Saturday 26 November 2016

MEASUREMENTS: On the value for ethernet "galvanic isolation"...

Ponderous. That's the adjective that comes to mind so often when I visit audiophile sites and come across yet another tweak suggestion. Over the years, there have been many such nuggets... Ideas like using a battery to power devices to make them "sound better" in supposedly very significant ways. Switching mode power supplies in general are said to be "bad". USB carries with it significant noise so we should to buy certain "filter" type devices (Audioquest Jitterbug, Uptone Regen, etc...). Server computers sounding different using the same high quality DAC when there's no DSP processing applied to the actual digital signal. OS optimization tweaks "reduces jitter" and again "sounds better"... The possibilities are endless!

On a few occasions, there are nuggets of truth in some of these ideas. For example, yes there is jitter to be found in some circumstances (small but measurable amounts like with S/PDIF and HDMI). Yes, sometimes you can detect noise from computers situated close to a DAC. Realize of course, many times the "solutions" advocated do not necessarily fix the problem. For example, I have yet to see a situation where a fancy passive piece of cable can fix jitter. And more often than not though, the subjective advocate/testifier/witness appears to magnify the purported effects to such extremes in the hopes of drumming up interest in what really should be rather insignificant issues. (Why folks would do this will be left to the reader to decipher... :-)

Which leads to today's topic... Ethernet galvanic isolation.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Moving on to 4K: A look at the Sharp LC-75N8000U UHD "HDR" TV.

As you can see above, I made the move to a larger 75" screen 4K/UHD-TV from my 55" LG 55LW5600 purchased in 2011. Not sure if it's as appreciable in the image above, but the extra 20-inches diagonally make a huge difference in the movie watching experience from the sofa! (The camera focal length and perspective clearly makes a big difference in pictures...)

This is the Sharp LC-75N8000U. As I discussed recently, I've been looking around at 4K TV's for quite awhile. Admittedly, I just could not resist the price to give this a try at least (currently only ~US$2000 on Amazon)! With this post, let's have a look at this display and I'll throw out a few thoughts...

Wednesday 2 November 2016

MEASUREMENTS: Crystal Cable CrystalConnect Micro 1m Interconnects... Differences vs. Generics???

Alright guys... As you know I've measured cables in the past - why audiophile magazines never seem to get around to this is anyone's guess :-). And as I summarized here, there really hasn't been evidence of a meaningful difference between various cables of all sorts.

Over the years, I have tried to measure cables which are considered "audiophile quality" when I can get my hands on them. You know, things like the Synergistic "Tesla" power cables, or these Kimber 8TC speaker cables. Note that obviously if I really wanted to, it's not like there aren't a selection of audiophile stores locally in Vancouver. Without evidence in my own subjective experience or reasonable theory that major differences are even possible, I'm obviously not going to go out of my way to test these things when there are so many other topics to learn about and explore! When I had the opportunity from a friend to hang on to these cables for awhile and test them out, well, why not? Especially since he's had these for years and they're well "broken in"! :-)

Behold, the Crystal Cable Micro; we're often reminded in reviews that Crystal Cable is based in The Netherlands (parent company International Audio Holdings which also owns Siltech):
Notice the small round "silver billets", all part of the typical Crystal Cable esthetic. New models have a more ovoid shape.