With the resurgence of good Hi-Fi, where more and more people buy good headphones and listen to a lot of music thanks to streaming, it’s sad to see the things the mastering engineers (and in the end the artist) do to music. The recordings are getting worse. Even old records that get the “Remastered” or “Expanded” treatment doesn’t sound as good as the original. Why?
John Meyer may be making really expensive loudspeakers, but when it comes to high-end audio, the audio engineering pioneer prefers free. FLAC, the open source audio format developed by Grateful Dead fans to trade bootleg recordings, is “the perfect format” for music aficionados looking for higher-resolution audio, Meyer told me during a recent interview. And to him, any company pushing trying to make a buck with selling upsampled music is just out to sell snake oil. “It’s tricking people who don’t know enough about technology,” he said.
I couldn’t agree more. We don’t need more formats. FLAC handless lossless compressed music without an hitch. Been using it for years and have my entire record collection in FLAC. I’m working on having my FLAC-encoded music in my car as well! Whohoo!
I’m working on a Raspberry Pi as a music player in my car. I’m putting all my music on a SSD disk in lossless FLAC. I’ve already got hold of a 2×16 character LCD with six button from Adafruit that only uses two pins for communication with I2C. It’s easy to program and it has four different background colors.
I love my music playback setup that consists of a couple of Squeezebox V3 players in different rooms so I can listen to music in lossless format wherever I am in the apartment. With the iPeng HD app on my iPad, I have a nice interface for controlling the players with album art and other nice features. But the best part is that I can playback high resolution audio directly on my iPad using the Camera Kit USB adapter and an HRT HeadStreamer DAC portable USB headphone amplifier. But I wanted a small, cheap and eco-friendly server for hosting my music files and wondered if I could use the Raspberry Pi. And here’s my findings.
So finally my new ProAc Response 2.5 clone playing music. And how they play! I got myself a new Class-A amplifier to have something nice to drive them with. At first they sounded a bit short on the bass side, but now after about 20 hours of listening, the bass starts to improve. I’ve never believed in the “burn-in” of speakers, but I have to say I’ve been mistaken.
I invited some friends over for a music listening party. A lot of records and an even larger amount of beer made for a beautiful evening.
At the same time I ordered my new amplifier, I also ordered a new DVD player with DVD-Audio and SACD playing capability. So I rush out to get my hands on a SACD record, but the only one I could find was the slightly overplayed Dark side of the moon by Pink Floyd. But it was a good test record because I have two different mastering versions on cd, so comparing was easy. And to my surprise the CD (actually Flac played through my Squeezebox) sounded better than the SACD one! So I had to check that the player didn’t play the normal cd layer, but no, it played the SACD layer. The singing voices on the SACD sounded muffled compared to the Japanese pressing of the CD. Also the pinpointing of instrument placements in the stereo image was not as good an coherent from the SACD. The player a Pioneer 696 is a low budget player so it could be it. But I’ll crank up the manual and check so I haven’t done something stupid with the settings.
More testing tomorrow…