The Mike Moffat (#2 at Schiit) Blog

Discussion in 'Schiit' started by baldr, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Darren G

    Darren G Friend

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    Not sure if I should envy those who can hear this or not ;)

    Yea in the exaggerated samples I can hear the warbling. In actual music, just doesn't register in my brain. Still even if I can't immediately pick up on it, it may contribute to listener fatigue. I love the advantages of Spotify, but I do find something about it grates on my nerves as compared with listening to my CDs.
     
  2. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Jebus, this talk about watermarking music is horrifying to me. That they actually do this. Just... awful.
     
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  3. Darren G

    Darren G Friend

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    Water-marking VOD is old news too. Nothing really to be shocked about ;)

    As usual it is unfortunate that the honest customers have to pay a price for the dishonest, but there is nothing to be surprised about.
     
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  4. Energeezer

    Energeezer Rando

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    I always thought that digital audio watermarking came and went with DVD audio. Looks like I was misinformed.
     
  5. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    I'm not sure if this has been discussed here, but with the production version of Gadget (which is said to have a USB input) on the horizon, I wonder if the Gadget would incorporate the Gen 5 USB.

    Part of me thinks the answer is no, for the following reasons:

    The Eitr is already priced at $179, and IIRC, the Gadget would be $199. If you could get what is essentially an Eitr with a superb re-tuner for $20 more, it would cannibalize on the pre-existing Eitr. No one would want to buy the Eitr (unless, Schiit decides to discontinue the Eitr once Gadget is released OR raise the price of Gen 5 USB-equipped Gadget). Also, IIRC, the Gadget supposedly comes in the same sized chassis as Eitr. I don't think it would be easy to fit Gen 5 USB and re-tuner in that small chassis (unless, Schiit decides to use a larger chassis for Gadget).

    However, another part of me thinks the answer is yes, for the following reasons:

    The Eitr/Gen 5 USB was a sort of revolutionary product of 2016 that put a lot of more expensive USB modules and DDCs to shame. Some people--myself included--went as far as to sell and re-buy the same Schiit DACs (Bimby, Gumby, Yggy) we owned to get a taste of the Gen 5 USB, while others have separately purchased Gen 5 USB boards. Right now, all Schiit DACs with the exception of Modi are fitted with the Gen 5 USB by default, effecitvely freeing us from USB nervosa (and the need to buy an Eitr). However, introducing a supposedly game-changing re-tuner that many Schiit DAC owners would buy, which accepts USB input but doesn't have the superior Gen 5 USB, would cause our USB nervosa to relapse (since Gadget only has a coaxial output, which would be fed into the DAC and bypass the DAC's Gen 5 USB) and force many of us to buy the Eitr separately just to use it between our computers and Gadget. Sure, this approach could boost the sales of Eitr and might be profitable from Schiit's point of view, but at the same time it would be frustrating to its customers since they are essentially buying another Gen 5 USB converter when it's already built into their DACs just because the re-tuner forces them to bypass the one inside their DACs without offering the same superior USB solution. If Schiit decides not to incorporate Gen 5 USB into Gadget, this marketing approach would invariably piss a lot of people off.

    It would be like:

    "Hey, do you want a Gadget that magically re-tunes and makes everything sound better? It's yours for only $199. Oh, but on one condition only. You'll have to forgo the wonderful Gen 5 USB in your DACs and stick with the crappy one inside the Gadget. Well you can't have everything. Oh wait, if you really want to use the Gen 5 USB which is already in your DACs, you can just buy another one, it's called Eitr and yours for an extra $179. Haha, I'm laughing all the way to the bank."

    I'm sure Schiit, being a respectable company, wouldn't pull such a dick move on its loyal customers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  6. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    History shows that @schiit is perfectly happy to launch better, cheaper products and "cannibalize" its own sales...
     
  7. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    "The USB incorporation is Gen II to keep it under two hun"
     
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  8. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Over on Mike's blog on Headfi he said this:

    I was pleased with the Gadget's reception. The majority of those who listened "got it", even with the loud distractions of the shows' environs. I had an opportunity to speak with several press members, all of who realized that it is a fun device, which of course why we do this hobby. We now have a Gadget up and running at the Schittr, and as a project it is all but ready to put in production.

    Ivana for now is working on the translation of UAC2 audio (USB2) into a microprocessor. This will be a project of some duration. The reason for the moment is not to build a Gen V USB killer, but more for us to have a better low-cost solution. Most DACs which would glue to common USB solutions (XMOS, Cmedia, etc.) are I2S Sigma Delta types, which exhibit relatively high levels of sonic asstivity. Since we have a DSP processor in our entire upgardable line, we can configure much higher quality DACs, an ability which can be realized at the under $200 market when we have the USB running in our own micro. We will no longer be constrained by "audio" DACs.

    In order to fully implement the next versions of the Manhattan, we will need to utilize processors which are much more powerful and less DSP specific. This will be yet another learning curve for us which we will get to as soon as we conquer our proprietary USB interface.​
     
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  9. Metro

    Metro Almost "Made"

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    And what if including Gen 5 USB into Gadget would bump up the price by $100? That's a 50% increase if it was originally targeted at $199. I think Schiit's initial goal will be to keep the price low and evaluate interest and feedback for this new type of product. Also USB as the only input is very limiting. They might very well include SPDIF input.
     
  10. baldr

    baldr Schiit-sterer

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    So it has been way too long since I have left anything on this thread – fandamily, Christmas, working on year end expenses and tax schiit (bleech), etc. etc.

    So let me definitely say "Happy and rewarding" new year to all, and apologize to most for being late as well as those whose Orthodox liturgy follow the Julian Calendar for being early in my wishes. The reason I am aware of this is one of our own Schiitsters hangs with her family at that time to celebrate the New Year.

    The report on Ivana's importing UAC2 USB into a microprocessor is going far more quickly than anticipated. 44, 48, 88, and 92 sample rates are all working 100%. 176/192 (the 2 in UAC2) is just about there, with occasional (every hour or two) farts, which have gone from bombers to whispers. We also need to figure out where to find a good hook to mute the DACs when the music is interrupted or there is a sr change. It sounds more than adaquate for a low cost option and I am quite pleased. We'll see how the last bits of it go.

    RE the gadget, specifically the C=256 pitch is enclosed a paper. The author, Grover Neville, is a colleague I frequently see at RMAF Shows. He works in the pro-audio field and was the first to take sufficient interest in C=256 to measure notes in C=256 vs A=440 tunings and explain why C=256 sounds better in a formal paper. He has given me permission to publish it. My only problem is that it is too big to be uploaded here (1.25MB). Ah, the best laid plans. Here is a link:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tr2qBrcaSPaTEuUz_imbWLJ-wkECMBEf/view?usp=sharing


    It is great to be posting again and I will be back soon with further gadget plans.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  11. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    @baldr can you make it available as a publicly viewed Google Docs file?
     
  12. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    That paper might lead to some insightful moments indeed.

    JJ
     
  13. baldr

    baldr Schiit-sterer

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    The link has been edited into the post #710
     
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  14. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Mike my apologies if you've mentioned this previously, but is this something you plan to incorporate into Modi Multibit? I think you mentioned targeting this at your upgradable DACs per my quote from you above, but also mentioned it would not be a Gen V USB killer, and would be good for the under $200 market. I guess I'm wondering what DACs you're planning to target with this...
     
  15. TwoEars

    TwoEars Friend

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    @baldr

    Any developments in the audio world that interest you in 2018? Products? Companies? People? Trends? Also, best of luck to you and Schiit in the new year of course!
     
  16. Larry Megugorac

    Larry Megugorac Craps on Marv on HF to impress Head-Fiers

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    So how can only one piece of Audio gear take this phenomenon into account when it's probably paired to other equipment that does not???
     
  17. haywood

    haywood Almost "Made"

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    Imagine everyone switched their instruments to use c=256 tuning, the resulting records would still play on your old system. The new device is using skynet technology to change unaltered a=440 music and transmogrify that into a c=256 stream that plays on your existing equipment.
     
  18. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    I'm expermented tuning my guitars to it, but C=256 is the same as A=430.56 and my tuner can only do A=430 or A=431. Either seems to sound better than A=440.
     
  19. ThePianoMan

    ThePianoMan Almost "Made"

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    @baldr
    Thanks for putting up the paper Mike!

    It was a lot of fun (and number crunching) working on the paper. Big kudos to schiit for enabling musical/acoustical research like this to happen.

    I'm going to write some of my subjective impressions and additional thoughts below, but let me first just say I'm happy to answer any questions people have about the paper, methodolgy, my background and process or related topics to the best of my understanding. Or just intensely niche nerdy topics in general.


    WARNING: WALL O' TEXT INCOMING


    The TL;DR of the paper is this: changing tuning frequencies changes how in tune things are. Different tuning frequencies can be used to accomplish many different goals, in the case of C=256, making all intervals of an equal-tempered scale (piano and most western instruments) more in tune.

    Why? Well, it's a matter of musical preference. Some will consider it heresy (we're obviously going beyond altering the signal to altering musical elements) while some will appreciate it immensely. Sorry if it sounds like I'm equivocating here - this is a rather unusual andnovel application of pitch shifting technology.

    What I will tell you, after spending some hands-on time at RMAF with the gadget, as well as a significant amount of time with my own high-quality pitch shifting algorithms set to various tuning frequencies is this:

    If you listen to music with a heavily chordal basis, there will be less dissonance. For power chord rock, gallant classical and acoustic pop music from the northern hemisphere this may be very pleasant. Certainly chords and intervals sound noticeably purer and more in tune (although I've had a lot of pitch-based ear training so I recognize I'm not necessarily representative of non-musicians) my subjective experience of this is an increased amount of my attention being drawn to chordal harmony. From a musicoloical perspective, this lines up well with the baroque, gallant classical and early-mid romantic tonal theory of chord progressions and harmony being a major focus of the listeners experience. I would say the same for any music that uses progressive or modulating harmony as a primary principle. Rock, sophisticated pop, musical theatre, some folk, etc. There's also a lot less 'beating' in the harmonic series of acoustic instruments due to more pure tunings. Some melodies sounded cleaner and purer because of this. I could discuss the acoustic and musicological implications of this all day, but in the interest of time, suffice to say, less overtone ringing = more noticeable tuning purity for chords (and some melodies)

    Now, do I recommend listening to twelve tone or spectralist jazz music using this? It's entirely up to you, but for some musics that use inharmonic ringing or beating (minimalism for example), rely on the particular inharmomic relationships of A440 tuning (much of serialism and some jazz) or just plain don't use equal temperament or western style scales (indian classical music for example) the musicological conversation becomes nearly pedantic in complexity, not to mention increasingly acoustically complex. I'll let you all try out the gadget and make that call for yourselves.

    And like any (good) research, this gave me some insight, questions and ideas into related psychoacoustic phenoma and potential applications, the relationship between periodoc infrequency and musical texture/timbre, and a host of other fascinating and potentially very cool things which are outside of the scope of the gadget.

    Hope some of that made sense.
     
  20. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    So for those who are running jriver (or are running other pitch shifting s/w), assuming this statement from @ThePianoMan is accurate "(a detuning of C4 by about 37.185 cents from the modern A440hz standard), then using a correction of -0.035041015 to the pitch shift, will get you close to the C4=256 tuning.

    Try it and see what you think.

    This is about double the correction of the 440 to 432 correction factor of -0.018181818 I was using.

    JJ
     
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