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01-06-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Seattle, WA
Posts 93
Joined on 07-07-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 20431
Reply to: 20431
Computer Audio
Recently I tested the waters of computer audio.  I've been using a Sony SCD-1 transport / Museatex Bidat DAC combo for digital playback.  It has been a source of enjoyment for years.  My goals for trying network-based music files were:

- reduce physical CD clutter by ripping discs to network storage
- gain access to Internet radio and music services like Pandora, Spotify, etc
- gain personal experience with network audio sound quality

First, I turned my attention to my home network, upgrading with faster broadband service, added an 802.11n wifi router, and a Synology NAS.  After using and verifying that the upgraded network operated properly (this took a few days), I connected my 'everyday' system to the Internet using a Sonos Connect.

I expected to trade sound quality for convenience wrt to Sonos.  The question was whether the sound quality would suffer too much.  First impression was sufficiently positive to install a second Sonos on the main system.  The Sonos connects to the router, modem, and WAN via a wireless Sonos Bridge.  On the LAN side, Sonos feeds a SPIDF digital output to the Bidat.  The NAS is connected to the wifi router.

As expected, the convenience is easily addicting.  The ability to control music on both systems independently and create playlists for different events, times of day, and moods, is a joy.  Streaming radio sounds 'good enough', lacking the analog signature of a classic tuner.  But, I was surprised by my preference for playback via the network compared with the Sony SCD-1!  Music simply sounds less artificial and more natural via the network.  The difference is easy to distinguish, and contrary to my expectations.  This may be a case of having cake and eating it, too.

But the greatest benefit was unanticipated: I love having the ability to listen to radio stations from around the world.  I've traveled extensively, and listening to music from foreign cities is almost like making a partial visit.  For instance, my favorite classical performances are often Russian - it's pretty cool listening to the Moscow, London, and Geneva, Switzerland classical stations, among others.  For jazz, I go to New Orleans, Chicago, NYC, SF, and also Geneva, Switzerland. Electronica and chill? London, UK.  I can listen in to local radio up in Whistler, BC, where I visit to ski.  News?  BBC, CBC, and NPR.  This access is great for exposure - not just to recorded music (there are many options for this), but exposure to the cultural context and language from abroad.

I haven't started using online music services - yet.  I feel like I have access to the largest repository of recorded music in the universe by going online.  My sole regret is not having done this sooner.
01-06-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,740
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 20432
Reply to: 20431
I do not share those sentiments.
Hm, I do not share those sentiments.  I do not use any servicers but rather I have in my player a few dozen of live streaming station.  You can look at my thread:

and it was 6 years back, now there are zillion more. It is pretty much anything that above 192bbits is listenable. The sound quality is very bad but the diversity of materials of cause is thrilling.

Now, why I do not share your excitement sentiments? You see, with using the online streaming for a while I recognized that I do not want to have too wide diversity. Instead I would like to have a well focused programming with predictable musical quality of playlists, otherwise it sound to me more like elevator music.

Frankly I do not think that we are taking about Computer Audio but rather about Computer-based music source. The nature of loosy compression does not allow talking seriously about audio, unfortunately.

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-08-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Posts 327
Joined on 05-23-2009

Post #: 3
Post ID: 20433
Reply to: 20432
It's interesting that the enthusiasm in going to a more convenient but lower fidelity system is apparently higher than the reverse. Shows why audiophiles are a niche sect. The OP would have been more convincing if the enthusiasm was paired with a logical and cogent presentation rather than non sequiturs, post hoc rationalizing or internal contradictions (eg stating that one prior goal was to access more radio stations through the computer and then two para later stating how surprising it all was to have access to more radio stations). It would be more useful (I assume) to discuss procedures which mitigate the sonic downside if computer based audio is insisted on. The point I plan on investigating this year is whether separate file based players such as the Bryston BDP or the new Sony HAP (not part of a conventional computer) sound as good or better than equivalent CD disk players.
01-08-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Seattle, WA
Posts 93
Joined on 07-07-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 20434
Reply to: 20433
Whatever. Steverino.
OT - Is Steverino your real name, childhood nickname, or how you prefer being addressed at the gym?

You missed the meta-point.  I waited a long time before trying computer audio because of my reservations for trading more convenience for lower sound quality. 

'The OP would have been more convincing...'  I'm not interested in convincing you of anything.  I am sharing my personal experience for the purpose of discussion with other interested enthusiasts.

My enthusiasm is ironic, given my predisposition to reject this format due to poor sound quality.  Instead, I found myself enjoying access to familiar music presented in the context of foreign cities via streaming radio.  The cultural / geographic presentation is simply an unexpected pleasure for me.

I have no interest in being helpful in 'mitigating the sonic downside' for you.  Go ahead, have at it, and report back if that floats your boat.  If not, that's fine, too.

But I will gladly discuss the topic with people who are able to articulate themselves in a less passive aggressive / more constructive manner.

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