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1
MPC --standard or --extreme (180~210k) may be good choice. Its very fast and could be better quality than AAC /MP3 256~320k.  Mp3 has some technical limitations and AAC /OGG / opus have not had extensive testing or tuning at high bitrates.

[…]

Everything I said is spot on and references can be found in the forums historical posts. […]

AAC, vorbis , opus have better technical specs than mp3/mpc  but require tuning so that quality scales well at higher bitrate. (See AAC  - emese sample & vorbis HF noise, GT3, AOTUV). Vorbis has had 3rd party work with some success (though AO isn't very keen on high bitrate tuning) , Opus is still new and AAC has many implementations . 

I'm a bit surprised—and disappointed— to read this on HA.org nowadays. It was perfectly accepted in the first years of HA.org. But I far as I know, Musepack didn't improve quality since ~2003 when Frank Klemm worked on the encoder. On the meantime there were a continuous activity on LAME MP3, AAC (Apple) and Vorbis.

You mentioned HA archives. I remind to everyone my most difficult listening test I made at ~180 kbps on non-critical samples in 2005:

source
Musepack was clearly behind Vorbis at similar bitrate. It was twelve years ago, Musepack didn't improve while the other did (and in the meantime Opus appeared).

I also remind the existence of a serious flaw that affected (and still affects?) MPC and MPC only while encoding very quite samples which are either replaygained or played at high volume. The demonstration is now gone but the discussion is still —there—.

Was it corrected since? It doesn't seem so according to the descriptions I can read at musepack.net.

While MPC is still perfectly usable nowadays the format has lost to my ears all its magic more than ten years ago. It shines on some specific samples (pure pre-echo stuff) but on regular music I found it less impressive than Vorbis during careful and really hard listening comparison (which I probably can't perform again these days). I wouldn't use it at first place and rather go for AAC (Apple), Vorbis and maybe Opus.

I also insist: the listening test I mention is partially obsolete and is also based on my own sensitivity. AAC improved a lot in the meantime. But MPC didn't. It's a dead star... you can still see the light coming from but it's gone. Its excellent reputation come from days that don't exist either. There are better formats today.
2
as far as I recall the Randi/Fremer challenge was between speaker cables and not interconnects. The link to Stereophile is for interconnects.
I just looked up Fremer's latest review, and his speaker cables are also listed as Tara Labs: TARA Labs Omega EvolutionSP. So, I assume those were the ones he would pit against the Monster cables. Whether these speaker cables have a "magic box" I can't say.
My faulty recollection was ICs, but it appears it was these Tara speaker cables with 1"+ round removable "slugs" at end

Once again, the burden would not be on Randi to do on site measurements on that "cable" nonsense to check for sleigh of hand
3
I only read through page 5 of this discussion here, so my apologies if I'm repeating anything, but as far as I recall the Randi/Fremer challenge was between speaker cables and not interconnects. The link to Stereophile is for interconnects.
I just looked up Fremer's latest review, and his speaker cables are also listed as Tara Labs: TARA Labs Omega EvolutionSP. So, I assume those were the ones he would pit against the Monster cables. Whether these speaker cables have a "magic box" I can't say.
I do believe that some speaker cables, whether they have an extra box or not, perform a sort of EQ on the signal, and I believe The Audio Critic already showed this by measurements in the early 90s (he showed measurements of a speaker cable that had a spike in the treble). There's also a thread here on HA of someone succesfully ABX'ing two different speaker cables, and measurements also showed different frequency responses for them.
4
Last.fm have updated their website to use https therefore the scripts need to be updated. Edit your text.js/thumbs.js files and replace http with https.

text.js
Code: [Select]
var url = "https://" + this.bio_lastfm_sites[this.bio_lastfm_site] + "/music/" + encodeURIComponent(this.artist) + "/+wiki";

thumbs.js
Code: [Select]
this.xmlhttp.open("GET", "https://www.last.fm/music/" + encodeURIComponent(this.artist) + "/+images", true);

latest version here. there are no such lines in these files. can't get biography to work anymore, due to „Last.fm Bio: HTTP error: 0”. any help?

reminder
edit with solution for idiots like me:

these files are located at *user_name*\AppData\Roaming\foobar2000\js_marc2003\js if installed version is standalone (not portable)
5
Vinyl / Re: >20kHz content found in vinyl?
Last post by board -
I am not the keeper of that page. I have made edits and will likely continue to make edits where I feel I can make a difference. People are more than welcome to review my edits.

I have locked it down in the past and make no apologies about it. The HA wiki should be a reflection of this community and its guiding philosophy. It is not a platform for unsubstantiated nonsense by audiophiles with no history of participating in forum discussions.

That basically sums up my beef with the content of the wiki at present stage: It seems to me to say explicitly that any content above 20 kHz on vinyl records is "musical content", not just noise or distortion, and that vinyl records commonly contain this "supersonic audio content", but I don't see any references to any kind of proof.
And that's what I was basically trying to get at, but which Greynol said straight out: Are the claims in the wiki of vinyl records commonly containing audio information above 20 kHz put in there by an audiophile with an axe to grind, but who has no proper evidence to back it up?
The way the wiki looks now, to me it looks like these claims were simply put in there by an audiophile, but if anybody can back it up, then we should of course allow it. I've seen some of the edits that have been made to that wiki in the past and some were definitely needed, as there were silly comments like "I can't listen to this digital crap, but I can listen to a record anytime!", ha ha ha :-D!

Anyway, that's my beef: Is the content in the wiki correct or just audiophile propaganda that can't be backed up?
That questions must also be asked of "a record can be played 1000 times without distorting". I included that part in my quote as I didn't see any references for this either, nor could I find any by a quick Google search.

As for "can vinyl records contain supersonic content", I find that discussion pointless, because as Pelmazo points out, the CD4 quadrophonic system (which is also mentioned in the wiki) needed supersonic content to work properly, but according to Arny this system never made it out of the prototype phase if I remember correctly. In any case, I believe it has been proven at some point (I don't have a reference at hand) that vinyl can contain supersonic frequencies, so therefore the debate is pointless. But what is more relevant is how much supersonic musical content does it contain? The wiki says it's of "significant amplitude".
This is just an opinion, but I believe that the records that actually do contain supersonic musical content would contain something like 1-5 % supersonic content at very best. Also, I believe that maybe 90 % of vinyl records contain no supersonic content at all, as they have been cut with a low-pass filter that gradually cuts off high frequencies. Where this cutting starts varies from album to album, but it's my impression that usually it starts around 15-18 kHz and cuts off completely at 20 kHz at the very latest.

So, where I do think I agree with bennetng is that we need some proper proof in the way of a master, whether digital or analogue, that has been shown to contain supersonic frequencies and then it has been cut to vinyl, and the vinyl record contained these supersonic frequencies, and it didn't show up as distortion. As simple as that.
Without this proof, I don't see why the claims of "musical content up to 23-24 kHz is common on vinyl records" should be in the wiki.
6
Hmm maybe it's not clear what it was about if you don't read the other posts from the guy at the link. He's not just saying digital is better. He's adamant that CD and DDD is the only way to truly enjoy the bass. He even makes a distinction between "uncompressed flac form" and "supposedly "lossless", but still compressed" flac.

I just thought it was amusing how he seems to be so fanatical about CDs (not just digital) as other audiophiles are about analog.
7
I know, I know. First rule of Youtube comments is, you do not read Youtube comments. But I found this guy's comments amusing cause it's like the opposite of the usual audiophool screed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqpIdnL_dz4&lc=z134cd0iwyzjwxt1422gyduzrvytt54fi

Quote
Because "DDD" was a CD thing, so if you can't find this track on CD in DDD form, then you're gonna be missing something in comparison to what it potentially could be if recorded that way... DDD means (when referring to a CD, not a pair of breasts or a bra, LOL!), that a track was originally recorded in, mixed in, and mastered in full frequency response, (I mean from 1 or 2 Hz to 20Khz without distortion, especially in the bass), and totally UNcompressed, digital form, (instead of analog), therefore capturing the utmost clarity and impact, especially in the bass!... That's why most of the really good, true BASS CD's of the 90's were in DDD form... Look for and listen to and/or get some of the artists and albums available from either Neurodisc Records or DM Records, especially!... Just remember, in order to experience the FULL clarity, dynamic range, frequency response, and raw IMPACT of any of those bass albums, you absolutely MUST get them on a CD, AND play them through a really good set of speakers and subs, powered by some very powerful and clean amplifiers, rather than just listening to them online or from any "downloadable file", because those two last formats are almost ALWAYS compressed to some degree or another, and some are much worse than others, which usually ends up completely obliterating the (truly LOW) bass below 20Hz, and/or adding a shit-ton of distortion to it, making the sound "rough" and "farty", which is the last thing that you want your bass to be! LOL!
[Bolding mine]

As usual, it all depends.  It is true that no effective technology is truly fool proof. If it can do good, that generally grants it the power to do bad. 

In a purely digital system there is by default no distortion, no variations in frequency response, no phase shift, and no added noise. All of that gets added outside of  the digital domain, or if it is added in the digital domain, it is 100% intentional.

Given that one of the comparable analog systems is the vinyl LP, avoiding that "A" is generally a good idea because it inherently  has  audible amounts of everything bad - noise, nonlinear distortion, frequency response variations, phase shift, jitter, timing problems,  IM, channel leakage, you name it, it has it and in audible amounts.

Analog tape is somewhat better, but just one generation of analog tape record playback using the best media and machines is still detectible in an ABX test. Try making a typical commercial recording using just one generation of analog tape! There will be several, and all that badness adds up.

People talk about digital converters, but in many cases, that is rumor and ignorance speaking. In 1973 Ampex developed a digital delay line for use in disc cutting, and the cleanest, most demanding audio we could loop through it (including the infamous analog-killing keys jangling test) was sonically transparent. In. Out. No audible change. I'm not saying that everybody did as well or better, but I am saying that 10 years before the CD, commercial quantities of sonically perfect digital converters were on the market as regular professional audio products.  Not small, not light, not cool, not cheap, but they were there for you if you could write the check, and many did.

So while eliminating A's was not an absolute guarantee of sonic perfection, it did eliminate a lot of sources of sonic badness.

One other source of sonic badness that digital eliminated in the early days  was the then usual messing around with spectral balance and dynamics that were already in common use for analog processing. (they were needed to fit music into the limitations of vinyl and FM) 

The common analog processing steps for music mangling either had not been recreated in the digital domain, or the digital versions  were rare and expensive. For example the fact that the early Telarc recordings used minimal micing and were free of processing was that such things in digital were either unobtainable, rare like hen's teeth, or cost a ton of money.

There are always artistic means for producing great recordings with very simple technology. They just cost time, talent and therefore money.
9
A quick search on {balance} turns up this, maybe of use to you.
http://skipyrich.com/wiki/Foobar2000:Surround_Pan
10
As per the subject, I've looked but playlist brings up a million posts and // brings up none...

I just wand the old fashioned " - " without the quotes.

Any help appreciated..

Paul.