The Mike Moffat (#2 at Schiit) Blog

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

  1. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Measurements provide static evaluation of a component's ability to reproduce accurately some input signal. Problem is that most measurements are simple sines and don't adequately convey meaningful information on dynamic behavior. Further, the simpleton's approach of lower distortion measurements must be better completely ignores the case where certain specific distortions are actually enjoyable, even preferable. Currently the only method for evaluating dynamic performance involves actually listening with ears, not eyes. The site to which you refer is absent the ability to achieve higher level cognitive function in understanding more complex concepts such as these.
     
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  2. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Well the science guys bitch and moan about thd but ignore imd. They would throw a fit about Lavry and SPL stuff like they did Schiit if they could afford them but they can’t. They don’t like paying 5000 bucks for a metal box even if it’s gold plated. they totally handwave IMD and rising distortion in treble. The French dudes who measure stuff always listen and measure for shitty digititus treble as the first measurement but aren’t “scientific” like the dudes building shitty dsp speakers.

    If those fools found out 90% of popular music has been through a Pultech or SSL bus compressor, not even considering API and Neve pres, they would kill themselves.
     
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  3. Dr J

    Dr J Friend

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    With the risk that I am stretching to things on the audio engineering domain on which I have no theoretical or practical credentials, a philosophy of science point of view:

    From science perspective, all the scientific methods like applying mathematics to build theoretical models, or statistical analyses of any data sets of real-word phenomena, surveys via questionnaires, or controlled measurements are meant to find the truth about the world. The more independent the results of the the methods are of the confounding variables like the researcher, the particular data set, the equipment used, the context, etc. the better.

    From engineering science perspective, the above applies, but the model and methods must in addition be useful in designing solutions to practically relevant problems. Otherwise, they obviously are not worth doing (for engineers).

    The latter point brings in things like how do the measurements correlate to perceived high quality (however defined) recording and re-production of audio (which is the fundamental problem being solved), what measurements are effectively measuring this, and how the measurements should be done in a cost-effective manner. Codifying this typically leads to engineering methodology and building tools supporting that methodology. The measurement-outcome dependency and effectivity of the methdology can be studied in controlled test setups with small focus groups (like Toole), and ultimately the test is the market: which solutions and the methodologies are adopted into use.

    Maybe the above is self-evident.

    The reason I wrote this is that as a layman it seems to me that the biggest gaps are in the topis of the last section above. Having some experience in another engineering science domain, it has been nagging at me that there is some anecdotal evidence that the standard measurements do not seem to capture what we hear (e.g Purr1n's blind listening of perfectly measuring devices and being able to differentiate them and similar things from Innerfidelity's blind listening of top-of-the line amps). And a lot of claims that people do hear differences.

    If I were an audio science researcher I would be curious to do research in this area to find out what the hell is happening here. I would hesitate to say that there is nothing to be found and current theory and measurements tells enough of the truth that no further research is warranted. (Nothing in science is the full truth. All theories are approximations.)
     
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  4. baldr

    baldr Schiit-sterer

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    Jesus, Ivana gave me a new Unison USB out set of software. Holeee fuck!

    Now I must fess up to being a bit of an audio curmudgeon. But I am also an incurable music romantic, with varied pleasures. I get chills and moist eyes when I hear an appropriate bit of music or musician. I admit it, my favorite soprano of all time is Elisabeth Schwartzkopf. Granted, she was a member of the party albeit apolitical. I read an English bio which insists she joined the party only to be cast in the preferred roles at the Berlin opera. I originally became a fan of hers in the 1960's and had no idea about the political stuff until I read the bio a year or so ago.

    Von Karajan, on the other hand was an enthusiastic party member who was exiled to Paris. Furtwangler, not a National Socialist at all, remained in Berlin as the senior musician in the Reich. Musical giant that he was, he defended and kept all of his Jewish musicians and made sure they were properly treated. Ever the asshole, Von Karajan made sure he opened every Parisian concert with the Horst Wessel Lied in order to taunt his French audience.

    Really ironic that the Nazi fanatic Von Karajan ended up with Cat Bird Seat recording contracts for the rest of his life with EMI and Duetsche Grammophon. Excessive for an insipid conductor in the context of Furtwangler, who, on the other hand was singled out as the musical Nazi primarily by occupying Americans. He recorded little after the war, until his death in 1954.

    Hans Knappertsbusch, an amazing conductor in his own right, noted an experience when his assistant conductor was rehearsing the orchestra. Furtwangler walked in the rehearsal hall and stood in the back of the hall. Knappertsbusch reported that as the orchestra (The Berlin Phil) noticed Furtwangler’s presence, the quality of their playing significantly improved.

    Apologies for the digression. I hope I am not just writing to myself. Where I was headed was that I absolutely loathe Baroque and JS Bach in particular, although I acknowledge the musical ability. To me, baroque sounds like bad bluegrass with warbling vocals. As I write I listen to Bach’s B Minor Mass, (yecch!), conducted by Herb Von K (double yech!!) but with Dame Swartzkopf providing the requisite chills.

    Another 40 minutes and I will play “Bags and Trane” and then probably some Little Feat. There must be something to a rocker who died of obesity rather than drugs. At least no fuckin’ Nazi controversy.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
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  5. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    @baldr I imagine that you are spinning up your music on vinyl with a vintage set of Maggies or maybe a double stack of AR3's with appropriate Schiit DAC and amp to do the upstream. Is it possible that you enjoy headphones from time to time? Just curious what those might be.

    Very good to see you posting around these parts again.
     
  6. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    Furtwangler conducting on Hitler's birthday. I would like to think that this was his Resistance against the ghouls. The music couldn't clash more with the imagery.
     
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  7. Muse Wanderer

    Muse Wanderer Friend

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    Don't give up on good ol' JS Bach. Music was never the same after Bach. His music speaks to me like no other. Whenever I listen to any of his cantatas, I feel entranced in its perfect harmony and counterpoint.

    Herbert von Karayan tends to turn anything he touches to a sloppy mess apart from few great recordings of his like the Bruckner 7th with the VPO. Karayan's Bach in particular is an abomination.

    Bach's Mass in B minor conducted by Herreweghe is the mass to listen to in my books.


    Back in 2016 I wrote my thoughts, aptly called 'The Light and the Way', about this work and its equally monumental but darker composition, the St Matthew's Passion... https://www.talkclassical.com/blogs/muse-wanderer/2448-light-way-bachs-mass.html.

    Since then nothing has changed, these two works, as with many of Bach's pieces, keep my spirit intact.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  8. Brian D

    Brian D Acquaintance

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    I've read a fair amount about Furtwangler and the injustice done to his legacy. von Karajan really was a nasty prick, and I am proud to say I own no recordings by him. It's good to have you back Mike, keep on sharing all of your thoughts freely.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Herbert von Karajan: poser grandness to the point of boring. Ended up with a bunch of CDs with him conducting during my college days' music sources. I never listen to them. Odd for an Austrian to mess up Mozart. Musical equivalent of high-feedback chip based amplifiers. German perfection is better exemplified by many others who are not so boring.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
  10. baldr

    baldr Schiit-sterer

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    American High End Audio Manufacturing as Divine Right

    I have founded, embodied, and delighted in the culture of high end audio manufacturing since 1977. Right or wrong, I always perceived my customers as liberal-minded – technological, equitable, humanistic, secular, and (mostly) meritocratic. This is nothing but a man’s world. It is also the company culture I have lived in for those same 43 years. One of the reasons for self-employment is not a desire for control which often conflates with hubris, but a desire to create. I find myself now in a company where in spite of the fraternal top management style, resembles the United Nations. We have a female audio R&Der, for God’s sake. The only other person of her type in our entire industry that comes to mind would be EveAnn Manley. 40% of those who really run the place are female. 25% of our staff are musicians, some talented enough to tour and/or open for Dream Theater. This is the talent that plays in our sandbox. This diversity we came into honestly on our own, rather than the odious kind enforced by HR. I like it! Everyone else seems to as well.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
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  11. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I'm surprised you referenced Dream Theater rather than opera. Rock on, Mike:punk:
     
  12. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    When I am no longer bound to tow the corporate line, I have some rather *interesting* things to say about corporate HR, including the current fad of Gallup profiling. The best and brightest will not be hired as the profiling favors a specific attitude at the expense of innovation, with result of mediocrity.
     
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  13. baldr

    baldr Schiit-sterer

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    Science as propaganda and rationale.

    What do I say?? That science is not useful? Bullshit? Misleading? Can be. can be, and can be! Yup. I have been frequently been interviewed, written white papers, and cited science. It is the citing we do that we use as the basis of our oral/written conclusions that can become quickly misleading. The keyword is basis. I think it is not a secret that I am not a fan of delta sigma data converters, except for economic designs. This is not simply because any cretin or person of limited engineering experience can design such an apparatus – after all I even admit to the design of several. When it absolutely, positively has to be cheap or to be incorporated in a surround sound decoder design it is appropriate. I could, as an exercise present a mathematical case for such designs, and a sophisticated one at that. I choose not to, because the only occasions I resort to such designs is when I cannot make a better sounding multibit one at the price.

    It should be easy for the reader to infer my preference for multibit designs. The salient point is that I could write a far more sincere scientific paper arguing the superiority of multibit, even though I could do the same for delta sigma. It is also somewhat genteel to argue science, even if only slightly affected.

    So my conclusion is that I could write several papers, based on math or science, which represent beliefs I either accept or deny. If I can do so, then it follows there are many others who share that ability. The moral of the story is to choose your equipment according to your likes, not “science”.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  14. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    My personal evaluation system includes both science and listening to find that which pleases my preferences. Learning one's personal preferences, which may change over a lifetime, is key to auditory delight.
     
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  15. yonson

    yonson Facebook Friend

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    Agreed, although great musicians are easy to spot no matter your preferred genre when music is a passion, however to be compared to the musicians in Dream Theater is high praise indeed, however I'm not really surprised to see such talent on hand at Schiit...
     
  16. baldr

    baldr Schiit-sterer

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    The future of Upgrades – Are they still necessary?

    Some 35 years have elapsed since I released my first D/A converter, which, some 3-4 years later mutated to the original Theta DSPre/Pro. Back in the dawn of digital audio, these products were 16 bit DSP and 16 bit converters. It was my idea to make those products upgradable, given the “brand new” nature of digital audio technology. It was a great idea as converters evolved from 16 to 20 bits, as processors moved up to 24 bits, and as better, more stable clocks became available. In an era of far more expensive hardware, it helped the client to a better sound, and ourselves into higher quantities and therefore lower prices. At the time, it was a great idea.

    Schiit opened over 10 years ago. What had changed were availability of 16 bit and higher resolution multibit D/A converters, newer building block parts (clocks, logic, etc.), and even (much as I dislike them) better sounding ds dacs. More significantly, USB had emerged as a commonplace source which back then sounded incredibly vile. So it was a no brainer to make the Schiit Converters Bifrost and above once again upgradable until the USB was really fixed.

    Over the first eight years or so we had a series of four (was it??) USB upgrades which improved the USB incrementally without fixing it. By this time I realized that the only way to really fix USB was for us to build our own “from scratch” USB receiver which became the Unison released a year or so ago. Finally, USB was really fixed. The best news about all these USB upgrades is they were cost effective.

    So WTF is left to upgrade? Well from time to time, better converter chips come out. Sometimes better ones with fewer bits even emerge. Rare, but you never know. If so, we are still covered Bifrost 2 up, but I expect fewer upgrades are in the cards from here on, with a possible exception for the Yggdrasil, which given its price point is deserving of more engineering attention.
     
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Mike, since the Bifrost appears to be modular, you guys should offer sidegrades: NOS multtbit, DS with megacomboburrito filter, different chips, etc. People get bored and want something different. Just take their money.
     
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  18. RobS

    RobS RobS? More like RobDiarrhea.

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    You can take my money for a tube DAC.

    PS - Make Yggdrasil Great Again. Or Keep Yggdrasil Great. Or something.
     
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  19. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    If Jason doesn’t want to do a balanced version of Sys, a defeatable, remote controlled passive pot on Yggdrasil may be something to look at (and likely competitive as well since a ton of DACs seem to include volume control these days). Would make a nice purist/minimalist 2-channel solid-state digital-only setup for those of us who really only have 1 or 2 digital transports/sources and no vinyl.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  20. yonson

    yonson Facebook Friend

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    I would love to have a balanced remote controlled SYS, basically a Jotunheim minus the amp section plus a remote...
     

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