Friday, June 16, 2017

More Rational Audiophile Hobby

I strongly agree with Archimago's comments here.

As per my comment there, I will try to avoid using the term The High End.  However, I think it's reasonable to use a term like 'serious' audio.  Even a $39 streamer can be 'serious' audio, it's not a matter of price, it's a matter of being oriented to technical quality vs low price and marketing sheen.

I very much like that Archimago thinks digital at 24/96 may be worth a bit more than 44.1/16, but beyond that is a fools errand.  That's were I stand.

Also that he thinks DSD128 is possibly worthwhile, but DSD256 and beyond becomes a waste of bits (as an end product, I might add).

A lot of what I do is solidly in the "rational" audio camp, such as my embrace of DSP for speaker and room correction, and even sonic euphanization.  Culty subjectivists won't step near these things, and I get criticized for "over-complexity" when I'm simply doing the rational things which must be done.

But why oh why do I bother with a $2500 DAC?  Does that show me to be strongly irrational?  Why do I bother with collecting particular spinning disc players (that used the best R2R chips)?

Let me first say this is a new thing for me.  I didn't even use any component level DACs until about 3 years ago.  I'd been an audiophile for 44 years before without having anything like that.  Most recently, I had simply used the DACs built in to the Behringer DCX 2496 crossover I was using, which used fine chips but had analog circuitry not at the highest level of performance, and not at all suited to the gain structure of my system, putting out 10V RMS at 0dB.

So buying my first component DAC was a means to respectable technical performance, since now 0dB would correspond to 2V, giving me lower noise and distortion always.

It's true that the particular DAC I chose would be more difficult to specifically justify (the Audio GD Dac 19 anniversary) as many similar products had equal measured performance.  I could have gotten something of similar objective performance for a bit less (though, not much).

But it strongly appealed to a certain iconoclastic side I must have.  I've taken on the R2R or 'true PCM' religion, somehow, perhaps for no good reason, just because it sounds good to my thinking.

I'm not saying everyone should do this, but I have chosen to.  BTW, the ideas also sound good to many audiophiles I know.  I think it's ok for me to nurture a few ideas out of the mainstream.

One think I won't do, however, is step too far beyond things that could be objectively seen as having audibly inferior performance.  I won't use high noise or distortion products, like SET amplifiers, or NOS DACs.

So when I figured the ultimate requirement for the gain structure in my system, and I was still able to get a DAC with AES input, balanced outputs, DC coupling with servo, and (my little iconoclasm) dual differential 1704's, I decided to go for it.

And I still like it very much, as I hope to for decades to come, because I indeed think it is good enough just as it is.

I  dislike being scolded by people who say money shouldn't be spent on such things, people like the commenter who calls himself Blog in the posting linked above.

As I've pointed out before, looking closely at what such people actually do, THEY have their little irrationalities also, and some of them even have far more expensive audio systems than I do, despite the scolding being dished out to others.

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