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About ednaz

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Nice to hear. The issues apparently were issues with the linux build they were using underneath.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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...
  11. I think that this is actually what keeps the compression bias going. On ear buds, you really don't have a great speaker, a great seal, so anything other than top of loudness sounds like a drop out. When I'm traveling, the majority of what I see are $6 ear buds being used for listening to music. Just like how DR compression really got its legs - anticipating bad listening conditions. If I'm remembering this right, DR compression really got going when AM radio was the primary means of "streaming." Songs were checked on crappy little AM radio speakers in the mixing process to make sure you'd hear the song over the wind and car noises and sounded OK through the crackly 5 inch speaker. Listen to a Phil Spector production. Motown had a reputation of putting everything up at 10. But I've seen a lot of data showing the problem has gotten much, much worse since the 1980s. Maybe it is the rise of $6 earbuds. Radio stations often used compression to try to sound "more exciting" on peoples' radios, either by requesting records with more compression, or adding it themselves. Compression on top of compression. Some also stations used to tweak the speeds of their turntables to be a tiny bit faster, which made music sound "brighter" and more exciting to listeners and made other stations sound sluggish. I used to have a tape I'd play for people of the same song from three stations (from FM, where many stations did the same thing) and then recorded off of my carefully calibrated turntable. The most extreme station was a full pitch higher than the album. Between compression and speed tweaking, you were listening to the radio station marketing guy's idea of a song, not the musicians' intent. I can mostly tolerate the low DR stuff on speakers as background or turned up loud for an energy boost, but can't listen to that stuff at all on good headphones or CIEMs. It's like being assaulted.
  12. Excellent article. Now I understand many of the individual demons that sometimes all make it onto a single album. After the earlier dynamic range piece, I was curious and looked at my replay history, and then checked out the DR of albums and cuts I seem to listen to a lot. In jazz, bluegrass, country, alternative rock, not a single album was average DR below 12. A few got into the 16 range. I also checked out a couple albums that I bought because I really like the music, but hardly listen to - like the Alabama Shakes. DR as low as 3, averaging around 6. Hm. I love loud music. I don't love it compressed. Out of curiosity I decided to check out an album that I expected to find down around 6 or worse - MC5 Kick out the Jams. That song was a 9 according to JRiver on my system (I think my CD is a German rip off of the US album), on vinyl a 10 according to the DR database, but other songs on that album (whose sound quality is, um, not great, but it accurately reflects what an MC5 concert sounded like) they had a couple DR 11 cuts. Their studio albums came in averaging 12 or better (on the versions I have.) That, from a band that prided itself on sheer relentlessly crushing volume. Proving I think the initial statement: If there's no quiet, there's no loud.
  13. I've now "blacklisted" most pop and rock music, in terms of buying HD versions of the albums. I saw so many DR5 and lower, and didn't know how to tell before buying (grateful for the link to the database...) The last straw was an Alabama Shakes album. JRiver said DR of 5 but it sounded much, much worse than that. I experimented a bit with different files ranging from 24/96 down to MP3 at 320k and found that if the DR is really low, the album sounds no better in high res than it does in a compressed format. The better the DR, the more there is in the high res version. Not sure I'd attribute it all to the DR, I think that albums with a wider DR also show many other signs of concern about musicality and engagement - a sound engineer that cares about DR cares about a lot of things. Now, I buy pop and rock the cheapest way possible. If it sounds better than the average iTunes file, I may re-buy in HD once I know how frequently I listen - I have heard enough comparisons now to be able to tell what is likely to be worth the extra $ for high res.
  14. I lived through almost two years (oh my, maybe more) of online forum blather and gazillions of alternative tests when the big digital camera companies came up with lossless compression. What's different here is that it's not just "is it lossless" (OMG, you can't believe the insane things people did to test for that... most of which illustrated the proponent's lack of understanding of digital imaging) but MQA is claiming "and even better." So far, I'm OK saying it may be a much better compression algorithm. (For all the breakthroughs in genomics, we're still learning how to get better at assembling gene sequences...) Whether the additional information in MQA encoding adds to the sonic quality... that's an area where I have no experience in other digital domains. Other than in photography, where sharpening algorithms were initially embraced and eventually abhorred.
  15. I get that my wireless network may play a role somehow, but it's good enough to have MQA Tidal absolutely slay regular Tidal. However, in one of my comparisons, I streamed to my laptop from my music server on the same network that was streaming Tidal. Even with the Explorer 2, 24/96 files played from my laptop were slightly better sounding than software decoded MQA on my laptop (with two different DACs) and than hardware encoded MQA from my laptop. (Using both Sennheiser and Fostex headphones.) Same was true if I wireless streamed from my main server via my laptop, which SHOULD make all things network equal. I could only find a few albums on Tidal where I know the production quality would be good enough for hearing a difference (and where I know the album really well), so again, there are limits on all this back and forth. An awful lot of hip hop, reggaeton, and rock these days would probably sound as good on an AM radio as they would HD on a DAC. Honestly, there were some albums where they sounded the same no matter what approach I was using - the loudness wars pretty much wrings the life out of music. My conclusion is not that MQA isn't worth it. Absolutely is for Tidal streaming. But at some point the care taken in production when music gets re-mastered and turned into an HD file makes so much improvement that any other improvement is really a nudge and not a wow. At least for me, with the Explorer 2. Maybe different at the high end of DAC land.