A Brief Guide to Audio for the Skeptical Consumer - Page 4 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #91 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 09:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post
^
Why "get behind high-resolution downloads"? Lossless 44.1/16 downloads would suffice.
Agreed. I believe that high-resolution downloads have been designated in some Holy Place as The Issue For This Season, just like low jitter HDMI was The Thing about a year ago, and Asynch USB DACs were the The Issue De Jour about two years ago.

I'll stick with speakers and room acoustics, as well as the obvious shortcomings of the ca. 1660 AD string-and-can model currently being used for producing and playing recordings.
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post #92 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post
^
Why "get behind high-resolution downloads"? Lossless 44.1/16 downloads would suffice.
It may not. The main goal should be to exceed the fidelity of CD. No, I am not talking about the spec. I am talking about removal of re-mastering that occurs as the bits are targeted to mass market with loudness compression. To achieve that, we need to go one step up prior to conversion to 16/44.1. Since almost all music today is captured and processed at greater than 16 bits/44.1 (e.g. 24/96 Khz), we need to advocate that. Only then can we make a case for a different master. If you settle for 44.1/16, they will give you the CD master or bits prior to lossy compression to 256 kbps.

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post #93 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Agreed. I believe that high-resolution downloads have been designated in some Holy Place as The Issue For This Season, just like low jitter HDMI was The Thing about a year ago, and Asynch USB DACs were the The Issue De Jour about two years ago.

I'll stick with speakers and room acoustics, as well as the obvious shortcomings of the ca. 1660 AD string-and-can model currently being used for producing and playing recordings.
You do so at your own expense. Just don't make it ours.... I for one am not going to sit there and wake up one day and have the CD format gone, and be given the lossy format as the only available set of bits. I am now *routinely* running into bits only available in lossy format. The artists are just aiming for mass market and releasing compressed singles. They are not even bothering to make full albums anymore!

You need to wake up and not live in the past Arny. This is not about some silly high-res format war of last decade. Don't confuse the past with the present. You can screw around with your room and speakers all you want. The combination of lossy bits with loudness compression is a recipe for crappy sound no matter what you do.

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post #94 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
You do so at your own expense. Just don't make it ours.... I for one am not going to sit there and wake up one day and have the CD format gone, and be given the lossy format as the only available set of bits.
Agreed. I do not want to have music be available only limited to 256 kbps MP3/AAC one day.
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post #95 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
It may not. The main goal should be to exceed the fidelity of CD. No, I am not talking about the spec. I am talking about removal of re-mastering that occurs as the bits are targeted to mass market with loudness compression. To achieve that, we need to go one step up prior to conversion to 16/44.1. Since almost all music today is captured and processed at greater than 16 bits/44.1 (e.g. 24/96 Khz), we need to advocate that. Only then can we make a case for a different master. If you settle for 44.1/16, they will give you the CD master or bits prior to lossy compression to 256 kbps.
In my book 16/44.1 is enough for delivery. If pressed I would support 24/48 but everything above that just creates larger files without any audible benefit. And larger master files keep lossy compression alive. You've achieved the opposite of what you've wanted.
Higher resolution is a good idea in production with lots of processing and unknown dynamic requirements while recording but for delivery it's unnecessary. We have bigger fish to fry.
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post #96 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 12:47 PM
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This was one of the best audio-related articles I read. I wish it addressed headphones and their perceived quality as they move higher on price point. For example, what's the reason for Audeze's LCD 3 to cost a $1000 more than LCD 2? Some say it's a minor sound signature difference between them.

Yesterday's flagship headphones like DT 990 are nowdays going for as low as $140, while the new flagships like T1 are over a 1000 bucks. How much can you really refine sound quality by changing the way a wire coil moves around a magnet before it's just a different sound signature and nothing else!?
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post #97 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 01:14 PM
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In my book 16/44.1 is enough for delivery.
Well, we can demonstrate that it is not. And we now have listening tests that directionally show that.

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If pressed I would support 24/48 but everything above that just creates larger files without any audible benefit.
24/48 requires some kind of conversion since in music, it is not a common production method. The above listening test again directionally show that such a conversion can have audible effects.

But again, this is beside the point. It makes little sense to create yet another intermediate format. Large files do not create any problems for consumers or delivery today. The cost of storing those bits on a local hard disk is a fraction of the retail cost of of content itself. I just bought a NAS rated 6 tbyte drive for $260. Mirroring that for reliability costs me $800 with the NAS thrown in there. One hour of uncompressed 24-bit/96 Khz stereo file takes up 2 gigabytes. Lossless compression gets that down to 1 gigabytes. That means I can have roughly 6,000 one hour albums stored there. At $15 each, that would cost me $90,000 to buy, dwarfing the $800 cost of the hardware.

I just did a quick calculation using Amazon EC2 bandwidth cost and it comes to about $500 for those 6 tbytes so it is roundoff error for total retail transaction of $90,000.

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And larger master files keep lossy compression alive.
???

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Higher resolution is a good idea in production with lots of processing and unknown dynamic requirements while recording but for delivery it's unnecessary. We have bigger fish to fry.
This is the bigger fish to fry. The very format we rely on, the CD will vanish for the most part in the next few years. There is nothing more important than making sure we get some advancement when we move from physical format to digital online distribution.

It is time we wake up and stop arguing against having more choices of content formats available to us. There is no merit whatsoever to taking a negative position here. You are not forced to consume the content.

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post #98 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 01:30 PM
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The basement plans show that studios were in the basement, which is below grade which agrees with the many anecdotes that I have heard. IME there is not a lot of problem with roadway noise in that setting.
You'd be surprised. Low frequency transmission through the ground is far more efficient than through the air. Elephants are known to be able to communicate via VLF over distances of at least six miles, and they don't hear it, they detect it through their feet. When I first started doing RTAs of concerts I was initially surprised at the level of content below 30Hz. I was even more surprised that the level was the same whether the band was playing or not. I eventually identified the source of the VLF as the vibration of the ground in the venue, caused by the foot traffic of the crowd and various refrigeration and power generation devices. I did an analysis of a venue installation a year ago where the owner was thrilled about the 15Hz result, until we shut the system off and it was still there at the same level. The source was the building heating system. You couldn't hear it, but the meter could read it. Until a couple of years ago I was amused by the Weather Channel. They didn't high pass their mics, and I could clearly hear the rumble from traffic outside the studio. I guess they didn't have subs as part of their monitoring system.
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post #99 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 01:56 PM
 
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You'd be surprised.
That would seem to imply that I've never worked sound in below grade rooms next to busy thoroughfares.

Simply not so.

Actual experience generally trumps any amount of speculation and extrapolation, wouldn't you say?

The people who designed the Motown Detroit facility seem to have done a pretty good job of exploiting the available resource. I have to admit that I've known about the basement recording studioes for years but I never put 2+2 together and realized how much it addressed the nearness of East Grand Blvd.
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post #100 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 02:12 PM
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It is time we wake up and stop arguing against having more choices of content formats available to us.
I'm not "arguing against having more choices of content formats", I just don't see any benefit from higher resolution audio for content delivery. If you want to have an alternative to lossy then ask for ALAC/FLAC downloads. iTunes for example already has higher resolution master files they just don't sell them. Ask yourself why they don't do that.

By the way, in the real world recorded tracks pass numerous up/down processing/conversion/sampling stages. There's no "common production method".
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post #101 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 02:59 PM
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iTunes for example already has higher resolution master files they just don't sell them. Ask yourself why they don't do that.
Probably for the same reasons as the loudness war, low bitrate content, etc. Should we (who appreciate the finer points on audio reproduction) settle for what is best for the mass market?
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post #102 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 03:14 PM
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^
iTunes could release lossless "master" files any time and charge a premium from audiophools like us. Why don't they do it?

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post #103 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 03:46 PM
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Speculation!!! Not enough market share.

What is your speculation?
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post #104 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
You do so at your own expense. Just don't make it ours.... I for one am not going to sit there and wake up one day and have the CD format gone, and be given the lossy format as the only available set of bits. I am now *routinely* running into bits only available in lossy format. The artists are just aiming for mass market and releasing compressed singles. They are not even bothering to make full albums anymore!

You need to wake up and not live in the past Arny. This is not about some silly high-res format war of last decade. Don't confuse the past with the present. You can screw around with your room and speakers all you want. The combination of lossy bits with loudness compression is a recipe for crappy sound no matter what you do.

Lamenting the loss of CDs and full albums is living in the past.
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post #105 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post
I'm not "arguing against having more choices of content formats", I just don't see any benefit from higher resolution audio for content delivery. If you want to have an alternative to lossy then ask for ALAC/FLAC downloads. iTunes for example already has higher resolution master files they just don't sell them. Ask yourself why they don't do that.

By the way, in the real world recorded tracks pass numerous up/down processing/conversion/sampling stages. There's no "common production method".
IMO, it's because audiophools are too busy chasing the HI Rez dragon instead of showing Apple there is a demand for ALAC which already plays on Apple hardware.
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post #106 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post
^
iTunes could release lossless "master" files any time and charge a premium from audiophools like us. Why don't they do it?
Because the revenue generated would be below round off error. I speak from experience. We "killed" businesses at Microsoft that generated $10M in revenue because it was just the same -- too small to show up in the financial statements. The resources could be better leveraged for something that generates $100M in revenue for the same effort.

There are companies that work the top of the pyramid, and those who focus on the mass market. Apple (and Amazon) are focused around the mass market.

The only time there is an exception is if an influential executive makes the cause personal and pushes for it to get done, regardless of financial outcome.

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post #107 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 05:14 PM
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Lamenting the loss of CDs and full albums is living in the past.
Didn't lament either. Can't wait for the CD to die. And very much like single tracks.

The notion that we still need to stamp out plastic to create music and spin it with a motor to hear it in this day and age is just insane. Just the same, having more choices in buying music, i.e. track vs album, is a good thing for the consumer.

My point once again was that CD is on its way out because last I checked, it doesn't play on a smartphone. The masses don't want it. And they are the ones funding this market. Simple supply/demand economics says the physical offer is on its way out.

We have a chance to get behind something new collectively, or face being handed lower fidelity compressed bits.

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IMO, it's because audiophools are too busy chasing the HI Rez dragon instead of showing Apple there is a demand for ALAC which already plays on Apple hardware.
The fools to worry about are the ones here who are still thinking this is the same old DVD-A/SACD vs CD of yesterday, not realizing that the very format they are defending, is destined to vanish. Since that describes you as well, worry about your stance, not people who are not here and part of the conversation.

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post #108 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Quote:Originally Posted by markus767

^
Well, then Ethan missed the point and/or didn't read the linked page thoroughly. I wasn't talking about the device but the inherent localization error in intensity based stereo signals. There are references and links on that page which explain the issue in more detail.

If Ethan doesn't like tubes (which is just the equally simple-minded opposite of "I like tubes")...


Its not that Ethan and I don't like tubes, it is that we know their practical purpose in audio circuits in 2013 is none.

The symmetry you claim between liking them and not liking them is false for many very clear practical reasons. Tubes make equipment larger, hotter, noisier, more expensive, more fragile, more dangerous, more distorting, and less reliable, and not by just a little. Other than that, they can be a lot of fun as long as you don't kill yourself while fooling with them. ;-)
Well, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss tubes. They have the inherent advantage of producing even order harmonics when they begin to clip. Solid State devices generate odd order harmonics when they begin to clip. To the ear the odd order is much harsher sounding. The even order doesn't sound as bad to the ear. In fact it may contribute to that sweet sound tube fans like when these amps are pushed and approach clipping.

I'm not saying this as a tube fanatic. I own solid state amps and always have. Just that tubes can sound as good if not better that solid state under certain conditions.
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post #109 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 05:41 PM
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Since that describes you as well, worry about your stance, not people who are not here and part of the conversation.
Physician, heal thyself!

You can't fight the masses, but you can push for a more appealing business case.

ALAC plays on iPhones and iPads. It doesn't need new technology. Try pushing for something for which you stand a better chance of getting than fizzle-in-the-pan Ponos.
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post #110 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 05:58 PM
 
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Well, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss tubes. They have the inherent advantage of producing even order harmonics when they begin to clip. Solid State devices generate odd order harmonics when they begin to clip.
That is incorrect. Large amounts of Odd Order Distortion is easy to observe in tubed equipment, particularly push-pull power amplifiers. Being push pull provides some inherent cancellation of even order distortion leaving large amounts of odd order distortion in place.

This is just one of many test results from Stereophile that illustrate this fact:

"VTL Compact 160 monoblock"

http://www.stereophile.com/content/v...r-measurements

http://www.stereophile.com/images/891V160fig09.jpg



In fact the strongest harmonic in the output of this amplifier is the third (odd) harmonic by a slight margin.

Solid state amplifier solve the problem of distortion during clipping by providing far larger amounts of power without any clipping under advantageous conditions such as low cost, small size, and more efficient use of electrical power.

The best clipping is no clipping, wouldn't you say?
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post #111 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 06:29 PM
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That is incorrect. Large amounts of Odd Order Distortion is easy to observe in tubed equipment, particularly push-pull power amplifiers. Being push pull provides some inherent cancellation of even order distortion leaving large amounts of odd order distortion in place.

This is just one of many test results from Stereophile that illustrate this fact:

"VTL Compact 160 monoblock"

http://www.stereophile.com/content/v...r-measurements

http://www.stereophile.com/images/891V160fig09.jpg



In fact the strongest harmonic in the output of this amplifier is the third (odd) harmonic by a slight margin.

Solid state amplifier solve the problem of distortion during clipping by providing far larger amounts of power without any clipping under advantageous conditions such as low cost, small size, and more efficient use of electrical power.

The best clipping is no clipping, wouldn't you say?
I do agree that it is best to avoid clipping entirely. Tube amps are at their best when paired with high sensitivity speakers like klipschorn for example. A 20 watt tube amp in such system could get tremendously loud.

As for the harmonic distortion, below is a link to IEEE circuit testing involving tubes and various solid state devices. Even though the report limited the discussion to primarily 2nd order, the tubes came out superior.
The odd order issues in some amplifiers would more a function of the transformers. My emphasis added on last bullet point.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-el...s/3/distortion

Transistors operating on low-voltage supplies tend to have higher spectral distortion components than tubes.

If we go to high-voltage transistors, operating on supplies comparable to those of the tubes, the distortion products are less objectionable. Unfortunately, the noise floor of such devices is much higher. The IRF822 was very triode-like in distortion yet suffered from a noise floor some 30 dB higher than that of the triode.

No other active device possesses both the low distortion products and the low noise floor of the medium-mu triode--albeit at the expense of voltage gain.

The distortion products of transformers are much lower than those of active devices, yet quite different in character. Note that the odd-order harmonic products tend to be higher in level than the even-order products--exactly the reverse of the tubes and transistors.
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Originally Posted by discopaul View Post
I do agree that it is best to avoid clipping entirely. Tube amps are at their best when paired with high sensitivity speakers like klipschorn for example. A 20 watt tube amp in such system could get tremendously loud.

As for the harmonic distortion, below is a link to IEEE circuit testing involving tubes and various solid state devices.
The alleged test looks to me like a sad joke. The author designed his own circuits in order to prove a generally false claim. Any reasonably competent designer could design circuits to support either side of the argument. However I believe that few would experience the kind of suspension of good judgement that would be required to publish the results with a straight face.

My evidence is based on current commercial gear tested by an independent party. Therefore there is no reasonable comparison with the highly biased results in that article, and the results I posted will be far more convincing to any reasonable person.
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post #113 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by koturban View Post
Physician, heal thyself!

You can't fight the masses, but you can push for a more appealing business case.
And what would that be?

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ALAC plays on iPhones and iPads. It doesn't need new technology. Try pushing for something for which you stand a better chance of getting than fizzle-in-the-pan Ponos.
Huh? Uncompressed PCM runs in every device known to man. FLAC is also far more popular than ALAC should you want to use lossless compression. There is no need for new technology. Don't get wrapped around the axle with Pono. That has nothing to do with my arguments.

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post #114 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 07:12 PM
 
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Huh? Uncompressed PCM runs in every device known to man. FLAC is also far more popular than ALAC should you want to use lossless compression. There is no need for new technology. Don't get wrapped around the axle with Pono. That has nothing to do with my arguments.
False claim. Anybody with hands on experience with computer digital music players and most other digital music players knows that very many of them are limited as to the sample rates and formats that they support for PCM. How did you miss learning that?
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post #115 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 07:15 PM
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False claim. Anybody with hands on experience with computer digital music players and most other digital music players knows that very many of them are limited as to the sample rates and formats that they support for PCM.
But they support PCM. So where exactly is the false claim? Back peddle arny, dig yourself out of that ABX hole you just dug.
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post #116 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 09:02 PM
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Well, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss tubes. They have the inherent advantage of producing even order harmonics when they begin to clip. Solid State devices generate odd order harmonics when they begin to clip. To the ear the odd order is much harsher sounding.
Hold IT!

The order of harmonics depends on the circuit design, NOT on the device. Single ended will have more even harmonics. Push-Pull more odd. Tube, transistor, whatever.

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post #117 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Audionut11 View Post
But they support PCM. So where exactly is the false claim? Back peddle arny, dig yourself out of that ABX hole you just dug.
PCM is not just one thing. Sample rate, bit depth, and channel format all matter to devices.

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post #118 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jj_0001 View Post
Hold IT!

The order of harmonics depends on the circuit design, NOT on the device. Single ended will have more even harmonics. Push-Pull more odd. Tube, transistor, whatever.
True, a design will also affect harmonics. However in a apples to apples comparison of devices in similar circuits as shown in the link I provided, the tubes faired better.
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post #119 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by discopaul View Post
True, a design will also affect harmonics. However in a apples to apples comparison of devices in similar circuits as shown in the link I provided, the tubes faired better.
Using a transistor in a circuit designed for a tube really isn't the way to go. I am familiar with that article, which I happen to know was not a reviewed article. At the time I was participating in the IEEE ASSP - Technical Committee on Audio and Electroacoustics. We did in fact see that article only after it was published, and suffice it to say there were some objections noted.

In short the comparisons are not apples to apples as was asserted.

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post #120 of 260 Old 01-06-2015, 11:05 PM
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Because the revenue generated would be below round off error. I speak from experience. We "killed" businesses at Microsoft that generated $10M in revenue because it was just the same -- too small to show up in the financial statements. The resources could be better leveraged for something that generates $100M in revenue for the same effort.

There are companies that work the top of the pyramid, and those who focus on the mass market. Apple (and Amazon) are focused around the mass market.

The only time there is an exception is if an influential executive makes the cause personal and pushes for it to get done, regardless of financial outcome.
Exactly and how does pushing for even higher resolution files help?

Markus

"In science, contrary evidence causes one to question a theory. In religion, contrary evidence causes one to question the evidence." - Floyd Toole
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