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  1. #1
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    TAS raises the bar - again!

    Just when you thought that the high end audio press could not get any more ridiculous TAS (The Absolute Sound) has taken that leap from the ridiculous to the sublime.

    Starting with issue #218 (December 2011) TAS began a four part series entitled "Computer Music Audio Quality" co-authored by Charles Zeilig, Ph.D. and Jay Clawson. I have no idea who the authors are or what makes them "experts" on computer music audio quality since no biographical information on the authors is provided.

    I was going to write this post after reading part one of the series but after reading part two in TAS issue #219 (January 2012) I'm glad I waited. To put things bluntly these gentlemen are completely out of their minds. To go over each and every one of the numerous misconceptions and complete nonsense contained within just the first two parts of the series would make for very long post so just let me hit upon some of the more outrageous claims.

    The basic premise of the series is that there is a way to measure and improve the digital bit stream being fed by a computer into an external DAC, in other words a way to make the ones more "one" and the zeros more "zero". Of course since Zeilig has a Ph.D. the whole is presented in a very serious matter with detailed descriptions of the methodology and lots of charts, tables and graphs. Wow I'm so damn impressed!

    Part one of the series basically served has an introduction and it is only with the publishing of part two that one gets to read first hand just how off the wall the authors actually are. In part two the authors do a detailed survey of various playback software, sample rate convertors, CD ripping software, CD burning software and even blank CDRs. Again, has I stated, it's only serious with lots detailed tables and even a convenient "Sound SCore" scale, which kind of reminds me of that famous guitar amp in "This Is Spinal Tap" which plays louder well because it goes to eleven.

    What makes all this so crazy is that the authors claim that it is not just bit perfect transmission to the DAC which is important but that the various software programs can somehow make the music sound better and not just a little better but measurably better, enough so that a sound Score can be given to each program. Of course the "measurements" are not via any type testing equipment but by the author's golden ears alone.

    I'd love to go on but to really appreciate how great this stuff is one needs to read the series for oneself. And as an added bonus issue #219 also contains TAS's Product of the Year awards where the $549/meter AudioQuest Diamond USB cable is given "Digital Cable of the Year" honors. I guess this cable also manages to make those pesky one and zeros somehow less pesky.

    Since this is the audiophile section I fully expect someone to post something along the lines of how can I be so dismissive without having heard what effects the various items in the article actually do have on sound quality and to which I answer because I understand the basic principles of binary computer data and one and zeros are just that: ones and zeros not super ones and zeros.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    Hmm I migth pick it up on my next xmas vacation a long fligth, I think TAS and those small botles can keep me amused.

    You don't have to try every crazy audiophile tweak yourself , it makes no sense they can usually be dissmissed as implausible on general scientific grounds.
    the method of trying everything ourself probably made sense 4000 Bc when there where no knowledge base to speak of. Science is a great timesaver for progress
    you dont have to glue feathers on your arms and jump of that cliff, numerous negative results are documented elsewhere.
    And the constant sigthed testing wo any controll makes for the large amount of false positives as usual.
    do some one regognise that this way of trying out things actually generate all this bs.
    just make up some weird tweak anything goes, round up some wideeyeded and gullible audiophiles.
    some one will naturally " hear the difference " then the roumor mill is on.
    and it never goes away once a tweak has stuck with the audiophile comunity it is there forever.

    Great initiative of TAS to cloud the waters rigth now at the begining of high quality computer audio for everyone, the computer or squeezebox or sonos or any other streamer will be every audiophiles source soon.
    And it's great to see that audiophiles will be missinformed and keept in the dark from day one
    They neutralized the computer treath, what if with some minor tweaks like the rigth drivers asapi wasapi kernel streaming or what it's name today things just worked with just about any computer software and if ripped with eac or dBp you have your perfect rips ?
    What about if it just works , we cant have that no constant upgrade circus and weird tweaks and bizarre products Any router with tube rectifiers yet ?
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  3. #3
    No no you're all wrong. Don't start with the router. You have to start with a computer with a special audio hard drive and special audio motherboard. And I even think the type of keyboard and mouse you use influences the quality of the audio rip/playback.

    It's sad though that a lot of peaople actually believe this stuff and spend a lot of money on it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    to get TAS today I have to vist a specialist store for international magazines they migth have it .

    Any sage wisdom on ethernet cables My Meridian speakers use cat5 cables for the special MHR link for the audio and controll signals from the processor in one cable to my digital speakers .
    i just grabbed some cheap cat5 of the shelf at the nearest netonnet ( dirt cheap swedish crap home electronics store ) .

    i migth miss out on some 3d midrange palpability and blacker blacks

    But I should get to read the TAS issue first otherwise the tread drifts to much .
    any one scanning it ? Would not really like to feed them money.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    Quick update

    TAS has now published three parts of the four part series and things have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. There are way too many things to enumerate here but if you want to treat yourself to a good laugh and to see just how much harm some clown with spreadsheet program can do by all means try to get a copy of this hilarious series.
    Living Rm: Transporter-SimAudio pre/power amps-Vandersteen 3A Sign. & sub
    Home Theater: Touch-Marantz HTR-Energy Veritas 2.1 & Linn sub
    Computer Rm: Touch-Headroom Desktop w/DAC-Aragon amp-Energy Veritas 2.1 & Energy sub
    Bedroom: Touch-HR Desktop w/DAC-Audio Refinement amp-Energy Veritas 2.0
    Guest Rm: Duet-Sony soundbar
    Garage: SB3-JVC compact system
    Controls: iPeng; SB Controller; Moose & Muso
    Server: LMS 7.9 on dedicated windows 10 computer w/2 Drobos
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    is them or what hifi that seriusly cliams that a copy of a file sounds different and yes ofcourse faster harddrives sounds better....
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    Main hifi: Rasbery PI digi+ MeridianG68J MeridianHD621 MeridianG98DH 2 x MeridianDSP5200 MeridianDSP5200HC 2 xMeridianDSP3100 +Rel Stadium 3 sub.
    Bedroom/Office: Boom
    Loggia: Raspi hifiberry dac + Adams
    Bathroom : Radio (with battery)
    iPad with iPengHD & SqueezePad
    (spares Touch, SB3, reciever ,controller )
    server Intel NUC Esxi VM Linux mint 18 LMS 7.9.2

    http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

  7. #7
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    Well they have to try and figure out some way of selling pointless and over-expensive gear to audiophiles for digital stuff don't they

  8. #8
    Senior Member audiomuze's Avatar
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    Their next series is on soundcheck mods and their universal applicability to all network enabled DACs.
    puddletag - now packaged in most Linux distributions.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by probedb View Post
    Well they have to try and figure out some way of selling pointless and over-expensive gear to audiophiles for digital stuff don't they
    Well yes, except that in this case it's nothing to do with spending money on gear.

    One of the claims made is that a CD ripped at one speed sounds different to the same CD ripped at a different speed, when played back on exactly the same system, even though they verified that the data in the two rips is identical. Given that there are several asynchronous buffers between the hard disk platter and the digital stream delivered to the DAC, this makes precisely zero sense. (Not close to zero - exactly zero). What ARE these guys smoking?
    Until recently: Transporter -> ATC SCM100A, now sold :-(
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb View Post
    What ARE these guys smoking?
    or mainlining. ;-)
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