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100 years of hi-fi – and we’ve never had it so good

DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
766
458
11,270
Delivering better than CD quality audio... are you sure about this statement?? Been there done that with downloads and streaming and it is all down to the recording, nothing to do with hi-res downloads or streaming. Please stop printing garbage.
 

DREADZONE

Well-known member
Nov 8, 2009
8
2
18,525
MQA is not high res. It is a lossy algorithm that only benefits MQA. MQA is a throw back not a forward thinking system.
Agree; I think arrival of Amazon Music HD will shake things up, but it was good to have Tidal start things off with a type of HiRes that is certainly better than Spotify.
Also, hopefully more of a spotlight will now shine on QUALITY of recordings as well: this is really what makes the difference in music audio listening. MP3s and lossy low bit rate output has masked serious music recording quality for too long.
 

botrytis

Active member
Jan 1, 2020
3
2
25
Agree; I think arrival of Amazon Music HD will shake things up, but it was good to have Tidal start things off with a type of HiRes that is certainly better than Spotify.
Also, hopefully more of a spotlight will now shine on QUALITY of recordings as well: this is really what makes the difference in music audio listening. MP3s and lossy low bit rate output has masked serious music recording quality for too long.
Problem with Amazon HD is it does not have good software control, like WASAPI.
 

benjdbs10

Member
Jan 2, 2020
1
0
20
Streaming is the new format on the audio block. It's just as good as browsing for artists / albums the listener may want to buy afterwards. For an old school guy like me, a native file in whatever format the listener may prefer, bar streaming, Ota & the like is what hi-fi's all about. & Someone mentioned already, a good recording is a good recording, whatever format it prefers. Those 24 bit, Sacd, dvda won't do any justice to an already bad recording, mastering. This is based on my 30 years in this hobby...
 

Fred_Barker

Well-known member
Feb 17, 2013
31
21
18,545
MQA is not high res. It is a lossy algorithm that only benefits MQA. MQA is a throw back not a forward thinking system.
100% concur 👌
Be that as it may, some 'Audiophile' YouTubers's say "It just sounds better"
- not just; different? Not close to the 'original'? A bit like 'Remastered'?
Not tried / compared it myself, so can't comment 🔊 🎧
 

abmscopes

Well-known member
Oct 31, 2014
18
0
10,520
Streaming is not high fidelity
Really? The owners of £multi-deca-thousand streaming-based systems from the likes of Linn, Moon, Audiolab, Naim, would likely disagree with you there. I think you are the kind of person this article is aimed at when they say " the final hurdle remains convincing people of the merits of a sound system that’s doing the music justice "
In my own system I now virtually never listen to my (arcam, ex-£900) CD-player. The sound quality is demonstrably better once the CD is ripped and played back via the computer/DAC system or streamed from Qobuz. If that sounds to you like I'm saying that a copy can now sound better than the 'original', then, yes I am.

Welcome to 2020- where 'pure' digital streams outperform CD players which have a series of conversions, error-correction hurdles and long signal-paths between you and the music.
 

DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
766
458
11,270
Really? The owners of £multi-deca-thousand streaming-based systems from the likes of Linn, Moon, Audiolab, Naim, would likely disagree with you there. I think you are the kind of person this article is aimed at when they say " the final hurdle remains convincing people of the merits of a sound system that’s doing the music justice "
In my own system I now virtually never listen to my (arcam, ex-£900) CD-player. The sound quality is demonstrably better once the CD is ripped and played back via the computer/DAC system or streamed from Qobuz. If that sounds to you like I'm saying that a copy can now sound better than the 'original', then, yes I am.

Welcome to 2020- where 'pure' digital streams outperform CD players which have a series of conversions, error-correction hurdles and long signal-paths between you and the music.
Mark me as a disbeliever that a ripped file can sound better than an original... different maybe, same definitely...better... No.
This article is aimed at people like you who are believers in that exotic DAC's, cables, and fuses actually make a difference, but you are entitled to your opinion as much as I am to mine.
There's only three things I have found make a difference to the end product: The actual recording, speakers, and cartridges.
 

abmscopes

Well-known member
Oct 31, 2014
18
0
10,520
Mark me as a disbeliever that a ripped file can sound better than an original... different maybe, same definitely...better... No.
Yup- that was always my opinion too. I (and probably you too) come from an era when to copy music meant to record it onto tape, or laterly onto a CD, DAT or some other digital format. To do so always resulted in degradation because (in the case of digital copies) the file format has to be converted, possibly several times and including D-A and A-D during some processes. And with analogue tape, even if you use (as I do) a top-end 3-head dolby S deck, at the very least you lose some fidelity as the signal travels through extra sets of interconnects and the internals of the tape deck.

Ripping is different though. I'll look for the article I read which convinced me and post it when I find it, but to summarise non-technically; when you rip a CD you are simply lifting off the 1's and 0's and comitting them unchanged to a hard disc. Upon replay you are lifting the bit-perfect exact same 1's and 0's and sending them to a DAC and then onward to your amp/speakers/headphones. Now to achieve this perfectly one should use a blue-ray drive not a CD/DVD drive (something to do with built-in non-defeatable error correction that Bluray drives do not have) and a program like Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to ensure that the computer isn't trying to do anything smart with the rip.

There is the (I would say well-realised) potential for the resultant file to sound better than the CD, because what you hear off a CD player is actually more processed than a CD ripped file or a stream. CD players subject the stored digital file on the disc to a lot of error correction and other processing as well as it's built-in amplifier and output stage, none of which a rip or a stream has to contend with- assuming the rip/stream is uncompressed - hi-res or flac.

Now I know what you may be thinking; I read all this and then convinced myself that I was hearing better quality from my rip and streaming than from my CD collection. In actual fact it was the other way around. After buying a new headphone amp and stupidly expensive - around the £1.5k mark - headphones , I began to wonder why my CD player sounded flat and lifeless compared to the same music via Qobuz or a ripped version. This was via the same DAC, headphone amp and headphones. I then googled ' why do rips sound better than the original CD' or words to that effect, and found a wealth of results explaining what I have attempted to convey above.

All I can say to you, is to try it yourself, subject to the hardware/software provisos above.
 
Last edited:

chris661

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2019
191
117
270
You write about sound quality and you don’t even mention vinyl?
Quite right, too.
Vinyl requires a lot of additional signal processing before being cut to disc:
- Everything below ~200Hz summed to mono
- Everything below ~200Hz compressed (probably why it sounds "warm")
- RIAA curve applied

Hardly high-fidelity.


Those of you that are into super-hi-res files should read this: https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
And watch the demo video if you're not convinced. The short version is that a 44.1kHz sample rate (CD quality) can perfectly reproduce any analogue signal from DC up to 22kHz, with a dynamic range of about 120dB with shaped dither.

Professional studio engineers, during playback, can't reliably tell whether it's 192kHz or 44.1kHz.

That's good enough for me.

Chris
 

DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
766
458
11,270
Yup- that was always my opinion too. I (and probably you too) come from an era when to copy music meant to record it onto tape, or laterly onto a CD, DAT or some other digital format. To do so always resulted in degradation because (in the case of digital copies) the file format has to be converted, possibly several times and including D-A and A-D during some processes. And with analogue tape, even if you use (as I do) a top-end 3-head dolby S deck, at the very least you lose some fidelity as the signal travels through extra sets of interconnects and the internals of the tape deck.

Ripping is different though. I'll look for the article I read which convinced me and post it when I find it, but to summarise non-technically; when you rip a CD you are simply lifting off the 1's and 0's and comitting them unchanged to a hard disc. Upon replay you are lifting the bit-perfect exact same 1's and 0's and sending them to a DAC and then onward to your amp/speakers/headphones. Now to achieve this perfectly one should use a blue-ray drive not a CD/DVD drive (something to do with built-in non-defeatable error correction that Bluray drives do not have) and a program like Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to ensure that the computer isn't trying to do anything smart with the rip.

There is the (I would say well-realised) potential for the resultant file to sound better than the CD, because what you hear off a CD player is actually more processed than a CD ripped file or a stream. CD players subject the stored digital file on the disc to a lot of error correction and other processing as well as it's built-in amplifier and output stage, none of which a rip or a stream has to contend with- assuming the rip/stream is uncompressed - hi-res or flac.

Now I know what you may be thinking; I read all this and then convinced myself that I was hearing better quality from my rip and streaming than from my CD collection. In actual fact it was the other way around. After buying a new headphone amp and stupidly expensive - around the £1.5k mark - headphones , I began to wonder why my CD player sounded flat and lifeless compared to the same music via Qobuz or a ripped version. This was via the same DAC, headphone amp and headphones. I then googled ' why do rips sound better than the original CD' or words to that effect, and found a wealth of results explaining what I have attempted to convey above.

All I can say to you, is to try it yourself, subject to the hardware/software provisos above.
Thank you. I may have read the same articles as you regarding this subject.

I have always used EAC to rip all my CDs to FLAC, but unlike you I have never heard a difference in playback between a rip and a CD, maybe it's because I have the same DAC chip in both my CD player and network player. Or, if to hear this difference I need to invest in a system of equivalent cost to a new medium sized Mercedes then my answer would be forget it, I am not a slave to my hi-fi needs.

I've spent more than enough on my current system and got off the upgrade path a few years ago after I had spend too much chasing audio nirvana only to find that it is a path of diminishing returns resulting in an insignificant increase in SQ for the expenditure. A fool and his money can soon be parted very quickly in this hobby, plus golden ears are mandatory... something I do not possess.

I am more than happy with my system as it stands, and as I previously stated the only changes that have made a significant impact on SQ have been speakers and cartridges, and choice of best recording.
 
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