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Computer Audiophile

ednaz

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About ednaz

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  1. Article: Schiit Audio Reference System Review Part 2

    Good review. The ring of truth comes in how you looked at the performance as a system. In any technology, a system isn't just the sum of its parts, it's some kind of function. I've heard really inexpensive systems - inexpensive end to end - that sounded better than some poorly thought through (or poorly matched) really expensive systems. I've experienced this "systems" issue myself. I've got a set of Gradient Revolution speakers that blows away every one who hears them. Then my Krell integrated died, and I got an Anthem integrated, similarly rated on power and other characteristics to the old Krell, to hold me over. I was SO disappointed in the sound. Flat, lifeless. Was it the Anthem integrated? I tried it with other speakers... it sounded wonderful with the other three sets of speakers I tried it with - two much cheaper than the Gradients, one significantly more expensive. I ended up moving a Peachtree integrated to the room with the Gradients. It's so much less expensive than the Krell, lower power than you'd usually match up with them, but I think it sounds way better. BTW, that Peachtree integrated was unimpressive with two other sets of speakers. I've also experienced cable differences. The GoldenEar Reference in my AV system hated my ultra-high end cables that had been in that system for a long time, but have a love fest with some middling ones. Those ultra high end got transferred to the Peachtree Gradient system, and have found a home. For some reason, they match beautifully, and raised the whole system. So the speaker differences, cable differences? If you had found all the swaps to be linear in performance based simply on price and individual component performance, I'd have been skeptical. I can't explain all of it. But I sure can hear it.
  2. Article: Readers Choice Awards 2017

    On the cost of Roon... I admit that was one issue for me - one among many initially and one now when I was listening to the free trial and thinking, damn this is good. My extremely significant other leaned hard on me about that by running me through other things we "subscribe" to... Adobe takes $20 a month out of my pocket for use of their photo editing software. I pay another imaging software vendor about $140 a year. Linked In hits me each month. Netflix takes their monthly bite, Amazon Prime their annual bite. My Roku is full of ways to hand over $10-20 a month to someone. I send money to NPR, PBS, Radio Paradise a couple times a year. Then there's the backup service for my music library, and another for my phone. When she then started to pull up the bank accounts to look at what I spend on HD downloads... I ran screaming from the room with my fingers in my ears... and bought Roon for the year, along with Tidal. If that combo cuts my HD downloads in half, it's a hell of a deal. I'm still keeping JRiver, and keeping it current. It's just so convenient for my laptop traveling (four different laptops), and it's my fall back if some day I have to choose between Roon and dog food for dinner.
  3. Article: Readers Choice Awards 2017

    I'm completely with you on that. I tried Roon twice before - once when they were brand new, once a year or so later. Underwhelmed, but more than that, annoyed by this or that weirdness in their implementation, and the sound quality... well, JRiver just trounced them. At least to my ears. I signed up for a trial again a couple weeks ago. Holy moly. The implementation is smooth and consistent. The UI is quite good, and consistent enough across devices to make it easy to use. One thing that floored me was, I saw that they did Logitech support. OK, cool, let's see. Blew me away when I wandered past my Transporter and saw the Roon logo on the LCD display. They didn't just accommodate the Logitech legacy devices, they embraced and integrated them. Those Transporters (I have two, plus one Touch) sound better than they did with the Logitech server software. And then the sound quality. I wasn't the first to weigh in. First time I fired up the system with Roon with family here, I played some music that everyone likes (tough in families with a wide age range.) EVERYONE said, wait... we've heard this before, but why does it sound so different? When I said "Different?" Every one of them said "Better." Comparing it to JRiver on multiple output devices - it's better on most, equal on one or two. It's the product of the year here... a no brainer buy. Impressed.
  4. While it's technically a streamer with a built in DAC, the Auralic Aries Mini is one heck of a buy. Punches over its weight, my opinion. Auralic says that it sounds best using their Lightning app, but I don't think there's much difference. In fact I think it sounds best as a Roon endpoint.
  5. I also enjoy my Micro iDSD BL. I bought it primarily for headphone listening, something I don't actually prefer to speakers, but since I travel a lot, it is how I do a lot of listening. It was definitely too big for daily travel use - I tried, but when you're in different cities every day, and trying to live light and small and fast, size matters. My Meridian Explorer 2 owns that duty. But if I'm going someplace and going to be there for a few days... the BL comes along. It plays wonderfully well with every earphone/headphone I have, from CIEMs to my planars. I've only recently tried it out in my speaker-based systems, and I'm very impressed. I've got a couple of other DACs at a bit over the same price point (since I have an office, a studio, then listening room, bedroom, and living/dining room...) and the only DAC that is clearly better is the one that costs 7 times as much in my listening room. However... most of those other DACs are in a streaming device of some sort, and the thought of replacing one box with two in multiple rooms... no. The new Nano BL is on my holiday gift list. If it's got anywhere near the same sound quality as the Micro BL, I just may slip it into a couple of the smaller room systems, fed by the existing streaming device.
  6. Plus 1 on the iDSD Micro Black Label. Every time I listen to it I am surprised at how good it sounds. Enough so that I dropped it into my system in my studio, which has Gradient Revolution speakers and a Krell integrated, and I'd have left it there if I didn't use it so much when I travel. More musical than the other DACs I've had in that system, including my current Aries Mini. (although then you do have to find a way to get the bits from my music server to the iDSD.) Even the two signal processing tricks - the Xbass and 3D sound, are good with headphones. I usually find that kind of digital tricks to be disappointing, even distracting, but these work. Not on every album, makes some sound worse, but I use them more often than not. I will say that both those switches stayed off when I was running it as a dac in a speakers based system. Both for headphones only.
  7. Article: Schiit Audio Reference System Review Part 1

    I'm with Mike on this topic, but maybe for a little different reason. I do have one system I call top end, although not top end like $10,000 for each component. Much better stuff than I used to have as a student oh so many years ago, much better than I had when the house was full of kids, but nothing close to what audio media would call top end. However, I also want to have great sound in the three other areas where I spend a lot of time. (Maybe I'd have those ultra-reference components if I only had one system...) I'm a fan of the Aries Mini/Schiit/CAPS reviews for exactly that reason - I want the system in my studio, for example, to be good enough that it can engage me deeply enough to keep my creativity leaping around. My bedroom system pumps me up to start the day, and slides me off to sleep at the end. My office system gets me through the day by urging me to take breaks now and then to listen deeply to some tune or another. Knowing that some of this Schiit can get me a good portion of what I have in my best system is very useful. I also get asked by friends and colleagues about upgrades to their systems, a lot, because they've heard one or more of my systems. Few are in the market for a system that costs more than a year of college for a kid... because they have one or two of those in the near future. So, I do love reading about the super duper high end reference components... but mostly as a way to benchmark the "good enough" components that I actually buy.
  8. I made that call too. They probably don't run a throttle routine. They just allocate pitifully small bandwidth to each stream. Seriously, 10 new HD Tracks albums, and it's several days before they show all of them now backed up, and that's with six hours each night of activity. They also have this "deep analysis" routine that puts everything on hold for days while it counts down "% completed". A few times I've seen it restart the entire process several times, effectively locking my backup down until it's done. Really would be interesting to have a ZFS based "buddy system" for backups. Each buy a box populated with disks, point to each other's backups, and off you go. Would probably need to do some matching of buddies by library size.
  9. They were throttled the whole time when I uploaded. Took me a couple months to get to "safe". Even now, if I buy 10 HD albums, it'll be a couple days before they're reported safe. Honestly, it's about dial up speeds. Their software also does this "deep analysis" thing, in the service of de-duplication, that can run for four or five days at my 3.5TB data level. During "deep analysis" nothing new gets backed up, and each time you add a significant amount of "new" then "deep analysis" starts over again. Punishing.
  10. BTW, I mis-typed on my earlier post - I'm on CrashPlan and not Carbon Copy. When I did my earlier search that lead to CrashPlan, they were the ONLY source that was economically attractive for my library at the time, which was 2.5TB. Now, at $120 per year, without the need for migration to another service, I'll probably stick with them on the small business plan, but use that year to figure out an alternative solution. Their backup software was fantastic. You could back up to a friend's computer... so a few of us on here could have set up a mutual backup service. In their new plan, that capability is gone. It's their cloud or nothing.
  11. I'm using Carbon Copy for my 4TB music library. Runs nicely in the background, appropriately alerts when things go wrong. Weaknesses: took me two months to get backed up to them with my library size of the time (2.1TB) because for whatever bizarre reason, they throttle incoming backup. They also make a big deal out of their "restore acceleration" which is to ship you a 1TB disk of the initial 1TB... yeah, that first TB will really accelerate things... Ended up staying with them because I couldn't find a cloud backup service near the price and ease of use. There's also a significant amount of gravity from any backup service because of the slow speed of the initial image. Once you're on, the operational cost of switching is heinous. I did realize I could probably buy a cloud URL and set up my own backup servers at roughly the same price, even a cloud web host, but the backup software (which does de-dupe, compression, etc) does have value. I'd rather listen to music than code backup scripts. All that said... I have four online backups, and three offline. Don't trust, constantly verify. I'm a couple days of thinking away from building my own zfs cloud backup. one at home, with a backup to a couple disks that live off site at my wife's law offices. Haven't found a cloud where I could run zfs with scripts for backup. That's my fantasy... minus having to code the scripts.
  12. I had a connecting flight in Houston last Thursday. Wandered over to get breakfast at the new restaurants where you order on iPads and then your food is brought out, and while I was waiting I thought, wow, that music sounds pretty decent for being played in a cavernous airport terminal on airport terminal speakers... Looked up and I saw several of these Devialets mounted up 15 to 20 feet or so on the scaffold-like structure over the middle-of-the-terminal restaurants. It was no doubt Devialets, unless someone else is producing a speaker of the same size, profile, and round and moon shaped fronts. I'm sure that they were picked by the designer because of how they looked - fit right in with the overall design. I think there were four, two pointing in each direction, and the pairs weren't arranged like they were being used as stereo pairs. I just went searching all over the web to see if I could find a picture to share here but no luck. If you're passing through Houston, Terminal E - when you get to the string of restaurants with iPads for service, look up.
  13. If you're NOT on the beta firmware, get on it. I've seen a few different problems get cured by the beta firmware. But most important, do contact Aries support. They're pretty good.
  14. You may want to check the DBPoweramp forum for more details, but... having done the mass ripping thing, and still buying a CD here and there, here's what I can tell you. When DBP reads the CD and shows you what it knows based on what's on the CD and looking in the remote data sites, THAT is when you need to act. Edit the metadata at the top right then, and make sure it's going to be applied to all the files. Check out the instructions for the app to make sure you get exactly how to do it. (Not near my library right now.) If you get all the metadata, particularly the "Album Artist", which should be Various or "Various Artists" or whatever you're choosing, the rip process will put them all in a folder tagged properly. You can fix almost anything in a good library manager by editing the metadata so that all songs agree. Besides the problems with compilations, sometimes one song will get genre tag "blues" with all the rest in "rock" or something equally annoying. But fixing it before you rip means you don't find problems later on. A couple tips on that. I don't rip straight into my library. I rip to a temporary library, so that I can check to be sure that compilations and such were done properly. Sometimes even an album that isn't a compilation will get broken up because "album artist" for one file is different, usually because there's a guest artist. Or genre tags vary by song. Once I'm done ripping, I then copy the files to my library, which means I can make sure things land in the right place. Example: some rips will go to a file "Various" some to "Various Artists" some to "Compilation." After ripping, you can fix that in the folder name, and make sure things are copied to the right place. I've had rips where the artist's name was spelled wrong, so I fixed it at rip time or once I noticed it, after. I can't speak to anything that might be special about how Lightning DS then behaves. I've tried multiple library and playback managers, and settled on JRiver because every library manager seems to handle some thing or another differently. The old Logitech library and playback manager almost NEVER broke up a compilation unless it was broken when it went into the library. I've seen iTunes break them even when right, ditto for Lightning DS back when I was still using it. I've always favored learning one tool deeply over many tools, and JRiver works with every streamer in my house, even the ancient Logitech boxes in guest bedrooms.
  15. Nice to hear. The issues apparently were issues with the linux build they were using underneath.
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