Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #1301
    Member Nijinsky Hind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Good for you. Makes it easier for the thieves to haul them out!
    Haha... Yeah. Were talkin cheap here in my case so I doubt they would bother.
    Still alive and well...

  2. #1302
    False Number 9 Pr33t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nijinsky Hind View Post
    Haha... Yeah. Were talkin cheap here in my case so I doubt they would bother.
    Speaking of cheap, this doesn't help Mark, but I've heard great things about the Pioneer SP-FS52 if anyone is looking for a good sounding but affordable speaker option.

  3. #1303
    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    The speakers need to fit the room. Better to know what your room size is, and any WAF restrictions that may be required, before making a recommendation. Your budget also.
    Great advice. My listening room isn't particularly large, and bookshelf speakers and a sub more than fill the room. If I had towers down here, they just might overwhelm the room.
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  4. #1304
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    In that case I would suggest listening to a pair of KEF LS50's and see if you like their sound. They've won all kinds of awards, and should work great with the right sub, but are they too small for you?

    Other than those I would say to find something that mimic's the LS5/3A speaker design. There are quite a few manufacturers that duplicate this model/style at different price points (Harbeth, Rogers, KEF, Stirling, Graham, Grant Fidelity, Spendor, etc.)
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  5. #1305
    On a totally different subject, along with having to euthanize my 16 1/2 year-old Shih Tzu on my 60th birthday back february 5, I did have some good acquisitions: a pair of OPPO Planar Magnetic PM-3 headphones (which I chose as, with a closed back, they are designed more for portable use and that's what I was looking for as I've now got great sound in the living room and office in our condo ... read on ...) and OPPO's HA-2 portable headphone amp/DAC. Add that to my iPhone or iPad, along with my FiiO X5ii (now loaded with 256Gb memory), I know have half a terabyte of music available to me for portable use, with headphones that kick serious ass.

    The HA-2 can also be used strictly as a DAC so, since the DAC on the sound card of my iMac was, like the iPhone and iPad, just ok, using the HA-2 on my computer now makes my Paradigm 2.1 speakers sound even better.

    So, I've got great sound in living room (which also works for the kitchen) and office; use portable devices (though a pair of Polk in-ear buds when I am using it for getting to sleep) in the bedroom....in other words, I've got stupendous sound in every room of the apartment. I've decided no more compression so have begun the long task of re-ripping my collection into ALAC format (which works on all my devices, including the OPPO BDP-105D and FiiO) so that, along with the high res music I've been getting into, I'm finally listening to music as it was intended everywhere. And what a difference.

    The only real thing I might consider at some point is getting the PM-2 headphones for home. They have open backs, are meant to sound even better, and are priced at about $1,000 CDN - a lot of money so not something I'm apt to do for quite some time. For now, the PM-3s come with two sets of cables: one long cable meant for use at home; the second, which you choose from two options (IOS/Android), a shorter one for portable use. The PM-3 comes in a great denim-covered case that also has room for the HA-2 and small bag of cables needed for portable use, so I'm set up there, and have one of their headphone stands coming as soon as the Canadian distributor gets them back in stock.

    In other words, other than music I've little left in life that I actually want.

    But I'll think of something....

  6. #1306
    Member Staun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
    OK guys, since this WAS my thread, I have a question. What is the best source for purchasing vinyl records online? Please don't say Amazon, as I know they don't pack stuff carefully enough to ever qualify for my vinyl purchases.
    Take Soundstage off your list, NOW!
    The older I get, the better I was.

  7. #1307
    Member Staun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Land View Post
    Music Direct and Acoustic Sounds are good online retailers. They won't be the cheapest out there, but they have a good selection and will take care when packing and sending your records. Laser's Edge has a small but good selection of recent prog albums, and their service is top-notch as well.

    I also buy a lot of records (both new and used) through the Amazon Marketplace. You have to do your homework, but the sellers are generally good to excellent.
    I agree with all of this. Even my prog store and the general record stores are doing better with getting in new prog and other types of music. Maybe the word is getting around that there are people who have other musical interest besides pop.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  8. #1308
    Orcopian
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    My 'system' for listening whilst working in my kitchen / dinning room is Apple lossless ripped files saved on a WD nas then played via iTunes on Mac book pro with a B&W mini Zeppelin connected to the usb socket. The mini Zeppelin has a built in DAC so it sounds great. That's fine when no-one else is home, my silent option is to use a fairly cheap DAC headphone amp from maplins plugged into the Mac book with a pair of grado sri80 headphones. If I want to listen to my growing blu Ray and DVD audio collection I connect the DAC headphone amp to a cheap toshiba blu Ray player I have connected to the tv in the kitchen using the optical out socket. If I want to go a bit more mobile I use a Fiio x1 flac MP3 player.

    I listen to 80% of my music this way, I have a fairly decent system in a small room upstairs comprising a marantz amp ( with built in DAC) and CD player and q acoustic 2020i speakers but family life means options to crank this up are very limited. I've recently bought a Yamaha 5.1 AV receiver which I use with an old Sony blu Ray player and the speakers from and old Sony surround sound system to listen to the blu Ray audio discs such as Steven Wilson and yes reissues on. That is also in my small upstairs room. As funds permit I will update speakers and blu Ray player. I'd originally thought I could listen to blu Ray audio discs by plugging a blu Ray player into the optical in socket on my old Sony surround system but i didn't appreciate that optical cables won't carry all the data required, only hdmi would do this hence buying the Yamaha receiver which Is really nice.

    So this is all pretty low budget I realise but it serves me well and sounds great to my ears. My next purchase I'm thinking off is a valve headphone amp I have read some good reviews of little dot amps which you can get for £100 and apparently sound really warm.

  9. #1309
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Here's an article about the audiophile world and where the truth lies. Note, I am not trying to start a fight between Ken and Robert. The reaction of AudioStream's editor certainly is telling though

    https://medium.com/@skikirkwood/trut...7c4#.5y4sprbvc
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  10. #1310
    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    Why would I get in a fight?

  11. #1311
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Prolly wouldn't. I'm just being a smart ass about the history of this thread.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  12. #1312
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Why would I get in a fight?
    Indeed, or me either? I'm pretty sure Ken and I agree that for mid- and low-end systems digital beats the pants off anything analog. For high- and ultra high-end systems analog can contend with the best of digital.

    But it takes a gazillion dollars, and at that stratospheric level objectivity becomes suspect. As Jim Ambras points out in the article, high-end devotees start to use words that have meaning only to them, words such as "nuance" and "effortlessness" that are not easily defined, not quantifiable, and not transferable. It becomes a forest of perceptions, where what you THINK you hear is something more than a collection of trees (which are statistics and specifications).

    Although Ambras's article is excellent, I take exception to his use of the word "lies" in his title. I choose to believe that high-end audio manufacturers -- including the cable manufacturers who buy $10 cables in China and repackage them for $1000 -- really do believe their own claims. At this level, perception is so subjective that what somebody hears (or thinks that he hears) may not be shared by anyone else, but that doesn't make it a "lie." That makes it a subjective perception, and subjective perceptions are very real to those who have them. My subjective perception is no more valid than theirs.

    Ambras does make one very astute observation, an observation worth noting and a cogent argument for why listening with your own ears and making up your own mind is the only trustworthy avenue to audio satisfaction.
    . Up until this point, I was pretty sure I had correctly figured out the situation here, but Lavorna’s email removed any doubts I had about my conjecture of the cozy relationship between high end audio manufacturers and the audio publications they support with their advertising.

  13. #1313
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    Here's an article about the audiophile world and where the truth lies. Note, I am not trying to start a fight between Ken and Robert. The reaction of AudioStream's editor certainly is telling though

    https://medium.com/@skikirkwood/trut...7c4#.5y4sprbvc
    Definitely some good points made in this article.

    One of the major problems I do have, is the graph showing that the majority thought the 320kbs version sounded better, or no different. The implication is, that there is no reason to worry about resolution higher than 320kbs, or 44.1.

    The following quote is particularly troubling:

    "The majority thought that the lossless FLAC-encoded tracks (Set A above) sounded worse than the lossy 320kbps MP3’s. Oops. So if people (many of these audiophiles with very expensive equipment) thought that high bitrate MP3’s actually sounded better than a CD rip in Lossless at 44/16, what was the point of hi-res audio at 96/24"

    The bolded portion of the quote is what I find troubling. He seems to skip over the people that can hear a difference, then goes on to imply, that since the majority like the compressed version better or can't hear a difference, there is "nothing more to worry about here, hi rez is a waste of time for everyone".

    Then he goes on to say he cancelled his Pono order, assuming he is one the people that will like the compressed version better.

    I was at a pretty well run blind listening test a few weekends ago with the specific aim at comparing 44.1 to 96 and 192 PCM files. I might post the parameters and results, when I have more time.

    I'm not saying that everyone there, or even a majority heard the difference. But there were some that consistently picked and preferred the hi rez versions. About 35%.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  14. #1314
    Member Firth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    Definitely some good points made in this article.

    One of the major problems I do have, is the graph showing that the majority thought the 320kbs version sounded better, or no different. The implication is, that there is no reason to worry about resolution higher than 320kbs, or 44.1.

    The following quote is particularly troubling:

    "The majority thought that the lossless FLAC-encoded tracks (Set A above) sounded worse than the lossy 320kbps MP3’s. Oops. So if people (many of these audiophiles with very expensive equipment) thought that high bitrate MP3’s actually sounded better than a CD rip in Lossless at 44/16, what was the point of hi-res audio at 96/24"

    The bolded portion of the quote is what I find troubling. He seems to skip over the people that can hear a difference, then goes on to imply, that since the majority like the compressed version better or can't hear a difference, there is "nothing more to worry about here, hi rez is a waste of time for everyone".

    Then he goes on to say he cancelled his Pono order, assuming he is one the people that will like the compressed version better.

    I was at a pretty well run blind listening test a few weekends ago with the specific aim at comparing 44.1 to 96 and 192 PCM files. I might post the parameters and results, when I have more time.

    I'm not saying that everyone there, or even a majority heard the difference. But there were some that consistently picked and preferred the hi rez versions. About 35%.
    I listen to 320 kbs on Slacker at home all of the time. Sorry but these compression techniques are destructive to human female vocal. I switched to lossless for pure tonality.
    “[They] agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.”

  15. #1315
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I've tried going back and forth between lossless and 320kbs on my office system. Until a couple years ago I could barely hear a difference. Now, with a somewhat better receiver, it's far easier. I imagine if I had a high quality amp and a DAC it would be even more apparent. I've got some 24/96 files and some are wonderful, some I wonder why I even bothered. I think I'll hold off from pursuing any more of those until I do a full upgrade.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  16. #1316
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    He seems to skip over the people that can hear a difference, then goes on to imply, that since the majority like the compressed version better or can't hear a difference, there is "nothing more to worry about here, hi rez is a waste of time for everyone."

    I'm not saying that everyone there, or even a majority heard the difference. But there were some that consistently picked and preferred the hi rez versions. About 35%.
    Question. The A-B tests mentioned in the article concluded that the majority of listeners -- the chart says 52% -- thought the high resolution files sounded WORSE than the normal resolution files. Not indistinguishable, not equal, not better. Worse.

    In the tests in which you participated, in which 35% preferred the high resolution files, did anybody state an open preference for the standard resolution?
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 03-15-2016 at 08:50 PM.

  17. #1317
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    I think Jerjo hit the nail on the head. With his "Joe Average" office system he \seemed perfectly content listening to a lower quality rip. I find the same thing in the car, or on my Walkman and cheapo headphones commuting to work. But ... if I play the same thing on my home system, which is up to audiophile standards (whatever the hell that means) I immediately hear the flatness of the presentation and the loss of dynamic distinctions that come back when playing a standard CD quality pressing. And yes, going up to a quality vinyl recording is even better in most cases (it depends on the mastering). Carlberg is also correct there, the audiophile quality system is many times more expensive than either of the others.

    I think most people who say "it doesn't make a difference" have Joe Average systems, so they don;t have the resolution available to hear the difference. That's great for them, they don;t hear it, so they don;t have to spend more money on it, or they don;t care to. But for those of us who have already invested in a big system, getting the best out of it just makes sense, so we opt for those high resolution music sources, and pay more for them. All because it is worth it to us.

    Not a judgement on anyone else's preferences, and I think audiophiles readily admit they are crazy. Just as crazy as car collectors, or watch collectors, or most hobbiests that take it past normal levels of interest. It's just what we do.
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  18. #1318
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Question. The A-B tests mentioned in the article concluded that the majority of listeners -- he didn't say how many -- thought the high resolution files sounded WORSE than the normal resolution files. Not indistinguishable, not equal, not better. Worse.
    I completely understand, and mentioned such in my post.

    For those people that prefer the 320 version, they should not spend the extra time and money getting hi rez equipment. Great for them. They get to save a lot of $$.

    But 30% could hear the difference and prefered it. This is more people than could hear no difference (18%).

    In the tests in which you participated, in which 35% preferred the high resolution files, did anybody state an open preference for the standard resolution?
    Yes.

    And there are likely reasons for it. One possible reason: the dynamics are compressed, therefore the music sounds louder. It is well known that listeners will more likely pick the louder sounding sample, even if it does not actually sound better.
    Last edited by simon moon; 03-15-2016 at 04:03 PM.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  19. #1319
    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    I think most people who say "it doesn't make a difference" have Joe Average systems, so they don;t have the resolution available to hear the difference. That's great for them, they don;t hear it, so they don;t have to spend more money on it, or they don;t care to. But for those of us who have already invested in a big system, getting the best out of it just makes sense, so we opt for those high resolution music sources, and pay more for them. All because it is worth it to us.
    I think it also has to do with average, untrained ears (yes, people can be trained fairly easily to hear differences/improvements in minor equipment changes. Harman Industries proved it). It's not just the equipment.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  20. #1320
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    But 30% could hear the difference and prefered it. This is more people than could hear no difference (18%).
    CORRECTION: 82% could hear the difference, not 30%. Only 18% heard no difference.

    Of those 82% almost twice as many preferred the sound of the lower resolution (52% versus 30%). Add that to the people who couldn't tell and you have 70% with no preference or a preference for the lower definition.

    Now this doesn't prove anything -- majority does not win in cases like this -- but it's worth noting the article was about trained listeners, not the general public.
    (Set A above) sounded worse than the lossy 320kbps MP3’s. Oops. So if people (many of these audiophiles with very expensive equipment) thought that high bitrate MP3’s actually sounded better
    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon
    For those people that prefer the 320 version, they should not spend the extra time and money getting hi rez equipment. Great for them. They get to save a lot of $$.
    Sounds like they already spent the money?
    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon
    I think it also has to do with average, untrained ears (yes, people can be trained fairly easily to hear differences/improvements in minor equipment changes. Harman Industries proved it). It's not just the equipment.
    Also sounds like these are not "untrained ears."
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 03-15-2016 at 08:55 PM.

  21. #1321
    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Of the audiophiles here in this thread… how many of you are musicians or know how to play instruments and practice/play regularly?

  22. #1322
    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Of the audiophiles here in this thread… how many of you are musicians or know how to play instruments and practice/play regularly?
    Well, I am a lapsed guitarist (and other stringed instruments, but mainly guitarist) who played professionally most of my adult life, and spent 10 years as house guitarist in a local studio where, as part of a rhythm section trio, we did everything from back singer/songwriters looking for a band to radio and TV ads, film and theatre music and more.

    I stopped gigging around the time my writing began to pick up, mostly because I was fed up with where things were going in Ottawa - pay to play. And after touring on the road in the '70s, where a five-piece band could make $3,000/week in a club, $1500/night for high schools, and as a freelancer in the 1980s where, with clubs still booking six-night weeks, you could still make good bread, the idea of actually operating at a loss to go and play in a stinky bar just lost all its appeal.

    I also think the idea that my writing was doing more for music than my playing ever would/could, drove me away from gigging around town. And while I would practice when I was gigging, it was usually to learn material; for me, it was all about live performance, and once that became pointless, I lost a lot of interest in playing, period.

    Now that I'm dealing with some kind of chronic fatigue issue, where I've limited energy, I've decided to focus what little energy I have on the writing rather than the playing. Will I decide to go back to playing more vigorously in the future? Hard to say, but it's certainly possible and I'll never say "never"

    But having spent so much time in studios is why I've become so conscious about sound and why, since I upgraded my stereo last year to Tetra speakers, the OPPO BDP-105 player and Leema Tucana II integrated amplifier (along with a set of Paradigm powered 2.1 reference speakers hanging off my Mac in my office and now fed through an OPPO HA-2 portable headphone amp/DAC to give it greater OOMPH and clarity), I've decided no more compressed files for me (other than lossless compression). So, over the next few years I'll re-rip my entire collection in ALAC. Right now, all new stuff gets ripped that way and if it's from an artist i already have, i usually pull out back catalog and re-rip, along with re-ripping when I feel like listening to someone (like I did last weekend with my Nice and ELP catalog).

    I always felt I could never have sound resembling what i experienced hearing playbacks in the control booth of a studio, but now, with the Tetras, I can and do. So with hear that good, the idea of playing compressed music through it just seems wrong....
    Cheers!
    John

  23. #1323
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    CORRECTION: 82% could hear the difference, not 30%. Only 18% heard no difference.
    You are correct. I misspoke.

    Of those 82% almost twice as many preferred the sound of the lower resolution (52% versus 30%). Add that to the people who couldn't tell and you have 70% with no preference or a preference for the lower definition.
    Yes, I phrased it poorly, but this is what I meant.

    Now this doesn't prove anything -- majority does not win in cases like this -- but it's worth noting the article was about trained listeners, not the general public.Sounds like they already spent the money?Also sounds like these are not "untrained ears."

    The article only mentions "many of them audiophile" but does not mention a number. Nor does it mention if they outnumber non-audiophiles. "Many" is not an amount.

    Actually, if you refer to the survey linked in the article, 47.5% of the people had systems worth less than $3000. Only 11.9% had systems over $6000. The highest percentage of people, 28.8%, had systems worth $100-$500, and 40.4% of the participants had systems less than $500. In other words, a higher percentage of people (11.9%) had systems worth less than $100, than over $6000 (11.6%).

    So no, most of them did not spend the money, nor were likely trained listeners.

    Another problem with the test is that none of the samples were classical or acoustic jazz. They were all pop of various types, even the Lyle Lovett sample is a multi mic'd studio recording.

    I would love to have the test done with chamber and orchestral classical.

    I find it easy to pick out classical at lower resolution (even 44.1), because the attack and decay of acoustic instruments are not maintained, dynamics are compressed, and the space the event was recorded in is not evident. The sound goes from sounding like real musicians, playing in a real space, where the width, depth and height can be heard, to a flat impression of musicians.

    There is a recording on the internet you can find of a Suzanne Vega song made up of only what is left off an MP3. It is almost all ambient information.

    I admit, that put on the average pop recording, and I would not be able to hear the difference either.
    Last edited by simon moon; 03-15-2016 at 09:54 PM.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  24. #1324
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    Another problem with the test is that none of the samples were classical or acoustic jazz. They were all pop of various types, even the Lyle Lovett sample is a multi mic'd studio recording. I would love to have the test done with chamber and orchestral classical. I find it easy to pick out classical at lower resolution (even 44.1), because the attack and decay of acoustic instruments are not maintained, dynamics are compressed, and the space the event was recorded in is not evident. The sound goes from sounding like real musicians, playing in a real space, where the width, depth and height can be heard, to a flat impression of musicians.
    ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON.

    And an important point in the debate, so let's pull it out for emphasis.

    Music that is not recorded realistically (like pop, multi-channel compilations, recordings created on computers or in mixing boards) is never going to sound like real musicians performing -- no matter how much money you spend on reproduction.

    You need real musicians, performing in a real acoustic environment, to appreciate super high fidelity. Well, you can appreciate a better hi-fi with any source material (it'll sound better of course) but you'll never get that creepy-crawly sensation of musicians actually playing right in front of you.

    Any comparison based on pop music is -- frankly -- nothing more than a contest on who likes which compression better.



    Now, I admit I'm not familiar with the Lyle Lovitt track they used (I'll have to track it down), but I am familiar with Pink Floyd's "Time" and Megaherz's "Keine Zeit" and, well, I wouldn't have chosen either one. . Nice loud tracks but not, um, definitive.
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 03-15-2016 at 11:45 PM.

  25. #1325
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Incidentally, the original blogpost makes this interesting observation:
    Quote Originally Posted by Archimago
    For those who used equipment $6000 and above, we see a similar distribution of preference for Set A, but look at what happened to the proportion for those using less expensive equipment. It appears that those using <$500 actually showed a more balanced preference of A and B - it seems like the participants with more expensive equipment preferred the lossy tracks.

    Looking at the larger groups, it was interesting to see that those who used speakers (either floorstanders or bookshelves) seem to prefer Set A more than headphone users (likely not significant but interesting observation)

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