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About Archimago

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  1. Hopefully the ASUS haeadset is just a sign of desperate times for MQA which should have been aborted years ago and saved investors money. Looks like the MQA-enabled ESS DACs are out and we'll be seeing some products that can decode MQA due to the use of the chips. "EssentialInstall" website? I've seen a number of these generic-looking websites over the years that runs "interviews" on MQA... Are these generic "RoboWebsites" that are run by advertisers to just create media presence out there and as conduits of news announcements? Are there actual personalities behind a s
  2. Yes, the mastering (pre-Loudness Wars) obviously matters. Streaming lossless vs. local playback/CD with the same original data obviously doesn't make a difference if it's bit-perfect to your DAC. It's not whether it's "pleasing"; it just doesn't factually matter. I know, we're back to the old discussion about whether "bit-perfect" sounds different... I agree with those who dissociate price from sound quality. Technology has improved, price has dropped, high-fidelity sound quality can be had for much less due to technological maturation. I think t
  3. I'm sure there must be some high level calculations involved. Maybe something like income tax brackets? Audio Hardware Class MQA NVAT El-Cheapo Plebeian Fi 40% flat when less than $200 Consumer Fi 20% flat when over $200 to $1000 Normal Audiophool 30% to $1000 + 5% over $1000 Hi-End Audiophool 35% to $4000 + 10% over $4000 Supreme Ultra-Hi-End Phool 40% to $8000 + 20% over $8000 This will clearly dissuade
  4. Ouch! Now that's one heck of a non-value-added tax! Thanks but no thanks Bob...
  5. Hmmm, not much new on the MQA front. I see they're releasing the MQA-enabled ESS low-power USB-C phone DACs now: https://kawaraban.kibidango.com/?item=ztella&ui_medium=release&ui_source=kibidango&ui_campaign=ztella_c&fbclid=IwAR24Q8HAqkiuUM9byROclHkjwkEOcbW-qJ5tMiBKuzWCCzXx1V1w14VI9kE Wonder how well those perform as a DAC...
  6. Hmmm... Frank, I dunno man, I don't see how the measurements/subjective comments as "digging a hole". Remember, from the beginning I've always been "more objective" with recognition that ultimately audiophilia is (should be!) about enjoying the music even though I find it difficult to accept much of the subjective claims of audiophilia. While philosophically, I believe the hardware should simply be about high fidelity reproduction of recordings and an amplifier like the ACA would not be my ideal amp given my speakers, room, etc... I can still enjoy the sound. I was over at @mitchco
  7. I trust that over the years, my criticisms of Amir sets me apart from one of the "disciples" though there are things we will agree on :-). Having said this, I think in an open forum it is useful to remind folks that more "objective"-leaning audiophiles would have no issue with what he said. And there should be little need for confusion. Provided one has a well-engineered DAC (which I will also add my Oppo UDP-205 and RME ADI-2 Pro FS as other examples), different digital sources that are bit-perfect will not affect sound quality whether it's interfaced through USB or ethernet. S/PD
  8. Only if the filtering effect is extreme like what they did with the PonoPlayer resulting in significant frequency domain effects and aliasing. Otherwise there is no difference except for some relatively minor group delay. Remember, even extreme minimum vs. linear filtering was poorly heard in a blind test years ago. That's the data and it jives well with my own listening and those I know who have tried it with a more controlled procedure. What's your take?
  9. Just a couple of comments about this: 1. Don't worry about the "ringing" of DACs. Impulse response ringing is a result of the "illegal" signal fed into the DAC as discussed here. You're not going to "hear" any ringing (even if Meridian all those years ago thought minimum phase upsampling filters were a good idea for their DACs :-). 2. Jitter is highly unlikely to be audible unless very high as demonstrated here. Things like the J-Test is great to see the level of temporal resolution the device is capable of, an indication of engineering quality way more useful that hand
  10. Hmmmm... As someone who has observed the discussions over the years among those who base decisions almost exclusively on hearing, isn't it true that "everything matters"? You're talking to a "more objective" guy so you can imagine what I might say... However, since this series of posts is in the domain of subjectivism, I don't think we can be too reductionistic and focus only on the USB port. Yes. Those are givens. Well, I assume the belief here is that the Extreme's heavy and thick case reduces external RF interference from getting in. Maybe the way
  11. Good writing on this series @ray-dude with great pictures. Hope you enjoy the music and have lots of fun with all the processing you can do with it! In time you should really give DSP room correction a try if not already. You've got plenty of power under the hood and I can imagine you'll have fun playing with filter designs and such :-). Furthermore, over the next few years, I'll be transitioning my multi-TB server machine to full SSD like what you've done here - I'm sure you're enjoying the speed very much and well ahead of the curve for most of us with large libraries!
  12. Woops... Thanks for the clarification. Read the name too quickly. Lots of "b" in the name :-). Surely I hope nobody here is "spending money they don't have" whether on $26k computers or $100k speakers! We can still spend money on machines and upgrades for one reason or another. Who said it had to be about USB issues?! Right, which is where I started... My question is why does anyone think there is an issue with the USB interface (in regard to fidelity) in 2020 that ostensibly needs to be fixed in engineering? A concrete example
  13. Let's not detract from this series of interesting "extreme" posts on a rather unique piece of hardware by asking if I think anyone is "wasting" money. That can ultimately only be determined by the buyer. My wife thinks I "waste" money all the time :-). Dual Xeon computers are cool as is and I'm glad that @ray-dude is having fun with his system and writing about it. Arguments can be had another place, another time. Through the years, that idea of USB being "bad for audio" has been repeated countless times. How do we know it's true in 2020? Sure, back in the day when USB
  14. I'm really quite unclear of what everyone's worried about with USB these days... A high speed asynchronous, packet-based transmission protocol like ethernet or USB is great. Both are mature, can be implemented without great fuss or expense, and "universal" as in highly compatible. What would you prefer? Perhaps one concrete example of concerns that can be repeated and confirmed to be a problem might be helpful here to cut through the vague speculations?
  15. Hi guys & gals, Just a little bump for this topic... Closing off the test at end of month. 2 weeks left to send in your results!
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