Analog, Digital and all that

Empirical Audio

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I also heard good opinions on the Neodio-Origine from two french owners. It breaks a lot of rules - computer DVD rom drive, CS4398 chip DAC , 24-bit/192KHz. People looking for value for money on internal aspect will be very disappointed: :)

BTW, Paul Miller in the Hifi News review has an explanation why he loved it :

Possibly because Neodio uses unscreened wire links between its digital and analogue boards, with an unscreened LC resonator/clock source, jitter is consistent at ~2600psec from CD, USB and S/PDIF inputs with principal sidebands at ±10/20Hz and ±50/100Hz. Experience suggests this will correlate with an added warmth or bloom to the sound.

View attachment 64950

Another garden path to go down is "ambience" from high jitter. I put this in the same category as poor tube circuits and tubes that add distortion. Can sound pretty, but not live, not what's in the recording. Really low jitter matters just as really low distortion matters.

I noticed a significant improvement in my system sound quality when I made changes to my re-clocker that took it from 22psec of jitter down to 7psec of jitter:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=157348.0

I don't know how much jitter is low enough so that lower levels will not deliver audible improvements. Maybe 500Fsec, maybe less. Probably depends on the DAC resolution too. Better DACs will likely benefit from even lower jitter.

Also, those ancient ABX tests that were done by audio societies that concluded 1nsec of jitter was not audible are fatally flawed. Wrong tracks used, wrong methodology and poor systems. World-class systems, variety of optimum tracks and trained listeners are required for such tests to yield valid results.
 
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microstrip

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Another garden path to go down is "ambience" from high jitter. I put this in the same category as poor tube circuits and tubes that add distortion. Can sound pretty, but not live, not what's in the recording. Really low jitter matters just as really low distortion matters.

I noticed a significant improvement in my system sound quality when I made changes to my re-clocker that took it from 22psec of jitter down to 7psec of jitter:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=157348.0

I don't know how much jitter is low enough so that lower levels will not deliver audible improvements. Maybe 500Fsec, maybe less. Probably depends on the DAC resolution too. Better DACs will likely benefit from even lower jitter.

Also, those ancient ABX tests that were done by audio societies that concluded 1nsec of jitter was not audible are fatally flawed. Wrong tracks used, wrong methodology and poor systems. World-class systems, variety of optimum tracks and trained listeners are required for such tests.

Does your DAC sound different playing the same content redbook files when fed by a streamer or a CD transport?
 

jeffrey_t

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My posts in WBF are in general addressed to the whole community. Otherwise I use PMs.

Anyway I already sold one of the Garrard 401's, I can't ask my 14 month old grand daughter about her preference of plinth in a direct comparison.

On WBF I don't really see the need to send PM's as I don't need to hide my comments. 14 month olds have great hearing, you should look to her for guidance.
 
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Empirical Audio

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Does your DAC sound different playing the same content redbook files when fed by a streamer or a CD transport?

The jitter is about the same, but it can sound a little different because of the playback software. Each different playback app sounds a little different and even different releases of the same app can sound different. I use an old version of Amarra for local files using USB because it is still the best SQ I have found. I use Kinsky for Ethernet for local files and for streaming I use Amazon Prime music. The Prime music is CD quality using USB, but lacks a little of the liveness and depth of the local files played with the other two apps. Very nice quality though for the money and pretty good selection. Still not quite as good as a CD transport reclocked by Synchro-Mesh. I don't actually use the CD transport much at all. Too much trouble to mess with CD's.

When I play local files using USB or Ethernet , it is actually difficult to tell 44.1 tracks from 192 tracks.

When I use a CD transport or a Sonos, I usually put it through my Synchro-Mesh reclocker before driving the DAC. My Overdrive DAC has no reclocking internal, so it gets the full benefit of the 7psec jitter. Sounds virtually identical to playing the file from the computer through USB or Ethernet interfaces on the DAC. In a nutshell, locally played files from the computer sound identical to the same files on a CD transport played through the Synchro-Mesh. This may not happen with your DAC because it may have a reclocker inside already and this is the last thing that the music data sees before the D/A.

My latest DAC, the SOTAPRAT has the Synchro-Mesh reclocker inside already, so it is fairly immune to incoming jitter, although not 100%. Getting 100% jitter immunity seems almost impossible. Been trying to get that for 25 years.
 
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PeterA

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Moved from the State of the Art Digital thread:

Al M. said:
I suspect that for some unclear reason vinyl does not expose room/system problems in quite the same ruthless manner as digital does.



Al, that is a fascinating statement. Is this a common suspicion among audiophiles? Are you basing this suspicion on your own observations of systems that have both vinyl and digital sources? Or on more general observations of vinyl systems and digital systems and how easily you can identify room/system problems?
 

Mike Lavigne

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Moved from the State of the Art Digital thread:

I suspect that for some unclear reason vinyl does not expose room/system problems in quite the same ruthless manner as digital does.

Al, that is a fascinating statement. Is this a common suspicion among audiophiles? Are you basing this suspicion on your own observations of systems that have both vinyl and digital sources? Or on more general observations of vinyl systems and digital systems and how easily you can identify room/system problems?

2 reasons.

no doubt that digital has less meat on the bones and is less naturally dimensional, therefore lives closer to the edge of the pleasure envelope, which easily reveals more nasties......things that are non musical. this is one advantage to using digital for system investigations. with vinyl i find that investigating small differences becomes more preference than right or wrong......in comparison with digital.

the other one is the more obvious one. digital is quick and easy to use and listening to the same track or track part repeatedly is so simple. i can run through my 75-100 digital test cuts in 30-45 minutes from my chair......sitting back in a zen state.....keeping my concentration. with vinyl it would be distracting trying to do the same thing. i would lose my focus.
 
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PeterA

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2 reasons.

no doubt that digital has less meat on the bones and is less naturally dimensional, therefore lives closer to the edge of the pleasure envelope, which easily reveals more nasties......things that are non musical. this is one advantage to using digital for system investigations. with vinyl i find that investigating small differences becomes more preference than right or wrong......in comparison with digital.

the other one is the more obvious one. digital is quick and easy to use and listening to the same track or track part repeatedly is so simple. i can run through my 100 digital test cuts in 30-45 minutes from my chair......sitting back in a zen state.....keeping my concentration. with vinyl it would be distracting trying to do the same thing.

Mike, I don't understand how your response explains Al's suspicion that "for some unclear reason vinyl does not expose room/system problems in quite the same ruthless manner as digital does." "Digital lives closer to the edge of the pleasure envelope, which easily reveals more nasties." How does digital reveal more nasties "about room/system problems"?
 

Mike Lavigne

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Mike, I don't understand how your response explains Al's suspicion that "for some unclear reason vinyl does not expose room/system problems in quite the same ruthless manner as digital does." "Digital lives closer to the edge of the pleasure envelope, which easily reveals more nasties." How does digital reveal more nasties "about room/system problems"?

why do you use solid state electronics?

same reason.

why do you prefer your stripped down acoustical approach?

they tell you more.

similar to a tubed dac verses a solid state dac. my GG was not as useful for system diag as my solid state dacs.
 
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Lagonda

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Maybe the fact that deep bass is more prevalent on digital can make a untreated room misbehave ? I am sure it is system dependent, but in my room vinyl is more focused on midrange and mid bass with a more natural treble. Digital does not do the same quality treble, but is champion in the deepest bass, and the higher channel separation is also noticeable.
 
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PeterA

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why do you use solid state electronics?

same reason.

why do you prefer your stripped down acoustical approach?

they tell you more.

You're saying digital tells you more? Or vinyl tells you more?

In my limited exposure to both formats, vinyl definitely tells me more of what is on the recording. I would suspect that the more one hears from the recording, the more one would learn about his system and room. But that is just me based on my experience.

I don't have experience with tube electronics in my current room to know what they would reveal about my system or room. I have SS electronics because I like the sound and can afford the SS amps needed to properly drive the speakers I like. Then I matched the rest of the electronics to match the SS amps I chose. It was more about the speakers than about what the SS v tubes could tell me about my system/room. Given those, I chose the source that I think sounds best, which happens to be vinyl.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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You're saying digital tells you more? Or vinyl tells you more?

tools for judging change, that's what you need. precise tools.

vinyl has a wide degree of 'ok', digital a narrow window of 'ok'. almost knife edge in many cases.

you can diag with vinyl, it's just harder and certainly not simple to repeat and keep your focus.
 
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Empirical Audio

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digital has less meat on the bones and is less naturally dimensional, therefore lives closer to the edge of the pleasure envelope, which easily reveals more nasties......things that are non musical. this is one advantage to using digital for system investigations.

It's probably true that digital design is easier to screw-up than analog, but I don't agree that there is "less meat on the bones". There is actually much more detail, depth and dynamics if digital is done right. Technically, digital has fewer limitations than analog LP's.

With optimized minimal digital system (extremely low jitter, no active preamp) and tube monoblock amps, the digital system competes head-to-head with LP and even reel-to-reel analog and delivers more of everything IME.

If you have a poor preamp, it is more likely to be obvious with the optimized digital than with an LP IMO. If you have a poor cable, same thing. Because of the improved performance of digital over LP, it is possible that more cables will limit the performance or more preamps will limit the performance than with LP system that has lower bandwidth, lower resolution and lower dynamics.
 
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andromedaaudio

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I agree with mike, i think meat on the bones is a good description .
Digital is kinda stuck to a certain level in absolute terms in my view
It can certainly sound entertaining and musical .
But good tape recordings can leave you mesmerized , jumping to another level of whats possible .
 

Empirical Audio

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I agree with mike, i think meat on the bones is a good description .
Digital is kinda stuck to a certain level in absolute terms in my view
It can certainly sound entertaining and musical .
But good tape recordings can leave you mesmerized , jumping to another level of whats possible .

I usually listen to the reel-to-reel demos at trade shows. Never been impressed yet. You need to hear GOOD DIGITAL, just once.

There is so much bad digital out there that it is giving it a bad name IMO.
 
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andromedaaudio

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If i m ever gonna going to do a show in munich i ll bring all the tape machines with me .
Buy the whole chad kassem analogue productions series, tape project series , hemiolia etc and the Digital high resolution equivalent of that music
People can then decide with their own ears .
 

andromedaaudio

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I ll play 2 piano mastertape
recordings and then some high rez digital piano recordings you can bring any digital player you want with any high rez file of piano to compare

Its not even gonna be close
 

microstrip

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I ll play 2 piano mastertape
recordings and then some high rez digital piano recordings you can bring any digital player you want with any high rez file of piano to compare

Its not even gonna be close

It was reported that listeners preferred the tape loop to the mic feed. What can you conclude from that?
 

andromedaaudio

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It was reported that listeners preferred the tape loop to the mic feed. What can you conclude from that?
Those piano tapes were recorded in 1976 , i was to young then to hear the mike feed .
I ll leave it to others to decide may be others will prefer the digital who knows
It ll just be a nice extra show comparison .
 

Al M.

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It was reported that listeners preferred the tape loop to the mic feed. What can you conclude from that?

Simple: that many listeners don't like the truth, but a beautified sound.
 

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