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Computer Audiophile


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About sdolezalek

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    Intellectually Curious Member

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    Bay Area, CA

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  1. Vinyl Hub

    As long as your "could be" is modified by "hugely unsuccessful," I'm with you; in which case fishing is clearly the better alternative... I think Chris is more interested in what makes for successful entrepreneurs. In that regard, accepting that Vinyl has become a much bigger trend than most of us would have thought, providing a map to a potential treasure trove of content seems like a very viable concept. That doesn't mean the execution will match the idea; but its not at all a bad idea.
  2. Roon + HQPlayer server (fanless, if possible)

    Larry: thank you, very clear and helpful!
  3. Roon + HQPlayer server (fanless, if possible)

    Other than the time invested, I have wondered whether you gain anything ripping to 192/24, particularly if you are then going to use HQ Player to further upconvert or convert to DSd256 or DSD512? I at first upsampled my CDs to 24/192 when I was ripping them, but have since stopped since that both took up more storage space and seemed to increase the CPU load in HQP as compared to just upsampling the 16/44 on the fly. Presumably if you upsample one offline and again at playback you are also deploying two different filters rather than just the one in HQP. Thoughts?
  4. On the subject of "ringing"

    I think this appropriately summarizes 8 pages of posts that don't do very much to shed light on the subject.
  5. Article: Apple HomePod Review - An Audiophile Perspective

    Somehow I don't think Steve Jobs would be in favor of the direction so many of these products are taking us in. The original Apple platform was designed as a way to unlock our creativity and provide us greater means to express ourselves, whether in writing or artistically. Even Job's careful choice of fonts was about artistic discretion and careful choice. Most of what we now face, and not just from Apple, is a series of products that make us better couch potatoes. Ideally we would just sit there focused on a screen, headphones or EIMs on, a gamestick in our hand, a voice controlled box at our side, a drone to deliver things (and a big wallet to pay for all that stuff and what we order with it) and an ever declining level of physical and intellectual engagement, discernment, creativity, individuality, active participation, mental challenge, etc. (as all that stuff gets in the way of simple consumption -- don't question, just keep buying). Which consumer products companies are today challenging us to be more? Speaking to our true individuality? Allowing for not just differences in taste but expectations of higher quality, better fidelity, more intense engagement?
  6. On the subject of "ringing"

    I'm more worried about those who drive like their fuel gauge says full, when there's really nothing in the tank...
  7. On the subject of "ringing"

    We spend a huge amount of time arguing about the audible benefits/detriments of stuff where those arguing pro or con provide absolutely no data to support their claims. So when we discover an area where we have data that clearly supports an impact on sound waves, the first thing everyone does is deny it can make a difference??? Is audio that special breed of science where data is irrelevant and "I heard a difference" is the gold standard???
  8. The Brinkman Ship MQA Listening Results

    I will second what you are hearing. I hear as much, and probably more, of a difference between a Tidal streamed file and exactly that same file in 16/44 from the NAS as I do between a 16/44 and a 24/192 file, both from the NAS. For purposes of his comparison, I don't understand why BS didn't just A/B the MQA and non-MQA files (both on Tidal) in streamed format. Why add a second variable that could invalidate your entire conclusion?
  9. which rate do people buy?

    Kal: I fully agree with this approach, but it also raises two questions, if you buy something other than the "original" then presumably the seller has used some up or down conversion software to arrive at the other choices. 1. Are sellers using Audiventory or is there some other preferred solution for vendors? 2. Are those solutions better than using HQ Player on the fly, particularly when HQ Player allows us to make output/filter choices that work best with our individual hardware?
  10. The Best for the Least

    So much unhappiness, discontent and disagreement in response to what should be a simple question. Other than Ralf11's suggestion of a $10k system is anyone else here very happy with their system at a price point less than that? (I ask about "their system" because anyone can put together a theoretically great sounding system on paper, I much prefer a system someone has personally chosen to live with long term and is willing to stand up for its excellence.) $6k Maggie 3.7i speakers $2.4k Schiit Yggy DAC $0.7k Schiit Vidar amp - 0 - your existing computer onto which you rip your existing CDs $0.1k cables -------------- call it $10k for a really fine system; I'm quite happy with mine that also includes a bunch of very attractively priced Maggies, but except for the manufacturer discount, it doesn't qualify as "Least Cost."
  11. Ajax: Thank you for the comment. The difference between the "upgradeable module" approach, which often requires that the equipment is sent back to the manufacturer, thus putting it out of commission for a week or longer, and what iFi has done, is that iFi has separated these modules into standalone products of their own, each with a much lower price-point than the combined whole. That also allows consumers to upgrade one product at a time, while maintaining compatibility with the other products. I haven't yet seen others do this.
  12. Editor's Note:The following is a guest editorial from long time CA member @sdolezalek iFi Audio might be referred to as the “millennial division” of the more mature and highly regarded Abingdon Music Research (AMR). Where most of the audio world builds highly expensive “State of the Art” products and then hopes that sales of those products will lead to trickle down products at more affordable prices, iFi have adopted the opposite approach, selling a dizzying array of affordable and innovative but very specialized solutions. Trickle-down theory has been with us for a long time. It has even served highly innovative companies like Tesla well. But, it may be less relevant in an audio market now dominated by younger, more mobile consumers, living in smaller rented spaces and spending less than hundreds of thousands on their audio systems. By comparison, the group of well heeled, in their 50s+ “audiophiles” who do spend $50k on speakers, $25k on electronics and $45k on cables just isn’t the leading edge of the market in the same way that buyers of Tesla Model S cars are. Building products for rich old men doesn’t trickle down well to the products the millennial consumer wants. IFi is getting out a variety of products at millennial price points. It has separated several formerly one-box solutions into smaller more modular components that can be easily upgraded one component at a time. That means iFi is in constant dialog with its customer base – something it is also explicitly doing by engaging directly with those customers here on Computer Audiophile or on Head-Fi. They can get a new product on the market quickly, test it with its core audience and see how it performs. If it performs well then you are likely to see “Nano,” “Micro” and “Pro” versions of that product come out over the successive periods. If it doesn’t, it is easy to move on to other components that will do better in the market. We as consumers play an important role in helping iFi fine-tune product offerings, assisting their R&D process through our live feedback, and helping to define long-term product direction not only for iFi, but ultimately for AMR. Since the time that AMR released its highly regarded AMR DP-777 SE DAC, iFi has introduced: the Nano iDSD BL, iGalvanic3.0, iONE, iDSD LE, iUSB 3.0; the Micro iTUBE2, iDSD BL, iPHONO2, iCAN SE, iUSB3.0, iDAC2; the Retro Stero50 and LS3.5 and the PRO iESL and iCAN, and earlier generations of these products. While many of us have long waited for the about to be released PRO iDSD DAC, it is clear that product is benefiting not only from AMR DP-777 “trickle down” but more so from Nano and Micro “trickle-up.” iFi also benefits from the continuing improvement of third-party software products that work with their hardware products. I have previously written about just how much using the combination of Tidal/HQPlayer/Roon to upsample all Tidal content to DSD512 can improve the sound (and ability to fine tune the sound) of the iDSD Micro BL. But all of these products work well in a compuer-centric world that also chooses among Roon, HQPlayer, Audirvana, Amarra, Jriver, etc. and among Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, etc. In the “old world” of consumer audio, people walking into brick-and-mortar stores would have been looking for an affordable one-box-that-does-it-all solution. In the world of Amazon and other on-line retailers and rapidly moving technology-following sites like CA, customers seem much more willing to buy iFi products like they buy mobile phones and accessories – upgrading annually to the latest and greatest. This approach also plays better into the millenial attitude of buying that $200 or $500 upgrade now, rather than previous generations’ wait 12-24 months to save for the $1,000 new product patience. That pricing/upgrading sweet spot is one that the mobile phone makers and flat-screen TV manufacturers seem to have honed in on. Perhaps it is something more of the audiophile hardware industry should also think about? Rapid, continuous innovation of modular products is where the future is for audio right now. In the more distant future, there will come a time where the ability to eke out the next higher level of performance gets harder and harder (we are already there with computers and digital cameras and getting close with smartphones and TVs, but digital audio still has years to run). When we get there, products will return to a more comprehensive solution we hold on to for 3-5 years or longer, but that isn’t where the action in audio is today. It will be interesting to see where that balance works out with another popular and innovative audio product – the KEF LS50 Wireless; a product that at $2,000 is still too expensive to be upgraded every couple of years, but one where the technology is likely to continue to get meaningfully better every couple of years for a decade longer. Should KEF have adopted a more modular approach that might allow us to upgrade the innards of our LS50 Wireless speakers every couple of years for ~$500? I don’t know, but for the moment, I believe that iFi are on very solid ground in their approach to designing and selling audiophile products for and to a millennial customer base and I suspect other manufacturers would do well to more carefully think about the iFi approach. Manufacturer's Note: iFi is a brand new line of electronics with trickle-down technology licensed from AMR and aimed primarily at the future, Computer Audio generation. All iFi products boast Class A analogue circuitry with no DSP and the signal stays ‘Bit Perfect’ throughout. How a product looks and performs matters, but so does its impact on the environment. That’s why nearly every iFi product and its packaging are made from highly recyclable materials like aluminum, paper, recycled plastic and why we refuse to use harmful toxins in our components. We do this to ensure that every product we release meets our environmental standards. iFi has a sponsored forum here on CA -> AMR / iFi Forum iFi's website -> https://ifi-audio.com Abbingdon Music Reasearch -> http://www.amr-audio.co.uk/
  13. Vibration Air & Roller Bearings - Thanks to Barry & Warren

    Yes, but there is a difference between speakers where the speaker itself is creating the vibration and you are trying to drain excess vibration out of the cabinet, and other sound equipment where presumably you are trying to prevent room vibrations from reaching the equipment. I could see it in a turntable as the platter might produce vibrations you would want to dran. But what are you draining from a piece of solid state equipment?
  14. You Think Audio Is Expensive?

    Actually, we did that already; it was called Better Place (see: https://www.fastcompany.com/3028159/a-broken-place-better-place ). Unfortunately it lost a lot of us a lot of money. On the other hand you get can about 100 miles worth of fuel in about 10 minutes in a Tesla Supercharger. That's longer than it would take at a gas station, but, it turns out that most gas stations make more money selling you sodas and candy bars than selling gasoline, so having you stick around a little longer will be great for their business. The reality, however, is that Teslas in particular have enough range so that you can charge them at night and then run them all day without needing to recharge (or charge them during the day while you work). Mine charges from the excess energy produced by my solar panels. As a result, my operating costs are nearly zero and I have already saved enough on electricity costs to pay for both the solar panels and the car.