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  1. Last week
  2. The Shinola Canfield On-Ear is a small headphone of very modest sonic quality, but with an awesome aesthetic and build quality. I report the sound with a moderate level of EQ tweaking, and it is excellent. Some audiophiles don't believe that EQ will make a headphone sound better, which is all the better - just play it flat and imagine the sound that I describe ..... and it looks really great. http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/community/threads/shinola-canfield-on-ear-stereo-headphone-review.4525/
  3. Earlier
  4. MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) - Better Sound or DRM?

    Today I updated my MQA observations PDF to include (finally!) a simple example of the current DRM, and probable DRM via proprietary music player software. http://dalethorn.com/Audio_MQA_Notes.pdf
  5. MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) - Better Sound or DRM?

    Apple is selling the album "Radka Toneff - Fairytales - Original Master Edition (MQA)" in the iTunes store in the U.S. now, exactly as shown for the original MQA album available from high-res stores and streaming sites. Apple also sells the older edition in the iTunes store. But the MQA album is not actually MQA'd. Here is what I found so far: 1) The iTunes "MQA" files (AAC, file extension '.m4a') have a much higher playback bitrate than any of the other iTunes files I have in my collection - several hundred of them. All previous iTunes files that I know of are 256 kbps variable bit rate, and these "MQA" tracks go as high as 461 kbps variable bit rate. 2) I converted the .m4a "MQA" tracks to FLAC, as I did with the older edition iTunes tracks, and the "MQA" edition FLACs' total size is 165.5 mb, compared to 123 mb for the older FLACs. 3) I played the .m4a "MQA" tracks as well as their FLAC conversions I made with Foobar2000, on my Mac's VOX music player using the Meridian Explorer-2 DAC, making sure to try all of the bitrates provided by the Mac's MIDI settings, and never could get a green or blue light on the DAC as I get with the Steve Reich Pulse album (I have the Pulse album in 16/44 MQA as well as high-res MQA and high-res non-MQA). 4) The iTunes "MQA" tracks are 16/44 as seen by the VOX player, as are the Reich/Pulse MQA tracks I ripped from the CD I purchased. Those Reich tracks do produce the correct light on my DAC, but these iTunes tracks do not. In summary, Apple is presenting the new "Radka Toneff - Fairytales - Original Master Edition (MQA)" album in the iTunes store exactly the same as reviewed by major audio magazines and exactly as sold at the usual high-res download sites, albeit the iTunes version does not appear to actually be MQA'd. That presentation seems wrong to me, however the iTunes "MQA" files are of higher resolution than any other iTunes files I'm aware of, and they sound very good - audiophile quality or very nearly so.
  6. This recent model from Focal was supposed to replace the Focal Spirit Pro as far as I know. Physically I'd agree - the Listen Pro is much nicer in that respect, but sonically no.... http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/community/threads/focal-listen-pro-stereo-headphone-review.4523/
  7. MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) - Better Sound or DRM?

    And now for the thorough test with the Macbook, Meridian Explorer-2 (full decoder and renderer) and the generic non-MQA Vox player. This was a real headbanger since the DAC didn't always reset the lights reliably when changing the MIDI settings, but after a number of restarts I believe I have a replicateable test result. High-res 24/96 from HDTracks lit the lights as follows (Vox says 24/96): MIDI == 44.1: One white light. MIDI == 48.0: One white light. MIDI == 88.2: Two white lights. MIDI == 96.0: Two white lights. High-res MQA ("Studio") lit the lights as follows (Vox says 24/48): MIDI == 44.1: One white light. MIDI == 48.0: One blue and one white light. MIDI == 88.2: Two white lights. MIDI == 96.0: Two white lights. MQA from CD lit the lights as follows (Vox says 16/44): MIDI == 44.1: One green and one white light. MIDI == 48.0: One white light. MIDI == 88.2: Two white lights. MIDI == 96.0: Two white lights. MP3s (converted from non-MQA high-res files, or MQA files; Vox says MP3): MIDI == 44.1: One white light. MIDI == 48.0: One white light. MIDI == 88.2: Two white lights. MIDI == 96.0: Two white lights. So the MQA indications I got were: Green plus white (two lights == high res) on the "unsigned" MQA from a CD, with MIDI set to 44.1 Blue plus white (two lights == high res) on the "signed" or "Studio" MQA, with MIDI set to 48.0 The DAC seems to treat everything else as low (one light) or high-res (two lights) regardless of file format, but according to the MIDI setting. Which is why I asked in several places whether an MQA music player can force the MIDI to the correct values, in order to get a reliable indication on the lights. If these tests don't work out for other DACs or music players or operating systems or whatnot, I would not be surprised.
  8. MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) - Better Sound or DRM?

    Today I collected my MQA research into a small PDF file at the link below. Summarizing, I didn't find any negative issues in careful comparisons of two albums, in PCM and MQA'd masterings. Should there be an example of alleged sonic degradation in an MQA mastering, I'd like to download the PCM and MQA'd files from the usual high-res sites and compare them myself. Suggestions are welcome, especially when they point out particularly egregious differences. http://dalethorn.com/Audio_MQA_Notes.pdf
  9. Updated - see next post.
  10. Here's a video (audio only) that I made of the HomePod in the Apple store. It opens as I'm recording with cupped hands behind the earpiece mics, to screen out some of the customer/store noise, then I back off from there and remove the earphones from my ears so the sound is no longer binaural (i.e. the soundstage collapses). Unfortunately because of the store's background noise, I had to be closer to the speaker than what I would have liked, and thus much of the power and projection of the speaker's sound isn't captured well here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuOYdtW3sJ0
  11. I finally got caught up this evening on my backlog of reviews, so I ripped Disc 1 of my Silverman/Mozart Sonatas by IsoMike on SACD. I ripped the CD layer only, and converted the 16/44 WAV tracks to FLAC using Foobar2000 and the FLAC v1.3.1 codec. The compression was to 36.5 percent of the WAV size, i.e. the totals: WAV: 697115244 bytes FLAC: 254379988 bytes Since this is essentially the same type/technique/content density as the Silverman/Chopin IsoMike DSDs, and since the IsoMike folks made this SACD and its CD layer using the correct conversion software, it's clear that the compression to 23 percent that I got from the JRiver-produced WAV files is very short on 16/44 content.
  12. You get two things with the AMBEO - each worth at least $300 USD (IMHO): A very decent IEM, and a really good binaural recording system (using your Apple i-device) with microphones that capture hi-fi sound. This review has only a few sentences about the binaural recording - the bulk of the review concerns the IEM/earphones. http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/community/threads/sennheiser-apogee-ambeo-iem-earphone-binaural-recording-rig.4519/
  13. Merry Christmas

    +2 :-D
  14. Merry Christmas

  15. Merry Christmas

    Happy new year!
  16. Here's a unique earphone with pewter earpieces. This design had me thinking (no pun intended) of Grado's porous-metal earcup housings that they use in some of their full-size headphones. The idea here is similar - to reduce resonances in the driver housings. U.S. made, the MSRP here is $179, but I don't know at this time what the international availability will be. http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/community/threads/thinksound-usp1-pewter-earpiece-iem-earphone-review.4518/
  17. After one week of ripping several solo piano and violin/piano SACDs (16/44 CD layer only) to WAV and FLAC -- those SACDs by the same recording company that made the original DSD files -- my FLACs ranged from 31 to 40 percent of the WAV size, or at minimum 40 percent larger than 320 kbps MP3s. The only CD where I was able to compress FLACs to MP3 size was a CD containing long silent pauses within the music, which was unlistenable in any case. I've concluded, with unexpected help from two expert sources, that the DSD to 24/88 FLAC software I purchased is either defective outright, or it intentionally embeds a stealth form of DRM into the conversions. I was not able to pursue this further outside of ripping these SACDs, because information was being withheld by persons who were offended by my questioning the validity of the conversions.
  18. I have a major DSD conversion issue, and my experience (lengthy) is described below. I think I have everything covered, with input from many experts. The key issue is some extremely suspect conversions being done with a top-rated software player and converter. http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/community/threads/flac-conversions-from-16-44-wav-files-are-smaller-than-mp3s.4517/
  19. Updated. Sennheiser HD 600 sold. SMS / Wataspp to 9637 - 8593 to deal for other equipment.
  20. WTS: Stax Electrostatic Headphone System

    wah kao... this is amazing lol
  21. Letting go my Stax complete system. All very well taken care of, in mint condition. Headphones are usually keep in dry cabinet when not in use. - Stax SR-007 MK2 Omega (with original metal flight case and new set of ear pads in packaging) - Stax 404 Limited (with original box) - Stax Amp SR-717. Local 230v (with original box) - Stax Balanced Extension Cable x 2 pairs (1 brown and 1 black to matched the above headphones) - Stax CPC-1 Headphone Cover - Omega Wooden Headphone Hanger - Sennheiser HH 10 Headphone Hanger - Eichmann Express 6 Series 2 XLR interconnect cables Letting go at $6500. Interested sms/whatsapp hp: 97907944.
  22. I found some good news about the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphone, insofar as I hadn't planned to try using it with a good DAC because the headphone had no true passive mode, i.e. where all electronics in the headphone are turned off. Plugging in the supplied audio cable with the headphone off turns the headphone on, with ANC also turned on. I immediately turn ANC off with the double-click, and despite the headphone's power still being on, I assume it's not in Bluetooth mode since the audio cable is plugged in. Whatever the case, and using the AQ DragonFly Red as the DAC/headphone amp, the overall sound got smoother, the treble less harsh, and the bass firmer. The deep bass tones around 30 hz that were distorted in Bluetooth mode now sounded like 30 hz bass tones. This may not be the final word on the Studio3, but I'm pretty confident now, at least using judicious EQ, that this headphone can serve as a Bluetooth portable for casual listening, and as a home-system headphone.
  23. I added comments to the original review about EDM music, and a list of 16 EDM tracks I tested with EQ on and off, to compare the Studio3 to v-moda's Wireless2. The Wireless2 wins on deep bass solidity and impact, but the Studio3 may (or not) do better otherwise.
  24. The Studio3 was sitting there at the Apple Store, looking very tempting in its impressive "special edition" packaging, and I even got a 5-minute listen to the demo unit using my own iPhone. The demo sounded kinda thick - even a bit muffled, but the extra sweetening they added on the high end made it listenable. I've had a few Bluetooth headphones now, but not a Beats wireless, so I was curious what the potential of this headphone might be for quality listening, given that I'd re-tune it a little with my equalizer. The conclusions are in the review text, but one thing I can say up front is that while they get the middle frequencies about right through their ANC-plus-Bluetooth codecs, the extreme lows seem to have excess distortion. The extreme highs fare better, but I can't judge how much negative impact the DSP's have on those highs versus how much quality if any is lost in the basic design. One issue that popped into my head while writing this review is the so-called Loudness Wars. I wonder if the trend in many new headphones to have a recessed lower treble is actually compensation for the Loudness effect, to push the strong forward voices more to the background. Pure speculation there.... http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/community/threads/beats-studio-3-wireless-bluetooth-headphone-review.4516/
  25. Merry Christmas

    Yes Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!!
  26. Merry Christmas

    May everyone in their part of the world enjoy this Christmas and holidays season, and get ready for an exciting New Year.
  27. Merry Christmas

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
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