Why do we compare the quality of one digital source to another? If one sounds better then the other is that important? Is high fidelity about liking or disliking a piece of equipment? I think most of us have forgotten what the goal of high fidelity is. We really need to compare our digital source to a live musical performance. In order to do that we first need to know what real music sounds like!
And we know exactly what real music sounds like. That is why we have developed Audiophile Linux……
Hi Fi as a hobby has changed. It started as a music connoisseur’s cry for an accurate music playback system that could evoke the feeling of a live music performance and it ended up in a decadent obsession, concentrating on surgical dissection of the sound spectrum, we call it “high end audio”. The live versus recorded music demonstrations, very common in the early era of high fidelity, are now long forgotten.
“Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. (This refusal) is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me..”
If music is only a background for your everyday activities, Mp3 audio gadgets should satisfy all your needs. If you listen to music only to convince yourself and your followers that the $10,000 interconnect cable you have gives more “space” to the virtual sound stage then the $1.50 a foot microphone cable that was used during the recording session, then the High End Audio confabulations will offer the “best” information for you about the equipment you think you need. But if you are focused on listening to Beethoven’s quartets and want to hear the real, “wooden” sound of the violins and cellos, or feeling the abundant power of the Steinway’s piano “resonanzboden” is the ultimate requirement for you during “Apassionata” playback, consider a well configured PC with a state-of-the-art USB DAC, a decent stereo amplifier and a pair of good speakers.
Having in mind the musical reality and it’s euphonic playback, we decided to publish our experiences with USB D/A converters. Connected with a PC, USB DAC becomes an external sound card. Regardless of it’s price, performance of an USB D/A converter shall largely depend on computer hardware/software combination. We have tried several USB D/A converters with our music computer based on Intel hardware. The Real Stream Systems Audio PC with a new, embeded Audiophile Linux OS will be available soon. It enables audio playback of all PCM and DSD files and can be controlled by mouse or via smart phone or tablet PC. So our primary interest were the USB converters capable of both PCM and DSD conversion.
Soon: Matrix Audio X-Sabre DSD DAC