With the massive amount of publicity (some would say hype) surrounding the new remastered Beatles Cds I thought it was time to dig out the old CDs and compare them to a couple of the new editions.
From what I’ve read they have talked about limiting to bring things up to date. From what I can see and what I can here they have cleaned up the sound , firmed up the bottom end considerably and added a degree of compression that is unfortunately almost essential for any modern release. Compared to say the last Metallica released this is absolutely sonically fantastic dynamics wise. Compared to the originals, somehow while they have more presence and more punch they also sound a touch too loud in places. The vocals in Back in the U.S.S.R. just shout. Pity.
33 Naim retailers across the UK are particpating in the Naim Summer Sounds roadshow.
Featured products are the newly launched Ovator S-600 speaker and there will also be previews of the soon to be launch Naim DAC.
Very interested to read on Amarra’s website and I paraphrase ‘it’s easy to make music sound good on a computer but hard to make it sound fabulous’. I think they have been listening to my conversations.
Next week I’m in Munich for the High End show and by coincidence will be sharing a booth (or to be more exact one of my clients Thorens is sharing a booth themed Sources of the future as it’s vinyl and streaming with Higoto who are Germany’s streaming experts.
The demos will be of Thoren’s new Tri-Balance turntable, the Logitech Transporter and a Macbook running iTunes with the Amarra software into a Weiss DAC.
Computer audio seems to generate emotions when discussing what products to use that really are odd. Ideally one would take a computer, connect a good DAC and play one’s favourite music using one’s favourite app.
If only it were that simple. The more I experiment the more I realise that CA is absolutely similar to analog audio or indeed any audio when taken seriously. Every change is audible.
Of course, just because a change is audible doesn’t mean it matters.
The expression bandied about on forums about Computer Audio is bit transparent. The theory is simple: it’s getting the bits from the Hard Drive out of the computer without them being manipulated/changed in any way.
I’ve tried many music playing apps and they all seem to sound subtly different. Even different releases of iTunes are reported to sort different. Life is far to short to bother to try different releases. As they say tried it once and didn’t like it.
For convenience for quick playback I tend to use VLC www.videolan.org. It seems to play almost everything audio and video and can even stream stuff over my network. It works well for Radio Paradise too.
Jonathan Berger, Professor of Music at Stanford University, California has theorised that young people are getting used to the sound of MP3s to the point where they are beginning to prefer the sound . For the past eight years his students have taken part in an experiment in which they listen to songs in a variety of different forms, including MP3s. “I found not only that MP3s were not thought of as low quality, but over time there was a rise in preference for MP3s,” Professor Berger said.
Decided to use Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, but slightly more unusually the DVD-A rip so the source is 24/96. Unlike quite a few DVD-A’s this one appears to have some content above 22k. Amazing though that given the total available dynamic range they still needed to ‘clip’ the recording. Still sounds rather good though.
To start I compared the standard power supply with the MaplinL54BR. Pleasant surprise, the Maplin delivers a subtlety of delivery that doesn’t emphasise any particular instruments. The original in comparison seems to make the bass line and the hi-hat a little more obvious in the mix of Dreams and decreases the importance of Stevie Nick’s voice.
I’ve been reading good reports on various fora of using a 240 to 12V AC transformer from Maplin as a relacement power supply for the Dacmagic. It’s a 36VA tranny in a plastic case with a captive 2 core mains cable and a selection of pluggable DC plugs. It’s Maplin part number L54BR. It costs £15.
I’ve picked up one locally so reports of some listening results very soon.
The two subjects of CD Ripping and Computer Audio seem to be the most contentious around in the world of audio now. Theory one, is that it’s possible to get good sound from a computer feeding a DAC. The debate tends to be as much around whether a Mac is better than a PC as a source as which DAC is ideal. The general feeling seems to be that a Mac Book with a DAC costing around a £1k is cable of delivering better sound that a serious or very serious CD Player. I agree a Mac and a DAC is cable of delivering a very good sound – but not a great one.
The experiment was to move the PC outside my listening room and then to use a 5m Chord HDMI and 5m USB cables to control and monitor the PC.
The worry was running a good monitor at 1920 by 1200 over a 5m HDMI cable. Would the image quality be reduced? The image was absolutely fine and so much so that I temporarily tried a 10 m cable which worked just as well.
The point of the blog of course is the performance. While I would never argue that the Ikea Lack delivered 100% of the dynamics of the specialist rack we were using, it wasn’t too shabby at all. The good part is that, what it didn’t do well – mainly dynamic contrasts – itdidn’t fail badly and horribly.