The death of Hi-Fi - diyAudio
Go Back   Home > Forums > General Interest > Everything Else

Everything Else Anything related to audio / video / electronics etc) BUT remember- we have many new forums where your thread may now fit! .... Parts, Equipment & Tools, Construction Tips, Software Tools......

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11th October 2008, 09:49 AM   #1
SunRa is offline SunRa  Romania
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Romania
Default The death of Hi-Fi

Ok, no one needs another alarmist thread with someone whining about the big bad corporate system choosing cost over quality.

However I would like to bring another point, which seems to be more about the advent of new technologies in relation to the above stated. And this would be miniaturisation and it's direct (good) consequence, energy consumption.

These two are the predicted aspects to watch and focus on when discussing about progress in analogue or digital design. The third usually is ease of manufacturing but this is usually related to business policies.

Now, the history gives us many well known examples about this fact. Transistors taking over tubes, IC's taking over transistors, Digital taking over Analogue.

Was this correlated with an improved quality? In most cases yes. In our audio related case was mainly about S/N ratio. Every new technology lowered the threshold a little.

However, and this is the main issue I'd like to point out to, every new change in technology seems to almost exclude all the technological gains of the previous ones. Of course topologies usually are preserved but always misapplied. But except S/N, power saving features and usualy the capacity of pumping more power in the loudspeakers, nothing else was gained: no better THD figures, but usually odd harmonics uglier ones, no better rejection of weird artefacts coming from the PSU, but usually more weirdness from multiple stages and hall of mirrors effects induced by feedback.

Let me give you some examples: triodes are the most linear voltage amplifier devices. No other device can achieve this, except jfets in some conditions. Passive PSU's are less prone to weird HF artefacts than their switching mode counterparts, R2R dacs are thought to be more musical than the sigma modulated ones (although this maybe changed as the DAC industry is pushed by the studio pro industry).

Furthermore, everything shrinks, and becomes more energy friendly driven by the trend in IT. You can't have a 20W class A amplifier consuming more than a PC and looking larger and bulkier than an ATX case. You can't have a fridge size loudspeaker when all your music sits on a 3.5" HDD. And so on.

And the current state is this one: we have no more valves (and valve labs and fabs), the ss devices still can't be as good in some applications (even with the work of some great engineers like Mr. Pass and many others trying to minimise the gap). But leave the valves. When have you last heard of a new transistor release? Be it mosfet or bjt, not to mentione jfets which seems critical in some applications. All we have are op-amps, which indeed evolve and tend to be the building blocks in amplifier design. But even these are being side-stepped by digital technology, with it's new set of problems.

So you will say that's perfectly normal, every technologies brings some problems which nevertheless gets resolved over time. Maybe, but there is always a loss in quality. And a loss in the knowledge of achieving that quality. And furthermore, if untill now we where able to tweak something it will be increasingley harder to do this. Probably in a few years we will buy NOS mosfets and bjt's as some small signal jfets already are being NOS. In a few more years the analogue will finaly give upt to digital and we will say goodbye to analogue IC's (think at this: NOS opa2604 ) . The audio chain will be something like an integrated codec followed by an power digital IC. We'll probably only get to tweak the PSU .

Is this a good thing? Don;t know, maybe I'm resisting change. But it's a pity that some technologies just die before being used to their full potential.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11th October 2008, 10:09 AM   #2
diyAudio Member
 
Geek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Will any of that matter when all music will only be recorded and released in 48KB/s .mp3 due to cellphone/portable player demand?
  Reply With Quote
Old 11th October 2008, 10:14 AM   #3
SunRa is offline SunRa  Romania
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Romania
Quote:
Will any of that matter when all music will only be recorded and released in 48KB/s .mp3 due to cellphone/portable player demand?
I didn;t even wanted to think at this one.

However it seems to me that studios are using more often 192Khz/24bit recording equipement. Furthermore, some like linn record even provide the master files.

Mp3 is here because of low storage capabilities and slow internet connection in the past. Flac and ape are gaining an increase popularity due to the changes in HDD tech and broadband. So maybe there is a hope in this...
  Reply With Quote
Old 11th October 2008, 10:42 AM   #4
diyAudio Member
 
Geek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Hi,

I have to go all cynical on you again

Quote:
Originally posted by SunRa

Mp3 is here because of low storage capabilities and slow internet connection in the past. Flac and ape are gaining an increase popularity due to the changes in HDD tech and broadband. So maybe there is a hope in this...
.mp3's exist because of marketing.

.ogg is far superior in every way, yet no one has even heard of it at the retail level (or FLAC).

Think like a teenager (and hence, a marketeer) - even with highspeed and massive storage, it's all about having a million songs on your iPod, not 100,000 good ones

More and more albums are being released as downloads only - they don't even press a disk. You pay as much or more than for a real CD and all the songs are in 128K .mp3.

Fortunately, genre's like Classical and Jazz will unlikely take such a sour road.
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th October 2008, 03:22 AM   #5
rdf is offline rdf  Canada
diyAudio Member
 
rdf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: big smoke
Products like Cowon recognize ogg and FLAC, as does product at Worst Buy and Torture Shop. Some Cowon upper models even do hardware Flac conversion during realtime recording. Japanese manufacturers tied to media wings tend not to touch it, Korea and mainland China take full advantage.
I agree with SunRa, mp3s will leave no residue.

As for classical, blame artist unions and superstar conductors. I never bought as much classical as after I discovered Naxos and their roster of unknown musicians.
__________________
Ears aren't microphones.
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th October 2008, 06:47 AM   #6
diyAudio Member
 
Geek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally posted by rdf
Products like Cowon recognize ogg and FLAC, as does product at Worst Buy and Torture Shop. Some Cowon upper models even do hardware Flac conversion during realtime recording.
I just did a round at those places last month except never saw a Cowon. None were capable of FLAC below $1,200. I'd rather get a Kenwood.

The ricer-mod places have heard of the formats, but say they can't get the equipment

A&B used to have them, but since their "restructuring", they dumped all the good stuff for things with insane profit margins.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th October 2008, 02:46 AM   #7
gain is offline gain  United States
diyAudio Member
 
gain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
imho, theres nothing wrong with mp3 at all as long as the bitrate used is sufficient. unfortunately, as stated earlier, songs are usually ripped at 128kbps, which most people can perceive in blind tests as inferior quality to a CD. however, when you use bitrates of 192kbps and higher all this changes. then, only a small few can still tell the difference. go up to 320kbps and you equal CD quality.

personally, i perceive a 128k mp3 as notably lower quality than CD, but 160kbps and above sound just as good as CD to me.

but .... as far as i'm concerned a good LP on a good turntable sounds far better than any of the above! laugh all you want.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th October 2008, 03:11 AM   #8
diyAudio Member
 
gainphile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Melbourne the sunny city!
The weakest link are always the tranducers ie mic & speakers. Music format does not matter compared to these.

Those ipod lovers are enjoying good music as headphones are inherently superior than speakers
__________________
http://gainphile.blogspot.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th October 2008, 03:14 AM   #9
rdf is offline rdf  Canada
diyAudio Member
 
rdf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: big smoke
Quote:
Originally posted by Geek


I just did a round at those places last month except never saw a Cowon. None were capable of FLAC below $1,200. I'd rather get a Kenwood.
The Archos 5 just added support in a recent firmware upgrade. But that's the rub. Personal audio is no longer the sole domain of hi-fi stores. Try NCIX. Computer geeks (small 'g' ) appear to be leading the way back into the light.
__________________
Ears aren't microphones.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th October 2008, 03:22 AM   #10
diyAudio Member
 
Geek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally posted by gain
personally, i perceive a 128k mp3 as notably lower quality than CD, but 160kbps and above sound just as good as CD to me.
All my Jazz is in 320k. I can really tell the difference at 256k even (Bali Run by Foreplay is a good test piece, since they have treble percussion way up there), but can't hear the difference between FLAC and 320k.

But to be fair, that's on my Yamaha soundcard. It all sounds lousy other than lossless on say... Creative s/c I have/had


Quote:
but .... as far as i'm concerned a good LP on a good turntable sounds far better than any of the above! laugh all you want.
No arguement


Quote:
Originally posted by rdf


The Archos 5 just added support in a recent firmware upgrade. But that's the rub. Personal audio is no longer the sole domain of hi-fi stores. Try NCIX. Computer geeks (small 'g' ) appear to be leading the way back into the light.
Not bad at all!


Cheers!
  Reply With Quote

Reply


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DOZ - Death of ZEN amp from Rod Elliot hifimaker Pass Labs 26 6th April 2012 05:09 PM
death of zen janey Pass Labs 29 16th September 2009 08:59 PM
Death Magnetic ak_47_boy Music 6 14th October 2008 01:12 PM
Death Of Zen DoomPixie Solid State 2 22nd August 2006 10:21 PM
DEATH by UPS exurbia Planars & Exotics 10 4th June 2006 11:29 AM


New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 03:47 AM.


vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999-2014 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2