How can I hear what I am missing

April 5, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

7 comments on “How can I hear what I am missing”

  1. If anything that I would do first, is take baby steps doing the upgrades.
    The mane part of any stereo system, are the speakers.
    Upgrade to better ones. If you’re still not convinced, then get a better amplifier.
    If that’s not getting you close enough, then upgrade all of your cables.
    Then make the jump for better audio sources.
    And pretty soon, you’ll be close to where you want to be.
    But to be sure, a good SACD player/transport, and a really good dac.

  2. The idea of “what am I Missing” is a very tough one as Paul admitted. The main idea is that audio should not bring you stress is important. There are folks who have $100K systems and still have the same issues.

    The questions should be: 1.) Does my play back system sound like real instruments? Keep in mind much of that will be based on some recording that may be good or not. If the recording is NOT good then you have a real problem in trying to make some comparison. If you can play SACDs, I would recommend you order the PS Audio Octave Records Grusin disc as that is a great piano sound. Then you will have a benchmark in terms of a great recorded piano sound. 2.) If you or a friend play the acoustic guitar, get together safely and listen to a live acoustic guitar played well and then have ready a great guitar recording you own and see how close they are. Which did you like?

    I attended at least 6 concerts at Emory University here in Atlanta to keep my reference of what “real” is and then make a determination if my system at home come close to that. The pandemic stopped all of that, sadly.

    As a side note, I started recording school bands at public schools and universities near me to get an understanding of what it took to capture a live performance to make it sound “real” at home. It also allowed me to hear, in person, small and large choral and band ensembles; and I even did some solo recordings of singers and pianists. It was “ear opening” to find out how hard is it to capture “real” and realizing that 16/44.1 was not going to do it well enough. 2496 was a big improvement; 24/192 a touch more. If you want to capture the most DSD is the ticket.

    I have greatly enjoyed the PS Audio Octave Records Grusin disc as an SACD and as a pure DSD stream out of my computer into a DSD DAC. Sometimes if you want to hear more, you have to start out with more. DSD does that.

    You might think about upgrading your digital end with a Direct Stream DAC or the Gain Cell DAC if that is the format you use the most.

  3. Paul,
    Where is your static dissipative mat and wrist strap (maybe in the background) for the pc board assembly repair area? Naughty, naughty. You wouldn’t believe the number of latent failures in electronics when people don’t handle pc boards with the requisite ESD (electro-static discharge) counter-measures. I see the static dissipative bags containing the pc boards, but nothing on the butcher block work table. Plus you guys are in a very low humidity region which makes static buildup much more problematic.
    Thanks for your consideration,

    P.S. Maybe you have an ionizer out of the video frame which could mitigate the static dangers.

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