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Reviewing - what music do you use for a review and what do you listen for?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post

    Mep there is only one way to make GREAT digital but most have no clue and the offers of help are just that
    doing something without knowing increases the need for help.
    But staying ignorant works for many. You anaolog heads are stuck ina time warp and keep ciculing
    how many have rolled tubes in theres systems ? This makes no sense to me.
    There is no shortage of analog questions and the truth is digital comes easeaer to me. It o have learned plenty about honing it well too.
    I'll bite. So what is the "One Way" to make "Great" digital?
    SP-10 MKII table with custom power supply designed and built by Peter Noerbaek with an SME 3012R with Dyna XV-1S cartridge, VPI Avenger table with rim drive and JMW -12-3D arrm with Lyra Etna SL cartridge, Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, and NOLA KO speakers with a pair of Def Tech Ref subs.

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    • #32
      I'll tell you what mep it's a one time offer to you only you . Why , you seem like a good guy and some from Florida like you too.
      So if you want a great server for about 2500 or less including case , psu , main board , memory , two ssd drives music is on me .
      Lisc AO software. Lisc OS system . All put together and running. I can tune and show you with a Remote Desktop app.
      You buy stuff have shipped to me , you will have it shipped back in max 7 days including weekend. Roon not included. But HQ is. Highly recommend Roon as combo to HQ. Now if you take me up on this offer don't thank me publicly here or elsewhere I don't want it nor need it. Besides I am the resident idiot anyway no need to hurt your rep saying I am not lol.
      Ill show you all bils and your buying anyway. Non profit just fir you . Now don't answer now think about this a bit ok.
      Unlimited help by phone , FaceTime if we need to go into bios and desktop.
      Cpu new I7 coffee lake i87 I think it's called. I have the I5 version as I don't upsample.
      200 watt lps ,400 watt DC atx psu. Cables to use rear seperate DC buss feeds. A fanless case you pick Afterall it's your money .
      M2 evo 960 120 ssd drive and one 1 TB ssd drive for music. You can add more if you wish.
      Now why I am doing this mep. One reason only one. So in private you can tell the simple mined analog brains it's all great if done well.
      Oh one last demand don't use digital diggleberries anymore hahahaha.
      You have access to my email and I think cell phone too. So now think , pause , think some more ,maybe call up Myles and ask is al crazy .
      Enjoy the concept mep it's a bold new world in digital.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by adrianwu View Post
        ... With this set up, I cannot identify any downside with the digital playback. In fact, the transients sound a bit cleaner than the LPs, probably because I transferred the music silently and there was no acoustic feedback to the record player. The tonality, macro and microdynamics, sound staging, imaging, space, rhythm and pace, note decay and frequency extension were all preserved by the DSD. I am very sensitive to digital artifacts (hence I had not bought any digital components until the past two years), and I cannot detect any with DSD. More importantly, the emotional aspect of performances is totally preserved, an important deficiency I find with CDs. There were big differences between analogue and DSD playback when I used a USB connection between the Mac and the DAC, but with the Microrendu, the differences pretty much disappeared. I am using an ifi switching PS with the Microrendu, and when we tried using my friend's DIY linear regulated PS, the sound changed. It became more laid back, more relaxed, with a slightly darker background. The note decay and overtones were perhaps slightly better. However, when I listened to the LPs again, the sound was indeed closer to the ifi, not as laid back. My friend speculated that it could be the electric phasing. So, which is better ? Which is more "correct" ?
        Its probable that the laid back presentation is correct, something the LP can do on its own as well, but it sounds like your analog rig doesn't take well to turning the volume up. Its quite common to get better LP transfer when the volume is down; I used to do that when making mix cassettes years ago, until I finally got a decent stand, platform and decoupling bearings (which are beneath the stand) for my turntable and preamp. Now I can run the volume up to +100 db without the sound getting any harsher or for that matter even sounding loud. I think I've seen it said that the big advances in analog playback in the last 25 years have all been about reducing and eliminating vibration and resonance; I'm real OK with that statement.


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        • #34
          After some silence from my side, let me share with you my "methodology" how do I evaluate the illusion presented by hifi equipment. In am not "a reviewer", however as anyone else I am evaluating for myself what I hear at studios, shows, during visits to my colleagues...

          In my view the combination of equipment + room shall be able to recreate the illusion that recording producer have created (both knowingly and also unknowingly e.g. due to poor monitoring in studio control room). So if producer of the recording decided to create "the puzzle" - multimiked and closely spotted sections of the orchestra - I want to hear it that way when being played in given listening room - even if it results in the unnaturaly dry instruments "in my face". I might question aesthetics and sound design and overall approach and decisions for that particular recording but that is another story. On the other extreme side - if producer decided to create cavernous illusion ("fog in front of me, fog behind me...") with the instruments buried in the reverb of the hall and their sound colored by the hall, so be it - I want to hear it that way. Again, I might question the aesthetics approach adopted, but I do not want the equipment and the room to alter this illusion by electrical or acoustical defects of its own ("musical" or "involving" or any other euphemism usually used for such cases) - I fairly quicky get annoyed by these colorations (defects) and usually stop listening.

          The obvious question is - how do I know what got recorded in the first place? Even for my own recordings I have made I cannot be 100 per cent sure but I can do some workaround / approximation even for the recordings that were done by someone else. Since classical music repertoire gets recorded by many artists over and over again in known environments (concert halls that you can attend to be able to hear the same acoustical event live) and by knowing what can be done in the recording process (how it gets miked, how it gets mixed and how this gets usually translated into the result on the recording) I run the listening "cycle" of the recodings of the "same" repertoire. For example let's say Mozart Jupiter symphony by various orchestras and conductors made in various hall and captured by various recordings teams. Some of them are made in the same halls or by the same orchestras, but that is part of the listening game. If I know that some recording is having its "flaws" or "features" - e.g. clipping distortions, edits (sudden leaving of the audience - different reverberation for several bars), multiple reverberatios on different instruments in soundstage, obtrusive riding faders or noticeable compressors or parallel compression, mixing the winds too forward or unnatural spots on the instruments then I am curious how this gets presented by the equipment and room together. But I do not listen just to the errors. I listen for overall audibility and proportions of orchestral image, specifically I am listening to the presentation of the accompanying instruments that are sometimes buried in the orchestration e.g. horns, bassons... so knowing what is in the score helps here I listen to loud orchestral tuttis if they are unnaturarly "hard" or congested/shouty and on the oppposite side of the dynamics spectrum how the pianissimos get through. And many other things... And then the same for other types of music (choral, chamber...).

          Then, only if both are met: all of these recordings sound more natural AND at the same time they are more different from one to another (from closely miked "in your face" to distantly miked) then (and only then) the euipment and room are "good". . If all of them sound nice and smooth but are averaged to the same colour, then something is not right - in my view.

          Comment


          • #35
            Cough "If all of them sound nice and smooth but are averaged to the same colour, then something is not right - in my view."

            I think one way to make something (anything) that is good is for the end result of that component to be able to contrast differences as to what it is fed. Take the Bose 901 - most people complain that that speaker makes every kind of music and every kind of recording wind up sounding pretty much exactly the same - thus, it has low resolution and creates a homogeneous recreation of sound.

            You have come to the same conclusion that I came to years ago and Peter Qvortrup and Leonard Norwitz (classical music composer and reviewer) wrote about in their famed article. That it is better to bring recordings for evaluation that you don't know but of different qualities and the systems that contrast those differences more are more accurate. This is why I generally don't like Magnepan and most panels because if you play Lady Gaga, Beethoven, Jackson Browne, AC/DC, Tool, Eva Cassidy back to back to back - I hear the same panel sound planted across all of these albums - the same kind of soundstage the same kind of stereo depth and width the same sort of bass and the same ribbon tweeter sounding always like a ribbon. It doesn't sound bad but it all sounds a lot more alike than those recordings ought to sound.

            Conversely with better speakers Eva will have a greater sense of the hall versus the up front dynamically constrained pop of a Lady Gaga. AC/DC will have some actual balls with heart pumping drums. And a better system again will show off those differences without making some of these recordings unplayable.


            Anyway - the article has been around for 20 years but it's a good alternative to try to be objective when listening. When you listen to your favorite recording on your present stereo we tend to like (or get used to) the way our system plays the music. Then when a new system comes in and plays it differently (less enjoyably) we tend to blame the new system (amp/cd player/speaker etc) when in fact it may be our present system getting it wrong. While it's true that a system with more contrast isn't necessarily accurate - it is a guarantee that a system that can't contrast recordings well has no chance of being accurate. Flame Suite on.

            http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin.../audiohell.htm

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by Richard Austen View Post
              Take the Bose 901 - most people complain that that speaker makes every kind of music and every kind of recording wind up sounding pretty much exactly the same - thus, it has low resolution and creates a homogeneous recreation of sound.
              Nice discussion, gents. Unfortunately, most people forgets that more than 50% in audio is pure acoustics. I have seen 6 figure systems in a poor environment and no wonder why the poor pereformance... On the 901, that's pure urban legend. The old same old of people repeating the gossip without even try it for themselves. It is, what it is but if you take your time working patiently with the location of the speakers, even a 901 could sound better. And of course; first rule with the 901: DO NOT FOLLOW BOSE INSTRUCTIONS. It would never be a high resolution monitors, as it was not designed for, neither intended as one. Bose is just a successful commercial story, but in hands of somebody who knows what is doing, it could sound much different. I'm sure about it. The same happens on the opposite: $25,000 speakers sounding like garbage due to bad location or lack of knowledge. There you have the 2 extremes!

              Regards!

              Sketsoteric Audio: "Analog Sound, Digital Flexibility"
              http://mortechpr.wixsite.com/cassetteadventures
              http://mortechpr.wixsite.com/cgmasteringservices

              Comment


              • Kingrex
                Kingrex commented
                Editing a comment
                My father in law has the 901. I showed him how to setup his speakers. He was floored how much impact it had on the playback. He sold his rear speakers as he felt they were no longer needed.

            • #37
              I am not really here to attack the 901 - in fact if you are a bar owner they may be far far more ideal than what I have heard with otherwise better speakers. The application of the speakers and what your goals are for the speakers matter. In south Korea they had 901s in the rafters above the listening area - the 901 throws a huge layer of sound with huge coverage throughout the place. A directional speaker lumps everything to wherever it is pointed and most of the time you have to sit with your ear at tweeter level between them. The 901 has a huge advantage with lots of people all walking around.

              It is somewhat pointless to blame rooms - we all have the rooms we have and in a typical room loudspeaker designers should be building speakers to work in a typical room without the end user being forced to spend $5,000 on room treatments.

              The school of thought for the free standing speaker (most speakers) is that they can be placed 3-5 feet from all walls and thus emulate a kind of anechoic chamber so the walls of the room do not impact the listening assuming the direct wave hits your ears before any diminished radiated wave. This usually doesn't work which is why most everyone with these speakers wind up buying a bunch of room treatments and subwoofers because the free standing speaker has no bass support. They also lose sensitivity as there is no corner or rear wall gain.

              The alternate is the corner loaded speakers such as my Audio Notes which typically require no room treatments but do require a solid wall (preferably concrete/brick) so as to not overexcite the walls into a sympathetic vibration which sings along with the music. The advantage to corner loaded is a massive gain to bass depth and sensitivity. If you measure one speaker mid room and it is 92dB sensitive then if you place one in each corner you gain up to 9dB (3 for each corner and 3 for the second speaker). So I always get a chuckle at some measurements I see from certain print magazines.

              The room matters but generally I think we try to "assume" that we're talking apples to apples. We compare speakers in a fair room with appropriate gear. So you don't compare a small speaker in a big room against a big speaker, you don't compare an 80dB 2 ohm speaker with a 98dB sensitive speaker that never drops below 5 ohms on a 3 watt SET - then complain the low efficiency speaker has no bass - or that the amplifier is bad because it has no bass.

              Kind of off topic - I go back to the Gestalt of the recording - does the overall sound suspend my disbelief that what I am listening to is a good representation of the artist's intent?

              If I listen to Shook Me All Night Long from AC/DC does it Shake me all night long? If the system can't shake it is lacking - which is why I am NOT a fan of most of the speakers John Atkinson of Stereophile loves because he loves most of the speakers that don't wrinkle the sheets.

              Comment


              • #38
                Just for grins... Do you have specific music, regardless of format, that you use to gauge a piece of gear? And, what do you use that music for - what do you listen for and why? ==> Specificity is appreciated
                Spkr: Wilson Alexias series 2; Amps: Lamm M1.2Ref; Linestage and phono: ARC Ref 10 and ARC Ref 10 Phono; TT: GPA Monaco 2.0; Arms: Kuzma 4Point, Tri-planar Mk. VII U2-SE; Cartridges: Allnic Arrow/Puritas, Benz LP S, Lyra Etna, Transfiguration Phoenix, Denon DL-A100,DL103R; Cables: Shunyata Σ / Σ NR PC/SC/IC; Pwr Cond: Shunyata Triton III, Typhons(3); Isolation: SRA Scuttle3 rack, SRA Ohio Class amp stands, ; Acoustics: Stillpoints Apertures; Audio cat: Finzi

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                • #39
                  Sure at Audio Shows or dealers I tend to bring the following albums fairly consistently and I do not listen for BS audiophile nonsense like soundstage and imaging but the overall gestalt - does a piano on the recording remind me of and make me believe that a piano is in the room - is there a singer in space in front of me - sibilant treble will likely annoy me hence why I am no a big fan of speakers using metallic or ribbons for the tweeter.

                  Moonlight Sonata and 5th Beethoven
                  Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
                  Hilary Hahn various
                  Jackson Browne Acoustic Volume 1 and 2 (usually the piano version of "The Pretender")
                  Guns and Roses "Knockin on Heaven's Door"
                  Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart "Close to my Fire"
                  CBC Radio After Hours Jazz Collection
                  Patrick Williams and his Big Band
                  Sophie Milman "I can't make you love me" from Take Love Easy
                  Eva Cassidy
                  Aurora "All my Demons Greeting me as a Friend"
                  Delerium "Silence" feat Sarah McLachlan
                  Split the Atom "Alpha Centauri"
                  Nightwish
                  Alison Balsom "Trumpet"
                  Schindler's List K2HD Japanese Mastering
                  Charlie Byrd various
                  Wes Montgomery various
                  Gene Ammons various

                  At a show or dealer they usually have a wide selection of classical and jazz music so generally I don't feel the need to bring too much of that. I bring Sophie Milman and Eva Cassidy because I prefer these to the steady diet of Diana Krall and their recordings are also excellent. Sophie is also Canadian, better singer, better looking too. Probably a bunch I am forgetting but have to go back to work.


                  Comment


                  • Skylab
                    Skylab commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Nightwish!!!!!!!!!!

                  • Kingrex
                    Kingrex commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Holly smokes, Sophie is nice to look at. Good production behind her too.

                • #40
                  Sorry Richard, but for me acoustics are very important and necessary and no: you don't have to spend a leg and a half on acoustic material if you know what you are doing. Even the way you use your furniture, bookshelves, drapes, carpets, etc play an important part in your listening environment. I personally take the time to do these "minor" adjustments and it pays! For many audiophiles it's simply not practical to install an commercial acoustics on their living rooms, so they might use some other "real life" tricks. I don't belief in putting out a set of speakers anywhere and hope for the best. I can't.

                  But anyway, I see your valid points and agree to some extent. About the 901's: it is, what it is, but you can make them sound better if you wish and take the proper measures. Besides my mastering suite, I do have 4 operating systems at home because I don't collect museum pieces. I have a working and practical collection of vintage gear around my house (modestly speaking: a big one) all installed and "singing" in a system. The 901 are just pure nostalgia of better times but when I just could dream about having a good stereo system. It's hooked to a similar vintage array. That's on the main living room, BUT on my bigger and main listening room 25 x 20 x 15, professional acoustics were designed and installed by my 2 sons and myself, again, without mortgaging my house! Ha!

                  By the way, the music I use to evaluate any system or environment has been collected through the years. I make a "demonstration" disc and that's the one I take with me. It has different genres and no audiophile tracks. Just real life music as my system has to sound good no matter the material, but that's me.

                  Regards!
                  Sketsoteric Audio: "Analog Sound, Digital Flexibility"
                  http://mortechpr.wixsite.com/cassetteadventures
                  http://mortechpr.wixsite.com/cgmasteringservices

                  Comment


                  • #41
                    Originally posted by El Magnifico View Post
                    Sorry Richard, but for me acoustics are very important and necessary and no: you don't have to spend a leg and a half on acoustic material if you know what you are doing. Even the way you use your furniture, bookshelves, drapes, carpets, etc play an important part in your listening environment. I personally take the time to do these "minor" adjustments and it pays! For many audiophiles it's simply not practical to install an commercial acoustics on their living rooms, so they might use some other "real life" tricks. I don't belief in putting out a set of speakers anywhere and hope for the best. I can't.

                    But anyway, I see your valid points and agree to some extent. About the 901's: it is, what it is, but you can make them sound better if you wish and take the proper measures. Besides my mastering suite, I do have 4 operating systems at home because I don't collect museum pieces. I have a working and practical collection of vintage gear around my house (modestly speaking: a big one) all installed and "singing" in a system. The 901 are just pure nostalgia of better times but when I just could dream about having a good stereo system. It's hooked to a similar vintage array. That's on the main living room, BUT on my bigger and main listening room 25 x 20 x 15, professional acoustics were designed and installed by my 2 sons and myself, again, without mortgaging my house! Ha!

                    By the way, the music I use to evaluate any system or environment has been collected through the years. I make a "demonstration" disc and that's the one I take with me. It has different genres and no audiophile tracks. Just real life music as my system has to sound good no matter the material, but that's me.

                    Regards!
                    Well there are speakers that are more suitable for studios (doesn't mean better but designed for the purpose) and there are speakers designed for the home - generally mid or farfield designs versus typically nearfield designs for studios. I am not a recording engineer but I have seen a ton of set-ups with a mixing board glass and two speakers about 5 feet from the engineer - the classic LS-3/5a speaker was heavily used.

                    The problem I see is that not all speakers are designed for "dead" rooms. Nor are all speakers designed to dampen the cabinet. As a result room treatments do not blanket work for all speaker designs.

                    My speakers are a bit left field - but they are designed to remove resonances as fast as possible not dampen the resonances to be released later. They use the corners of the room to act as a massive horn utilizing room and corner gain. 99.9% of all other speakers are decidedly NOT designed like this so my comments are a little off the beaten path.

                    I agree with you that treatments or natural treatments as you suggest with furnishing can and do aid other "mainstream" speaker designs. Deadening the room for a speaker attempting to deaden resonances make sense as a speaker trying for a live sound may like a live room.

                    But I agree again room treatments always matter depending on the room.

                    Comment


                    • #42
                      Again Richard, I see your point and you are right, BUT, acoustics work anywhere you apply them as long as you know how to do it and the results are always highly noticeable and measurable. Acoustics is a Science and as a Science you must study, experiment and understand it. Bad acoustics and you are fried! As you say, some speakers are designed for closed field listening (mix monitors) and others for open field. The problem is that once you are on the second option, acoustics kicks in no matter what, no matter the speakers. That's a Physics law.

                      Anyway, I see your points and are most valid and appreciated!

                      All the best!
                      Sketsoteric Audio: "Analog Sound, Digital Flexibility"
                      http://mortechpr.wixsite.com/cassetteadventures
                      http://mortechpr.wixsite.com/cgmasteringservices

                      Comment


                      • #43
                        Not a reviewer though I think it would be fun. I have listened to a lot of gear over the years and the problem I have always found is that there is always some limitations; either in the room or some part of the signal chain. Back when there were solons, the better ones set up systems that appeared to have some form of symmetry. This is important which brings me to my horrible statement: I have no interest in solons anymore. They never have a analog rig that is up to standard and everything is solid state. I’m sure this is not universal geographically but it is here.
                        I have no interest in digital or home theater and if it don’t glow, out it goes. I’m just too happy with what I have and what I am interested in, no one is going to show.
                        Call me a old grumpy curmudgeon.

                        Comment


                        • tima
                          tima commented
                          Editing a comment
                          The salon was tactile and the Internet took that from us. Here, have a bourbon and some Schubert, you'll feel better. ;-)

                      • #44
                        Emorrisiv

                        Well it depends where you go. All the dealers I go to have impressive vinyl systems and carry tube amps (better yet SET amps) and tube friendly speaker designs. Some may also carry home theater and solid state because they have to butter their bread.

                        This is one of the dealer rooms I got to in Hong Kong The three motor turntable is the entire rack - table with three motors on top with SUT and speed control below that and each of three power supply boxes control each of the three motors. Tube preamp, tube power amps, tube CD transport, tube dac.

                        Click image for larger version

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                        The dealers are out there in the west too you just have to hunt more for them in 2018 than you did in the 1980s.

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