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About dalethorn

Previous Fields

  • Headphones
    Beyer DT48A, DT48E, DT1350, T90, T1. AKG K812, K712. ATH-ESW9a. B&W P5, P7. Shure 1840, 1440, 940. Bose QC25. V-MODA M100. Sennheiser 565/580/600/650/800/Amperior/PX series. Grado 325e, PS500, PS1000e, GH1.
  • Headphone amplifiers
    PA2V2. FiiO E17k. Dragonfly v1.2. Microstreamer.
  • Other equipment
    iPods, iPads, iPhones, PC and Mac.
  • Favourite configuration used
    Audioquest Nighthawk to Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2 on MacBook Pro Retina.
  • Team:
    Team Audioquest.

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • Yahoo

Profile Information

  • Location
    Akron Ohio
  • Interests
  1. MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) - Better Sound or DRM?

    BTW, the Meridian DAC performed perfectly in getting the green and blue lights to light for the correct tracks. Unfortunately, without an MQA player or whatever it takes to force the Mac MIDI settings, I had to set the MIDI values manually.
  2. 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.
  3. MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) - Better Sound or DRM?

    Today I did an experiment with MQA. I purchased the MQA 'Studio' version of "To Bethlehem Carols and Motets" from the HighResAudio site. That went well, so I converted a couple of the FLACs (24/48, which 'unfold' etc. to 24/96 in an MQA player or a full decoding MQA DAC) to MP3. I played the MP3s on the free Vox player (not an MQA player) into the DragonFly Red DAC from my Macbook, making sure that the MIDI setting was 24/48.The DF Red is just a renderer, not a full decoder, yet the DF light turned blue for high-res MQA. Note that if my MIDI setting was anything but 24/48, the light would not turn blue. Not on the DF nor the Meridian Explorer, which is a full decoding DAC.So, the ability to enable a form of DRM is present in the music file, even when converted to a foreign format like MP3. Of course I could set the MIDI setting to another value to defeat the blue light, and MP3 playback wouldn't care about that, but I suppose that newer firmware updates on popular DACs might be able to detect an MQA file anyway, no matter the resolution settings on the computer or the converted file type.At this point I have to conclude that the only safe way to avoid DRM (if it happens, or happens with MQA) is to use a non-MQA music player, preferably an open-source player.In spite of that precaution, if an MQA firmware update to any of the popular DACs can always detect an MQA file (as it apparently can now), the DAC could refuse full-res or proper playback under some circumstances, even when using an open-source player.
  4. 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
  5. A short documentary of my recent adventures in the world of MQA: http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/community/threads/mqa-master-quality-authenticated-better-sound-or-drm.4520/
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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/
  9. Merry Christmas

  10. 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/
  11. 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.
  12. 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/