Computer Audio: confusing, complicated, & INCONVENIENT. About MUSIC or inner nerd?

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
And isn't it ironic that those who are accusing me of being prejudiced against DSP are people who don't have it in their system and have no plans to do so? How come you don't have DSP in your system Tim? You are another perfect customer for DSP. You love PCM digital, you are not a believer in hi-rez digital and you certainly don't care for analog. DSP is a perfect fit for you. What are you waiting for? Why am I being preached to by people who don't own DSP??

As for the rest of your cheap shots, they can stand on their own merits.

I see no cheap shots at all Mark

People are just saying for you to get off your high horse and listen. If you feel the same afterwards I know you would garner more respect if you held the same position but just had a more informed way
 

dallasjustice

Member Sponsor
Apr 12, 2011
2,067
5
0
Dallas, Texas
I appreciate your honesty concerning you emotions, beliefs or opinions. I strongly believe that all decisions are essentially emotional. So, I respect you for divulging your feelings on this topic. I think many folks try to disguise their emotions and feelings with word-salad nonsense. I've never felt that way about you.

I also identify with your beliefs. I felt the same way not too long ago. I wrote stuff on this forum a couple of years ago that I wouldn't even recognize as my opinion on this topic if I went into the way back machine to read them.


And isn't it ironic that those who are accusing me of being prejudiced against DSP are people who don't have it in their system and have no plans to do so? How come you don't have DSP in your system Tim? You are another perfect customer for DSP. You love PCM digital, you are not a believer in hi-rez digital and you certainly don't care for analog. DSP is a perfect fit for you. What are you waiting for? Why am I being preached to by people who don't own DSP??

As for the rest of your cheap shots, they can stand on their own merits.
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,571
17
38
Calgary, AB
I appreciate your honesty concerning you emotions, beliefs or opinions. I strongly believe that all decisions are essentially emotional. So, I respect you for divulging your feelings on this topic. I think many folks try to disguise their emotions and feelings with word-salad nonsense. I've never felt that way about you.

I also identify with your beliefs. I felt the same way not too long ago. I wrote stuff on this forum a couple of years ago that I wouldn't even recognize as my opinion on this topic if I went into the way back machine to read them.


Classic! I'll have to use that at some point if you don't mind! :D
 

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,845
1,087
585
United States
Marty,

Great to read from you. It is clear that your system is not a trivial one - extremely high synergy between components, an exotic mix of components that breaks any known rule, a long time of perfecting it, exhaustive fine in a great room. It is surely an exceptional system, but IMHO it does not support the DSP argument as being addressed typically - it is too dependent on you.

Congratulations on assembling and tuning such a system.

Micro, You are correct that in this case, my DSP tuning is highly dependent on me, the end user. In fact, I'm sure it would be less arduous if I were more skilled in the ability to perform EQ such as a great recording engineer would be (think of the DGG "tonmeisters", Doug Sax, Keith Johnson etc). However, while I struggle with this at the high end, the good news is that so many decent mid-fi systems and pro systems are now available with a one button "set it and forget it" DSP feature. For many of these $!000 receivers with 5.1 speakers, this feature works remarkably well, balancing the speakers, subs and room EQ that is very satisfactory for those customers who find such features useful. i think we're now getting to the point of redundancy is stating what many have already said. DSP can be dramatically effective. Use it if you must, or feel free to pass. With a well engineered speaker in a great room such as Steve and Mike L have, they do not feel compelled to go this route and I understand why. On the other hand, with the bastardized system I have, it is essential and the benefits far outweigh the liabilities.

There is no question in my mind that the main liability in any home reproduction system is frequency response. For those who are so adamant against using DSP, please show me your in room response. This isn't hard to do. Use a pink noise signal (the Stereophile test CD or countless others), and the $14 "Analyzer" program on your iPhone/iPad. (And don't use the quality of the iPhone mic as an excuse for not doing this- it works just fine for this purpose.) For those who have an acceptably flat response, I can appreciate your argument not to explore DSP. For those that don't, I would encourage you to be open-minded about the possibility that even modest DSP correction can make a huge difference in the enjoyment one gets from listening to such a system versus its uncorrected mate. As eloquently put by ML, long live the "pro-enjoyment" school of audio!
 

rhbblb1

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
52
0
411
Not if it means digitizing my analog or converting DSD to PCM. Someone please explain to me what conversion process in audio improves the sound quality? There is no such thing as a truly transparent conversion process. Every piece of electronics has a signature because none are perfect. You are not going to convert analog to digital and the convert it back to analog and think that somehow going thorough that two step process your sound will be improved. It might still be a high quality sound, but it won't be the same quality. And since you will be running all of your sources through the DSP blender, there will be a 'sameness' of sound from all of your sources. The D/A converters used in DSP will color every signal that runs through them and those fingerprints will be on every piece of music you play through them. Like I said before, if you only listen to PCM and you are in love with it (Oh Lloyd...), then DSP is perfect for you. Why people don't understand my point is baffling.

There are conversions which even you use to improve the sound. How about the RIAA curve?

What do you mean by the "the D/A converters used in DSP"?

How do you know that the conversions you talk about are not transparent? Have you ever tested your hearing with these conversions?

If there is anything in the audio chain that "homogenizes" the sound it would be our rooms. DSP would do more to eliminate that homogenization than anything else I am aware of.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
6
0
Different strokes for different folks here Tim

What I find difficult to understand about the hard core rank and file such as Mark is, as you say Tim nothing short of preconceived notions and prejudice. It is but a means to an end. I shared all of the same notions and even had the same expectation bias when I heard such a system that IMO is nothing short of world class. I keep getting asked by Mark why I don't have a DSP system and that has been answered in volumes here and in other threads

Because your room is so good you don't need DSP correction?

Mark

look at yourself in the mirror when you say these things and ask your self if you aren't prejudiced.

Steve, let me say this one more time for those that missed what I said previously: Yes, I'm prejudiced against having DSP in my system!! I hope nobody misses that again. I am also prejudiced against getting run over by a truck. I don't need to experience getting run over by a truck in order to come to that conclusion either. So let's start another thread about me being prejudiced against being run over by a truck without being willing to be run over by a truck to see if maybe I just might like it. That would make as much sense as anyone here giving a damn whether or not I'm prejudiced against DSP. So what? Who cares? This thread has become the theater for the absurd and I'm damn sure tired of people who don't have DSP in their system preaching to me about the virtues of DSP. It's like an atheist telling me I need to go to church.

I'm not telling people not to go out and buy DSP and love every minute of it. I could care less if you have DSP in your system. I strongly believe that certain people are perfect customers for DSP and I have explained who I think those customers are. It's just my opinion. I'm preaching against DSP for my system, not yours or anyone else's system.


At the very least you should hear such a system before you continue to inflict your expectation bias on us.

Really now? I thought I was sharing my opinion. Since when is sharing an opinion turn into inflicting "your expectation bias on us" Cripes. Give me a break.

DSP works and in the system I heard it was truly a mind blowing experience as it was for the analog guru who also heard it and proclaimed the things he did as to the sound being the way vinyl should sound

Was that the same analog guru who was fooled into thinking he was hearing analog or is this another analog guru? I hope that all of you who have taken the time for criticizing me for having an opinion that I don't want DSP in my system will run right out and put your money where your mouth is and buy a DSP solution for your stereo so you can all have "mind blowing" experiences.
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,829
226
560
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
So lets say we record a piano and capture the information on 44/16 PCM, High Rez PCM, DSD, Mastertape and Vinyl. All will sound "different", and the mastertape will sound closest to the original musical event.

Now we run all signals through a DSP engine and the magically the sources now sound "less different" (never 100% the same of course), but all sound closer to the mastertape / original musical event. The only way you can see that as a negative attribute of applying DSP is if you have some nostalgic attachment to your analog sources and the idea that messing with musical information in the digital domain offends your purist sensibilities. This is completely irrational / emotional objection to DSP. What matters is musical truth; you either get closer to it or you move away from it.


I'll have to disagree with this statement. If the master tape is the closest to the original event in the first place, running it through an AD/DA loop will degrade the sound. It may make the 16/44.1 file better, but it will degrade the master tape, thus as MEP says, bringing everything closer to the same sound. Even with the best converters I have available, an AD/DA loop will degrade the sound! I'm the last person to be closed minded to DSP since I have already downloaded DIRAC and will try it in the near future. If you run an analog signal through an AD/DA loop, and in that loop you change EQ (Mastering?), you are moving further away from the original signal. Maybe the compromise is less than having a direct signal, I don't know until I've tried it. But you can't dismiss something simply because of your prejudice. If that's the case, we would all only be using one brand of cable!
 
Last edited:

Phelonious Ponk

New Member
Jul 1, 2010
8,677
3
0
And isn't it ironic that those who are accusing me of being prejudiced against DSP are people who don't have it in their system and have no plans to do so? How come you don't have DSP in your system Tim? You are another perfect customer for DSP. You love PCM digital, you are not a believer in hi-rez digital and you certainly don't care for analog. DSP is a perfect fit for you. What are you waiting for? Why am I being preached to by people who don't own DSP??

As for the rest of your cheap shots, they can stand on their own merits.

There's nothing ironic about it at all. Prejudice has a clear definition and you've lived up to it here; that has absolutely nothing to do with what is or is not in my system. You've often accused me of not having the listening experience to qualify me to comment on vinyl. Only if I had begun listening to music in the 80s and had never owned or listened to vinyl at all would my inexperience with vinyl equal the lack of knowledge with which you are dismissing digital processing.

Cheap shots? Are you talking about the recent history of your search for sound? All I did was recap. They look like a lot of very expensive shots to me, and I think they make their point pretty clearly. Is there anything there that I portrayed inaccurately?

Tim
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
6
0
What do you mean by the "the D/A converters used in DSP"?

You have a box that sits between your preamp and power amp and converts all of the analog signals coming from your preamp into digital and then converts the digital back to analog-A/D and D/A.

How do you know that the conversions you talk about are not transparent? Have you ever tested your hearing with these conversions?

Please. Do you think the conversions are transparent or are you trying to convince me they are transparent?

If there is anything in the audio chain that "homogenizes" the sound it would be our rooms. DSP would do more to eliminate that homogenization than anything else I am aware of.

Every recording sounds different in my room. The sense of space, the size of the recording venue, the closeness of the miking or the distance of the miking. I hear the differences in every recording which negates your argument for me with regards to the room homogenizing the sound. I understand what DSP is attempting to do. I'm just not willing to run all of my sources through it so call me a cave man.
 

edorr

WBF Founding Member
May 11, 2010
3,146
7
36
Smyrna, GA
I'll have to disagree with this statement. If the master tape is the closest to the original event in the first place, running it through an AD/DA loop will degrade the sound. It may make the 16/44.1 file better, but it will degrade the master tape, thus as MEP says, bringing everything closer to the same sound. Even with the best converters I have available, an AD/DA loop will degrade the sound! I'm the last person to be closed minded to DSP since I have already downloaded DIRAC and will try it in the near future. If you run an analog signal through an AD/DA loop, and in that loop you change EQ (Mastering?), you are moving away from the original signal. Maybe the compromise is less than having a direct signal, I don't know until I've tried it. But you can't dismiss something simply because of your prejudice. If that's the case, we would all only be using one brand of cable!

This is where the trade-off comes in. No one is questioning the fact that running A/D -> D/A conversion will introduce some level of degradation, whether it be a mastertape or any other analog source. The question is does applying DSP to deal with room specific problems more than offset this degradation. The answer to this question is room dependent. It stand to reason that in a problematic room the answer is probably unanimously yes, and in a very good, custom build, passively treated the answer may be no.

Just because a mastertape captures content closest to the source, this does not mean it is going to sound anything like the original musical event under room specific playback conditions. By the same token, if I had pink floyd playing live in my basement it would sound like total crap. All sorts of digital manipulation on my basement system would get them to sound closer to what they sound like in a good live venue than the actual band playing in my room.
 

dallasjustice

Member Sponsor
Apr 12, 2011
2,067
5
0
Dallas, Texas
. . . If the master tape is the closest to the original event in the first place, running it through an AD/DA loop will degrade the sound. . . . If you run an analog signal through an AD/DA loop, and in that loop you change EQ (Mastering?), you are moving away from the original signal.
All true until that signal travels from a speaker into the listener's room. Then the original event can only be recreated. It can never be re-experienced.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
6
0
There's nothing ironic about it at all. Prejudice has a clear definition and you've lived up to it here; that has absolutely nothing to do with what is or is not in my system. You've often accused me of not having the listening experience to qualify me to comment on vinyl. Only if I had begun listening to music in the 80s and had never owned or listened to vinyl at all would my inexperience with vinyl equal the lack of knowledge with which you are dismissing digital processing.

Cheap shots? Are you talking about the recent history of your search for sound? All I did was recap. They look like a lot of very expensive shots to me, and I think they make their point pretty clearly. Is there anything there that I portrayed inaccurately?

Tim

I have explained over and over again why I don't want DSP in my system. You still haven't explained why you don't own it although you and some other carpers are taking me to task because I don't want to own DSP in my system without hearing it first. Everybody who believes DSP is the holy grail and a real game changer, please, run out and buy it immediately. What are you waiting for? You are missing out on having a mind blowing experience.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,134
145
523
La Jolla, Calif USA
This is where the trade-off comes in. No one is questioning the fact that running A/D -> D/A conversion will introduce some level of degradation, whether it be a mastertape or any other analog source. The question is does applying DSP to deal with room specific problems more than offset this degradation. The answer to this question is room dependent. It stand to reason that in a problematic room the answer is probably unanimously yes, and in a very good, custom build, passively treated the answer may be no.

Just because a mastertape captures content closest to the source, this does not mean it is going to sound anything like the original musical event under room specific playback conditions. By the same token, if I had pink floyd playing live in my basement it would sound like total crap. All sorts of digital manipulation on my basement system would get them to sound closer to what they sound like in a good live venue than the actual band playing in my room.

+1

It would seem to me to be completely irrelevant to the discussion as to whether or not one has DSP in one's system. The ability to be open minded about the possibility that DSP is beneficial is what is under discussion...and it would seem that the old saying..
"you can lead an old horse to water, BUT you cannot make him drink" is applicable.
Do I have DSP in my system, no not currently; BUT IF it was shown to me to be beneficial in my room, you betcha, I'm there. OTOH, some people could be shown the same...and yet their narrow minded prejudices would eliminate the possibility that they heard any benefit at all...ok,here comes the smiley...:D



:p
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
6
0
+1

It would seem to me to be completely irrelevant to the discussion as to whether or not one has DSP in one's system. The ability to be open minded about the possibility that DSP is beneficial is what is under discussion...and it would seem that the old saying..
"you can lead an old horse to water, BUT you cannot make him drink" is applicable.
Do I have DSP in my system, no not currently; BUT IF it was shown to me to be beneficial in my room, you betcha, I'm there. OTOH, some people could be shown the same...and yet their narrow minded prejudices would eliminate the possibility that they heard any benefit at all...ok,here comes the smiley...:D



:p

OK Mr. Smiley Face, probably no one is going to come to your house with a DSP gizmo, set it up for you, and make all the necessary corrections and show you it will be beneficial in your room. So if you are so open minded and think there is a significant chance that DSP will make your system sound better, go run out and buy it. Please report back with how much better your LP-12 sounds after it has been run through the DSP. Otherwise you have no point to make in this thread other than trying to convince everyone how open minded you are. Your just another person who doesn't own DSP taking shots at someone else who doesn't own DSP, but that's OK because you are open minded.
 

rhbblb1

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
52
0
411
I'll have to disagree with this statement. If the master tape is the closest to the original event in the first place, running it through an AD/DA loop will degrade the sound. It may make the 16/44.1 file better, but it will degrade the master tape, thus as MEP says, bringing everything closer to the same sound. Even with the best converters I have available, an AD/DA loop will degrade the sound! I'm the last person to be closed minded to DSP since I have already downloaded DIRAC and will try it in the near future. If you run an analog signal through an AD/DA loop, and in that loop you change EQ (Mastering?), you are moving further away from the original signal. Maybe the compromise is less than having a direct signal, I don't know until I've tried it. But you can't dismiss something simply because of your prejudice. If that's the case, we would all only be using one brand of cable!

Everything you say is true, but the point is that just like AD/DA conversions will move us further from the master tape, so will the room. I know that you believe this because you have an acoustically designed room. If the speaker room interaction did not move us further from the master tape why not listen to music in any room? Those of us who use DSP/DRC, believe that it reduces the rooms ability to move us further from the master recording.
A few years ago, you showed your room response on this forum for Art Noxin to review in a Matt Test. I suspect your previous speakers would have sounded much improved with DRC because of the problematic bass response. Several recording studios have been using DRC for many years. Abbey Road studios for example used the SigTech in the early 90s.
 

rhbblb1

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
52
0
411
You have a box that sits between your preamp and power amp and converts all of the analog signals coming from your preamp into digital and then converts the digital back to analog-A/D and D/A.

No I don't. All calculations occur at the digital source before the DAC which then feeds the preamp. No different than any system without DSP.


Please. Do you think the conversions are transparent or are you trying to convince me they are transparent?

All I was asking was if you have tested yourself to see if you can identify what the differences are. I have done it blinded and have tested other trained listeners.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
You have a box that sits between your preamp and power amp and converts all of the analog signals coming from your preamp into digital and then converts the digital back to analog-A/D and D/A.

No I don't. All calculations occur at the digital source before the DAC which then feeds the preamp. No different than any system without DSP.


Please. Do you think the conversions are transparent or are you trying to convince me they are transparent?

All I was asking was if you have tested yourself to see if you can identify what the differences are. I have done it blinded and have tested other trained listeners.


He might be surprised if he did :)

Mark

Do you see how you twisted Daveys post around. He said he would be interested if it could be shown to be better and all you hit him with was anything but what he said as your post was only sarcastic IMO. Mark, at this point I find this thread is starting to get personal and that's not necessary but honestly you are using the same tactics on others here as what Tim has shown you to have said he used on you.
 

Brucemck2

Member Sponsor
May 10, 2010
305
27
433
Houston area
Bruce-I have read your profile and the only system you have listed is an 11.1 digital system. What other systems do you have and what analog gear do you have?


I've had various incarnations of hard core two channel analog: Basis vacuum with Graham arms and various Koetsu cartridges, dual mono power supply Aesthetix phone stage; Audio Research Reference preamps (three incarnations); Audio Research and VTL amps, Genesis, Krell, and Dunlavy speakers. At the time I used an early Meridian 800 transport for digital.

In the digital realm I've had heavily modified two channel and multichannel Tact setups, Meridian 861v2 through v4 incarnations, heavily modified Audyssey and DEQX setups, and most recently a Trinnov setup. I've used heavily modified Behringer and QSC PEQ gear at various points (almost entirely for subwoofer and surround duties), and played with AudioLense and Dirac correction software.

Two of my last three rooms were purpose built, with extensive passive (hundreds of square feet of RPG products) room treatment. Even in those the upside from the processing trounced the downsides.

My current digital chain is a purpose built Core Audio Windows 8 server with outboard linear power supplies, an Empirical Audio USB to AES converter with an outboard Hynes supply, directly into the digital stage of the Trinnov. I no longer have a vinyl chain.
 

microstrip

VIP/Donor
May 30, 2010
17,069
1,801
720
Portugal
Philosophically, this argument makes zero sense. The objective of sound reproduction in a high end system is to create a replica as close as possible to the original musical event. So lets say we record a piano and capture the information on 44/16 PCM, High Rez PCM, DSD, Mastertape and Vinyl. All will sound "different", and the mastertape will sound closest to the original musical event.

Now we run all signals through a DSP engine and the magically the sources now sound "less different" (never 100% the same of course), but all sound closer to the mastertape / original musical event. The only way you can see that as a negative attribute of applying DSP is if you have some nostalgic attachment to your analog sources and the idea that messing with musical information in the digital domain offends your purist sensibilities. This is completely irrational / emotional objection to DSP. What matters is musical truth; you either get closer to it or you move away from it.

Conversely, some analog aficionados may have actually run their analog sources through A/D conversion, DSP and D/A conversion and simply did not like what they heard. Fair enough - rational objection, different argument. I have not met many in the rational objectors camp, but I'm sure they are out there.

For me (and Dallas and many others) the trade off between A/D conversion cost and DSP benefits is a moot point because we use only digital sources.

From personal experience I can say that when I did use A/D conversion on an "analog" source (Marantz UD9004 SACD player in DSD direct mode into Trinnov processor), the DSP benefits trumped A/D conversion cost hands down, BUT doing DSD to PCM conversion in a modded Oppo digital out directly into the Trinnov sounded better still.

Edorr,

Sorry to disagree with part I quote in bold, but it is not. Although some aspects of the real original musical event must be preserved and are of great importance in high-end, sound reproduction through a stereo system needs a lot of manipulation to overcome the stereo system and room limitations. Also, as the reproduction does not have the visual and most of the emotional clues, sound engineers enhance recordings to increase the listening pleasure and recreate the emotions of the listener. Tony Faulkner did some interesting listening tests in the conditions you outline, including the direct feed, and astonishingly listeners preferred the tape to the direct feed.

But you have a very good point on your magical experience - unfortunately as far as I know no one has achieved such result in a known real experiment.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing