24-bit audio

Discussion in 'Music' started by RenchFries, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. RenchFries

    RenchFries Official Dawgshed Dutch representative Gold

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    Any more Hi-Fi nerds here into this? 24-bit audio sounds awesome. There's clarity and detail you don't notice in CD and especially MP3. If you have a nice set-up, you should do yourself a favor and download some of it.

    I like to buy my favorite albums off HD Tracks. Also pretty excited about the whole Pono Music thing. It might finally launch something that will actually improve the quality of digital music. CD's have been sounding the same since the 70s.
     
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  2. CreamyBone

    CreamyBone Lookin forward to the nachos

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    what sample rate?
     
  3. Droog

    Droog Well-Known Member VIP

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    Sadly, technology hasn't led to better sound over the years. We should be able to enjoy very high fidelity music for cheap, but that isn't the case. Just like phones have replaced dedicated cameras, the low bit rate MP3 and crappy delivery devices have led to a less than spectacular listening experience. I'm a fan of late 70's to mid 80's equipment. I don't feel like spending tens of thousands on extremely low production modern equipment, so I opt for vintage stuff. High resolution music is nice, but I suspect some trickery with them playing with the gain controls. The human ear just isn't good enough to notice the difference in resolution. I guess if what we're hearing is really just the studio producing recordings made to take advantage of higher end equipment and not the highly compressed crap they typically produce, then high resolution recordings are a-ok with me. Not sure how I feel about that Pono player. I'm less than impressed by 3.5mm outputs. What are you listening to your HD Tracks on? Do you have a computer with an audiophile grade sound card connected to a nice system?
     
  4. Droog

    Droog Well-Known Member VIP

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    Up to 192kHz/24bit.
     
  5. RenchFries

    RenchFries Official Dawgshed Dutch representative Gold

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    Most of it is 96kHz, but some of them are all the way up to 192kHz.

    I got this one
    [​IMG]

    http://www.asus.com/Essence_HiFi_Audio/Xonar_Essence_STX/

    It has a 124 dB SNR and a real headphone amplifier in it. It has big capacitors and it's shielded all over the place. Got it hooked up to an 80s Luxman integrated amplifier with a pair of big 80s Technics speakers, and a modern Kef active subwoofer. I intend to replace the Technics speakers eventually with a pair of those really big floor standing speakers, modern ones like these:

    [​IMG]

    I'd love to have them hooked up to this big, bad motherfucker, the Yamaha M80

    [​IMG]


    As for the recording quality, the HD tracks seem to be mastered differently, also. There's almost none of that super compressed crap going on there. It really seems like they know what they're doing here. These albums are the best-sounding albums I have:


    http://www.hdtracks.com/buena-vista-social-club

    http://www.hdtracks.com/l-a-woman

    http://www.hdtracks.com/bach-j-s-suites-for-solo-cello-and-2-cello-sonatas

    http://www.hdtracks.com/the-allman-brothers-band-at-fillmore-east

    I always grab them in FLAC format.

    If you sit down and really listen to it, you hear more detail, clarity and "space" in the music. It sounds pretty awesome. Listen to an MP3 afterward, and you immediately hear how bad it actually sounds, especially in the high frequencies.
     
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  6. Droog

    Droog Well-Known Member VIP

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    Seems as though we have similar taste in equipment. I'm a KEF man myself. I still have 2/3 of the first stereo I bought back in the early 80's (Onkyo receiver, KEF Coda III speakers). That system along with a modern CD player are at my cottage. I also have a KEF Coda S 10" sub that I got for a song that I tried matching with the Coda III's, but it's really a home theater sub and I couldn't quite get it to sound great with my setup.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    My current main listening system is a Denon PMA-1080r integrated amp (circa 1992) and KEF Q80's of the same era. The amp is a very good one, and not particularly well known in this neck of the woods. It can be a little brutish, but it matches well with the warmth of my KEFs. One thing I worry about is that I've heard that the ferro fluid can dry out in the tweeters, so I'm afraid to invest real money in some vintage KEF Reference speakers. I just may have to go with a modern speaker if I'm ever going to upgrade.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    For shits and giggles, I started buying and trading vintage equipment that I could find for cheap. I set it up in my basement and play with it for a few months or until I find something else to try. Right now, I have a Scott R-336 that isn't too shabby considering I paid $15 and it works great. I rather like the old silver faced analog receivers with the wood cases. This thing originally ran just under $500 back in 1976. You could buy a decent used car for that kind of money back then.
    [​IMG]
    I have it pushing a pair of Paradigm 7se's. I don't know much about the speakers, but they sound good enough. Not as good as my KEF's, but they are warm, yet detailed and a good match for the old silver face.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
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  7. XXXXX

    XXXXX Well-Known Member

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    While i've always loved really good audio equipment, the current DAPs and DACs, playing hi-res music files are truly remarkable - once you hear music in such a way, it's very difficult to go back to 16-bit, 44.1 kHz (CD Quality). Listening to music with a hi-res system allows you to discover things you've never heard before (clarity and definition of each individual instrument, etc), even if you've heard a song hundreds of times. A couple of things to keep in mind - hi-res file sizes are HUGE! For example, Hotel California is 250 MB - just for the one song, not the whole album!! Hi-res equipment is still pretty expensive, and there is clearly a point where there are diminishing returns of performance vs. cost. Also, there is a lot of BS and false claims by companies selling hi-res equipment - do your research and listen to the equipment and cables yourself to make up your own mind as to what sounds best to your ears. Beware, this is an addictive (but pleasurable) hobby!

    Following is the current portable system I use:

    Digital Audio Player (DAP): Cowon Pleanue 1 (approx. $1k)

    image.jpg

    http://www.jetaudio.com/products/cowon/plenue1/

    Great sound and features, especially the user interface. Very simple firmware updates, very simple drag and drop to add music files. Plays multiple hi-res formats. I replaced my Astell & Kern 120 Titan for the Pleanue 1, and I couldn't be happier.


    Digital to Analog Converter (DAC): Sony PHA-3 Headphone DAC / Amp (approx. $1k)

    image.jpg

    http://store.sony.com/portable-hi-r...id27-PHA3/cat-27-catid-All-Headphones-Earbuds

    Converts the digital signal from your DAP to a warmer, analog signal, through an optical or stranded conductor cable. The PHA-3 is much better (sound, power and features) than the PHA-2 that it replaces, including balanced output option.


    In-Ear Monitor (IEM): Shure SE846 (approx. $1k)

    image.jpg

    http://www.shure.com/americas/produ.../se-earphones/se846-sound-isolating-earphones

    Amazing sound - adjustable low-pass filter and quad drivers on each side (two low, one mid, and one high).


    Hi-res Music File Sources That I Use:

    http://store.acousticsounds.com/cat/365/Digital_Download

    http://www.hdtracks.com/
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
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  8. RenchFries

    RenchFries Official Dawgshed Dutch representative Gold

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    Sweet stuff, man!

    Do you only listen through headphones or do you also have speakers?
     
  9. XXXXX

    XXXXX Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    For my portable system, in addition to the SE846 IEM, I use two over ear headphones - the Shure SRH1540 (closed back) and the Sennheiser HD 700 open back - love them both.

    On my desktop computer, I'm using jriver 20 for file management, a NAD D1050 USB DAC, a Cambridge Audio CA609 Minx X200 Subwoofer, and my desktop speakers are the Vanatoo Transparent One Powered Speakers. The sound from these approx. $500. speakers was better (to my ears) than the KEF X300A. And, the Vanatoo speakers allow the use of a subwoofer - this is not possible with the KEF X300A speakers. In addition, as you can see below, the Vanatoo speakers offer several different input options.

    http://www.vanatoo.com/

    image.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
  10. Captain

    Captain Alto, Blanco y Guapo Gold

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    I use 24-bit for digital audio input into Logic for recording. The difference truly is astonishing. Seriously, with a $150 24-bit input, a $200 DAW (Logic or whatever you want) and a PowerBook, you have a system that could only have been dreamed about 20 or 30 years ago or that would have cost 200K.

    For headphones, my absolute go-to are Grado PS500e. I want the PS1000e, but that will require me to mow a few more lawns. ;)


    [​IMG]
     
  11. Teabag

    Teabag ◬ Freak Magnet ◬ VIP

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    My bookshelf system

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There's an M&K sub tucked in this corner too.