Saturday, 16 January 2021
Saturday, 9 January 2021
Well, with the pandemic of 2020/2021, one thing that has changed markedly in my family is that we're spending way more time watching movies and miniseries at home this past year. In fact the last movie I watched at the local "cineplex" was 1917 right before the Oscars on February 9, 2020. As such, 2020 has been a year of microwave popcorn, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and the occasional UHD Blu-Ray played on my Oppo UDP-205 with the family on the sofa.
Wanting to use the Energy C100 bookshelf speakers elsewhere (see what I was doing here), I figured it was time to grab a pair of actual "Atmos elevation speakers". Not unexpectedly, the ELAC Debut 2.0 A4.2 Dolby Atmos Add-On Speakers were on sale before Christmas which you see in the image above.
Friday, 1 January 2021
MUSINGS: Noise, Jitter, Faith & The Autistic Fantasies of Digital Audiophilia ("For adults only?" Darko/Lavorgna conversation.)
1. Jitter2. Noise ("electrical", RF/EMI, conducted/induced)
Monday, 21 December 2020
A High Dynamic Range Christmas Playlist
[Guest Post by Allan Folz]
For this Christmas I'd like to share with Archimago and readers the albums that have become a large part of our family's holiday tradition.
In the old days, when all our music was on CD's I'd load up the 5 disc changer with these albums the Sunday after Thanksgiving and they were almost the only holiday music we'd have for the next month. Streaming wasn't a thing in the early Internet years. You listened to the albums you had and you liked them.
I bought all but one of these CD's more than 20 years ago and got them largely by (some really good!) luck of the draw. For the longest while I thought they were my favorites because they were such a constant part of our lives from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Later, after I learned about dynamic range I realized it made perfect sense that they were my favorites.
After getting more deeply involved in the hobby I discovered that all my favorite albums had a high dynamic range. This was interesting to me because I had formed my opinion on my favorite albums long before I'd learned about album dynamic range. Only after looking at the dynamic range of my favorite albums did I realize that almost always the common element was a high dynamic range. The corollary also held true. The albums I bought that were disappointing once I got them home and had a few listens had a low dynamic range.
Saturday, 19 December 2020
Saturday, 5 December 2020
MUSINGS: "People, please, you want to grow our industry?" - Comments on Jonathan Scull's Stereophile article and what is "High End" audio good for?
|Make sure to consult this site if you see anyone ever consumer one of these mushrooms BTW... :-)|
When I say that those mushrooms are actually "bad for ya", I trust nobody would disagree, right? After all, it's easy to say that as humans, since these mushrooms will damage our health, we can easily judge them to be "bad" and should simply avoid getting near.
I could not help thinking about this a week back when I read Jonathan Scull's article "Something's Coming" in Stereophile.
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Let's continue with discussions and measurements of bookshelf/desktop speakers. As I expressed a few weeks back, these days I've transitioned to using passive speakers on the computer workstation table with the S.M.S.L. SA300 Class D amplifier. It has enough power I believe for almost any speaker one might want to use nearfield with great energy-efficiency.
What I have on the tabletop today is a pair of new Fluance Reference XL8S speakers that was released recently in summer 2020. These are the walnut veneer version (known as XL8SW). Fluance is a Canadian brand and over the years, may be more well-known for their affordable turntables (eg. the Fluance RT81 Elite looks nice with the RT85 Reference for their higher end), but their product line also includes speakers - other passive bookshelf models include the SX6 out since around 2014, and more recently the Signature HFS (released 2016). I see that they also have floor-standing versions.
Saturday, 21 November 2020
On "Measurements, Listening, and What Matters in Audio" by Robert E. Greene, with unfortunate Robert Harley "counterpoint".
It has been a busy week, so alas, I didn't get a chance to finish some recent measurements in time for the weekend. Will aim for next week!
The other day, I read Robert E. Greene's editorial on The Absolute Sound's webpage titled "Measurements, Listening, and What Matters in Audio". Nice, I didn't think I would ever read such coherent introspection in those (virtual) pages. Probably also one of the first times I have seen the mainstream audio press willing to consider the "beginning of audio wisdom" (hat tip to Proverbs). Of course, seeking wisdom plus achieving a more rational basis in this hobby are overarching themes in many of the articles on this blog. So too, Greene's reference to concentrating on the "fundamentals", the foundation of acoustics whether it be in the production chain (ie. "microphones") or the reproduction/perception system (ie. especially "speakers and their room interactions") are not unfamiliar to readers here - we covered some of this earlier this year. Absolutely agree, Dr. Greene, including the part about "I think that almost everything in audio can be explained by measurements" is a fair and in these days, a very safe statement to make.
Wishing you good health.
Now as for Robert Harley's "counterpoint". Oh my... Surely Harley's ramblings cannot be the last words on this topic because clearly there are issues!
Saturday, 14 November 2020
MEASUREMENTS: S.M.S.L. SA300 - Infineon MERUS-based Class D desktop amplifier. (Screwed up New York Times - Wirecutter/Butterworth measurements/review?! And Klipsch on TIM.)
|"BAS" on screen indicates I'm using the bass-boost EQ here.|
As mentioned previously, I found myself in the position of needing to update my computer workstation desktop speaker system. I figured, instead of staying with powered/active speakers, since I do have a few bookshelf speakers around the home, why not try some passives on the desktop as well?
While active speakers are great in that the built-in amplifiers and transducers can be well-matched and optimized, the ability to "mix-n-match" passive speakers while opening up the potential to upgrade amplifiers I think is fun for the hobbyist. As such, I found myself drawn to getting a small low-power Class D amplifier like this.
Since the amplifier will likely be left on 24/7, I wanted something that's highly efficient but provides adequate power. This SMSL device internally is powered by the Infineon Technologies MERUS MA12070 Class D amplifier which uses their "multi-level" modulation such that the switching output can have half-voltage levels which adds an extra level of control and power savings. The device is rated to provide up to 2x30W continuous into 8Ω or 2x80W into 4Ω but realize this is with 10% THD+N. What will be more interesting to me is how much power is available into something like 4Ω with ≤0.1% THD+N, and the noise this switching device produces. Let's see if this amp lives up to hopes of "high-fidelity" playback...
Saturday, 31 October 2020
Hi everyone, thought I'd just publish a couple of "qSpins" today as I might be away for a little bit to attend to other duties in the next couple weeks.
In the last while, I've been looking at getting another pair of speakers on my computer workstation desktop. Here's basically what my desktop speaker system has looked like for years:
Saturday, 24 October 2020
MUSINGS/HOW-TO: Raspberry Pi 4 "Touch" Audio Streamer, and CRAAP settings! ;-) The decline of public feedback, virtual showrooms, value-added content and Darko Audio?
|Left - Raspberry Pi 4B, Right - Raspberry Pi 3B. Heatsinks installed on both boards.|
Well, on Prime Day recently, I was able to get a Raspberry Pi 4, 4GB "Starter Kit" for a price I could not resist. It's nice to have all the parts including the appropriately sized heatsinks, ready-to-use microSD card, and 5V/3A USB-C power supply. For now, I have no need for the Pi 4 case and the micro-HDMI cables can go in my box of miscellaneous cables.
For audio streaming purposes, a basic 2GB Pi 4 kit (<US$55) would be even cheaper and works just as well. Given the minimal difference in cost, no point going with a 1GB model although that would still be fine - remember the Pi 3 was limited to 1GB. There is also an 8GB Pi 4 but that's a huge amount of memory for just an audio streaming "appliance"!
Saturday, 17 October 2020
|Auditioning the KEF LS50 Black Edition, powered by SMSL SA300 Class D amp on computer workstation.|