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post #61 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

I'm 54. I don't have CD player. I rip all my CDs to ALAC and stream via Apple TV to my stereo. If that's a youth activity, good for me! Of course, my stereo is a well researched bang for buck system, and certainly not a mega buck status symbol. Heck, my system costs less than high end cables. I'm probably a lousy hi end audio customer.

i'm 49, the only cd player i have is in the car, almost all of my cd's i've burned from downloaded albums, and live shows, i can't remember the last time i bought a cd in a store.

i love vinyl , i love tubes, etc, but the total cost of my two pairs of headphones, amp, dac, and desktop speakers is less than my "budget,entry level" amp of my old hi fi set up,

and the quality of the sound i've attained with relatively modest outlay is simply outstanding

post #62 of 147

I've been thinking about all this, and it occurs to me that there's some stratification even among the personal audio revolution. I'll use my own experience to demonstrate.

 

I'm 25, so while I would probably be one of the young people involved in the revolution at large, I'm actually slightly too old to be considered part of the iPod Generation. I didn't grow up with a non-physical media personal audio device. I have very fond memories of a portable CD player around the turn of the millennium, and at the time the idea of a handheld device that aggregated my whole music library never even crossed my mind.

 

I got a 60 GB 5G iPod for Christmas in 2005. It was a revelation. I had already been keeping my library on my computer for years, but my portable listening was still done with a PCDP. I had an enormous collection of CD-Rs (at the end 20+) containing my whole library, but every time I got new music by an artist it ended up separate from the main artist disc(s), and eventually I'd have to redo everything to keep it straight. Sony's ATRAC system cut down on the number of discs, though with cumbersome navigation and poor compression quality as consequences. The iPod was the first device that let me take my entire library with me uncompressed and in a way that allowed for easy navigation, organization, and adding of new music.

 

In some ways I'm still a member of the previous generation, though. I still buy all my music on physical media whenever I can. It's not because I've convinced myself that I can hear the difference between lossless and any compression format or bitrate*. In fact, I've since embraced compression. It's because I like to be able to control the compression process and use a more efficient codec as it becomes available. VBR AAC is incredibly efficient, in fact; ~175 kbps is transparent to me, as opposed to V0 MP3. I'd never be able to use a Sansa Clip Zip if I had to rely on lossless formats.

 

I'm also not obsessed with upgrading my portable device every six seconds. That's something that gets joked about a lot and which sets the iPod Generation apart from my slightly earlier one. My iPod lasted me until December last year (seven years, almost to the day), when I finally retired it (it still works and holds a usable charge!). I'll replace my current Clip Zip when it dies. Audio devices don't go "out of date" for me the way they do for the iPod Generation. And I'm not interested in apps or music stores I can access from my device. I just want to play my music and manage my own collection, which is pretty much all PCDPs and computer jukebox software used to do. The idea of a dedicated, manually-organized music-playing device is old-fashioned. Even my Rockboxed Clip Zip can do dozens of things I don't care about.

 

Going through all this stuff, I think the best way of describing the difference between my generation and the iPod Generation is that the latter regards music devices as a repository for software, and to a certain extent even treats music as software. My generation (a sort of out of band, in-between group) still regards music as a discrete thing, the digital realization of which being arbitrary rather than intrinsic.

 

*Unbiased, honest testing tells me where my transparency point is with each format.

post #63 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

I'm 54. I don't have CD player. I rip all my CDs to ALAC and stream via Apple TV to my stereo. If that's a youth activity, good for me! Of course, my stereo is a well researched bang for buck system, and certainly not a mega buck status symbol. Heck, my system costs less than high end cables. I'm probably a lousy hi end audio customer.

 

Quite the contrary. You're a reasonable Hi-fi enthusiast!!  I also use my AppleTV to stream to my two-channel system sometimes and it sounds terrific!  I actually wrote an article for The Daily Swarm years ago about how to turn your AppleTV into a high end music server that would rival most multi-thousand dollar high end music servers for 500 bucks!  Ironically the hardware list included a Nordost figure-8 Purple Flare power cord (referring to those "high end cables" you mentioned - and you're absolutely right).  But even my wife saw the difference in the picture with that CRAZY thing.

 

But I'm veering off-point here.  The bottom line is I respect you for not falling for the snake oil trappings that plagues the high end today.  I just read an article that was a sort of guide to great accessories that "aren't all that expensive", and it included $350 cable elevators!  Granted, you get a set of 12 (I'm kidding damnit) - but geezus.  A good thing is that I think this generation coming up is possibly less interested in all that insanity than any generation before it!

post #64 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

 

Quite the contrary. You're a reasonable Hi-fi enthusiast!!  I also use my AppleTV to stream to my two-channel system sometimes and it sounds terrific!  I actually wrote an article for The Daily Swarm years ago about how to turn your AppleTV into a high end music server that would rival most multi-thousand dollar high end music servers for 500 bucks!  Ironically the hardware list included a Nordost figure-8 Purple Flare power cord (referring to those "high end cables" you mentioned - and you're absolutely right).  But even my wife saw the difference in the picture with that CRAZY thing.

 

But I'm veering off-point here.  The bottom line is I respect you for not falling for the snake oil trappings that plagues the high end today.  I just read an article that was a sort of guide to great accessories that "aren't all that expensive", and it included $350 cable elevators!  Granted, you get a set of 12 (I'm kidding damnit) - but geezus.  A good thing is that I think this generation coming up is possibly less interested in all that insanity than any generation before it!

 

 

Cable elevators... do they come with their very own Elevator Operators?

For me it's all a matter of knowing the point of diminishing returns. That 5% difference for 300x $ just doesn't seem worth it. At a point in the curve (for me, anyhow) there is a very steep cliff where the sound difference and / or improvement does not justify the cost. I certainly do not have money to burn and the word 'value' is one of the most important in my world. Once sonic bliss is achieved, the value of an item becomes inversely proportional to its increased cost.

 

I get the best I can out of the least I can spend. But that doesn't mean I don't spend way beyond my means... heh heh... :wink_face:

 

And yes, some things just are snake oil to me. Any difference that they 'might' provide would be way too minimal for me to appreciate. But my sense of logic tells me that much of it is just bs.

post #65 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post
 

 

 

Cable elevators... do they come with their very own Elevator Operators?

For me it's all a matter of knowing the point of diminishing returns. That 5% difference for 300x $ just doesn't seem worth it. At a point in the curve (for me, anyhow) there is a very steep cliff where the sound difference and / or improvement does not justify the cost. I certainly do not have money to burn and the word 'value' is one of the most important in my world. Once sonic bliss is achieved, the value of an item becomes inversely proportional to its increased cost.

 

I get the best I can out of the least I can spend. But that doesn't mean I don't spend way beyond my means... heh heh... :wink_face:

 

And yes, some things just are snake oil to me. Any difference that they 'might' provide would be way too minimal for me to appreciate. But my sense of logic tells me that much of it is just bs.

 

I gotta respond in detail to this WONDERFUL rant from you brotha!

AMEN @Shane55!!!!

 

gotta head out the door, be back soon...

post #66 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post
 

 

 

Cable elevators... do they come with their very own Elevator Operators?

For me it's all a matter of knowing the point of diminishing returns. That 5% difference for 300x $ just doesn't seem worth it. At a point in the curve (for me, anyhow) there is a very steep cliff where the sound difference and / or improvement does not justify the cost. I certainly do not have money to burn and the word 'value' is one of the most important in my world. Once sonic bliss is achieved, the value of an item becomes inversely proportional to its increased cost.

 

I get the best I can out of the least I can spend. But that doesn't mean I don't spend way beyond my means... heh heh... :wink_face:

 

And yes, some things just are snake oil to me. Any difference that they 'might' provide would be way too minimal for me to appreciate. But my sense of logic tells me that much of it is just bs.

Oh Amen! 

post #67 of 147
Thread Starter 

Looks like I have inspiration for my next OCCUPY Hi-Fi piece already!!

 

Reading the latest issue of The Absolute Sound' specifically the review of the Astell & Kern AK120 just made me sick!

How can they say "finally, a portable player for audiophiles"!?!?

 

Now, I love my AK100, don't get me wrong,  But the author obviously knew nothing about the evolution of portable

fidelity!  All he used in comparison were iPods, and granted, he "purchased" an old iPod Classic 5.5 w/ a Wolfson DAC chip,

but thats IT!!

 

ALL he had to do for research into DAPs is google "high resolution portable audio players" and find iBasso, Fiio, HiFiMAN, etc...

 

Now an old friend of mine said "well, he didn't know about all that stuff"!

But, to be a magazine that's supposed to cover the cutting edge, you must be of the cutting edge!

 

I found the review an afront to the current state of personal audio.

post #68 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

Looks like I have inspiration for my next OCCUPY Hi-Fi piece already!!

 

Reading the latest issue of The Absolute Sound' specifically the review of the Astell & Kern AK120 just made me sick!

How can they say "finally, a portable player for audiophiles"!?!?

 

Now, I love my AK100, don't get me wrong,  But the author obviously knew nothing about the evolution of portable

fidelity!  All he used in comparison were iPods, and granted, he "purchased" an old iPod Classic 5.5 w/ a Wolfson DAC chip,

but thats IT!!

 

ALL he had to do for research into DAPs is google "high resolution portable audio players" and find iBasso, Fiio, HiFiMAN, etc...

 

Now an old friend of mine said "well, he didn't know about all that stuff"!

But, to be a magazine that's supposed to cover the cutting edge, you must be of the cutting edge!

 

I found the review an afront to the current state of personal audio.

 

 

mike, did you see the poll on inner fidelity ?

personal audio vs. high end , or to that effect

post #69 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

Looks like I have inspiration for my next OCCUPY Hi-Fi piece already!!

 

Reading the latest issue of The Absolute Sound' specifically the review of the Astell & Kern AK120 just made me sick!

How can they say "finally, a portable player for audiophiles"!?!?

 

Now, I love my AK100, don't get me wrong,  But the author obviously knew nothing about the evolution of portable

fidelity!  All he used in comparison were iPods, and granted, he "purchased" an old iPod Classic 5.5 w/ a Wolfson DAC chip,

but thats IT!!

 

ALL he had to do for research into DAPs is google "high resolution portable audio players" and find iBasso, Fiio, HiFiMAN, etc...

 

Now an old friend of mine said "well, he didn't know about all that stuff"!

But, to be a magazine that's supposed to cover the cutting edge, you must be of the cutting edge!

 

I found the review an afront to the current state of personal audio.

I may be speaking a bit out of line here - iPods, a HiSound Rocoo BA (yuck, by the way, just yuck), and the AK100 and AK120 are my only points of comparison.  That said, reading about the other *audiophile* grade DAPs has never made me want one.  Do I want what those other *audiophile* grade DAPs set out to be?  YES!  I just keep reading reports of glitchy performance, clunky interfaces, questionable build quality and promised but lacking firmware updates.  I love my ipods.  They work, the interface is brilliant, and the sound quality was always acceptable, especially run LOD to a nice amp.  Now with my HIFI-M8, the last piece of my audio puzzle is currently solved.

 

That said, the AK100 ("flawed" by 22 ohm output impedance?) and the AK120 are really nice devices with slick, intuitive interfaces and a really nice sound.  If they packed more punch, I'd be in the market.  My point - the AK's (especially the AK120, if you can stomach the price) are ready for prime time.  Here is where I may be speaking out of turn - the other *audiophile* grade DAPs just don't seem to be.  Yet.

 

On that premise (assumption? - yeah, I know, the mother of all F-ups...) is the statement of the AK's as "finally, a portable player for audiophiles" all that out of line?

 

Of course the article (haven't read it yet, assuming again...) seems to miss the whole DAP as a transport into the likes of the HIFI-M8, clas devices, fostex, others that serve as DACs or Dac + amps for portable players and phones.  THAT is the current state of the portable audio art, imho.

 

OK, I've stirred the pot.  I'll sit back and take my lumps now - Let the Fun Begin!


Edited by aamefford - 9/18/13 at 1:37pm
post #70 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post
 

I may be speaking a bit out of line here - iPods, a HiSound Rocoo BA (yuck, by the way, just yuck), and the AK100 and AK120 are my only points of comparison.  That said, reading about the other *audiophile* grade DAPs has never made me want one.  Do I want what those other *audiophile* grade DAPs set out to be?  YES!  I just keep reading reports of glitchy performance, clunky interfaces, questionable build quality and promised but lacking firmware updates.  I love my ipods.  They work, the interface is brilliant, and the sound quality was always acceptable, especially run LOD to a nice amp.  Now with my HIFI-M8, the last piece of my audio puzzle is currently solved.

 

That said, the AK100 ("flawed" by 22 ohm output impedance?) and the AK120 are really nice devices with slick, intuitive interfaces and a really nice sound.  If they packed more punch, I'd be in the market.  My point - the AK's (especially the AK120, if you can stomach the price) are ready for prime time.  Here is where I may be speaking out of turn - the other *audiophile* grade DAPs just don't seem to be.  Yet.

 

On that premise (assumption? - yeah, I know, the mother of all F-ups...) is the statement of the AK's as "finally, a portable player for audiophiles" all that out of line?

 

Of course the article (haven't read it yet, assuming again...) seems to miss the whole DAP as a transport into the likes of the HIFI-M8, clas devices, fostex, others that serve as DACs or Dac + amps for portable players and phones.  THAT is the current state of the portable audio art, imho.

 

OK, I've stirred the pot.  I'll sit back and take my lumps now - Let the Fun Begin!

 

No, you make a few great points, but ALL points that should have been made in a review of a DAP like the Astell & Kern!  I'm talking about how the author obviously didn't do any due diligence to investigate the current state of DAPs.  Or he wouldv'e realized he compared apples to oranges.  Meaning: The proclamation "finally a portable player for audiophiles" wasn't made because he experienced what you addressed (other issues with other current DAPs) it was made because he doesn't know the field.
 
I'm upset that Taffel (the author) didn't even bother to Google "digital audio players" when asked to cover the Astell & Kern! As I said to Dan Meinwald (my friends and high end audio importer for over 30 years) when I called him about this last night, because at first, in our conversation, he also stated that Taffel represents people like him, who don't know the difference between an iPod and the A&K, or that others are out there - so it made sense - but when I told Dan that's the point: That he as the reporter was not more informed than the audience, that's where I find the issue - and then Dan got it. 
It's one thing to be ignorant because the high end DAP market is a niche (like high end audio isn't?), but, then do some research!  
 
TAS is considered, and rightfully so, an authority on the high end of audio, and if they choose to cover portable audio, then excuses can not be made for their lack of knowledge of a market they're reporting on.  They should do the research necessary to report comprehensibly. You can't say, in 2013, that there is "finally" a portable audio player for "audiophiles" when there have been players for audiophiles for over 5 years (any issues with said players aside)! It's not so complicated. Know a subject you cover, period. Know the field too, period. If TAS exists is in the dark when it comes to a particular subject or range of components they'd like to cover, then they should do their due diligence to report on said subject or component. And believe me, this is ALL GOOD - because it just gave me the fuel I needed for my next OCCUPY HI-FI piece! After all, if the portable DAP market was such a niche (and it is, but not nearly as small as high end audio) then our tribe at Head-Fi wouldn't be so strong! And, the LA Times wouldn't have reported on the Astell & Kern AK120! Their piece was more informed than the TAS article, and I sincerely hope nobody here thinks thats more acceptable.
 
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaywillin View Post
 

 

 

mike, did you see the poll on inner fidelity ?

personal audio vs. high end , or to that effect

 

I didn't.

I'll have to check it out.
post #71 of 147

^^^ Mike, nice and thoughtful response - you are absolutely correct - a reporter should be knowledgeable on the subject he chooses to report.  If he's an audio reporter doing a story on DAPs, know the market, and know about the products and users.  As an end reader, I expect this, but not consciously, or actively.  As a writer and reporter - you made it very clear.

post #72 of 147

I've gone into hi-fi dealers with a DX100, adaptors and an optical cable and used it both as a transport and source. For the latter, the dealers were rather shocked at how good the sound was. 

 

The terrible UI thing: We've been spoilt by Apple. But who the heck has the dedication and focus to produce something just as good? Maybe after the success of the mobile site, Huddler should get into making DAP UIs!

post #73 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

I've gone into hi-fi dealers with a DX100, adaptors and an optical cable and used it both as a transport and source. For the latter, the dealers were rather shocked at how good the sound was. 

 

The terrible UI thing: We've been spoilt by Apple. But who the heck has the dedication and focus to produce something just as good? Maybe after the success of the mobile site, Huddler should get into making DAP UIs!

GREAT point as well.  As I expect from you.  I admit I'm a NuJack to Huddler.  PLS tell me more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post
 

^^^ Mike, nice and thoughtful response - you are absolutely correct - a reporter should be knowledgeable on the subject he chooses to report.  If he's an audio reporter doing a story on DAPs, know the market, and know about the products and users.  As an end reader, I expect this, but not consciously, or actively.  As a writer and reporter - you made it very clear.

 

Thanks brotha.  I greatly appreciate it.  I also understand that I have very high expectations for the reporting in TAS because Harry had very high expectations of all of us when I was there.

When he was Editor-in-Chief, these things may have happened occasionally, but never when delving into new sonic territory.  He always wanted us fully armed with intel!
post #74 of 147

I have subscribed to TAS (and Stereophile... and others) since I was born. OK, that's an obvious hyperbole, but you get my point.

There are some writers who you come to not read, and that's a shame. Each rag seems to have them. They also have writers who's writing is brilliant... always... and whom I completely trust.

 

I lost all faith in the cred of Mr. Taffel a very long time ago when he showed (in a most egregious way) that he was a (OK, I deleted what I said earlier, cuz it was kind of rough) writer who wasn't thorough.

 

Now... should the Editor be the final arbiter and screen and guide and shepherd the writers and their columns? Absofrackinglutely. Should there be some fact checking and vetting? Truly.

But this stuff happens, especially with a tool like Taffel. He seems to shoot from the hip and write about things he knows just enough about to get himself into trouble.

But it's unfortunate that this occurs in a rag that many of us hold as gospel.

 

Ugh.


Edited by shane55 - 9/18/13 at 10:45pm
post #75 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post
 

I have subscribed to TAS (and Stereophile... and others) since I was born. OK, that's an obvious hyperbole, but you get my point.

There are some writers who you come to not read, and that's a shame. Each rag seems to have them. They also have writers who's writing is brilliant... always... and whom I completely trust.

 

I lost all faith in the cred of Mr. Taffel a very long time ago when he showed (in a most egregious way) that he was a (OK, I deleted what I said earlier, cuz it was kind of rough) writer who wasn't thorough.

 

Now... should the Editor be the final arbiter and screen and guide and shepherd the writers and their columns? Absofrackinglutely. Should there be some fact checking and vetting? Truly.

But this stuff happens, especially with a tool like Taffel. He seems to shoot from the hip and write about things he knows just enough about to get himself into trouble.

But it's unfortunate that this occurs in a rag that many of us hold as gospel.

 

Ugh.

 

AMEN @Shane55!!

 
Will respond in detail ASAP...
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