High End Audiophile thread

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by ROBSCIX, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Hey guys, this thread is meant for discussion on the higher end of audio and PC audio. We are talking about high end DAC's cables, amps, theory..etc.

    So, feel free to discuss high end audio here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  2. N0sferatU

    N0sferatU Ancient Guru

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    first!!!

    Love my "high end gear" :stewpid:

    The headphones and my bass maker :nerd:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  3. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    I been enjoying my Audio Technica A900X plugged into my Audio-GD NFB 12.0 Rev 2 for a while now. I been using The Filter setting 8X oversampling , Minimum phase apodising, Which sounds nice to my ears. Don't mind my key chain that's in the corner.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  4. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Cool, finally I can ask this...

    I have been discussing with my brother why we found that FLAC rips didnt sound 'quite' as clear as CDs on his system.
    (Oppo 105 BD/SACD player playing CDs vs USB hard drive FLAC files, Denon POA 6600 monoblocks, custom speaker build based on Mission 765 speakers, 12" woofers and Ribbon tweeters, with new home made silver interconnects which allowed us to notice the difference)

    Its harder for me to test as I dont have a top quality CD player+DAC with a USB hard drive input. I may test FLAC vs WAV later though.
    I have found other people online have experienced similar as we did on his system and FLAC vs WAV may be a worthwhile comparison.

    The difference is very small, nearly everyone wouldnt care, but it adds an extra level of delight to the experience by giving a little more quiet detail on some high freq sounds.
    It needs a very quiet room though.
    My room isnt conducive to this as my PC makes low level air noise, my brothers room is silent.

    Please dont let this derail the thread, its bound to be contentious.
    But if anyone else has noticed it would be nice to know.

    It wasnt placebo, we tested it a LOT on different disks (some dont expose a difference) and came to the conclusion its a real difference after we both agreed on each test.

    Hope I dont get flac over this :D
     

  5. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    IIRC, a CD is not a WAV, it is a *.CDA file. FLAC and *.Wav are bit for bit exact. If you are hearing differences, I would say they either have to do with decoding,timing or other outside forces.
    Again, Wav and Flac are 1:1 exact, that has been proven time and again, provided the are of the same source.

    Try Jplay, it is a high end player that loads files to memory before playing, such players are said to offer a bit more over standard players but YMMV.

    You didn't mention what he was using for a DAC when using the USB disk based Flac. Might be down to the DAC differences...unless I am misunderstanding the setup.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  6. Nato.dbnz

    Nato.dbnz Ancient Guru

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    I wish I had a high-end CD player to test that theory. I have definitely heard the idea bounced around on a different forum. I personally do 99% of my listening from FLAC via JRiver Media Centre 18. I wouldn't change that for the sake of a marginal difference as the ease of making playlists, controlling via android device etc is just too great, but would still like to see some evidence one way or the other as to whether this is the case and why it might be.

    My gut feeling is that it would be far too system dependent to make a blanket conclusion on the matter.
     
  7. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    There is NO difference in the media files, decoding aside they are identical so the differences are elsewhere.
    Tracking down and improving on those small differences only we hear in our system is part of this hobby is it not?
     
  8. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I am under no illusion that FLAC, CDs and WAV present the same "data" to the DAC.
    This may be related to the clock signal, I cant think of much else atm.

    He is using the Oppo players USB input to read FLAC files from a USB hard drive, the same player to play the CDs.
    I agree the data is identical, but something during the decoding of FLAC is making the difference because there is one.
    It does sound like a jitter related issue, I've seen similar loss in high freq response/detail when using different cables for digital to my DAC, although not at this level (his kit pulls out the most incredible detail that I had never heard before).

    Perhaps the clock signal isnt as clean when processing FLAC due to extra EM interference from the local processing??
    Or perhaps due to fluctuations on the power supply to the clock, from the extra processing, or a mix of those?

    Others have reported the same issue on other hardware, I can find links for you if you like?

    I've asked my brother to try WAV files.

    Btw, its not like a major or even a slight issue on the quality of the player, it is exemplary.
    Its just a tiny difference, but it adds an extra level of delight and we are interested to find why it happens.
     
  9. Chess

    Chess Master Guru

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    A relative of mine presented me with a question which left me with my foot in my mouth: Whats is the advantage or disadvantage of FLAC over WAV?
    The guy studies digital audio tech or something so he's really curious.

    OT: Asus Essence STX - LittleDot MKII - Beyerdynamic DT990... Can I play? :)
    Would love to make that a Asus Essence One - Beyer DT990 though.
     
  10. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    That's and easy one: Flac offers higher compressions giving much smaller files. Wav is much larger for the exact same data.

    Most I know that archive lossless audio, store it in Flac.
    Flac and Wav are 1:1 bit identical when compared.

    Hope that helps.
     

  11. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Could be a few things in such a system, the USB quality, jitter of many types...etc
    Clocking signal could be sloppy in that part of the circuit, it is hard to say without getting under the hood of the player with a scope and tracking down the issue.
    I think when you get to a certain level in audio, it is nothing but finding and eliminating or experimenting with those small differences.
     
  12. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    The disk over hdd vs memory is debate and will never end.
    OK,
    Have any of you tried these so called "audiophile" software players?

    I have been experiementing and talking with a few authors and found some interesting results.
    Many of them will pull the files off the disk and load to ram first, for various reasons.
    Many swear by these players, Im testing one right now and I like what I hear....alot!
    I am testing Jplay, it is a demo/paid app that you canload into Foobar and it sounds really good. If you decide to give it a try let me know what you think.
    Also, if any of you are using other types of these players, post some info and your results.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  13. Vandrende Pind

    Vandrende Pind Maha Guru

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    Yep, I've used jplay for foobar until the trial ran out. I'm not proud to admit it, but I thought it sounded better than normal foobar.
     
  14. RagDoll_Effect

    RagDoll_Effect Ancient Guru

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    Well, this is my high end player and my mid end Receiver, multi channel Analogue :) Now, the high end player can play DVD Audio and Super Audio CD's. I also find that playing a bought from a Store CD, sounds extremely good :) I've made my own DVD audio discs through images and HD Audio Solo program. They are 24 bit 96khz 5.1 channel and I can hear the difference in quality, however playing a standard CD is still very good on this machine. I'm yet to play a real SACD, so I'm waiting for that.

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    regards,
    RagDoll.
     
  15. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Yeah, it loads as a service, output plugin. From what I have heard it sounds pretty good also.
     

  16. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I'm just reading a review of JPlay and the authors comments fit very well with the experience we had.
    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/jplay/1.html
    Apart from using Kernel streaming, it apparently has a few selectable methods of using system ram and they also affect what you hear!

    Also on page 4:
    I suspect it reduces similar issues to those we experienced, but if true, I cant see how a PC can ever be as good as an EM noise controlled, top notch player with a stable clock.
    Unless the dataflow and clock can be fully stabilised well away from the PC.

    I'll be trying this, thanks for the headsup!
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  17. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Post your impressions. I am checking it out right now.
     
  18. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I've tested 1 track so far, Madonnas The Immaculate Collection, Rescue Me.
    This is a QSound recording to give it a 3D effect.

    (remember to disable any EQ when comparing to your favourite player, this doesnt have any)
    Both players set to -18dB from full volume.

    At the start of the song the thunderstorm and rain fill all the area in front of me, reaching up to the distance of my head on the right.
    This sounds great with Foobar + WASAPI, but everything is just that bit clearer and the 3D immersion is greater using JPlay.
    The rain especially is a lot clearer.

    Havent tried anything else yet, but this is a pure win!

    Forgot to say, this is using Jplaymini


    Setting Buffersize to Directlink (press b 9 times), removes another layer of transparency, even more 3D!
    The difference here is about the same as that comparing CD vs FLAC on my brothers system.

    Man, this player is amazing.
    But, if you run a firewall/HIPS that asks permission to do things, dont use hibernate mode before giving permissions otherwise it will lock your machine up.

    Xtream Engine hangs the player on my system.
    I have to stop and restart the JPlay service to get it working again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  19. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    I use it with Foobar.
    So far I am very impressed.
     
  20. Nato.dbnz

    Nato.dbnz Ancient Guru

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    I've used a couple of players that use this feature. Channel-D Puremusic which runs on top of iTunes library on a MAC. Sound quality was a very obvious upgrade from iTunes.

    I currently use JRiver MC18 on my media box which is also a very audiophile focussed program. It offers play from RAM however I have tested and it doesn't make any difference to me, however I should note my music library is stored on SSD in my music box.

    I think JRiver is a well worthwhile investment, I use it for my music and movies and it's all controlled through my phone. Very handy, and it sounds great.
     

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