• Bits & Bytes

    by Published on 08-11-2015 01:51 PM
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    Anyone who reads Computer Audiophile likely knows I'm a humongous Pearl Jam fan. I've been known to mention the band or its music in my writings on occasion. It also goes without saying that I'm an equally fanatic audiophile. I care dearly about sound quality. Therein lies the conundrum if you believe that the quality of music is inversely proportional to the quality of the recording. For example, there are countless audiophile recordings of bells, cellos, drums, vocals, violins, etcÖ that sound spectacular, but you couldn't pay me to listen to them because they don't contain music. Too often great recordings contain sounds without "real" music or emotion. On the other hand, like most Rock bands, Pearl Jam isn't well known for releasing audiophile standards. Much of PJ's music is best heard live with thousands of people singing along and watching the band put on a spectacular show. PJ's albums certainly aren't low-fi, but you'll rarely hear them at a HiFi show or read a product review where the writer used a PJ track for evaluating a component's sonic performance. OK call me a weirdo, but I've often dreamt of ways to connect Grammy winning recording engineer Bill Schnee with the guys from Pearl Jam. I would pay $1,000 for a PJ album recorded live to two-track at 24 bit / 192 kHz like Bill's Bravura Records recordings. I've thought of starting a petition, tweeting, emailing, etcÖ in an effort to persuade Pearl Jam to create such an audio gem, but I always stop short of clicking the send button. Where am I going with this? To paraphrase the infamously quotable Donald Rumsfeld, you listen to the music you have, not the music you might want or wish to have at a later time. With this in mind, I've created my PJ4CA playlist containing thirty of my favorite sounding Pearl Jam tracks with five honorable mentions. These tracks aren't the most popular, but I believe they have the best balance of music and sound quality. I love being exposed to new music, especially music that sounds good. I hope you enjoy the following tracks and maybe, just maybe get on the Pearl Jam bandwagon (if you aren't already) :~) ...
    by Published on 07-15-2015 01:18 PM
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    Here we go again, Uncle Neil is grabbing headlines talking about sound quality. This time Neil is pulling his music from streaming services because, "I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music."


    For the most part I like when Neil talks to the masses about sound quality. This time he's rubbing me the wrong way. I'm calling BS on this move being about sound quality. Never mind the fact that Neil's music is still available on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, and Tidal, I'm assuming he will pull everything from streaming services as his statement says. In my view this has nothing to do with sound quality. ...
    by Published on 07-09-2015 12:46 PM
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    I must start by saying that I'm a diehard card-carrying audiophile. I've loved great sounding music for as long as I can remember. I've had some form of "high end" audio system for almost as long. Sure, the equipment can be a marvel of engineering and very aesthetically pleasing, but nether trait equates to anything without enjoyable music. Thus, the reason I'm talking about the much hated MP3. I've loved great music, with or without great sound, forever. MP3 is a lossy codec that's "responsible" for removing much of the music from the music. However, when it comes to enjoying music, I'd rather listen to Pearl Jam on an AM radio than listen to some audiophile classics pristinely recorded and mastered at the highest sample rate and word length. This brings me to a well known, yet somehow unknown, MP3 "album" that's available for free. Yes, free as in beer. ...
    by Published on 07-02-2015 01:44 PM
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    Hi Guys, just a quick update from my travels this week. Iím currently flying over northern California on my way home to Minneapolis. Iíve been in the Bay Area for four days working on a couple music servers. My task was to install Windows Server 2012 R2 and Audiophile Optimizer to squeeze every ounce of sound quality from a computer. The end result surprised me very much. I had some reservations about the install and the efficacy of going to such great lengths tweaking a PC. I figured the sound would improve, but I didnít figure it would improve by so much. This week I heard the best digital playback Iíve ever heard. Period.


    Iím not at liberty to divulge the entire hardware formula used this week, but I will talk about the software and the final outcome. What I found was similar to what many computer audiophiles have been saying for quit a while, the combination of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Audiophile Optimizer is fantastic.



    I started the project by getting a copy of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 and downloading Audiophile Optimizer. I prepared the hardware with a new SSD for the operating system and a couple 1TB SSDs for music storage. Installing 2012 R2 was pretty simple and nearly identical to installing any new Windows OS. On the other hand, installing and configuring Audiophile Optimizer is a different story. This software isnít for those who canít or wonít read the 52 page setup guide. Fortunately the setup guide is thorough and provides enough information for users to at least get their systems up and running.
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    by Published on 06-13-2015 10:54 PM
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    Invariably, whenever I meet fellow computer audiophiles at audio shows or dealer events we always ask each other what the other is using. Depending on the context and location, asking someone what they are using might have illegal undertones or lead to a nice conversation about audio systems. I enjoy hearing what everyone is using for both hardware and software. For the most part people seem to have a good grasp of the hardware options available. When the conversation turns to software I am usually a little surprised by how many people have never heard of some very popular applications. It's like some people selected iTunes or MediaMonkey back in 2007 and have never wondered or cared about anything else available. There's nothing wrong with that approach and it's an approach I often suggest for hardware. If one is happy with his system, there is no need to make a change. Software just seems different though. Maybe it's the comparatively low price or rate of change and feature enhancements that leads me to think people should frequently snoop around for ways to enhance their listening experience through software.

    On the other hand, I run into many computer audiophiles who either own or have tried more applications than I knew were available. That's the fun part for me, learning what people are doing and picking up a link to a new application. What follows is my attempt to introduce you to a new application ...
    by Published on 04-03-2015 09:44 AM
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    The first ever Computer Audiophile get together has been scheduled! Thanks to CA member petaluma for getting the ball rolling and keeping track of who can attend the event. There have been a few ideas thrown around since we first starting talking about such an event and I now have the firm details. The event will be very informal, without any presentations. Just a bunch of like-minded people getting together for an afternoon. I look forward to seeing everyone there! ...
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