Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › FLAC vs Apple LossLess
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

FLAC vs Apple LossLess - Page 10  

post #136 of 149
Quote:

Originally Posted by Thraex View Post

 

I'm really interested, for a comparison, in which components do you use in your high-end system for streaming. Do you use USB audio which I consider a mess?

Your Airport limits bit/freq to 16/48 max, even if you can playback 24/96 files they're downsampled before the DAC.

 

I only care about what humans can hear. I don't waste my time chasing numbers for the sake of numbers. Before I set up my music server, I spent the better part of a week auditioning and testing codecs with a wide variety of music, from 78 era recordings all the way up to modern- classical, opera, jazz, big band, vocals, country- everything. I can tell you the strengths and weaknesses of each codec I tested. I can tell you which ones and bitrates artifact with specific sounds, and which ones are audibly transparent.

 

My main system would blow you away from every aspect- soundstage, dynamics, response, clarity and accuracy. I've worked with production sound in TV for many years, and I know what good sound is. I'm happy to share with you how to achieve that, and how to not waste your time on things that are more in your head than in your ears.

 

But you have to listen, and you have to not have your mind snapped shut with all of your preexisting conclusions.

 

To answer your question...

 

My iTunes library which contains over a year and a half of music in AAC 256 VBR format is on a Drobo which consists of four 2 TB hard drives in a sort of a RAID system. The data is protected, so if a drive fails, it can recreate the lost data. The drive is connected to a Mac Mini using Firewire 800. The server streams music 24/7 throughout my house using an Apple Airport wifi network. i can control every component from anywhere by using my iPhone and a Harmony Link. The Mini is the main source for my screening room. It plays music files, hidef video, 5:1 audio, etc. I also have a Sony bluray player for physical media connected using HDMI. The Mini is connected to my Yamaha AV receiver using optical. The Yamaha decodes everything I throw at it flawlessly. The receiver powers a set of custom made 12 inch five way studio monitors and a set of JBL towers as the mains. I have a top of the line Sunfire 12 inch subwoofer, a Klipsch center channel, and Klipsch bookshelves in the rear. The whole system is carefully equalized and tweaked to the room which doubles as a listening room and screening room with a ten foot hidef projection system. The projector is connected by HDMI- it's a high end Epson UB model.

 

My system is capable of both 5:1 movies with wall shaking bass and well meshed surround and totally realistic presentation of chamber music or acoustic jazz with a wide, clearly defined soundstage. It sounds as good whisper quiet as it does at volumes you can hear a block away. The sound of orchestral music is extremely realistic. You can close your eyes and pinpoint the individual instruments in space. I've been working on this system for nearly 30 years and I've just gotten to the place where I'm satisfied. There is only one more change I plan to make. I'm going to replace the rear channel speakers with studio monitors to tighten up the 5:1 soundfield a bit.

 

i got to the place I am with sound by studying the basic physics of acoustics and by testing each component by ear to determine exactly what it added to the chain. All elements of a system aren't equal. Some things really don't matter. Other things are VERY important to get right. Having the experience to know which is which is the key to getting great sound.


Edited by bigshot - 2/6/13 at 10:12am
post #137 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraex View Post


I argued about power req or noise it could induce in surrounding circuits.

 

As far as noise goes, no, it is not possible for the differences in processing something this simple to generate any noise.

 

I've got a sound card in between a 170 Watt graphics card and a fan. Even when my graphics card and processor are being stressed to the fullest extent, there is no noise. If I monitor the differences in processor speed between playing FLAC and ALAC files, there isn't going to be any difference that I can see, but I can run enough programs to max out the processor and GPU and there's still not going to be any noise.

 

I've had a noisy setup before. You can tell that there is noise because you can hear noise. It has nothing to do with subtle changes in sound quality.


Edited by chewy4 - 2/6/13 at 10:32am
post #138 of 149

Way back in the early days of audio on computers, I had a machine that would have trouble playing sound while it was chugging through a photoshop filter. It exhibited itself by skipping, not noise.

post #139 of 149
Quote:

Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

 

My iTunes library which contains over a year and a half of music in AAC 256 VBR format.

The server streams music 24/7 throughout my house using an Apple Airport wifi network.

I also have a Sony bluray player for physical media connected using HDMI.

The Mini is connected to my Yamaha AV receiver using optical.

The receiver powers a set of custom made 12 inch five way studio monitors and a set of JBL towers as the mains. I have a top of the line Sunfire 12 inch subwoofer, a Klipsch center channel, and Klipsch bookshelves in the rear.

 

Given the limited info you posted, without considering your subjective evaluations that are in your brain and make you happy after 30 years of research, I comment you basic choices since I doubt your sistem is the best possible solution around to be able to replicate little differences in source material.

 

You choose compressed AAC 256 VBR instead of ALAC or 24 bit files because you can't hear sound differences in your system?

I believe it, I was reporting your Airport limited to 16/48, but in your case it's perfectly capable.

 

Which Sony bluray, Yamaha AV, Klipsch and JBL speakers model you have?

It makes a world of a difference.

 

I doubt the Apple mini via optical could be the best digital source around without even considering iTunes software or OS optimizations. Any computer, Apple included, is very noisy inside and it can disturb at least the chip sending the digital signal causing more jitter and distortion than its specifications on paper.

Digital optical Toshlink do avoids RF and ground loops but it's limited in many ways causing jitter/noise/distortion/reliability: SPDIF clock recovery, fiber type and quality, length, bandwidth (maybe not your case), robustness and then you can start to check what is doing the optical receiver inside your Yamaha AV and how it translate data to feed the DAC.

Your DAC, volume control/preamp and at least five power amp are all inside the same chassis and use the same power supply.

If you think it's the best way to do things for maximum audio performance it's totally clear now why you think surrounding circuits do not disturb each other.

I don't believe neither in mixing different types of speakers: drivers, crossover, sensivity, impedance.... they don't react the same way given the same amp even if you level volume for your listening position.

I've never been able to perfectly match a subwoofer or two with speakers regarding coherence of emission even from the same brand, but I'm always open to experiment if there's a successful way to do it.

post #140 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraex View Post

Any computer, Apple included, is very noisy inside and it can disturb at least the chip sending the digital signal causing more jitter and distortion than its specifications on paper.

That's not true at all. Noisy computers are in the minority. Mine was at first but it was fixed by getting a new wifi adapter. It could have also been fixed by getting a shielded soundcard or moving it to a different slot.

post #141 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

As far as noise goes, no, it is not possible for the differences in processing something this simple to generate any noise.

 

I've got a sound card in between a 170 Watt graphics card and a fan. Even when my graphics card and processor are being stressed to the fullest extent, there is no noise. If I monitor the differences in processor speed between playing FLAC and ALAC files, there isn't going to be any difference that I can see, but I can run enough programs to max out the processor and GPU and there's still not going to be any noise.

 

I've had a noisy setup before. You can tell that there is noise because you can hear noise. It has nothing to do with subtle changes in sound quality.


I really can't believe you're talking about external audible buzz/hum noise or noisy fans!

I'm not english but I think I've cleared it enough, but since it's not the case here we go again...

I was referring to RF/EMI noise that could cause the DAC/analog circuit (even yours) to be disturbed more and perform worse when other components stress the same PSU feeding the common motherboard/printed circuit. The PSU itself produce more noise/ripple when more power is required and that noise is received by each connected circuit powered by the same PSU. How much of that RF/EMI noise affects each type of circuit is the matter of discussion.

However if your test is conducted within your noisy computer it's useless, since it's already full of noise that a little bit more doesn't matter, even if it's always silent from the outside.


Edited by Thraex - 2/6/13 at 12:58pm
post #142 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraex View Post


I really can't believe you're talking about external audible hum noise or noisy fans!

I'm not english but I think I've cleared it enough, but since it's not the case here we go again...

I was referring to RF/EMI noise that could cause the DAC/analog circuit (even yours) to be disturbed more and perform worse when other components stress the same PSU feeding the common motherboard/printed circuit. The PSU itself produce more noise/ripple when more power is required and that noise is received by each connected circuit powered by the same PSU. How much of that RF/EMI noise affects each type of circuit is the matter of discussion.

However if your test is conducted from your noisy computer is useless, even if it's silent from outside.

No, that's not the kind of noise I was referring to. I'm referring to internal noise, heard by the headphones, caused by interference from other electronic components. The sound of it is not a subtle decrease in sound quality.


Edited by chewy4 - 2/6/13 at 12:56pm
post #143 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraex View Post

Given the limited info you posted, without considering your subjective evaluations that are in your brain and make you happy after 30 years of research, I comment you basic choices since I doubt your sistem is the best possible solution around to be able to replicate little differences in source material.

 

Spelling, grammar and syntax all count, I'm afraid. But thanks for playing! Better luck next time.


Edited by bigshot - 2/6/13 at 1:01pm
post #144 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

 

Spelling, grammar and syntax all count, I'm afraid. But thanks for playing! Better luck next time.


LOL!

Touché!

I'm not english, I'll study more and try again!


Edited by Thraex - 2/6/13 at 1:51pm
post #145 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

No, that's not the kind of noise I was referring to. I'm referring to internal noise, heard by the headphones, caused by interference from other electronic components. The sound of it is not a subtle decrease in sound quality.


I'm sure you don't hear any change since noise is already high and analog out is not the best from an internal soundcard.

post #146 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraex View Post


I'm sure you don't hear any change since noise is already high and analog out is not the best from an internal soundcard.

No, you're not sure. You're just coming up with more and more ridiculous ideas with no backing to them.

 

My soundcard is great, better specs than most of those fancy external DACs.

 

But anyways I believe I've explained myself clearly enough, and there's no reason to continue to repeat myself. You can keep coming up with these crazy ideas if you want, or you can do your research and listen to other people. For the time being I'm out of here, this is just silly.

post #147 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraex View Post

LOL! Touché! I'm not english, I'll study more and try again!

 

Well then you have an excuse. All is forgiven. Now try to ask questions that don't have built in conclusions and you'll be doing good.

post #148 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

No, you're not sure. You're just coming up with more and more ridiculous ideas with no backing to them.

 

My soundcard is great, better specs than most of those fancy external DACs.

 

But anyways I believe I've explained myself clearly enough, and there's no reason to continue to repeat myself. You can keep coming up with these crazy ideas if you want, or you can do your research and listen to other people. For the time being I'm out of here, this is just silly.

 

You're right, my mistake, I don't know your system and can't conclude anything specific, but I can explain my ridiculous ideas and crazy doubts since I have my own long experience with a high-end Lynx Studio L-22 PCI soundcard using ASIO drivers. The sound quality from that source it's not even near what I have now.

RF/EMI noise inside a computer affects the soundcard and I've experienced a better sound minimazing those noise: I've used the best computer PSU based on measurements of ripple/noise/..., SSD drives insted of noisier disk spinners, discarded TV/videocapture cards, used lower powered videocard up to built-in CPU videocard, the best motherboards designed for low RF/EMI noise with fewer components as possible and disabled any unnecessary internal device, fanless heatpipes to avoid even fans noise and their tiny power req and so on...

Each step always improved my computer audio sound up to a point that I wasn't able to think how to upgarde anything else.
 

I've then started using USB DACs to avoid those noises and I was in the right direction since a lot of devices better the Lynx L-22 soundcard. I've had in my system one of the best DAC in the world, the MSB Platinum DAC MKIV with specifically designed in-house USB input. Greatest sound experienced, but I was still frustrated hearing different sound from different software players, buffers dimension and settings in those or in the OS, up to using JPlay software designed for high-end computer audio and which discards any type of unnecessary software or drivers at work in the background. You can read computeraudiophile to know how many optimizations could be implemented for computer audio.

 

Frustrated I've moved on and started using high-end streamers. Now I don't need to mess around with countless of settings and regarding sound quality I don't miss the MSB DAC, maybe it was better, but I'm not sure and considering confort and peace of mind I'm happier now.

 

Given my experience, audio system, ears and brain I could detect small differences, I doubt you could with an internal soundcard.

If differences are due to codecs, hardware quality and implementation I don't know, that's why I was searching a logical answer.

Your answer is it's all in my mind, I've tried to believe that but still not able to.

 

Amen.


Edited by Thraex - 2/6/13 at 6:10pm
post #149 of 149

Can somebody please move this thread to the Sound Science forum? deadhorse.gif

 

We're here for music. biggrin.gif

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
This thread is locked  
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › FLAC vs Apple LossLess