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Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

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Source comparison - listening test: analogue outputs from different CD players

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  • Source comparison - listening test: analogue outputs from different CD players

    The music (recording) industry and the audio equipment industry share many characteristics. Both are driven by the for-profit motive, both appeal to emotions over logic, both are economically and technically stagnant. Both are masters at self-promotion and creating demand for mediocrity dressed up as revolution. Both are vicious, ruthless businesses.

    The audiophile (a person willing to spend heavily on exotic audio equipment) is chasing a sonic dream, one which the cost-conscious recording industry does not recognise and does not provide. The illusion of limitless improvements in fidelity is a fantasy created by the marketing machine of the audio equipment industry not the record industry. This thread hopefully pulls-together the many words written here over the years cautioning consumers about getting caught-up in the pitiful mental torture of audiophilia.

  • #2
    Recording rare LPs onto the computer

    The audiophile (a person willing to spend heavily on exotic audio equipment) is chasing a sonic dream, one which the cost-conscious recording industry does not recognise and does not provide. The illusion of limitless improvements in fidelity is a fantasy created by the marketing machine of the audio equipment industry not the record industry. This thread hopefully pulls-together the many words written here over the years cautioning consumers about getting caught-up in the pitiful mental torture of audiophilia.
    Hear hear.

    Don't believe everything you read on the internet without question, (obviously the Harbeth User Group (ignoring the sandbox) is an exception).

    Playing with a new W7 PC, I began to record some of my LP's I've been unable to find on CD onto the computer using Audacity, a free recording program. Whilst doing this, I thought of this, could I record from the analogue outputs of my CD player - an Arcam CD36, an old DVD I've had for years, a Squeezebox Touch and Duet, and how would the recording compare to the original track?

    Well, I did this and the results were surprising...

    Here is the first set:

    Fifty Ways A

    Fifty Ways B

    Fifty Ways C

    Fifty Ways D


    Second set:

    Kid A

    Kid B

    Kid C

    Kid D

    Enjoy! And just list the tracks in the order you think sounds best.

    PLEASE REFER TO POST 15

    Comment


    • #3
      Listening feedback

      Originally posted by Stephen PG
      Enjoy! And just list the tracks in the order you think sounds best.
      They all sounded the same to me and nothing too obvious over my laptop. But I think the vocals in A and D seemed to be the best. If I have to make a choice then it will be D, A, C and B. Having problem downloading the Kid tracks.

      ST

      Comment


      • #4
        Sound the same?

        They all sound the same to me too and even clicking across the beginning if each 4 tracks quickly I can't tell.
        Simpli-Fi: Kuzma>Nighthawk>LebenCS300XS>P3ESR

        Comment


        • #5
          Golden ears need eyes wide open

          thurston,

          As Alan said...

          The illusion of limitless improvements in fidelity is a fantasy created by the marketing machine of the audio equipment industry not the record industry.
          It's quite simple.

          So far, no one has been able to tell the difference between a CD player, costing over a thousand pounds (), a 10+ year old dvd player and a couple of squeezeboxes (A Touch & Duet - 200 each-ish...).

          Interestingly, the hard core subjectivists have ignored the challenge completely at the other places I've posted this. I guess the golden ears really do only work when the eyes are there...

          Comment


          • #6
            The blind leading the gullible .....

            Originally posted by Stephen PG View Post
            ,

            So far, no one has been able to tell the difference between a CD player, costing over a thousand pounds (), a 10+ year old dvd player and a couple of squeezeboxes (A Touch & Duet - 200 each-ish...).

            Interestingly, the hard core subjectivists have ignored the challenge completely at the other places I've posted this. I guess the golden ears really do only work when the eyes are there...
            Ouch... I guessed wrongly! Maybe, I should have kept quiet so that I would be still known as an audiophile, a person with the golden ears. Will try downloading the Kid again and play them over my audiophile equipments.

            Once, someone said that his sound improved so much after putting a Schumann resonator in his room. I asked him whether he could tell the difference under DBT. He said " I don't need to test myself. I know of the improvement and I need not prove them". I don't think he is an exception.

            ST

            Comment


            • #7
              Clarification

              Originally posted by Stephen PG View Post
              .

              So far, no one has been able to tell the difference between a CD player, costing over a thousand pounds (), a 10+ year old dvd player and a couple of squeezeboxes (A Touch & Duet - 200 each-ish...).
              ...
              Stephen, could please tell us if your recording is the original CD played and the digital copy played in different players or you are playing the digital version of the LP copy? Thanks

              ST

              Comment


              • #8
                Let them believe if they want to ....

                Originally posted by STHLS5
                Once, someone said that his sound improved so much after putting a Schumann resonator in his room. I asked him whether he could tell the difference under DBT. He said " I don't need to test myself. I know of the improvement and I need not prove them". I don't think he is an exception.

                ST
                I have come to the conclusion that if this floats someone's boat, one should leave that person be. Life is too short...

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is all very well, but who has a FLAC player? I don't on this PC. As we have said before, it's esseential that A-B comparisons are INSTANTANEOUS. And than means no faffing about; with as short a gap between the pieces as possible.

                  Can I suggest that you recreate these as 320kb MP3s?

                  DONE - see post #15
                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sorry, I'd have replied sooner but I didn't notice this thread had been duplicated in another place.

                    As the person who slaved over a hot A to D converter for many hours to create these files, I can confirm they are all from CD's... and are taken directly from the analogue outputs of the various machines. Also level matched, to make it fair!

                    {MP3 cuts embedded in normal Harbeth HTML5 format calling supplied MP3 files (not in any way re-encoded)}.

                    Loading the player ...
                    Clip A

                    Loading the player ...
                    Clip B

                    Loading the player ...
                    Clip C

                    Loading the player ...
                    Clip D


                    Loading the player ...

                    Fifty Ways A - Clip E

                    Loading the player ...

                    Fifty Ways B - Clip F

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Stephen PG View Post
                      Interestingly, the hard core subjectivists have ignored the challenge completely at the other places I've posted this. I guess the golden ears really do only work when the eyes are there...
                      It may well be that the hard cores at the other places have listened to them and also could not tell the difference and did not want to be embarrassed...
                      Having said this - how do we know that you might be pulling our legs and when revealed, all four are in fact from the same source? ;)

                      Personally I am not technical (more like not capable) and do not wish to get too deep in trying to understand the jitter, high resolution and all.
                      High resolution in particular is over-rated but also under supplied. A well recorded red-book CD remains just as enjoyable for me.

                      Over the recent xmas break, I was restricted to a tiny setup playing from an iTouch for 2 weeks and immensely enjoyed every minute.

                      Those tiny Realistic Minimus 7s are quite something for their size, age and price.
                      Simpli-Fi: Kuzma>Nighthawk>LebenCS300XS>P3ESR

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As the person who slaved over a hot A to D converter for many hours to create these files, I can confirm they are all from CD's... and are taken directly from the analogue outputs of the various machines. Also level matched, to make it fair!


                        b4sound,

                        You have my word as a gentleman and Harbeth owner, each track is from the output of either an Arcam CD player, an old dvd player, a touch or a Duet with no pre-amp in between.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stephen PG View Post

                          As the person who slaved over a hot A to D converter for many hours to create these files, I can confirm they are all from CD's... and are taken directly from the analogue outputs of the various machines. Also level matched, to make it fair!
                          Would you mind explaining the A to D part? Is it possible that the converter may impart a very similar signature during the conversion?
                          Simpli-Fi: Kuzma>Nighthawk>LebenCS300XS>P3ESR

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by b4sound View Post
                            ... Is it possible that the converter may impart a very similar signature during the conversion?
                            This assumes that DAC converters do have a signature. I'm not so sure about that. Why would they? Where would this 'personality' component actually reside in the DAC? Another great marketing myth?

                            And (although I am prejudging the outcome as I have only given the briefest listen on these PC speakers) if the CD players have different DAC technologies (as you would expect at different price points and even from different eras) if initial comments are of little or no sonic difference doesn't that suggest that the DAC is a rather (or utterly) insignificant part of the audio chain (which is my opinion)?
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              b4sound,

                              I can give you links (via PM) to some clips of lp's I've recorded, (ones I can't find on CD, I used to work in a specialist classical record shop and have many very old, very rare records!) to see if you think the PCs A to D converter made them sound the same?

                              Duet and Touch, wireless streamers.

                              Comment

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