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Topic: ABX: Volume, phono preamps, cart adjust., CD rec., DR compression, hi-rez, etc. (Read 1346 times) previous topic - next topic

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ABX: Volume, phono preamps, cart adjust., CD rec., DR compression, hi-rez, etc.
I've passed and failed a bunch of ABX tests that I thought I would share with you. If any of you would like me to send you the files I used, feel free to ask.
These tests include:
* Volume level difference (0.2 dB)
* four phono preamps
* Various adjustments of my cartridge on my turntable (overhang, tracking force, slightly crooked vs. straight positioning of my cartridge)
* A 12" single from two different countries (UK and Scandinavia)
* a CD rip vs. a recording from the analogue output on my CD player into the soundcard on my computer. I don't recall what my soundcard is, but it's probably from 2005, and back then it cost around $40-$50 I think.
* Dynamic Range compression
* Hi-res vs. CD quality
* Mp3 128 kbps vs. 320 kpbs
* Mp3 320 kbps vs. uncompressed wave


First, the one I'm the most proud of:
A volume level difference of 0.2 dB. I first tried with different headphones. Later, with my new Sennheiser HD 650 I got this result. I copied the track and lowered the volume in Wavelab):

Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2017-03-07 18:50:58

File A: 05 The Big Time - 2 volumen sænket med 0.2 dB.wav
SHA1: 8aa8e1756409c06a2ae03ff7bdaa1549b47b0f02
File B: 05 The Big Time - 2.wav
SHA1: e0ab4d34d7a4eb3949002c8fbec3f0a70b5e73bd

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

18:50:58 : Test started.
18:53:56 : 01/01
18:54:49 : 02/02
18:56:17 : 03/03
18:57:29 : 04/04
18:58:45 : 05/05
18:59:44 : 06/06
19:01:02 : 07/07
19:02:29 : 08/08
19:05:18 : 08/09
19:30:36 : 09/10
23:42:59 : 10/11
23:44:19 : 11/12
23:46:27 : 12/13
23:47:57 : 13/14
23:49:58 : 14/15
23:52:10 : 15/16
23:52:10 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 15/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --
532d0fe475741c73f1c085c81a4dbee3fad80e70

The first test with other headphones was 11/16 correct (I spent less time then).


Then something else that some of you might like:
Four phono preamps. I simply made recordings of the same records, adjusted them and matched volume levels in Wavelab, and then compared. Unless otherwise noted, all recordings were done from the analogue outputs to the line-in on my soundcard.

First a Parasound Zphono vs. a Cambridge CP1:

Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2016-07-03 09:39:16

File A: Fleetwood Mac Cambridge BØJET pickup - oprindelig justering.wav
SHA1: b0c9656b8820fe8ea94af52706316e627e6e2966
File B: Fleetwood Mac Parasound JUSTERET PICKUP.wav
SHA1: b79c8cdf744c1b6f6554af5d57559469f943195d

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

09:39:16 : Test started.
09:43:21 : 01/01
09:43:51 : 02/02
09:44:33 : 03/03
09:45:09 : 04/04
09:45:56 : 05/05
09:46:35 : 06/06
09:47:14 : 07/07
09:47:51 : 08/08
09:48:17 : 09/09
09:49:44 : 10/10
09:50:21 : 11/11
09:50:40 : 12/12
09:51:13 : 13/13
09:51:54 : 14/14
09:52:29 : 15/15
09:52:40 : 16/16
09:52:40 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 16/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --
96dd782fe77de0830762d5e78d9a11dda41eb60e

Then the Parasound vs. a Lejonklou Gaio:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-10-06 13:17:47

File A: side 1 UDDRAG.wav
SHA1: 9ccf3ce0d2a31dbb34a2aed114702eb5288d34db
File B: Burzum - Det som DÅRLIG side 1 UDDRAG.wav
SHA1: 4d8c084287e6b3f31d1a5af67e5e9662c701142f

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

13:17:47 : Test started.
13:18:34 : 01/01
13:18:51 : 02/02
13:19:07 : 03/03
13:19:35 : 04/04
13:19:45 : 05/05
13:19:57 : 06/06
13:20:09 : 07/07
13:20:16 : 08/08
13:20:26 : 09/09
13:20:37 : 10/10
13:20:55 : 11/11
13:21:05 : 12/12
13:21:14 : 13/13
13:21:37 : 14/14
13:21:50 : 15/15
13:22:29 : 16/16
13:23:09 : 17/17
13:23:50 : 18/18
13:24:03 : 19/19
13:24:14 : 20/20
13:24:14 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 20/20
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --
f6ffb9de2b47498c7381a271ff9db90bf942d90a

And then the Parasound (analogue outputs) vs. a NAD PP4 recorded with the built-in converter via USB (this was the only phono preamp with a converter built in):
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2016-10-13 20:35:19

File A: R.E.M. - Out of time - side 1 - EQ (shelf +1 dB ved 5 kHz) - 2.wav
SHA1: 23a0440def43f1c62fb030409bcfa5e9e492efb4
File B: REM - 2 EQ 1 (+1 dB ved 5 kHz) - volumen justeret til NAD + timestretch.wav
SHA1: 929dafa69f5e2bb784f1b799c67c41dc48400032

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: YES

20:35:19 : Test started.
20:35:52 : 01/01
20:36:16 : 02/02
20:36:40 : 03/03
20:36:54 : 04/04
20:37:43 : 05/05
20:37:51 : 06/06
20:38:02 : 07/07
20:38:33 : 08/08
20:38:39 : 09/09
20:39:33 : 10/10
20:40:14 : 11/11
20:40:24 : 12/12
20:40:39 : 13/13
20:40:48 : 14/14
20:41:01 : 15/15
20:41:41 : 16/16
20:41:41 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 16/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --
c27b3a46c39734c28b7441eb6d0ebb8ab4024166


Then the same two preamps, but both recorded from their analogue outputs:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2017-04-12 22:22:00

File A: Marilyn Manson med NAD (på stationær) optaget med kabel EQ 2 (shelf, +2 dB ved 5 kHz) - 44-16 - 2.wav
SHA1: be489a5c82356a9f8bf21f6f478a22e3a9f7d944
File B: Marilyn Manson med Parasound (på stationær) EQ 2 (shelf, +2 dB ved 5 kHz) - 2.wav
SHA1: 209126316b210f55ffa9142d02f78c6e28850163

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: YES

22:22:00 : Test started.
22:24:04 : 01/01
22:24:27 : 02/02
22:24:40 : 03/03
22:24:47 : 04/04
22:24:58 : 05/05
22:25:12 : 06/06
22:25:39 : 07/07
22:25:55 : 08/08
22:26:01 : 09/09
22:26:11 : 10/10
22:26:41 : 11/11
22:26:55 : 12/12
22:27:08 : 13/13
22:27:23 : 14/14
22:27:32 : 15/15
22:27:50 : 16/16
22:27:50 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 16/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --
3ce554d0f10765a21ac8c19c93aa8a246421a62b


Lastly, the NAD (USB) vs. the Cambridge:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2017-04-16 12:58:28

File A: Beatles Sgt. Pepper NY CAMBRIDGE JUSTERET PICKUP - Titelnummer.wav
SHA1: 05f44088f182bd182bd0fe0ca2e6369e0c1cf3b3
File B: Beatles - Sgt. Peppers - TITELNUMMER.wav
SHA1: 5832ac7467a8765572df760f156116dd558898c9

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

12:58:28 : Test started.
13:00:01 : 01/01
13:03:56 : 02/02
13:04:11 : 02/03
13:04:29 : 03/04
13:04:39 : 04/05
13:04:48 : 05/06
13:05:25 : 05/07
13:05:42 : 06/08
13:05:53 : 06/09
13:06:19 : 07/10
13:07:26 : 08/11
13:07:35 : 09/12
13:08:13 : 10/13
13:09:11 : 11/14
13:09:57 : 12/15
13:10:58 : 13/16
13:10:58 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 13/16
Probability that you were guessing: 1.1%

-- signature --
0214dcadd6acef8e8b803e16b08149fc72cbf29a

The NAD and the Cambridge were the most similar of the four, as the result also shows. I found the Cambridge one to sound slightly more strained than the NAD one, but I would say the difference was tiny, bordering on negligible.

Some people say all amps sound the same, so this goes to show that they don't.
Why do they sound different? I can't say, but Stereophile published measurements of the NAD, and it was quite an accurate preamp for such a low price. My guess would be that the frequency response of the Parasound is a tad subdued in the treble and has a light spike in the midrange (and perhaps also the bass), and that the Cambridge compared to the Parasound has a light spike in the treble. I'm almost certain that the Lejonklou has around a +2 dB spike around 5 kHz (I've experimented a lot with EQ), which gives it a "highly resolving" sound, but that it also has a cut in the bass.
I've never measured anything, so it's unlikely that I would be able to measure these units.


Now: overhang of my cartridge. I actually didn't expect to hear a difference, so this result surprised me. But I suppose I'm a better listener than I thought :-).
I use a Rega turntable, and one recording is overhang as adjusted from the factory with three bolts, and the other is with the front bolt removed and the cart moved forward and adjusted with a Bearwald protractor (the difference in sound was a slightly brighter and "cleaner" sound with the cart moved forward):
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2016-09-14 21:08:19

File A: Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Step - Riviera Paradise.wav
SHA1: 7b4c524c12fa6a1fbf908c49c27293afafa15d8e
File B: Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Step JUSTERET PICKUP.wav
SHA1: e2f04fdfa1a7c6e18d78c1716162aeae7f0389b3

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

21:08:19 : Test started.
21:12:28 : 01/01
21:12:42 : 02/02
21:13:05 : 03/03
21:13:24 : 04/04
21:14:20 : 04/05
21:14:36 : 05/06
21:14:59 : 06/07
21:17:18 : 07/08
21:17:49 : 08/09
21:18:55 : 09/10
21:20:18 : 10/11
21:20:45 : 11/12
21:21:50 : 12/13
21:22:21 : 13/14
21:22:42 : 14/15
21:23:17 : 15/16
21:23:17 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 15/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --
0358f776ff1c46feb6f6777c9826a01fab1f0cba


Then I found out that I had mounted my cart just a tad crooked, so I put it straight and did an ABX of before and after. The difference was extremely difficult to hear, and it might be the most difficult ABX test that I've passed:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2017-01-17 20:56:57

File A: Stories - Hey France - NY justeret pickup EQ 2 (shelf +2 db ved 5 kHz).wav
SHA1: 4a4beeaaf872a9cac73f828fe260ecca4d5ce43d
File B: Stories - Hey France EQ 2 (shelf +2 db ved 5 kHz).wav
SHA1: 3ba300d48deb3afead83265ea9e3acc97ba35c69

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: YES

20:56:57 : Test started.
20:58:44 : 01/01
20:58:57 : 02/02
20:59:10 : 03/03
21:01:10 : 04/04
21:01:54 : 05/05
21:03:04 : 05/06
21:03:44 : 05/07
21:06:03 : 06/08
21:06:15 : 07/09
21:06:23 : 07/10
21:06:37 : 08/11
21:07:15 : 09/12
21:08:11 : 10/13
21:08:18 : 10/14
21:10:01 : 11/15
21:10:52 : 12/16
21:10:52 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 12/16
Probability that you were guessing: 3.8%

-- signature --
4d725d3f650991199753a79569589d1c2db0ffe2

I also tried lowering the tracking force from 1.75 grams to 1.45 grams, which wasn't easy to tell apart either. I recall the effect to be a slightly brighter sound with lower tracking force. As my result was not amazing, it's something I'm considering trying again and spending more time on it, although I find it to be OCD territory:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2016-09-15 21:17:26

File A: Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Step JUSTERET PICKUP + Justeret modvægt til 1,75 gram.wav
SHA1: f44cdca1ebcb49422242355b6127477c72f5eec1
File B: Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Step JUSTERET PICKUP.wav
SHA1: e2f04fdfa1a7c6e18d78c1716162aeae7f0389b3

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

21:17:26 : Test started.
21:19:48 : 01/01
21:20:11 : 01/02
21:21:04 : 02/03
21:21:45 : 03/04
21:22:23 : 04/05
21:22:46 : 05/06
21:23:20 : 06/07
21:24:02 : 07/08
21:24:42 : 08/09
21:25:10 : 09/10
21:25:18 : 10/11
21:25:28 : 10/12
21:26:02 : 11/13
21:27:27 : 11/14
21:28:48 : 11/15
21:29:59 : 11/16
21:29:59 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 11/16
Probability that you were guessing: 10.5%

-- signature --
15bebde2734c051cda2dc0e20b0d77a9d8f6ecd4


The last vinyl thing is the New Order's 12" single "True faith" in a Scandinavian pressing vs. a UK pressing:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-10-21 16:44:09

File A: New Order - True Faith Scandi.wav
SHA1: b566c061a1ac992b0f6238fe4ede39afdcef5bd4
File B: New Order - True Faith UK.wav
SHA1: d93daaa0333fd5bb79191cb6e843a8991fe1b016

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

16:44:09 : Test started.
16:45:46 : 00/01
16:46:31 : 00/02
16:47:40 : 00/03
16:48:38 : 00/04
16:49:18 : 00/05
16:49:49 : 01/06
16:50:11 : 02/07
16:51:28 : 03/08
16:52:07 : 03/09
16:53:21 : 03/10
16:54:47 : 03/11
16:56:04 : 04/12
16:56:04 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 4/12
Probability that you were guessing: 92.7%

-- signature --
ee3bf42f1a875d9068f5296340e95dc03bf2221c


Then on to digital stuff:

First, here's a song ripped from the CD and then the same song that I recorded from the analogue outputs of my CD player into my soundcard and then adjusted them in Wavelab. I used a very long, cheap standard cable (either 5 or 10 meters), and I believe the cable had an inaccurate channel balance. I did this a while ago with my Grado SR-80 headphones. I suppose I could try with my Sennheiser ones, but I highly doubt that would change the result significantly. Here's the result:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-11-14 19:40:46

File A: 05 The Big Time - 2.wav
SHA1: e0ab4d34d7a4eb3949002c8fbec3f0a70b5e73bd
File B: Suede - The big time optaget 2 - 2.wav
SHA1: ac909c5e2143d5755740983c29ff18d09a036dc6

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

19:40:46 : Test started.
19:44:52 : 00/01
19:45:07 : 00/02
19:45:54 : 01/03
19:46:41 : 01/04
19:47:35 : 01/05
19:49:16 : 01/06
19:49:42 : 02/07
19:51:18 : 03/08
19:53:38 : 03/09
19:54:35 : 03/10
19:56:09 : 04/11
19:57:26 : 04/12
19:57:26 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 4/12
Probability that you were guessing: 92.7%

-- signature --
37d277c2a3f36622f70c9c2d06c937d93963c72a

I took a song from the rap album "Mecca and the soul brother" by Pete Rock and CL Smooth and compared the original 1991 CD with the remastered CD, which to my ears sounded identical, except that the remaster was louder. The remaster had around 4 dB dynamic range compression, so I adjusted the volume levels to match and got this result:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-11-14 20:19:17

File A: 10. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).wav
SHA1: 58ef59ef9de5c2b190cb71691482942a98633360
File B: 10. They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).wav
SHA1: b858f9cd59c769a5a1bdc8f1a635c7b09588be8a

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

20:19:17 : Test started.
13:45:34 : 01/01
13:47:15 : 01/02
13:49:23 : 01/03
14:08:39 : 01/04
14:11:05 : 02/05
14:12:23 : 02/06
14:14:27 : 02/07
14:17:22 : 03/08
14:20:25 : 04/09
14:21:42 : 04/10
14:22:47 : 04/11
14:25:04 : 04/12
14:25:04 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 4/12
Probability that you were guessing: 92.7%

-- signature --
331a2f66dd07ba20787ffbc4695138abab6b50b0

What this shows was simply that on this particular album I couldn't hear 4 dB of DR compression. I've seen studies show around the same amount of DR compression being inaudible.

With the same songs I tried pressing random A or B is X and got this result the first time (I then tried 20 times more but never got this "good" a result):
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-11-15 14:37:33

File A: 10. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).wav
SHA1: 58ef59ef9de5c2b190cb71691482942a98633360
File B: 10. They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).wav
SHA1: b858f9cd59c769a5a1bdc8f1a635c7b09588be8a

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

14:37:33 : Test started.
14:37:36 : 01/01
14:37:38 : 02/02
14:37:40 : 03/03
14:37:42 : 03/04
14:37:45 : 04/05
14:37:47 : 05/06
14:37:49 : 06/07
14:37:51 : 07/08
14:37:53 : 07/09
14:37:55 : 08/10
14:37:57 : 09/11
14:37:59 : 09/12
14:37:59 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 9/12
Probability that you were guessing: 7.3%

-- signature --
bd8df76d34db950b00a9fabbf11b18e0c97d6fc6

Then, I tried two hi-rez songs vs. the same material downsampled to CD quality:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2016-11-15 07:54:23

File A: 01_2_mandolins_170812_24bit_96k.wav
SHA1: df24764a68b0ebcbb0f9eeed37c94f18debc7c03
File B: 714redbook.wav
SHA1: ffce3f507494e87c33bf11bbb714b3b72c436d05

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

07:54:23 : Test started.
07:55:59 : 00/01
07:56:22 : 01/02
07:56:54 : 01/03
07:57:01 : 01/04
07:57:42 : 02/05
07:58:34 : 03/06
07:58:50 : 03/07
08:00:40 : 04/08
08:01:18 : 04/09
08:02:01 : 04/10
08:02:55 : 04/11
08:04:05 : 04/12
08:06:30 : 04/13
08:07:14 : 05/14
08:07:44 : 06/15
08:08:26 : 06/16
08:08:26 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 6/16
Probability that you were guessing: 89.5%

-- signature --
a7040b042b2b96a625bf187568bd6939a69a2299
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2017-04-05 20:04:22

File A: 04 My My My.wav
SHA1: a4a57979d737ffd39b50f861f29787dd3b2a806f
File B: 04 My My My.wav
SHA1: 0e4509115ac0e970ab025a0465fcd6149e8755ed

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

20:04:22 : Test started.
20:54:49 : 01/01
20:55:16 : 01/02
20:55:49 : 01/03
20:56:53 : 02/04
20:57:49 : 02/05
20:58:04 : 03/06
20:59:08 : 04/07
20:59:20 : 05/08
20:59:52 : 05/09
21:00:05 : 05/10
21:00:46 : 05/11
21:00:59 : 05/12
21:01:48 : 06/13
21:02:09 : 06/14
21:03:16 : 06/15
21:04:23 : 06/16
21:04:23 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 6/16
Probability that you were guessing: 89.5%

-- signature --
a12cd892a9445b7f1d6f428065157a2433b1b2f6
As for the above: I had the 44/16 files in a different folder, which is why they have the same file names.


Here's my result of mp3 128 vs. 320 for two different songs:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-10-07 12:27:23

File A: 01 To Thou Who Dwellest in the Night - 128.mp3
SHA1: 3c0ba6c5f038d41ecc9c3ca97d1b19d223b3f6be
File B: 01 To Thou Who Dwellest in the Night - 320.mp3
SHA1: 52bf4a8288efe356f571df2ec527b248090e4ea0

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

12:27:23 : Test started.
12:28:13 : 01/01
12:29:17 : 02/02
12:29:53 : 03/03
12:30:22 : 04/04
12:30:35 : 05/05
12:31:01 : 06/06
12:31:24 : 07/07
12:31:49 : 08/08
12:32:25 : 09/09
12:32:55 : 10/10
12:33:38 : 11/11
12:34:15 : 12/12
12:34:15 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 12/12
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --
14fe3bdff428008514ddcd32753743d8936b859c
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-10-07 11:19:52

File A: Ed Sheeran & Passenger - No Diggity _ Thrift Shop (Kygo Remix).mp3
SHA1: 0b7d140b681ca3ea92dfb71de2b6fea15d6bc30e
File B: Ed Sheeran & Passenger - No Diggity vs. Thrift Shop (Kygo Remix).mp3
SHA1: 20b2b6b758d2dae6d69d45fc019d14abe7c2261f

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

11:19:52 : Test started.
11:22:04 : 01/01
11:23:08 : 02/02
11:23:48 : 03/03
11:24:05 : 04/04
11:24:29 : 05/05
11:24:43 : 06/06
11:26:09 : 07/07
11:26:47 : 08/08
11:29:28 : 09/09
11:29:44 : 10/10
11:30:14 : 11/11
11:30:41 : 12/12
11:31:10 : 13/13
11:31:36 : 14/14
11:32:45 : 15/15
11:33:21 : 15/16
11:33:48 : 16/17
11:35:10 : 17/18
11:35:47 : 18/19
11:36:03 : 19/20
11:36:03 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 19/20
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --
1aad0dd84a0f29a52a5d205fa31ca5da99aaf170

Yay!

Sadly then, here's my result of mp3 320 vs. uncompressed wave, not that I really expected a different result:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-10-16 14:31:03

File A: 18 ?????~memory~.wav
SHA1: b099a4ccf3f6134c055ddfafd40ec73896e6a0f8
File B: 18 ?????~memory~.mp3
SHA1: 7249b2d6a8ead812c122a4dc46bae7307c5f7a17

Output:
DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

14:31:03 : Test started.
14:33:45 : 00/01
14:35:10 : 00/02
14:37:01 : 00/03
14:38:43 : 00/04
14:39:46 : 00/05
14:40:53 : 01/06
14:42:17 : 02/07
14:43:57 : 03/08
14:44:54 : 03/09
14:57:47 : 04/10
15:00:54 : 05/11
15:01:58 : 05/12
15:01:58 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 5/12
Probability that you were guessing: 80.6%

-- signature --
009a505f8b94085cc5b62a3d4dbbc720c939207b

Fin!
  • Last Edit: 16 April, 2017, 10:11:23 AM by board
"What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"
- Christopher Hitchens
"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge"
- Sam Harris

Re: ABX: Volume, phono preamps, cart adjust., CD rec., DR compression, hi-rez, etc.
Reply #1
thanks
  • Last Edit: 21 August, 2017, 07:11:27 AM by charliejulien

  • DVDdoug
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: ABX: Volume, phono preamps, cart adjust., CD rec., DR compression, hi-rez, etc.
Reply #2
Thanks for all that...  You've done a lot of work!  

Quote
Some people say all amps sound the same, so this goes to show that they don't.
I'm not THAT surprised that there was a difference in phono preamps.    There is a LOT of gain in a phono (or microphone) preamp and high gain means noise can be an issue.     And, with phono preamps, you've got the RIAA curve to deal with, and the input capacitance can vary and cause (slightly) different frequency response with different phono cartridges.

Of course "all amps sound the same" isn't always true, but I'd say it applies more to power amps and "preamps" used as "control-centers" with line-level inputs with little gain or often with attenuation.

Quote
Sadly then, here's my result of mp3 320 vs. uncompressed wave, not that I really expected a different result:
Don't be sad! :)   It's not that your hearing is bad, it's that MP3 can be better than you thought.    (And, maybe MP3 would do worse with different, harder-to-compress, program material.)  

Re: ABX: Volume, phono preamps, cart adjust., CD rec., DR compression, hi-rez, etc.
Reply #3
Quote
Quote
Some people say all amps sound the same, so this goes to show that they don't.

I'm not THAT surprised that there was a difference in phono preamps.    There is a LOT of gain in a phono (or microphone) preamp and high gain means noise can be an issue.    And, with phono preamps, you've got the RIAA curve to deal with, and the input capacitance can vary and cause (slightly) different frequency response with different phono cartridges.

You nailed that, Doug.

While the tests were level-matched, they weren't noise level matched or frequency response matched. There is often audible noise in the background with phono inputs. There don't seem to be any checks that the gear was actually operating in spec.

Gear can sound different if it is broken, with electrolytic capacitors that are walking out the door being a leading cause.

RIAA errors are fairly common, partially because there are two different RIAA curves. One for the IEC RIAA and the other for the non-IEC EIAA.  They differ mostly below 50 Hz.

Furthermore, frequency response errors in RIAA preamps have been known to exist for decades because analysis and design of the response of the equalization circuit is non-trivial. Those Canadian math whizzes Vanderkooy and Lipshitz tried to correct that misunderstanding with a relevant and well-thought out AES paper, but analog electronic designers are well known for well, their Individuality.

Finally, there are well-known interactions between phono cartridges and phono preamp input stage impedances, and again, everybody seems to want to go their own way. Some RIAA preamps provide adjustments in this area, but not all do exactly what they are claimed to do.

Quote
Of course "all amps sound the same" isn't always true, but I'd say it applies more to power amps and "preamps" used as "control-centers" with line-level inputs with little gain or often with attenuation.

"All amps sound the same" was primarily relevant for power amps as you say Doug, and always contingent on correct operation and matching frequency response.  Brand new gear can be defective, and legacy gear often surprises us when it still meets spec.

Tubed power amps have components like output transformers that cause both bass and/or treble losses.

Source impedance can be an issue for both tubed and SS amps including both legacy analog designs and modern switchmode designs.

Many modern SS power amps have LRC networks at their outputs to enhance stability, but they can lead to frequency response errors below 20 KHz, depending on loudspeaker loads to a great deal, but due to even just resistive loads in some cases.


  • board
  • [*][*]
Re: ABX: Volume, phono preamps, cart adjust., CD rec., DR compression, hi-rez, etc.
Reply #4
The phono preamps I compared didn't differ in terms on noise - at least I didn't notice. But I think they differed in terms of frequency response, although I'm guessing since I haven't measured any of them, and the NAD one was the only one I could find a measurement of.
When I've seen measurements of phono preamps they often don't follow the riaa curve perfectly - whether they're cheap or expensive preamps. As mentioned above, I'm almost certain that the Lejonklou has a 2-3 dB boost around 5 kHz and a cut in the bass, as I've compared recordings from that preamp to recordings of the same albums done on some of the other preamps.

I wasn't really sad about my score for 320 kpbs mp3 vs. wave. It was as I expected, but given my "golden ears" it would have been fun if I could have heard the difference.
"What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"
- Christopher Hitchens
"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge"
- Sam Harris