Which recording sounds best to you?

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings (vinyl , 8-track, etc.)' started by bazelio, May 7, 2019.

?

Which recording sounds best?

  1. File 1

  2. File 2

  3. File 3

  4. File 4

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  1. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Curious to get some feedback here...

    The following 4 files were created through a chain in which one component was changed out each time. More specifically, the same component in the chain was swapped out 4 times with no repeats. Without saying what specifically was changed (only that there IS a single difference in the chain for each file), I would like to know which one of the four files you prefer, and why. This isn't a trick, it isn't an attempt to show a $50 something beats a $5000 something (or vice versa), there's definitely no wrong answer, and nobody else's response should sway you, etc. The files are downloadable and not copyright protected.

    Simple rules: (1) if you already know what the comparison here is, don't say so in the thread (and my file order isn't the same as the original source of the files) (2) if you participate, please answer the why question and state your playback chain (DAC and headphones or speakers used).

    File 1

    File 2

    File 3

    File 4
     
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  2. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    My vote is with 1.
    I preferred 1 and 3 the most then 2, and 4 the least.

    Firstly I hate vinyl rips, so thanks for that Baz...
    This was really freaking difficult, I would say the difference between 1,2,3 felt basically insignificant and even though 4 sounded a bit more congested it was still not a significant difference.

    I ended up preferring 1. Why? really difficult to nail that down. I would say the bass from the 50-1:02 and 1:45-1:58 was a bit more textured and cleaner than the other recordings, also seemed to maybe decay a hair quicker?. stage, clarity, detail didn't change much for me between 1 and 3.

    System was resonic player > convert 2 > EC studio (Westinghouse/Ericsson > hd800sdr
    I did give it a spin with a77x but ended up going back to hd800sdr after about 30 minutes of ABing

    I did my best, dreading the reveal!
     
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  3. Kamikazi

    Kamikazi Friend

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    Preferred File 1, sounded most open and dynamic of the comparison tracks to me. Clean bass, slammed hard and a bit more texture. File 3 came second, also sounded good though the most different sounding compared to the others, more closed in sound staging wise (sound mostly inside of the speaker baffle), but the track sounded coherent and also enjoyable. Files 4 and then 2 as the least preferred...

    Notes: Checked both Windows 10 and Mac laptops (DAC has problematic Windows 10 drivers) so wanted to confirm on the Mac going through a second time. Interestingly on the Mac the differences between tracks sounded a lot closer this time round...

    Chain: Teddy Pardo DAC -> LTA ZOTL10 (both items on loan atm) -> KEF R500 speakers.
     
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    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  4. gurubhai

    gurubhai Friend

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    Mostly agree with Xecuter but like 3 the best.
    4 sounds a bit too congested.
    1 sounds a bit overdamped in that it has shorter decay in the bass region but loses out in treble extension and timbre.
    3 sounded the best to me with excellent balance - best treble extension and sub bass power, good timbre and overall a bit more dynamic and grand sounding.

    Setup is modded adcom gda 600 to diy tube amp to modded Yamaha HP-1.
     
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  5. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Yep that wasn't so easy. My preferences are 2, 4, 3 (all close but the ordering is clear to me) and then 1 (some distance behind).

    2 had the best transients, an openness to the mids and generally seemed lighter and more transparent and engaging, which was the winning combo for me. 4 had mid bite and liveliness but seemed a bit too wet, like too many distortion products so ultimately a bit more congested and fatiguing (though the most exciting).

    3 sounded well balanced but didn't grab me; also seemed a bit slow in the bass. 1 was downright weird. It sounded like there was a thin plastic film over the sound that prevented me from hearing things properly.

    Yggdrasil A2, EC AF, K+H O300D monitors
     
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    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  6. MrTie

    MrTie Friend

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    Picked 2, though admittedly I tried this at like 3am, sounds the most dynamic. However this could have been to sleepy brain it has the highest noise floor and I think it might be a little louder than the others. Also like 20-30 seconds clips would make this a lot easier to compare IMHO.

    If I had to rank 2, 3, 4, 1.

    System: Jriver-Antelope Zodiac+-Adam S3A & Sub-P
     
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  7. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    Voted 1, it's the most natural and cleanest bass to me.

    2 and 3 sounded like some post processing is at play in different frequencies to try and boost either the soundstage or something else. They loose on clarity.

    4 also sounds like some post processing is going on, but more subtle. Maybe some added sub bass or something.
     
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  8. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Nice, nice.

    There's no post processing in play here, BTW. Or at least none that alters one file differently than any of the others.

    @Lyer25 owes a response too.
     
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  9. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    Best word I found in the little time I had lol. Bear with me @bazelio
     
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  10. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Ah fuck it, here's input from a noob with a midfi headphone system, haha.

    Laptop USB foobar2000 WASAPI Event> Bifrost MB Gen5 A1> G1217 Sunrise III [input caps not bypassed, medium OI, Genalex ECC81]> Klipsch HP-3 with bass vents.

    Full disclosure, I accidentally read some of the first two responses here while waiting for the files to download. Still, tried to clear my mind of biases (empty as it usually is). Also, raining cats and dogs and frogs so I had to crank the volume to compensate.

    No really, found a frog that snuck into the home a couple minutes ago. Caught the bugger and let it loose.

    My favourite was 2 overall, it had the greatest sense of there-ness and ambience, got the most macrodetail out of my rig. Balance was also the best but I'm not sure how much you can trust my opinion on that, haha. 3 was too boomy and hazy-sounding, the bass around halfway through made this evident. Also harmonics of instruments seemed muted relative to the other files. I rather liked 1 as well but not as much as the second file. Hard to say why, but it just didn't have as much in the way of room cues and there-ness. It sounded livelier to me, not necessarily in a good way. 4 just sounded weirdly diffuse and unfocused compared to the rest, but certainly far from bad.

    No comment on transient speed. For one I'm still having trouble detecting minute differences there myself, and also the gear I used likely isn't up to snuff.
     
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  11. RedFuneral

    RedFuneral Facebook Friend

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    I voted #2 because it shows the plinky instrument(mandolin?) around 00:40 the most distinct. Only in #2 did I actually register it playing without having to focus my full attention on the music. #2 has higher frequency instruments maintain their metallic timbres best. It was also the most comfortable for background listening(least fatigue.)
    I enjoy #3 the most for its energetic sound, not as detailed as 2 but I might enjoy it more.
    1 & 4 noticeably lose composure and blend instrument timbres together specifically in the higher frequencies. I don't like #4.

    I 'll be bold and claim its the phonostage(or its power supply.) At first I thought you were swapping styluses(#4 sounds like a conical) but I'm hearing differences in the noise floor which sound electronic in nature; and while it seems more intuitive that composure would relate to tracking performance I've heard similar differences swapping phono-stages before.

    I'm listening with VLAN -> Metrum Flint -> JDS Atom -> Beyerdynamic T70. I listened again with a JDS OL DAC and heard less difference, the Beyerdynamic treble became too distracting.
     
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  12. JK47

    JK47 Guest

    I did a quick and dirty listen with my 2013 MacBook Air--> Junk River MC25--> CEntrance Dacport HD--> Focal Spirit Pro

    Found file #1 somewhat wooly and smeared compared to the other files and a slightly higher noise floor. Didn't critically listen, but liked file #4 the most with the set up I used. That choice would probably change with a different playback chain.

    I'm not certain, but I believe the changing variable is the RCA interconnects...
     
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  13. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Nobody thus far has correctly guessed the variable. :cool::cool::cool:
     
  14. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    Overall they sound more alike than different so whatever cost difference there may be between setups (if any at all) would not be enough to get me to spend more $$$ (or, maybe a little bit). (edit: The difference is quite subtle and I compared them just by jumping from one to another at the same point in the track, whole comparison probably 5 minutes.)

    For a while I thought you were simply adjusting tracking force. Not sure but this is my best guess.

    1 feels slightly withdrawn in the mids and lean in the bass
    2 feels fuller than 1 in the mids with the most articulate bottom end
    3 feels like 2 but with boomier, more resounding bass and blurrier in the mids
    4 feels like it has the bass of 2 but closer to the mids of one

    If you are adjusting tracking force, I'd say from lightest to heaviest would be 1, 4, 2, 3

    My preference is 2.

    Pathos Converto Mk2 (meh) > Phonitor 2 > ZMF Eikon

    PS if it isn't tracking force you're adjusting, my second guess is that it's cables. Guess 3 is that you're using different ADC's
     
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    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  15. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    I'm reading through the comments and wondering whether or not I'm really as deaf as I think I am, lol. Definite struggle to differentiate the files even when concentrating though.

    I have jack-all personal experience with vinyl systems at home since my plans to put one together keep getting scuppered, so I'm genuinely curious WTH is causing the differences and whether it'll be the sort of thing I get anal about when I do get to put a basic rig together.
     
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  16. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    I can hear a difference between #1 and the other three files through MacBook Pro speakers. The other files are difficult to differentiate until I use something that approximates HiFi.

    #1 is not my personal preference.

    TT setup parameters are constant (or intended to be constant) across files.
     
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  17. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    I played all 4 through a Topping D50 DAC and a Topping A30 amp, and all 4 songs measured amazingly. Very high SINAD jitter bits.

    I was unable to play it through the Yggdrasil, because I don't understand these xllr kables and things, therefore, I cannot recommend.
     
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  18. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    hehe, I'll try to listen tonight.
     
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  19. elmoe

    elmoe Friend

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    I voted #4. Sounds slightly louder.

    Would vote #2 otherwise. End of the song isn't cut off like the rest.

    PC --> USB to SPDiF interface --> Benchmark DAC1 --> Singlepower MPX3 --> HD6XX
     
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  20. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    A person to be named later, or not at all, says to me:

    "Hmmm I guess 2 has the most air. 1 seems a bit compressed in comparison. 3,4 are in between."

    (Modi Multibit -> Black Cube Linear -> HD650)
     

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