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Low inventory, new HDD raise questions on future of Apple's iPod classic - Page 3

post #81 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

What does that mean?

I think what he's saying is that he's glad he listens to music, rather than listening to his HiFi, if you see what I mean.
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post #82 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I've met people who say they can reliably detect high-res audio vs. CD-res audio in double-blind listening tests, but they admit the difference is extremely subtle.

Audiophiles tend to 'say' lots of things. I have no doubt those people believe every word of what they say.

When I say I can't hear the difference between an iPod and decent CD player, most audiophiles get a bit irate, calling into question the quality of my equipment and/or ears. I have in the past recorded the outputs from the CD player and iPod - same track of course, and then edited the recordings into a single file, posted it on a file sharing site and asked the detractors to listen to it and tell me where the edit points are.

The responses I have gotten vary from absolute silence to the A/D converter isn't good enough.

Same thing happens with the compressed music sounds awful compared to CD argument, I rip a 223 kbps AAC track and splice parts into the equivalent AIFF file, post it up and ask the golden ears to tell me where the splices are. More silence.

Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy high fidelity audio reproduction and have a few pieces of equipment related to it, but the related BS is hard to stomach. I guess I am more of a listener than a gear fetishist.
post #83 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Audiophiles tend to 'say' lots of things.

These were professional recording engineers, who may or may not also be audiophiles, and who had just given an hour-long talk about double-blind testing and how it shows that differences you thought were there (and were huge) when testing "sighted", are actually not detectable. As I said, the tests they did were double blind so they hadn't fooled themselves into thinking they could hear a difference. Of course, they could have lied to me about the tests being double-blind; I didn't witness them.
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post #84 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

I shall utter the three words that strike mortal terror into the hearts of audiophools - double blind testing.

Well the great thing about Hybrid CD's is you can switch between the SACD layer and the regular CD layer on the fly.....and I've done my own double blind testing. SACD is noticebly better. In fact when I listen to a regular CD it sounds like crap.

Of course it helps having decent equipment to play on and not some crap you picked up at your local Best Buy.
post #85 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Well the great thing about Hybrid CD's is you can switch between the SACD layer and the regular CD layer on the fly.....and I've done my own double blind testing. SACD is noticebly better. In fact when I listen to a regular CD it sounds like crap.

Of course it helps having decent equipment to play on and not some crap you picked up at your local Best Buy.

Please describe how you performed your double-blind test. Genuinely interested…
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post #86 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Please describe how you performed your double-blind test. Genuinely interested…

Was blind folded (really), had my bud switch between SACD and CD on a number of my favorite discs. Because I couldn't see I had no way of knowing where he started (ie on SACD or on CD) - I just let my ears decide.

Also, the study being referred to said that a majority couldn't tell the difference - which obviously means that there were some who could.

But what do I know I also love Vinyl and Laserdiscs

Oh and if your likely response (assuming your just trying to prove a point) is that it wasn't a true double blind test, don't waste your time. Obviously it was as fair a test as I could make it. I can make an observation of say that when I hold something in my hand and let go that it falls to the ground - just because I don't do a thesis paper on it and apply for grant money and have it reviewed in a scientific journal doesn't make my observation any less valid.

Just sayin.
post #87 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I think what he's saying is that he's glad he listens to music, rather than listening to his HiFi, if you see what I mean.

Bingo, well put.
post #88 of 109
SACD vs CD double blind fails:

AES paper involving extensive trial: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195

Quote:
The tests were conducted for over a year using different systems and a variety of subjects. The systems included expensive professional monitors and one high-end system with electrostatic loudspeakers and expensive components and cables. The subjects included professional recording engineers, students in a university recording program, and dedicated audiophiles. The test results show that the CD-quality A/D/A loop was undetectable at normal-to-loud listening levels, by any of the subjects, on any of the playback systems.

And yet again:

http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.mpl?...blind+shootout

Quote:
Blind Shootout SACD vs. 8 Redbook CD Players

Results: Winner was a Cary 306/200 playing redbook CD
Sony 9000ES was second playing SACD

My iPod, and now my Samsung phone, are both sources that sound marvelous through my systems. I still like CDs, they make handy sources to rip from
post #89 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

...My iPod, and now my Samsung phone, are both sources that sound marvelous through my systems...



Do you actually have a SACD player? I'm sure to you your compressed music sounds great, but what do you have to compare it to?

I also play my iPod through my setup, but to say it sounds marvelous in comparison is simply ridiculous.
post #90 of 109
cnocbui, sounds like you should send your spliced up files to pondosinatra and ask him to tell you where the splices are.
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post #91 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

cnocbui, sounds like you should send your spliced up files to pondosinatra and ask him to tell you where the splices are.

I would be glad to. You up for that pondosinatra? I'll post the two files and you tell us where the joins are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post



Do you actually have a SACD player? I'm sure to you your compressed music sounds great, but what do you have to compare it to?
I also play my iPod through my setup, but to say it sounds marvelous in comparison is simply ridiculous.

I said they sound marvelous, I didn't say they sound better. The CD player I have compared to is a Micromega Stage 2 as well as a more modern DVD player of no real repute.

No I don't have a sacd player, for the same reason I didn't buy one of those green marker pens and why I buy my speaker cable on the basis of what the cross sectional area of the conductors is.
post #92 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

I would be glad to. You up for that pondosinatra? I'll post the two files and you tell us where the joins are.

A more accurate test would be to splice half a song from say 'Stop Making Sense' on CD and then from the Blu-Ray in DTS-HD (there is no SACD unfortuneatly). But even then, listening to the results through a pair of iPhone buds or your Labtec computer speakers is pointless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

No I don't have a sacd player, for the same reason I didn't buy one of those green marker pens and why I buy my speaker cable on the basis of what the cross sectional area of the conductors is.

Ah yes, the I can run my HDMI using coat hangers type....

Scoff if you will but the equipment makes a huge difference. My first foray into SACD was with an older Sony 5 platter hooked up to an ancient Yammy receiver. SACD's sounded great, but better than CD? I probably would have been hard pressed to tell the difference.

Fast forward to now that I have a top end Pioneer SACD player hooked through a dedicated stereo amp with analog connects and the difference is jaw dropping.

I get what you (and others) are saying - that a lot of people get caught up in the hype as to what's better. But sometimes it actually is better.
post #93 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

A more accurate test would be to splice half a song from say 'Stop Making Sense' on CD and then from the Blu-Ray in DTS-HD (there is no SACD unfortuneatly). But even then, listening to the results through a pair of iPhone buds or your Labtec computer speakers is pointless.

Er, I think you've misunderstood the point of the test. You get the file in PCM format and you can play it on whatever you want (e.g. burn it to CD and play it on your HiFi). You made disparaging remarks about lossy compression* so don't you think it would be interesting to find out if you can really hear it?

* of course, at some point you can hear artefacts and a decent system is more revealing. 128 kbps mp3 is horrid but I think I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between 256 kbps AAC and uncompressed.
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post #94 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

A more accurate test would be to splice half a song from say 'Stop Making Sense' on CD and then from the Blu-Ray in DTS-HD (there is no SACD unfortuneatly). But even then, listening to the results through a pair of iPhone buds or your Labtec computer speakers is pointless.

Ah yes, the I can run my HDMI using coat hangers type....

Scoff if you will but the equipment makes a huge difference. My first foray into SACD was with an older Sony 5 platter hooked up to an ancient Yammy receiver. SACD's sounded great, but better than CD? I probably would have been hard pressed to tell the difference.

Fast forward to now that I have a top end Pioneer SACD player hooked through a dedicated stereo amp with analog connects and the difference is jaw dropping.

I get what you (and others) are saying - that a lot of people get caught up in the hype as to what's better. But sometimes it actually is better.

Well you failed the hearing test - point proven I think.

Earlier I said:
Quote:
most audiophiles get a bit irate, calling into question the quality of my equipment and/or ears.

Prescient of me, non?

I use a pair Sony MDR-D77 headphones and B&W 802 Nautilus speakers.

There is science behind HDMI, there is not a jot behind the supposed superiority of cables. Funny you should mention coathangers. They are galvanised steel and theoretically fairly poor conductors compared to copper. Audiophiles could not tell the difference between coat hangers and monster speaker cables

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/03/a...ter-cable-and/

If anyone else wants to have a listen to the files I will pop them up.
post #95 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Well you failed the hearing test - point proven I think.

Um no, not at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Audiophiles could not tell the difference between coat hangers and monster speaker cables

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/03/a...ter-cable-and/

Intersting link. I'll pass it by the folks at AVS and see what they say

Funny that you espouse that cables don't matter yet use a high end pair of speakers...why not use the cheapest you can find? After all the movement of air is the movement of air, non?

Fun discussion but I'm off to listen to my favourite SACD.

Cheers!
post #96 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Um no, not at all.

Hmmm. I'm confused. Are you or are you not willing to do the test?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Funny that you espouse that cables don't matter yet use a high end pair of speakers

That's not funny at all. I'm surprised I have to say this, but cables and speakers are not the same! Loudspeakers are by far the biggest determinant of sound quality: the difference between models is both audibly and measurably enormous.
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post #97 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Hmmm. I'm confused. Are you or are you not willing to do the test?



That's not funny at all. I'm surprised I have to say this, but cables and speakers are not the same! Loudspeakers are by far the biggest determinant of sound quality: the difference between models is both audibly and measurably enormous.

Well you just contradicted yourself. You can't say on one hand that cables don't make a difference because it's simply the physics of electrons travelling down a conductor and materials, length, build quality etc. are irrelevant, and at the same time say speakers have a huge impact on sound - after all it's just air being pushed around.

As for bitrates not making a difference, you would also assert that one wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a movie in Dolby 5.1 at 6.144 Mbit/s and in DTS-HD at 24.5 Mbit/s ?
post #98 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Well you just contradicted yourself. You can't say on one hand that cables don't make a difference because it's simply the physics of electrons travelling down a conductor and materials, length, build quality etc. are irrelevant, and at the same time say speakers have a huge impact on sound - after all it's just air being pushed around.

Yes I can, because speakers are not "just pushing air around" in the same manner that cables "just facilitate the drifting of electrons". The physics of electrons travelling in metal mean that when you try and measure the frequency response of a cable, it'll be flat from DC to several MHz, depending on its length and geometry. Try and measure the distortion of a cable and you will fail because it is many orders of magnitude below the measurable limit, and none of the measurements will vary depending on the room in which you use the cable. However, the physics of "just pushing air around" means that if you do the same measurements on loudspeakers, there is a huge difference between models (even the very best can not achieve flat frequency response from 20 to 20 kHz and typically have HF distortion of a few %), and those things change with polar position and the acoustic environment in which the speaker is operating. A loudspeaker might measure flat frequency response from dead in front, but not when measured 30° off axis. This directionality of loudspeakers significantly affects their perceived sound quality. Excellent article for anyone who is interested in this: science in the service of art.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

As for bitrates not making a difference, you would also assert that one wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a movie in Dolby 5.1 at 6.144 Mbit/s and in DTS-HD at 24.5 Mbit/s ?

I'd be perfectly happy to take part in a test to determine whether or not I can hear the difference. Will you take cnocbui's test or not?
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post #99 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Yes I can, because speaker are not "just pushing air around" in the same manner that cables facilitate the drifting of electrons.



Will you take the test or not?

This really wouldn't address what was stated - that comparing a song from your iPod to a SACD recording was ridiculous - you can't 'rip' a SACD so that point will never be able to be proven or disproven.

The next best thing would be a comparison between a song off of iTunes and the same song off a CD. However that was never my argument - which was that I prefer SACD over CD.

We then went on to arguing over cables and on that one we'll have to agree to disagree.

However I'd still do this test as I'm curious if I can tell between an AAC file and the same thing from a Redbook CD.

I would have a few conditions....

- the song is something I'm familiar with (I have a wide range of tastes)
- that it not be something spliced, but that it be two full recordings (or a decent time snapshot ie. 2 minutes)

The CD if ripped would have to be the same bitrate as a store bought CD - 1.4Mb/s I believe. Conversely I don't think it's fair using a song with the maximum bitrate (256k?) in iTunes, some of my songs are at that higher bitrate but most aren't - I'll have to check when I get home - however I'm not suggesting they be at the lowest setting either (128k) either.

And of course I'm assuming that you'd be honest with the results...
post #100 of 109
The next question is, even if through some rigorous test you can tell the difference, does it really matter to the point that you would choose to cut your device capacity by 75%? If the answer is yes, then it definitely looks more like snobbery than sense.
post #101 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

The next question is, even if through some rigorous test you can tell the difference, does it really matter to the point that you would choose to cut your device capacity by 75%? If the answer is yes, then it definitely looks more like snobbery than sense.

I'd argue not everyone needs to carry around 1500 songs with them at all times. So in my case I couldn't care less. I think my iPod capacity is currently at about 15 - 20%. For the most part I'd rather listen to music at home in a dedicated listening room.

As for the 'cables don't matter' argument, my friend has a degree in electrical engineering and he wholeheartedly disagrees.
post #102 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

As for the 'cables don't matter' argument, my friend has a degree in electrical engineering and he wholeheartedly disagrees.

I have a First Class Masters and a PhD in electronic engineering, my thesis being in the area of audio power amplification; does that mean I win?
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post #103 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I have a First Class Masters and a PhD in electronic engineering, my thesis being in the area of audio power amplification; does that mean I win?

Holy cow! You should be on Jeopardy or somethin....

Ok...so what cables do YOU use? The freebie RCA ones that come with consumer equipment?
post #104 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

This really wouldn't address what was stated - that comparing a song from your iPod to a SACD recording was ridiculous - you can't 'rip' a SACD so that point will never be able to be proven or disproven.

That is perfectly true, but audiophiles usually state that compressed music is the spawn of the devil and sounds so obviously inferior that the idea of listening to it is beneath their contempt.

They usually claim the audible difference between compressed and source (CD usually) is huge, not subtle.

I know you personally have not made that claim, apart from making a remark about me listening to compressed music.

My reasoning sort of goes; if one can't hear a difference between compressed and uncompressed, then the chances of being able to hear even more subtle differences becomes less likely vis a vis CD vs SACD.

Quote:
The next best thing would be a comparison between a song off of iTunes and the same song off a CD. However that was never my argument - which was that I prefer SACD over CD.

We then went on to arguing over cables and on that one we'll have to agree to disagree.

However I'd still do this test as I'm curious if I can tell between an AAC file and the same thing from a Redbook CD.

You can download the file here: http://hotfile.com/dl/106252620/faa0...23aac.rar.html

I ripped the track from CD as a WAV in iTunes. I had iTunes create a 223 kbps AAC version.

I loaded both tracks into Audacity and created a third track that consisted of sections from both the WAV and AAC then saved this third track as a WAV.

Quote:
I would have a few conditions....

- the song is something I'm familiar with (I have a wide range of tastes)
- that it not be something spliced, but that it be two full recordings (or a decent time snapshot ie. 2 minutes)

The CD if ripped would have to be the same bitrate as a store bought CD - 1.4Mb/s I believe. Conversely I don't think it's fair using a song with the maximum bitrate (256k?) in iTunes, some of my songs are at that higher bitrate but most aren't - I'll have to check when I get home - however I'm not suggesting they be at the lowest setting either (128k) either.

And of course I'm assuming that you'd be honest with the results...

If you like, I can email a text file to Mr H which specifies the time details of the file specifying which sections are from which original file, prior to you stating results - if any. I will say that there is no trickery, the file does contain several sections from each format and is not an unmodified WAV or anything.

Your proposed methodology is flawed, it gives a listener a 50/50 chance of guessing which bit is which. It also relies on humans possessing an appreciable audio memory, something i don't think they do. My methodology should actually make it easier to distinguish differences. I don't see any reason why you would have to be familiar with a piece of music when listening for what is usually considered to be a big difference in SQ. I can only rip what I have on hand and there might not be a single CD we both happen to have. Lastly, I am being lazy and just posted a file I created a while ago so apart from uploading, no further effort was required on my part.

I would be prepared to exert myself to do a 192 kbps MP3 vs Source with a track of your choice if we happened to both have the CD.

Anyway, this is just for fun so no need to get too serious about it.
post #105 of 109
I think a test that pondosinatra would prefer would require a lot more data to be uploaded/downloaded, but it would still be feasible (plenty of free-to-use file exchange services out there). It would work as follows:

Rip a track from CD. Convert to 128 kbps AAC and back again. Also convert original CD rip to 256 and back again. Call the original rip AIFF, the 128 AAC and back again 128AIFF, and the 256 and back again 256AIFF. Now, duplicate each track four times to give you:

AIFF1
AIFF2
AIFF3
AIFF4
128AIFF1
128AIFF2
128AIFF3
128AIFF4
256AIFF1
256AIFF2
256AIFF3
256AIFF4

Now, get a third party who's not taking part, to rename these files 1 - 15 at random, keeping a note of the number->filename mapping (e.g. note that they changed "AIFF4" to "1", "256AIFF2" to "2" etc. etc.), then upload the tracks. The listener then has to determine which four tracks are the AIFF, which are the 128 AAC and back again, and which are the 256 AAC and back again. This requires the file lengths to be exactly the same so you can't tell just from different file sizes; not sure if this is easy to do or not due to potential for very minor time smearing on compression.

I would be interested to administer this test but really don't have the time.

On the cable front: In terms of phono stuff, there is some benefit to spending a small amount of money to upgrade from freebies, not for sound quality reasons but simply for mechanical build quality, especially if you are going to be plugging/unplugging often. In terms of speaker cable, broadly speaking the thicker the better. For signal cables I have the cheapest IXOS phonos, "ProSignal" scart and HDMI (sold by CPC (part of Farnell) in the UK); the HDMI cable cost £3.95. My speaker cable is some type of QED silver, which I essentially got for free when I bought some pricey KEF speakers.
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post #106 of 109
Sounds like a lot of work.

You might find this site interesting http://www.hydrogenaudio.org

They have been running ABX public trials of various compression codecs and compression rates for years. There is an app called Foobar2000 for PCs that apart from doing other things, has a facility for doing truly blind software invigilated ABX comparison of files. It's therefore open to anyone to do their own at home blind testing. Whether they will believe the results is another thing. Foobar2000 is free.

The long and the short is that quite a few people have done these blind ABX trials so there is now a body of evidence that indicates most people can't differentiate moderate levels of compression from source and often even low levels of compression from 160 kbps upwards it gets hard.

My speaker cables are called SpeedCable which at the time was sold by the metre and was cheap and thick enough. I had to get up and go and look because I had no idea what brand they were.

I tend to make all my own cables. I had an old Meridian pre amp that had DIN sockets and my professional use power amp has XLR sockets so rolling my own was the best option. For interconnects I used some Canare four twisted core shielded microphone cable. Same goes for the speaker cables which had to be XLR -> banana. My current Meridian pre amp has RCAs so I had to modify the existing cables. The CD player is connected to the pre amp with some free Sony RCA leads that came with something.
post #107 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

...
You can download the file here: http://hotfile.com/dl/106252620/faa0...23aac.rar.html

I ripped the track from CD as a WAV in iTunes. I had iTunes create a 223 kbps AAC version.

I loaded both tracks into Audacity and created a third track that consisted of sections from both the WAV and AAC then saved this third track as a WAV.

I'll download it tonight but won't get a chance until the weekend to listen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Your proposed methodology is flawed, it gives a listener a 50/50 chance of guessing which bit is which. It also relies on humans possessing an appreciable audio memory, something i don't think they do. My methodology should actually make it easier to distinguish differences. I don't see any reason why you would have to be familiar with a piece of music when listening for what is usually considered to be a big difference in SQ...

I realize just by guessing I'd have a 50/50 shot. That said, if I guessed wrong that would hugely prove your point would it not?
post #108 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

...My speaker cable is some type of QED silver, which I essentially got for free when I bought some pricey KEF speakers.

I'm sorry but I have issues with that based on your previous statements...

Here's a summary of how it comes across to me:

"Hey man what cables do you have?"
"I'm using some top end Monster cables"
"Well your an idiot because cables don't make any difference"
"Ok, well what do you have?"
"Oh I have a sweet pair of silver core Nordost Valhallas!"

Maybe we're just talking about different things. For me a digital cable is a digital cable. I'm just as content buying a HDMI cable off of Monoprice as I would be some expensive cable in a stereo store. And for speaker wire I realize that thicker is better. What I'm talking about is the analog interconnects. As I listen to my music in analog that's what interests me the most.
post #109 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

I'm sorry but I have issues with that based on your previous statements

You have issues with me using almost free cable? That's... weird. QED silver is low resistance and fat, and I couldn't have got any cable of comparable thickness any cheaper. I certainly wouldn't pay full price for it.
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