Agree to disagree

May 21, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

When it comes to strongly held matters of opinion I believe it is sometimes best to agree to disagree.

This simple act often has the ability to relieve a bit of pressure from the argument. With lower pressure perhaps one day, a bit of middle ground might open up.

Case in point there’s been an ongoing battle in the comments section of our YouTube channel about higher sample rates than 44.1kHz. It is there that after many attempts to express an opinion based on years of experience I must resort to asking if we might just settle the matter by agreeing to disagree.

When I write that there is a major sonic difference between making a recording at 44.1kHz vs. 176kHz some will automatically jump to the conclusion we’re speaking about upsampling vs. original recordings. Indeed, upsampling may benefit sound quality because the DAC uses a different filter algorithm but not because there’s more information. There is not.

What’s missing is pretty important. It cannot be effectively argued that an A/D converter running at 4X sample rate sounds identical to one running at standard CD quality speeds. If that’s where the argument is going it suggests to me either the person has never actually made the experiment or, if they did, they were not evaluating the results on a system with enough resolving power to hear the differences.

Whatever the case, the discussion turns heated because the conclusions don’t match each other’s worldview. I get that.

Time to agree to disagree.

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39 comments on “Agree to disagree”

  1. My response today is based on the fact I have on my desk an LP, London Digital/Solti/CSO/Bruckner 5, issued in 1980. A digital recording that preceded digital playback. In those days few knew anything about digital encoding. The liner notes included a full reprint of an explanation of digital recording, published in Gramophone in June 1979, written by the General Manager of the recording company. It includes the following:

    “The digital encoding process is divided into two parts, sampling and quantization. The sampling process involves taking microscopically brief samples of the input electrical signal at exactly regular intervals. It has been proved mathematically that this sampling must take place at a frequency greater than twice the highest frequency of interest. Since for sound purposes 20,000 cycles per second (Hertz) is generally regarded as the highest frequency we need to record, sampling must take place at a frequency higher than 40,000 Hz. For practical reasons, the frequency actually chosen is in the region of 50,000 Hz.

    Quantization is the second part of the process and it involves the very accurate measurement of the instantaneous size (voltage) of each of the successive signal samples arising from the previous step. .. If the samples are taken sufficiently rapidly and the voltage measurement is carried out to a high enough accuracy, a virtually perfect reconstruction of the curve can be achieved by replotting the points and joining them up .

    For sound recording, a code involving 16 binary digits is usually the aim in professional applications and this provides an accuracy sufficient to handle the entire musical dynamic range with some in reserve. The 16 binary digits are in the form of very simple on/off signals, but occurring at very high speed – 50,000 X 16 = 800,000 per second.”

    I agree with Paul that upsampling, DSD conversion etc, is a separate topic. However, I think this quotation illustrates that a complex issue can be explained in ways that anyone can understand, and hopefully agree on – in this case, why 16 bit at 44.1Khz was chosen for digital playback.

    Anyone who makes an argument including the phrase “its complicated” is both condescending and too lazy to formulate an explanation. Usually it’s a cop-out. Disagreement will be the result.

    1. This might be valid for the sampling of pure (!) sine waves limited to 20 kHz. But on one hand there is a frequency content in music being far higher. And: music isn’t the superposition of pure sine waves but is characterized by more or less steep transients and sharp impulses especially for percussion instruments and plucked string instruments. Thus it is most unlikely that the sampling and quantization process catches all peak values of a sharp transients! Thus the higher the sampling frequency and the higher the number of bits the smaller the deviation from those peak values! But the most crucial question still is: which quality of the reproduction chain and your hearing ability and performance is mandatory to perceive the technical improvements via audible parameters??? Do I need an IRSV tower of ribbons or a plasma tweeter or at least the most expensive electrostatic headphones?

      1. ps, I usually do not post in these discussions because most people simply do not understand what the impact of frequencies about 20 kHz is on the music we hear. You have come very close to getting it right. I am assuming that you do not have and advance degree in math, physics or electrical engineering so saying it the way you did is quite remarkable. Here is what I would like to add to what you said.

        First, All music including those transients you spoke about can be represented as a series of simple sine waves. A very brilliant French dude named Fourier discovered this back in 1822. His first enunciation of this idea was not as rigorous as it could be and unfortunately he died in 1830 so other mathematicians had to work on for another 100 years or so to get it completely correct, but today we have these things called spectrum analyzers that prove Fourier right everyday. Google Fourier, Fourier’s Theorem, or square waves and click on the Wikipedia sightings and you will see what I mean in the graphic displays.

        Second, for most music ( 99% ) 16 bits ( if your doing PCM ) is good enough and 24 bits is good enough for the rest.

        Third, I actually did the experiment that Paul mentioned in his post. I have a studio A/D recorder ( made by TASCAM ) that does both hi-rez PCM and DSD. When I first got it I made a simple test of doing the same needle drop in 24/48, 24/96 and 24/192. When I heard the difference between 24/48 and 24/96 I was stunned. The improvement in SQ, imaging, sound stage was beyond belief just by doubling the sampling rate. I was certain that nothing changed except the sample rate. At the time my speakers were not cheap ( $6K for the pair ) but were no were near IRSV capabilities yet the difference between 24/48 and 24/96 was clear as could be.

    2. My understanding of the Nyquist theorem from actually reading it, rather than someone “quoting” it, is that it is based on single sinusoidal frequencies. If this is correct, it does not apply to music, as music is about as far from a single sinusoidal frequency as one can get. This actually helps to explain why a 44.1/24 file sounds better than a 44.1/16 file mastered from identical masters by the same people.

      1. Neil, No, the Nyquist theorem applies anytime you digitize any signal. You have to determine the highest frequency in the signal’s frequency content and sample at a rate that is twice the highest frequency. So if you can sample at any rate you need to there is no problem. You simply jack up the sampling rate to twice the highest frequency in your signal.

        The problem that occurs in the real world is that most ADC ( analog to digital converter ) have fixed sampling rates ( or perhaps a range of fixed sampling rates ). If your signal has a highest frequency above 1/2 your sampling rate then you have to bandwidth limit ( i.e. filter ) that signal to remove the frequency content that is more than 1/2 your sampling or you will get aliasing ( ghost signals that are not in the original unlimited signal). The result of the bandwidth limiting is leading edges of signals are not as sharp, there is pre-ringing, phase alterations and other distortions.

        My experience is that going to 96 kS.p.s. ( kilo samples per second ) instead of 48 kS.p.s. makes a big difference in the sound of digitized music.

    3. Digital recording dates back even further. Back in 1970, I bought an open reel tape from the Windsor Tape Club. I don’t remember the composer, or album title, but it was classical piano music, recorded at 7 1/2 ips from a digital source by a company with a name something like Sound Stream. They had been doing digital recordings from about 1966 onto reel tape, and this was their first (and I think only) commercial release. I had never heard a piano recorded so well. Better than early CDs.

    4. Agreeing to disagree is the cheap way to end a discussion that’s going nowhere. The question is why is it going nowhere? Paul claims discussions get heated because conclusions don’t match each other’s worldviews. He fails to describe those worldviews. Another cheap out.

      I claim conclusions on both sides are real. What we hear or see or feel is what is real for each of us. It is what our senses perceive and has nothing to do with worldviews.

      I do not think the Octave recordings offer better than average sound quality. I have heard many recordings at 44.1kHz sample rates that sound more accurate and lifelike than the Octave recordings; any of them.

      Is my system flawed? No system is perfect but I doubt it. It’s an all PS rig with, except for the speakers, the best components offered by the company, starting with a P15 regenerator and on with DSD DAC, BHK Pre and 250 amp. I have Focal Electras 1038be and Klipsch Forte IVs speakers. Power cords and interconnects are Audioquest, not the best but a notch below Whole Foods prices.

      Are my rooms and hearing perfect? I also doubt it. Who but the young and vampires have perfect hearing? Who except the rich can afford room acoustic perfection? I have a reasonably acoustically friendly room with good speaker placement and fairly golden ears, but some friends just call them big.

      Are my speakers the resolution of Paul’s references? I know they are not. He and others with speakers having different resolutions than my own, though not all necessarily better, can hear differences and I believe every word they say.

      The real point in the discussion is not if the differences in what we hear prove that recording at higher sample rates yields superior sound quality. The real point is that a relatively small percentage of audiophiles appear capable of hearing the difference.

      Which brings up what I believe is the real question. What are the ethics of marketing recordings that only a very few people will be able to enjoy for their sound quality? Expectations are hardly qualified, meaning how resolving a system do you need to have to fully appreciate a higher sampled recording?

      I’m not arguing recording at higher sampling rates is a worthless exercise. Going to the moon was not worthless even though the experience has been enjoyed by very few people indeed. The process to get there yielded new experiences and technologies well worth having. Will recording at higher sampling rates yield similar benefits? I certainly hope so.

      However, I certainly will not be one to foot the bill or set expectations that promise the moon and simply yield the stratosphere for those of us unable to enjoy the benefits of higher sampled recordings. Let those with the money and passion for technology foot the bill. I will pay for the benefits of the technologies that arise when those get incorporated into products I will be able to use.

      I fear PS Audio is losing its way. I can fully appreciate Paul’s dream of cradle to grave audio solution. However, I have seen too many companies fail for over-reaching. Unless things have changed, Paul expressed in a video pride in not needing investors. If I did not already have an all PSA rig I would not buy more company products knowing a fraction will go towards supporting what may turn out to be expansion into a grave.

      I want to see PS Audio live happily ever after, or as long as possible until I die or my gear gets there first.

      So, you see, it’s easier to kill the argument about sampling rates by agreeing to disagree. If we do, the issue of having our Hi-Fi Family lose sight of its core mission will not arise.

      1. psalvet,
        The discussions generally go nowhere because people perceive sound differently & because of long-held beliefs that some egos are no able to change or relinquish.
        Huge egos will always try to convince others that their opinions are fact & ultimately it’s usually best to just ‘let the baby have his/her rattle’…you know that you’re right from your own personal ‘life experience’ & that’s all that matters.

        I think that you are over reaching saying that PS Audio is losing it’s way by going into DSD recording just because other companies have failed because they have over reached.
        Unless you have a crystal ball, that is a very big & unfounded call to make, in my not so humble opinion,..only time will tell.

        Personally I have around 1,000 Redbook CDs that serve me just fine & I’m not changing anytime soon.

        Happy listening 😉

  2. There are those people who just wont do the most fundamental & obvious thing in home audio
    & that is to base their judgments on LISTENING.
    Some are far more interested in the theoretical or ‘ASR’ side of audio.
    I for one will never agree to disagree with those idiots, but having said that; ‘each to their own’.

    **CtA**
    Since you are such a champion of powered (active) loudspeakers for high-end audio systems,
    there are a handful of us here on this site who are curious to know what active high-end loudspeakers are you currently employing in your SOTA & (perfectly accurate) audio set-up?
    Please don’t tell us that you’ve crammed a ‘Superscope R-1240’ receiver into a ‘BOSE 501’ loudspeaker cabinet:-)

  3. This kind of situation transcends music, and is evident in all walks of life … my football team is superior to yours, this food is too salty, that was a great film. Life is too short to try and resolve every debate … sometimes, choose your battle and walk away. Often easier said than done though!

    Thanks Paul for all your wise and kind words on here and YouTube.

  4. Seems like the goal of digital is to get as close to analog as possible. After all music is analog that’s converted to digital and back to analog hopefully without messing anything up.

    As far as arguing over the sound of amplifiers there are many great sounding amplifiers out there and arguing over which one is best is a waste of time. We should just agree that all of the good amplifiers sound great and you cannot go wrong with any of them.

    The new model just released is not necessarily better sounding than the previous one, it might not even sound better to many who listen. Some will even claim the newer model is inferior to the previous model.

    That’s never going to stop the release of the newest and latest model that boasts superiority over the last one. How else can they make money unless they make that claim?

    The same with speakers and all stereo components.

    1. Hi Joe,
      Just to illustrate your point.
      In 1990 the Pioneer A-400 integrated amp was a five star winner;
      every reviewer loved it’s sonic ability for it’s retail price.
      The next model, the A-400X was a dog.
      What went wrong?
      Who knows, but it was flat, dull & totally uninspiring; a great loss both
      financially & reputationally (not technically a real word) for Pioneer.

  5. I have found that some people use completely incorrect basic assumptions as the basis of their reasoning. Some people use confused logic. Some people have different expectations and benchmarks. Hifi is too precise a topic and therefore it is not possible to discuss with such people.

  6. I honestly hear a difference in 24/96k, especially when dabbling into my bluray audio and live concert discs.
    I guess some will commence to take a dump on my head for that, however it is like what some have said already (Martin) that many upon many aren’t really actually serious listeners, who generally take the time and critically listen at home.

  7. Is analog recording perfect? No. Is digital recording perfect. Again no. And they obviously don’t sound the same. Even if you feed the microphone preamp output into the best splitter you make and then into an immaculately tweaked Struder reel-to-reel deck running at 30 inches per second and into a Meitner DSD ADC/DAC chain, they will sound slightly different when played back, even when level matched to within a gnat’s eye lash over a great system properly set up in a great room. Paul would probably prefer the DSD recording. Someone else, say Michael Fremer, will likely prefer the analog recording. Even if they were both present when the recording was made. Both are skilled. critical listeners with decades of experience. But they are different people and their central nervous systems are similar, but also not the same. As Daniel Abraham and/or Ty Frank (collaborators using the nom de plume of James S. A. Corey) wrote in the science fiction novel Abaddon’s Gate, human brains uses the same general template, but they are all custom grown; not to mention that they are constantly rewiring themselves. As a simple experiment, if I swap eye glasses with someone else it is extremely unlikely that either of us will like what we see (and don’t see). Why should our ears be any different? So ultimately all you can do is listen for yourself and make your own decision. If someone disagrees with you, consider that they are probably not getting the same information, possibly even considerably different information, and processing that information differently.

    And so to bed.

      1. Yeah, make everything as equal as technically possible. Finesse every possible parameter. State-of-the-art across the board (the Struder tape deck and Meitner digital gear are just for instances, someone like Gus Skinas would know what’s best and I’ll happily defer to his choices for such an experiment, beyond thought and text). And everybody will still hear things differently because that’s just neurological reality. It’s literally all in and on your head. Plus tactile nerves all over your body as you feel the pressure waves if you crank the volume. Master percussionist Evelyn Glennie regularly performs bare foot to feel the music as she is profoundly deaf.

  8. Most who respond here, or even the one who writes the daily post, seem to have no issues with either disagreeing or agreeing. In fact the disagree’er’s (I know, f’d up spelling 😉 ) are usually louder and appear more passionate.

    The biggest differences seem to be in the recording / mastering of any given format.

    My ass has been chewed for saying this before, but I’ll say it again since I could use a little a little more weight loss…. And now have some more experience playing around to base my observation on.

    When I download 24 bit or above PCM files (typically in AIFF) and play them thru the DSDAC I don’t feel like I need to do anything but listen. I attribute that to the fact the DSDAC is really playing back in DSD. Yet when I rip cd’s as WAV files and convert to AIFF for tagging and art work there seems to be some sort of ‘edge’ or artifact that gets to me over the long term. To get around that, and since hard drive storage space is not an issue, I find that converting the 16 bit AIFF files to stored DSD files and then playing back those files takes away the edge/ artifact I hear. I could easily justify doing this to myself before getting the DSDAC… filtering etc. I’ve done direct comparisons of the original wav file to the DSD conversion and while the differences are subtle they are there. So I spend the time and convert since it’s more pleasing to my ears.

    Another ‘rule’ I tend to go by (when I can find the info) is to pick the sample rate a recording or remaster was done at, rather than to save a buck and get a downsampled version or waste a buck paying for something that was upsampled.

    Maybe I would think differently if I had a Perfectwave Transport….

  9. Never ending discussions/arguments on forums rages on about cables, supports etc without even starting on digital of which, like cables there will never ever be concensus.
    I believe Paul’s got it right when he adds ” they were not evaluating the results on a system with enough resolving power to hear the differences.”
    But that in itself would start another argument – I’ve learnt now to stay well clear.

  10. My opinions about audio may have changed, but not the fact that I am right.
    If you don’t agree with me that’s okay, as long as you know you’re wrong.

  11. I have a window sticker in my rear car window that says
    “be nice“ in lowercase letters.

    I made comments on this site about a month or more ago about the issue of too much ego in the air and that it wasn’t a good thing for me to have to get involved in.

    I sometimes wind up getting into arguments with people on other blogs but the way I leave things as is “why don’t you just enjoy what you like and I will enjoy what I like”. When it comes to the topic of audio this is the attitude I have to take instead of being outspoken because my knowledge base is not anywhere near some of the other contributors and I think these highly technical issues should be left to the designers of high-end audio equipment. Sometimes too much knowledge can be dangerous.

  12. You all knew I’d weigh in right. Ok here we go. When I was younger, my first stereo experience was my dads first also. It was a “Zenith HiFi” system with AM/FM radio, a turntable and an eight track tape deck, all in this really big piece of furniture on legs. It sounded great to me(loud). The following year I came home from school only to find the big stereo system(furniture) was gone. Puzzled was I, I looked again only the find my father behind the bar in the den finishing up on wiring the new sound. There were two boxes that had these little bottles sticking out of the top of each one(McIntosh), and they were all lit up. There were two speakers “Finders” that had been mounted on the wall flanking the fireplace. Two diamond shaped speakers(Bose 901’s) in the corners and this big box near the window with a speaker screen cover over the center of it. That one was shaped like an octagon. Inside were two 12″ woofers. It was custom built by my dad. There was a cool looking turntable(Lynn) all incased in wood, separate from the rest, a cassette deck(Marantz), a reel to reel(Teac) and you guest it, a separate eight track player(Empire). He fired it up with Grover Washington Jr and all I remember was it was so loud, but it was crystal clear! My dad like the volume knob. Although I could hear every detail, at that time I only remember that it was loud and clear! he put a do not touch sign on it, but we couldn’t wait for his ass to take a trip so we could have at it!! So Paul, Joe, Fat Rat, Burphy, Paulsquirrel, Hiace, Hephilim 81, Richtea, Allan G, Stimpy 2, Jb4, tarheelneil, both Mike’s and all of the Steven’s, hear this clearly. Each of our ears are so different. You can argue all you want just so that you can hear yourselves talk, and that’s ok too, but this is fact, READY?, our ears are different, and what we hear in our different systems in our rooms will not be the same, EVER! Get over it! Thanks Fat Rat for that true statement. Trust your ears. 🙂

    PS. The entire system was left to our baby brother who pawned it all to fuel his drinking habit that took him away from us this past February 🙁 and of course, we knew about his drinking, but didn’t know…. it’s very hard to think bad about your family. I’d like to think he’s listening to it right now. That makes me happy 🙂 Love you bro!

    AS ALWAY’S, JUST KEEP LISTENING!

    Thanks to you Paul and all of the cool ass engineers out here who care enough to give us great equipment and a platform to argue about it all. 🙂

    1. Hawk,
      I’m sorry for your loss.
      ps. 98% of the regulars here are in agreement with you that everyone hears differently.
      You’ll find very little disagreement on that point my friend 🙂

  13. Off topic: the Captcha is getting very, very annoying. Is this site classified or what ?

    My take away for today: if someone does not hear what I (think to) hear I can always win the discussion by telling the other person his system is not good enough to “show” these differences. Problem solved.
    OR…tell him he cannot hear what I hear because he has no math degree and/or physics degree.
    And hawkaudio, apart from the sad story of your brother, you could have saved yourself a lot of words by just saying that audio is 100% SUBJECTIVE. That’s all there is to it.

  14. The thing people fail to realize is that this is all about the sound of filters and the distortions from number-crunching aka DSP. Bandwidth is only a symptom. The Nyquist spec assumes an infinite slope low-pass filter with no ringing. That simply doesn’t exist. Practical filters require higher sample rates.

    No modern A to D converter I’m aware of actually operates at 44.1. They all sample much higher and then down-sample for storage. The question is at what point and by how much do you down-sample? Every time you do it, you add a low-pass filter. What does that filter sound like? Higher sample rates allow the use of much gentler filters that are less prone to ringing within the audible range below 20k. Distortion from DSP causing artifacts within the audible range is the same problem. Where you will hear the difference is in the midrange and not the high-end.

    I’ve been checking out Amazon Music HD which streams FLACs for $7.99 a month. If you click on the Ultra HD emblem to the left of the controls, it shows the sample rate and bit depth. I was surprised to find mostly 24 bit and a lot of 48k and 96k recordings.

  15. “If that’s where the argument is going it suggests to me either the person has never actually made the experiment or, if they did, they were not evaluating the results on a system with enough resolving power to hear the differences.”

    … or not evaluating the results with a brain with enough resolving power to hear the differences! Brains have to be trained and it takes time and mental effort to teach oneself to become aware of differences.

  16. I have posted on this topic many times. The short version of my personal experience is that DSD was a total revelation – my first reaction was “I thought it was going to be subtle!” I later compared 16/44, 24/96, 24/192, 24/384 and DSD under optimal controlled conditions using the essential type of source for the comparison: microphone pair, medium distance, concert grand piano in a well respected Classical recording soundstage which is architecturally suitable for the instrument and composition, the optimum size, shape, reflectivity, and diffusion for piano music. (NOT a recording studio like Octave.)

    The main differences between the formats were clarity of transients (piano is a percussion instrument); the clarity of the overtone structure (piano has non-integral overtones from the high tensile strings and complex spatial and phase relationships form the large double sided sound board) and the clarity of the room ambience, which reflected the transients and phase relationships of the complex 3D piano waveshapes. These differences will be obscured by ANY AND ALL KNOBS used in recording: mixing, panning, equalization, limiting, compression, gating, “aural exciters” and artificial reverb. Two mics, two channels, two speakers, nothing in between except gain – and the mics need to be small diaphragm condensers with flat off-axis response like Shoeps MK8, separated by a distance between the diameter and half a circumference of a human head.

    Further, this test was optimal for MY EARS. I was raised on piano. A Mason & Hamlin was the only source of music in the house until I was 13, of which 11 years were in rural environments with zero traffic and lawn care motors. I also have a piano in the music room which was played daily for the last 20 years; and have attended an average of two acoustic concerts a week up until 5 March 2020.

    If you learned to hear music through speakers during developmental years from birth to age 20; if you listen to YouTube and/or Spotify all day; if your tastes are for commercial mixed and mastered music; and if you have urban street noise or motorized appliances penetrating you home or office; OF COURSE you can’t hear a difference between Redbook, HD and one bit recordings. Most people in industrialized societies have a threshold of hearing at 10-20dB instead of ZERO, and are so acclimated to universal distortions of their particular audio that it is like water to fish.

    The logical fallacies of the Fourier argument are many; but I don’t want to re-hash them except to say the Fourier Theorem (a proven mathematical fact) assumes that ears work like machines, but they could not be more different.

    The logical fallacy in perceptual arguments, as in “I could not hear a difference” is assuming that DNA is a blueprint. This false assumption would mean that all clones would have exactly the same hearing facility, and that my hearing should be substantially the same as everyone else’s because it has the same design. Therefore, if I can hear something that you can’t, it must be a delusion.

    Let me give you a reverse example: I do not hear imaging from pan pots, which is common to other people who listen to acoustic music more hours per day than to loudspeakers. If you hear ‘soundstaging’ from mixed mono multi-tracks, it is YOU who are delusional. Further, I find artificial reverb annoying and brain scrambling, and it is essential for mixed multi-tracks (except for Bruce Swedien’s “Acusonic” process which records everything in NCP stereo using the same mic pair in the same place in a soundstage to overlay the same acoustic room reverb signature of every discrete location of sound source).

    Contrapositive examples: I hear ringing from bass transients from vented boxes, high Qms woofers, etc. I can hear well under 5ms of group delay, other time distortions (breakup modes in diaphragms, phase shifts in high order crossovers, etc.) and miniscule levels of Doppler distortion, which is exaggerated by small drivers and increase exponentially when approaching realistic levels. I can hear all these universal distortions because I grew up with and keep my ears ‘broken in’ to acoustic music.

    What you CAN hear as an adult is limited by what you heard daily as a child. We are born unable to cognize any sounds, and our brain grows, wires and programs neural networks in response to the raw data entering our pinnae. As evidence, I cite Krista Hyde and Gottfried Shlaug’s peer reviewed brain imaging studies which show that daily practice and training in musical performance from childhood STIMULATES THE GROWTH of 10 billion additional neurons in the brain, in part to hear music ten times better than speaker listeners. MRI images are not subject to aural opinion. Most of my conservatory trained musician friends hear the difference of HD. Whose ears do you trust, people who listen to live music since childhood and for a living, or people who listen to speakers for a living?

    http://www.musicianbrain.com/papers/Hyde_MusicTraining_BrainPlasticity_nyas_04852.pdf

    If you CAN’T hear the difference between Redbook and DSD, then either your brain is stunted and/or your audio output is distorted. Either way, you need to break in your ears to acoustic music by going to a lot of concerts and a moratorium on audio; replace your collection with DSD live recordings with one mic per speaker; and vacation off-grid with zero bars and no motors to reach true musical nirvana. It worked for me and my friends – more goosebumps, chills, euphoria, tears of joy, and memorable peak experiences.

    I also have a library of personal live Near Coincident Pair DSD concert recordings that include electric, electronic, and electro-acoustic music through stage technology based on the same hearing research and testing with conservatory trained musicians. So yes, I listen the synthesizers, electric guitars, basses, and pianos, amplified balloons, saws, clay pot and water bubbles, plus live computer processing of mic signals. These are being used to great musical effect, and benefit from ‘high definition’ systems as much as acoustic music.

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