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Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


qirex posted:

I wouldn't trust my valuable system to a mere $5000 worth of voodoo
http://www.electronichouse.com/slideshow/products/1827/371

At least that's a whole-house UPS and surge protector. It's probably still overpriced but it is doing something.

Neurophonic posted:

I still have no idea why balanced interconnects aren't used as standard in any gear that calls itself hi-fi.

Because it requires an extra processing step that harms the warmth and musicality.

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Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Wouldn't the standing waves in a particular room affect dynamics as well? It might mask the transient frequency to an extent and reduce the contrast of the "thump". Even worse it might just cancel it out.

Neurophonic posted:


If you count harmonics then a kickdrum is still making noise at around 4kHz.

If you want more beater head sound you want to look at 6-7k. That can help draw out the kick but it won't do anything for impact.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


As far as I can tell this whole discussion was started on getting impact in your kick drums - and that's found nowhere but in the sub-100 Hz range. If it's impact you're after you need to move a lot of air, period. Of course the overtones are important too but they won't give you the kick in the gut if that's what you're after. You can use psychoacoustics to trick the listener into hearing phantom low tones but they won't feel them because there isn't enough energy for bone conduction to really kick in.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Live EQ is fun, especially in a sub-optimal environments. As my instructor said "Don't be shy, hack the crap out of [the troublesome frequency]." :v:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


...and they are an actual problem when it comes to fidelity. If a reflection occurs within 10-15ms of the original impulse you will perceive it as part of the original sound. That means you'll get an ugly peak or dip at the resonant point and it can also make transients have less impact. Having a not-too-resonant room goes a long way to improving your sound quality.

OTOH your brain does a phenomenal job of compensating. Don't ever measure the frequency response of your room if you don't want to be phenomenally depressed. :v:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


The horn loaded sub built into the floor is so righteous. Why does it have to be ruined by that ridiculous bullshit :(

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


qirex posted:

If getting better equipment has taught me anything about music it's that a lot of stuff was recorded/mixed really badly.

This, a thousand times this. It's why you'll find a lot of excruciatingly boring (but well recorded and mixed) music in an audiophile's music library. :v:

You also have to remember that most popular music is produced for the lowest common denominator in terms of sound quality. It's also interesting to hear the differences in what the lowest common denominator was at different times. I was listening to a bunch of pop songs from the sixties and they were naught but midrange. Vocals and strings heavily dominated the mixes, bass and drums were often so far back that they were barely audible, even when I had the volume cranked and the bass control turned up a good amount. I would imagine this was partially due to the tastes of the listening audience of the time and partially due to the playback equipment (small mono radios were common and only produce distortion with bass anyway).

Then I switched to pop songs from the 90s and holy poo poo what a difference a few decades makes. Now the kick drum totally dominates everything and the bass isn't far behind. Most songs sound like there's a high shelf at about 8k with the levels cranked to hell and back. It's fun for a few minutes but guess what's better for extended listening, even with its positively wacky instrument balance? I'll grant that I'm old and have questionable taste at the best of times, but if music is a reflection of the culture we've become much more aggressive and wound up as a people. It's not like the 60s were idyllic either.

Anyway, where was I going with this?

PROTIP: if you want to reliably tell the difference between high and low bitrate stuff and/or lossless, listen to the background hiss and the tail end of reverbs. Both get muted when a lossy codec is introduced. It's not a 100% thing, and if anything it illustrates how little lossy encoding means to normal listening.

longview posted:

When I got my current headset I noticed immediately how poo poo my old amplifier was, so when I built the amplifier to drive it properly I started noticing how lovely a lot of TV sound-mixes are wrt. background noise.

I'm convinced all TV sound engineers are like 70 and can't hear anything above 10 kHz, considering how often you hear the 16 kHz whine right when a characters ADR track is un-gated. This happens a lot on Star Trek TNG.

That has a lot more to do with mixing for a tiny, lovely TV speaker than the engineer's ears. They deliberately use a small, limited range speaker so the mix will still be clear on the worst case scenario (which is every TV speaker ever). As a result it sounds like unwashed rear end smells on any halfway decent setup.

Panty Saluter fucked around with this message at 13:47 on Aug 11, 2012

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Blistex posted:

I'm guessing that the digital reading of the groves loses a lot of the richness due to the pure analog waves being turned into soulless 1's and 0's

There was a reviewer who blasted it for its lack of "air" - digitization aside, the laser turntable eliminates surface noise due to the lack of physical interaction. He hypothesized that the lack of high frequency detail (probably the lack of surface noise) was due to the limitations of the optics' resolution. While that might have some bearing on the laser turntable, he further extended this hypothesis as a possible reason why CDs lack high frequency air and detail...because the laser simply could not pick up the fine details in the pits of the disc. :ughh:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Devian666 posted:

We all know those laser beams that are no wider than their wavelength are wider than grooves on a record.

I'm not saying that the laser turntable is without its drawbacks (I assume this means that a laser would have a helluva time picking up every undulation on a record), just that extending that logic to CD players is stupid.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


cheese-cube posted:

Do you have a link to that review? It sounds hilarious.

I'll have to look for it more tonight - and in fact it may be a real uphill battle since the review was in a Stereophile from 2000. It wasn't the review itself but a sidebar by Robert Harley, who has a reputation for embarrassing himself with his amateur electronics knowledge but still has caché in the audio community.

You'll be relieved to know the laser turntable does not digitize the input...it's using continuously variable lasers and such. :v:

http://www.audioturntable.com/customer/stereophile.pdf

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


jonathan posted:

Interesting how these "audiophiles" always have pussy speakers and untreated walls. Lose the fancy cable separators and buy a crown amp or two. Pussy.

I don't know about "pussy speakers" since there are some really awesome monitors out there but that's just a matter of personal taste. The untreated walls thing is huge - your average living space is an acoustical nightmare with all sorts of slap echoes, strong nodes and anti-nodes (I once measured my room with 1/3 octave warble tones from 20-200 Hz and can you say +/- 20dB?) that will smear out detail and tonal accuracy way more than your lovely power outlets ever could.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


jonathan posted:

I just don't see the point in spending a bunch of time worrying about small things like a power cord and running your system from isolated car batteries when you've got tiny 5" woofers in tiny bookshelf cabinet speakers. Music sounds good played loud, that's how our ears brains and bodies work. A small inefficient bookshelf speaker is never going to move you like a big speaker in a large cabinet.

That's because your personal preference is loud music whereas some people might rather have a more accurate representation of the mid and upper ranges at the expense of very low bass. You can have both of course but that runs into money. Also a good two-way monitor is nothing like the $99 Sony bookshelves you find at Best Buy.

If you've spent thousands on power cables instead of better speakers or acoustic treatments...well, those are the hosed priorities we've been making fun of for this whole thread.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Having worked in telecom for a few years now I feel confident in saying that if we can accurately transmit a very finicky digital signal over miles of plain copper you really don't need to go crazy with a low frequency analog signal traveling just a few feet. It's a bit apples and oranges to be sure but I'm just glad that I never spent too much on high end wires.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Well you see, the audio signal is very delicate and will completely change with every property change to the system no matter how minute. Cable is just TV and phone lines are just for voice; it doesn't matter what you use for those.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


jonathan posted:

One thing where spending a lot of money actually makes a big difference is Subwoofers. Unless you're a DIY person. The difference between a $300 subwoofer which is good, to a $1200 sub is pretty big. After that price point you start getting into diminishing returns.

Speakers in general really. Vandersteen 2CEs are less than two grand (last I knew) and you'd be hard pressed to improve on them for any reasonable amount of money.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


jonathan posted:

I love LOVE Klipsch Heritage stuff. Got pictures ?

I'm not a huge Klipsch fan but the pair of Cornerhorns I listened to in the right room (huge) with the right front end equipment (Levinson) sounded loving fantastic. You really wouldn't want to put them in a room much smaller than, say, a school gymnasium though. :v:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Combat Pretzel posted:

The fact that enough audiophiles hail vinyls as the be-all end-all audio carrier is loving hilarious.

As mentioned before, you're dragging a needle made of one of the hardest materials over plastic, degenerating and as such changing the record every play. And then, the way the groove is read varies with the flex of the cantilever and the amount of counterbalance. And lets not even go into preamps and the different ways the RIAA equalization curve is implemented. Or rather approximated, since different electrical implementations of an equalizer behave differently.

In short, it's a loving awful lovely medium.

I've always said that if you want to argue for the superiority of analog you need to talk about 30 IPS tape. Most audiophiles would probably find it too sterile and clinical though.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


If memory serves Iggy did that on purpose. I can see him doing that anyway :v:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


timb posted:

I keep a FLAC copy of my collection on a master system

Man this audiophile infatuation with consoles is getting out of hand.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


I'm not gonna lie - if you could connect a hard drive to a Master System and play FLACs on it I'd probably do it. :v:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


FormerFatty posted:

I always thought that the Playstation 1 made CD's sound fantastic; at least compared to the old CD player my parents brought in 1989.

This is a viable scenario. It's all relative. :v:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Socket Ryanist posted:

Have audiophiles given a justification for why they still use unbalanced connections between components? You'd think if they're so concerned with audio quality they'd use one of the most universally agreed-upon techniques for cutting out noise.

More then a few high end components use balanced connections. To be totally fair balanced connections only quash common-mode noise so if you don't have a lot of that there probably won't be a huge difference either way.

Also balanced connections require conversion inside the components so unbalanced is technically a simpler signal path. I guess that could be your audiophile hook for unbalanced connections.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Part of the theory behind having ultra-wide frequency response (say, 10 hZ - 100 kHz or something) is that if the electronics are capable of handling frequencies that far out they are very unlikely to have any phase distortion or other errors within the audible band. Some of it might be dick-waving but I think there's at least a little truth to it.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


By the time I left the hi-fi shop at which I was employed I was already pretty over high-end cables as a thing. What finished it off for me was a brief stint in pro audio - have you ever seen a patch bay? Yeah, that's about the most non-audiophile thing ever and many studio records have been run through them with no meaningful quality loss.

Then working with two-way RF over long distances made it really clear that getting audio band signals over any distance is kinda bullshit. :v:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


It don't have to have moving parts to be a piece of poo poo.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


If we want to go full-goon about cables: Just buy a soldering iron and make your own, guh. :colbert:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


I would make my own but the raw materials are usually more than the single cable I need and also my soldering skills (even after years of soldering things) are mediocre on my best days. Like I'll see a solder joint that looks pretty drat good to me and someone who really knows what's up will be able to just pick it apart for not having high enough temps or whatever.

If something turns out well when I'm handling the pen it's usually a happy accident.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Willeh posted:

I've split a couple and used them as digital coax interlinks. They work perfectly 100% of the time and my equipment hasn't caught on fire once :toot:

This always weirds me out since I thought a 75 ohm impedance was pretty necessary for digital coax to work. I guess the cable has relatively little effect on the overall impedance.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Skeleton Ape posted:

I've always thought RCA was kind of a goofy design to begin with. Is there a reason BNC connectors never caught on with consumer products?

RCA connectors are cheap and BNC connectors are not.

Too-tight connectors bother the hell out of me - Monster's stupid turbine cut super death grip connectors being the absolute nadir of such things. There is absolutely no need to have a connector so tight that you risk ripping the input connector off of the component, and yes I've seen it happen.

Connections need to be snug - nothing more or less. If you're worried about contact integrity unplug and replug the connections occasionally. That will clean any minor layer of oxidation that may have formed.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


jonathan posted:

I think they put it on the floor for a reason. Also that 6 million dollar theater, yet he has bare floors and a glass coffee table. Actual measurably bad things.

...also the perfectly rectangular space. I mean, more power to him, he has the means to do what he wants but a properly acoustically set up room would change the whole game. Brute force has its place but it seems like all he has.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


I don't generally pay a lot of attention to Audiogon these days but this caught my eye: http://hub.audiogon.com/amarra-symphony/



How about a $500 "high end" music player for your Mac that's likely a frontend for iTunes anyway? The switch to file-based listening must have been a great boon for audiophile companies now that they don't even have to actually manufacture something.

e: also I like the conspicuously placed AC/DC track with the stupid "Best of" Mozart tracks. We are smart and cultured but we know how to rock and be cool too guys!!! :downsgun:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


A screechy horn speaker?!?!?!

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Oh, I know there are good horns out there but when they're bad...whoa nelly.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


To be fair most of the critical stuff is below 10k and that doesn't go away until much later in life for most people. Critical listening has less to do with your physiology and more with learning how to listen. Whether or not it's applied correctly is another matter entirely :v:


Did the doctor say what ranges you'd had the most loss at? Like 15k+ or whatever?

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


KozmoNaut posted:

Meridian is introducing a new audio format called MQA, which promises to deliver high-resolution sound at a CD quality-like filesize. It also supposedly retains CD quality backwards compatibility with devices that don't support this new format.

They also have this amazingly helpful graph to show us why we should care:



As you can see, reel-to-reel tape is the highest audio quality possible forever, but it is not very convenient. You can also see that streaming is extremely convenient, but has sound quality akin to punching yourself in the face.

You can also plainly see that LPs are better than both SACD and DVD-A in both convenience and sound quality! Because it's so inconvenient to plop in a disc and press play, right? It's so much more complicated than playing a CD!

They also have the most pretentious URL ever: http://www.musicischanging.com/

From reading their bullshit claims, it actually sounds a lot like HDCD. Which was also a rousing success, as you may remember.

Necroposting, but the only objectionable thing about this graph is how close they put vinyl LPs to reel-to-reel tape in quality :colbert:

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


KozmoNaut posted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ9tCRh41OM

That's an $80,000 turntable with a $10,000 cartridge.

/r/vinylgore is amazing.

I'm the idiot trying to scratch on a belt driven turntable

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!



ACTUALLY,


the joke is your posting

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


1000 Brown M and Ms posted:

All that money and he plays loving Gangnam Style :ughh:

Well, at least that confirms that audiophiles don't listen to music, they listen to equipment.

I'd rather listen to "Gangnam Style" than 99% of "audiophile" recordings. Seriously, they are the most bland unlistenable bullshit ever.

Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


It's very hard to say since perception is very individual. I think a lot of people mistake upper midrange - the shrieking, glaring overtones of voices, electric guitars, etc. for "top end". A lot of people also seem to like a lot of sizzle, basically 10k and up where the hi hat is searing your face off.

Age is also a factor, and I'm saying this as a 38 year old who can't really hear past 14k here - your ears get worse at damping noise as you get older because the outer ear muscles lose tone. So even though you can't hear as much really loud sounds are probably going to bother you a lot more.

I don't know that I would ever want to return to the days of pre-adolescent hearing though. I remember so many things being sharply painful to hear. I'll take just a little deafness, thanks. :v:

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Panty Saluter
Jan 17, 2004

Making learning fun!


Yeah, horns tend to bump a lot of power between 1 and 4k (the midrange ones anyway) so they're usually pretty strident. Good for filling a big space though.

One of my favorite stereos I ever got to hear was a pair of Klipschorns driven by a nice Mark Levinson integrated preamp. That sounds funny but the horns were in a HUGE room with vaulted ceilings and when you're standing at least 50 feet back They're pretty drat amazing. I'm not being facetious, these are monster speakers designed for a monster space. It helps that the music was warm n' fuzzy analog master Stevie Wonder too.

A lot of sound depends on context. Those speakers would be shrill and awful in a space not much smaller than the cavern they inhabited.

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