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Computer Audiophile


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About ednaz

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Nice to hear. The issues apparently were issues with the linux build they were using underneath.
  10. JRiver is cheap and as easy to use as iTunes. A decade or more of development and debugging across multiple platforms. Roon is expensive, and I didn't find it terribly engaging. JRiver is about streaming to any target, not about a proprietary platform.
  11. I just remembered that when Stereophile tested the Altair, they had all kinds of network issues at setup. When they abandoned using Lightning DS and made it a Roon endpoint, everything was sunny and calm. Another person commented the same thing on the review, and went to using the Altair as an endpoint. Those pieces of info, plus my familiarity and happiness with using JRiver and JRemote for a few years (and fewer things to learn means more listening to music) led me to similarly abandon Lightning DS. If you can try it as just an endpoint, not using Lightning DS, may be something there. Also - I can see the Mini on my home network as a network attached device. When I attached a USB hard drive to it, I could see the directories. I was also able to move files from my main server to the hard drive. If you can't find your network gremlins, that might be another approach. The tech guy at Auralic said he prefers how the Mini sounds when playing music from a USB hard drive, which is why I have done some experiments. Worth trying to solve. I think the mini punches way above its weight in performance. It's not as good as my Exasound DAC... but I could buy six Minis for the same price. (and if you don't have the linear power supply option, put that on your holiday gift list. I did A/B between the linear supply and the regular one, figuring I'd sent the linear back for refund if it didn't matter. It really does matter.)
  12. Lion Tamer - get in touch with Aries support. I'm assuming you're in the US, and the guy who I've dealt with there is really good at problem solving, and very nice. I had a number of problems with my mini, a couple of which have resulted in new firmware updates. (the problem I was having was that the mini would lose its connection if it wasn't used every day, and i'd have to take it all the way back to a factory reset. that's been fixed in recent firmware. also had problems with it playing nice with my remote library which is running on a windows server, which now works fine with DLNA. I now use the mini just as a UPnP endpoint - I wasn't much in love with the Lightning software interface.) I'm running mine on the 5ghz channels in my home, and pretty far away so the signal strength isn't awesome, but I'm not having dropouts or anything like that playing 24/192 and DSD up to 2x. (I don't own any DSD over that.) I think I've even listened to 32/384 on WIFI. First thing I'd try is to update firmware. On both the Mini, and your router. I also have a relatively modern Netgear wireless router, and suffered through some miserable problems until the third firmware upgrade. Next, go in your wireless router and work with the priorities or quota settings, telling the router to prioritize music and video. also suggest turning off dynamic QoS. It's a lovely idea but in my experience doesn't work so well. Caused problems for me with video streaming, and with wireless music streaming to other endpoints before I got the mini. Not every device tolerates getting moved from one channel to another, or to being throttled up and down. I also chose to use a fixed IP address more out of an abundance of caution than anything else. But, get to Aries tech support - there's a "submit a request" form you can use.
  13. Article: Notes From a Disconnected Axpona

    Very good piece. I have to say I avoid shows like that completely (since I'm not in the biz, it's no real loss) because after going to a few, I had a very similar reaction. Wait - does your system only sound good playing THAT? Wait - does EVERYONE's system only sound good playing THAT? Feels a lot like I remember when stereo first took off in the consumer world, and everyone was buying records that had stuff panned wildly left and right and back and forth, with 101 Strings and Mantovani. Look, the sound can come from more than one place! Not, listen, isn't that the sound of angels singing? And then the pontificators who seemed to be waiting for me in many rooms drove the final stake through the heart of joy. Most didn't like when I said "no, shh, just music please." And then they'd play the same chopped up mix-tape that everyone else had. Take THAT! Maybe it would have been different if I didn't keep my focus on rooms that were within my target budget at the time. Maybe the people in high end rooms didn't need carefully selected anodyne music to make their systems sound good, and knew that the sound of music would sell their stuff better than their words. Much respect to those who are able to endure all that so that I don't have to.
  14. Very curious after reading the counts above, since I'm a chronic arithmatic... Just looked at counts in my library. There's rounding up, and oddly very little rounding down... DR 1-7 13% DR 8-10 29% DR 11-13 41% DR 14-18 17% DR 19+ .5% Or - DR 13-Up 30% FWIW, I used the DR rating assigned by JRiver, since when I've checked specific albums, it has matched what I've seen in the DR Database. I was surprised to see what was in the rarified DR of 19+, and found I had a number of cuts that were higher than 20, some nearing 30. Almost all of them were percussion ensemble stuff, although I've got some studio masters (from friends' recording sessions) that are up there, because they'd not yet been finally engineered (and DR compressed) to send off to be burned to CD. One album was all 20 and over, and it was a percussion ensemble performing just with hand claps and wood blocks and sticks. I can tell you that when I listen to some of those albums, I find I'm continually fiddling the volume, because practically there is no volume setting that lets you hear the whole thing - you'll be happily listening and then suddenly someone slugs every percussion instrument they can get their hands on, or suddenly it's so soft you're not sure if the cut is over. I guess there is such a thing as too much DR for "normal listening." A few gross generalizations. Sleater-Kinney, Alabama Shakes, and a number of other very different types of music, like Pentatonix and Ben Folds 5, are all in the bottom DR sector. Almost all the jazz is between 8 and 15. Almost all the classical is 10 and up. In categories like bluegrass, world music, or alternative, it's all over the place. I'm going to submit a few of the crazy outliers to the database. They didn't have any of the percussion ensemble stuff.
  15. I wasn't aware of what DR on old masters would be like, but that explains a lot about the re-releases coming out of Blue Note. I know some musicians who recorded in Rudy Van Gelder's place and the stories of his insane pursuit for the perfect capture are funny. But, stuff he recorded in the 60s comes out cleaned up, sometimes remixed or re-mastered, and it's some of the best sounding HD out there. Says volumes about whether he figured out the perfect capture. I've got some LPs of those original 1960s releases and they don't sound as good. All of them are in the DR 10-15 range. And with spooky realism. If there's any conversation on a track, my dogs leap out of a sound sleep trying to find the intruder in the house. Which scares the crap out of people. I've even had some things recorded in the 1950s that after the re-master and re-release come out sounding deeper, more engaging, more real, than a fair amount of what's being recorded today. I wonder if there's some DR expansion going on...