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Archimago

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About Archimago

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  1. I think for many of us, the issue isn't a black or white one. It's not like TAS or Audiophile doesn't inform, entertain, or assist consumers in some ways. There are many great products out there so it's not like it's difficult to say good things about most reputable brands and it's good to read music reviews/recommendations. For me, it's the loss of ability to educate or critically examine claims. The inability to call out fringe products that do not and cannot make any audible difference. The lack of courage to examine nonsense that from the start appeared to have the potential to degrade fidelity (eg. MQA of course as an unfortunate example). Without that discernment ability, there is only so much confidence a reader can place on the "press", and IMO, only a superficial depth and faith one can place on these opinions. I have a copy here of those 176 pages you referred to. It's entertaining with the usual selection of "audiophile beliefs" that the reader will have to critically consider for themselves.
  2. Yes... 🙂 Like at RMAF 2019 recently.
  3. I chatted with David a few times I think back in 2017. Nice enough fellow but I think he does get a bit too excited about the technology whether it be DSD or now MQA. The music is recorded well and sound quality is good because of that rather than whatever format du jour...
  4. No need to be "half serious", Kirk. I've always thought that for purely subjective reviews, something like this would be essentially! At least the reviewer should have some awareness of their own hearing frequency range, especially those 60+ years old. I've seen some Stereophile equipment descriptions where I've heard the same speakers, but they seem to have missed some issues in the higher frequencies or not noticed what appears to be lack of treble extension. I suspect this is because of hearing deficits. Not asking for perfect Golden Ears of course... But some reviewers seem to believe they have them when maybe they should not be so confident.
  5. Yeah, it would be nice to know provenance. But when have we ever known provenance!? Going all the way back to the questionable SACDs, to upsampled HDTracks material, the "hi-res catalogue" has never been of a high standard unless the user was vigilant in selecting music known to have originated from a true hi-res record label (like 2L, AIX, Channel Classics...). IMO, it ain't gonna happen. I believe as audiophiles we have reached a point now where we're "post-hi-res" knowing what the technology is capable of but accepting the reality of the situation. Hi-res by itself does not make recordings great, and that the industry's claims around how great hi-res sounds is almost all hype including the fact that the vast majority of 24-bit productions of mainstream music never needed those 24-bits. By Amazon going lossless and hi-res, we're basically seeing that they're "opening the taps" to take advantage of cheap and fast bandwidth. While most of that hi-res 24-bit content is unnecessary, just like most 4K video streams never really achieve the potential of image quality, it's available and hopefully the "good stuff" will not be compromised as it's passed thru the stream... I just hope the apps allow us to throttle the bandwidth if we're on mobile and do have data limits (I'm happy to keep my subway listening to 256kbps MP3 🙂).
  6. Yeah, true @Jud. There are a few more bucks here. And they're smart in packaging this with having a Prime account which also opens up Prime Video. For Prime members already, at $13/m, this is highly compelling compared to Tidal Premium at $20/m. Heck, even without Prime membership, $15/m is undercutting the competition in a rather big way; occupying the price gap between lossy Apple or Spotify at $10/m and the lossless Tidal/Qobuz at $20+/m. Yup, for once I can agree with Neil Young as per Chris' quote above :-).
  7. I don't think Amazon cares about the audiophile market at all - nor should they. Hi-res IMO for them is just a checkbox item to say they could do it. Hi-res streaming with the bandwidth we have these days costs peanuts and if this is their way to differentiate themselves from everyone else and tell the world they can do it ALL - lossy, lossless, hi-res at a competitive price, it's a fine business tactic to grab as many customers as they can. As we all know, bandwidth is not an issue. MQA was always barking up the wrong tree to claim that their proprietary compression scheme was anything more than a transitional step just slightly ahead of lossless 16/44 (ignoring the other nonsense like "authentication" and BS around "deblurring" to make us think there was anything more). Well, it looks like Amazon has now leap-frogged over everyone; including Apple, Tidal, Spotify and on the same streaming playing field as Qobuz. This is clearly very big news. I feel bad for the little guys even though as a consumer, I'm happy to give this a try when it comes to Canada (which is still awaiting Qobuz).
  8. Hmmm... I think he was thinking about the various isotopes :-).
  9. Nice book review, Chris! Despite the issues with NY's understanding of digital audio, it is good to read that he was wise to the Meridian / MQA scheme and ultimate intent. No doubt, he had good feedback from folks like Charley... Hopefully the book will have the intended impact on general readers who will explore a little more and maybe find their way here :-).
  10. I think I'm pretty safe with these guys... Hell, if MQA is afraid to present with @Rt66indierockin the audience, I got nothing to worry about :-). No kidding getting out of Denver is hard. My flight has been delayed 2 hours already.
  11. I am only a figment of your imagination. Like this guy... Until next time boys...
  12. Glad I didn't bother going yesterday! On way back home now. Nice meeting you @Rt66indierockand @The Computer Audiophile!
  13. Wow. What a limited view of what "audiophile" means... I don't think anyone has a problem with subjective reports, do they? It's just whether what's discussed makes sense or can be reasonably plausible. I still have a collection of 300-400 LPs. I can certainly say that subjectively many of these albums including some first-press Billy Joels, Beatles, FYC, Dylan sound great even on a humble Technics SL-1200 + Denon cartridge. They typically sound more dynamic than digital versions, especially more recent remasters. I agree with @Hugo9000, pops (and surface noise) from LPs are hard to ignore and "tune out". Which is why I never listen to them with headphones.
  14. Any specific presentations you're looking at @Rt66indierock? I assume no MQA presentation this year??? 🤔
  15. Can't speak for @Doug Schneiderof course, but while I might be a bit optimistic, in the big picture of all who enjoy music and want good hardware, "high end" is such a small niche that I don't think it's too difficult to change in time now that we are all connected to the information stream. At work, when I tell people that for fun I write about hi-fi audio, very few will recognize AudioQuest, Wilson, Magico, Focal, Dynaudio, Chord, Audeze, etc... Even fewer will know about stuff like Synergistic or MQA, or even care about expensive cables. All of us here are already part of the 0.01% club of audio enthusiasts and there aren't that many of us who need to be swayed to create significant changes in the zeitgeist of this hobby. If the forums have been any indication, since I started publishing stuff in 2013 to now, whereas I received much hate mail and massive opposition in the early days on places like Audio Asylum and Steve Hoffman Hardware Forum (thankfully no death threats 😉 though someone warned me about this on the Squeezebox Forum), things have been much more civil in the last 2 or 3 years. I think audiophiles gradually will continue to recognize that more objective analysis makes sense... That some "predictions" like Pono and NY's rhetoric was bogus. That the promise of "hi-res" audio was bound to fail in light especially of poor mastering. And of course, that the hoopla around MQA did not make any sense regardless of who was pumping it (including BS and the traditional audiophile magazines). I would also add this current chapter of the AudioQuest Cobalt reviews as part of this story where advertising claims, the name of designer-gurus for selling a product, the voice of online reviews and people like "The Audiophiliac" are being challenged when faced with objective realities. Don't for a minute think that reviews of the Cobalt like what @mansr wrote or the subjective opinions of more measured folks like @The Computer Audiophilewill not affect sales (I've seen it already). It will be interesting to see what RMAF this year looks like with the presentations. Sure, Synergistic will be there. So be it. This is the "long game". Just like how long-lasting this thread has been, MQA will not die overnight. Likewise, the hobby will not change from being the domain of multiple fraudulent claims to championing verifiable truths without time to digest and members to accept such changes.
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