Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #3001
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    A friend of mine has a Hegel amp and a Sony CDplayer with optical, wireless and RCA options.
    We compared all 3 options, and the RCA sounded the best.
    Other more expensive cables might have given a different result.
    Define "best."

    My CD player has both optical and RCA. The optical has a noticeably tighter bottom (and we like tight bottoms!) but the high end seems a little smoother on the analog. "Smoother" in that the instruments seemed more integrated, more blended, better imaged. It's hard to describe, but after months of keeping both signal paths and switching back and forth, I decided I liked the digital sound better. It's less "musical" but "more accurate," if that makes sense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    A friend of mine has a Hegel amp and a Sony CDplayer with optical, wireless and RCA options.
    We compared alle 3 options, and the RCA sounded the best.
    Other more expensive cables might have given a different result.
    The advantage of lower noise/inference cables is seen in higher noise environments.
    “I’m not giving in an inch to fear” David Crosby

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Define "best."

    My CD player has both optical and RCA. The optical has a noticeably tighter bottom (and we like tight bottoms!) but the high end seems a little smoother on the analog. "Smoother" in that the instruments seemed more integrated, more blended, better imaged. It's hard to describe, but after months of keeping both signal paths and switching back and forth, I decided I liked the digital sound better. It's less "musical" but "more accurate," if that makes sense?
    If you can’t measure it objectively, it’s in your imagination.
    “I’m not giving in an inch to fear” David Crosby

  4. #3004
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    There is another interface not discussed here, the HDMI interface and that’s all I use except for the interface from my receiver and my subwoofers which is RCA. If my speakers and receiver had XLR interfaces, I would use that. My multi audio format BD player has a separate HDMI just for multichannel audio (which I don’t use) which reaches bit rates not supported by optical. I also have an HDMI interface which supports Dolby Vision/Atmos between the TV and the BD player. One must make sure their HDMI cables support up to 48 Gbps in order to support HDMI 2.1 data including highest resolutions for video and audio simultaneously. My receiver was $2.8k which some think is expensive but it has the processor that can convert DSD (SACD) to PCM at 32 bits 192kHz, or handle decoding of any bitstream, and processing, then convert via ESS DACs to analog on high power speaker outputs, or low power RCA outputs. Also has low level Pre-amp RCA inputs and optical inputs.
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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Also, MOST receivers/preamps don't have "Phono Ins" anymore (it's much lower level - 0.005v for MM or 0.0005v for MC - than standard line level 0.316v) and although I suppose there must be turntables with built-in phono preamps, I've never seen one.
    The newest models have re-added a phono input.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    If you can’t measure it objectively, it’s in your imagination.
    Humans don't perceive sound the way precision test equipment does. On paper, speakers with similar specs should sound the same. But design factors like shape, materials, and type and placement of the bass port make them sound quite different from one another. Yes tube amps are extremely noisy. But 16bit audio must be dithered...the intentional injection of noise. Otherwise it sounds too sterile. A synthesizer playing pure sine waves sounds downright cheesy to the human ear. We humans tend not to like overly pure sound.

    Different humans perceive sound differently. Some can hear the individual notes in a chord. Most can't, including most musicians. Those with tone deafness can't even hear the difference between chords. Let alone the notes within. The visually impaired can hear subtleties in sound most can't. Those with Williams Syndrome can hear subtleties in sound which would completely baffle everyone else.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    If you can’t measure it objectively, it’s in your imagination.
    Very true... but that doesn't preclude having a preference.

    When using terms like "musical" and "accurate" and "imaging," you KNOW we're not talking science anymore but have wandered into human perception, which is notoriously fickle.

    BTW? HDMI interfaces should be highly accurate. Massive bandwidth.

  7. #3007
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    The advantage of lower noise/inference cables is seen in higher noise environments.
    Explain. What's a "higher noise environment"? The XLR cables you promoted earlier are commonly used in stage live sound environments, where the amps and speakers and mics can be many yards apart. For long runs, XLR is preferred.

    But "higher noise environment"? What are you thinking, running your stereo inside a power plant?

  8. #3008
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Explain. What's a "higher noise environment"? The XLR cables you promoted earlier are commonly used in stage live sound environments, where the amps and speakers and mics can be many yards apart. For long runs, XLR is preferred.

    But "higher noise environment"? What are you thinking, running your stereo inside a power plant?
    Well, I’m seeing more XLR connections on receivers, amps etc, that are not professional applications. I wonder if noise introduced into analog channels prior to a DAC which uses one bit Delta Sigma conversion causes different errors in audio than pure noise in an analog architecture. Like you said, optical is superior.
    “I’m not giving in an inch to fear” David Crosby

  9. #3009
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    I am a firm believer that an actual (not imagined) heard difference between two systems can be measured. The measured difference may not tell you anything about the difference, but a difference can be measured if it exists, providing of course that measuring does not cause a difference.
    “I’m not giving in an inch to fear” David Crosby

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    This product appears to claim its bluetooth interface is as good as a 32 bit 384kHz lossless interface. Believe?
    https://theauris.com/pages/special-offer
    “I’m not giving in an inch to fear” David Crosby

  11. #3011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    I am a firm believer that an actual (not imagined) heard difference between two systems can be measured. The measured difference may not tell you anything about the difference, but a difference can be measured if it exists, providing of course that measuring does not cause a difference.
    Ah, the old Schrödinger's Cat paradox....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    This product appears to claim its bluetooth interface is as good as a 32 bit 384kHz lossless interface. Believe?
    https://theauris.com/pages/special-offer
    Beats me. Bluetooth has a max throughput of 192 kbps but I don't know how to translate that.

  13. #3013
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Beats me. Bluetooth has a max throughput of 192 kbps but I don't know how to translate that.
    It is Bluetooth 5.0 and requires a special codec, but claims to be lossless. 5.0 can handle two devices communicating at the same time.
    “I’m not giving in an inch to fear” David Crosby

  14. #3014
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Define "best."

    My CD player has both optical and RCA. The optical has a noticeably tighter bottom (and we like tight bottoms!) but the high end seems a little smoother on the analog. "Smoother" in that the instruments seemed more integrated, more blended, better imaged. It's hard to describe, but after months of keeping both signal paths and switching back and forth, I decided I liked the digital sound better. It's less "musical" but "more accurate," if that makes sense?
    More details.
    I am a sucker for good bass too. He has Snell A 3i (12" woofer) and I don't recall any significant bass difference.
    But I am sure cables can improve/change/decrease what you hear. He doesn't 'believe' in cables, so his are just above the cheapest you can get (and still call it HiFi).

  15. #3015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    More details.
    I am a sucker for good bass too. He has Snell A 3i (12" woofer) and I don't recall any significant bass difference.
    But I am sure cables can improve/change/decrease what you hear. He doesn't 'believe' in cables, so his are just above the cheapest you can get (and still call it HiFi).
    With proper system bass management and room correction, I doubt that cables can make that much difference.
    “I’m not giving in an inch to fear” David Crosby

  16. #3016
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Any speaker cable above 10g is equivalent, and that includes $10,000 one-way oxygen-free copper blessed-by-a-virgin cables.

    Optical versus analog signal path cables? Yeah, I heard a difference in the bass.




    ("g" in the above sentence stands for "gauge," not "grand"... )
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 11-30-2022 at 11:32 PM.

  17. #3017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    We compared all 3 options, and the RCA sounded the best.
    Other more expensive cables might have given a different result.
    Meh, RCA cables MIGHT be a factor. I mean, a good gold-tipped heavy-duty RCA cable is $20 instead of $4, so why not go with a good pair? It's not like the tinkly-woo megabucks people put into speaker cables... which ARE all equal (above a certain gauge).

    Optical cble differences? Do they even make "cheap" optical cables?

  18. #3018
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    If you can’t measure it objectively, it’s in your imagination.
    Very true... but that doesn't preclude having a preference.
    Vinyl noise reduction software cannot measure on its own the threshold between effective reduction and quality loss. It must be set manually.
    Last edited by progmatist; 12-01-2022 at 02:45 PM.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  19. #3019
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    Vinyl noise reduction software cannot measure on its own the threshold between effective reduction and quality loss. It must be set manually.
    I've done maybe 12-1500 LP transfers to CD-R, and I have some experience with noise reduction. I've never heard an automated noise reduction software that made any improvement in the noise profile without ALSO taking the top off the music underneath the noise. You're right, it has to be done manually.

    Hums and hisses and such constant noises can, yes, be reduced with automated processes, but not the pops and ticks of records which are not constant. Old 78s, with nearly constant bacon-frying, end up sounding like underwater recordings when you take the bacon out.

  20. #3020
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I've done maybe 12-1500 LP transfers to CD-R, and I have some experience with noise reduction. I've never heard an automated noise reduction software that made any improvement in the noise profile without ALSO taking the top off the music underneath the noise. You're right, it has to be done manually.

    Hums and hisses and such constant noises can, yes, be reduced with automated processes, but not the pops and ticks of records which are not constant. Old 78s, with nearly constant bacon-frying, end up sounding like underwater recordings when you take the bacon out.
    In my experience, hiss in particular cannot be removed without some loss in quality. Tape hiss is white noise encompassing at least a large part of the audio spectrum. Such a broad spectrum of noise cannot be reduced without taking some of the music along with it.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  21. #3021
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    In my experience, hiss in particular cannot be removed without some loss in quality. Tape hiss is white noise encompassing at least a large part of the audio spectrum. Such a broad spectrum of noise cannot be reduced without taking some of the music along with it.
    Yes, if your threshold for error is perfection. But if the signal (music) is not noise like itself, and sinusoidal, and it’s a bothersome SNR, the music and SNR can be improved with adaptive signal processing methods. A sine wave in a broad spectrum of noise can nearly be perfectly cleaned up, if the SNR is 6 dB. That’s because it’s easy to estimate the frequency with enough average, and then resynthesize the tone with no noise. The error then is in the absolute frequency which could be negligible to the ear.

    I’m not an expert now, but I did my masters in EE with thesis in noise cancellation. What is done now, is incredible, but that relies on a separate microphone that hears the noise alone. Real noise isn’t perfect white noise, and its spectral properties can be estimated during quiet sections on a tape. If the noise is 60HZ hum, adaptive processing can determine how to null it pretty well. Can estimate a filter that optimizes the SNR, and doesn’t create more than EQ errors, but maybe better than without it.
    “I’m not giving in an inch to fear” David Crosby

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    With proper system bass management and room correction, I doubt that cables can make that much difference.
    Define "much" ... and explain "I doubt" because this all sounds like you have never run an experiment with good cables in your system to confirm your suspicions. In which case, you really don't know anything about how cables can affect a system.
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  23. #3023
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    In my experience, hiss in particular cannot be removed without some loss in quality. Tape hiss is white noise encompassing at least a large part of the audio spectrum. Such a broad spectrum of noise cannot be reduced without taking some of the music along with it.
    Yes, hiss requires gating, rather than filtering.

  24. #3024
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    Define "much" ... and explain "I doubt" because this all sounds like you have never run an experiment with good cables in your system to confirm your suspicions. In which case, you really don't know anything about how cables can affect a system.

    You can probably borrow great cables and compare from your 'local HiFi High-End pusher.
    Like speakercables from Cardas, Nordost, Tellurium Q, AudioQuest, Wire World (and many others).
    Especially Nordost have my attention.

  25. #3025
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    Yes, if your threshold for error is perfection. But if the signal (music) is not noise like itself, and sinusoidal, and it’s a bothersome SNR, the music and SNR can be improved with adaptive signal processing methods. A sine wave in a broad spectrum of noise can nearly be perfectly cleaned up, if the SNR is 6 dB. That’s because it’s easy to estimate the frequency with enough average, and then resynthesize the tone with no noise. The error then is in the absolute frequency which could be negligible to the ear.
    Aside from "Carol Ann," I rarely listen to straight sine waves.

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