Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Mmm .

  Yes...and I do know exactly where my records are  .  [...most of them anyway].

Different angle on the same issue I suppose ...but a mate of mine highlighted another problem with streaming [as opposed to downloading] the other day.

He'd wanted to listen to a certain album by a certain artist  but it couldn't be located on any of the regular streaming services.

Turned out that it's not currently available due to record label contractual changes and will be back up when all is done  & signed .

[Good job my old Stones LPs on Atlantic , EMI and Virgin didn't self destruct when they chucked their hats in with Universal a few years ago ! ]

Edited by Smokestack
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

You plug a USB dac into your laptop, what is there to understand, the rest is just FUD and marketing.

Keith

Umm, not sure that's always the case. When using my Innuos Zen I found I get a better sound quality using  its network output into a streamer to feed my DAC as opposed to feeding the USB DAC input directly from the Zen. Personally I feel usb outputs are probably quite noisy or challenged in some way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Smokestack said:

I'm yet to get into streaming or file based audio at all.

To be honest I feel a little relieved that this Luddite isn't the only person in the world who doesn't understand it ! :D

I don't understand it, but I have to use it, as most of my new music comes from downloads.  Bandcamp in particular, but others too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer

For Lurch's last bakeoff, I brought my digital set-up. As this consistes of a NAS, a SOtM SMS-200 usb streamer, and a DAC, I decided to use an unused router to allow me to create a standalone network that only has the sms-200 and the NAS attached, access via the router.

So obviously I needed to set this all up at home, and make sure everything was talking to everything else. Blow me down, but removing the system from my main home network improved the sound dramatically, even with the stock power supply on both the router and the NAS. I put this down to noise on the Ethernet lines.

Needless to say, this is how it's set up at home now, although it isn't totally convenient for management. Plus I have to replug to the main network if I want to use Spotify. At some point I will buy a wireless network bridge, or maybe go mesh. I may even splash for some iPower supplies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, MotherSky said:

Hmm - in a way this sums up my frustration with my latest audio 'journey' - lots of previously marginal issues seem to disproportionately affect sound quality in a way that makes no rational sense - I am seriously considering abandoning the whole Idea of streaming/file based audio and going back to CDs - I understand physical media and know how to make it work properly - the whole of what might loosely be referred to as computer audio seems absurdly complex and difficult to get right - stupidly expensive power supplies are just the tip of the iceberg

As I recall, absurdly expensive power supplies have been the standard upgrade for the last 30 years. Look at the power supply upgrade options to favourite turntables and preamplifiers, both from the manufacturers and aftermarket.

Some would say that the power supply is as significant as the signal circuitry to your end result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, notevenclose said:

Personally I chose to hand back my travel visa at one of the interminable border checks on that particular 'journey' after having a Damascene moment scrolling through wi-fi logs looking for errors. A true 'what the f*** am I doing?' flash of reality. At which point CD was restored as the primary source, not least because it sounds better.

It's perfectly easy to get a decent sound out of a relatively simple set-up, in my case I've reverted to a Mac mini running Audirvana, but it seems to me that the next level above that instils that distinct feeling of being surrounded by minefields in every direction. I chose to stop, curse, then retrace my steps.

I'm perfectly comfortable with the computer/networking stuff, but that's for the day job, to be honest when I listen to music I don't really want to know.

Having at one time being entirely file-based (for 6 years) nowadays I generally just can't be arsed with it.

6 hours ago, rabski said:

I have to disagree about the power supply part, but only because decent power supplies are important for pretty much anything in audio. Admittedly though, in many cases you don't see it, it's simply why thing 1 is more expensive than thing 2.

As for the rest, I couldn't agree more.

Many times I have read posts in various parts of the forum suggesting that streaming, and file-based audio in general, is really simple. No. No it isn't. I've worked on and off with computers and networks over the years and things are very rarely simple. Terms like UPnP always make me laugh, because they're utter b******s. It should be UPnFDP; universal plug and frequently doesn't play. Things sound better or worse for reasons that are unfathomable and end up with endless circular arguments about things that all known science and logic suggests can't make a difference, but somehow seem to.

Almost every time I listen to a system where someone uses all this chaos, it seems to end up with an interminable wait while they try to get some bit of it to work properly, which apparently worked fine last time. The best bit is that it's supposed to make it all simpler and easier. Simpler? Transport plus DAC equalls very good digital source and requires one to stick a CD in a slot. Even in my most slothful moments that's not beyond me.

I gave up on it long ago, because it's too much bloody aggravation. I have a netbook with an M2Tech USB to SPDIF converter feeding my DAC. That's exactly as far as file-based audio goes here now, and it very rarely gets turned on anyway.

In the 1990’s two boxes for CD and two boxes for amplification  were comparatively simple and controllable. The issues today with data streaming add so many boxes and cables, and the questions that go with each… and the unexpected improvements in the data realm sometimes defy explanation. … and I keep chasing the sound I had with Muse/Theta. Then again, it’s amazing that I can stay to that same pricepoint 25 years later, just with a lot of jiggering and experimenting.

But I can’t go back, organisation, playlists, download from bandcamp, etc.

I rarely have database/music library issues. More often in the 90’s I could not find where I left that CD I was playing yesterday. Oh it’s sitting on top of those books and hidden by a leaflet I was looking at! Or, someone mis-filed it when returning to the CD cabinet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, brucew268 said:

In the 1990’s two boxes for CD and two boxes for amplification  were comparatively simple and controllable. The issues today with data streaming add so many boxes and cables, and the questions that go with each… and the unexpected improvements in the data realm sometimes defy explanation. … and I keep chasing the sound I had with Muse/Theta. Then again, it’s amazing that I can stay to that same pricepoint 25 years later, just with a lot of jiggering and experimenting.

But I can’t go back, organisation, playlists, download from bandcamp, etc.

It's not either/or. Both can co-exist quite happily.

A decade or more ago when I started fannying about with file-based replay, it was purely for background music. There was a 2 box CD player/DAC in residence which, for once without hyperbole, wiped the floor with it if I actually wanted to listen to music rather than have a noise in the background while I read the Sunday papers.

It (file playback) gradually improved to become listenable in its own right as I kept tinkering. PSUs, cables, converters, et al. It still wasn't as good as CD but it was a great deal closer.

Around the end of the decade I lost the 2 box CD player to a serious lightning strike and most of my cash to she who several of my family still refer to as 'the toxic bitch.'

So I decided not to directly replace the CD, but to trouser the cash and push the file-system on to become the primary source.

Cue more fiddling, more PSUs, software fine-tuning etc and eventually a dedicated audiophile file-player. A Melco. Great sound but a complete pain in the butt.

Like you, I suppose I was chasing the sound I had before which remained a reference in my head. 

I then made my biggest mistake of the entire process, by borrowing the modern day equivalent to the CD player I'd lost 6 years earlier.

Arse!

The Melco followed Elvis off the promises and the files play second fiddle again. I do occasionally listen 'properly' to albums (files) I can't get on CD, particularly some BandCamp stuff, and it's fine, but most of the time it's for background music. I don't read physical newspapers any more though, so I guess some progress has been made.

I confess though I have no interest in streaming, the files I have are all my own CD Rips or downloads from Quobuz, Bandcamp etc. Don't have time to listen to the stuff I've got, without another couple of hundred squillion tracks being dangled in front of me.

I wonder what you'd make of your Muse/Theta now?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator

Life's too short basically.

I can quite easily rip a CD to the NAS drive here. I can then play it on my netbook, through the USB to SPDIF converter into the DAC.

Common sense tells me that this should sound identical to playing that same CD on the transport and through the same DAC. Knowledge of how digital transmission works tells me this must be the case. Unfortunately, it isn't. Played from the ripped file, it sounds quite apparently different, and not for the better.

Seeing as it actually takes less time to play the CD, that's what I will continue to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Dealer

Pick that unsighted can you Rab?

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
30 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

Pick that unsighted can you Rab?

Keith

Easily Keith.

You know me well enough to know that I'd rather be saying the opposite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, brucew268 said:

As I recall, absurdly expensive power supplies have been the standard upgrade for the last 30 years. Look at the power supply upgrade options to favourite turntables and preamplifiers, both from the manufacturers and aftermarket.

Some would say that the power supply is as significant as the signal circuitry to your end result.

You are right of course - highlighting this element was ill considered - perhaps it is the perceived proliferation of offboard power supplies and my hatred for "upgrade" options that turn out to be necessary for acceptable performance - I suppose my real complaint is that I don't enjoy endless tweaking with digital equipment - I have the analogue domain for that - If only the "bits are bits, it's all just zeroes and ones" dogma were borne out by my experience, I'd have been saved an awful lot of tedium...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, rabski said:

It should be UPnFDP; universal plug and frequently doesn't play. Things sound better or worse for reasons that are unfathomable and end up with endless circular arguments about things that all known science and logic suggests can't make a difference, but somehow seem to.

You should take a look at the Cat8 Ethernet Cable Thread in the Linn section, you'll love it ^_^

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, notevenclose said:

I confess though I have no interest in streaming, the files I have are all my own CD Rips or downloads from Quobuz, Bandcamp etc. Don't have time to listen to the stuff I've got, without another couple of hundred squillion tracks being dangled in front of me.

I wonder what you'd make of your Muse/Theta now?

If your music files are on a server connected to a player by ethernet or wifi, you are usually streaming... your own files. If your files are stored on the same box as the player or connected via USB, I suppose you are not.

Occasionally, I see a review or recommend for a music new to me, or follow a Music-Like-This link, and find something I love. However, I do notice that chasing new music possibilities can get old. Kissing frogs. Eventually, I often come back to albums I've loved for years and can truly relax and enjoy.

Muse DAC/Theta transport? I've wondered a few times. Muse is out of business, but in the day was sonically as good as Theta processors for 1/3 the price. I could get a Theta processor and a transport, but... actually I don't have room for two sets of kit. And Theta can't manage my 24/96 files. For some odd reason, the old Theta Data Basic transport just sounded better than most others available in the same tier. Don't know why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My instinctive position is that all pieces of audio equipment should be tethered to the wall – and each other – by wires. The same holds true for telephones as far as I'm concerned, sound quality on every modern phone I've ever encountered is pretty abysmal compared to what was available 25 years ago from B&O.

I digress. Yes, most of my experience with file-based replay has been via either Firewire or USB, with a smidgen of Ethernet and Toslink. I've had numerous demonstrations of streaming in action – look Ma, no wires – but I remain unconvinced. One retailer of my acquaintance regularly invites me to hear his latest breakthrough, which is where the comedy routine – that's funny, it was working perfectly/sounding great this morning – tends to pop-up. Mind you, I've had that happen with a manufacturer too.

I'm not familiar with the Theta first-hand but I think I'm correct in saying it conformed to my preference on having the 'mechanical' performance prioritised as an integral part of the design brief?

With only one exception, my favourite CD sources all favour serious physical design as being as just important as shuffling the bits around.

Let's be honest though, if you were going to have a competition to design a hostile environment in which to process an audio signal, it would be very difficult to come up with anything much worse than a computer. I've owned a Melco and have an open invitation to borrow some of the new generation Auralic stuff, but in truth it's unlikely I'll take up the offer, just not that interested I'm afraid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.