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PAR

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  1. Yes, they exceeded my greatest expectations. It is one of those products where the question " what changed" is simply answered by "everything" and very much for the better ( the improvement is not subtle). So far every friend who was familiar with my system before I installed IsoAcoustic pucks and has heard the system since has bought a set. Oh, that is except for my friend running Quad ESLs who can't figure out were he could use them ( nor can I). BTW, after talking to Iso Acoustics in Canada and as guidance for the correct product to purchase, the Gaia's are really meant for floorstanders with bushes for spikes. The pucks and the stands seem more aimed at the pro market for either stand mounts or for e.g. meter bridge mounting. The essential point is that the base of the speaker is in direct contact with the isolation units as one aim is to prevent resonances between speaker base and the support i.e. don't screw Gaias into a speaker stand base in replacement for spikes. In that case you need the pucks or one of IsoAcoustics stands between the stand top plate and the speaker. In my case pucks were chosen as had I used the IsoAcoustic stand then the tweeter would be placed too high for my listening position. The pucks are only around 3 centimetres tall when installed and loaded. Incidentally, if you go the pucks, you need one per 9kg of speaker loading with a minimum of 3 per speaker. I also recommended them below in the thread concerning ATC speakers.
  2. Just for the record dCS network streaming devices also provide gapless replay when used with their dedicated Mosaic controller. However MinimServer is the only server that they officially support . Their UPnP implementation is not strictly standard so outside of Mosaic gapless cannot be guaranteed.
  3. Ah, I see. Your problem of storage comes from the cache that builds up simply from streaming. The cache size can be adjusted in "Music Playing" " Cache Management". I am wondering if it has been implemented on a semi bucket brigade basis so that if you select the lowest size available ( 1GB) this will simply delete and start to refill as capacity is reached ? I haven't ever tried this and these days no longer use the Qobuz app as my access is via a third party device which has implemented the Qobuz API. Anyway of the cache is semi bucket brigade then that would remove your need to have a great deal of storage if you stream a lot. I will see if I can find a way of experimenting to see if this works. Incidentally you can stop the cached items from displaying in the Offline Library by going to " Interface" and "Display" if it is really the overcrowding of the Offline Library that concerns you rather then the cache size per se which , unless customised, offers a maximum of 30GB.
  4. The purpose of the offline library is really to enable users to access a selection of albums where they are otherwise unable to use online streaming without a penalty e.g. portable devices where data usage is metered via e.g. 4G. Your reference to using both C and D drives suggests that you are using a normal home PC or Mac rather than anything portable. I am therefore puzzled why you want such a large offline library where " My C drive is not big enough to handle the data " as this seems not to fit the intention of the facility. You can always just stream directly or do this via the "Favourites" facility which effectively bookmarks the album's location on Qobuz for streaming without having to search for it again.
  5. Yes, ATC SCM50ASL since 1997, well strictly speaking they weren't SLs in 1997 as ATC had not yet invented the driver! I have had them updated to current spec several times over the intervening years. That's one advantage to living in the UK where returning them to the factory for servicing or updates is somewhat easier. The actives are very revealing and matching them to the other equipment in the system IMO requires a bit of experience. I have found people who have heard them and have been disappointed. In every case it is because they were simply accurately playing back the inadequacies of the front end. Being such a long time user you may correctly assume that I have not heard anything that I would want to replace them with . That isn't strictly true but the only contender costs ( with suitable amplification) circa $1m so I don't think I will be going there 😉. I would need a bigger home to fit them in as well. Current system feeding them is an EAR 868 PL preamp ( I also have an ATC SCA2) fed by a dCS Network Bridge/ Vivaldi 2/Vivaldi wordclock. I also play LPs ( oh, the horror) from a highly modified J A Michell Orbe /SME V/Ortofon Windfeld Ti and Icon PS3 phonostage. BTW, if you want a risk free way of improving them significantly and one that doesn't cost too much then buy some Isoacoustics pucks and place them between your stand and speaker ( each puck supports 9kg so the number you need can be calculated from the speaker weight). Floor standers need the Gaia version which replaces spikes and is admittedly more costly than the pucks.
  6. There is a difference between being happy with something or if you want correct reproduction of the original source i.e. bit perfect. If you play 16/44.1 (Amazon HD) files with the sound engine set to 24/44.1 then 16/44.1 files will have the bit depth upsampled to 24 ( basically 8 digital zeros added as padding). All Amazon UHD files ( 24/96,176.4,192) will have the sampling rate downsampled to 44.1. Of course there is no additional data created when converting 16 to 24 bit - you haven't added any dynamic range so it isn't the same as real 24 bit sound. However if you have a 24 bit processor in your DAC then it may prefer to process a file to match and there may be some small audible improvement. If you are a rock/pop music fan, however , there are quite a lot of real 24/44.1 files available. So by setting your computer's sound engine as this you would have a fair percentage of incoming Amazon UHD files playing bit perfect . This is a bit like a broken clock being correct twice a day. Nevertheless the majority of files at present will still be Amazon HD ( 16/44.1) and be bit depth converted. If you are happy with that then fine.
  7. No doubt. I am not claiming that high sampling rates are necessarily always better than ( reasonable) low ones. Firstly the quality of the original recording trumps the subsequent way it is treated ( again within reason). Secondly if there is an audible difference between ( keeping with your 48KS/s example), 48 and 96 KS/s rates then, aside from audiophile nit picking, it is pretty subtle . In fact virtually inaudible for many people and I suspect for many musical genres ( does Death Metal really sound better at 24/192 compared to 16/44.1 ?). Of course 24 bits per se and the available dynamic range ( 144dB) is overkill for musical reproduction purposes. However there is an interesting corollary regarding bit depth that was proposed by Paul Miller ( editor of HiFi News and , I guess CEO of Stereophile etc - he also has a PhD in electrical engineering) that 24 bit processors work better given 24 bit data. And the majority of modern DACs use 24 bit devices. Anyway all I was saying is that whilst the OP reported his DAC was showing 16 bit output from what were nominally 24 bit files from AmazonHD I Had not found anything similar from Qobuz.
  8. That is a very convincing explanation. Being a classical music type aside from DGG I tend to forget about 24 track recording.
  9. I do have DAC that reports bit depth but unfortunately I can't access my audio system until the builders that are carrying out work at my place quit. However,as a corollary I haven't found any 24/44.1 files from Qobuz that display as 16 bit when played. Nevertheless I have always had a suspicion that there is something odd about 24/44.1 recordings. After all if you are going to master @24 bit why do this with a sample rate of 44.1 when, almost certainly if you have a 24 bit ADC , 96KS/s is available to you? It is also not a standard for supplying to clients in the A.E.S. guide to studios where 24/96 is the recommended minimum. Having met many administrators at record companies over the years I have to say that not all are particularly technically savvy. So imagine that Amazon asks or even requires a record label now to send it 24 bit files in preference. That instruction gets passed to whoever sends out files to radio stations, streaming services etc. They therefore ask the studio ( nowadays probably independent) to send them a copy file of a given album but in 24 bit. The studio finds that their copy master is 16 bit. But their client has requested 24 bit. So they take the master and run it through a sample rate converter and , hey presto, 24 bit. The studio has met its client's request and the record label Amazon's. Everyone is happy. Nobody outside the studio is any the wiser until somebody analyses it. Fictional? The record industry will supply whatever format is wanted, just how it does it can be open to question; from LPs cut from CDs , CD's mastered from old LPs, mono recordings made into artificial stereo ones etc. etc.
  10. Yes but the procedure that you provide does not mean that the Windows sound engine will allow or support streams up to 24/192 rather that everything will be upsampled to 24/192. If you set a lower rate in Windows then everything will be downsampled to that. Most of us just want bit perfect audio. So in order to get this using your method it means carrying out that reconfiguration each time that the source resolution changes, album to album or even track to track.
  11. I don't want to sound discouraging but you get paid when you get streamed. A couple of years ago Spotify ( I think) revealed that something like 80 % of the titles held on their servers are never accessed. BTW, remember that you won't be paid the day after your title is streamed. It will be done at a distribution point. Depending on the licensing arrangements that might only be once or twice a year .
  12. Thanks Patrick. That is, of course, doubly confusing. Imagine that you are in 1983 and all CD players carry the well known CD logo but none of the discs do! Then things would have become doubly confusing were SACD in a similar situation given two silver disc formats that look the same but have different specifications. BTW some vendors certainly use the Hi-Res logo associated with their downloads e.g. Presto Classical. Mind you if I had a pound for every person who asks what SACD is when I mention it then I would have several pounds 😊 Importantly Amazon are not even using the phrase Hi-Res.
  13. But they are not "wages" . Earning a living just about anywhere in the arts involves receiving income from multiple sources. In this case not only streaming. Some sources pay more than others. Which pay the most or the least can change over time. Currently succesful musical artists make more money from touring than from recordings. That is the reverse of the situation in the 1970s to 1990s. Go back before then to, say, the 1930s, 40s and 50s and touring or other live engagements were again the honey pot. Streaming is only one component making up a musicians' income. Right now , at what is the beginning of this new way of distributing music, the sums may be realtively small compared to other sources. As subscriber numbers grow and new territories are added ( so far streaming is effectively limited to Europe and the USA) income will expand. China is just about to start its first streaming service. Imagine how many subscribers that might attract and consequently what potential sums may be generated for internationally popular artists. As an ex-recording industry professional who spent nearly thirty years dealing with this kind of issue I would point out that the reported sums of rate/stream etc. are not very illuminating. The important thing is the formula by which the payments have been calculated and the definitions used to describe its components. And that (or, rather, they) is unknown.
  14. Yes, I mentioned this over on AA earlier. Amazon does not use hi-res or high-resolution anywhere. They are calling it HD ( CD resolution) and Ultra HD ( up to 24/192). Those phrases are familiar to the majority of people as they are also used for television resolutions. I actually think that Amazon are clarifying rather than confusing things for the great majority of ordinary people . Of course it strikes at the Hi-Res campaign with its logo etc. However , outside of audiophiles, how many people do you know who have any idea what Hi-Res is all about? Do they care?
  15. Yes, and that will always will be the case. All artists in whatever medium are fundamentally self appointed. Society does not create a job for someone just because they decide that they would be good at that job (whether they are or not). Just because there may be 200 qualified oboists does not mean that 200 orchestral positions have to be created to accommodate them. Most artists, again in whatever medium, do manage to make ends meet even though it may not be exclusively from their artistic pursuits. At the end of the day those artists that are popular will make money and possibly a lot. Those that are not popular will not. The latter do not "deserve" a living from their choice of career path. If they cannot make a living from it, for whatever reason which may be as vague as current fashion or taste, then they are not economically viable and need to find an alternative, just like most people. I had to change my career four times over my working life.
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