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  1. #1
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    An excellent article on digital playback

    This is a good read, and you should also follow the link in the article about Toslink. It will show the naysayers some hard evidence why there is a difference heard between some digital cables. The main article will show why the computer or music server fanboys could be on to something. Feanor, Ajani, Mike Anderson and others of you.

    http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue22/nugent.htm

    No this wasn't written by Ted, this is about digital, not chaseatail.

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Great article

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    This is a good read, and you should also follow the link in the article about Toslink. It will show the naysayers some hard evidence why there is a difference heard between some digital cables. The main article will show why the computer or music server fanboys could be on to something. Feanor, Ajani, Mike Anderson and others of you.

    http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue22/nugent.htm

    No this wasn't written by Ted, this is about digital, not chaseatail.
    Bookmarked! Everyone should read, (excepting analog-only folks -- them too maybe).

    Mr Peasbody, pertaining to your recent comments about CD vs. CDR copies, I note that Steve Nugent says, "If you rewrite the CD on a CDROM with a good CD writer, the duplicate will usually sound significantly better than the original." (I'm not saying I endose this from experience because I've made practically no CDRs myself.)

  3. #3
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    I did see that. I wonder how "good" is good. I have a 24 bit burner and there was one copy I made of a Beach Boys CD which I thought the copy was maybe a tad better and only in the high end. It seemed it benefited from what ever change happens in the high end, it gave the copy a slightly more excited high end, giving it a bit more live feel. I don't so much have a problem with him saying a copy could be better but I don't believe "significantly" better. And, if that is possible it must not be on the type of computer we can afford. I also have doubts to what he was saying about every CD being pressed by the manufacturer being worse than the prior one. I've never compared the first disc to the millionth but I just don't think a record company would let this into their manufacturing. I probably need to read it again to review his logic but also if a CD has a certain depth pit and one makes a copy then the same depth should be copied. He seems to think that jitter in the transport is mostly related to the timing clock but most computers I've seen the tray mechanism is pretty poor.

    I also have not seen a ground swell of audiophiles running out to copy all their discs because it improves them. I've had people argue that there is no difference between an original and a copy but I've yet, until this article, had anyone claim the copies are better and yet significantly better.

    Maybe for fun you could copy something and tell me what you think. It would be interesting as well to see if Blackraven noticed any difference between his original and copy he was using. He may not have noticed any and just was afraid his comment might cause a problem but i hope I'm big enough to accept his results. The same as I would with you. We all have different computer systems as well as home gear so the feedback from others results is important. Everyone who reads this and can make copies with their computer should do so, do a listening test and report back. I think it would be very interesting.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    The problem (something I have to deal with), is HDD noises & CPU fan. CDP's are virtually noiseless. So unless the comp is isolated somewhere or happens to be noise free, there is always this issue.

  5. #5
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Not me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    ....
    I also have not seen a ground swell of audiophiles running out to copy all their discs because it improves them. I've had people argue that there is no difference between an original and a copy but I've yet, until this article, had anyone claim the copies are better and yet significantly better.

    Maybe for fun you could copy something and tell me what you think. ....
    The last thing I'm going to do is copy CDs to CDRs for the sake of better sound But I can tell you that the several differenct computer playback setups I've use are as good or better than CDP playback using the same DAC.

    The biggest problem was always drop-outs, but I've beat that almost entirely now. I use Foobar2000 as my player; it can provide and input buffer to the program, (not to be confuse with various output buffer options it also provides). Setting a high input buffer has almost entirely overcome the drop-out problem. Various other this help too: (1) dedicated computer with minimum programs and services running; (2) dedicated rather than shared USB circuit for your USB external hard drive; (3) defragging your music files.

    Most of my files are Apple Lossless or FLAC. I feed my external DAC, an old 20 bit 8xOS Assemblage DAC 1.5 from the S/PDIF output of my M-Audio Revolution 7.1 internal sound card. I use the M-Audio's ASIO driver in Foobar to bypass WinXP's notorious 'kmixer' software component. I get bit-perfect delivery to my DAC as evidenced by the fact that its HDCD indicator lights when the original recording was so recorded and the computer file is lossless.

  6. #6
    Ajani
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    For computer audio, I prefer to avoid using USB or the optical output of macs... I believe the better option to use a streaming device such as a Squeezebox...

    This avoids several possible problems:

    1) Noise from the computer (actually my laptop and external Hard Drive are virtually silent most of the time)...

    2) USB dropouts - I have never experienced a dropout with the Squeezebox (wireless)...

    3) Strange audio driver/program settings that can make the USB output sound like crap - Squeezebox bypasses all that....


    In Music Server related news:

    Meridian just took over Soloos

    http://www.stereophile.com/news/meri...uires_sooloos/

    I think the Music Server is bound to become the new standard for Audiophiles... It's nice to see that the regular consumer industry can have a positive impact on Audiophilia... Thanks to the iPod people now expect to be able to access their entire music collection easily & now the high end manufacturers are realizing that they too can cash in heavily on that market, by producing high quality music servers (instead of just sitting on their hands, dreaming about a return to the 'good old days')...

  7. #7
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    What do you mean by drop-out? Are you talking about music interruptions because of CPU overload? If so that's really a non-issue.

  8. #8
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    What do you mean by drop-out? Are you talking about music interruptions because of CPU overload? If so that's really a non-issue.
    As far as I know, it's supposed to be that.... (Feanor mentioned dropout in his prior post)... I experienced a similar problem occasionally, back when I used to use a MAC Mini connected directly to my preamp...

  9. #9
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    This is a good read, and you should also follow the link in the article about Toslink. It will show the naysayers some hard evidence why there is a difference heard between some digital cables. The main article will show why the computer or music server fanboys could be on to something. Feanor, Ajani, Mike Anderson and others of you.

    http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue22/nugent.htm

    No this wasn't written by Ted, this is about digital, not chaseatail.
    Nice article BTW... kind of a must read for people curious about Computer Audio...

  10. #10
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    A nice editorial but light on the specifics or links to any of the sources he comments on about the effects of jitter, etc.

    As a result I can't really read to much in to it with any confidence.

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Drop-outs

    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    What do you mean by drop-out? Are you talking about music interruptions because of CPU overload? If so that's really a non-issue.
    Drop-outs are short, usually instantaneous, silences. As much as anything, they are like click/pops on an LP and about as annoying.

    I guess they can be caused by various lags in the processing chain, including CPU overload. However in my case they were more a matter of the CPU being straved rather than overloaded. The thing that made the most difference for me was setting a player program input buffer; other than that, I think what made the most difference was defragging the source music files. (The music files can become fragment if you change the tags, (metadata), for example -- always defrag if you change tag info or add cover art.)

  12. #12
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Drop-outs are short, usually instantaneous, silences. As much as anything, they are like click/pops on an LP and about as annoying.
    I don't believe I run into this problem.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Noise of a HD will become a thing of the past as Solid State HD's become larger and cheaper.
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  14. #14
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    I thought all hard drives were solid state. And I think the noise referred to was more fan or what ever causes these CPU's to hum all the time. My Dell tower is extremely noisy.

  15. #15
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    By solid state I believe Blackraven is referring to 'flash' drive topology. Typical hard drives use disks which spin (and make noise as they are read). With flash drives you don't have any moving parts. I'm guessing next gen hard drives will implement this technology, which is also noiseless.
    Last edited by audio amateur; 12-07-2008 at 05:04 AM.

  16. #16
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Hard drives

    Speaking of music and hard drives, here's one of the pioneering digital players from back in the frontier days. It had a full-size standard spinning hard drive in it. I don't remember the precise year it hit the market, but mine came with only Windows 98SE drivers...no ME or XP.




  17. #17
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    By solid state I believe he's referring to 'flash' drive topology. Typical hard drives use disks which spin (and make noise as they are read). With flash drives you don't have any moving parts. I'm guessing next gen hard drives will implement this technology, which is also noiseless.
    SSDs are popping up all over but still aren't terribly affordable aside from some slower and lower capacity ones like what is shipping in many netbooks like the Asus Eee PC and others. Flash in portable players has been around a while although that's slightly different stuff (I just got a 32GB solid state portable player myself).

    They are dropping in price and I imagine they'll be much more popular by the middle of next year. Being solid state I imagine the prices will slide pretty steadily.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Kevio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emorphien
    A nice editorial but light on the specifics or links to any of the sources he comments on about the effects of jitter, etc.

    As a result I can't really read to much in to it with any confidence.
    I must agree. Points 1 and 2 under "Contributions to jitter" appear to indicate a belief that a CD player operates as a digital turntable. I guess that's an easy model to understand but it is, at best, oversimplified.

  19. #19
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Noise

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Noise of a HD will become a thing of the past as Solid State HD's become larger and cheaper.
    Noise can be quite annoying from a computer in the listening room, but computers seem to vary a lot in their noisiness. My music machine is quite noise and I'm getting fed up with it. On the otherhand, my general purpose machine is also in my listening room and much closer to my listening position but is no problem at all. I'd suggest that the noise of fans is the usually bigger problem than that of the hard drive.

    Personally I don't think there is any necessity for a solid state drive for music listening, at least not with reasonably current computers. Don't forget that SATA drivers can delivery 3 gigabits per second: this is ludicrously beyond any audio requirement and these drivers in principle and fact can deliver audio data and do several other things at the same time. I do recommend that you keep your files defragmented however

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