R/E/P Community

R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => Whatever Works => Topic started by: Fenris Wulf on January 25, 2011, 07:17:16 am

Title: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Fenris Wulf on January 25, 2011, 07:17:16 am
I've been enjoying the station's huge vinyl collection but NOT enjoying the surface noise and scratches. I started thinking about the compact cassette (which was designed for dictation, not music) as a delivery medium, and why someone didn't make a better version with twice the width, twice the speed, and a proper transport instead of a little felt pad holding the tape against the head.

It turns out someone DID. It was called the Elcaset, it was technically brilliant, and it was a complete failure in the marketplace.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elcaset

So if you ever wonder why digital has gone BACKWARD since the introduction of the CD thirty years ago and nobody seems to care, there's your answer. Convenience is everything.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: ssltech on January 25, 2011, 09:33:22 am
Oh, I remember Elcaset quite well.

It's a great example of how -given a choice between better quality or greater quantity- people will always ignore quality, once it passes the 'acceptable' point.


Keith
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: ktownson on January 25, 2011, 09:38:57 am
I remember the Elcaset. It didn't live long.

As I recall, it didn't offer aural improvement over the reel to reel and cost about the same, so the hi-fi nuts stuck with open reels.

It was too expensive for the general public, plus we were still enamored with the cassette because it was so much better than what it replaced:  the 8-track. A cassette was golden by comparison.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Fenris Wulf on January 25, 2011, 10:42:30 am
Elcaset would be equivalent to a quarter-track 3 3/4 ips machine. We have a few of those around and they sound pretty good, especially the Akai with a crossfield head design that makes 3 3/4 sound like 7 1/2.

Elcaset would have been a pretty fine release format, IMO. More pleasant than CD, cleaner than vinyl, smaller than VHS, and more durable than any of them. 1/4" tape doesn't really wear out unless it's abused.

I was telling the previous station manager of my disdain for all forms of digital technology, and he offered digital watches as a counter-example. I said, "Actually, I have three or four digital clocks and NONE of them keep accurate time. If digital watches had never been invented, and all the R&D went into mechanical watches instead, we'd probably have cheap and reliable mechanical watches by now."

Short of supervillain tactics (like designing a virus that eats rare earth elements and disables all the world's digital devices), it'll never happen. But one can always dream.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: kats on January 25, 2011, 11:44:52 am
I think that the conclusion drawn from this example is narrow. Clearly there is more than one environment that people want to experience music in.

One is a mobile environment. Cars, beach, gym, etc. In this environment convenience (and rightly so) trumps all. There is no real benefit with fidelity racing down the hi-way with your windows open tunes cranked. As a matter of fact your better served with less dynamic music as well. So competing with a mobile playback system by offering fidelity at an expense of convenience is a mistake. And apparently proven to be so.

The other environment is a fixed listening environment. Home theatre, home stereo, etc. Now unless a new product can trump an existing one in fidelity and features, it's a tough sell. And you have to know your market, especially in today's society where this market is becoming more and more "niche".

I think a product that tries to balance the two will always fail. I do wonder how the Elcaset compared sonically to vinyl? That would give a better understanding as to it's failure. Obviously it would have lacked the perceived value vinyl can offer in the artwork and add ons department.

Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Fenris Wulf on January 25, 2011, 12:29:01 pm
kats wrote on Tue, 25 January 2011 16:44


I do wonder how the Elcaset compared sonically to vinyl?


Ampex 456 was introduced the year before, so I would say quite well (aside from sticky shed) Sad The main quality bottleneck would be the necessity of high-speed duplication.

Just imagine, a consumer format that doesn't wear out or become unplayable (aside from the occasional eaten tape), replaces the DAT and the Portastudio, and helps keep analog tape manufacturers solvent.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on January 25, 2011, 01:21:35 pm
Vinyl has proven to be highly durable storage medium when not abused. Far more so than CD or tape.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jay Kadis on January 25, 2011, 01:22:15 pm
Fenris Wulf wrote on Tue, 25 January 2011 09:29

kats wrote on Tue, 25 January 2011 16:44


I do wonder how the Elcaset compared sonically to vinyl?


Ampex 456 was introduced the year before, so I would say quite well (aside from sticky shed) Sad The main quality bottleneck would be the necessity of high-speed duplication.

Just imagine, a consumer format that doesn't wear out or become unplayable (aside from the occasional eaten tape), replaces the DAT and the Portastudio, and helps keep analog tape manufacturers solvent.
This might make you happy (if you don't look at the price.)

http://www.tapeproject.com/
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on January 25, 2011, 01:50:53 pm
Yeah! I've talked to Paul about selling me 1" versions.

If I ever have money to spend on music again.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: kats on January 25, 2011, 02:06:32 pm
Fenris Wulf wrote on Tue, 25 January 2011 11:29

kats wrote on Tue, 25 January 2011 16:44


I do wonder how the Elcaset compared sonically to vinyl?


Ampex 456 was introduced the year before, so I would say quite well (aside from sticky shed) Sad The main quality bottleneck would be the necessity of high-speed duplication.

Just imagine, a consumer format that doesn't wear out or become unplayable (aside from the occasional eaten tape), replaces the DAT and the Portastudio, and helps keep analog tape manufacturers solvent.


I wonder how the tape would fare considering the consumer playback systems ad storage would be a loose cannon and could wreak havoc over the cassettes. I can't imagine the cassettes really being that durable.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Mike Cleaver on January 25, 2011, 04:11:35 pm
We called it "El Kabong."
The radio station where I was working was one of the first in Canada offered demos from Sony.
We tested them in the newsroom for a couple of months but they had problems, the least of which was durability.
They just weren't designed to stand up to constant use.
Some radio stations did order and install them but most got rid of them pretty quickly.
They would be fine in the average consumer situation but if you wanted to edit tape the old fashioned way (wax pencil, razor blade) they were a pain.
For all the great products Sony released, they've had a few bombs.
Betamax was the better format for video but Sony's reluctance to license the format to other manufacturers proved their downfall with that project.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on January 25, 2011, 04:15:14 pm
Anyone who has heard hi speed duplicated 1/4" 1/4 track 3 3/4 ips tapes (open reel, elcasette or Muntz cartriges) would never call them high fidelity.

Real time recordings at 3 3/4" 1/4 track don't pass muster as hi fidelity either.
Limited HF dynamic range, signal to noise barely -50dB..
Try making a 3 3/4 ips 1/4 track real time copy from vinyl without loud HF program content being squashed or distorted and low level HF program content buried under hiss.

Use any machine you want. Akai X field, Revox A77. Use Dolby.
I've a Studer A820 here with a 1/4 track head assembly.
Even with this machine it would be a waste of tape trying to make a "hi-fi" recording at 3 3/4  

If 3 3/4 ips 1/4 track is so hi fi why didn't we master using this format?
15ips 1/2 track is so wasteful using 8 times as much tape!
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Fenris Wulf on January 26, 2011, 08:12:35 am
Well! I'm going to mix a project onto the Akai machine just to spite you.  Very Happy  You have a point though.

I admit I like CD's because the manufacturer CAN'T screw it up in duplication. Cassettes and records have a wide range of quality depending on materials and duplication/mastering speeds.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on January 26, 2011, 08:34:01 am
It won't sound like what's coming out of the console but mixing direct to 3 3/4 ips could compliment certain program.
I could hear it doing good mojo to a 70's funk groove or Sabbath-like stuff.

Back in the 60's I'd record the band I played in with my Sony 250 at 3 3/4 ips
7 1/2 ips seemed a luxury I could not afford (limited tape budget).
Those recordings certainly have a "sound" partly due to what 3 3/4 ips did.

Curious how it will work for you.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: JSam on January 26, 2011, 07:25:17 pm
Here's a sad truth: sound quality was never the primary (if any) reason for the adoption of a consumer format.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on January 26, 2011, 07:51:40 pm
  Agreed. Increased convenience always is the primary factor.
However.
Significant increases in sound quality were achieved in parallel with added convenience with;
LP's & 45 rpm vinyl records over 78 rpm shellac
CD's over LP's.
Shields up!
Sorry analogophiles, a properly done 44.1 kHz 16 bit CD is a beautiful thing that surpasses the best LP's in all specifications
You can buy into the euphonics and mojo of LP's & 45's (I do) but there is no denying what is a more accurate copy of the source material.

Cassette tapes offered added convenience over LP in terms of portability and insensitivity to external vibration at the expense of fidelity and long term durability.
They eventually surpassed LP's in the market

MP3 & AAC offer the same conveniences over CD that cassettes had over LP's with the additional benefit of better long term durability. Fidelity is again a compromise but as you said that's never been the main marketing benefit.
As history repeats itself, they (in legal and illegal form) have surpassed CD's
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Tim Halligan on January 26, 2011, 08:18:57 pm
Dominick wrote on Thu, 27 January 2011 08:51

 Fidelity is again a compromise but as you said that's never been the main marketing benefit.




Indeed.

Even when a compact medium with allegedly CD-like fidelity was released, it bombed.

Remember DCC - the Digital Compact Cassette?

Cheers,
Tim
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Nicky D on January 26, 2011, 08:36:21 pm
no.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: ssltech on January 26, 2011, 08:49:21 pm
Yep. Philips DCC Sponsored the all-conquering Alfa Romeo 133's in the 1994 BTCC.

CD-LIKE quality was ATRAC if I remember correctly. -A data compression predating MP3 etc, and Philips got into a slugging match with Sony, pitting DCC against mini-disc.

Disadvantage of DCC? one-eighth inch super-thin tape at 1.775 ips...just like analog, with the attendant dropout/chewing/creasing problems. Like all tape/linear systems, seek/access to another track was always woeful and tedious.

Unlike many, I thought that CD offered much more than Elcaset ever did. -Harsh sound of immature converter/filter designs aside, the search convenience was a plus, the flat and predictable frequency response, and the low noise were all advantages. robustness and reliability of recorded data was also better.

Of course, the PCM 1600/1610/1630 converter sound was pretty poor, but CD has matured pretty well... to the point where it's VASTLY preferable to what most people are prepared to accept (127kbps mp3 as a 'standard', anyone?)

Keith
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Nicky D on January 27, 2011, 02:47:32 am
I think CD audio files are much better than mp3's...but I surpsingly dn't mind mp3's at 224 and up...they don't bug me that much..the conversion or whatever is happening in different places on the interweb...where people choose their music is generally horrendous and needs an intervention
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: ssltech on January 27, 2011, 07:57:56 am
Here's a 1994 BTCC pic which perfectly dates the marketing campaign for Digital Compact Cassette:

http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/431238/1994%20AR%20155%202.0%20TS%20BTCC_06.jpg

(the DCC logo is immediately beneath each headlight)

...and here they demonstrated how much more 'skip resistant' DCC was than in-car Compact Disc.

http://assets.speedtv.com/images/easy_gallery/1021238/crash06_01_m.jpg

Twisted Evil

Keith
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: kats on January 27, 2011, 10:59:34 am
Dominick wrote on Wed, 26 January 2011 18:51

 
Sorry analogophiles, a properly done 44.1 kHz 16 bit CD is a beautiful thing that surpasses the best LP's in all specifications




The nice thing about "specifications" is that they never take into account real world application.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on January 27, 2011, 12:14:21 pm
Right. Sorry, digiophiles - a good properly set up well-made turntable will beat the living hell out of almost any CD played back on a conventional CD player. And the LP will be playable in 100 years.

I've only heard one digital device that can compete with the DeParavacini magnetically-floated-platter 'table. Assuming what we're talking about is disappearance of the playback device itself, and getting to the sound contained in the source material.

This assertion was very obviously made without the qualifications to make it, i.e experience. Ignorance is just an excuse for belief.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Fenris Wulf on January 27, 2011, 12:29:13 pm
ssltech wrote on Thu, 27 January 2011 12:57



...and here they demonstrated how much more 'skip resistant' DCC was than in-car Compact Disc.


Boy, did THAT format crash and burn.

Literally.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Fenris Wulf on January 27, 2011, 12:37:17 pm
I compared Slayer's "South of Heaven," a very well-recorded album that I'm very familiar with, with lots of high frequency energy and very strong drum transients at both high and low frequencies. The vinyl sounds VERY close to the CD. I attribute this to great engineering and great vinyl mastering.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: ssltech on January 27, 2011, 01:17:16 pm
Depends what market.

Most albums were mastered in each territory. Many times, things were mastered differently in different territories, as well as for different formats...

Take Donald Fagin's "the Nightfly". (-Please!!!)  -The difference in sound between the UK vinyl release and the UK CD release is not down to digital versus analog. It's because one was mastered on Venus, the other on Mars.

Keith
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on January 27, 2011, 04:36:38 pm
Tony & Dan

I've no doubt you enjoy you vinyl collections.
I certainly enjoy mine and prefer the experience of playing vinyl over any other format.
However -
"a good properly set up well-made turntable will beat the living hell out of almost any CD played back on a conventional CD player"
"Beat the living hell"??? What does that mean? Is this a WWF match?
Your description of the gear in that statement is vague to say the least.

I'm sure the DeParavicini is a stellar piece of gear. A fair comparison to vinyl playback on it would perhaps be some exotic $10,000 CD transport playing through a Pacific Microsonics HDCD D to A converter.

Anybody won the lottery here?

"disappearance of the playback device itself, and getting to the sound contained in the source material"
If by "source material" you refer to the vinyl pressing, that sound would include surface noise, limited bandwidth, limited dynamic range, limited channel separation,  IM distortion, inner groove distortion, etc.  compared to the original source material - the master tape.

I work at a mastering studio. We've done some very high budget reissue projects that were released in both formats. We start by comparing the original master tapes to several EQ'd cutting masters made at the time of the original release and to original release 1A pressings (played on a "high quality properly set up turntable") to hear the sonic differences. These comparisons are important. Our intent is to be faithful to the original release. There will be the inevitable reviews in audiophile  magazines comparing the reissue to their "holy grail" original 1A pressings played on some esoteric turntable setup that costs more than my annual NYC apartment rent.
We don't have a lathe, so vinyl masters are cut at a highly respected facility in town from the original master tapes. Again using EQ'd cutting copies and 1A pressings as references. The reissue producer and our mastering engineer attend the session. Audio path from the repro head to the cutter amp is pure analog. Pressings are made on 180 gram virgin vinyl.
At our facility, we prepare the CD masters. Again remaining faithful to the sound of the original release. Decisions are made as to which processing will be done analog and which will be done digital. After any analog processing, program is digitized from the original master tape through Pacific Microsonics converters. Digital processing (if any) is applied. The 44.1 kHz 16 bit CD master is assembled and sent to the plant.
We get the test vinyl pressings and play them on our "high quality properly set up turntable". Ultimately we get pressings we approve. Do they sound good? They sound great. We compare the new pressings to the original pressings and EQ'd cutting masters. Do they sound the same? Close, but no. I'll not attempt to list the dozens of possible reasons why.
Then we compare the CD test pressings to our CD 44.1 kHz 16 bit master files. Do they sound the same? Very much so.
We compare the CD to the vinyl. Do they both sound good? Yes, we've done our job as best we can. Do they sound the same? No. How could they? Apples vs. oranges.

Which release format would you prefer? That's up to you.

Here's a less complex scenario. A client comes in with a new project mixed to 1" 2 track analog tape. He want to release both on LP and CD. He insists that absolutely no processing be done to the master. He's confident of his mixes. We comply & do a straight transfer to digital with absolutely no processing in the generation of the CD master. The same master tape is brought to the disc mastering house. The same 1" 2 track playback tape machine used at our facility is transported to the cutting facility to eliminate that variable. Master discs are cut, again with no processing, flat from the master tape, Pure analog.
Highest quality pressings are made and approved.
A CD pressing and a LP pressing are compared to the original master tape.
Which one sounds more like the master tape?
I'm afraid the CD would give the LP a good, old fashioned, James Caan, Godfather I, garbage can lid to the head beating.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on January 27, 2011, 06:10:45 pm
Dominick wrote on Thu, 27 January 2011 13:36

I'm sure the DeParavicini is a stellar piece of gear. A fair comparison to vinyl playback on it would perhaps be some exotic $10,000 CD transport playing through a Pacific Microsonics HDCD D to A converter.

Anybody won the lottery here?

No, just earned money, and spent it where I liked. Was that the point? If you mean on a budget system a CD will sound better, that's often true. But this isn't really the point, is it?
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on January 27, 2011, 10:11:09 pm
My point was if your comparing vinyl vs. CD, the reproducers should be of equivalent quality.

Yes a $60. CD player against a $60. turntable / cartridge / preamp would have the vinyl at a great disadvantge.
What about the $400. Harman Kardon HD-990?
Would a $400. turntable setup be equivalent? Probably not.
$800. gets you an entry level audiophile turnable / cartridge / preamp setup.
Both the Harman & the $800. turntable setup would give respectable performance.
But the problem remains that your still comparing apples to oranges.
Whatever works.

I'm happy for you and jealous of your DePavaricini
One of our turntables is a Rockport with a David Smith modified Cello preamp.
It's insane. One of 5 built. It was purchased at a time when cost was no object. A time long gone.
It is not a real world turntable (unless your world includes 100 meter private yachts). It's a highly specialized tool.
 
I love my vinyl. Lots of it is obscure stuff  that will never be reissued. I like the tactile nature of using it, the large graphics, fonts that are large enough to read. 45's are even more fun. Best format ever but lots of the attraction is again physical. That physical nature is part of the listening experience and affects my emotional response to the entire experience.
That's when I'm home enjoying myself.

I'm also a professional. I've been in this business 40 years and have learned the importance of objective evaluation when comparing X vs. Y.
That's my job.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on January 28, 2011, 03:14:08 am
I don't have a DeParavacini, they're hard to get, less hard to spend some time with. I have an Immedia RPM 2, Immedia arm, Helikon SL and EAR G88 preamp; and a Theta Gen Va and Data III transport with Illuminati cables. $12k table, $12k CD player. The table killed the Theta set up until I started powering the whole system from the PS Power Plant. That stepped the Theta way up (which - theoretically - shouldn't have happened. How much power supply regulation is enough?). But the only dig competitive with the Immedia so far is the Memory Player which is a different ball game and redefines what 16-bit 44.1 is.

As the DeParavacini (and presumably the Continuum and the megabuck Clearaudio) redefines a table by demonstrating that even though you don't know you're hearing any motor rumble, once you get rid of it completely you become aware of what it was doing, the Memory Player redefines digital playback by demonstrating, among other things, what playing out of a buffer does to the sound - its a synthesizer in effect. Motor rumble, even apparently inaudible as in the Immedia, is one of the things that a table does to distort the sound away from the sound of a master. All that buffering and interpolating is what any sort of normal CD playback does in the same way. None of this matters until you hear it - then its always apparent.

The idea that a 16/44.1 CD in conventional playback is close to a master is nothing that has ever been supported by any of the professionals I've worked with for decades. Although its inarguable that from a theoretical technical standpoint a table must be more of a change, the CD usually sounds further until you really start throwing money at it. Then you stand a chance of approaching the performance of a good table.

But, again, the Memory Player changes all of it. Its so good that when a record sounds better, it makes me wonder what the record is doing that might be enhancing the signal. I keep wondering if some sort of plug-in couldn't be written for it that emulates that whole L-R thing to test some of this. I've had some email with Jim Johnston about it. Does a cutter-head make audio apparently better? Its a little mysterious still. If it does, how? And why does digital sound closer to reality as it approaches some of the odd quirks of analog?

I have no interest in arguments about objectivity. Years in these fora have shown me that one man's objectivity is another man's religious conviction. I've never met two people in audio who define their job the same, and everyone thinks they're objective. I'm only interested in how things sound, or more precisely, how they don't sound. I'm just as certain that I'm more objective than you as you are of your own objectivity. I can't learn if I'm not objective. And we go around and around.

I'm delighted to hear that David Smith got inside the Cello stuff. That couldn't have done anything but made it better. He was something.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on January 28, 2011, 08:01:37 am
Hi Dan,

Knowing and working with David was one of the greatest chapters of my professional and personal life .
Up front, he'd tell you he didn't have answers, only temporary solutions. He'd draw you into a project he was working on, truly interested in your observations and opinions, even if you had little experience with the subject. If your observations differed from his, he wouldn't dismiss them, but file them away in the database he kept in his head, and keep you in the loop. One of the finest teachers I've known.

The Cello's are a bit of a legend here. The studio made a great investment in them in the early 90's (the days of unlimited budgets). After many hours of trying to explain what we needed the phono preamps to do, David realized Mark never would understand. So he modified the units to the studio's needs. 10 years later, with the exception of the David modified phono preamps, the Cello stuff was shunned. We got some good money for the tape machine electronics (thank you audiophiles!) when we sold them off at the big auction.

You're talking some beautiful gear there. When one gets into that strata, lots of preconceptions fall away. I've no significant listening experiences to gear of that caliber and even if I did, as you say, "one man's objectivity is another man's religious conviction".
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on January 28, 2011, 08:02:55 am
Oops! double post.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: zmix on January 28, 2011, 08:29:01 am
I am a huge lover of perfectionism in audio and certainly there are some intensely driven individuals attempting to raise the bar, however, these claims for the Memory player are exceptionally vivid:
Nova Physics Group state on their website:

http://www.novaphysicsgroup.com/TheMemoryPlayer.html

The Memory Player Digital Drive enjoys the complete rereading and
memory purification capabilities as the full CD Playback System does,
which actively erases and replaces any detected dropped bits and
jittered areas.




"Memory Purification"? (Nam Myoho Rhenge Kyo... etc)

"Jittered Areas"?  (Hey! look! you can actually see that this CD has 'em!!!)

Seriously?

iTunes performs multi pass error correction functions as a matter of routine when reading a disc...and performs playback from (you guessed it!) memory...
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on January 28, 2011, 11:28:09 am
zmix wrote on Fri, 28 January 2011 08:29

....
"Memory Purification"? (Nam Myoho Rhenge Kyo... etc)
...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQnaXI4ARVs
"cheese melted enough for you, Meadows?"
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on January 28, 2011, 12:09:40 pm
What can I tell you, Chuck? Find one and listen. Shouldn't be hard where you are. I tried to find one in the Ballimer area for Bill to hear but it looks like there aren't any. Its like Daniel Farris wrote here a while ago; hearing mine taught him to stop trying to discuss what he hasn't heard. BTW, I met the builder of the Immedia stuff on that same 89 Hassell tour on which I met you. He came to the NYC shows that Brian mixed.

Dominick, the thing that really disturbs me is that I used the Theta for a decade in what we might call a normal way. Then I got a PS Audio Power Plant Premier. You can look it up and read about it. When I powered up my whole system, the first thing that happened was my daughter said "Dad - look at the TV." A 1989 32" Proton she grew up with. I can't tell you how, but it looked so much better. Clearer and apparently sharper even with the edge-distortion setting at minimum, and I could turn the white levels down a bit more, etc. An ancient CRT performing far better.

But the Theta was vastly improved. It didn't quite get air or the openness of the MP, but that annoying sense of a ceiling sitting on top of the sound was significantly ameliorated. All from changing the stability and THD of the sine wave of the AC feeding the system. And even though all this stuff has properly regulated power supplies. David Bock has one in his shop, Joe Gastwirt has I think 4 in his studio.

I don't have an opinion about LP vs. CD on cheaper gear, that's not my mission, which is to try to get to the point where I can't hear the medium. (When I met my wife she had a $1000 system on which LP, CD, cassette and FM all pretty much sounded the same. It was perfectly functional. But her LPs all still play 2 decades later.)

The MP gets me closer to that ideal than I've ever experienced. Farris, again, said it was like listening to the output of a console, from regular 16/44.1 files.

But the frustrating thing is you put on an LP and something ineffable about it is just more real. (Insert monologue on Quality from "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" here).
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: David Bock on January 28, 2011, 12:40:20 pm
Audio-wise, the memory player really is like an off the console feed, unlike vinyl, tape (any size & speed), cd, & mpwhatever.
Operationally, so cumbersome that I would "pass" even if I had the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Bear in mind I'm not much of  a computer guy.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on January 28, 2011, 12:48:00 pm
You get used to it. Its more cumbersome than putting a CD in a drawer, but not more than threading tape or cleaning an LP. I'm pretty fast with it now.

Allegedly, the newer ones are very much simpler - click and play. I might have one to play around with for a few days soon.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: zmix on January 28, 2011, 04:15:50 pm
mgod wrote on Fri, 28 January 2011 12:09

 ..... stop trying to discuss what he hasn't heard. BTW, I met the builder of the Immedia stuff on that same 89 Hassell tour on which I met you. He came to the NYC shows that Brian mixed.



I hear you, but I was only commenting on their website copy, which I actually HAVE read..!!   Razz
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Tim DeParavicini on February 02, 2011, 12:25:05 pm
I am just going to throw in my pennys worth on the Elcassette
thing, I have rebuilt about 10 years ago about a dozen of the Sony EL7 and I also have the Teac top model as well as the Technics, However, the EL7 with 3 heads and 3 motors was very good but with my rebuild mods on the electronics, 7Hz to 35K within 2 dB. Wow flutter comparable with studio machines.
and decent SN with a 70 uSec time constant on 3 3/4 ips
It will copy a proper master tape with barely any degredation.
the top end will go to 15K at zero VU (200 nWb) so copies bright tapes without squishing. I store, all be it, with A Dolby
copies of masters that need the best 'Golden Ears' to spot the difference.

The format was actually developed by BASF as a convenient consumer system that Sony and Technics (National Panasonic)
developed for the market and launched in 1975. Sony even under the CBS Sony label put out very well duplicated music cassettes that made regular compact cassette appear awfull and also sounded better than most vinyl. The whole idea was for ease of use compared with open reel tapes. Editing was never intended.

It did not take off with the market because Nakamichi machines and metal tape got fairly close and was well entrenched in the market. Which leads me on to compact cassette, I remember at the Sound Clinic in the 80s That tests done on the Aiwa Excelar machine with metal tape, it covered 10 Hz to 20KHz in bog standard form and copying masters lost very little of the sparkle or detail with no noise reduction. The Aiwa machine was used to make client approval copies of EQed production tapes.

As to vinyl, The disc cutting system at Mobile Fidelity running at half speed will produce a final record that is sensibly flat from 5 Hz to 40Khz. If the finnished records are pressed from a 1 step process then they are extremely quiet. Don't forget that vinyl has half a giga hertz worth of molecules passing the stylus every second. Real fast sampling!

As for long life storage of music, If I cut a laquer and have it plated and without removing the nickel but putting the plated disc into a plastic bag and burying it for a thousand years it will still be in good condition, Let us see how long a hard drive or even solid state memory compares? Forget it! Even 10 year old DAT tapes or Umatic 1630 tapes fail.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 02, 2011, 01:28:21 pm
Tim DeParavicini wrote on Wed, 02 February 2011 09:25

As for long life storage of music, If I cut a laquer and have it plated and without removing the nickel but putting the plated disc into a plastic bag and burying it for a thousand years it will still be in good condition.

Allegedly the Church of Scientology not only agrees with you but is counting on it.(Something about making sure the future race of Cockroach Overlords is clear.)
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Dominick on February 02, 2011, 04:09:13 pm
One other side note on the Elcaset
RCA had something very similar in 1958
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCYX2eooEVo
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: TotalSonic on February 02, 2011, 08:19:44 pm
mgod wrote on Wed, 02 February 2011 13:28

Tim DeParavicini wrote on Wed, 02 February 2011 09:25

As for long life storage of music, If I cut a laquer and have it plated and without removing the nickel but putting the plated disc into a plastic bag and burying it for a thousand years it will still be in good condition.

Allegedly the Church of Scientology not only agrees with you but is counting on it.(Something about making sure the future race of Cockroach Overlords is clear.)


To clarify this - they do not use lacquer discs for their archival project of transferring L. Ron Hubbard's speech transferred to analog disc and placing them into time capsules with hand cranked turntables - but instead use DMM (Direct Metal Mastering - with a diamond stylus cutting into copper plated on a steel substrate).  I've heard rumors that they replate the DMM mothers with a more lasting substance like platinum but have not had this verified.  

Best regards,
STeve Berson
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: zmix on February 03, 2011, 12:18:05 am
Speaking of consumer indifference, Dr. Barry Blesser wrote an article (linked below)  about how the phenomenon that was the success of the CD format wasn't about quality, and in this excerpt shows how pervasive consumer indifference has always been... :

Dr. Barry Blesser writes in his paper "CDs Prove Secondary Features Matter" about the CD:

   As one of the fathers of digital audio in the 1970’s, my opinion was often sought on how this fledgling technology would evolve. Around 1980, I predicted that the CD would never be a commercial success. And my family reminds me of this prediction whenever they think that I need a dose of humility. However, the story is actually subtler and more complex than this simple quotation.
   
   To place my flawed prediction into its historic context, let us rewind the clock to the early 1960’s when the dominant means for distributing recorded music was the long-playing 33-rpm vinyl record. At that time, these records were produced in warehouse-like pressing plants, with technology designed in the 1930’s. A compressed air line at the periphery fed some 50 asynchronous stamping machines. Periodically during the day, all the machines would trigger at the same time, and the compressed air supply was grossly inadequate, being designed only for an average pressing load. Some 50 bad disks
   resulted. Moreover, record manufacturers were continually downgrading the quality of their vinyl stock in order to save money. There was no quality control on recordings produced.
   
   The technical manager at RCA in charge of pressings, well aware of the simplicity of improving quality, made a proposal to a senior VP to upgrade the pressing facilities with a corresponding increase in manufacturing cost of about $0.25 per disk. At that time, RCA had a policy of replacing any defective disk that was returned, no questions asked, and with that replacement came three free additional disks. The VP responded to the technical manager with a challenge: collect the statistics on returned disks as evidence that customers cared about quality recordings. To make a long story short, there were no returned disks. And RCA did not upgrade their pressing plants.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Andy Peters on February 13, 2011, 08:03:37 pm
zmix wrote on Fri, 28 January 2011 06:29

I am a huge lover of perfectionism in audio and certainly there are some intensely driven individuals attempting to raise the bar, however, these claims for the Memory player are exceptionally vivid:
Nova Physics Group state on their website:

http://www.novaphysicsgroup.com/TheMemoryPlayer.html

The Memory Player Digital Drive enjoys the complete rereading and
memory purification capabilities as the full CD Playback System does,
which actively erases and replaces any detected dropped bits and
jittered areas.




"Memory Purification"? (Nam Myoho Rhenge Kyo... etc)

"Jittered Areas"?  (Hey! look! you can actually see that this CD has 'em!!!)

Seriously?

iTunes performs multi pass error correction functions as a matter of routine when reading a disc...and performs playback from (you guessed it!) memory...


Bingo.

-a
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 12:33:32 am
Oh OK, then - I'm just using a pc running iTunes. Good to know. Curiosity satisfied.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: zmix on February 15, 2011, 01:56:52 am
mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 00:33

Oh OK, then - I'm just using a pc running iTunes. Good to know. Curiosity satisfied.


Dan, how different than a computer reclocking data from memory is the memory player?
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 02:57:51 am
If they get their patents granted you can learn that for yourself. In the meantime you'll have to do what I do and use your ears. Assuming you care. Farris told you, Ross told you, David Bock told you. Why ask me?
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 15, 2011, 08:06:08 am
zmix wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 06:56

mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 00:33

Oh OK, then - I'm just using a pc running iTunes. Good to know. Curiosity satisfied.


Dan, how different than a computer reclocking data from memory is the memory player?



It isn't.

I notice that Nova have removed a lot of their supposed explanations of what they are doing from their website, shame, I'd love to go over that "white paper" again.. but what's left is largely marketing BS still.

Before anybody jumps in with stuff about hearing it, I BELIEVE YOU when you say your ears tell you it sound great.

But my brain (allied with a lifetime learning about this stuff), means that I don't believe THEM as to the reasons.

It's not that they're talking about stuff that's beyond me, it's that what is written is either written by someone who doesn't know the subject, or assumes that noone else does. To an outsider in any field it can be hard, or indeed impossible, to distinguish between someone who is building on current knowledge and taking it beyond where it currently is, and someone who doesn't have a clue (or does but chooses to spout BS)... to an insider it's often blatantly obvious.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 11:45:23 am
Jesus, Jon - do you spend all your time reading and believing webpages? My guess is you spend none at all. I am neither an insider nor an outsider on this one, but trust me or don't, on this one you are very much an outsider. I don't care how many millienia you have on the topic. First, use your ears. If they tell you this thing is exactly the same as some off-the-shelf computer running iTunes, then we have nothing to discuss. One of us is living off-planet. If they tell you that you are experiencing something you haven't before, which so far everyone on this forum who has heard it has experienced, then you might have an obligation to yourself, not to me or to the people selling this thing, to try to understand what is afoot.

I don't look at the site that has you guys so freaked out any more than I look at ads in magazines, but I'm pretty sure it exists for one reason - to get the people who are the audience for it, people willing to spend serious cash to have a great time listening to music at home, interested enough to seek it out. I.E. not you. But notice that every time I mention the thing Chuck jumps in here with some critique of the advertising, yet even though he lives in the biggest city in the world where he could almost certainly find one to hear, he has made no effort to do it. So what should I conclude - we have a small group of people who simply know better, even though the world keeps changing. It must feel great.

Jon, you imply a position that all that can be known is known (and by you), therefor there is nothing new. Fine, you are an insider. You do understand this is not my loss, right? I have the thing and am enjoying it every day. I don't sweat hi-res downloads like all the audiophiles do. I get that experience now from standard red-book. The world of digital has changed, I listen to it every day, I'm reporting it to you for your benefit, and you and Chuck and now Andy insist that it can't be true. Dan Farris, Ross, and David have heard it, said it, but no, you guys say it can't be. You haven't heard it and say it simply can't be anything other than iTunes. OK. For you, the thing doesn't exist. You know better.

I give up. I'm going to listen to some music on my non-existent magic box on my magic speakers. I'm listening to some of Ryan Moore's Twilight Circus mp3s right now - but if you guys tell me this is what iTunes sounds like on a computer, I guess you must be right. (I do have iTunes on it, btw).

I'll re-iterate: anyone on this forum - with one exception - is welcome here to prove to themselves how run-of-the-mill this thing is.

I will say, I've always been surprised how little professionals care about this sort of thing. Its all of a piece to me. I love playing music, recording music and listening to music, and want every part of that to be as deep an experience as I can make it. If I can listen to McCartney or Casady with a similar sense of proximity that I get with my own work, or by sitting next to my own amp, I'm happy. Its been my best teacher.


Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 15, 2011, 12:19:48 pm
mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 16:45

Jesus, Jon - do you spend all your time reading and believing webpages?


Well I'm talking about their webpage, no I don't spend much time reading it... I read what they put up in some detail back when you started raving about it, and I looked at it briefly (there's much less to see) when a link was posted earlier in this thread.
As for believing their webpage, I spend no time at all believing it.
Quote:

My guess is you spend none at all.

Not quite sure what you're saying there
Quote:

I am neither an insider nor an outsider on this one, but trust me or don't, on this one you are very much an outsider.

In my circle of people who actually understand the subject that Nova Physics choose to make claims about, I'm very much an insider
Quote:

 I don't care how many millienia you have on the topic. First, use your ears. If they tell you this thing is exactly the same as some off-the-shelf computer running iTunes, then we have nothing to discuss.

IRRELEVANT to my position.

Which part of "I BELIEVE YOU" (about the sound) did you not understand?

zmix asked a specific question about a specific technical claim, which I answered. It could be the most miraculously great sounding unit in the history of the universe and that claim would still be bullshit.
Quote:

 One of us is living off-planet. If they tell you that you are experiencing something you haven't before, which so far everyone on this forum who has heard it has experienced, then you might have an obligation to yourself, not to me or to the people selling this thing, to try to understand what is afoot.


I am trying to understand, I would be delighted to get my hands on a unit and investigate what is actually happening. What I do know is that someone who can't get the basics of red book and reed solomon right (the stuff they used to have on their page was so riddled with errors it was ridiculous) has not pushed that aspect any further
Quote:


I don't look at the site that has you guys so freaked out any more than I look at ads in magazines, but I'm pretty sure it exists for one reason - to get the people who are the audience for it, people willing to spend serious cash to have a great time listening to music at home, interested enough to seek it out. I.E. not you.

So, what you're saying, is that it is ok for a company to publish any claim they like, no matter how dishonest or incorrect it may be, just to get people to try their device?

Sorry, but I expect more integrity from people in general, and my fellow engineers in particular.
Quote:

 But notice that every time I mention the thing Chuck jumps in here with some critique of the advertising, yet even though he lives in the biggest city in the world where he could almost certainly find one to hear, he has made no effort to do it. So what should I conclude - we have a small group of people who simply know better, even though the world keeps changing. It must feel great.

So if someone points out that an advert for a unicorn sandwich (which is of course hugely expensive because unicorns are so rare) is dishonest because there are no unicorns, your response is "that doesn't matter, what matters is it's a delicious sandwich, taste it"
Quote:


Jon, you imply a position that all that can be known is known (and by you), therefor there is nothing new. Fine, you are an insider.

No I don't imply that, I don't even say it.

What I say is that the SPECIFIC claims made BY NOVA PHYSICS are incorrect.. never mind the things they claim to have improved, they can't evem get the current state of the science right.

I haven't said they haven't made a great unit, nor have I said they haven't done SOMETHING new or unusual that has benefited the sound, just that it's not what they choose to claim it is.
Quote:

You do understand this is not my loss, right? I have the thing and am enjoying it every day.

Great, and if it was worth whatever money to you to get that sound then that's wonderful.
What is not wonderful is misinformation being spread, whether through ignorance or willfull dishonesty to make a sale, about what they've done and why it sounds so good to  you.
Quote:

 I don't sweat hi-res downloads like all the audiophiles do. I get that experience now from standard red-book. The world of digital has changed, I listen to it every day, I'm reporting it to you for your benefit, and you and Chuck and now Andy insist that it can't be true. Dan Farris, Ross, and David have heard it, said it, but no, you guys say it can't be. You haven't heard it and say it simply can't be anything other than iTunes. OK. For you, the thing doesn't exist. You know better.


Well it's obviously not iTunes, I've seen the screen shots... there's something very familiar about that supposedly amazing CD writing software though.
Quote:


I give up. I'm going to listen to some music on my non-existent magic box on my magic speakers. I'm listening to some of Ryan Moore's Twilight Circus mp3s right now - but if you guys tell me this is what iTunes sounds like on a computer, I guess you must be right. (I do have iTunes on it, btw).

I'll re-iterate: anyone on this forum - with one exception - is welcome here to prove to themselves how run-of-the-mill this thing is.

I will say, I've always been surprised how little professionals care about this sort of thing. Its all of a piece to me. I love playing music, recording music and listening to music, and want every part of that to be as deep an experience as I can make it. If I can listen to McCartney or Casady with a similar sense of proximity that I get with my own work, or by sitting next to my own amp, I'm happy. Its been my best teacher.



But wouldn't the whole world of audio be better served if we knew WHY it sounds so good, rather than whatever the sales guys can think of to get you to listen?

Perhaps to you the only question that matters is whether or not it sounds good to you.

For me an equally important question is "Why does it sound so good?", and much worse than no answer is a wrong or dishonest one, because that moves understanding backwards.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 12:46:05 pm
"But wouldn't the whole world of audio be better served if we knew WHY it sounds so good,"

Yes, it certainly would. Maybe some day they'll talk about it, but certainly not til the patent thing is done. If it holds up it has implications for far more than audio.

In the meantime, no matter how much you may regard yourself as an insider, you're not. And the thing is vastly different from iTunes, which to my mind was a spectacularly silly question, but at least Chuck asked it with a certain naive honesty. You answered it - wrongly, inaccurately untruthfully - with an outsider's lack of knowledge. You said "It isn't". But it is. Its very possible the world has moved on past what you know - it has to happen to everyone eventually - and their advertising isn't going to tell you what's in the unicorn sandwich.

Its also possible that its all hooey, and they've simply figured out how to do all the conventional stuff right before anyone else did. That in itself distinguishes it from iTunes and would merit your attention. There's no point arguing over whether you believe me or not. I trust that you do. But you're attempting to authoritatively discuss something beyond your experience and your frame of reference is possibly antiquated.

I should say, btw, that despite all the claims about the amazing CD writing software, that I'm loading things into it w/out using it, and I have yet to be convinced that those files don't sound every bit as good.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 12:56:38 pm
Jon Hodgson wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 09:19

Perhaps to you the only question that matters is whether or not it sounds good to you. For me an equally important question is "Why does it sound so good?", and much worse than no answer is a wrong or dishonest one, because that moves understanding backwards.

Not the only question, but the most important one. Joseph Campbell said, "I don't need faith, I have experience." I need a LOT of experience to be convinced, and it has to hold up. Otherwise its not worth the effort to learn why it holds up.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 15, 2011, 01:05:33 pm
mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 17:46

"But wouldn't the whole world of audio be better served if we knew WHY it sounds so good,"

Yes, it certainly would. Maybe some day they'll talk about it, but certainly not til the patent thing is done. If it holds up it has implications for far more than audio.

In the meantime, no matter how much you may regard yourself as an insider, you're not. And the thing is vastly different from iTunes, which to my mind was a spectacularly silly question, but at least Chuck asked it with a certain naive honesty. You answered it - wrongly, inaccurately untruthfully - with an outsider's lack of knowledge. You said "It isn't". But it is. Its very possible the world has moved on past what you know - it has to happen to everyone eventually - and their advertising isn't going to tell you what's in the unicorn sandwich.

You seem to be taking my response out of context... I was not saying it sounded the same as any other computer running iTunes.

I responded to Chuck's question
"how different than a computer reclocking data from memory is the memory player"
in the context of his previous comments, which is specifically referring to the claims about reclocking.

Now, if you're in a position to judge my knowledge on this matter, and thus accuse me of answering innaccuratetly and more insultingly, "untruthfully", then please elaborate.

We both know you're not.

Quote:


Its also possible that its all hooey, and they've simply figured out how to do all the conventional stuff right before anyone else did. That in itself distinguishes it from iTunes and would merit your attention.

Put a unit on the bench in front of me and I'll happily probe it, analyze it, listen to it and set up blind tests for it till I can find out what is going on.
Quote:

 There's no point arguing over whether you believe me or not. I trust that you do. But you're attempting to authoritatively discuss something beyond your experience and your frame of reference is possibly antiquated.

Dan, the stuff I'm talking about is not beyond my experience, this is what you don't grasp.

Let's say you've used a hundred microphones of a dozen different colours in your professional career, you know both from your technical understanding and your personal experience that the colour does not affect the quality.

Now someone brings in the most wonderful sounding microphone you've ever heard, or someone who's ears you respect tells you about one, and when you ask what makes it sound so good, they say "because it's red".

Now to someone who didn't have your experience, maybe this would seem possible, they might imagine something to do with light absorbtion or the weight of the paint or whatever.

You on the other hand, I suspect, would not be fooled for a moment. You'd possibly also be a bit offended by the inexperienced guy accusing you of having a dogmatic or ignorant position on it.


Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 15, 2011, 01:15:17 pm
mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 17:46

"But wouldn't the whole world of audio be better served if we knew WHY it sounds so good,"

Yes, it certainly would. Maybe some day they'll talk about it, but certainly not til the patent thing is done. If it holds up it has implications for far more than audio.


When did they submit the patents?


Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 01:18:58 pm
Jon, Chuck asked how different it is. You answered, it isn't. Yet you have no way of knowing that. If untruthful is the wrong word to use to describe giving a wrong response that you have no way of providing reliably, I don't know what is. Then you bring up ideas liker inside and outsider. These are your answers, not mine. Get it on a bench, probe it, listen to it, study it, tell him its the same and I'll not argue the point. Answer authoritatively in a vacuum as if you're telling some truth, and, well...

I like the mic color metaphor - its a good one. I wish I could describe for you why it doesn't apply here, but I can't. Maybe because I'm just not smart enough on the numbers of the topic, and partially because, although I haven't signed any sort of NDA, I'm just not talking about what I know their particular line of investigation is.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 01:21:12 pm
Jon Hodgson wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 10:15

mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 17:46

"But wouldn't the whole world of audio be better served if we knew WHY it sounds so good,"

Yes, it certainly would. Maybe some day they'll talk about it, but certainly not til the patent thing is done. If it holds up it has implications for far more than audio.

When did they submit the patents?


No idea, its not my business. My suspicion is, assuming they get their patents, they still won't do much about discussing this stuff, because who wants to spend all your money defending patents?
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 01:22:55 pm
Jon Hodgson wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 10:05


Quote:

 There's no point arguing over whether you believe me or not. I trust that you do. But you're attempting to authoritatively discuss something beyond your experience and your frame of reference is possibly antiquated.

Dan, the stuff I'm talking about is not beyond my experience, this is what you don't grasp.

Jon, yes it is, this is what you don't grasp. From everything you've written about it, it is.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 15, 2011, 01:29:37 pm
mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 18:21

Jon Hodgson wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 10:15

mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 17:46

"But wouldn't the whole world of audio be better served if we knew WHY it sounds so good,"

Yes, it certainly would. Maybe some day they'll talk about it, but certainly not til the patent thing is done. If it holds up it has implications for far more than audio.

When did they submit the patents?


No idea, its not my business. My suspicion is, assuming they get their patents, they still won't do much about discussing this stuff, because who wants to spend all your money defending them?

If the patents are granted, then I can read them, in fact if the applications have been published, then I should be able to.

But I see no application filed either in the US or Internationally under "Nova Physics".

What's the name of the inventor? his name should appear on there, I could search for that.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 01:32:31 pm
Jon Hodgson wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 10:05

You seem to be taking my response out of context... I was not saying it sounded the same as any other computer running iTunes.

I responded to Chuck's question
"how different than a computer reclocking data from memory is the memory player"
in the context of his previous comments, which is specifically referring to the claims about reclocking.

Now, if you're in a position to judge my knowledge on this matter, and thus accuse me of answering innaccuratetly and more insultingly, "untruthfully", then please elaborate.

We both know you're not.

Lets try it this way - strictly in the limits of how you interpret Chuck's question (which btw is not how I read the question). Is there only one possible way of reclocking? Is it an absolute necessity that if the MP is reclocking data from memory that it has to be identical to iTunes?

I read Chuck's question more broadly. Only he could tell us what he meant. But even if we limit the interpretation to how you read it, to be truthful your answer has to mean that the the MP is doing exactly what iTunes does. Since you've never been inside it, that has to mean that there is only one way to do it. Have I got this right so far?
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 15, 2011, 01:38:45 pm
mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 18:32

Jon Hodgson wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 10:05

You seem to be taking my response out of context... I was not saying it sounded the same as any other computer running iTunes.

I responded to Chuck's question
"how different than a computer reclocking data from memory is the memory player"
in the context of his previous comments, which is specifically referring to the claims about reclocking.

Now, if you're in a position to judge my knowledge on this matter, and thus accuse me of answering innaccuratetly and more insultingly, "untruthfully", then please elaborate.

We both know you're not.

Lets try it this way - strictly in the limits of how you interpret Chuck's question (which btw is not how I read the question). Is there only one possible way of reclocking? Is it an absolute necessity that if the MP is reclocking data from memory that it has to be identical to iTunes?

I read Chuck's question more broadly. Only he could tell us what he meant. But even if we limit the interpretation to how you read it, to be truthful your answer has to mean that the the MP is doing exactly what iTunes does. Since you've never been inside it, that has to mean that there is only one way to do it. Have I got this right so far?


Reading from memory is reading from memory. It happens when the CPU clock cycles. It's also largely irrelevant because only one clock matters for audio quality (beyond obviously ensuring data integrity, but that's a catastrophic failure of clocking), that's the one that clocks the DAC. You could chop up your audio stream, put it together back to front, split it into a hundred pieces and send them all the way round the world twelve times by twenty different routes, and when you put them back together and played them back, it would sound the same.

Why? because only the timing of the samples clocked into the DAC, and thus only the clock that drives the DAC matters.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 01:48:13 pm
Well, it'll be interesting to see if they get their patent, if it covers the things the designer and I have discussed, and if he's proven right.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: bigaudioblowhard on February 15, 2011, 01:55:58 pm
Without having heard the MP, is it not possible listeners are merely reacting to the Tube DAC, with some nice subtle coloration of tube distortion, Class A, zero feedback, yada yada?

Not to suggest the digital side can't sound better than other high end transports.

I just shot out a cheap shit Hosa SPDIf cable versus a nice Canare. Was not too hard to hear the difference, (I am after all, a pro) pretty close to nothing though. (Canare won, a little fuller, clearer).

Back to my point, if I AB'd SS versus Tube DAC, I'd notice much greater differences.

bab
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 15, 2011, 01:57:22 pm
Mine has no tube. Its what he calls direct-to-DAC. Come hear it.

Not today, taxes. Maybe tonight.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Fenris Wulf on February 16, 2011, 01:58:57 am
Aaaaaaaaaaaand my thread has been hijacked by people debating miniscule sonic differences between converters.

I have an admission to make. When it comes to the delivery medium, I can't tell the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96. I can't even tell the difference between a 192 kbps MP3 and linear 24/96 most of the time. I can tell the difference between digital and tape, but digital is pretty much ALWAYS vaguely unsatisfactory.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 16, 2011, 07:28:58 am
Fenris Wulf wrote on Wed, 16 February 2011 06:58

Aaaaaaaaaaaand my thread has been hijacked by people debating miniscule sonic differences between converters.

I have an admission to make. When it comes to the delivery medium, I can't tell the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96. I can't even tell the difference between a 192 kbps MP3 and linear 24/96 most of the time. I can tell the difference between digital and tape, but digital is pretty much ALWAYS vaguely unsatisfactory.


What about digital sampled from analogue tape?
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 17, 2011, 01:23:46 pm
Fenris Wulf wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 22:58

Aaaaaaaaaaaand my thread has been hijacked by people debating miniscule sonic differences between converters.

I have an admission to make. When it comes to the delivery medium, I can't tell the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96. I can't even tell the difference between a 192 kbps MP3 and linear 24/96 most of the time. I can tell the difference between digital and tape, but digital is pretty much ALWAYS vaguely unsatisfactory.

Fenris, I suspect that your monitoring systems are probably the cause. There's a reason that most people don't care about full-res vs. mp3. They probably shouldn't.

Even when I couldn't stand listening to CDs on my main system, I never minded listening to them on headphones. I enjoy AACs and mp3s on my iPod. Actually, I enjoy mp3s on the Memory Player too. They're different but I enjoy them. Some bootlegs, that's all you can get. I'm listening lately to the Fabs Decca audition tape, with the great Pete Best on drums.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Andy Peters on February 18, 2011, 12:50:46 am
mgod wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 11:32

Jon Hodgson wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 10:05

You seem to be taking my response out of context... I was not saying it sounded the same as any other computer running iTunes.

I responded to Chuck's question
"how different than a computer reclocking data from memory is the memory player"
in the context of his previous comments, which is specifically referring to the claims about reclocking.

Now, if you're in a position to judge my knowledge on this matter, and thus accuse me of answering innaccuratetly and more insultingly, "untruthfully", then please elaborate.

We both know you're not.

Lets try it this way - strictly in the limits of how you interpret Chuck's question (which btw is not how I read the question). Is there only one possible way of reclocking? Is it an absolute necessity that if the MP is reclocking data from memory that it has to be identical to iTunes?


Reading correctly from memory is a solved problem, and has been for ages. If it did not work, you wouldn't be able to post messages on Internet forums.

There is no "reclocking" happening.

-a
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 18, 2011, 11:01:32 am
Up is down.

Jitter was a solved problem, because it didn't exist. And certainly didn't affect the internet.

Then it did, and explained why things could sound better, and knowing that, was addressed. But it was solved before it was found.

But, what the hell: down is up.

All known knowns are known.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 18, 2011, 11:56:30 am
mgod wrote on Fri, 18 February 2011 16:01

Up is down.

Jitter was a solved problem, because it didn't exist. And certainly didn't affect the internet.

Then it did, and explained why things could sound better, and knowing that, was addressed. But it was solved before it was found.

But, what the hell: down is up.

All known knowns are known.


What are you talking about Dan?

Jitter is an obvious issue for anyone who looks at the mathematics (or even the basic process) of sampling, it's a given, samples have only two parameters, level and time (within the stream, not absolute time). It's a bit hard to not notice the importance of it, so if you think for one moment that nobody knew about it, you're very much mistaken.

However I don't know where you think the internet comes into it.
Unless you're talking about transmission jitter that is so great that it exceeds the ability of any buffering to absorb it, but once again that's an obvious issue (it's actually an issue with the streaming of any data, or indeed the streaming of anything at all, physical objects included), and it's also a rather different issue to that of jitter in the DAC.

Some things are known, some are basic common sense. Low level jitter is an issue in sampling, at two points, and two points only, the point at which the sample is taken, and the point at which the sample is used to reconstitute the signal. In between those the only way it matters is if it results in two systems being so out of sync that the data isn't there when it's needed, but electronically speaking that's quite a big error (you don't get a slightly wrong sample, or a sample at slightly the wrong time, you get a complete garbage sample or no sample at all), and the very fact that you're reading this tells us it's not happening over the net.

Think of it like this. Let's say you like milk on your cereal every morning, and so you have the milkman deliver milk (don't know if you get that in the States). So every morning you get up at 6 am, open your door, and there's a bottle of milk on your doorstep, you take it, pour it on your cereal and into your coffee and so you're happy.

Now, it doesn't matter whether that milk arrived on the doorstep at 5:59 or at 1 am, it doesn't matter if it was delivered to the milk depot at midnight or 6 pm the previous day, all that matters is that it's there when you open the door, every morning.

Now if one morning it's not there on time, this isn't a subtle thing, your cereal won't be slightly less milky, it'll be dry cereal, this is a catastrophic failure.

Now, let's extend it and say that rather than drinking the milk yourself, you're giving it to a baby, and this baby by some strange genetic quirk has a super accurate internal clock and likes its milk at exactly 6:30 am.... get it right and it'll be nice and quiet, the more you deviate from it, the louder it will cry.

So you check the time on your watch, and give the baby its milk every morning at 6:30 on the dot, according to your watch. Your watch however isn't perfect, it loses a bit one day, gains a bit another, on average it's right, but it drifts, it has jitter.

So the baby cries, this is where the degree of jitter matters beyond that of pass or fail, get a better watch and it will cry less.

But note that though it's crucial what time you feed the baby, it still makes no difference what time things happened further on up the line. The milkman could have arrived at the last moment or hours early, you see a package passing through a system has no memory of jitter happening in the various stages of its journey, whether it's a bottle of milk or a piece of electronic text or a sample.

To claim otherwise is to enter the realms of fantasy and metaphysics.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Jon Hodgson on February 18, 2011, 12:48:23 pm
On the subject of how long people have known about jitter, specifically as it relates to the sampling and reconstruction of audio.

There is an AES paper from 1971 which refers unambiguously to that very issue, so that's documentary proof that it's been at least 40 years... but as I said it's pretty obvious anyway, when you have something (a sample) which has only two variables (level and time) you've got to be pretty slow not to notice if errors in either are an issue.

Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 18, 2011, 03:47:55 pm
I just posted a long response and am deleting it. At this point I can't talk any more about this.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: Andy Peters on February 18, 2011, 08:06:46 pm
mgod wrote on Fri, 18 February 2011 13:47

I just posted a long response and am deleting it. At this point I can't talk any more about this.


Dan, taking your marbles and going home isn't going to help you understand what Jon and I are trying to explain.

First, all voodoo aside, the ONLY clock that matters in a digital audio system based on oversampling converters is the modulator clock, which runs at a multiple (256x, 384x, 512x, depending on the modulator) of the sample frequency. 512x 48 kHz is 24.576 MHz, which is common. The jitter on this clock matters.

And there really is nothing magical or special about reading audio data from memory and writing them to an audio device, whether in a PC or in an old-school portable CD player (the whole "anti skip" thing) or in an iPod Touch.

The memory bus on a PC is orders of magnitude faster than what is needed by a two-channel audio device. So the problem is reduced to reading a buffer's worth of data from main memory at the memory bus speed (hundreds of MHz) and storing it in a FIFO, and data are read out of this FIFO, using a clock synchronous to the converter. It is a simple matter to ensure that this FIFO never goes empty because  we can always write data to it faster than the converter can read it out.  We never have to worry that the converter will be starved for data.

On the FIFO read side, which is in the converter clock domain, you can use a high-quality, low-jitter oscillator as the time-base to clock the converter and read data samples out of the buffer, serialize them (oversampling converter interfaces are serial) and present them to the converter. Anyone skilled in the art, as they say, of synchronous digital circuit design can whip this up in an hour. Really. It is not difficult, it is not magic, it is not snake oil, and it's most certainly not patentable. The point, again, is that this high-quality clock is the only one used to clock the converter. Neither it nor the data are "regenerated."

So perhaps this is what you might think of as "reclocking." I don't know what you mean by that term. But the data are not reclocked.

-a
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 19, 2011, 12:21:06 am
Andy Peters wrote on Fri, 18 February 2011 17:06

Dan, taking your marbles and going home isn't going to help you understand what Jon and I are trying to explain.

-a

Not what I'm saying. I hope Jon understands. I think he does. I haven't signed an NDA, but I have to respect the conversation I've been let in on. We've reached the end of what I can discuss here.

And I wasn't talking about reclocking at all, I was responding to other's questions.

Enjoy the marbles, they're all yours.

Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: mgod on February 19, 2011, 11:53:04 am
Andy, I want to add - I don't want to be or sound like I'm being dismissive or disrespectful. The re-clocking thing was brought up by Chuck, I think from reading the MP's website. He asked about it vs. iTunes and Jon jumped in, asserting knowledge. This is where re-clocking came from in this thread, not from me. Beyond that Jon, IIRC, got into what else could be going on and I just can't talk about any of it. I deleted a response that got too much into things I can't discuss.

You and I once had a long talk about power cables. I've had some unpleasant encounters in this forum i.e. the audible effects of power supplies, but I can direct you to a very knowledgeable source for information as to why you can hear power supplies "warming up" over 3 days. But the folks whom I had that encounter with have no real desire to know more than they already "know".

For many years I've used a Theta CD system and found it less-than-engaging. I changed the power source for my whole system and the sound of the Theta was transformed. Much of what I disliked about it went away -  instantly, after more than a decade. I know many designers who think that shouldn't be the case, that they design with properly regulated supplies, and yet its a hearable effect that there is something that regulating a supply doesn't accomplish. Its there - no theoretical arguments can make it go away. But if you haven't heard it, you have no reason to doubt the theory. The guy who designed the power source is now talking about what its doing that other similar devices don't do and I'll be damned if I understand why that matters. You probably would. Or you might think he's full of it. But that doesn't stop it from working.

We can talk theory until the cows come home and leave again, but its udderly pointless until you have an experience that causes you to know that something has happened. I'm not the guy to have the theoretical debate about the cause of the change. I just know its there.

We're all in our own ivory towers.
Title: Re: consumer indifference explained: Elcaset
Post by: svs95 on March 04, 2011, 10:28:29 am
We can't totally discount the placebo effect. If you change something (power supplies, for example), there is a powerful expectation there may be audible consequences, and the mind alters its response to certain stimuli in order to satisfy that expectation.

Not saying that is what happened - just that it very well could be. Anecdotal stories are no substitute for falsifiable testing and analysis - even when the matter being investigated involves human perception.