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ednaz

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  1. ednaz

    Article: Monty Alexander Favorites

    If you love jazz piano and haven't done some deep dives into Monty's work, I have an idea for you for a full weekend... He does enough different styles of music that you COULD listen all weekend.
  2. An excellent piece of work. Amazing, in fact. By the time I got to the version comparisons, I was too buzzy with energy to read it... Went back to listen to all of the albums talked about to match them up with the story here. Spectacular "intro to Steely Dan" piece right up front. Heck, you could have stopped there and it would have made my day. Not saying that the comparisons weren't interesting, just that what came before was so dense and intense that I couldn't care about Aja until I'd gone back and checked out everything else. Talk about high engagement writing...
  3. Exactly. When HD music started to become readily available, I was unfortunate enough to have the first few HD albums I purchased be spectacularly produced and engineered. I thought, hell, I'm not buying that 256K Apple junk ever again. And screw the CD. Then I had a few things show up that were reissues of various sorts, where I owned the music on CD, or Apple's better quality compressed format. Hearing near zero difference between what I owned and the new releases on some albums and massive differences on others kicked me into analytical mode. Where I ended up was, not rebuying ANYTHING unless I can hear a sample to see if it's been well re-engineered. Interesting that's hearable on a 256k streamed sample. I also started messing with upsampling to exotic PCM levels, or to DSD. No surprise... for some albums it sounded better, for reasons I couldn't explain. (Thanks for the images, Miska... now I do understand what changes.) For some albums it sounded no different. You can't fix bad engineering with upsampling, and albums with a DR of 3 don't sound any different as an Apple AAC as-is than they do in an HD form upsampled to 4x DSD. I would guess that some things might end up sounding worse upsampled, because you could better hear annoying things. I also found that it only made a large noticeable difference on one of my systems... and not the one with the most expensive DAC, and way more with headphones than through speakers. Where I've ended up is, if I buy stuff that's a casualty in the loudness wars (my first live concert was the MC5, so yeah, I do...), I buy it in a cheap format. The good things that higher def and upsampling can do for sound just don't improve things for flat DR music- or at least not in a way I can hear. An artist I love, clumsily engineered, red book format it is. The good stuff is worth the extra cost for HD. I don't upsample what I stream from my server - only when I'm sitting down to listen deeply in, with headphones, on the one DAC where I know it matters a lot, with a local source. If I'm writing, or printing, or cooking, just living, playing through speakers in any of the four imperfect listening environments I've got, bit perfect is perfect enough. There is such a thing as "good enough."
  4. ednaz

    Article: A New Listening Room Part One

    Do take a look at the photo print on acoustic panels options. Looks better than I expected by far. If you're an ambitious DIYer, you can find info on printing and then building your own acoustic panel. I'm not that ambitious. The places I found that did print covers had a library of (decent) art options for those who don't have their own work.
  5. ednaz

    Article: A New Listening Room Part One

    I know it might not be a lot of fun, but it WOULD be interesting and educational to see how things measure with different components of the acoustical system installed. I don't mean putting things in and taking them out... but maybe ask Vicoustic to recommend an installation pattern from what they believe will be most impactful to least impactful, and then measure at a couple of different stages. For our family room in our new house, I had to negotiate the degree to which I included acoustic treatments with my Decorator in Chief. I had some discussions with architect friends who often design sound studios and performance spaces, to decide what to push hardest, and get some alternative suggestions where the best solution looked - um - industrial. (That's the nicest word used by the Decorator in Chief about some of the recommendations.) That led to my enthusiasm for some decorative drapes made from specific fabrics that were both acoustically and visually agreeable. And, led to me getting a few of my photographs (my part time profession) printed on acoustic panels of the right specs and sizes. Acoustic absorption was the easiest part of the negotiations. We also came to some agreement on diffusion that were pretty creative. We moved furniture around to create a couple of table top and cabinet top "sculpture gardens". We've got carved wood and cast sculptures, some pretty large, from world travels. Now we've got nice displays, not in ideal locations, but close enough. Also moved a couple large carved masks onto walls in the room for some diffusion help, where originally we were going to hang photos. We measured with ears, and the bass traps and back wall absorption (the acoustic panel photos) made huge improvements. We found one recommended bass trap had near zero value, because of a carpeted stairway right next to where it was supposed to go. The diffusion ideas were harder to notice with music, but when we did them, they DID improve my "hand clap" test results. My basement studio and printing workshop are next - a very long, somewhat narrow room, 9 foot ceiling, carpeted floor. I've got some thick Tibetan and Middle Eastern rugs I'm hanging for absorption, another thick one over the carpet up close to the speakers (carpet on concrete wasn't quite enough) and that leftover bass trap now has a home. All made much easier because the speakers I use down there are pretty insensitive to placement - open baffle (effectively dipole) woofers, cardioid mid and tweeters.
  6. Surrealistic Pillow got me into The Airplane... Volunteers and Crown of Creation made me a lifetime fan. Volunteers of America was the soundtrack in the back of my head at a number of marches and demonstrations back in the day. And unfortunately it's the soundtrack in the back of my head again at marches and demonstrations... I thought we'd finished with all that. Now I just have to figure out which version I've got on my music server...
  7. ednaz

    Article: Google Home Hub for HiFi?

    I've found voice control to be more pain than gain. Way back in the 90s I used to use voice control for my presentations at conferences (my employer had some experimental capabilities loaded on my laptop) and I was fortunate to not have horrible things happen when I was on stage. Then again, I was VERY CAREFUL in what I asked it to do, and stuck with a vocabulary that I knew was reliable. We have Alexa in our kitchen and guest rooms, and after trying a lot of different things, we use the voice stuff very, very little. Radio and shopping lists. For the longest time, if I asked Alexa to play the radio station WETA, she'd try to connect me to WetRadio (whatever that is). There was no way around it. I sent the data to Amazon, showing every way I tried to make it work... and that it worked fine with any other radio station. I worked with natural language tools, and really, that was some slick trick turning W - E - T- A into WetRadio. We use it for shopping lists, but it does weird things from time to time. Like when we were at the grocery, opened the shopping list, and found soccer testicles on the list. Whatever that is. Painful no doubt. To this day we can't reconstruct what we said that produced that. I can't begin to imagine the horrors I'd experience if I tried to use Alexa or Siri or Google voice for controlling my music library. I'd get the Monkees every time I asked for Monk.
  8. The speakers are totally insane looking. Besides the art involved, they'd make an excellent acoustics or physics of sound analysis project. Sad that it's so far away for me. I grew up in a woodworking family - my father built custom furniture, my brother was and still is a wood carver, so I have a deep appreciation for lovely wood used in lovely ways.
  9. ednaz

    Article: Kii THREE Loudspeaker Review

    Great review! First speaker review I've read in a long time that's going to make me seek out the speakers to listen to them. My favorite speakers have a similar sound radiation pattern and philosophy - Gradient Revolutions. Cardioid tweeter and midrange, open hung woofer. I got them during a long term assignment to Singapore, where my apartment was a total nightmare of curved walls, marble or teak floors, walls of windows. I tried several speakers and they were all horrible... but the Revolutions sounded excellent. And, sounded excellent almost without paying attention to placement. (almost...) The sweet spot was also really big. In the traditional location, yeah, it was perfectly balanced left to right etc, but off axis, it was pretty much like sitting in the side sections of a concert hall versus row H center. Over and over again, over the years, I've had people explore that, without prompting... wanting to see what they sounded like HERE, and THERE, and OVER THERE. When I came back to the US, these speakers performed beautifully no matter how imperfect the listening room. Yeah, they're light on bass, and don't reach very low. A subwoofer fixes that. I've gone through a few different speakers in the 15 years for other rooms in my home and studios, and I've not found many with the imaging and clarity and lack of fussiness of the Revolutions. I've got GoldenEar speakers for my home AV system, and they have some similar characteristics - an enormous amount of the energy that the speakers put out comes from side radiators, which (for me, YMMV) makes the sweet spot bigger, makes the sound stage rounder. My studio system is all compromises, particularly the speakers. Your review makes me think these may work.
  10. ednaz

    Article: Aurender S5W True Wireless Speaker Review

    Thanks. I'm looking for something stereo that lives out on the deck, that I can get running in sync with the indoor system via Roon, since our outdoor area tends to be used fluidly with indoors. Lots of bluetooth wireless outdoor speakers, battery and otherwise. I'm less worried about battery power (whoever built my place put four AC outlets on the deck) than avoiding some weird speaker wire run. I've got a couple different portable sound alternatives. My favorite is an old Bluetooth surface transducer (BassEgg) that turns a teak side table on our deck into a very entertaining speaker with great bass.
  11. ednaz

    Article: Live Rock For The Audiophile

    I've long known that the sound up close is way better than back where the PA system is your primary sound system. Other than for bands like Cactus or the MC5, it's also nowhere near as body-tunneling loud. That may be why despite going to several concerts a month for years and years, my hearing is still exceptionally good in my 60s. (I also used to wear earplugs when performing, monitors deafened a lot of my friends...) The one exception to that was when a few bands toured with quadrophonic sound. If you weren't back far enough to be hearing the front PA systems, the sound mixing and behavior didn't make sense at all. Oddly, the most engaging place for the quadrophonic concerts was OUTSIDE of the quad zone - music meandered or danced around in front of you then. I laughed my way through most of an ELP quadrophonic concert - they did a lot of fun stuff. The superior quality of stage sound versus PA sound is one reason I don't go to live arena or even large stage shows any more. The cost to be up close verges on obscene for most bands, and the robot buyers gut the close up ticket pool. After not enjoying a couple of very expensive concerts, I stopped going to rock concerts. With jazz concerts, they still play a lot of venues where you can sit so close you're hearing the music like you're one of the band. That's my kind of engagement. For rock, concert videos, my big screen TV and my 7.1 audio setup are just fine for me now.
  12. ednaz

    Article: Aurender S5W True Wireless Speaker Review

    I keep hoping for great truly wireless speakers that I can use as my rear speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup. I got the front wall problem dealt with when we built our current place, but not the rears, so they're running off of under-rug speaker cables that annoy my wife (and startle barefoot guests.) The other "truly wireless" speaker application I've been searching for is outdoor speakers.
  13. ednaz

    Article: American Routes - Listen, Learn, Enjoy

    WOW, excellent stuff. 10 minutes in to the first episode I picked at random, and I've already learned five minutes of new stuff! (The rest was music...) If I ran Tidal, I'd have something like this as a feature - something that dove deeply into the library, and not just the same stuff that every music streaming service will have. Better for Tidal because the better the quality of the sound coming from the speakers, the more likely it is to produce that dopamine rush that accompanies great music. It would make sure that people NEVER drop the service because they could never afford to buy all the things they heard and loved.
  14. I agree about the diffuse nature of classical concert sound, even in the best of halls. I played in orchestras for years - I spent four long summers in orchestras at music camp, and then was on call with a half dozen community orchestras and a sub with the big professional orchestra in town. That kind of ruined me for live concerts. All those years of hearing the music the way it sounds stage left of center in the back or second back row made that my baseline for how an orchestra sounds. From back there, I could actually pick out individuals in sections (except for really large configuration orchestras), because I wasn't hearing the sound as reflected and mashed up by the back wall and ceiling. I could identify within one seat accuracy of who flubbed a note in the second violins. I could hear individuals within the bigger ensemble sound we were taught to pay attention to. All that time I seldom went to a concert as audience. Just wasn't time, so front of house was strange sounding. When I stopped playing, it took a few years before it didn't bother me listening to classical recordings that the positions of the strings was reversed. (No, swapping channels wouldn't have helped, because then the brass would be in the wrong place.) I like the emphasis on sound stage in recordings, with instruments in their places - it is just that tiny bit closer to what my brain heard for ten years than sitting in row N at a concert hall, individuals peeking out of the ensemble.
  15. ednaz

    Article: Naim Uniti Atom Review

    GRONK! That's the sound us dinosaurs make... I'm also a written review guy. I read exceptionally fast, but I can only watch video at the speed of the video. Life's short enough already...
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