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In Reply to: RE: Tidal on Bluesound posted by email@example.com on February 27, 2017 at 10:34:43
Bits are not bits. Jitter is one problem. Clock stability is another. Unstable power supplies. RFI problems. Reflections caused by poor impedance matching. Also the analog output sections of these devices can be poor to excellent. Digital playback can be very very complicated.
> Bits are not bits. Jitter is one problem. Clock stability is another. Unstable power supplies. RFI problems. Reflections caused by poor impedance matching. Also the analog output sections of these devices can be poor to excellent. Digital playback can be very very complicated.
But surely if I use the same hardware (and definitely no PC in the system), there should be no difference whether it gets it's 16/44.1 files from NAS (my own music library), Tidal, Qobuz, or any other streaming service offering 16/44.1? If not, why not? Thanks
But surely if I use the same hardware (and definitely no PC in the system), there should be no difference whether it gets it's 16/44.1 files from NAS (my own music library), Tidal, Qobuz, or any other streaming service offering 16/44.1? If not, why not? Thanks "
Alan has already given several reasons why differences can exist. There are others (latency, phase). Remember that the hardware involved isn't just yours when streaming. You are hearing the hardware (and software) from e.g. Qobuz or Tidal too.
There is a simple test. Just sign up to a streaming service. Then listen to the same 16/44.1 piece of music from your NAS and from the streaming service. Obviously as they are both 16/44.1 they will sound exactly the same :-)
You want something that is controlled from your Windows PC? Then download the Qobuz desktop to it. It is highly "sorted".
But the different services are using different hardware to send you the files
riddled with all the above problems so the same file sent by the different services could sound different. You are falling into the old cd is perfect sound forever.
When I sent a digital master from our studio to be converted into a cd the cd never or seldom sounded the same as the original master.
By the way the digital signal sent from your computer to your dac is actual an analog signal subject to analog problems
Thanks but you're confusing me here and I'd like to be clear on what is actually happening.
A CD is made and is entirely digital with, let's say 6000,005 bits of information. If I rip this CD to the hard drive in my NAS, my ripping software isn't happy until it's extracted 600,005 bits.
If Tidal or Qubuz offer me that CD as a 16/44.1 stream, I'd expect my receiving device (my NAD M12 with Bluos card or my Sonos) to receive 600,005 bits - no more, no less, no analogue.
I have no "computer" in the system apart from one to select my music and to control my hardware - it doesn't touch the music.
Up to now everything is 100% digital and 100% identical to the CD itself, except that if I play the CD in a player, it is likely to pick up less than 600,005 bits but will make up the missing bits with its error correction circuits.
Are you agreeing with is or not so far? As I understand it, this is why music that's been effectively ripped from a CD onto a hard drive should sound marginally better than playing the CD itself in real time.
Now, the digital flow of bits (sent in "packages" by my NAS drive or by Tidal, etc) is worked on by my NAD M12 to produce an accurate and real time stream of bits that it sends down the AES/EBU cable to my DAC.
So far everything is 100% digital but instead of being packaged, it's now a real time stream. This work is done by the NAD, irrespective of where the packages of data came from.
The DAC converts to analogue - the first time since the music came down the microphone cables in the studio that it has been analogue, unless it was an old analogue recording in which case it was digitised some time later, but still before it found its way onto a CD.
Please correct me if any of this is incorrect. I can understand why streamed music may suffer from dropouts or other problems relating to the actual transmission of data between the server in the sky (or wherever Tidal or Qobuz keep their hardware) and my router, but I can't see why one file of 6000,005 bits should be any different from another.
Now for illustration, I've said 600,005 bits, but conversion to FLAC should losslessly reduce this to a smaller bit count, but I'd expect that bit count to be identical on my hard drive or those owned by Tidal or Qobuz. Thanks
Several things. I can't give you a whole course here on digital audio. Find a good book on this subject and read it.
Yes the bits in your scenario will be accurate but it is the timing of the bits that screws up the system. The packets are delivered as an analog signal. The dac takes that analog signal and recovers the bits. But because of the multiple problems I have already described above the bits are not sampled with correct timing causing distortion in the recovered analog signal. Digital transmission of music is different then digital transmission of text. Timing errors in text transmission do not cause any problems but they do in music transmission. Until you learn this you will be stuck in the bits are bits world which doesn't work for digital audio. I am done. I cannot teach you a whole course in digital audio
Thanks Alan, I think your response was directed at the OP rather than me. However thank you for the reminder that digital audio really isn't at all. It is analogue audio where part of the process consists of analogue data treated as if it were digital in order to provide robust storage. And, of course, the analogue data treated as digital describes analogue information.
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