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Ski Bum

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  1. I congratulate Joel Alperson on his highly civilized call for better behavior. I'm not sure that I fully agree with the analogy to religion, but he could be right. In the case of a number of posters, I find that the accuracy of their posts is inversely proportional to the certainty with which they are expressed. I am willing to acknowledge that I am not always right, and that needs to be taken into consideration in the language and tone of my posts.
  2. Congratulations on your purchase. I purchased a pair of Alexia 2s shortly after they were released. I still love them. They reward careful installation, careful room setup, improvements in upstream components, and well-recorded vinyl and digital sources. Interestingly, in my room (which suffers from excess wall and floor vibration) they sounded better on Aurio Pro isolation devices than on spikes.
  3. I'm a dCS Vivaldi owner, and have been the beneficiary of John Quick's patient telephonic advice on numerous occasions. John and dCS provide a much higher level of continuing customer support than any other audiophile manufacturer that I've ever dealt with.
  4. Valid point. I am grateful that dCS does a great job of providing updates and improvements for its customers.
  5. I really don't know, but I won't debate it. My principal gripe with MQA is different than most of the folks who have been posting in the "vaporware" thread and elsewhere about MQA. I'm really not hot and bothered by the fact that MQA is "lossy," may be disguised DRM and/or is promoted with some hysterical marketing language and unintelligible explanations. The fact is that I got full MQA compatibility for free with a firmware update from the manufacturer of my digital stack (dCS), and IMO a lot of the MQA Studio-encoded files on Tidal sound as good or better on my system than the same hi rez titles streamed on Qobuz or purchased from a download site. I may not be thrilled with the way MQA made or marketed the "sausage," but I think it tastes ok. BUT, in my view, the principal issue facing digital audiophiles is the difficulty of finding digital files that are as well-mastered as the best analog files of the same music. (I'm NOT saying that analog playback is better than digital. I am saying that analog source materials available to audiophiles are generally better mastered than the digital source materials available to audiophiles. Of course there are exceptions, but in particular it seems like dynamic compression is far more avoidable by purchasing analog sources.) I've been buying vinyl since the late 1960's. For a lot of the classic rock and other music that is important to me, it is impossible (or close to impossible) to get digital files that match the mastering quality of the original pressings and best remasters that are available on vinyl. MQA claims to be dealing with this, but they are not. In my experience, MQA is almost always applying its special sauce to a recent remaster -- and that is often a heavily compressed POS -- rather than an original analog or digital mastering. MQA is perpetuating the problem, not contributing to a solution.
  6. "We also changed the game by offering only the pure original and highest quality of a recording with secure confirmation at playback – so the listener has the huge benefit of knowing they have the approved original. MQA: Master Quality Authentication." If only this were true, I'd forgive all the other stuff.
  7. I hope Roon is talking with Amazon about integrating the Amazon hi rez service into Roon.
  8. Well said. A little tolerance and flexibility can go a long way. Let's celebrate and appreciate our differences; don't be threatened or upset by them.
  9. Fair enough. In the interim, I'll just listen to corresponding Tidal MQA versus Qobuz hi rez files back-to-back on Roon and come to my own (biased and placebo-infected, but not financially interested) views. I listened to the White Album. Qobuz wins that one over Tidal, but the vinyl beats them both. In the case of the Allman Brothers tracks, I think the MQA files sound best (even beating my vinyl, which is quite unusual). I do not have measurement gear and do not purport to be testing with scientific rigor.
  10. If you’re going to go through the effort of measuring/comparing, you might as well choose some files for which MQA at least facially made a serious effort. How about comparing the Tidal 24/192 MQA Studio files of Revival and Midnight Rider from The Allman Brothers’ Idlewild South Album with the Qobuz 24/192 files of the same tracks?
  11. Do I get a plaque commemorating my achievement? I still like MQA Studio, but I'm trying to maintain a sense of humor about the whole mess. I just wish that someone would give us access to better masterings in any digital format.
  12. Probably not a good example because the White Album MQA files posted on Tidal are not MQA Studio, just generic MQA. Even to this listener who finds many of the MQA Studio files to have excellent SQ, the White Album files are a bit strident and wonky. (The Qobuz White Album hi rez files sound better, and the vinyl sounds better than both.) I guess that the White Album wasn't important enough to merit the full MQA Studio treatment (wink).
  13. Here is the method that I use on Roon. It is admittedly non-scientific, but actually works quite well and has persuaded me as to the reliability of the results. I've principally used it to compare Tidal MQA files with the corresponding Qobuz hirez files: Using the Queue feature in Roon, queue up at least 6 pairs of corresponding songs, with each pair grouped together but the order (Tidal first or Qobuz first) randomly selected. By the time I've completed a queue of at least 6 pairs, I can't remember the random selection (I'm 67 years old; you may need to queue more or fewer pairs). Play enough of the first song of a pair (without opening the file source information) to adequately sample the sound quality, and then move to the corresponding song in the pair and do the same thing. Then -- AFTER forming an opinion as to which version sounds better -- open the file source information on the second file to determine the source of the better sounding file. Then move to the next pair in the queue and repeat. If you truly forget the random selection, this is quite close to a double-blind test. By doing this with dozens of songs, I can now generally pick out a Tidal MQA Studio 24/96 or 24/192 version versus a Qobuz 24/96 or 24/192 version without having to do a comparison. And, yes, I have formed an opinion as to which version generally sounds better on my system. In case anyone else wants to try this approach, I will refrain from posting my results so that I'm not inadvertently inserting a placebo into another listener's test.
  14. i will probably keep both, at least for the near-term. I listen to Tidal and Qobuz through Roon, and I'm getting slightly better sound quality with MQA Studio Tidal files than Qobuz hi-rez files. OTOH, I'm getting better sound quality with Qobuz hi-rez than non-Studio MQA Tidal files. Go figure....
  15. I am a new U.S. beta hi-rez user of Qobuz, which I stream through Roon. I am able to successfully stream most of the Qobuz hi-rez and redbook files, but occasionally I will run into an album that appears to be available for streaming from Qobuz but I get error messages in Roon (to the effect that the song is unavailable) when I try to stream it. For example, the new Jenny Lewis album appears among the Qobuz new albums and I can add it to my Roon library, but the songs are unavailable when I try to stream them. Is this a U.S. licensing issue?
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