Testing audiophile claims and myths
Dec 15, 2016 at 1:44 PM Post #6,526 of 14,876

sonitus mirus

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  I have done a little update, fixed some broken links, pointed out where the links are broken and I cannot find the original and added and taken away some bits and pieces. There is nothing I can find now that overturns the conclusions I reached back when I started the meta study.
 
That is why my head-fi set up is the same now as it was four years ago, the only change is a new laptop from which I still stream Spotify (Premium to get the better bit rate) to my various headphones.
smily_headphones1.gif

 
I am essentially in the same boat, but with Google Music instead of Spotify.  I've toyed around with the idea of using Tidal with the military discount and purchasing Roon to make the interface better.  This would have meant getting a more powerful laptop, too.  Though, I'm sure I can't hear any difference and the point of getting Roon would be to make Tidal more like Google Music's interface.  It would be a total waste of money for me, as I only pay $7.99 each month for Google, which gets me access to YouTube Red as well.
 
The best thing I did was to get powered speakers.  I very rarely listen to music at home with headphones anymore.  Powered speakers and a nice, reasonably priced USB DAC is my end game unless my financial situation drastically changes to the point where tens of thousands of dollars would simply be disposable hobby money.  For now, I just get a cheap laptop every 4-5 years to keep the operating system up to date.  I don't use it for anything other than a music streaming device. 
 
Hoping that this will be a viable method to listen to music for years to come.  This is bliss for me.
 
Dec 16, 2016 at 7:32 AM Post #6,527 of 14,876

Prog Rock Man

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I think and hope streaming is my last format, having been through vinyl, cassettes, CDs and downloading from iTunes. The blind tests show that above 320kbpm the SQ is fine.
 
Dec 16, 2016 at 9:59 AM Post #6,529 of 14,876

StanD

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I am essentially in the same boat, but with Google Music instead of Spotify.  I've toyed around with the idea of using Tidal with the military discount and purchasing Roon to make the interface better.  This would have meant getting a more powerful laptop, too.  Though, I'm sure I can't hear any difference and the point of getting Roon would be to make Tidal more like Google Music's interface.  It would be a total waste of money for me, as I only pay $7.99 each month for Google, which gets me access to YouTube Red as well.
 
The best thing I did was to get powered speakers.  I very rarely listen to music at home with headphones anymore.  Powered speakers and a nice, reasonably priced USB DAC is my end game unless my financial situation drastically changes to the point where tens of thousands of dollars would simply be disposable hobby money.  For now, I just get a cheap laptop every 4-5 years to keep the operating system up to date.  I don't use it for anything other than a music streaming device. 
 
Hoping that this will be a viable method to listen to music for years to come.  This is bliss for me.


For a better UI for using Google Music on a laptop or PC try "Google Play Music Desktop Player" as it's free open source. I have a Google All Music subscription and use it at home on a small cheap 11 inch laptop that's got a measly dual core weakling processor and it works perfectly with an external USB DAC, etc. I dedicated the laptop as my listening station source, it has a touch screen.
https://www.googleplaymusicdesktopplayer.com/
 
Dec 16, 2016 at 11:37 AM Post #6,530 of 14,876

sonitus mirus

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For a better UI for using Google Music on a laptop or PC try "Google Play Music Desktop Player" as it's free open source. I have a Google All Music subscription and use it at home on a small cheap 11 inch laptop that's got a measly dual core weakling processor and it works perfectly with an external USB DAC, etc. I dedicated the laptop as my listening station source, it has a touch screen.
https://www.googleplaymusicdesktopplayer.com/

Outstanding!  I was looking to get a cheap all-in-one PC with a touchscreen to act as a "jukebox".  The one I was looking at had a 24" monitor and full HD (1920x1080) touchscreen.  I didn't want to get too small of a screen, as I typically force the screen to stay on so I can easily check to see what is playing without having to wake it.
 
I'll try the desktop player tonight. (or now at the office)
 
Thanks again!
 
Dec 16, 2016 at 2:30 PM Post #6,531 of 14,876

watchnerd

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  I think and hope streaming is my last format, having been through vinyl, cassettes, CDs and downloading from iTunes. The blind tests show that above 320kbpm the SQ is fine.

 
Next format will be augmented reality based.
 
Dec 17, 2016 at 11:10 AM Post #6,532 of 14,876

Prog Rock Man

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All I am looking for are improvements in SQ and until something radical happens with speakers, I do not think it will happen.
 
There is one area which could already make a difference, but it is not being used much, are the effects which expand where the music sounds like it is coming from. This is a recording of a motorcycle and the way the sound moves around as the bike does is amazing.
 

 
Recording bands with speakers that mean the sound stage is wider and a few effects are thrown in would be interesting at least.
 
Dec 17, 2016 at 11:26 AM Post #6,533 of 14,876

watchnerd

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Recording bands with speakers that mean the sound stage is wider and a few effects are thrown in would be interesting at least.

 
This has been tried many times for music (quadraphonic sound, DVD-A), and it has always failed.
 
It's gimmicky and music doesn't sound like that in real life.
 
Dec 17, 2016 at 12:10 PM Post #6,534 of 14,876

StanD

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I think that the biggest problem for speaker systems are room acoustics. That'll be a tough nut to crack, especially since there is a certain aesthetics to the placement of furniture and that SQ changes with the change of a listener's position in the room.
 
Dec 17, 2016 at 12:37 PM Post #6,535 of 14,876

watchnerd

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  I think that the biggest problem for speaker systems are room acoustics. That'll be a tough nut to crack, especially since there is a certain aesthetics to the placement of furniture and that SQ changes with the change of a listener's position in the room.

 
In order of impact:
 
1. Quality of recording
2. Speakers
3. Acoustics of the room
4. Level of sobriety
....
10. Electronics
 
Dec 17, 2016 at 1:44 PM Post #6,537 of 14,876

gregorio

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  [1] There is one area which could already make a difference, but it is not being used much, are the effects which expand where the music sounds like it is coming from. This is a recording of a motorcycle and the way the sound moves around as the bike does is amazing.
 
[2] Recording bands with speakers that mean the sound stage is wider and a few effects are thrown in would be interesting at least.

 
1. I strongly disagree. Rather than "not being used much", it's being used a huge amount, pretty much constantly and has been for many decades. In film and narrative/dramatic TV, positioning such as your example is fundamental part of the re-recording mixer's role.
 
2. Again, this was quite commonly done at one time in film, it was called "worldising". However, it's much less common today because we have digital reverb, EQ, volume and panning automation which in combination gives us access to all parameters needed to fool the brain's positioning perception, to place a sound wherever we want and even having it move around. And, technology is becoming available which can automatically manipulate all these parameters. Have a look at this, from about 11:14 to the end:
 

 
In music, the use of positioning (panning, reverb, EQ and volume) is also entirely common/standard. Even before digital processing, things like echo chambers, reverb plates and other physical tools were employed. Although, having sounds dynamically moving around is much less common (and virtually unheard of in some genres) in music than in film/TV.
 
G
 
Dec 17, 2016 at 2:26 PM Post #6,538 of 14,876

Prog Rock Man

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I am not saying it is not used, or asking it be used to an extreme, just that I think more use could be made of it so the soundstage is bigger than it is now.
 
Or, somehow, the user can alter it to suit, like bass and treble can be altered.
 
Dec 18, 2016 at 9:37 AM Post #6,539 of 14,876

gregorio

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  I am not saying it is not used, or asking it be used to an extreme, just that I think more use could be made of it so the soundstage is bigger than it is now.

 
5.1 has been the film standard for about 20 years and in effect provides a 360deg soundstage, how much bigger than that do you want it to be? Film is now moving on to the vertical plane as well, rather than just 360deg in the horizontal plane, with systems such as Dolby Atmos. But the fact remains that despite it's availability, even the 360deg of 5.1 has not taken off.
 
When the change from mono to stereo occurred, the music industry evolved to take advantage of this new format, musicians and producers changed what they were doing and new genres evolved which relied on stereo. Despite various experimental albums over the last decade or so, the same thing hasn't happened with 5.1 though. No musicians or music producers have developed a genre, style or found any other way to take advantage of the 360deg soundstage which has engaged consumers. So far as music is concerned, consumers want standard stereo and nothing more.
 
We also have to consider that the soundstage with headphones is already far bigger/wider than the music is designed to be. Stereo speakers give us effectively ~90deg width, headphones artificially increases that to effectively 180deg. So if you're talking about headphone use, the soundstage is already extreme and you're asking for it to be even bigger, while at the same time asking for it not to be "used to an extreme", which is a contradiction that makes no sense to me. To be honest, I don't really get this thing which some audiophiles seem to have for an unnaturally wide stereo imagine or how they can equate it with higher, rather than lower, SQ.
 
G
 
Dec 18, 2016 at 12:14 PM Post #6,540 of 14,876

peterinvan

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Next format will be augmented reality based.


Agree.
 
I can imagine VR goggles showing me where all the musicians are placed on the sound stage. 
 
This will reinforce the sonic images being pumped into my ears.
 

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