Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

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Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu May 10, 2018 9:59 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2018/0510.shtml

Are you an audiophool?

Do you lust after the "rich, warm, velvet-smooth" sound that only analog equipment from the 1980s and before can deliver?

Do you enjoy every pop, every click, every scratch, every decibel of rumble and every hint of wow-and-flutter that only old-fashioned turntables and tape-decks can deliver?

Boy, have some companies got a deal for you! (note: cryogenic speaker cables also recommended).

But seriously, would you go back to analog gear?

What is your current audio entertainment setup?
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby GSVNoFixedAbode » Thu May 10, 2018 10:16 am

It seems obvious that anything with a mechanical contact will suffer from reception and degradation: vibrating needle scraped against undulating surface, or plastic film dragged across surface of metal head. The latter a little better as it's the embedded magnetic state being read rather than physical displacement.

By comparison, light bouncing off physical displacement surface, or electronically reading a stored magnetic state both return binary values that are then converted. That conversion process will produce imperfections but it seems obvious such imperfections would be far less than the degradation of repeated physical contact.

I'm with you - go digital, and then use a valve amp to bring back the warmth (and sub-harmonics?).
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby latewings » Thu May 10, 2018 11:33 am

I wonder if anyone has worked out the equivalent sample rate of a 12" disk at 33rpm and compared the waveform to the waveform of 192mbs of a digital recording of the same piece. (Side by side). Would there be (at standard human hearing perception levels) any difference?

I'd say the only give-away that one was vinyl would be the hiss and scratching in the output.

"Portability" alone dumps records and tapes into the recycling bin. Having several albums worth of music on my phone to listen too while I'm out and about makes it very much a no-brainer to select digital formats. And it's hard to break a digital copy vs having to splice tape back together after it's despooled and stretched around the tensioning spindle.
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby Stevesub » Thu May 10, 2018 11:41 am

All LP's got dumped years ago, cassette tapes are still hanging around but have not seen a player in years, we dumped our NZ CD's last yeqr an will be getting rid of our OZ CD's soon. We do not have a LP, cassette or CD player any longer that still works. Even the CD drive on my laptop is now a hard drive. We either stream our music or play MP3's both of which sound better than the LP's and tapes ever did.
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby hagfish » Thu May 10, 2018 11:59 am

We have a nice-ish stereo system that we barely use, because music and podcasts streamed from our phones to a little Bluetooth speaker is 'good enough'. I've been looking for a USB-powered Bluetooth 'head unit' that we can plug into our amp via RCA, but can't find anything. I suppose if we can't be bothered plugging in a 3.5mm headphone jack, the little UE BOOM speaker is all we deserve.
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby phill » Thu May 10, 2018 12:53 pm

1980s onkyo components into a pair of tannoy jupiter s speakers
sounded pretty good when i bought them second hand in the 90s and sound pretty good now

the bedroom is jvc exa10 mini system with birch wood speakers ( the cones not the cabinets ) .. the wood speakers do seem to make classical music sound richer .. but i mostly listen to old rock and ballads
so not that noticeable .. its quirky enough for me to enjoy .. and all music sounds full and clear .. https://www.engadget.com/2006/05/02/jvc ... -speakers/ ..... bought to replace the jvc mini disk system that was stolen in nz that replaced the yamaha ycd system that was stolen in aussie
all are great to wake up to ... all have built in alarms .. i really hated those bedside alarm clock radios
and i can play cd's dvds through the bedroom tv
i forgot the point
all my stuff is digital and sounds great to me
slightly better quality makes the difference .. a or d doesn't seem to matter much
my ears are not good enough to discern the difference
i had a mate that happily paid $600 for dynavector ( sp ) ruby cantilevered needles played through $12,000 worth of pure analogue pickups and amps ( in the 80s )
all i could hear was the hiss and pop of his $$ direct cut records
Last edited by phill on Thu May 10, 2018 5:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby paulw » Thu May 10, 2018 4:55 pm

I was really glad when audio CDs arrived. As you say no more clicks and pops and they weren't made with warn out masters left over from Australian pressings and they were true stereo not the NZ stereo / mono compatible. I still have a recent Sony turntable and the old 1960s and early 1970s records sound good along with the US and UK imports. Can't say the same for the mono / stereo compatible NZ made ones. They sound terrible, grove distortion from over pressing etc.
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby Muscular Jam » Thu May 10, 2018 7:35 pm

I grew up in a very bouncy wellington house where people walking around would cause records to jump.
my large collection of vinyl LPs got taken to the dump during a move between cities when I realised I never listened to them anymore, only my growing collection of CDs.
My large collection of CDs has been ripped to ogg and reside inside my phone. When I get in my car my phone recognises my car stereo and automatically starts playing whatever playlist I have selected. I may dig the CDs out and re-rip them to flac, but I haven't gotten around to it yet and the last computer I built for myself I didn't bother putting in an optical drive.
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby JonL » Thu May 10, 2018 8:55 pm

It's all digital for me - my hearing's been f**ked for years, so large bluetooth speakers hooked to the 20,000 tracks on the computer suffices in the house or office - or the USB stick in the car with 2000 tracks on, or.....the phone with bluetooth headphones if out if required.
What are these old record things.....
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Re: Audiophools on the loose again (10 May, 2018)

Postby GadgetFreak » Fri May 11, 2018 10:52 am

Guess I'm in the minority here - I'm an "audiophool".
Just like there's people out the that love classic cars, movies and boats (why would anyone pour money into a hole in the water?? /s).

In a way, I completely agree with you, Bruce - why would you pay for anything with higher/different/better resolution than you can hear?
As you say, you are happy to listen to a "collection of crappy old 192K MP3 files on a small media player, smartphone or PC ". Obviously you don't see the point and/or can't hear the difference those and higher resolution / other styles of formats - and more power to you.
For myself, 192K MP3's are fine for background music - but even in the car, the difference between these and higher resolution MP3's (most of my collection is ripped to MP3 at 320K for mobile use, FLAC for "proper" listening) is significantly - and occasionally, almost painfully, obvious.

Again, happy that you have found your sweet spot: but I'm wondering why you're not casting aspertions at other hobbies also?

For example, you might be perfectly happy with a 32" TV with a colour temperature of 6500K and motion blur.
Others might prefer a carefully calibrated projector throwing a 120" picture onto a De-Lite screen....so are they "phools" as well?

I also agree that there is "bang for your buck" between analog(ue) and digital nowadays: it's a lot easier to get excellent sound at a given price-point (up to more than probably > 95% of people would be prepared to pay and/or invest time in) with a digital rig, vs an analog one - and in the case of digital, exactly as you say, most people already have key components: a smartphone and/or PC, and access to an online streaming service a/la Spotify.
Add a cheapish amp and speakers and you're making noise!

...This does not however, detract from those that are prepared to put the time, effort and/or $ into an analogue rig - and with that caveat (ie that it does require a lot more of at least 2 of those 3 variables), I would venture you'd be astounded at the results "a bunch of self-deluded people" can acheive.

Re your R-T-R comments: I've only heard a couple of R-T-R decks in my life, and never in systems I knew well enough to make a value judgement.
I'm surprised you feel you know audio reproduction well enough to make one though?

After all, applying the same standards as you have to "audiophools", one would have to question why anyone would spend thousands of hours and $'s refurbishing a 50 year old muscle car: its a gas guzzler, rides terribly compared to a modern (say) Commodore or Falcon, has less power than a modern fuel-injected V6 and is much more dangerous on the road - no anti-lock brakes, poor suspension and in many cases, not even power steering. Why shouldn't an "enthusiast" just go buy a decent 2nd-hand modern-ish vehicle and spend their time and $ on washing and waxing their new acquisition? (the vehicular equivalent of a nice screen cover or new case for your "media player, smartphone or PC")

People have differnet perceptions and value systems, Bruce. In exactly the same way there's nothing like the sound or feel of big, 1960's Detroit iron, there's nothing like dropping the needle on a well-recorded album in a carefully built and tuned analog audio system.
Summary: You appear to be be comparing what was available to you in your youth - say, an Anglia - extrapolating its (poor) performance to a Mustang of the same era, and then criticising "phools" for not buying a modern Toyota. I can see your logic - but can't agree that it is correct.
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