Audio Equipment

Stereodude

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I spent a fair bit of time on Sunday at CES listening to various headphones. Unfortunately many of the conditions were not ideal (noisy show floor). I really liked the Audeze LCD-4. I was less of a fan of their LCD-3, the LCD-X and the LCD-XC. The Sine and iSine didn't really light my fire either. I gave the HiFiMAN Edition X v2 a listen and thought they did well, but had limited familiarity with their source material. The Sony MDR-Z1R were good, but maybe had a little too much high end emphasis for my taste, but again I had limited familiarity with their source material. Their new noise cancelling headphones were very good at noise canceling, even people talking, not just constant noises. They sounded good with music too. I heard the Audio Technica ATH-W5000 headphones, the Technics EAH-T700 also. Neither were slouches, but I liked some of other headphones I heard more.

The $70k ELAC speakers were amazing! Dayton Audio / Parts Express had a really amazing sounding pair of speakers designed by Don Keele they were showing off. The CBT-24 in their "Epique" line up. thread Amazing sound for $1500 a pair. They sounded the same as you moved around the room. Even as you walked closer to them. Don Keele was there running the demo. He's a legend in the industry.

Ultimately, I ran out of time to audition things.

Now I've got to go to work rather than blowing the day off and "working" from home after taking the red-eye home because management is in town and wants meetings and no one told me before when I was making my flight schedule. :cursin:
 

Handruin

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Sounds like a nice event; I'd like to do a trip out to CES some year. Did you get to listen to the ELAC Adante AF 61 floor speakers or the AS 61 bookshelf?
 

Handruin

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Wow that tweeter is really interesting looking. Nice to hear they have a serious flagship floor standing speaker I'd of loved to hear them in person.
 

Handruin

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I looked into it when you mentioned it earlier. I would like to go but I don't know if I'll be able to make it. I'm probably 200 miles North of NYC (3-4 hours drive) which isn't that bad. Are you going to this event?
 

Handruin

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I was walking through my local BestBuy and I strolled through their Magnolia section just to see what they had and in one of their back rooms, they have two pairs of the Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 speakers connected up through some giant configuration of McIntosh amps and a turntable in what looked like the room was very well treated on the walls with acoustic panels. I didn't have time to ask for a demo but at some I'd love to hear what these things sound like. They're quite impressive in person to see. They look very well made.
 

Stereodude

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I've been spending a little more time at Head-Fi lately again since I was looking into the Sony NW-A35/36/37 Walkman. The collective delusions run STRONG over there. They talk about the differences in sound quality of different portable players like they were comparing the flavor of different fruits, and I'm not talking about a Gala apple grown in WA vs. MI, but a Lemon vs. a Apple vs. a Banana. :bstd:

I was able to get a little useful information like what people think of player responsiveness, easy of use, etc. but oh my... :skepo:
 

snowhiker

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That Sony Walkman looks interesting. Thanks for looking into it for us. Maybe we can sent one to Merc (when available in U.S.) to get him to come back here or give us an update on WTF is going on.
 

Stereodude

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That Sony Walkman looks interesting. Thanks for looking into it for us.
Hopefully DHL will be delivering mine tomorrow. I ordered one from HK.

Maybe we can sent one to Merc (when available in U.S.) to get him to come back here or give us an update on WTF is going on.
That might make his head explode. Or, maybe he already fell in love with Sony and he's afraid to show his face here now.
 

Stereodude

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So my Lexar 200GB microSD card turned out to be bad and is on its way back to B&H. I've been chasing DHL around on the delivery of the case and NW-A35. Customs delayed their delivery by a day, and I had to call DHL this morning since they were apparently not going to deliver the player today, but tomorrow after trying yesterday while I wasn't home. I'm not very happy with the way this is going. :cursin:
 

Stereodude

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My DHL packages were waiting for me when I got home from work. The Sony NW-A35 is very slick. The 3.1" 800x480 IPS screen is great. Very crisp and clear.

Unfortunately, with my Earwerkz Supra IEMs it has some background hiss. FWIW, they're extremely sensitive and hiss in pretty much everything though. They're unusable due to the hiss without an my FiiO E12A amp in between with all the other devices I own (tablets, phone, laptop, etc.). The amount of background hiss with the NW-A35 isn't distracting with music playing, but you do notice it when the tracks fade out or nothing is playing. I'd guess it would be inaudible over the background noise level in a plane, train, car, or other moderately noisy environment.

All the other headphones and IEMs I have aren't nearly so sensitive, so the player is nice and black with those. It can drive my HiFiMAN HE-500 headphones to a nice listening level though it has to be turned up nearly all the way ~110 out of 120. My other headphones are more sensitive, so they can be driven no issue.

I tried Bluetooth playback to my SRS-XB3 speakers and it worked great. Both support LDAC, so the audio bitrate is much higher than SBC. The player's volume controls will adjust the volume of the speakers over Bluetooth. The NW-A35 also has NFC so you can tap it on the top of the SRS-XB3 to pair it which is handy.
 

DrunkenBastard

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DrunkenBastard

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Has anyone claimed that MQA is lossless? It's clearly applying compression when compared to a 24 bit / 96kHz encoding. Seems more like a potential option if you are in a bandwidth limited scenario.

Anyway didn't want to create the impression that MQA is some kind of miracle, the reference was more to give an indication of battery life of the Mojo when playing 96kHz content. I'm getting longer life playing back standard 44 kHz audio.
 

DrunkenBastard

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And here's Linns view on MQA. Not very technical, but it makes sense to me.

https://www.linn.co.uk/blog/mqa-is-bad-for-music
This part "End customers, having paid a premium for MQA music via licensed content providers, will also have to buy MQA certified players at increased cost, with a license paid for each unit shipped".

The former doesn't make sense when there is no cost premium to access the MQA encoded songs on Tidal, if you are paying for the hires subscription. Seems like more options for the same price.
 

fb

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Has anyone claimed that MQA is lossless? It's clearly applying compression when compared to a 24 bit / 96kHz encoding. Seems more like a potential option if you are in a bandwidth limited scenario.

Anyway didn't want to create the impression that MQA is some kind of miracle, the reference was more to give an indication of battery life of the Mojo when playing 96kHz content. I'm getting longer life playing back standard 44 kHz audio.
Sorry, it wasn't my intention to attack you or make this a holy war. Your post was actually the first time I've ever heard about MQA so I tried to get some understanding in what it is, and why. And when I tried to inform myself I saw some mixed opinions. And the word "lossless" appears in many places around the internet. Here's even an article where the MQA people explained that it isn't lossless, but that it's in fact better than lossless (if I understood everything correctly) http://www.stereophile.com/content/...rs-losslessness-questions#Rx6ZowDB1L5Syd8f.97

Today I actually downloaded 192KHz/24bit, 44.1KHz/24 bit and MQA tracks from here: http://www.2l.no/hires/ and played on my none MQA stereo. I couldn't hear any huge differences. The conditions wasn't optimal, so I hope I'll get around to placing my speakers correctly and get a chance to be home alone and take a listening session. The technical reasoning is one thing, but what matters is how it sounds.
 

Stereodude

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Better than lossless... Maybe if they're using 16/44.1 as their lossless baseline. A lossy compressed format could yield higher fidelity if it accepted and decoded more than 16-bits. As to whether it would be sonically better is another question. It would depend on whether the extra resolution was audible vs. the audibility of the compression.

However, I'm realistic. 16/44.1 is ample for audio reproduction. "Hi-res" is a pointless gimmick. If you really wanted to hedge your bets against corner cases 18/44.1 would do the trick. Better mixing & mastering and the death of the Loudness Wars would be a far more tangible and impactful improvement than capturing what can't be heard with high sampling rates or driving up the bit depth for dynamic range that can't be realized.
 

fb

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It's difficult to recreate what's not there, that's the first rule in my religion.

But I agree that it would make a bigger difference if we could get rid of loudness war, radio channels that didn't use smiley face EQ-curves and so on, rather than of we miss a couple of bits of the music.
 

DrunkenBastard

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Got some Yamaha NS-IC800 in ceiling speakers for Atmos/DTS-X height channels. Need to build a little support so they can be nestled between the floor joists on the ceiling.
 

Handruin

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I'm tempted by a local sale over on AVS on a pair of Salk HT2-TL speakers. These have been on my short list for a long time and I've heard/read great things on Salk over the years but don't know what to compare them to. I've yet to hear a pair of these but wondered if anyone here has any experience with this model.
 

Handruin

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I'm undecided if I would use my sub with these. I'm rather attached to it being part of my PC audio config. I may consider another PSA sub if I decide to make a deal on the HT2-TLs.
 

Stereodude

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I'm tempted by a local sale over on AVS on a pair of Salk HT2-TL speakers. These have been on my short list for a long time and I've heard/read great things on Salk over the years but don't know what to compare them to. I've yet to hear a pair of these but wondered if anyone here has any experience with this model.
I've heard a pair or two of Salk speakers in a local HT at a meet a few years ago, but I don't recall the model. They sounded good as far as I remember.

I would imagine that the seller would let you come audition them so you could make up your own mind.
 

Handruin

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I ended up going a different direction with my living room TV/audio setup. The house is small and we wanted to make the room feel bigger so I replaced the large entertainment center with a smaller one and I decided to go with a sound bar for the audio. I went with a Samsung HW-MS650 sound bar. I know that sound bars come with a ton of compromise but I have to admit the size and convenience has its benefits. To sidetrack a bit, part of the reason I went down this path is that back in February I decided to replace my aging Samsung Plasma TV with a cheap TCL 55US5800 4K UHD 55" panel. It was on sale at Target for $380 so I bought it to hold me over until the better panels come down in price and the HDR support becomes commonplace among all the other changes going on. One of the issues with this TCL is the terrible built-in sound. I decided to try and solve this issue with supplementing the TV with this Samsung HW-MS650...which is already more expensive than the entire TV but I digress.

The HW-MS650 is a bit of a surprise when it comes to features and overall decent sound. The amount of bass that comes out of this bar can actually be felt, not just heard. There is a subwoofer option being released in the future but even without one it does a damn good job filling the room with sound given the size of the bar. Eventually when there are some reviews for the subwoofer I may end up picking one up but for now I'm content with the sound it offers. One observation that I've noticed with the sound bar is that the girlfriend no longer hunts for the remote to change the audio up and down throughout a movie or TV show. Often times the volume would be changed 6-8 times during a movie because it was annoying her. Now the audio level is almost never adjusted even when loud scenes happen and I suspect this is because the sound quality is a lot cleaner that it's not piercing and annoying like it is with the built-in TV speakers. This isn't because of some dynamic range adjustment, it just sounds a lot cleaner and isn't fatiguing at all whereas the built-in speakers are tiring.

The features and convenience of this bar are also really handy. The unit will power on whenever it detects a signal from the HDMI ARC connection (or even BT/Wi-Fi). The TV's internal speakers are then muted when the unit connects so there's no fuss with using remotes or forgetting to turn on the sound bar. The TV remote changes the volume on the sound bar through way of the ARC connection. This sound bar also supports Bluetooth to stream music (which we've done several times) and also through Wi-Fi apps such as Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, etc. When we're done with the TV and power it off, the sound bar will eventually go to sleep so there's no need to worry about power it off manually. There is a small visual readout on the sound bar on the right side inside the grill. It's subtle and non-intrusive during use of the unit. The display will turn off after a few seconds so you're not constantly seeing blue LEDs in your field of view. The unit is mostly metal construction and solid with decent weight. I don't perceive any rattling or vibrations from the unit and casing during playback.

I still find that this unit is missing a little bit of clarity and brilliance in the mid to high range for my personal tastes but it's not at all detracting or fatiguing. The soundstage is decent but will never be as good as a pair of separate speakers. It's a ton better than the built-in speakers so the improvement is remarkable in comparison. I do find that there is some trickiness with getting proper playback of audio tracks from movies played through the built-in Roku Plex app. This sound bar (and also the ARC connection) won't decode anything more that DTS/DTS+ so if one of my Bluray movies has a DTS-HD or TrueHD audio track via pass-thru, there is often some weirdness in the output. I discovered through other forum discussion that this is more a Plex issue than an issue with this sound bar.

We haven't often discussed sound bars here and they may not appear to some of the audiophiles that like the utmost perfection in sound but if you have a significant other in your life and you're looking for a good compromise in terms of ease of use with decent sound, I found this to be a good value.
 

Stereodude

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A soundbar? A soundbar?!? A soundbar!?!?! :eek:wneddnce:

Operators are standing by to revoke your Audiophile Card. They will breach shortly. Do not resist.

j/k... Glad you found something that does what you want, even if it is a little unconventional by HiFi standards.
 

Handruin

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I'm more of an aspiring audiophile so I never got my card yet. ;-) I'm likely disqualified now but there's still time to redeem myself.
 

DrunkenBastard

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Building a pair of Dayton UM18-22 subwoofers in sealed 4 cu ft flat packs. Behringer EP4000 for the amp, . Got one in operation so far, very impressive output for the money. About 100 pounds, have it sitting on a furniture dolly for ease of placement. Inverting the drivers to maximize enclosure volume and simplify wiring.

Looks like the drivers are out of stock till September now.
 

LunarMist

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Building a pair of Dayton UM18-22 subwoofers in sealed 4 cu ft flat packs. Behringer EP4000 for the amp, . Got one in operation so far, very impressive output for the money. About 100 pounds, have it sitting on a furniture dolly for ease of placement. Inverting the drivers to maximize enclosure volume and simplify wiring.

Looks like the drivers are out of stock till September now.
Where will you be using them, at home? :eek:
 

Stereodude

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Building a pair of Dayton UM18-22 subwoofers in sealed 4 cu ft flat packs. Behringer EP4000 for the amp, . Got one in operation so far, very impressive output for the money. About 100 pounds, have it sitting on a furniture dolly for ease of placement. Inverting the drivers to maximize enclosure volume and simplify wiring.

Looks like the drivers are out of stock till September now.
Make sure you test the drivers when you get them and don't let them sit untested. Dayton/PE seems to be having a problem with getting consistently good drivers.

I think they have a vented pole piece. Is the vent reasonably quiet when the driver is in operation?
 

DrunkenBastard

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Make sure you test the drivers when you get them and don't let them sit untested. Dayton/PE seems to be having a problem with getting consistently good drivers.

I think they have a vented pole piece. Is the vent reasonably quiet when the driver is in operation?
Yep already checked for mechanical noise, got two good units. No vent noise that I can hear. Apparently they've changed the driver cutout/basket in the next batch, in addition to increasing the pricing.
 

Stereodude

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I just have the one 12" in the living room and an 8" in the master bedroom. I don't think I need more.
Lightweight. I have two 21" DIY subs in my great room. Each one is in a box of about 7ft^3 with two 18" passive radiators and they're powered by a 4kW amp. I'd say I have just about the right amount of bass at my seat in the room.

Prior lesser subs did not deliver what I was after. I started with 2 sealed 15" subs, went to two dual driver 15" sealed subs, to using all four giving me 6 sealed 15" drivers working together.

I need to run a dedicated 20A circuit for the sub amp though. I had my power conditioner shut down and go into an overload protection mode when I was pushing things last weekend in some testing.
 
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