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    A Musical Joke

    After many years, I found this CD, which include Musical Joke as one of the tracks!! Better still, in SACD format, under famous audiophile label harmonia mundi, yay!!
  3. Mozart had composed numerous Serenades. This particular one K. 522 in F major was funny and interesting. Mozart was writing this Serenade in F major for the audiences of the late 18th century. However, what they found amusing may need some explaining to the 20th century ears. Some of the jokes are obvious whereas others are subtle and can be obvious to the trained musicians. http://www.fuwen.net/index.php/home/classical-music/the-musical-joke
  4. Yes!! Everybody stay safe!!
  5. Hi guys and gals, wishing all of you good health during this time. Stay at home and listen to your headphones ok? 😀
  6. http://www.fuwen.net/index.php/home/classical-music/string-symphonies/151-string-symphonies
  7. I love two string orchestra works. One is String Sonatas composed by young Rossini, the other is String Symphonies, composed by (also young) Mendelssohn. Rossini String Sonata consists of 6 Sonatas, Decca 470447-2 double xrcd2 recorded all of them. Fim UltraHD CD recorded the original versions performed by only 4 instruments, but only recorded 5 of the 6 Sonatas. Both recordings are audiophile standard, something you can enjoy forever. My first encounter with Mendelssohn String Symphonies was a CD from Teldec, this CD recorded 5 of the 13 Symphonies. The String Symphonies were written for a larger string orchestra, and from audiophile point of view these recordings are not as hifi as the String Sonatas. The String Symphonies focus of presenting the musical ideas with the orchestra, whereas the String Sonatas’ arrangement tends to give individual instrument show off time, especially for the double bass. Strange enough after I bought the first CD of the String Symphonies, I did not go and search for the rest over the years until lately. After a search on the internet I managed to find two recording versions (seems the String Symphonies are not a hot recording repertoire). One is the complete recordings of Mendelssohn symphonies issued by Warner Classics, with recordings of the 13 String Symphonies performed by Concerto Koln, and the 5 Symphonies for Symphony Orchestra performed by Gewandhausorcheter Leipzig conducted by Kurt Masur. When I received the CDs I realised the Concerto Koln version is the one I bought under Teldec label, but now with 3 CDs completed all the 13 String Symphonies recordings. The other recording was performed by Amsterdam Sinfonietta conducted by Lev Markiz, all 13 String Symphonies recorded in one SACD!! In addition there was a String Symphony No. 8 version with woodwinds. Guess there are too many music, so this SACD does not have the CD layer, so can only be played from a SACD player. Having following SACD for so many years, I still find SACD recording format very well suited to classical music recordings, being able to present very well various instrumentation and the extend of frequencies at both ends of the sound spectrum. Recently I am also able to find fresh recordings of classical music of less popular repertoire on SACDs, so my findings on SACD on classical music recordings are likely valid. However, for those audiophiles with string liking for vocal, I guess a good red book CD recordings will still present better and richer mid range. But to me, enjoying classical performance with SACD is an enjoyment.
  8. Sources: iPhone XS-Max, 16/44 WAV files (CD rips). Disclaimer: I purchased the Airpods Pro from Apple at full price. In this mini-review I'll use my own definitions for 'Earbud', 'Earphone', 'IEM', etc. IEM: The most common of hi-fi earphones, these sell for as little as $15 and as much as $5000 USD or more. Key features of the IEM (In-Ear Monitor") are a nozzle projecting from the body, with a choice of interchangeable eartips to mount on that nozzle. These eartips are inserted well into the ear canal to 1) Ensure a stable fit, and 2) To obtain a good seal against the ear canal walls for best bass response. The Airpods Pro are not IEMs. Earbud: Any earphone (not always hi-fi) that fits its drivers inside the ears somewhere, as opposed to headphones, which sit on or around the ears. The original Airpods were a higher-quality type of earbud that focused its sound through a narrow opening in the earbud, rather than across a wide surface as the older round earbuds were designed to do. Those Airpods (and the Earpods before them) were able to achieve much better bass response than the older round earbuds, by getting most of their sound much closer to the ear canals. The newer Airpods Pro attempt to do even better by moving the sound closer yet, by using interchangeable eartips that have narrower openings (like IEMs), but are mounted on the earbud body rather than on a nozzle as the IEMs are. The Airpods Pro do this very well in my experience, where the middle-size eartips fit up against my ear canals, but do not penetrate noticeably. With this design I have good comfort and a secure fit, and most important - a full-range sound with good bass response. Describing the Airpods Pro sound in hi-fi terms is really tricky, because you'll need to get a perfect (or nearly so) fit so that the bass response is properly balanced to the midrange and treble. NOTE: When I tested my fit using the Ear Tip Fit Test in the iPhone's Bluetooth settings, the results were mixed - sometimes OK on the Left and NOT OK on the Right, or vice-versa. Don't be misled by these results, since an intermittent "Good Fit" might actually be perfect, as it is in my case. NOTE: 'Intermittent' as in an electrical connection is usually a bad thing, but 'intermittent' here is just the 'Fit' report result, which has no requirement for exactness. One of the more difficult deep-bass sounds I have for headphones to reproduce accurately is the contrabassoon(?) that weighs in around 10:30 of Beethoven's 9th Symphony 4th Movement, performed by Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony in 1972. The Airpods Pro play this with very good weight and detail. Another track that has strong bass impacts in the opening seconds is Trombone Shorty's Backatown. The bass notes here are played back with uneven weight by many headphones, depending on the frequencies for each tone. The Airpods Pro play these notes evenly and convincingly. The Airpods Pro midrange will probably vary less among different users than the bass and treble, for various reasons, but the crucial factor is getting accurate tonality of instruments and voices. In my listening thus far (6 days), the tonality has been spot-on. Reviews often note how well or how poorly a headphone sounds with good quality recordings versus poor quality recordings. I haven't experienced anything different in that respect with the Airpods Pro compared to my other headphones, and that for me is a good indicator that this earphone is a high fidelity product - assuming of course a good quality source, good recordings, and a reliable and clean Bluetooth connection. Treble is the most difficult part of the sound spectrum to analyze, and if you have a look through some of the Innerfidelity test charts, you'll see why. Those very ragged lines representing the treble measurements stand in stark contrast to the much smoother parts of those lines that represent the midrange and bass responses. Given my experience with many quality IEMs to date, I'm confident that the Airpods Pro treble is either pretty smooth and reasonably neutral, or smooth enough in the neutral ballpark to be easily treatable with the iPhones' settings, or whatever the Android phones have to offer. Summarizing the above, the Airpods Pro may be a great Earphone, at full price, for users whose requirements are similar to mine: High comfort with no significant penetration of the ear canals; A good frequency response or one that's easily addressable with an effective EQ; Price that suits these factors plus the convenience factors.
  9. Youtube review: http://youtu.be/9oG6PZ5rbik Sources: iPad Pro 11-inch/iPhone XsMax/Various computers using the Chord Mojo/Oppo HA-2/AQ DragonFly Cobalt/Meridian Explorer2 DAC/amps, plus a custom-made tube amp. Looking over my recent review of the Grado White (WH1) headphone and my review of the PS1000e from 2015, and musing on the sound of the PS2000e that arrived two months ago, four key words stood out to me from those reviews and my impressions of the new PS2000e: Effortless, Breathtaking, Tactile, Palpable. Like the PS1000e and to some extent the WH1, the PS2000e impresses me as needing almost no effort to produce its very smooth** and very hi-fi sound. It may be a combination of superior drivers, earcup design, high efficiency and other factors, but compared to my other premium headphones, the sense that the sound is coming from a headphone is much less. Reviewer Steve Guttenberg made a video comparing the sound of Grado headphones to horn-driver speakers. Those comparisons are somewhat abstract of course, but the point I got right away is the effortless nature of horn drivers to make hi-fi sound, due to their incredible efficiency. **The PS2000e is much smoother (more neutral) than the PS1000e, and far smoother than the WH1. Those instances when something breathtaking occurs are rare - even moreso given my experience with the PS1000e where I noted such things. Still, in adding new music to my collection, I'm occasionally hearing things that amaze me, for example in the audiophile recordings of Baroque-era tracker** organs and their modern re-creations in churches and museums across the U.S. **Genuine tracker organs were designed with low-pressure pipes due to the lack of electric motors for pumping air into the organs during the Baroque era. The advantage of low-pressure pipes is a more acoustic type of sound, as compared to the somewhat artificial sounds of modern electric-action pipe organs. The confluence of acoustic sounds and the PS2000e is no coincidence, as the PS2000e was designed for the most accurate reproduction of voices and acoustic instruments. Tactile and palpable are similar in meaning, and in the case of the PS2000e, the sense that I can almost reach out and touch Diana Krall's piano keys, or the strings of Ray Brown's upright bass, practically defines tactile for me. Depending on the system you use with the PS2000e, and/or any tone controls etc. that you throw into the mix, you may already be hearing and feeling enough weight across the lows and mids to give you all the reality you desire from your music. In my case, the PS2000e's sound has just enough palpability to make the music real without coloring it beyond that. The foregoing are mere impressions of course, but they're based on owning eight other Grado headphones as well as a few others in the $1000 to $2000 USD range. The actual sound that I measure by ear, using live music as well as those other headphones for comparison, is more objective - i.e., if the music you hear live sounds exactly like your headphone system, then you're very close to accurate and neutral reproduction, assuming your recordings are accurate facsimiles of the live music they represent. In the case of my PS2000e, the tonality varies slightly depending on the amps I use, and especially the quality of the recordings I play. True audiophile remasters are nearly always the most satisfactory. Users who are experiencing the PS2000e for the first time, but who have other Grados or much experience with them, will likely be thrilled. Users of closed-back headphones who are making the PS2000e their first open-back headphone (or first in a long time) might not be as thrilled, noting that the bass doesn't get the same "reinforcement" as with closed headphones. In the latter case, a bit of research might be needed to clear things up. My purchase of the PS2000e was - oddly enough - inspired by my purchase of the Grado White headphone a couple of months ago. I hadn't had an open-back headphone for a very long time, and I used a parametric equalizer to minimize some of the problems unique to the closed-back headphones I enjoyed in the interim. What I experienced with the WH1 was not just the open-back sound, nor the basic signature (note my EQ comments), but a whole new (for this year at least) listening experience that was as different from my other headphones as night and day. I can't attribute that difference to the open-vs-closed designs, so I'll just say that it's due to the confluence of multiple factors. My experience with the PS2000e has - not surprisingly - surpassed the WH1 in a few key areas: The bass is clearer and goes deeper, the low-mid warmth is less colored, the mids are more neutral, and the treble is much more neutral. The EQ I did for the WH1 definitely helped, but does not make for a PS2000e-level improvement. Of the four words I noted above, the last two were the critical difference for the PS2000e. The overall clarity, detail, and tightness in the lows contribute greatly to the tactile reach-out-and-touch moments, and the greater palpability from the increased sonic range as well as dynamic range. Certain reviewers who've compared the PS2000e to other Grados (particularly the GS2000 or GS3000 models) have described a warmer sound for those "woodie" headphones, and a cooler or even more clinical sound for the PS2000e. In direct comparisons, "more clinical" might seem apt, but the truth is the PS2000e is not at all clinical. Pull the earpads off of the PS2000e and observe the wood used in its earcups. It's a more neutral sound, but still warm - and sounds as crystal clear as anything I've heard anywhere near its price tier. That's my summary of the sound, and while I've been disappointed in the musicality (or lack thereof) with other pricy headphones, I'm completely satisfied with my PS2000e purchase. Note that this headphone has a substantial amount of metal in the earcups, which makes it somewhat heavy for a full-size large-earcup headphone. The redesigned headband compared to the PS1000e makes it more comfortable than that older model, but the PS2000e is still not designed for walking around with significant head movements. You'll need to sit still, but then, you're not paying for an uber-premium headphone to use while doing chores around the house. I'm going to skip the sample music tracks for this review, as there is essentially nothing to test - i.e. there is some lack of deep bass weight or low-frequency pressure with the PS2000e compared to many of the closed-back headphones, but if you have an opportunity to spend some time with this headphone, you may begin to appreciate its genuine acoustic bass tonality that carries just the right amount of weight - like you'd experience in person. I'll also skip most of the physical descriptions, as this basic design has been around for many years and its parameters are well known. What I noted above about sitting still when listening bears one more bit of explanation, by way of comparison. I once owned the Final Audio Pandora VI - a very fine and quite heavy headphone, which was unstable on my head with even slight head movements. The PS2000e is not like that, i.e. it sits very comfortably and allows modest head movements as long as the user stays reasonably still and focused on listening. Summing things up, I highly recommend the Grado PS2000e to those who are 1) Willing to invest the money, and 2) Prepared for a headphone that will virtually disappear of its own accord, and allow the music to come through essentially unaltered.
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