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AudGuy

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  1. I signed up for CD or better, not CD or worse. MQA is ok but really not much of an enticement for me as I wanted a rich selection of albums and artists to select from. If Tidal cannot survive operating the way they did, perhaps a pricing revision is in order, not that I really welcome that. While I like Tidal and would miss it if it went away, I do not use it daily or even weekly sometimes so cost should reflect usage. But nobody seems to want to do that. Is this the beginning of the end ?
  2. Very interesting topic, and more than a little disconcerting also. Sort of explains a lot, in an indirect fashion. Listening to Tidal Hi-Fi ... I find I cannot listen seriously, but it does make for pretty good casual music. But, MQA seems better, although the choices need expanding, and something is certainly less irritating in playback. I do find though that for me, Tidal is an exploration tool that can ultimately lead to the purchase of music I enjoy. However, I am also finding that I am drifting back towards spinning more vinyl, something more analog and less digital. Not without it's share of problems records can be awful, and they can be superb and I think lacking any watermarking. Now that this little bug of an idea has been planted, it will be quite hard to not listen to everything with a jaundiced ear.
  3. Some of this depends on what era your records have come from. Myself, I have a lot of records that predate digital and while these records can be quite nasty, they can also be very nice. But they are all from a completely analog reproduction chain and this can influence what you are doing. I find that capturing record sides is easier, but does not accommodate track-to-track changes in gain. If one wants to nursemaid gain settings, then changes will be required that may be minor, or they can be fairly significant. I will test the first track of an album and determine what gain settings seem appropriate for any given album. Then while recording individual tracks I watch my gear closely for any significant changes in the tracks gain and if there is any, I will adjust things accordingly. This procedure is not as tedious as it may sound and I believe will result in recordings that more closely replicate what is on the record. Some equipment will accommodate this technique more readily that others and is perhaps, that which separates the equipment. Part of what is being striven for is to reduce or eliminate any "clipping" events. Clipping is when gain levels are too high and exceed a threshold. We can control this and would want to achieve recording levels of sufficient gain without any clipping. Audacity is quite suitable for this whole process and will show clipping events as quite evident red lines when the recording is viewed. Sometimes there will only be a few clipping events, and sometimes there will be many ... depends on how high gain control is set. This is all pretty normal recording technique and doing ADC is no different. Records though are subject to numerous problems which can become quite evident when capturing record playback. The most important being to CLEAN THAT RECORD ! How you choose to do that perhaps is not so important except that the cleaning will determine the results. If your cleaning technique is not rigorous enough then playback will make evident any debris that has not been removed. There are a number of highly regarded cleaning machines available all of which can cost significant money and in general, will produce quite good to outstanding results. Learning to use the machine to it's utmost abilities will produce the best results. However, I use a simple cleaner called a "Spin Clean". It is a plastic tank with rollers, brushes and cleaners that is a VERY manual process. But, with patience and perseverance you can obtain results equal to most of the machines except maybe those with ultra-sonic cleaning. Whichever method is used, the cleaning of the record will have more influence on your end results than just about anything else that you can do. It is possible to capture a record that is sufficiently well recorded so that the resulting files will sound like they originated as digital output files. They will sound exactly like the records that were used as the source. The captured files ... Audacity can capture pretty much whatever you might want and I found that while 16 bit 44 kHz sounds quite good, increasing bit rate and frequency generally produced better results right up to 24 bits and 192 kHz. But those high rate files are huge so do keep that in mind when determining your capture rate. I chose 24 bits and 96 kHz and in the WAVE format as my default capture technique. A wave file is like a RAW camera image, totally devoid of any compression. If you want FLAC files and I do use FLAC as my playback library format then it is easy to convert/copy your existing WAVE files to whatever format you want to use. The main reason to use FLAC in the playback library is because while we can embed metadata (tag data) into a wave file, that is not normal and takes able editors and players to utilize wave files with tag data. Whereas, flac has none of these problems. A last consideration, once you have a wave file and a flac file of the same piece of music it should be listened to with a critical ear in order to determine whether you think there is a significant, or even any differences between the play audios. Under certain circumstances, I think a wave file can sound somewhat better than a flac file although, the differences are subtle and quite dependant on the originating music and it's engineering. So, modest gear can produce very good copies of records and as always, better equipment will generally create better ADC conversions. I suggest getting started and copying some records using whatever is at hand or readily available. The process is tedious but the rewards are significant and one can always buy better equipment. Some records will even justify that expense. But there is something special about ADC captures that creates a digital file that has many of the qualities exhibited by vinyl playback.
  4. It is available from Tidal as a MASTER product but I don't know what they are streaming. I don't know if Tidal has all of them, BUT I counted 62 different albums ... with numerous variations of many included.
  5. Boy that song sure tugs at some old memories ... I am always amazed at all the associated memories that come along like baggage when these old songs are heard. It's like the song is just a key to a door unlocking all those experiences that we stored as long forgotten memories. Thank-you for the story.
  6. Suggests that the drive in the Thinkpad is slightly out of alignment hence the problem with the last track. One of the drive tester programs such as this: PassMark ROM disk tester might be a place to start. Will the internal drive play this disk, or other disks without any problems ? If it will, perhaps the problem lies more with the disk, than with the drive. And, you do at least have a solution in that your external drive would seem to be better behaved, with that disk. I would use dBpoweramp or ExactAudio Copy to determine if the rip is in fact as correct as is anticipated.
  7. + Interesting conversation, cabling reality. I find that I am contrary to accepted thinking that while my gear is arranged along a side wall, I have long speaker cables (Canare) in place. Some of the cables are quite long as it is capable of doing multi-channel output. Although, I have not given this much thought ... until now that is. So, in the interest of perhaps gaining some insight into my systems abilities I have decided to move the equipment to back behind the front speakers. The net result will be that the only long cables will be speaker cables going to the L/R surround speakers, everything else will be a fraction of what now seems like excessively long speaker cables. My interconnects are all under 2m and most are even under 1m so I think I'm ok there and I will rejig my existing speaker cables to the new much shorter lengths. And learn to live with my stuff in a new location that is NOT particularly close at hand anymore. Good thing there is a remote, it will be needed. So while I anticipate that there may be a mild change/improvement I am prepared to accept that there might not be also. So what the heck, I will move everything for the sake of finding out. Besides, change is stimulating.
  8. My experience has been that while I tend to shut everything off when not in use, it does seem to take 10 minutes or so to warm up enough that things will not change much after that. There is a difference between just turned on, and after even this somewhat brief warm-up period, but two hours later or even all day later things are about the same. I have done some load testing and have determined that when everything is turned on the current draw is quite high, higher than I would have expected so I do try to be power frugal and turn the systems off when not in use. The DAC though draws the least amount of power of anything in the system and while it too can shut itself down after inactivity, then it won't work if I want it to and have not remembered to turn it back on, so inconvenient. And the DAC seems to be the device that benefits from warm-up the most although this is just my assumption. As to power surges versus steady-state power use ... I leave a PC server and a couple of NAS boxes running all the time. The NAS boxes actually draw surprisingly little power and are engineered to be on 24/7 so I go with that and have had pretty good results. The PC draws more power but is very useful doing all manner of things so I tolerate it being on all the time. My first server ran (Win2000) non-stop for almost 11 years before being replaced with the current machine which I hope will do the same. No sleeping allowed ....
  9. And to demonstrate just how fickle computers and software can be, today I am unable to duplicate this problem. Yesterday it would not display correctly and today, well, is another day and things seem okay. I will continue to see if I can actually duplicate the problem and will advise if I am successful. Sorry if this is a false alarm and thank you for responding quickly.
  10. I don't know if this has been mentioned and if so, I apologize for bringing it up again but ... on my desktop system when I enter the FORUMS page, there is a problem with some of the pages elements. At the top of the page the black bar containing Home, FORUMS, Blogs, Activity & Store is covering some of the pages text. Like this: Forums_Page.jpg The page is ok except for this 1 problem and while I do know what the underlying text is, really it shouldn't be obscured I don't think. The second page shows things properly. Like this: Forums_General Forums Page.jpg The new software for the site seems to have elements that while they may be phone friendly, they are less desktop friendly than they might be. Just another bit of a stumble I guess. Thank You, AudGuy
  11. It's a week later and these files still seem reluctant to play on either of my systems. I guess there may be something wonky about the files, or they are simply so in demand that the servers cannot provide them. I doubt the later so ... FWIW, I have found other files that are MASTER quality and I seem unable to actually play them, or if they play it seems to be with reluctance. When there seems to be problems playing MASTER quality files, I suggest that another MASTER quality album be selected and an attempt made to play those files. If they play properly then it would seem likely that the problem is either with the files, or the file provider. Not really sure who puts these MASTER files together for TIDAL, whether it is themselves or the label, or whatever but there does seem to be problems playing certain file sets ... on non-MQA equipment. Perhaps someone that has an MQA enabled DAC could comment on whether similar behaviour has been observed, or is this a problem only for those utilizing MQA software decoding, like TIDAL.
  12. While attending a Vancouver Symphony Orchestra production last Saturday evening, I was pondering this very thing. I sat listening closely with my eyes closed trying to place the players in the orchestra strictly by what I could hear. We sit near the front (row 7) and pretty much in the middle of the theatre so I considered myself to be literally, sitting in the sweet spot. When a piano soloist visits the Steinway is directly in front of me. And I listened, a Grand Copeland piece with much participation from all of the orchestra. The bass fiddles were all over there, and the trumpets back there and I actually could see where everybody was based just on the sound. This surely must be what drove the engineers to invent stereo in the first place ... that desire to mimic a hall in a small space. Does a home HiFi manage to do this ? So I played a number of classical pieces yesterday listening closely to hear if I could place players the way I been doing so the night before. And while the sound was not nearly as loud, or clear it was also not as spatially accurate as I might of hoped for. Some pieces were better than others and even some were very much like the show had been. Not the same layout but still, very good sonic placement. Others while sounding quite nice fidelity wise, had a more homogeneous sound that gave very little locational information sounding instead more like a single loudspeaker sat on the stage playing the show. This is NOT what it should sound like. Later on and today stereo placement is still somewhat evident but when there are only four or five players all standing in a row this doesn't present much of a stage, some but certainly not like an orchestra. And in turn this form of music began to employ stereo to enable various sonic gymnastics as a method of adding to the players efforts. Sometimes this worked very well and was quite effective, still perhaps this may be why certain music almost never got performed in live venue. And then there is Multi-Channel, or Surround Sound. I am a fan of MC music and while it does take more gear, fiddling around and knowledge the results can be quite extraordinary. And like all recorded music, the results can also be shall we say ... less than stellar. All recorded music is subject to the skills, the whims and the willingness of producers to invest the effort necessary to make that recording the really sings to the audience.
  13. Mark, you are correct ... I find that on my system that is behaving properly, nothing seems amiss with the files that give me trouble on my other system. And there does not seem to be any spinning dials or nag messages telling me to do something that has already been done. I suspect the later bit is a result from something else that is getting derailed somewhere along the line. And to demonstrate to myself that this must be something machine specific ... I have a XONAR STX in the machine that is behaving properly, and when configured to send analog out from that card Tidal behaves pretty much the same as when utilizing the external DAC. I cannot confirm rates or anything like that, but the sound is very nice as these cards can be pretty good. This whole shamozzle sort of reminds me of the woes of Pono, another company struggling to cope with success. Perhaps not on the same level as Tidal, but still a good product being hampered by overly ambitious plans. I don't really blame Tidal ... but they sure could speak up a little more and make some soothing noises. And reassure all the users that must have an enormously variant pile of equipment that they must cope with. I will keep kicking the can and see what happens, to be fair, my serious listening rig is the one that is behaving properly so I am not really disadvantaged. Some guidance would be nice though ...
  14. Thanks Marc, here is what I noticed today. Start new session, load Tidal, check streaming is set to my choice(yes), select from My Music Yes/90125/Owner of a Lonely Heart, press play. Short spinning(about 2 sec) then playback as Master file. Sound is very good. OK, after song ends, press stop, then backup a level to album root, select new, David Byrne/Here Lies Love/Here Lies Love, press play. Endless spinning and Nag message to set default to 16/44. And my selected playback device has been switched back to the default device. Playback starts but sound does not seem correct. Next, quit Tidal and restart it. Ensure my selected device is selected (yes) and attempt to play the previously listed file. Results are the same, endless spinning and device reset to default. This would tend to suggest that this problem may be being caused by the file selected for playback ??? IDK, further messing about may yield something and perhaps a note to Tidal may help.
  15. Today, some new wrinkles ... another version upgrade, this time to 2.1.5.228 (W:2.0.3--6) (NP:2.3.26) Upgrade actually landed on my machine last night and it has been mixed blessings. On my two machines, one is acting like nothing has changed, the other is not fairing so well. The PC that has an external DAC seems to be good while the machine with an XONAR STX audio card seems confused again. Confusion is that the machine is now back to reverting to Default Audio whenever I ask it to play an MQA file. And I am getting the message that the default audio must be set to 16/44 which I have done. From time to time the message reappears in spite of being set accordingly. This is not reassuring and my impressions are that this system is not resolving MQA properly ... more testing tomorrow. The system connected to the external DAC is behaving as it did previously showing either 88kHz or 96kHz when playing an MQA file. It is not an MQA DAC so this is as it should be. The device that has been selected for playback stays selected and I am satisfied that this system is behaving properly. I don't know if this has anything to do with the MQA playback concerns but I am noticing a reluctance to play when selecting an MQA file. A spinning playback selector seems common now where it was almost never evident before. Sometimes a selected file will simply not play and I have to select a different track from the same disk which will play properly. This might be a sign of server overload on the MQA files. I don't know what this latest update has provided but it has not been a welcome change. I will continue using my two systems and see what percolates out. I am a little disappointed because both of my systems were playing MQA files nicely, now one is and one isn't. Does anybody know if Tidal updates can be rolled back ?
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