• Bits & Bytes

    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! ...
    by Published on 03-30-2015 11:39 AM
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    Nothing compares to celebrity when it comes to getting the word out and garnering support for a product. Since Jay Z's company recently agreed to purchase TIDAL, the service has gone from being well known in HiFi circles to being pushed by artists like Kanye West, Madonna, Coldplay, Rhianna, Beyonce, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk and more. It's really cool to see a product that many of us love for streaming lossless audio quality, be sprung into the mainstream. In a way it feels like our "HiFi baby" is leaving the nest. Tonight at 5PM Eastern Jay Z will stream a live press conference about the re-launch of TIDAL. It's expected TIDAL will announce some exclusives from artists like Kanye West and a second tier of service. TIDAL HIFI will remain lossless at $20 per month if purchased through the TIDAL website or $26 per month if purchased through the TIDAL iOS app (increased price because Apple takes a 30% cut of the sales price). The second tier of service is called TIDAL PREMIUM. This tier will stream 320 kbps MP3 quality and retail for $10 direct or $13 through the iOS App Store. I confirmed both the streaming quality and pricing with TIDAL headquarters in Oslo, Norway this morning.

    Click over to Twitter to follow the #TIDALforALL action all day and look below to watch the live press conference tonight at 5PM Eastern. ...
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