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About ednaz

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    Northern Virginia

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  1. I just spent a half hour rehearsing my explanation to She Who Is the Final Judge of All Things On Display Other Than In the Basement as to why we need this three box thing added as an endpoint to a component stack that already tests her design sensibilities, and I'm just not cutting it. But I am looking forward to the Twenty, because I've been through a few different server designs, and while the NUC we have now is less visually objectionable than previous solutions, it's still got fan noise, and because a fan, the tendency to suck in dog hair from time to time that requires disassembly and cleaning. Fan free it's gotta be.
  2. Right out of films about 2040 that were made in 1980.
  3. Discourse that rapidly declines into ad hominem attacks is to a great extent caused by people mistaking rudeness for frankness, mistaking being an asshat with not being politically correct, confusing arrogance with confidence, and overall taking everything way too personally by making everything way too personal. (That last one is the connection to religion...) The biggest compliment I got in my decades of business strategy and technology consulting was from a client who told me that I was the only person who could tell him that most of the decisions they made were wrong, that the application was built to anti-scale, that their strategy was so inward looking that it drives customers away... and they'd nod their heads with me, sigh, and say, well then, let's get to work fixing all that. (And btw, that is what I got paid for.) Or as he put it more colloquially, I could tell him "his baby's ugly" along with "and you and your wife aren't such a feast for the eyes either" in a way that he'd not take it personally but as honest observations, and would start asking for tips about hair styling and lighting and makeup. I didn't pull punches, or sugarcoat. But I stuck to honest, objective facts, and stayed away from I think, I feel, I believe. You can do that in business and in technical realms. I'm not sure that it's all that possible in more subjective realms. Disagreeing agreeably, being destructive in a constructive way, downgrading a product or strategy without degrading it - all are actual skills, maybe even arts, that must (and can be) learned and practiced and polished. And if you can't do it, perhaps you shouldn't, until you put in the time and effort to learn how to disagree in an agreeable way.
  4. Jealous... because the other thing that drove me to the madness of a pile of iPods is the mobile phone signal where I live, and where I often drive for photography. Where I live, I don't get the LTE symbol on my Verizon Wireless phone, and except for one second floor bathroom, only one bar. Yeah, out in the sticks. On the 7 mile drive out to a major road, with a lot of homes along the road, I go to "no service" notices a couple of times, and don't get LTE until I'm about a mile from the major roads. Verizon Wireless' response has been, that's why your phone can connect via wifi, it's just not economic for us to build out our network in low population areas. (In this neighborhood of a couple thousand houses where both FiiOs and Xfinity built out their wired network. Go figure.) On my 50 minute commuter train trip to work each day, there's a 10 minute stretch of one bar or "no signal" about 10 minutes into the trip. Can't even scroll a book page. Many of the national and state parks around me have similarly bad connectivity. Surprising since I had good connectivity all over the wide open US western national parks like Monument Valley and Escalante Steps (other than under ground), but here in central Virginia? Bah. I'd long read about how the network revolution was unevenly distributed and shrugged, but now I'm living the dream/nightmare.
  5. I've come up with a somewhat unconventional approach to having my music library, with all its breadth of genres, available to me in my daily drive/distance drive SUV in 16/44 form. Driven heavily by the age related quirks of the vehicle. A 2014 Mercedes SUV. Its Apple iPod connector is the older type, Mercedes doesn't make one for the Lightning type connector, and using an adapter doesn't work well. It'll only play compressed formats from the SD card slot. So my only options for at least Redbook sound is, iPod, or CDs. It supports the full iPod functionality on the system screen. (With one bizarre alternative... it'll also play DVD-Audio disks in full multi-channel splendor. Great to have a pricey dead format as my only true multi-channel option.) I picked up a few 64gb iPods with the old style connector cheap on eBay, along with two with the 120gb internal hard drive. Loaded each with a single or compatible genres at 16/44 AAC, and on the non-classical ones, created a couple shuffle playlists. A small CD rack in my closed-top console holds them all. Color coded them with strips of colored plastic tape on the top edge. If I'm in an Afro-beat mood, I grab the relevant iPod, plug it into the adapter, and off I go bouncing down the road. As for Qobuz, I load the app on my phone with my current interests, along with a few hours of Radio Paradise at lossless AAC, but can only stream via bluetooth, and for whatever reason, doesn't sound as good as the array of iPods. Good enough. I've yet to find someone who'll help me get the built in idiotically small hard disk out of the system so that I can install a plug in for external hard disks. That's going to be my goal for the next car.
  6. Sounds like you were at least smiling, and often grinning throughout the review process. Exciting news.
  7. "Dynamic range compression and poor recordings are facts of life that no bit rate, bit depth, or sample rate can overcome. Listening to Metallica's Death Magnetic or the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication at 24 bit / 192 kHz just can't make them sound better. They are crushed to death. Period." Amen. There are some bands, and some electronica, that I no longer buy at 14/44, only at Apple compressed 256. I've listened to music from a couple of bands I like at CD quality and Apple Compressed. The DR compression completely wipes out any and all nuance. I just checked my recollection... the MC5's live album has an average DR of 11. The Amboy Dukes, 10. They've got way more dynamic range than half the contemporary releases today, and believe me, they were a hell of a lot louder live, besides. You also mention Neal saying LP is 100% of the information. I stopped with vinyl a long time ago, since quite often it becomes 110% of the information, because besides the music, it includes the life story of the vinyl platter itself in pops and clicks. No matter how OCD my cleaning process albums acquired non-musical noise.
  8. I'm with you on this. Many audio media outlets have a standing policy of only publishing positive reviews. Sometimes mixed reviews (I can remember that the Yggy DAC got mixed reviews in a couple of places, generally super positive on listening and not so positive on measurements). But they avoid negative reviews, because silence doesn't threaten ad revenue like a bad review would. And after a few decades as a consumer, and as a consultant to a lot of well regarded companies, I know for certain that no company produces nothing but great products, so over time, with the accumulation of products that weren't great... no advertisers. I've seen the evidence of the "no bad reviews" policy. I've watched as some of the media report on what they've got in the review cycle, and then a review never comes out. They wouldn't comment on why, just that they'd decided to not review a product. I'm also sure that any single component's review is highly dependent on the other component's used in the review process. In a case like this, the bad review wouldn't make me run away, particularly if I'd heard the headphones myself and liked them, but it certainly would make me absolutely want to try the product with the gear I'd use with it. It's altogether possible that, for no easily discernible reason, these headphones had a hate/hate relationship with this reviewer's gear. Twice in my life I've had two very well reviewed products, that I'd heard in different systems, sound great in those listening environments but sound awful together. A few years back I upgraded my integrated amp and it made my system sound flat, dull, and muddy - I'd listened to that integrated with four different speakers at the specialty audio retailer - just not MY speakers (since they didn't carry them). Those speakers had sounded great with the two different integrated amps I'd owned over the years before, from two different brands. So for all of those bemoaning a negative review of headphones they think are amazing - first, think hard about whether you'd rather have people NOT review stuff that they thought was bad, or whether you'd rather have the caution flag raised to warn you to insist on your own testing. And second, if these headphones sound fantastic to you, it just may be that your system is perfectly suited to them... and then this review should caution you that if you decide to upgrade some component or another, you should only do so after YOU test.
  9. Sigh. Looking at the Cobalt and Red, then looking at my on site photography laptop which when I travel is usually my system (relatively new MacBook Pro used for field processing images to show the client) with its USB-C ports. And my phone... USB-C. My tablet - Lightning port. Unfortunately the world of ports is in flux right now. I blame Apple for a lot of this. Since I started using Apple stuff for tablet and laptop (employer requirement) way back when, I've had a Bag-O-Dongles. Dongles to connect laptops or tablets to any of the various ports on video projectors. Others to connect HDMI, memory cards, USB to tablet. But the Android world has jumped to USB C now. I've got dongles and adapters from everything to everything. I think it's the actual profit model for Apple. Once I start visualizing a cable and dongle or adapter for connection to phone or tablet or laptop... Grrrrrr.
  10. It's difficult to get to compare active speakers. The big box stores tend to carry only one or two that are above junque level, so I had to fall back on looking at reviews by reviewers who seemed to hear the same things I hear when reviewing gear I own, with a price ceiling that represents sanity, and the fact that the speakers I was getting weren't going to be my primary setup. That got me to a short list. Then when I said, gotta be a Roon endpoint, I only had one choice - KEF LSX. Based on how good those little guys sound, I'd love to find a way to try out the big brothers, the LS50s, in our main listening room, before I start trying to sell stuff.
  11. Absolutely agree on sometimes you can get joy (and make accommodations for joy) from a large speaker system. I had a double-Advent system for years in a range of small student and broke actor apartments for years. But while I know it's not a popular opinion, I do believe that in general, there's an optimal speaker size for spaces. Our place in NJ was huge in cubic feet - really high ceilings, open side walls. Along with long and wide floor measurements. We had GoldenEar Triton 2 speakers, traded up to the Triton 1, and it was amazing how they filled out the space with sound even better than before. (FYI, my enthusiasm for the speakers is the shape of the bass output... I've always had a thing for speakers that do bass in an open baffle or similar pattern...) When we moved to our new place in VA, while the T1 sounded great, they're not being used anywhere near their full potential. The new space is rectangular with a 12 foot, not 30 foot, ceiling, not t-shaped with open sides. In our NJ space, the T2 had the bass amps set to 2/3... and landing alien ships rattled the dishes in the kitchen. The T1 in the old place was set to about half. The built in woofer amps are set to well below a third of max in our new place. Helped a neighbor set up her new T3 speakers in her house, and she agreed to let me try them in our space. Damn, they were perfect. The bass could still rattle your innards, the amp was a hair above middle, and everything else - upper bass, mids, and highs, didn't sound terribly different other than all the drivers seemed to be working in their sweet spot at normal listening volume. Every speaker I've ever owned was tested at quiet background levels, and dance like no one is watching levels, and if they didn't do both well, I passed. But... I think that for speakers, there's some kind of optimal space and stress level. Maybe less true with designs that radiate everything to the front.
  12. I can attest to the quality of the powered network speakers. We needed something for our small living room for morning music and dining room background. Just picked up a set of KEF LSX - had been looking at single box all in one stereo setups like the Dynaudio Music 7, but they all took up a lot of space in a small room. (Small enough that whatever we chose had to sit on one of the side tables - at an angle about 3 feet of separation.) The LSX pair takes up VERY little table space. The bass is surprisingly good, without any DSP. Had a sub I thought I might use, but won't... will be selling it now. Sound quality is good enough, streaming wifi from our house media server, that if there's one more downsize in our future, these will be our audio system. Picked them up for $840 - open box, and they were the green color, which apparently is the least favorite color, the audio place couldn't sell them. We've got green in the rug, and in the curtains...so that's a nice sounding system for $840. We replaced an old DAC in our bedroom (that cost me almost $800 way back when I bought it) that had a USB drive plugged into it with an Allo Boss that takes streams from the house server. Sounds better than the old DAC. About a quarter of the size. And we just replaced our monster music server (full size tower) with an Intel NUC running headless, and a small RAID 1 direct attached storage. The table that used to be devoted to the music server, mouse, keyboard, monitor, now is devoted to flowers.
  13. At 260 pounds per speaker, he'll need those friends to help him move them around. Little locking casters, screwed in where the spikes will go, would be quite a useful customer nicety. Once you find the location, mark and swap spikes for casters.
  14. You may have seen me say earlier that because a space is hard to model using traditional acoustic engineering tools, simply means you fall back to ear. I'm on patents based on formal verification (which includes the most nightmarish math I've ever hated), number theory, and algorithmically driven computer code translation. So I'm not afraid of the math... just very cognizant that sometimes the math can suck because it isn't founded on certain necessary conditions. A few times, the higher math breakthroughs came from real wizards (I'm a catalyst, not a wizard) listening to intuitive experts talk about how they do their work. Attempts to model analog insights. Still, in memory of the anniversary of Apollo 11... we sent a few tons of metal gear and humans off the earth, sitting on top of extremely high explosive devices, and then landed two of them on the moon while their onboard computers (and that last word is very, very kind) spit multiple errors and rebooted every minute during the final approach. The analog computers that sit above our shoulders are amazing things. They fixed all the digital computer failures. Sit and grill some experts on super-computing, and they'll tell you that they'll all suck (by comparison to our brains) until they're based on analog computer technology. There are new video technologies called "event cameras"... that are basically video sensors based on analog pixels. They can make nice normal videos. And can then view the same images at rates much higher than 5000 frames per second. Locating these speakers in this space will be easiest using analog computers based on meat. Bet you that we hear that what he learned optimizing the TAD speakers contributed in some way.
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