Tag Archives: CD’s

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

What’s the same in high end audio isn’t always the same.

Unlucky 7

It doesn’t sound like much. The difference between 48 and 41 is only 7 but that can make a lot of difference when it comes to audio.

The industry standard in recording studios is 48kHz sample rate and its multiples of 96kHz and 192kHz.

For reasons unknown to me, the consumer industry chose 44kHz for CDs which means every recording made at 48kHz has to be downsampled and converted to 44kHz before being made into a CD. While this might seem to be a small issue it is rather a large source of sonic trouble.

I had mentioned in yesterday’s post that the software tools used to downsample and master CDs has an enormous impact on the quality of sound we get to eventually hear on our stereo systems. Only a few of the best mastering engineers have made an exhaustive study of the available tools and hand-selected the best sounding solution: Gus Skinas, Cookie Marenco, and Bernie Grundman come to mind. For 99.9% of the CDs mastered by the others, quality is a bit of a crapshoot.

It is instructive to note that what we might think of as having little meaning, the transformation of 48 to 44, actually plays a huge roll in how our music sounds.

We could call it the unlucky 7.

 

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

With over 2100 CD’s ripped to my music library in WAV format, I have no use for high resolution music streaming, although I do stream for background music for my house music system.

However, there are differences between the two major players in the hi-rez streaming business and it looks like one company from Europe will take over that business.

Streaming wars

Sometimes wars are won without much of a battle. Such is the case with the Streaming Wars.

As I have reported more than a few times I am not a big fan of Tidal. It’s a nice service with a decent library but sound quality always was an issue. Compared to my reference of CDs played on DMP there was not even a contest. In fact, the difference is so stark that I do my best to keep Tidal unavailable in Music Room One because it does not properly represent the system’s capabilities. Instead, we limit the options to my Mac Mini server or the best option, discs played back on DMP: still the gold standard for digital audio playback.

But now there’s Qobuz, the French company with their 40 million track library and quality streaming soon to be available in the States. Team members at PS Audio have been given accounts so that we might learn about this service and I must tell you, I am impressed. Blown away, in fact. While not quite as good as DMP it’s within spittin’ distance.

Qobuz allows you to not only stream but to download onto your local hard drive (they are encrypted so don’t get too excited about copying them onto discs) and sound better played back from the drive than streamed over the internet.

DirectStream and DS Junior owners can stream Qobuz through the Bridge in resolutions up to 192kHz 24 bits when available. Or, simply stream or download to your computer and connect via USB.

Finally, a streaming service that works like you’d want it to. No more fussing with MQA in the hopes it’ll be “better” than the original. Now you can enjoy a library that’s multiple lifetimes big and much of it at 192kHz 24 bits. You can bet Qobuz will be central to our upcoming Octave system.

The battle lasted about 10 seconds, but that’s good.

The war’s over.