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    Moderated By: Maxxwire
    Agoraquest Forum Index » » Amp/Receiver/Speakers/Connections/Cables
      
    21st century sound quailty of home audio. Why isn't better? Dashboard
    Replies: 374 | Views: 140,450
    Last Reply: August 23, 2012, 3:16 am

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    Maxxwire | jttar | Skytrooper | mhedges | jehill | dahrich | jeromelang | mykyll2727 | David_S | RickeyM | Welwynnick | Danglerb | dontsleep33 | scott1019 | sterling1 | magellan |
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    Author 21st century sound quailty of home audio. Why isn't better?
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-18 02:23

    David_Feels good to know I'm not alone in this. I just don't get it as his point seems totally contradictory to me. Like you said there's no surface noise in the live experience. And wouldn't all of that noise actually detract from dynamics not improve it? And this from a very highly respected and capable audio gear maker.


    I completely relate to your freeway experience. I grew up in Chicago. That city is loud during the day and even at night. The first house I bought was less than three blocks from Wrigley Field. What's more I had the EL (Joe will know what that is) running right behind my back yard. Talk about loud. I setup my sytem in the basement because that was actually quieter than the rest of the house and I could hear the details better.

    Your experience made me think about something else. I've heard the reason systems tend to sound much better at night is because of the cleaner AC. Because of less of it being used at night. While that may be true coudn't part, if not alot of it be simply because it's quieter. Less background noise to mask the sound and therefore allows us to hear the details and dynamics better which brings our music closer to live?_mykl

    [ This message was edited by: mykyll2727 on 2011-08-18 02:26 ]


       


    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-18 02:42

     This latest email of Paul's I felt I felt had particular relenvence to this thread. Again please forgive the large type. I don't know how to correct it when I put it into the reply box it actually looks smaller.

    The Quiet Revolution


    In the September issue of TAS (The Absolute Sound) magazine, Robert Harley touches on what I like to call the Quiet Revolution: moving the high-end to networked audio.

    In his travels to France he was surprised to find that everywhere he went, not a single CD transport was to be seen. Instead, streaming audio servers were the norm. What’s interesting is that these weren’t streaming audio companies trying to impress the editor of the magazine with their new wares – these were speaker manufacturers showing off the sound of their speakers.

    When an important reviewer shows up at your door, you put your best sonic foot forward. Fascinating they put their network audio foot right up in front.

    I am reminded this is the fifth revolution I have personally witnessed (of those that mattered):


    1. Mono to stereo

    2. Tubes to transistors

    3. Vinyl to CD

    4. CD to hard drive

    5. Everything available over the network anywhere you are

    The first three revolutions were widely publicized within our community.

    Each went through the three steps of acceptance: ridicule, opposition, then embraced with much fanfare.

    We’re right in the middle of the fourth and fifth revolutions but without much fanfare.

    Why so quiet?

    Tomorrow: the tiniest details



       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26074
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-18 03:49

    I've had an extended experience with Vinyl playback and I tried many ways to get rid of the distraction of surface including buying a Stereophile Magazine Class B Recommended D
    BX 3BX Dynamic Range Expander...



    The DBX 3BX did quiet down the surface noise of Vinyl Playback, but the sound quality suffered enough to make you want to try enduring the surface noise again. I once came across something that the chief designer at Rega said which was 'If you can't stand a little surface noise then you're just not cut out to listen to Vinyl.' Not long after that I started building my i2s Bus Digital front end which was very quiet.

      

    I ran a Rega P3 like the one pictured above only without the butcher's block using a RB 300 Tonearm and a Sumiko Blue Point Special Cart with a 2 meter pair of Straightwire Virtuoso Gold Analog interconnects and with the right record it sounded very good. When my friend who worked at the Sony Only Store came over to listen to my Vinyl Rig I played Sade's Diamond Life and it just blew him away in fact he said that it sounded as good as the SACD Reference Separates they had at the store!

    The problem was that I could only get that kind of performance out of it with 3 albums that I had one of which was a 1/2 speed Mastered MFSL version of Steely Dan's 1977 Aja album which was originally mastered using the same JBL-L-100a speakers that I have. Music came out of the walls when I played that MFSL Aja album!

    In the end it wasn't surface noise or the hassle of manually cleaning records before a listening session, but rather the extremely poor quality of the recorded Vinyl itself that disappointed me the most. Most of the albums I had contained very little bass and produced a very small soundstage because of the way that the masters they were made from were cut in that the record companies had a large financial stake in preserving the very expensive cutting heads and so they sacrificed the quality of the records to save money.

    ~Maxx~

    Sony H-9 MaxxPix

    [ This message was edited by: Maxxwire on 2011-08-19 02:57 ]


         
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-18 04:35

    No question all formats have poor quality recordings. We all know some CDs sound terrible and yet I know of some that sound awesome. I think that so many of the early CDs due to a rush to get them out sounded very bad. IMO it really helped foster some the prejudice toward CDs' SQ that exists to this day. I had an experience today that brought it to mind. I was listening to a complitation CD earlier today. The first track was harsh, very bright and "digital" sounding as were some others. Yet some of the others sounded truly great and this was all on the same disc. I don't know if it stemmed from the originals that the disc was mastered from or from the mastering of the disc or some combination of both. I do know this if I had tried to tune my system to make the first track sound good my system's SQ would be so askewed that nothing would sound good on it. Yet all in all I'll take today's source tech over that of yesteryear. Not just for what I feel is it's more like "live" SQ but for it's many other areas of superiority like ease. To me today's 21st century source tech is clearly better than that of yesteryear. But of course that's just my taste._mykl


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26074
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-18 05:25



    Without a doubt modern computer based Digital Music is not only much less expensive than the early digital players, but it also sounds incredibly better!

    ~Maxx~

    Sony H-9 MaxxPix


         
    David_S

    Rank: Sony Legend


    Joined: Aug 03, 2004
    Posts: 905
    From: BC, Canada

      Posted: 2011-08-19 01:47

    DBX brings back an era I had forgotton about.  Some vinyl was recorded in DBX & you needed a DBX decoder to play it back properly.  Maxx, do you have DBX vinyl.

    There was also the DBX/Dolby cassette options.  A few decks had both DBX & Dolby.  I guess that was one of the first format wars.  Obviously Dolby won.  I never heard a DBX cassette deck, some swore that it was better than Dolby.



    -----------------
    TA- E77ES E80ES E1000ESD E9000ES
    TA- N77ES F555ES, ST-S730ES
    RM- AV3000 AX1400 (2)AX4000
    STR- DA4ES DA3100ES (2)DA5700ES (2)GX10ES
    DVP- (3)NS999ES NS3100ES CX777ES
    CDP-X303ES, CDP-M555ES
    MDS-JA20ES, TC-K717ES, DTC-690


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26074
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-19 16:45

    David_S- I never did own any Vinyl that was recorded in DBX, but even back then there was an effort to come up with giving the recording medium a quieter and hopefully 'black background' over which to record the Music in order to enhance the amount of discernible detail in the Music and with today's 24 bit Asynchronous Digital Music the challenge has finally met.

    ~Maxx~

    Sony H-9 MaxxPix


         
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-19 22:46

    I don't think I ever had any DBX albums either. I have the feeling at one point I had a DBX cassette deck but I'm not sure. It was a long time ago. Maybe someone else had some experience with DBX. I did have alot of experience with Dolby and I'm in total agreement with Maxx's point about the drive to lower the noise floor. It's been going on for decades. Dolby certainly helped with cassettes when properly applied and the tapes sounded better. The music was clearer, more detailed and more dynamic. That and Maxx's experience with his computer based source is why I just don't buy McGowen's point. To me, surface noise doesn't make music more dynamic or sound more "live". For me when it comes to surface noise less is definitely better and I want as little of it as I can get._mykl

    [ This message was edited by: mykyll2727 on 2011-08-19 22:48 ]


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
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    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26074
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-20 15:55

    • Member Quote

    On 2011-08-19 22:46, mykyll2727 wrote:
    For me when it comes to surface noise less is definitely better and I want as little of it as I can get._mykl




    I felt exactly the same about the surface noise when playing Vinyl Albums on my Rega P3 Turntable until I read Rega's owner say this about surface noise...''

    "If you can't stand the surface noise during playback then you're just not cut out to listen to Vinyl"

    Shortly after that I started building my i2s Bus Digital front end...

    ~Maxx~

    Sony H-9 MaxxPix




    [ This message was edited by: Maxxwire on 2011-08-20 15:57 ]


         
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-21 04:45

    Maxx_He was definitely talking about me!! That's why even back in the day I was so into tape._mykl


       
    Danglerb

    Rank: Sony Addict


    Joined: May 04, 2006
    Posts: 193
    From: Socal

      Posted: 2011-08-31 03:56

    I don't think sound reproduction has improved audibly from what was possible in 1960. We have more channels, and can make good equipment at lower cost, and some materials have been improved, but despite 50 years of claimed progress the "big" improvements don't add up to much when comparing the best of now to the best of then. S/N has improved, but I don't find that too hard to ignore with old sources.

    Video I don't see as all that improved either, with the exception that what once required a theater can now be done at much lower cost at home.

    Personally I blame the AC cords.


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26074
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-31 04:35

    Danglerb- Your right. If all modern Audio equipment came with an ultra low resistance Single Crystal Copper conductor power cord and a Pure Copper AC Plug things would sound much better indeed!
      

    ~Maxx~



    Sony H-9 MaxxPix

    [ This message was edited by: Maxxwire on 2011-09-04 21:35 ]


         
    Danglerb

    Rank: Sony Addict


    Joined: May 04, 2006
    Posts: 193
    From: Socal

      Posted: 2011-08-31 18:05

    Mine sounds twice as good, I biwire my AC.

    The back of my receiver has two AC connections, the EIA female and a Aux standard female. By making an AC cord with a male plug on both ends its possible to biwire the AC using the double male cable and a standard cable. With twice the AC power and twice the ground the improvement is incredible.

    *** Just kidding, I don't drink the cable Koolaide at all. I blame the lack of progress on the fact that consumers are gullible enough to buy items like fancy AC cables, which keeps any intelligent engineer far away from audio.


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26074
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-31 19:45

    Sometimes very meaningful sonic improvements can be had for less than $10.



    ~Maxx~

      

    [ This message was edited by: Maxxwire on 2011-08-31 21:41 ]


         
    jttar
    Moderator
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sony Master


    Joined: Feb 28, 2003
    Posts: 9228
    From: Chicago,IL, USA

      Posted: 2011-08-31 21:36

    • Member Quote

    On 2011-08-31 03:56, Danglerb wrote:

    Video I don't see as all that improved either, with the exception that what once required a theater can now be done at much lower cost at home.


    Hello Danglerb,

    Unless this is just another tongue in cheek comment you really need to check out a HD television. The digital signal and a 1080P display is a vast improvement in video quality.
    If you don't seriously think video displays have had only minor improvement from the old CRT days with analog signal check out the new cell phones or tablet displays that are 3D capable without using glasses. Samsung and LG are two that come to mind.

    Joe


         
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