• HRx Is Here!

     
    Hey everyone, just a quick note to let you all know reference Recordings has officially released three HRx recordings! These are 24 bit / 176.4 KHz albums that must be heard to be appreciated. Read more for additional details.

     

    from referencerecordings.com

    "HRx DVD-R data discs contain exact, digit-for-digit copies of the original Reference Recordings 176.4 kHz / 24-bit digital masters. This is the ultimate in fidelity for two-channel sound: TRUE high-resolution audio, ready to load from DVD-R data discs onto your computer music server!"

    There is some good information on the RR site about the format, but I have a feeling Computer Audiophile is going to be very helpful for everyone looking to play this content back on their music server. The last sentence of the RR FAQs says, "We recommend consulting a computer music specialist to set up a system to play back HRx." Well, that's what CA is here for and we'll help insure everyone is getting the most out of these recordings as possible. There are some current products available to enable 24/176 playback and there is at least one product coming out soon that should be fabulous. Stick around I hope to have some review samples in my hands shortly.

    Link to HRx page


    Reference Recordings HRx
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey jxo - Great question. I've been talking with the people at RR about this same question. It is not so much a software "player" choice as it is hardware. XP and OS X are fully capable of playing up to 24/192. The RR guys like XP and the Lynx AES16 card which they played at CES this year. I prefer OS X by a long shot and to get 24/176 out of a Mac right now can be a little tricky. One easy way is to use iTunes and a FireFace 400 to convert the signal from fireWire to coax and into the DAC of your choice. the Mac optical port is supposed to support up to 24/192 but so far nobody I know of has been able to output this high of resolution from it. <br />
      <br />
      So, l I guess what I am saying is that when the right hardware is connected XP and OS X will play the HRx files back perfect. RR suggests Media Monkey on XP. I suggest iTunes or Play on OS X.
    1. jxo's Avatar
      jxo -
      Chris: great site and great work; I have been fooling with these DIY music servers for quite a while and I really appreciate the information. I am stuck with XP at the moment. I like the layout of iTunes. Unfortunately, this does not make for compatibility with Music Giant Hi Rez downloads (am stuck with WMP to play those). In fact, I don't believe I have any hi rez files playing on iTunes. I have my Linn downloads playing on WMP as well. FWIW, I spent weeks trying to figure out why I couldn't get MG files to play; turns out it was the spdif output (the mobo output was not passing the high rez digital signal) and I needed a 24/96 soundcard. so it looks like yet another player, media monkey, and another sound card. ... the price of innovation.<br />
      <br />
      is there a clear preference between XP and Vista for bit perfect playback? I am still fuzzy on the Kmixer nasties.<br />
      <br />
      Keep up the good work.<br />
      <br />
      Jim
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Jim - Ah yes, the price of innovation!<br />
      <br />
      There are so many opinions about XP v. Vista for audio playback that I won't even go down that path. Some "experts" say Vista is much better without the KMixer, but others say XP is the only way to go and Vista is a nonstarter.<br />
      <br />
      This is among several reasons I use a Mac :-)<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for the post. Keep us updated on your music server situation.
    1. ALX's Avatar
      ALX -
      Hello<br />
      <br />
      I am a new subscriber to your forum because I also asked myself this question: how to play back the reference recordings at 24/192.<br />
      <br />
      While I was at th High End in Munich I stumbled upon the Weiss Minerva firewire D/A converter. They claim that it can convert audio data up to 24/192 either via firewire or via SP/DIF AES/EBU. Windows and Mac OS X compatible.<br />
      <br />
      Has anyone of you tried this product?<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      Many greetings, <br />
      Alex
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Alex - It's interesting that you ask. I actually have a Minerva on its way to me via UPS. It should be arriving tomorrow and I will start listening to it immediately.<br />
      <br />
      This product could be fabulous!
    1. VincentH's Avatar
      VincentH -
      Hi Chris, done any listening to the Minerva yet?<br />
      <br />
      I'm interested in the Minerva, the specs look really great. I'd like to explore high-res music and want to buy a future-proof DAC, this might just be it.<br />
      <br />
      I'm really interested in how it sounds compared to e.g. the WaveLength DACs. Since Weiss is based in Europe, it will be more feasible for me to audition it, and to get support should I ever need that.<br />
      <br />
      In theory high-res on such a device should deliver more detail and extended highs (amongst others)... which is what I'm after.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey Vincent - The Minerva arrived on time but I had some issues with powering it up so it had to go back to Weiss. We'll get it straightened out shortly and I'll let you know how it performs.
    1. audiozorro's Avatar
      audiozorro -
      Some of you guys are starting to scare me. What do you mean "to get 24/176 out of a Mac right now can be a little tricky" or "that the Mac optical port is supposed to support up to 24/192 but so far nobody I know of has been able to output this high of resolution from it"? One of my music servers is a Macbook Pro connected to a Benchmark USB DAC1 via a Monster toslink cable. The Reference Recordings HRx Crown Imperial 24/176 WAV files play perfectly using either the Cog or Play software. Are you saying I am not outputting 24/176, that the Mac is downsampling and outputting some lower resolution and if so, how best can I verify what resolution is coming out of my Mac toslink jack?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi audiozorro - I hate to tell you, but I am 99.9999% positive your only outputting 24/96 through your Mac optical port. To check this go into Audio Midi Setup and check what resolution your built in Output is set at. Apple says it should go to 24/192, but as I said before I've never seen anyone do this. Nobody seems to have any answers when it comes to this optical port. Let me know what you find.
    1. audiozorro's Avatar
      audiozorro -
      Chris, you are correct. My Mac optical port is only outputting 24/96, which I believe is the same as the USB output. I obviously need to do more research on the best ways to play back 24/176 or 24/192 files since I am assuming any upsampling or downsampling in the computer is bad. I tried one of my lesser DACs, a T.C. Electronic Konnekt 8, to connect to my Macbook Pro via firewire. I was able to set the resolution to 176.4 KHz to play the HRx WAV file without changing the sampling rate, however the only option was 3 ch - 32 bit (whatever that means, while I was looking for a 2 ch - 24 bit setting). It was revealing just how much better this sounded rather than setting the Konnekt 8 to 24/44.1 or 24/96. This makes me wonder about many things but I am disappointed that the Mac toslink output does not go as high as 24/192 and the Mac does not have an option that would automatically adjust the audio output settings to the source resolution.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey audiozorro - I hear you loud and clear about the lack of an auto adjust feature when playing back different resolutions. Since I ripped my DVD-Audio discs and added the HRx albums I have 16/44.1, 24/88.2, 24/96, 24/176.4, and 24/192 files in my library. In addition to the lack of an auto resolution feature what makes this worse is that iTunes is stuck on whatever resolution is set at the time the app starts. So, whatever changes you make after iTunes has been opened will not take effect until it is closed and reopened. For me this is a huge hassle. closing iTunes, setting a new resolution for a different album and reopening iTunes is a major pain. I am totally willing to live with it until something better comes along though.<br />
      <br />
      Mac toslink is a huge downer right now because of the whole 24/96 maximum resolution despite direct words from Apple saying 24/192 is possible. I'm still looking into this one.<br />
      <br />
      By the way, I've been listening to the Weiss Engineering Minerva DAC with the HRx albums and the sound is so wonderful. The Minerva fully supports 24/176.4 so I can play back all three HRx albums in their native resolution. Wow, what a treat!
    1. Panel Man's Avatar
      Panel Man -
      you getting 24/176.4 out of your Mac to send it to the Minerva DAC? I thought in order to play the HRX disc at their recorded resolution you would need to send then data to the DAC at the recorded resolution to get the bit perfect reproduction. I'm missing something here but not sure what. If Audio Midi doesn't allow you to send the HRX info at 24/176.4 are you not losing some resolution? Thanks for explaining.<br />
      <br />
      Sean
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Sean - Audio Midi doesn't allow the built-in optical to go over 24/96. I am using the Minerva's FireWire connection which allows up to 192 kHz. Audio Midi allows you to select this and there is a Weiss application that comes with the DAC that allows configuration as well.
    1. Panel Man's Avatar
      Panel Man -
      <br />
      for explaining. So am I correct that by using the Minerva Audio Mini uses DAC to set the bit and resolution? Is there a limit to the resolution available through USB ? I have the Benchmark DAC 1 Pre so wondering if that will allow me to play the HRX file through the USB. This may be moot as the Benchmark resamples to 110kz. I know you have used the Benchmark before so like to hear your experience, like to hear the Minerva also if possible. We are both in Mpls, so if you are open to that please let me know.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks<br />
      Sean<br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Audio Midi Setup is where you set the resolution of the audio stream that will leave your computer and enter the DAC. Since the Minerva supports 176.4 and 192 etc... this option is available in Audio Midi. <br />
      <br />
      Right now the limit through USB is 24/96.<br />
      <br />
      You can play the HRx stuff through your DAC1 Pre, but you won't get the full resolution via USB.<br />
      <br />
      In my full review of the Minerva I will compare it to the other DAC I've listened to, which should provide some info for those looking for a comparison.
    1. jambro's Avatar
      jambro -
      Hi:<br />
      <br />
      I am a new subscriber trying to play HRx files with a Lynx AES16 card and an Elgar Plus dac. I am using Media Monkey on a Dell XP as recommended by RR. The Lynx will not sync with the Elgar using all possible clocking configurations. A few seconds of music is consistently interrupted by digital hash. The music may occasionally return for a few seconds at a time. Lynx says it a problem with dCS and visa versa. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance for your help. <br />
      <br />
      Jambro<br />