High Resolution Music Website Links

Music from PC, iPOD, MP3 etc
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:57 pm
Location: Slovenia

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby Zulef » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:48 pm

Hi
I have quite a few hires files, however i haven't noticed any improvement in sound over regular flacs. Yes there are some different versions of the same recorded material but comparing the same masters in different formats, nothing worth mentioning.
If you come across some material with obvious difference pls let me know.
This is strange since 16/44.1 has serious flaws, like the need to filter hf above one half of the sample rate. That means only 2kHz bandwidth to filter everything up to 22 kHz. That means high order filter that kill harmonics, ringing. 192 kHz gives you a lot of space until 96.... also 16 bits are just not enough to catch a wave in 3d space, however I haven't heard any improvement in practice. Maybe industry is not doing it right yet?

Posts: 121
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 11:20 am
Location: Wiltshire, UK

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby paul_riordan » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:06 am

Zulef wrote:Hi
I have quite a few hires files, however i haven't noticed any improvement in sound over regular flacs. Yes there are some different versions of the same recorded material but comparing the same masters in different formats, nothing worth mentioning.
If you come across some material with obvious difference pls let me know.
This is strange since 16/44.1 has serious flaws, like the need to filter hf above one half of the sample rate. That means only 2kHz bandwidth to filter everything up to 22 kHz. That means high order filter that kill harmonics, ringing. 192 kHz gives you a lot of space until 96.... also 16 bits are just not enough to catch a wave in 3d space, however I haven't heard any improvement in practice. Maybe industry is not doing it right yet?


I understand where you are coming from - I have few albums in both 16 bit and 24 bit from the same mastering so it is difficult to compare. My experience so far shows that 24 bit versions do generally sound better than 16 bit versions of albums (although they are not always from the same master!). I find the difference in sampling rate to have a smaller impact, in fact I hear little or no difference between 96k and 192k versions of the same music.

Albums available in high res that I think do sound good would include:

Bill Evans - Waltz For Debby - I don't have a 16 bit version to compare to.

Peter Gabriel - So - the 24 bit version does sound better than the 16 bit version from the same master.

Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back - the 24 bit version does sound better than the 16 bit version from the same master.

Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms - the 24 bit version sounds fantastic, which is slightly bizarre as it was originally recorded digitally in 16 bit.

Jackson Browne - Running on Empty - definitely sounds better in 24 bit compared to the 16 bit version (although it is a different master)

Beck - Sea Change - the 24 bit version does sound better than the 16 bit version from the same master - although I also have a Mobile Fidelity 16 bit master which is as good as the 24 bit version that I have but does sound different.

Gotye - Making Mirrors - Definitely better in 24 bit compared to the 16 bit version.

Philip Glass - Koyaanisqatsi - I don't have 16 bit version to compare to.

Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep In The North Sea - Definitely better in 24 bit compared to the 16 bit version.

It may be worth you looking at - http://www.computeraudiophile.com - there are usually reviews and comparisons of recordings there and also a healthy debate on the relative merits (or not) if different bit rates and sample rates.

Also worth taking a look here to see the dynamic range of various albums and downloads - http://dr.loudness-war.info/
Source: Auralic Aries Mini + Mytek DAC 192
Video source: Oppo BDP-93 blu-ray/SACD/DVD-A
Pre-amp: Mark Levinson ML380s
Cinema Processor: Anthem D2v
Speakers: ATC SCM50ASL (Front and Centre), ATC C4 (Sub), ATC SCM20A-2 (Rear)
Screen: Pioneer KRP-600A

Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:01 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby Brad Lunde » Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:46 pm

The business has changed quite a bit in the last 20 years. It used to be the record labels put up the money to make a record and they controlled everything. Artist had next to zero say unless he/she was a top tier seller. Now the record business is gone and the revenue is now coming from live shows. You can't make a living from 99 cent songs on iTunes unless you are the hottest thing happening right now. The artist is typically putting up the money for the record and controlling elements of the process, but not all.

Listen to Martina McBride's latest, Everlasting. Her husband recorded it in his/her studio (Blackbird) using the best gear money can buy (ATC 300s BTW) using the best Nashville players you can hire. Controlled as close to every step as possible and it sounds stunning I think, right off the iTunes download. IS Martina the biggest star out there? No, but that's on purpose. She and John control and run their life and their art they way the want to. A rare thing. The biggest artists sometimes are in less control as there are so many people making a living on them, counting on them, invested in them.

Even a good mastering engineer can get a client that says "louder please" against his wishes. After all, you DO work for someone else. Very difficult to understand all the people in play in a given recording that affect the outcome. Many famous musicians, famous mix engineers, even Mastering engineers, walk around regretting recordings they are stuck with for they did not have the power to control the step after them.
Brad
Brad Lunde
Lone Mountain Audio, part of TransAudio Group
ATC Importers USA

Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:57 pm
Location: Slovenia

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby Zulef » Mon May 19, 2014 6:42 pm

I can give it a try and check some of your suggestions.

I'm not sure how can a track recorded @16 bits sound better upsampled to 24/192.
You mentioned this one Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms - the 24 bit version sounds fantastic, which is slightly bizarre as it was originally recorded digitally in 16 bit.
Are you talking abou this one: 2013 - Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab / UDSACD 2099 / Stereo Remastered US Ultradisc UHR Release / SACD
or: − 2005 - Vertigo / 9871498 / Stereo Remastered European Release - 20th Anniversary / SACD

Cheers

Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:50 pm

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby John Leddy » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:08 pm

.
I know it's bad form to reincarnate such an old thread, which ranges from MattSPL » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:15 pm to Zulef » Mon May 19, 2014 6:42 pm, but to heck with it.

Matt's first post reminded me I'd downloaded all the available 24-bit 96kHz and 192kHz FLAC files from 2L in 2011, and created a couple of Various Artists albums. I have just done the same again to grab more tracks and get my album covers sorted. I suffer from tagging OCD.

Back then, a friend had purchased a new Wyred4Sound DAC-2. I tried my absolute best to talk him out of a Computer-DAC set-up, even claiming being British we should all own network audio players, but no, he insisted on copying our American cousins and blew £1,500 on an outboard DAC. Having been though the first DAC phase myself, with CD players and transports, I wasn't going to fall for that again. Once bitten twice shy as they say.

I took a 24-bit 192kHz file and created both 24-bit 96kHz and 16-bit 44.1kHz versions, and uploaded the three files to my Apache webserver so he could download them. Have to laugh, that server was one of three boxes under my desk keeping my toes toasty. I'd also built a BSD FreeNAS box for my music, and a Debian/Windows dual-boot machine for day-to-day use. Masochist or what! Anyway...

My friend could have told me any old cack, but true to form he chose to be honest, and reported regretting his purchase as he couldn't hear a difference between the files.

At this point, I made a conscious decision to be happy with ripping CDs to 16-bit 44.1kHz FLAC via Exact Audio Copy, and stop chasing shadows. People were already discussing DSD online. Secondhand CDs were, and still are, ridiculously inexpensive. Yes, there may be a different version of something you already own, but at some point you have to go enough is enough, and disallow the organised creation of dissatisfaction.

User avatar
Posts: 6468
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:46 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby MattSPL » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:44 pm

Hi John

To be honest, I still haven't jumped on the Hi-res and computer audio band wagon. My listening these days consists of CD's and Youtube played through the Hifi.
I don't think half the music I listen to would be available in Hi-res anyway.
I also dread having to copy my CD collection to hard disc.

Cheers
Matt
Sony BDP-S790 > Matrix Quattro Dac > Digidesign RM2's with SB Acoustics drivers > DIY Dayton Audio UM18-22 Sub

Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:50 pm

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby John Leddy » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:53 am

.
Hi Matt,

I'm not overly concerned with increased bitdepths and sampling rates, 16-bit 44.1kHz FLAC ripped from CD is fine for me.

Does your BDP-S790 stream FLAC over a network?

You may be in for a pleasant surprise if you do start audio streaming. Streamed FLAC is so much better than CD replay when comparing the same disc in both instances.

Once EAC is set up ripping CDs is a breeze. Where I fell down was becoming a bit too obsessed with tagging. I ripped all my discs quickly to get the job out the way, as trying to ensure each was tagged the way I like them was slowing me down. Now I've got a major tidying-up exercise to complete, but at least the ripping is done and dusted.

Is your CD collection quite large then?

All the best,

John.

User avatar
Posts: 800
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby Shadorne » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:49 am

I think a good separate DAC is essential for playing your audio media from a computer. You don't have to pay a fortune but it gives peace of mind. I would not trust an audio card in a Computer. I like Benchmark products - peace of mind at a reasonable cost. I am sure network audio players have come a long way but a separate device or DAC that runs asynchronously is a bullet proof way to ensure jitter free conversion without any risk of interference or complications from computer or network related activities.
"ATC. Always The Champion. I will not record without them. The best studio monitors. Period." ~ Lenny Kravitz

Benchmark DAC3, 2 x ATC SCM EL150ASL, 1 ATC SCM 0.1/15, 2 x Genelec 8020, Roland TD-30 Drums, Pearl Ref Acoustic Kit, Ludwig brass & Pearl Ref snares, Gibson LP Supreme, Fender Precision Bass

Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:50 pm

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby John Leddy » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:57 pm

Shadorne wrote:I think a good separate DAC is essential for playing your audio media from a computer. You don't have to pay a fortune but it gives peace of mind. I would not trust an audio card in a Computer. I like Benchmark products - peace of mind at a reasonable cost. I am sure network audio players have come a long way but a separate device or DAC that runs asynchronously is a bullet proof way to ensure jitter free conversion without any risk of interference or complications from computer or network related activities.
Absolutely. If I was pushing music to my system I'm sure I would buy a greater than necessary quality DAC. I've tried a laptop and DAC, and I appreciate it's a popular way of doing things, but for me it will never replace a dedicated hi-fi component. That discussion ends in preference. I look forward to the day my renderer is in my television and communicates wirelessly with active speakers containing DAC and amplifiers.

Using a multi-tasking operating system connected to an outboard sound card is Heath Robinson in my opinion. Far better to have a dedicated player or renderer-DAC with singular purpose. Notice how some universal disc player manufacturers choose to shut down the unused sections of their designs during particular disc playback.

I'm sure you're right when you say network audio players have come a long way, and component manufacturers seem to agree with you - streaming is everywhere. While it's true to say I would probably have bought an asynchronous USB DAC if I was in the market for one, I would have done so only to secure easy resale due to popular belief, not because a synchronous DAC by necessity has to be of poor design.

We've been jitter-free for... choose a number of years, I almost said decades. The concerns you mention are non-issues utilised for advertising, and shouldn't be taken too seriously in my opinion. We've been successfully transferring massive amounts of data over networks for decades, and worldwide to boot. I'm not going to suddenly start worrying about streaming a FLAC file over a domestic network.

While I personally chose to have a dedicated wired network for my audio, which is isolated from our computing network and the outside world, it is not necessary to do so. Besides the potential for wireless dropouts I can't think of a modernday issue for networking home audio. Radio and television are supplied successfully over international networks, how come when it's a little audio file set-up demands so much concern?

The answer is it doesn't. Manufacturers and retailers would have us belief the almightiest pile of cack just to secure a tuppence ha'penny sale. In my opinion, outboard DACs for laptops were just an easy way to make a quick buck before streaming capabilities were integrated into new replay devices and more traditional components, and never truly supported the client's interests at all.

These opinions and comments aside, I decided pretty early on a laptop had no place near my stereo. You pays your money and makes your choice, I suppose.

User avatar
Posts: 800
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby Shadorne » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:49 pm

John I agree. Jitter has not been much of an issue for a decade. I could hear differences between late 90's CD players and a high quality DAC - I suspect it was jitter. I am not sure if I could hear differences between most good quality players today except for some which have a distinct flavour due to deliberate tastes/marketing of the manufacturer (choice of op amps and design). Same applies to good quality DACs.

Of course many claim to have much better ears and hear differences with anything at all but I beleive most of that is expectation related.

My point is that for "Peace of Mind" I prefer to use a 2014 Benchmark DAC2 for the comfort of the specifications and performance it brings me. Is this extra performance versus a 2004 Benchmark DAC2 audible? I actually doubt it and while I checked rigorously the DAC1 and confirmed through blind A/B that it performed better than the older generation of CD player I was using at the time - I actually never bothered to rigorously check the DAC2. I trust the manufacturer and the reviews.

ATC has been the same for me (First experienced ATC in 1994). I long ago stopped searching and comparing speakers as nothing I ever heard sounded as correct and accurate under widely varying conditions. ATC provide comfort. They are good enough for a great many professionals who have more experience than me. I beleive I hear exactly what those professionals hear - correct accurate balanced sound that is as natural and true to the source as it gets. I find I can trust any speaker ATC produce. No need to agonize. I have comfort in knowing the sound really is as good as it gets.

Can you find gear much cheaper that sounds nearly or just as good in some situations with certain genres of music - Absolutely! But find gear as reliable (for many years) and accurate under any conditions you throw at it - not easy. Find another speaker manufacturer that produces such a consistent sound across the entire range - IMPOSSIBLE. Other speakers manufacturers make flavours like Baskin Robbins ice cream because that helps sell more speakers to the wide variety of tastes in the market. However that is not engineering to a specific performance criteria - it is catering for personal taste and trends. I don't want flavoured music but I respect many people probably do. So for me "peace of mind" plays a large role in my choice of gear.

Peace of mind means I prefer lossless audio or hi resolution audio over compressed low resolution. I can instantly hear Sirius satellite audio is crap but I admit that Apple AAC 256kbps audio is darn good and blind testing that versus CD quality might not be easy (track dependent whether you can hear it or not). But lossless and hi resolution files provide some comfort that as few as possible compromises have been made - audible or not!
"ATC. Always The Champion. I will not record without them. The best studio monitors. Period." ~ Lenny Kravitz

Benchmark DAC3, 2 x ATC SCM EL150ASL, 1 ATC SCM 0.1/15, 2 x Genelec 8020, Roland TD-30 Drums, Pearl Ref Acoustic Kit, Ludwig brass & Pearl Ref snares, Gibson LP Supreme, Fender Precision Bass

Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:50 pm

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby John Leddy » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:22 pm

.
I know what you mean about other people having better hearing. I must be totally deaf because I can't hear differences in half the products people say they can. I have always found it impossible to allocate a sound to a single component within a series of interconnected components located within their listening environment. That particular item sounds like... so to speak. I'd be more concerned with the room before anything else. Of course hi-fi manufacturers, retailers, and magazines aren't selling rooms, so I guess they've got to transfer their thoughts onto objects which more than likely have their qualities hidden within, or overshadowed by, the nature of the room anyway.

I'm glad you've found your speaker. I'm still looking, which is how I ended up on this forum in the first place. I have fluked a really pleasurable sounding system, so much so I am more than a little wary to jump headlong into unconsidered change. Until I saw their prices I was happily musing along with thoughts of SCM50 SL/ASL PSLT/ASLT or above. Boy did I come down to earth with a bump. Even secondhand these speakers are a fair chunk of change. Now there's an understatement. Looks like I'll have to return to my original plan:

Stream Magic 6 to Marantz NA-11S1
BAT VK-3iX to BAT VK-51SE
BAT VK-55 to 2 x BAT VK-55
Linn Ninka to Linn Espek or Magneplanar 1.7

From a financial point of view these are more realistic ambitions for me.

User avatar
Posts: 6468
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:46 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby MattSPL » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:15 pm

Hi John

I've no idea if the Sony can stream Flac files or not, might be worth looking into though.
I occasionally connect the laptop to Dac via USB and play Flac files through foobar. Got a new laptop a few months back and haven't done anything with it yet.

Cheers
Matt
Sony BDP-S790 > Matrix Quattro Dac > Digidesign RM2's with SB Acoustics drivers > DIY Dayton Audio UM18-22 Sub

Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:50 pm

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby John Leddy » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:15 pm

.
Hi Matt,

So you've already compared CD vs FLAC replay of the same album?

I'm guessing, as you didn't immediately rip all your CDs, you either prefer playing CDs or were underwhelmed by FLAC replay?

When I initially bought a USB DAC and pinched the wife's laptop to try streaming, I tried all the setup options I could, but the exercise was really just to get a handle on streaming in general. That setup, besides the personal laptop in a hi-fi system hang-up I keep bleating on about, just didn't float my boat. When I bought a Pioneer N50 that was better but didn't do it for me either. It wasn't until I got the Stream Magic 6 I thought I could live with this until the next upgrade attack.

I'm still happy with my current setup. To my ears it's an extremely entertaining system. It changed from thin and tinny sounding like Linn to having presence like Bryston. I've owned and used a 4B-ST in this system. It was a lot of fun, but at the end of the day the VK-55 stayed and the 4B-ST was sold. Sacrilege I know, but then there's no accounting for taste is there?

All the best,

John.

Hi John

The only real comparison i did between Flac and cd was Dire straits Sultans of swing. I did notice a better sound but gave up due to the hassle of using the laptop. At the time I only had usb dongle Internet and my dogs had damaged 2 USB ports by knocking the dongle, so I only had one working port.
I've since got a new laptop so will have another go

We've probably between 400 and 600CD's, so would require some time and hardware to rip them all.

I took a bit of a backseat from hifi over the last year as I have a 15month old Daughter and because my activity on the forums and Google always brings on upgradeitis.
I've been getting back into the hifi/music/forums lately though. Upgradeitis has set in so I now need to find a way of making more money to feed it :D

Oh, another thing, I hate computers, anything beyond Internet surfing drives me mad, so that's probably slowed my interest in streaming.

I bet your Bryston was fun, can't beat a good big amp :)

Cheers
Matt

Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:30 pm

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby linger63 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:47 pm

John Leddy wrote:.
I know what you mean about other people having better hearing. I must be totally deaf because I can't hear differences in half the products people say they can. I have always found it impossible to allocate a sound to a single component within a series of interconnected components located within their listening environment. That particular item sounds like... so to speak. I'd be more concerned with the room before anything else. Of course hi-fi manufacturers, retailers, and magazines aren't selling rooms, so I guess they've got to transfer their thoughts onto objects which more than likely have their qualities hidden within, or overshadowed by, the nature of the room anyway.

I'm glad you've found your speaker. I'm still looking, which is how I ended up on this forum in the first place. I have fluked a really pleasurable sounding system, so much so I am more than a little wary to jump headlong into unconsidered change. Until I saw their prices I was happily musing along with thoughts of SCM50 SL/ASL PSLT/ASLT or above. Boy did I come down to earth with a bump. Even secondhand these speakers are a fair chunk of change. Now there's an understatement. Looks like I'll have to return to my original plan:

Stream Magic 6 to Marantz NA-11S1
BAT VK-3iX to BAT VK-51SE
BAT VK-55 to 2 x BAT VK-55
Linn Ninka to Linn Espek or Magneplanar 1.7

From a financial point of view these are more realistic ambitions for me.



Hi,


Don't worry too much about the brutal RRP's for BRAND NEW big active ATC's.

Just try and do what I, and I suspect a few others here, have done.

Pounce on a USED pair at the right price when the time comes and........ sell your current speakers and/or amp to offset the costs!!!

Here's a couple of possible examples..........

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Hi-Fi-Classic ... 27f8d5d392

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ATC-SCM40-/30 ... 46353f95be

Postage might be a bitch on this next one but.........the price they want works out to only just over GBP 3K for ACTIVE 20SL's
with 5 years of warranty still remaining!!!

http://tagnz.co.nz/specials/


If you do find what you want at a good price then just BEG, BORROW or STEAL......whatever it takes to get them.

Who knows....you could even end up with better sound AND CASH LEFT OVER!!!

I got my 70ASL's in great nick off eBay a couple of years ago for just AUD $5K!!!!

After selling the stuff I no longer needed......TOTAL changeover costs were just a few hundred bucks!!!!

Yes they are circa 1999 but......who cares......they sound absolutely brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course I STILL plan to do the tweeter upgrade (if they EVER release it)


Cheers

Posts: 267
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 8:20 am

Re: High Resolution Music Website Links

Postby Alexk » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:26 am

For what it is worth, the difference between previous generation SCM40s (SCM35s even more so), and new SCM40s is pretty large. The SCM 40 isn't the only ATC speaker which has taken a big step forwards in it's latest generation.

I have been through the 'used SCM20' bargain before, and it's true, for not very much money you can get a really fantastic pair of speakers, but I've just upgraded to the latest SCM 20 ASL pro (mk2) from my old passive SCM 20s and the difference is large.

If you can afford the new active models, I say go for it. If you're unsure, then older ATCs are still excellent of course...

PreviousNext

Return to Computer Audio

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests