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Found 224 results

  1. Can't edit my blog

    Apologies if I am missing something. I was just busy writing a blog on the CA blog page. Half way through, a message appeared at the top saying that I cannot further edit it because too much time has elapsed, or it has moved, or something. I now have a half-finished blog entry. How can I edit it - or alternatively, how can I delete it so I can post a new one? Thanks!
  2. CA Articles

    This blog entry lists the feature articles I wrote for CA:
  3. Loudspeaker Cables

    After looking around online for some new speaker cables and not finding the “right” cable at a price I was happy with, I decided it was time for a project. It’s been a while since I went the DIY cable route so I needed to research a bit and find good sources for the materials. The last item arrived this past Thursday just in time for my free weekend. .999 Pure Silver This project seemed a perfect time to kill 2 birds with 1 stone (so to speak) and build some solid silver speaker cables. Cables made with this precious metal intrigue me but the cost of admission is a bit off-putting. Enter DIY. First and foremost I want to mention an article and website where I found a wealth of information including where to source some of the materials I used: Make Your Own Silver Audio Cables by Joseph Levy, The Vinyl Tourist The article was last updated in 2010 but remains relevant today. I decided on 16 gauge .999 pure soft annealed solid silver, 14 gauge clear PTFE jacketing, and Audioquest SureGrip bananas. Originally I was not going to terminate the wire but the APPJ PA0901A requires bananas for connection. I made 8’ cables (ordered enough for 9’) and opted not finish them with an outer jacket. My budget for the project was $200 (sans shipping) and I came in slightly below that amount. I’m very happy with the results .. I think they sound great. Links Make Your Own Silver Audio Cables https://www.riogrande.com/Product/999-fine-silver-round-wire-16-ga-dead-soft/105316 https://www.mcmaster.com/#5335K17 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FYUF5Q4/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TQ1D5W4/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 [ATTACH=CONFIG]32443[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]32442[/ATTACH]
  4. A New Direction

    After many years pairing high-powered amps with low-efficiency loudspeakers I finally decided to dip a toe into the opposite world of low-powered amps and high-efficiency single-driver loudspeakers. Cost was always somewhat prohibitive for me and is why, for the most part, I shied away. Enter Chi-Fi. Initially I think many of us audiophiles balked at the spate of cheap (and cheaply made) electronics coming out of China. After all, how could anything so inexpensive be remotely “hifi”? APPJ PA0901A integrated amp For me, it was the oddly named PA0901A that caught my eye. This minuscule "integrated" from APPJ is a single-ended triode design rated at 3.5 wpc with an SMPS (yes, you read that right) and uses one 12AX7 and two EL84s. The use of an SMPS in the design allows for it’s small form factor (approx. 5” x 5” x 5”). The sound quality is simply astonishing at this price-point ($189). Omega Super 3i loudspeakers Omega Speaker Systems has been on my radar for as long as I’ve been reading about high-efficiency loudspeakers. Louis Chochos has been building his single-driver designs for 14 of his 34 years in the speaker industry. I purchased the Super 3i’s in the beautifully finished EKO Ash Tweed for $695. These speakers have an efficiency rating of 94.5 dB at 8 ohms and are a perfect match for the little Chi-Fi wonder amp. Coherent. Fast. Addicting. Audio System Music Server: Bluesound Node 2 DDC: iFi SPDIF iPurifier DAC: Chord Qute EX, Schiit Bifrost Multibit Amp: APPJ PA0901A Loudspeakers: Omega Super 3i, Ohm MicroSubwoofer 10 (pair) Misc: Decware ZSB, IsoAcoustics Aperta Isolation Stands My music library is located on an Oyen Digital MiniPro hard drive attached via USB to an Apple AirPort Extreme. I use wifi to stream music sources to the Node 2. Notes I also purchased a low-powered solid state integrated amp from Fleawatt Audio recently. This class d amp (25 wpc) is built around the TPA3116D2 chip which was the darling of the DIY community at one time. Derek Sanderson builds these creations as a hobby and sells to members of the audiophile community at such a low cost it’s almost ridiculous. Mine, which has significant upgrades, cost me $250. While not actually Chi-Fi, much of the parts were sourced from China but nicely built right here in the USA. From a conversation with Derek: “The somewhat lower dampening factor, 3D imaging and smooth highs are very much like a single ended triode amplifier, but with more power.” He wasn’t kidding. Incredible sound for so little cash. It’s a great time to be an audiophile. [ATTACH=CONFIG]32522[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]32518[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]32520[/ATTACH]
  5. Genelec - What is the rave about?

    OK, I'm a Genelec fanboy. You know that if you are a regular at CA. Do they really sound better? Are Genelecs for everybody? What is the secret technology? Do they really sound better? Genelec stands out as the best monitors for money (IMNSHO) because they just sound invisible. But it is not magic and as any other system, they sound best when you feed a great signal and place them wisely in a treated room. Just like anything else. But that is where the "Just like anything else" stops. Genelec goes to great lengths to help you get the best sound in the room you actually have. They use all the tricks in the book: technology, topology, acoustic adaptation and education of their customers. Check the chapter on technology. Are Genelecs for everybody? NO. But they can be for most audiophiles depending on your preferences and how you go about your hobby. Where Genelecs definitely are not the solution: a) Users that prefer no-linear coloured sound: bass heads etc. b) Users that prefer wood veneers or other specific colours (WAF etc) c) Users that prefer towers d) Users that love exchanging equipment and influencing sound that way. e) Users that just prefers a lot of separates. e) Under USD 800 budget for a satellite CA stereo system including DAC/AMP/Speakers/Cables (8010) f) Under USD 3700 budget for a total CA pure digital room compensated stereo system 20-20kHz all included (PUC2, 8330, 7350) f) Under USD 7000 budget for a total CA pure digital room compensated 5.1 surround system 20-20kHz all included (Lynx Aurora 8, 8330, 7260) h) High end users that dislike even subtle DSP room optimization (SAM series) i) High end users that insists DSD is the only way to go (SAM series - PCM only) j) High end user that insists on the excellence of DXD or higher files (SAM series downsamples to 96/48kHz mid/high & bass) What is the secret technology? None of them are secrets, most are actually just common sense for smart engineers. Some are patented but most are available to any manufacturer in some form. You could say Genelec just does many more things according to the forces of nature. But let's have a look under the hood (bonnet). I'll be stealing the points from this page and providing my own comment for easy overview Electro-acoustics Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW™) Enhances flat on- and off-axis response by using the curved cabinet as an acoustic lense. Laminar Integrated Port (LIP™) Makes for precise bass reproduction. Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE™) The rounded design of the cabinet makes for uncoloured sound reproduction without refraction Sharp edges would work as secondary sound transducers muddling up the sound Iso-Pod™ Stand Vibration decoupling Iso-Pod™ Rubber stands that improves sound image definition and flexible horisontal angling. Highly efficient Laminar Spiral Enclosure (LSE™) Provides accurate low frequency reproduction, a super well thought out implementation of the bass reflex port on subs. Reflex Port Design Advanced reflex port design for extended low frequency response, a super well implemented bass reflex port on monitors. Transducers and Materials Acoustically Concealed Woofers (ACW™) Provides controlled directivity down to low frequencies on the new 8351 monitor while allowing a coaxial driver in a cabinet size normally only suited for 2 drivers. Minimum Diffraction Coaxial (MDC™) Driver Implementation of a coaxial transducer that produces outstanding sound image. Natural Composite Enclosure (NCE™) Technology The environmentally attractive wood/polymer has been selected for its resistance and durability, its high internal damping and its resilience against impacts and physical damage. The material features many of the outstanding acoustical properties found in wood fibres, being 100% stiffer than the common ABS plastics typically used in loudspeaker enclosures. Versatile Mountings Many options and accessories enables optimum installation in all spaces. Electronics and Networking Active crossovers operating at low signal levels. Splits the audio signal into separate frequency bands so the individual power amplifiers and the transducers they drive can be fully optimized for a their frequency band. Active crossovers come in both digital and analogue varieties. Bass Management System The bass content of the main channels and the Low Frequency Effect (LFE) channel are directed and reproduced only by loudspeakers capable of handling them, whether they are main system loudspeakers or one or more subwoofer(s) Optimized Amplifiers Each transducer is driven by its own optimized amplifier, see Active crossovers Room Response Compensation Fully linear frequency response in real rooms is the aim of precise compensation. Manual DIP switches on analogue input models Automatic DSP room compensation on digital input models (SAM) Protection Circuitry Sophisticated drive unit protection circuitry for safe operation on both analogue and digital input models. Smart Active Monitor (SAM™) Systems Networked Smart Active Monitor (SAM™) Systems feature automatic room compensation using a calibrated microphone. SAM's take both analogue and digital inputs, but all signals are converted to digital. Value for money The Genelec 8260's IMO kicks the ass of Bower & Wilkins 800 Diamond speakers The 800's may be better if everything is at its best: the room, the speaker placement, the DAC and the source and amps. A situation where room correction will make no difference and where the amps are humongous Class A monsters. The B&W's are notorious for being picky with amps, as they are insanely power hungry. Somebody should probably rip those passive X-overs out of them and convert them to fully actives. That is: do the proper job B&W didn't have the balls to do. Now do the math: USD 9300 - Two Genelec 8260's, a Yellowtec PUC2 DDC + cables (ie. everything) USD 23000 - Two Bower & Wilkins 800 Diamond speakers - no DAC, no amp, no cables Now go have a listen to some Genelecs ;-)
  6. Hi, For your convenience (and mine) I've created the `alsa-capabilities` script, which shows the available alsa interfaces for audio playback in (or connected to) your linux computer, including USB DAC's, and the digital audio formats and sample rates each sound card or external USB DAC supports. You can run it straight from the web, by copying and pasting the following command in a terminal screen: bash <(wget -q -O - "https://lacocina.nl/alsa-capabilities") ## or bash <(curl -s "https://lacocina.nl/alsa-capabilities") Or, you can first download it and run it from your local file system: wget "https://lacocina.nl/alsa-capabilities" && bash alsa-capabilities To display the sample rates each interface supports, add the -s (or --samplerates) option. CAUTION: be sure to mute the audio outputs because sample rate detection plays (pseudo) random noise on each interface, except USB Audio Class (UAC) devices. bash <(wget -q -O - "https://lacocina.nl/alsa-capabilities") -s ## or bash alsa-capabilities -s More information can be found on: blog describing the script and its purposes github page for development and issue tracking I hope you enjoy it! Regards, Ronald
  7. OK, maybe not, but hear me out. I think I found the break-even point between Digital and Analog in my system, and I think it's an interesting data point for some who, like me, have spent years and years and years and countless 10s of $1000s wondering how good my digital system sounds in the grand "scheme," and how much better can it sound, and at what cost? And when the F are people going to stop suggesting I should try vinyl? DIGITAL OR DIE For the record (no pun intended), I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Digital man. I've only owned one vinyl album in my whole life--Thriller, yep--MJ. Bought it when it came out around Christmas in 1982, when I was in fifth grade. I bought it at Meier in Newark, Ohio while off from school on the holiday break. I played it on a Sears All-in-One stereo my parents bought me that same Christmas. Up to that point it had been radio and homemade mix-tapes of 80s goodies, taped off of the radio, or listening with my parents to their Neil Diamond on their console downstairs. Occasionally I would steal some 45s I liked from my parents' console and would play them up on the stereo in my room, but there weren't many I liked. I quickly learned that records were a pain in the ass, especially when you were 11. They sounded like crap, too. Sears couldn't even make them sound good. Cassette tape is where it was at, I figured out. Sony Walkman to the scene, and my vinyl collection was one and done. My next two "albums" were Duran Duran's Seven and Ragged Tiger and Billy Idol's Rebel Yell--both released a whole year after Thriller--and I bought both of them on cassette tape. Somehow I lived with Thriller for an entire year with no other albums. I don't think I go a week like that now...a whole year with one album! Some years of cassette buying went by, and in the summer of 1987, my younger brother shocked me by buying a CD player. It must have been a Sony D-5 or something close, that had been out for a couple of years and had come down in price. I can remember being surprised that he spent so much money on it...I think it was like $100, which to a fifth grader and a seventh grader, was a ton of cash where we lived. We already had Sony Walkmans--why did he need a CD? He told me CDs were supposed to sound better than cassette tapes, and WAY better than vinyl. He was like "it's digital." That made all the sense in the world to me--it must sound better. CDs had been out for several years, but we didn't own any, or know anyone who did. And as if the CD player wasn't cool enough, he brought home an album that his since become my all-time-favorite. The Joshua Tree. We RCA-connected his portable CD player to my Sears All-in-One. Joshua Tree blew my mind. It blew my mind on CD. By the transitive property, CDs blew my mind. I CAN AFFORD NICE STUFF FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE Fast forward nearly 20 years to about 2006. I bought some mid-fi stereo equipment. NAD, Adcom, Krell, NHT speakers. I started to run a "CD" Digital rig with no CD player, and process my MP3s with Burwen Bobcat software. Well, I've since had to rip my CDs a second time--all of them--because I first ripped them compressed before I knew any better. Actually, I still have some of those Bobcat MP3s sprinkled throughout my music servers, and they don't actually sound that bad. But 10 years later, with vastly better 2 channel gear, like many of you, I would never go back to spinning discs--of any size or format. To date I have over 1,600 cd albums ripped. Many of the CDs I've had since not long after that fateful day in 1987 when I fell in love with U2. And CDs for that matter. Sometime this year, I made it. My system finally sounded as good as I wanted it to. All digital. All the time. And it sounds phenomenal. Years and years and years of trading out speakers, DACs, amps, speaker cables, interconnects, power cords. And that f'#$@ing computer. All of them. Apple wasted about 5 years of my digital listening--don't get me started. I couldn't bring myself to go Windows or Linux native. Apple wouldn't build an expensive computer--in many different shapes and sizes--that wouldn't sound awesome through a nice DAC. Would they? Turns out, yes. But that's another rant for a different day. Then I found the Aurender. So much better than all 6 MACs I've tried over the years. Then I added the Schiit Yggy DAC. Then I went back to my PrimaLuna, and it sounded great with my Zu speakers. Then I bought new Zu speakers, and a new PrimaLuna HP with upgraded KT-120s (yes, I hear the 150s are even better). Then I sat back, listened to the clarity, the soundstage, the cymbals, the guitars, the banjos, the stand-up basses, and I was finally happy. FINALLY. Super super musical with a sound that was as good as I wanted. Any my analog friends come over and reluctantly admit "that sounds like analog--doesn't sound like digital at all." Well we all know it wouldn't last, or you wouldn't be on this site. THE DARK SIDE CALLS A day before I took my kids to see the new Star Wars, I stopped by a local stereo store (brick and morter!) that is literally 2 minutes from my work, and carries many of the brands I love, and many I already own. How in the hell did I not know this was here? Super happy with my digital setup, a ton of turntables caught my eye. They were everywhere. And nice ones. Since this is a Digital site, I'll skip to the punchline. You know what happened. That was 3 weeks ago. I'm obsessive. I own 107 vinyl albums so far. That includes Thriller, which I found in my parents' basement. SO YOU'VE GOT VINYL NOW...SO WHAT'S BETTER? With this equipment, and CD-quality rips, the winner is...they sound nearly identical. But right now, tonight only. Not with yesterday's equipment (iFi phono stage)...digital was better. Not with what I'm going to have in a week with a better TT, cart, tonearm, and likely a new phono stage...I suspect analog will sound better. RIGHT NOW. THE SAME. WITH THE LONER turntable and phono stage, albeit very nice ones. I did my comparison, unscientifically, using a cd rip of the Joshua Tree, and a used vinyl version which I cleaned like no one's business. I used some other album combos which I had as well. Ironically, while I found my original Thriller album, I don't own it on CD. I a/b tested with two inputs on the PrimaLuna. They were eerily close--and many times I forgot which one I was listening to. And both sounded phenomenal. So here is the perfect 1:1 matchup: Digital--Aurender N100 and Schiit Iggy--$2500 + $2300=$4800 for a killer digital front-end. Analog--VPI HW19 mk 4, Grace RS-9E MM cart (70s, but retipped?), Audio Research PH3SE phono stage with Bugle Boy Amperex NOS tubes--$1500 used TT + $500 used cart + $1300 used phono + $100 tubes = $3400 for a pretty killer analog rig, albeit 15 years or more old. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU JUST PROVED? I'm not sure, except that if someone tells you a $400 turntable with a $100 MM cartridge and a cheap phono stage can beat an Aurender/Schiit Iggy digital combo, take the bet. I bet it can't in anyone's system. That $4800 is the best you will spend in a long, long, long time. It will take a $20K digital combo to better it by much at all. However, if someone has a decent turntable (with clean power), isolated from vibrations, with a good cartridge and a good, tubed phono stage...they might give your killer digital front-end a run for the money. My new VPI Signature table with speed control, a 3d-printed arm, a Lyra Kleos MC cart, feeding this same Audio Research PH3SE, should beat my digital front-end. But it will also cost almost $10K--2x what my digital front-end costs. Will it beat it by a lot? I'll report back in a couple weeks when it arrives and burns in for a bit. As much as I love my digital rig, my money is on the new turntable combo winning by some amount. I'm going to try to buy a hi-res download of Thriller for that comparison.
  8. All, Where did this 'absolute sound' thing come from ? First off, I did not invent this stuff. My original understanding of the absolute sound comes from Harry Pearson and early issues of his magazine 'The Absolute Sound' As best as I can tell, he invented the concept, and the methodology of applying it to equipment and recording reviews. The Absolute Sound was, and is: the name of a magazine an audacious claim; the name of the reference sound source for grading audio equipment (and our concern here) a 'term of art' within the audiophile arena for over 40 years various audio stores also used the name, but off topic for this post. Maybe there are other interpretations on the name, but I find it a lovely combination of meanings, almost literary. NOTE: I will refer to the magazine as 'TAS', and the concept as 'tas' for the rest of this post. Harry Pearson started 'The Absolute Sound' magazine (TAS) in 1973 with an editorial in the 1st issue explaining the concept of the absolute sound (tas) and how it would apply to the magazines audio reviews. The TAS equipment reviewers all used the methodology designed by HP, implementing 'tas' in every review. They synced their perceptions with the other reviewers for consistency and regularly trained their ears with live, acoustic music (tas). I found the TAS methodology very scientific, for such a 'subjective' pursuit. I read almost all the early TAS issues - not all the reviews, or every word, but always the philosophy, methodology, and things that addressed the 'why' questions. My interest in those kind of audiophile issues continues to this day What is 'the absolute sound' (tas) ? HP, in this initial TAS editorial: "the magazine(s) goal was to discover and extol those products that came closest to reproducing the absolute sound—the sound of (primarily classical) music as heard in a concert hall." Jonathan Valin, a TAS reviewer, recalled: "As HP pointed out in that first editorial, the magazine’s very mandate required the philosophical assumption that there is an absolute in the reproduction of music—a referential reality to which the recorded thing can and should be fruitfully compared." So the 'absolute sound' (tas) is the sound of the real thing, the sound of live acoustic instruments playing in a real space. That is, with no electronics or electromechanical devises involved. Live music, not canned music (of any kind). HP was primarily a classical music fan, and frequent concert attendee. I think his writings about the idea didn't address the idea of electronics mixed with live music, since it just did not exist in his live musical world. The Absolute Sound is not about reproduction, or records, or recording. It is about the Goal, the Reference, the Prototype… that which we try and reproduce with our recording, storage and playback systems. It is the sound of un-amplified instruments in an acoustic space, as passing the sound through mikes, amps, speakers, etc. diminishes it as a reference. I was lucky to attend a small local orchestras concert recently. The string sections playing was terrible, but the sound was reasonably good in the largish library room. The cello surprised me in the 'gutsiness' of the real sound as opposed to what I usually hear through various (good!) audio systems. This was an example of 'tas', and helped me refresh my sound memory of the real thing. The absolute sound is readily available to audiophiles in concerts, clubs, friends homes, and wherever, to calibrate their ears whenever they wish, or have an opportunity. I was a scale model builder before long I became an audiophile (and still am), so the concept of the Prototype, and its relationship to the Model , is very clear to me. The 'absolute sound' is the Prototype that we strive to model as accurately as possible with the reproduction of the original sound through our audio systems. But, almost by definition, it can not be rendered perfectly. I see the relationship between the prototype and the model as a mathematical limit. The difference between the two can approach zero (with effort and cost approaching infinity), but a true zero difference is impossible. It could be argued that the difference could be non-zero, but surpass the ability of human hearing to detect the difference, but so far the evidence is that trained human hearing is much better at that task then we had thought. I often laugh, or cringe, when I read CA people talking about some audio thing sounding 'better' ! Better then what ?? If it is closer to that Absolute Sound reference, then fine, but most of the time it is just personal preference. And I think that most peoples lifetime of exposure to ubiquitous electronic sound (including mine), makes their preferences suspect, without frequent, and conscious, hearing calibration with, you guessed it, the Absolute Sound ! As you can probably tell, I don't like the term 'better'. Perhaps we can try to use 'more/less accurate' here more often, that is, if one is familiar enough with the Absolute Sound to hear the difference. Or, simply be honest and say one simply likes it better, not that it is better. When I gauge something with a dial caliper or micrometer to see if it is properly to scale or not, it has nothing to do with how I feel about the model or part, only its accuracy (or lack thereof). Similarly, I use the best 'event' recordings (that I can stand or afford) to gauge how far away my audio system is from the reference (tas), and to 'measure' changes as moving closer or farther away from that reference. Then, I quit that hard work and enjoy whatever music and recording quality I like from my personal musical preferences, trying to ignore crappy recordings, and being delighted when better ones show me what my system is capable of BTW; I am not trying to claim that I am some kind of 'golden ear'. Many have better audiophile senses then me, and I am better then some others. I have to constantly work at it, but, I have been thinking about these issues for a long time, as you may suspect And just to be very clear about this, recordings are not the Reference, they are derivative of the original sonic event (or studio mash-up). To go back to my Prototype vs Model analogy, recordings are all Static (or potential?) Models, that are rendered by various playback systems into Dynamic Models (moving air), at any time we choose. The Absolute Sound can only be perceived by your ears, at the time the real sounds are created by musicians and instruments and rooms. Once any microphone, amps, speakers, or any other electronic gear is introduced, the sound is derivative, a model, corrupted, impossible to know its original sound, and no longer Absolute ! (end of part 1)
  9. A bit of a break

    I think I am need of a bit of a break from here. I enjoy a good heated discussion as much as anyone, but being repeatedly stalked in "cyber-space," having my photograph ripped off my employer's website and posted here without my permission, and being accused (falsely) of making "racist" comments against Australians (with not one shred of evidence ever offered), makes me realize my non-anonymous presence here could potentially harm my job, my personal and professional reputation, and may invite injury to my friends, family, research group, colleagues and associates. (The fact that this can happen over something as trivial as discussions about audio file checksums and the roles of measurement and scientific inquiry is troubling and bizarre.) I've spent the last few days reflecting on this, and now realize what a pointless waste of time this has become, and how it has detracted from my enjoyment of music, family, and life in general. For awhile, I did not want to give the bullies the satisfaction of knowing they drove me away, but that really is not a compelling reason to continue. My hope is the blog postings, if nothing else, might help a few people out. I considered deleting them, but insofar as they might have some value to Chris and the website, I don't want to do any more damage than has already been done. Paul has previously posted the suggestion that we all use our own names. Perhaps doing so would make people think twice before they do crazy and possibly illegal stuff, if they did not think they could hide behind the cloak of anonymity. I think either that should be the case, or everyone should be anonymous. Best wishes to everyone. Bill
  10. Hello, This blog post will be a work in progress as time and motivation allow but in this first go round I wanted to start off by talking about the bandwidth requirements (As Observed) from a networking perspective while streaming several different flavors of music files found in your average Audiophiles music library. To date, I have not yet seen anyone post this sort of information on the web showing the actual "flow" patterns and behavior of the various streamed files under test. Understandably, this is probably not all that interesting to many folks and maybe even a bit too far "in weeds" for this given topic but in any event I found it quite interesting and felt maybe the information could be useful to the Computer Audio community in some way now or in the future. At this point its probably a good idea for me to first talk about how I went about gathering this sort of information to prove its validity and worthiness of posting. Afterwards I will move on to the meat and potatoes of the topic itself. Preparation Steps: Step 1 I built a dedicated NMS (Network Monitoring Station) using a fresh install of Windows 8.1. The NMS itself is a virtual machine which lives as an instance on Oracle's Virtual Box platform. The physical host machine which supports the virtual NMS runs a copy of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. During the install of the NMS I chose to place its virtual disk files on the local Ubuntu Host as to avoid any unnecessary network activity which could have skewed the results gathered during this test. The virtual NMS had its network card configured as a "Bridged" adapter which essentially means that it is a dedicated resource on the network, has its own unique MAC Address and receives a DHCP IP Address all its own. This step should, I believe, help filter out any excess chatter taking place on the physical Unbuntu host itself where the virtual machine resides. Step 2 Once my NMS was built I proceeded to download a copy of Paessler's "PRTG Network Monitor" software which I have used in the past while doing my day job and am very familiar with. The software is Free for 30 Days and includes full functionality during that time. I then performed the install on the fresh Win 8.1 NMS virtual machine. Step 3 I used an enterprise class 8-Port Cisco 2960G switch between the NAS being tested and the NMS computer. The switch itself is a bit more advanced then your average Linksys but still only a basic Layer2 device (ie..no routing). Despite being a lower end Cisco product it still includes the ability to configure an SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) community which is the protocol I ultimately used gathered the data for this blog post. Another benefit of using this switch is that it includes a fairly sizable and mature library of MIB's (Management Information Base) for use with SNMP for monitoring purposes. Step 4 After setting up an SNMP community on my Cisco switch I then used the PRTG software to scan the IP Address of the switch to look for sensors to monitor. One of the sensors it discovered was the Ethernet Interface where my Synology NAS is plugged into. This interface and the network traffic passed thru it is the source for all data gathered for this blog post. Once I had the above configured I proceeded to adjust the default data gathering interval used by PRTG (60sec) to something a bit more aggressive. In this case I used the lowest supported interval of 10sec per sample. Basically this means that every 10 sec the PRTG monitoring software will "Sniff" the port where the NAS device is plugged into and show me what it see's on a graph and table within the PRTG software. In my case, I will use the Table data from PRTG to then Import it into an MS Excel Spreadsheet for chart creation as seen later in this post. The Streamed Music Files Being Tested: So in order to maintain some form of consistency for this test I dug thru my music library for a group of files that all used the same file type. In the case of this test I used all .FLAC files (except DSD) at the following Bit/Freq rates: 16bit x 44Khz - Paul Van Dyk - The Other Side - Politics of Dancing Album 24bit x 48Khz - Peter Gabrial - Heroes - Scratch My Back Album 24bit x 88Khz - Three O'Clock Blues - Eric Clapton & BB King -Riding w/ the King Album 24bit x 96Khz - Stevie Ray Vaghn & Albert King - Blues At Sunrise - In Session Album 24bit x 192Khz - Madonna - Lucky Star - Madonna Album DSD64 (.dsf) - Boston - More Than A Feeling - Boston Album The Test Process The test approach was pretty simple. I would play each file one by one, record its start and end time, copy the data in the PRTG table for that file then move on to the next one. Rinse and Repeat. Doing it this way would also help to keep the information in the table within the PRTG software nice and separate to avoid any mistakes. The PRTG Software was able to gather both the Volume of data coming from the NAS to the Cisco switch as well as the Speed/Rate at which that data was passing thru the Interface. The Interface used by my NAS is marked ETH0/3. I choose to use this Interface as my data gathering source because there are no network hopes involved between it and the NMS virtual machine which is Local to the same switch. Maybe at some point I will try another test on a different switch further downstream which is Local to the music server itself and see if the output on the chart looks any different then it does here. The Results As you will see below the different files do exhibit a very different behavior as they pass thru the switch. The Red Book file appears to require very small, short bursts of network bandwidth while playing. You can see that roughly every 30 secs or so the music server asks for a 4MB burst and in between that request there are other smaller requests for 1KB of data every 10sec. I suspect this has something to do with pre-determined buffer sizes configured on the music server for the various files being tested. I found it very interesting that the 24x192 file was the most demanding in all cases. This went against my initial assumption that the DSD file would be the most demanding since I thought it contained more data. After some further thought on this I suspect it has something to do with how the file is packaged. Maybe more efficient with less white space but thats just a hunch. Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things there doesn't look to be any real issue present in terms of the streaming bandwidth requirements for any of the files as long as someone can ensure a solid 30MB of bandwidth is available for streaming from a wired or wireless connection at home. One thing that folks should take notice to though is that during the beginning of each song there is a fairly large spike/request made to begin playback for each of the files and as the file quality goes up so does the need to maintain that solid 30MB of readily available bandwidth. For those in the Wireless camp with antennas at further distances away it wouldn't be hard to imagine that some parts of the house may not have 30MB of headroom to play with so check to make sure your covered (no pun intended) to avoid any issues. Well thats all I have for now. Please feel free to offer any thoughts or observations of your own Thanks Traffic Analysis - Incoming Transfer Rate Comparison of the various files under test [ATTACH=CONFIG]16964[/ATTACH] Traffic Analysis - Incoming Data Volume Comparison of the various files under test [ATTACH=CONFIG]16965[/ATTACH]
  11. <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/58cd9bc8d7baf_ScreenShot2014-12-18at2_04_23PM.png.02fba4ecfe8c901197fc96352c848cbf.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28310" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/58cd9bc8d7baf_ScreenShot2014-12-18at2_04_23PM.png.02fba4ecfe8c901197fc96352c848cbf.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> Before you Start ... Take a look at the well-hidden Computer Audiophile Academy: Basics Introduction There is a lot of mythology surrounding computer audio. This is too bad, because it is very simple to do. Take a look around any community college campus; almost every student is using computer audio without any fanfare, either directly via their iPhone (or iPod), via their computer, or via some sort of streaming service to an iPhone or computer. They don't really have to do anything in terms of preparation. If you want to use your Apple computer to play music out of its tiny tinny little speakers (which on my iMac actually sound fairly decent), or via your headphones, all you have to do is fire up iTunes. If you have a cable with a minijack at one end and RCA jacks at the other, you can do the same thing with your home stereo. Everything else is simply a refinement of the same procedure. One improvement in terms of electrical noise and possibly inherent sound quality is to use an external DAC (digital analogue converter), which you can connect to via USB, via optical (most Apple computers have a mini-jack that doubles as optical out), HDMI, or via USB/coax converter. How to set up OS X to work with your external DAC or AVR receiver If you have a stand-alone external DAC or DAC that is part of an integrated stereo system, chances are that it will use USB input, and/or optical and/or coax digital inputs, whereas if your DAC is part of an AVR, it most likely will offer HDMI and/or optical and/or coax digital inputs. Whichever is the case, the setup procedure is basically the same. What they all have in common is that you select the output device using a program located in the Utilities folder of the Applications folder on the main systems drive. The name of the program is called Audio MIDI Setup. You can open it quickly just by typing "Audio MIDI Setup" in Spotlight. It might be a good idea to keep it available in your Dock for future use. Note: You (probably) don't need a "Driver" Unless you are using an unusual interface or DAC, it is very unlikely that you will need to install any software at all to use it. If you are shopping for DACS or USB converters, place a high priority on those that don't require software drivers, which can cause huge headaches when the manufacturer doesn't keep up with operating system upgrades. Note: You don't need an expensive cable. <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/Huckster.jpg.f3524eeb02fc3fe5f40c3ec65b88d02b.jpg" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28311" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/Huckster.jpg.f3524eeb02fc3fe5f40c3ec65b88d02b.jpg" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> If you are spending more than $10 or $20 on a digital cable, you are paying for branding, jewelry or bragging rights. The differences you hear almost certainly will disappear when you close your eyes. Any competently manufactured cable will be good enough (eg: Bluejeans Cable, Monoprice, etc.) If you do decide to blow a wad of cash on a digital cable, at least become familiar with what a non-designer cable sounds like first, so you can compare. Do a double-blind test. Ask for objective measurements. Anyone who really makes something superior should be more than happy to prove it to you on your terms, not theirs. a. If you have a USB DAC or USB coax converter or other USB bridge <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_bridge.png.6c5fb49dcab6cedf2a60c9c0f4633e3f.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28309" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_bridge.png.6c5fb49dcab6cedf2a60c9c0f4633e3f.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> Select the name of your USB device, and set it as the default audio output. If there is an option for bit depth settings, set it to 24 bit (or higher if your DAC will allow it). Set the sampling frequency to the highest value your DAC allows (or highest in your audio file collection). If you have only mp3, AAC, or CD rips, 44,100 is all you need. If you set it higher (or in general to a different value), the system will resample your music. b. If you have an HDMI receiver or integrated amp <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_HDMI.png.6d867ca38dcfc72f85fa330d4f02a849.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28307" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_HDMI.png.6d867ca38dcfc72f85fa330d4f02a849.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> If you instead have an HDMI device, and your computer (mac mini or macbook pro) has an HDMI output, you can instead use this. If there is an option for bit depth settings, set it to 24 bit (or higher if your DAC will allow it). Set the sampling frequency to the highest value your DAC allows (or highest in your audio file collection). If you have only mp3, AAC, or CD rips, 44,100 is all you need, but you might be better off setting it to 48,000 Hz, for movie playback. If you set it higher (or in general to a different value), the system will resample your music. c. If you are using optical output to your DAC or receiver <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_builtin.png.6c8c70019c9579a3a4b7ca8b7c34c700.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28308" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_builtin.png.6c8c70019c9579a3a4b7ca8b7c34c700.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> If you are using the optical output (via the audio mini-jack, which doubles as an optical output), this will appear as "Build-in Output" or possibly "Digital Output" in the Audio MIDI Setup interface, which can be a bit confusing. The bit depth setting should be set to 24 bit. Set the sampling frequency to the highest value your DAC allows (or highest in your audio file collection). In general, optical output with Mac OS X doesn't go above 96000 Hz. If you have only mp3, AAC, or CD rips, 44,100 is all you need, but you might be better off setting it to 96,000 Hz anyway, depending on the DAC. The system will resample your music, but this process is transparent (at least I have never been able to hear differences). How to maximize playback quality a. Deactivate iTunes sound effects: a good idea Assuming you are using iTunes, it is a good idea to turn off all of the playback "features" like fading and equalization. In general, these degrade sound quality. In the iTunes preferences, go to "Playback and uncheck every option: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/iTunesPref.png.07f8737ca287ead52ea19ab167e1e15b.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28305" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/iTunesPref.png.07f8737ca287ead52ea19ab167e1e15b.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> b. Deactivate System sound effects: A good idea In System Preferences, de-activate all the sound effects: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/SoundEffects.png.e80e54ea6770e83e3bea73f71f6df455.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28306" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/SoundEffects.png.e80e54ea6770e83e3bea73f71f6df455.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> It is also a good idea to divert system alert sounds to some interface other than that which is connected to your $50,000 speakers. (I use "Soundflower", which is an emulated interface available in the form of free software.) c. Notification Center: Do not disturb Although I doubt it would damage the sound quality, the "Notification Center" can be incredibly annoying. You can set it to the "do not disturb" mode, or define your waking hours as the period you do not want to receive notifications. There is also a nuclear option for getting rid of it once and for all. d. Spotlight: Leave it on, but ... Some people suggest turning off Spotlight. I suggest you do not do this, because it will interfere with essential software updates. Instead, go to System Preferences, and configure Spotlight to avoid indexing your music library, and possibly the home directory for the account from which you play music. (In general, it is a good idea to have a separate account for this, if your computer is dedicated to audio and video functions.) e. System files, startup items and system processes: Just don't fuck with them! I personally recommend against deactivating system processes and startup (launchd) items. The claims of sonic improvement are subjective and controversial, and there is absolutely no compelling evidence that any of this improves sound quality. There are several shell scripts floating around that enable the user to blindly make changes; I strongly advise against their use, and I have to say I am really tired of people asking me to help them un-fuck their computers after using these. If you don't understand the syntax of any command that needs an administrative password to implement, please run away from it as fast as you can, and avoid a whole world of hurt. The launchd system that OS X now uses for startup is fundamentally different from what Windows uses or what other unix systems use. These items are designed to run only on demand for the most part, so they do not tax the system. Those who recommend disabling them simply do not understand how OS X works. Similarly, removing Applications and system files will do absolutely nothing other than free up disk space; it cannot affect the sound quality. Leave this stuff alone! f. Hardware tweaks: Hang on to your wallet Having 8 gig of memory may offer advantages. An internal SSD may also be advantageous. Although the case for it improving sound quality is subjective and controversial, it does give you a snappier and more responsive system. Remember that all discs, including SSDs, fail eventually, so be sure to back them up. You may eventually find that having an external drive for audio and video is a must. I personally favor the firewire bus-powered hard drives from Oyen Digital. Other hardware tweaks have been suggested, but I have never found a compelling case for any of them. Various companies that modify mac minis for playback come and go; Apple does not take kindly to this, and they seem to be very good at screwing up your computer and voiding the warranty. My advice is to stay away, and spend your hard-earned cash on some music instead. g. Wireless vs. ethernet cable There is no credible evidence that suggests using wifi on your music playing computer will in any way harm sound quality. If it is convenient to have a wire, go for it, but please do not think it is a requirement. h. Third-party playback software Some people use other player programs rather than, or parasitic upon, iTunes. This is by no means a necessity for high-quality audio playback. At the very least, become very familiar with iTunes, how it sounds, and its limitations, so if you decide to evaluate something that costs money, you can at least make an intelligent comparison. <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/iTunesPref.png.2816095b112d32e225eb5c12d7470f83.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28555" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/iTunesPref.png.2816095b112d32e225eb5c12d7470f83.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/SoundEffects.png.b5a0360fc9da7faa21ebd7b4cd4e58e7.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28556" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/SoundEffects.png.b5a0360fc9da7faa21ebd7b4cd4e58e7.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_HDMI.png.1f02ef763e6faca4fa53313e46284876.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28557" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_HDMI.png.1f02ef763e6faca4fa53313e46284876.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_builtin.png.616e2a39c90a80477071e05f1d65b430.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28558" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_builtin.png.616e2a39c90a80477071e05f1d65b430.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_bridge.png.0b92a6807303c86ed9b7f79f8ce83f15.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28559" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/MIDI_bridge.png.0b92a6807303c86ed9b7f79f8ce83f15.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/58cd9bd0746d6_ScreenShot2014-12-18at2_04_23PM.png.1b09d6850a97f9bcad0cfd885b725e8e.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28560" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/58cd9bd0746d6_ScreenShot2014-12-18at2_04_23PM.png.1b09d6850a97f9bcad0cfd885b725e8e.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/Huckster.jpg.0255ce3cda4f2a720c742b4f176f8d44.jpg" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28561" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_12/Huckster.jpg.0255ce3cda4f2a720c742b4f176f8d44.jpg" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p>
  12. How to use iTunes on one computer to control Audirvana Plus or other third-party player software on another computer I'm experimenting with using iTunes as a remote-control interface. It has always kind of bothered me that there is no desktop-based version of Apple's Remote.app (like the one on my iPad I can use with Bob Stern's script to control Audirvana). I found a way to trick iTunes into doing this for me, using a simple zsh shell script that you can obtain from this link: remoteplayer.zsh In order to get this to work, I needed to do the following: 1. Enable ssh passwordless login from the controlling computer to the music server. This allows you to send commands and copy files easily, in addition to facilitating command-line login, so it is useful (and safer than using passwords) as it uses a public and private encryption-key system. This link explains how to do it. 2. Enable iTunes on the music server to share its library on your local network. This is by far the easiest way to make the interface. (Other options include using "Home Sharing" or sharing the drive that contains your iTunes library. If you use this last option, set iTunes on the controlling computer up so it won't try to manage the library. Then just add the files to the library.) 3. Purchase and install EventScripts. This is worth buying. It is worth every penny, for a variety of reasons I have blogged on here. We will make use of its ability to run a shell script (or Applescript) whenever iTunes changes a track. 4. Download the zsh shell script linked to above, and open it in your favorite text editor. (Apple's TextEdit.app will do, but you really owe it to yourself to get TextMate, which I paid good money for, but version 2.0 alpha is now free.) At the top of the file there are five environment variables (all caps), the first three of which you absolutely must edit: MUSICDIR="/Users/home/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music" This is pointing to the default iTunes directory for a user called "home". Change it to wherever yours is, or it will not work. REMOTEUSER="home" This needs to be changed to the username of the account that contains your music library on your music server. MUSICSERVER="tv-stereo-mini.local" This needs to be the name or numerical ip address of your music server. Apple typically appends the .local onto these names. When you are done, set the executable bit on the file (the command is chmod a+x remoteplayer.zsh ) and put it into the EventScript directory: cp remoteplayer.zsh "~/Library/Application Scripts/net.mousedown.EventScripts/." (You can access this directory from the EventScript preferences window, and drag and drop the file.) 5. Set EventScript to run the shell script when iTunes starts to play a track. Here is a picture: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_06/eventscript_pref.png.c5e6b83632c690bb65115b9cfb76fac0.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28272" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_06/eventscript_pref.png.c5e6b83632c690bb65115b9cfb76fac0.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> 6. Try it (a) Open iTunes and (Audirvana (in stand-alone mode), or Decibel, or Vox, or ...?) on the music server, and set audirvana to run in stand-alone mode, rather than iTunes-integrated mode. (b) Open iTunes on the controlling computer, and access the shared music library. Select something and play it. <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_06/sharedlib.png.291d51090da93355764fa90387025d57.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28273" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_06/sharedlib.png.291d51090da93355764fa90387025d57.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> Updates, Current limitations and to-do list: The script (as of version 0.0.4) now works when encountering compilation/various artist albums. The script (as of version 0.0.5) will work with other player software that can use "open -a <appname> <filename>" syntax to load files into its playlist buffer. So far, I have tested Audirvana (in non-iTunes-integrated mode), Vox and Decibel, and all of these work. The script loaded into EventScript relaunches iTunes when you try to quit it. My current workaround is to quit EventScript first, but this is a stupid bug. <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_06/eventscript_pref.png.8be7f71b784b9a73e4f656c9cfd74418.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28522" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_06/eventscript_pref.png.8be7f71b784b9a73e4f656c9cfd74418.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_06/sharedlib.png.81a719a84c853633117ccd261e724ced.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28523" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_06/sharedlib.png.81a719a84c853633117ccd261e724ced.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p>
  13. <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_05/58cd9bc6c5394_OnResolution.jpg.8f214bf6c62d0ee84a80eb89b5161be9.jpg" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28251" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_05/58cd9bc6c5394_OnResolution.jpg.8f214bf6c62d0ee84a80eb89b5161be9.jpg" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_05/58cd9bce6cacf_OnResolution.jpg.42e8d119b80f99d967decec28dde4134.jpg" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28501" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_05/58cd9bce6cacf_OnResolution.jpg.42e8d119b80f99d967decec28dde4134.jpg" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p>
  14. I had been using Audirvana in iTunes-integrated mode since it became available, but have now returned to using it in stand-alone mode because the integrated mode is incompatible with Dirac room-correction software. In the time that I have been using Audirvana in integrated mode, the plug-in that I hacked together (with considerable help from Bob Stern) stopped working; it is incompatible with the latest iTunes and/or OS, and I haven't been able to fix it. I found a much simpler work-around, but it costs $5: EventScripts. I've described it in the blog-posting below subtitled "EventScripts and its companion free iOS app." For our purposes, we need just one of its features, the ability to run an Applescript or shell script each time iTunes starts to play a track (which is the same thing my plug-in did in a very hackish clunky manner.) So if you are willing to suck it up and pay the EventScript $5, you can do this. It also gives you a whole lot of other highly useful functionality, like being able to re-map all the Apple physical IR remote commands, direct them to a single program (like Audirvana), and the ability to run any shell script or AppleScript from the comfort of you iOS device. In other words, you get your $5 worth. (This is beginning to sound like an advertisement, so I should note I have no affiliation. It actually irks me to pay money for something I used to be able to do myself for free, so this is more like post hoc self-justification.) Here is how I am doing it. 1. Purchase and install EventScripts: $5. Eventscripts creates a directory within the user's own Library directory (aka folder), called ~/Library/Application\ Scripts/net.mousedown.EventScripts Don't worry, you can open that directory from the EventScripts icon that appears in the menu bar. Simply place whatever shell script or AppleScript you want to use with it in that directory, and then attach it to a command within the EventScripts interface. (We will get back to this, with more explicit directions, in step 3.) 2. Make an AppleScript to load selected albums or tracks into Audirvana In collaboration with Bob Stern, I've made two AppleScripts corresponding to two different ways to use the interface, depending on a user's preferences. The second option actually does everything, so you might simply prefer it. However, the first option, which is limited to loading a single album at a time, is my default preference, as it is significantly faster and matches my listening habits (I like to listen to one complete album, and then take a break -- I have a very short ADHD attention span.) Anyway, pick one of these first two, or write your own or modify one of these. As an alternative to cutting and pasting, here are the AppleScripts I am using to control Audirvana: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/net.mousedown.EventScripts_zip.42b0775c80d43146461a8278ca7ca95b" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28241" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/net.mousedown.EventScripts_zip.42b0775c80d43146461a8278ca7ca95b" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> 2a. Load an Album into Audirvana and play it. Cut and paste the following into an AppleScript editor and save it to the ~/Library/Application\ Scripts/net.mousedown.EventScripts directory: -- Script to hand off playing Albums in iTunes to Audirvana Plus. -- Conditional test to prevent handing over non-music files. -- Assumes you have bound command-k to "Delete" menu item -- William Scott, January 30, 2014 -- Works with EventScripts.app for automated functionality http://www.mousedown.net/mouseware/EventScripts.html tell application "iTunes" set iTunesFileKind to kind of the current track if "audio file" is in iTunesFileKind then -- do this only if it is an audio file, not a movie etc. pause -- Now that we have the info, stop playing iTunes and use Audirvana set filePath to location of current track set theTune to POSIX path of filePath set shellCommand to "dirname " & "\"" & theTune & "\"" set dirPath to do shell script shellCommand tell application "Audirvana Plus" activate -- here we use Audirvana Plus rather than iTunes to play the album after clearing the playlist tell application "System Events" to keystroke "a" using command down tell application "System Events" to keystroke "k" using command down delay 1 open dirPath end tell stop -- stops iTunes playback and clears it. end if end tell -- app iTunes I've commented the script so you can probably figure out what each line does. The keystroke command-a and command-k deletes the previously-added items in the Audirvana current playlist window. For this to work, you have to do two things. These are described in part 2c. 2b. Load selected tracks into Audirvana and play them. Cut and paste the following into an AppleScript editor and save it to the ~/Library/Application\ Scripts/net.mousedown.EventScripts directory: tell application "iTunes" set trackName to name of current track set CurrentAlbum to album of current track pause -- Now that we have the info, stop playing iTunes and use Audirvana set filePath to location of current track end tell -- here we use Audirvana rather than iTunes to play the track set theTune to POSIX path of filePath tell application "Audirvana Plus" open theTune end tell tell application "iTunes" next track if (trackName is name of current track) then set x to 1 else set x to 0 play pause end if end tell if x = 1 then tell application "System Events" set visible of process "iTunes" to false set visible of process "Finder" to false end tell return -- prevents endless repeat of the last song on the playlist end if 2c. A few tweaks to make this work properly. 1. Turn on Accessibility (formerly Enable Assistive Devices) so that the AppleScripts will work. 2. Bind the Command-k to "Delete" menu item in Audirvana Plus. You can do this in the "System Preferences > Keyboard" preferences pane, under the "shortcuts" tab. Here is a picture: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/commandK.png.ad41d1ad818d8c12cd457be6b0cc14da.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28238" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/commandK.png.ad41d1ad818d8c12cd457be6b0cc14da.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> 3. Attach the AppleScript to EventScripts via the interface. For details, see the EventScripts documentation. However, this is fairly self-evident: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/attachEventScript.png.e89923a0f5248b5b9f1846f66a680b22.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28240" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/attachEventScript.png.e89923a0f5248b5b9f1846f66a680b22.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/Eventscripts.png.410fbdc070ddb109f09e2f1d5484db94.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28239" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/Eventscripts.png.410fbdc070ddb109f09e2f1d5484db94.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/commandK.png.786faf9ca121767050b826582d70916b.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28488" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/commandK.png.786faf9ca121767050b826582d70916b.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/Eventscripts.png.818c317abaaae4f6eb30288ec9d56fe5.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28489" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/Eventscripts.png.818c317abaaae4f6eb30288ec9d56fe5.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/attachEventScript.png.9178e253000e3ef5a2214d1abd1538f2.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28490" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/attachEventScript.png.9178e253000e3ef5a2214d1abd1538f2.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/net.mousedown.EventScripts_zip.15b0074ee94669b3fae051077242696a" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28491" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2014_03/net.mousedown.EventScripts_zip.15b0074ee94669b3fae051077242696a" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p>
  15. My system

  16. One of the best things about FLAC is that it contains an internal checksum, so you can see if the audio portion of the file has been changed (i.e., corrupted in some way, or has suffered "bit rot"). You can change the tags embedded in the file all you want, and it won't alter this checksum. The only thing that will cause it to change is damage to the audio content of the file. Wouldn't it be nice if ALAC had the same feature? It turns out the Apple OS X command-line utility can do this for lossless ALAC, aiff, and a few otehr types of files. In the case of AIFF, it can actually embed the checksum in the file itself, but it can't do that for ALAC files. However, using another OS X command-line utility, xattr, you can add this (or anything you please) to the resource fork associated with the ALAC file. The following is a shell script that will do exactly this for you, for ALAC files. In the future, I might expand this to do it for aiff as well, or you could modify it easily enough. Anyway, here is the shell script on google code: https://zsh-templates-osx.googlecode.com/svn-history/trunk/Library/init/zsh/zshrc.d/local-functions/darwin/bitrot Download it, make it executable ( chmod a+x bitrot ) and stick it in your $PATH, and Bob's your uncle. (For compatibility with the example launchd plist file below, I suggest putting it into /usr/local/bin ). Read the shell script for more details. [i wrote it in zsh because it is better than bash. Try doing recursive globbing ( **/*.m4a ) in bash.] I recommend running it as a background process manually when you want to create the checksums. Then you can run the actual checking process from a lauchd script or /etc/periodic however often suits you. It is set to log only changes it detects in ~/Library/Logs/bitrot No news (or log file) is good news. If you want a reality check, run bitrot -l . It goes fairly quickly. I haven't tested this on a system in which Spotlight has been deactivated, but it might not work properly on those. Let me know. Example launchd plist file. You can name this local.bitrot.checker.plist and put it into your user's Library/LaunchAgents folder. Make sure you edit the WorkingDirectory string entry first, providing your own username, and the actual path to where your music files reside. This will check your files every sunday at 1 am. You may wish to adjust this according to your listening habits and degree of paranoia. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd"> <plist version="1.0"> <dict> <key>Label</key> <string>local.bitrot.checker</string> <key>WorkingDirectory</key> <string>/Users/yourusername/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music</string> <key>ProgramArguments</key> <array> <string>/usr/local/bin/bitrot</string> <string>-c</string> </array> <key>StartCalendarInterval</key> <dict> <key>Hour</key> <integer>1</integer> <key>Minute</key> <integer>3</integer> <key>Weekday</key> <integer>0</integer> </dict> </dict> </plist>
  17. Not so hip to be square

    There seems to be a fair bit of confusion about trying to reproduce square waves using bandwidth-limited systems (and face it, all audio systems are bandwidth-limited), so I decided to try to write up some basic things that hopefully will help clear some of the confusion. As we know, a square wave is the sum of all odd harmonics, according to the formula <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/dc1ca9de7f258a89d3c579f55d29ed05.png.93746a73f3387dae706cd0249e50e77a.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28170" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/dc1ca9de7f258a89d3c579f55d29ed05.png.93746a73f3387dae706cd0249e50e77a.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> By the way, that formula has nothing to do with Fourier analysis - it is just the sum of a bunch of sine waves, so the only operation we use is addition. To perfectly reproduce the square wave, infinite bandwidth is required, so we will never get a perfect square wave. Here is a square wave built up from harmonics 1-99 (So if the fundamental was at 1 KHz, this square wave would require a system capable of reproducing 100 KHz): <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square99.png.aa382256a46a72bcbe0b06cf578e9111.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28171" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square99.png.aa382256a46a72bcbe0b06cf578e9111.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> Not too shabby, right? OK, what happens when we lower the bandwidth? Here is the same wave, but with an upper limit of 20 KHz, so only the harmonics 1-19 are included: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square19.png.edc3a5207034ec28f7acf150284048b3.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28172" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square19.png.edc3a5207034ec28f7acf150284048b3.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> As we can see, we now have a ripple caused by the harmonics above the 19th missing from the supposedly infinite sum. Some people might think it is ringing caused by the DAC filter, but note that so far we haven't applied any filter. The ripple is totally natural consequence of the fact that the higher harmonics that would "smooth out" the square wave are missing (and note that the ripple frequency is at 21 times the fundamental, so above the 20 KHz human hearing range). This actually has nothing to do with digital - we could use a bank of analog sine wave generators feeding an analog mixer, and use a tape deck as our bandwidth-limited channel. Here is the same approximate square wave again, but showing the missing harmonics - exactly the difference between the approximation and the ideal square wave: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/squareripple.png.a6c99d84af93ea432deb799f26656557.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28173" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/squareripple.png.a6c99d84af93ea432deb799f26656557.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> Now, does this have anything to do with how it sounds? No, not really. The "squareness" of the square wave is purely a visual thing - and our ears don't care about visual squareness. To illustrate this, let's shift the phase of the harmonics by 180 degrees (180 degrees of harmonic 3 corresponds to 60 degrees of the fundamental), a change that is pretty much inaudible to the ear: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/squarephase.png.d87210d4a9656fdcc54d1de3ccc75592.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28174" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/squarephase.png.d87210d4a9656fdcc54d1de3ccc75592.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> Pretty nasty-looking, huh? It is the same square wave, but with a bit of frequency-dependent phase shift (as generated by any filter or speaker). It is pretty clear that the "squareness" of a square wave on a 'scope display has very little to do with how it actually sounds. So, how does the original square wave look when we shift the frequency up to 10 KHz but keep the high frequency cut-off at 20 KHz, just as would happen with any system (not just digital) that has an upper frequency limit below 30 KHz? Here is the result: <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square10khz.png.b5395e0e8ae30d3db6cf16fd4e38c1d2.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28175" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square10khz.png.b5395e0e8ae30d3db6cf16fd4e38c1d2.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> So we have a sine wave. Not very surprising, considering we removed anything from 30 KHz and up - so all harmonics got removed, leaving only the fundamental? The crucial question remains - how does it sound? Funny enough, just like the unlimited square wave, as our ears can't hear even the 3rd harmonic at 30 KHz anyway. To our ears, there is no difference between a 10 KHz sine wave, and a 10 KHz square wave. So, considering how common square waves are in digital systems, it is a bit ironic that they are so useless in evaluating systems with a HF cutoff (both analog and digital).<p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/dc1ca9de7f258a89d3c579f55d29ed05.png.e1f5f3413817fed100908876ebefa5ea.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28420" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/dc1ca9de7f258a89d3c579f55d29ed05.png.e1f5f3413817fed100908876ebefa5ea.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square99.png.9cc239cd98736db94d68e6721a03ba7a.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28421" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square99.png.9cc239cd98736db94d68e6721a03ba7a.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square19.png.6bb0ddd973a9c518a95a425c65deb4ae.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28422" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square19.png.6bb0ddd973a9c518a95a425c65deb4ae.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/squareripple.png.16f2f5b6bad1612d5029fdca269c6c41.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28423" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/squareripple.png.16f2f5b6bad1612d5029fdca269c6c41.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/squarephase.png.d2f2d70fcb43123e3eca43ddf6431cb5.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28424" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/squarephase.png.d2f2d70fcb43123e3eca43ddf6431cb5.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square10khz.png.62c572087a38941fa16007f03c97ebac.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28425" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_06/square10khz.png.62c572087a38941fa16007f03c97ebac.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p>
  18. In a recent piece from the Voice of America ... <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_03/gibson_women.jpg.350a8ca610d5f3a7761373815d8c0f87.jpg" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28155" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_03/gibson_women.jpg.350a8ca610d5f3a7761373815d8c0f87.jpg" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_03/gibson_women.jpg.ca1afa29fc20953090bce7935d2fc643.jpg" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28405" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2013_03/gibson_women.jpg.ca1afa29fc20953090bce7935d2fc643.jpg" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p>
  19. The DDDAC1794 is no (ordinary) DAC!

    Note: an updated version of this text is my main audio site (audioroot.net). Why the heck would anyone buy a DDDAC1794? This thing seems very much out of place in the arena USB and FireWire DACs out there, it costs a lot of money, and it requires an intimate relationshop with a soldering iron, too. However, I have been in the DIY world long enough to know that nothing beats a good DIY system. I had many and very different DACs in the past. My beloved Stokes DIY Tube DAC was restricted to S/PDIF and red-book 44/16 audio. I plunged into computer audio with a not-so-great Headroom USB DAC. Then I hot rodded an Apogee Mini FireWire DAC with a hefty DIY power supply. I use an Audiolab M-DAC in our living-room system (and it tends to break from time to time). My main system had a Linnenberg UDC1. And I've listened to the Weiss and many other cost-a-lot stuff. However, while some of those DACs sound pretty good compared to others, they all screw up the music in the same way. And I don't mean the painful "S" sounds and similar boorishness from crummy DACs. Even the «good» DACs take away the life, flesh and breath from the music, very much in contrast my trusted vinyl rig (Scheu platter and bearing, Teres motor, and Schröder arm). The Stokes Tube DAC and the Audiolab M-DAC both allow using different built-in digital filters with different characteristics. The different filters usually sound slightly different, and some sound «better» than others, but they never get rid of the artificial sound completely. But, maybe unfortunately, the filters cannot be turned off completely. When I «stumbled» over Doede Douma's description of his DDDAC1794 that does away with digital filters I knew I had to try a non-oversampling (NOS) DAC sooner or later. Why not just skip the digital oversampling/filter, if it affects the sound by inventing new sound data that never existed in the first place? Doedes technical description and documentation is very comprehensive and makes a lot of sense. My only hesitation was that I didn't want to start yet another DIY project that I'd never finish, because time is limited (there's a family, work, and too many other hobbies). But Doede sells completely assembled and tested DACs modules, power supplies, and USB interfaces. He even gave me a copy of the files needed to order a very nice custom-made chassis for the DDDAC1794 at Schaeffer AG. And when I asked him about the specifics of the additional bits and pieces needed to build a complete DAC, he simply included these in the package. For example, when I asked about which power switch would fit in the chassis, Doede just put the switch in the package (three switches, to be precise. Just in case I'd break the first and loose the second one). All this allowed me to build the DDDAC1794 in no time. The only gripe was when the Schaeffer chassis was a wee to too small to fit the power-supply heat sinks, but there was an easy fix (just a little side note to illustrate how smooth building the DDDAC1794 was: before I found the DDDAC1794 on the net, I asked the local Bryston distributor if I could borrow one of their DACs to give it a try. They keep promising I could have one once they receive one. In the meantime, I am playing my music using the DDDAC1794). How does it sound? Spectacular? Phantastic? Superb? Damn good? Fucking great? Yes, all of this. But that's all secondary with the DDDAC1794. The really important thing is that the DDDAC1794 doesen't sound like a DAC at all. It's a bit like a vinyl rig on steroids, but without the pops, clicks, and rumble (and I don't mean the old record player your dad had when he was a boy, but the freaky good 2013 stuff). The music and all the little details are just there in a very relaxed way. Ry Cooder is having a party in my house, Phil Collins' (yes!) drumsticks are flying in front of me, Sophie Hunger has moved to my house (was close anyway), Willy DeVille has risen from the dead, no more doubts about No Doubt, Timber Timbre is timber timbered, Mark Knopfler is in Dire Straits, Marianne Faithfull finally confessed her love for Bruce Springsteen, Jeff's Wine is as Lilac as it gets, Glen Hansard got a shave, Depeche Mode are Exit(er)ing, Lou Reed made me a Perfect Day, and Giant Sand and Marla Glen just called to be the next acts in my listening room. In short: I hear the music, not a DAC. In contrast to oversampling and digial filters, the NOS concept not only works, but also sounds good! As a final and very important comment, I'd like to congratulate Doede not only for designing the DDDAC1794, but also for documenting everything in full detail. The deep insight into how the DDDAC1794 works provided a lot of confidence that convinced me to try Doede's design and to buy his stuff. One can only guess why others don't do that. Update 11.3.2013: Doede sent me two Sowter 1298 transformers, which he designed as an alternative to the standard coupling capacitor in the analog out line. Apart from avoiding the coupling capacitor in the signal, the transformers also allow using the inverted output of the DAC chips, thus cancelling out even-order distortion. I immediately noticed the sound improvement with the transformers. The music sounded as if the musicians just got a pay increase! The transformers were expensive, but the money was well spent in my case.
  20. Full Room View 15' X 24' Dimensions w/ 8.5' Ceilings Seating = Stressless Wave X 2 Computer Audio Related Components ROON Server CORE GEN5 INTEL NUC i5 w/16GB RAM SAMSUNG 950 PRO NVMe M.2 @ 256GB Internal SSD Ubuntu 16.04LTS ROON Endpoint Sonore MicroRendu WireWorld - Platinum Starlight USB 1.5m Roon Remotes iPAD,iPhone,Dell Tablet MUSIC STORAGE iXSystems FreeNAS Mini w/32GB RAM 8TB w/RAIDz2 ZFS NETWORKING Cisco Catalyst 2960G Switch Everything hardwired and local to this switch - ie..No Routing Hops Involved Component to Component Ping Times at or below .2xx ms Sonore MicroRendu Power Supply Agilent U8001A - 0-30v Adjustable Poor man's Power Cable UPS/Power Source CyberPower PFC Sinewave CP1500PFCLCD Capacity: 1500 VA / 900 W Current Output Load of all items above connected to it = 90W ..Heh Front End Meitner MA-1 DAC CLASSE CP-800 PREAMP (Analog Bypass Mode) Shunyata Denali 6000T Shunyata Alpha HC 20A Power Cord DIY Audio Rack Stillpoints Ultra SS Solid Tech - Disk's of Silence X 2 - 20Amp Circuits w/PS Audio Receptacles Mogami 2549 Balanced XLR w/ Neutrik Cryo Treated Neotech NEP-3003 Powercord /w Furutech for Front End Components Amplification Pass Labs XA60.8 Waveform Fidelity HE MK3/HC Poor Mans Cable Elevators X 2 - 20Amp Circuits w/PS Audio Receptacles Torus Power RM20 Isolation Transformer Stillpoints Ultra SS Speakers / Speaker Wire / Isolation Magico S3 MIT Magnum MA Herbie's Audio Lab Titanium Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders Herbie's Audio Lab Titanium Hush Puckies
  21. Hi, I'm Dan and this is my first CA blog entry. Until now I've not been able to post for reasons described in the disclaimer at the foot of this post, but this time I've been given the "all clear"! I'd like to introduce the readers of Computer Audiophile to my new, free, 25 (ish) page computer audio e-book, Music Library Management. <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2012_09/book_3D_159x200.png.1c64852044c00fc883b7aca8d1d6349e.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28128" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2012_09/book_3D_159x200.png.1c64852044c00fc883b7aca8d1d6349e.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p> Unlike the normal focus at Computer Audiophile on sound quality, this e-book concentrates on library quality. What do I mean by that? I mean all the ancillary tasks involved in managing a computer-based music library: ripping, tagging, backing up and more. I figured that there are a lot of audiophiles at CA with deep experience of extracting the best sound quality, but that's not all there is to computer audio; as well as sounding fantastic, your library needs to look beautiful, navigate easily, be searchable and restorable when the worst happens! The e-book is split into four sections: procuring, storing, organising and securing, covering all the most important topics in general detail. I've been working with computer audio since 1996 and have run my own software company developing software for organising computer audio libraries since 2009. The book was released last Thursday and is downloadable from http://www.blisshq.com/music-library-management-ebook.html today! Disclaimer: The above link points to my commercial site. Normally, linking to commercial sites is against the rules however in this case Chris Connaker has given the explicit all-clear in an email conversation.<p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2012_09/book_3D_159x200.png.eb4da948f7e937dd1e95d26c89353ca5.png" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28378" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2012_09/book_3D_159x200.png.eb4da948f7e937dd1e95d26c89353ca5.png" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p>
  22. Mastered for iTunes Part 2

    Since the db levels of the MFIT and ALAC versions are different (MFIT is a tad softer), they need to be matched up for listening comparisons...dang it, this was supposed to be easy. So far there is little to report...the only differences being because of the db level, and now those differences are gone. One of the benefits of MFIT is the ability to check for clipping, which can be a problem when converting to AAC straight from the CD master. I used iTunes to generate my own 256kbps AAC version of the album. I loaded the tracks into Audacity, well holy shredded sine waves Batman! There was indeed some clipping in my AAC version. But now the good news: the MFIT version shows absolutely no clipping, and this probably explains why the db level was pulled back a tad. Check out what Apple has to say about MFIT if you haven't already.
  23. I was reading the Zu website, as I have some curiosity about high-efficiency speakers. This caught my eye first: If someone wrote that on one of my exams, I would draw a red line through it and mark it "0". This made me throw up a little in my mouth: Admittedly this might just be the result of a few too many bong hits, and is not quite as egregious as the claims here: Quantum-mechanical tunneling and cables - Blogs - Computer Audiophile But, still …
  24. Mastered for iTunes Part 1

    The image below shows a comparison between the MFIT (Mastered for iTunes) and ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Compression) versions of John Mayer's "Queen of California." This is track 1 from his latest album, Born and Raised. MFIT is on top, ALAC is on bottom. What do you see? To me, the MFIT version is mastered at a slightly lower volume. I can't see any visual evidence that the dynamic range compression is different: since the loudest and softest parts both appear louder on the ALAC version. Hope the image turns out ok. If not, I will upload somewhere else. <p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2012_09/HeadroomComparison.jpg.155eb1bb747a3284a5e06a98d06e740e.jpg" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28127" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2012_09/HeadroomComparison.jpg.155eb1bb747a3284a5e06a98d06e740e.jpg" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p><p><a href="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2012_09/HeadroomComparison.jpg.9ad257f55f93e85f0dc90b543437c0ec.jpg" class="ipsAttachLink ipsAttachLink_image"><img data-fileid="28377" src="<fileStore.core_Attachment>/monthly_2012_09/HeadroomComparison.jpg.9ad257f55f93e85f0dc90b543437c0ec.jpg" class="ipsImage ipsImage_thumbnailed" alt=""></a></p>