit in the dynamic you're so intent on criticizing.
  13. I agree that progress is being made on the civility front. However, I also agree with those who say that you continue to misrepresent the conversation in this thread. Yes, there have been many antagonistic comments, some justified IMHO and some gratuitous and unnecessary. And there also have been many, many important, substantive comments that have brought information to light that would not have come out otherwise - and that despite your and others' steadfast refusal to admit it, clearly influenced the mainstream audiophile press and clearly played a role in some of the moderate walking-back of the earlier uncritical euphoria over MQA. But most importantly, there's a third part of the conversation in this thread, and your repeated ignoring of it speaks volumes: the many, many posts by Lee Scoggins and several others that endlessly repeated MQA marketing lingo and technical talking points. These were not opinions to be disagreed with. Rather, they were demonstrably false claims, often contradicted by MQA reps' own statements. When someone keeps saying over and over and over that MQA is not lossy - and then finally "admits" it's lossy by saying. "it doesn't matter that it's lossy," that's not a disagreeable opinion - that's unaccountable, bad-faith behavior, and it doesn't deserve a civil response. And it's disingenuous in the extreme for you to keep banging the civility drum without calling out - or heck, just mentioning once - the shifty, bad-faith approach taken by Lee and some others in support of MQA. Unless or until you acknowledge that, you're not likely to find much of a welcoming reception here. You can of course continue to chalk that up the horrid incivility of members here, but to do that you have to ignore the many of us who are pro-civility and anti-MQA, and I would hope you'd not want to adopt such a simplistic and lazy posture here.
  14. The presence of musical harmonics above 20kHz does not mean that people can hear them. And the Boyk article you link to says that ultrasonic can pose problems or issue for equipment and equipment designers. It does not say that people can hear above 20kHz. As for your claim about "primitive man," there's nothing about hearing a twig snap that indicates anyone could hear above the range we hear now.
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