This is one place where a new generation of audiophiles are hanging out.
You may have heard of it. The site is reddit.com.
Headphones and vinyl define the new frontier. If pressed to name a third, I’d be hard pressed between Sonos and desktop DACs.
Get with it. join in. Be hip. Chat with Steve Mejias tomorrow.
Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York recently empirically tested the accuracy of the so-called “Fourier Uncertainty Principle (FUP).” In a nutshell, human hearing is much better than the FUP predicts.
Such news indirectly bolsters the subjectivist arguments that careful listeners can discern sonic elements that are opaque to engineering testing.
But we already knew this, right?
The video below will help prepare you for what might be the next wave in high-end digital. It will also serve as a great intro for our next session at Blue Coast Records.
(There’s a lot of good info to be had from the various RMAF videos.)
To see more of the like, just view this page, and refresh the page as desired.
Last Saturday, about 40 BAAS members converged on Jason’s house in Oakland for another DAC shootout. (The then-new Berkeley Alpha DAC was the star of the last such event.)
- Audioquest Dragonfly ($250) (link)
- iFi iDAC ($300) with iUSB ($200) power supply (link , designed by AMR)
- Schiit Bifrost ($450 with USB) (link)
- Halide DAC HD ($495) (link)
- USB has emerged as a mature, great-sounding standard
- There are some seriously-good fidelity to be had in the $250-500 price bracket; and
- The Halide DAC deserves its Class A Stereophile rating. It is special
Given this last point, many members were delighted to hear that Jason has secured a BAAS “Group Buy” discount on the Halide.
Check out this thread on What’s Best’s audio forum. You’ll find the video by MA Recordings and the Pac NW Audio Society – featuring our own John Stone!
You’ll also discover a bunch of free high-resolution downloads, some in DSD. Todd G, like Cookie M, is sold on DSD.
The WB forum is one of the best IMO. Several BAAS members participate….
See this Wired article for a demo and an explanation by the engineer.
OK, so sound quality is about that achieved by Edison. But I predict that it’ll improve – a lot.
Is this the ultimate audiophile DAC?
In my piece, I was just a bit dismissive that capturing ultrasonic content could actually do harm. I’ve since eased my stance a bit.
You see, I actually downloaded Xiph’s test files and played them on my system. And low-level distortion products appeared. These were manifest as an occasional tic or pop. No wonder folks say that hires digital sounds analog! LOL.
Granted, my Goldmund amps have a rather large bandwidth (3 Mhz). But still.
Try the test yourself and let us know via the comments what you hear. The files are about a third of the way down in a section labeled “Intermod Tests.”
[Note that these occasional tics were down more than 40dB, and would likely be benign in a typical listening session.]
Quora, a popular and high-quality opinions site, has this to say on the matter.
Something for everyone – or not.
Sample: “…audiophiles tend to prefer vinyl over compact discs for pretty much every genre of music except classical.”
The illustration below (source unknown) provides some pointers on how to be more exact with your audiophile jargon.
As a very course mnemonic, you can use the three decades of the audio spectrum to define bass/midrange/treble:
- Bass: 20-200 hz
- Mids: 200-2K hz
- Treble: 2K-20K hz
For the vinyl person who has every thing – an LP consisting of one note.
That’s right, the whole record is a single pitch. 33.33 hz of course. But wait…you can play it at 45 RPM and get 45hz!
The price? 33.33 GBP of course.
Also referenced is a framework that I had almost forgotten about: The Gizmodo Audiophile Sound Quality Index. (Site currently down due to the storm.)
“Vinylmania” is coming to San Fran – details here.
Also, you may want to check out this charity record sale on Nov 10th (same day as the movie), proceeds to Palo Alto Library.
BAAS members enjoyed a pleasant Saturday at the Oakland HQ of Linn Audio.
David Linn, founder and CEO, played host to an enthusiastic crowd of listeners. Thanks, David!
Comments were heard throughout the day about how dynamic the speakers were and the “honesty” of their tone. They were also capable of sound levels that would fill a stadium.
When asked about the name of the firm and possible confusion with the Scots, Dr. Linn replied that “…Linn is my last name, not theirs….”
Way back in 1983, Mr. Zappa – a genius IMO – described the rudiments of an HDtracks-like service.
First, he succinctly described the problem:
Ordinary phonograph record merchandising as it exists today is a stupid process which concerns itself essentially with pieces of plastic, wrapped in pieces of cardboard. These objects, in quantity, are heavy and expensive to ship. The manufacturing process is complicated and crude. Quality control for the stamping of the discs is an exercise in futility. The system is subject to pilferage…Dissatisfied customers routinely return records because they are warped and will not play…Large numbers of people are employed in the field of ‘record promotion.’…these salaries are, for the most part, a waste of money.
Then, his proposed solution:
We propose to acquire the rights to digitally duplicate and store THE BEST of every record company’s difficult-to-move Quality Catalog Items (QCI), store them in a central processing location, and have them accessible by…direct digital-to-digital transfer…All accounting for royalty payments, billing to the customer, etc. would be automatic, built into the initial software for the system.
Of course, FZ described the details of the system in terms of then-current tech (e.g., Betamax). But the core underpinnings of today’s reality were there – even the piece about high-resolution digital transfers of archival analog media.
One sharp cookie…
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