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Noise levels and dynamic range

This thread reminds me that my listening room background noise level goes up dramatically during the summer due to the hum of the air-conditioning unit in my room.

The hum masks quieter noises. I did not know that the Oppo BDP-83 had obtrusive fan noise at first because I purchased and began using it during the summer.

Similarly, I moved into the new (listening) room during the summer and was not intially aware of a problem with ground loop hum and the hum of compact flourescent lightbulbs in the room (because these noises were drowned out by air conditioning noise).

I was in for a shock the following fall when the air-conditioning went off and all the spurious noises were revealed.

The ground loop problem was difficult to completely cure but I have been able to reduce the ground loop noise. I solved the humming flourescent bulbs by keeping the lights off during listening sessions.

Moreover, I work around the Oppo's fan (which is really loud in a low noise environment) by letting the player rest and cool down when it comes on. I can use my other players while the Oppo cools.

As for the BIS recordings...I certainly enjoy them more in a low noise environment (quiet passages in BIS recordings were drowned out by air-conditioning noise), but my main concern with BIS recordings is that up until very recently, they were not hi-rez, and as a result have (had) a chalky (think of the sound of chalk on a board), sand-papery quality that I don't hear in true hi-rez recordings (which sound silky and saturated with tone color in a way that most BIS recordings and all low rez PCM recordings do not).

I have noticed an improvement though with the most recent recordings (which sound like true hi-rez), such as the Respighi Pines with the Sao Paolo Philharmonic and the Bruch Concerto recording with Vadim Gluzman. The BIS people have said that all post-2009 recordings are indeed hi-rez. The Audessy spectrograph program could prove this, as can a listening session.

Incidently, Vadim Gluzman on evidence of his BIS Bruch recording turns out to be one of the most amazing violinists that I have heard in years. The passion, the beauty, the singing tone, the searing intensity, the drama that he creates with his stradivarius violin would cause the current crop of babes (Fisher, Benedetti, Jansen etc.) to weep and retire immediately from violin playing (should they ever hear him). Gluzman simply blows everyone else out of the water. His playing reminds me of Menuhin, Heifetz and Perlman in their prime and combined into one man!

Edits: 06/10/12 06/10/12

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