Apple Lossless. A journey to?

Agaton Sax

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Money people have a sense of humour entirely of their own. I don't deal with them because it scares me but I have visions of my money person saying that my tombstone will be a rock on a pauper's grave. The inscription will read "Here lies Agaton Sax. He spent way too much money on cars" Even my imagination won't allow the word Audio as no money person would be allowed to go that direction and anyway some things are private. Still, my friend and research say most car purchases are on instinct alone. How else could you explain all the..... and all the ....?. Still, in my journey, there was one car I researched and researched. I even took all competition I could get over the same route and I read and read- Didn't help me much as most motor journalists seem to be 15-year-old, horribly failed comedians, whose only concern is how fast something goes around the Nurburgring. Still, I read and I bought the car. It was really very good. Nothing I ever had, even Zuffenhauesen's fastest could devour South African roads like that thing. It never broke down and I thought it quite attractive. My wife said it looked like a plate of silver Blancmange and my kids hated it. I never knew so many people had a middle finger. After 4 years, before the Motorplan was up, I sold it. The cars I really liked I bought, often, without seeing it first, and the one the entire family love is the thing that is somewhere between Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a farm tractor, has ridiculously little inside space, and goes like a Unimog-in reverse.

So what does this have to do with a Streamer? Nothing- Well except I know nothing about either. Like the cars, I researched and researched one model. Then Reeman brought around his idea of a Streamer. It would be cheap, looks really well, sound magnificent and above all, there is a sense of poetry in how it fits with the Roon Core, which he built and according to those who know is no different from Roon's Nucleus, about how it would fit with the late, wonderful Croak's and then Pierre's Switch. And he was willing to build me one.

So I ordered an Innuos, which I have never seen, does not exist yet, and know absolutely nothing about. Just like buying a Car!

 

juan

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So I also ditched my 3 year Tidal subscription for Apple Music, why because with Tidal I had to use Audirvana to get the best playback and the sound quality of Audirvana is excellent but that means I need to pay for two products just to stream and there was always this random buffering issue it does not matter what I tried with Tidal it was always there. Then I tried Apple Music and I could not believe how well it sounds with its own native app, it was up there with Audirvana without any streaming hiccups just beautiful smooth sound but yes now I need a dedicated Mac for that and its fine.
So if it comes to streamers is it really the hardware or more the software that is tuned for Audio only because I cant think that a "raspberry Pi" hardware or a Streamer hardware is anything better than a decent PC/Mac motherboard design ?
 

pwatts

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Money people have a sense of humour entirely of their own. I don't deal with them because it scares me but I have visions of my money person saying that my tombstone will be a rock on a pauper's grave. The inscription will read "Here lies Agaton Sax. He spent way too much money on cars" Even my imagination won't allow the word Audio as no money person would be allowed to go that direction and anyway some things are private. Still, my friend and research say most car purchases are on instinct alone. How else could you explain all the..... and all the ....?. Still, in my journey, there was one car I researched and researched. I even took all competition I could get over the same route and I read and read- Didn't help me much as most motor journalists seem to be 15-year-old, horribly failed comedians, whose only concern is how fast something goes around the Nurburgring. Still, I read and I bought the car. It was really very good. Nothing I ever had, even Zuffenhauesen's fastest could devour South African roads like that thing. It never broke down and I thought it quite attractive. My wife said it looked like a plate of silver Blancmange and my kids hated it. I never knew so many people had a middle finger. After 4 years, before the Motorplan was up, I sold it. The cars I really liked I bought, often, without seeing it first, and the one the entire family love is the thing that is somewhere between Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a farm tractor, has ridiculously little inside space, and goes like a Unimog-in reverse.

So what does this have to do with a Streamer? Nothing- Well except I know nothing about either. Like the cars, I researched and researched one model. Then Reeman brought around his idea of a Streamer. It would be cheap, looks really well, sound magnificent and above all, there is a sense of poetry in how it fits with the Roon Core, which he built and according to those who know is no different from Roon's Nucleus, about how it would fit with the late, wonderful Croak's and then Pierre's Switch. And he was willing to build me one.

So I ordered an Innuos, which I have never seen, does not exist yet, and know absolutely nothing about. Just like buying a Car!

Congratulations on the Innuos! Having studied some of their design methods from pictures I am confident there will be an effusive piece of prose coming soon..
 

Agaton Sax

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I find it frustrating. Every change brings a big difference and I don't understand any of it. Awaiting the Innuos Craig sent me this:



And I think: Surely digital can not get any better than this? But I have thought that before. I analog, you want better sound? Get rid of a box in the line. In digital, it seems,you want better sound? Ad a box.
 

Agaton Sax

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Those who care to will remember that I found Apple High Ress Lossless to suit my particular like in music reproduction. I found it more immediate, and less interfered with than the oh-so-smooth Roon/Tidal. In this country we do not have Qobuz so for me it is like life: Everything is a compromise, so choose your compromises and live with them.

I was told that Roon really needs a streamer and it did. With a streamer in line, Roon Rock on Tidal did outperform Apple lossless. Apple, with my limited knowledge, I thought a closed system. You can run a phone or computer to your DAC and that is it. That goes against what I believe (maybe wrongly) but also listening to it, I found Apple kinda harsh and messy-like there is electronic grunge there. So Roon and Tidal was my tipple.

Graig of NxGen made a few suggestions but in a typical way, I never read the e-mail properly and chose an, as yet, unreleased Innuos. Pierre Watts thought that was good so it was jam with me. In the interim Craig sent me a curious beast; The Romanian designed Hydra Hub. I was to use it and see. It was a demo so no manual. It sounded very good and I thought: "why bother anymore? Just buy the thing".

Last night I sat up like a rocket in bed. Running around like a headless chicken I grabbed my wife's Apple Notebook, a few cables, sent a prayer and :



Apple high res through a streamer., away from the DAC by one and sounding closest I ever heard to a master. Aargh, back to square one
 

creichman

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The Hydra Hub is not just a streamer as you have just discovered. It is a reclocker as well. The HUB is basically a combination of a high end Pi ( being simplistic here ) and a high end DDC ( or reclocker ) which is then powered by a very clean linear power supply ( Super capacitor based ).

The way you are using it with the Apple Notebook is as a DDC ( reclocker ) only. It will reclock USB, SPDIF, AES, LAN and output to either SPDIF or I2S.

I asked Nicolae, the designer and owner of Rockna and Audiobyte about the clocks used in his different products and his answer was as follows:

'Wavedream NET is using fixed clocks, while Wavedream DAC has a programmable (digitally variable) clock. Hub has the same clock as WD dac. '

The Wavedream DAC is Rockna's high end R2R DAC's and if the HUB is using the same clock as these DAC's then it must be something special.

It does have one other feature ( ONLY WORKS ON I2S output ) and that is it can Upsample to either PCM 768 or DSD 512. Think of it as a user friendly HQplayer.

I will email you a manual that may assist further experimentation. Apologies for forgetting to send this earlier.
 
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Agaton Sax

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Do you remember the 1980s? If they say the Sixties was the decade you only experienced if you have no recollection of it, the 70s was the 60s without the idealism, so free love became STDs and unwanted kids and causes became careers. Even the colours and textures remind me of a soiled armpit. But it was the 80s, the era of "mine, mine" selfishness. The time of yuppies and Dinks is so well summed up by BMWs ad team "I want it because I want it". In Audio too, we saw the first Reference products: Audio Research gave us the Sp10,11,15, and the "Milk Crate" D250. Goldmund went from a bunch of mad French students and a used car dealer to Swiss excess. In the midst of that was Linn. They stole a 70s design, itself borrowed from a 60s design, and built a turntable. With huge gonads and cunning, they built a system. And, what a system it was! The Sondek had a flabby midbass. So, they added the Ittok with a light but very fast bass and a Twiggy-like treble. So they added the Supex-designed Asak to give it voluptuousness. Then they combined it with the Naim amps. These were based on an RCA brochure and used caps that were, well, also available at Sunny's discount. For speakers, they bought Kef kits, but they needed 2 kits per set to stagger the B139 bass drivers in a way borrowed from an American design, and instead of throwing the excess tweeter and mid away, they added them to the top baffle.

But know what you are doing and that system did something no exotic American could. It timed. It played rhythms. My friend Mike was a Linn master. Maybe it was his Greek, I mean Cypriot, background that combined pragmatism with 5 centuries of fables and metaphysics and he could set up that table like no other. Countless times I saw him put one of his small but surprisingly strong hands on a wonky Linn platter, push the suspension almost through the floor and see that Linn wobble back in perfect alignment. So when Mike called me in the early 00s to tell me he found a table with perfect midbass, I knew it was very special because that was where a well-set-up Sondek could take all comers. I abandoned my purchase of a Brinkmann in all haste and got an old soldier and that became my benchmark.

I went on to Analog tape. I only have 19 machines left and of them, only 2 can do the rhythm thing and no they are not what you think. They are both frumpy and noisy and chew tape like American GIs gum.

Why am I telling you this in Digital? Telling you what? I don't know......Oh yes. It is because digital can't do time. It used to can not do a lot of things. It couldn't do tonal balance but Audio Aero fixed that with the weak-hearted but amazing SACD. It couldn't do detail but Berkeley fixed that. It couldn't sound real but Brinkmann fixed that-and boy did they! It couldn't sound big, I mean like billowing but Watts fixed that with a Switch. But it can't time. It sounds nice but it doesn't BOB. The other day I stood looking at the Naim streamers and wondered if they jump but Epiphany people weren't interested in helping me, so I left.

Ironically it was some ouk at Apple who threw a switch and AAC became High Res and Apple Music bobbed and weaved, jumped, and scissored. It became alive but it was digital, like old Sony or Philips Digital. Then I tried this Hydra thingy with its "I'll be awake by Tuesday" supply and it became real and it jumped. "Perfect Sound Forever? " Hell, yeah maybe. Only 40 years late but Wow!

How long was CCR active? 4 Years that is, countless hits all written by one guy, who seemingly wrote half the day and bitched and moaned the other half. But listen to their stuff and Tom Fogerty drives those infectious songs with his rhythm guitar. But it is buried way down in the mix and digital never got that. But now it does and boy those simple songs became stars. No wonder that better-eared kids bought millions of them (Told you I'm deaf and stupid). Johnny Cash was real old. His wife died and his record company ditched him. So Rick Rubin, producer of Hip Hop and other stuff I don't listen to, grabbed old old Jonny, put him in Rubin's living room, and recorded the Americana series. Listen to the craggy voice and Nick Cave and Kris Kristofferson and hear Johnny and another propel those acoustic guitars through those songs. Digital could never catch that rush to beat death. Before the last was released Cash died. I could go on and on with examples but I went horns, cos only they can catch the rhythms, went amp after amp for the same reasons. My tt can(Mike said so) My B62 can, my Ampex 440C can, and now after 40 years my digital can. I don't think I need to hear the Innuos.
 

Agaton Sax

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Last post on this I promise: I have a number of HD tracks downloads I purchased at a huge price. I have listened to them on Roon for years. They sit somewhere on a hard disc and Roon finds and plays them. Sweet and slick. One of the most expensive was James Taylor's first album. It is at 384kHz and many bytes and one of the only fights I had with my wife was when she called it "Boring". I found it on her phone the other day so maybe she converted? Anyway, it is a cracker from the late 60s, and "Fire and Rain"remains one of the greatest songs ever. On HD many bytes it sounds really good. Last night I listened to the Apple stream through USB -Hydra-SPDIF_Brinkman. I cannot see eqp bar speakers from my listening chair. So realistic was the tape noise and fine distortions that I was convinced I was listening to tape. At the end, only quiet, not the characteristic ear-shattering "Clunk" of a big Studer transport disengaging, that I flew from my chair, convinced there were a million miles of master tape flailing around the room. Of course, there was none. Just two switched-off Studers glaring at me with great animosity.
 

juan

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is this your first USB clocker that you tested on your system or can you compare it with something in the past ?
 

Agaton Sax

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I sent you a mail.
Thank you. I received and responded. However, my answer was returned as undeliverable. E-mails are private so I shall not repeat them here but need to point out that I live from your house almost the exact distance Paris is from Berlin.
 

Agaton Sax

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is this your first USB clocker that you tested on your system or can you compare it with something in the past ?
I have not used a USB reclocker. However, I do own a Wyred for Sound reclocker and linear supply. Back in the day when Roon Core was an iMac and endpoint an Airport Express, it was used to extract the optical signal from the AE, turn it into SPDIF, and send it to the DAC. It made a vast difference there. Although currently not in use, I did use it to a few days ago to take the SPDIF output from a Studer CDP/Transport to DAC. It was the only way I find CDs listenable. Currently, I use the AES output of the Studer to the Hydra, where it is reclocked at the native rate, The WfS reclocks at 96KHz.

Suitably emboldened by Digital, I then listened to albums I usually only listen to on vinyl. Sadly Digital is good but it is not analog.
 

Agaton Sax

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Many moons ago a friend and I were talking nonsense in a cafeteria: "You know?" he said"When you are young, you know nothing about everything, then you move on and you know something about some things and eventually you know everything about nothing" He thought a bit and then said, "That is when they make you a professor." It took me a hell of a long time but I now realize I'd rather know nothing about everything than everything about nothing.

So I genuinely know nothing about streamers and streaming. Oh, I know what does what but I have no idea what makes it sound good or bad. Reeman, whom I trust and does know something thought about it long and hard too: "A streamer " he said" must pass 0s and 1s faultlessly. Any computer can do that but it must not add any crud and noise, so it must have a good PSU" As I know nothing I'll do like a politician and add that grounds should be sorted, there should be no other 1s and 0s flying around to corrupt our precious 0s and 1s.

Carmissa, who also seems to know what he is talking about says a Brinkmann Dac sounds best through its Spdif and AES inputs. Juan, who also knows what he is talking about, asks innocently if I ever tried a reclocker?

Reeman says all you need as a final piece is a Pi with a moerse PSU. But that has a USB output. You can add something to a Pi that turns USB to AES but Reeman says it does not sound very good. I have a reclocker that now sells for $400 and needs a PSU that sells for $1000. So I buy a Pi, Reeman builds a moerse PSU, puts it in a nice box and I have a nice streamer. But, then I add an AES converter that may or may not sound nice and a reclocker that costs quite a bit, and maybe if the Sun shines right and the thingummies align it may sound good, and like always, although individual parts are cheap, add it up and?

So on the very day, I am milking Reeman's knowledge, Craig from NxGen replies that the Hydra is simplistically speaking a Pi, with a reclocker, and from the speed it charges up, a Mooeeeerse PSU. I don't say "Rip Off' I say "Hallelujah " for I know it sounds very, very good, I know it all works together and I know this is what I need but don't understand. In the end, it must make my music sound the way I want, that is all. And it does, boy it does. Story over. Thank you for this forum to once allow me to talk Kak and in the process let those who know lead me to the light. And for those who armchaired along..... well Hi.
 

johanhp

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Many moons ago a friend and I were talking nonsense in a cafeteria: "You know?" he said"When you are young, you know nothing about everything, then you move on and you know something about some things and eventually you know everything about nothing" He thought a bit and then said, "That is when they make you a professor." It took me a hell of a long time but I now realize I'd rather know nothing about everything than everything about nothing.

So I genuinely know nothing about streamers and streaming. Oh, I know what does what but I have no idea what makes it sound good or bad. Reeman, whom I trust and does know something thought about it long and hard too: "A streamer " he said" must pass 0s and 1s faultlessly. Any computer can do that but it must not add any crud and noise, so it must have a good PSU" As I know nothing I'll do like a politician and add that grounds should be sorted, there should be no other 1s and 0s flying around to corrupt our precious 0s and 1s.

Carmissa, who also seems to know what he is talking about says a Brinkmann Dac sounds best through its Spdif and AES inputs. Juan, who also knows what he is talking about, asks innocently if I ever tried a reclocker?

Reeman says all you need as a final piece is a Pi with a moerse PSU. But that has a USB output. You can add something to a Pi that turns USB to AES but Reeman says it does not sound very good. I have a reclocker that now sells for $400 and needs a PSU that sells for $1000. So I buy a Pi, Reeman builds a moerse PSU, puts it in a nice box and I have a nice streamer. But, then I add an AES converter that may or may not sound nice and a reclocker that costs quite a bit, and maybe if the Sun shines right and the thingummies align it may sound good, and like always, although individual parts are cheap, add it up and?

So on the very day, I am milking Reeman's knowledge, Craig from NxGen replies that the Hydra is simplistically speaking a Pi, with a reclocker, and from the speed it charges up, a Mooeeeerse PSU. I don't say "Rip Off' I say "Hallelujah " for I know it sounds very, very good, I know it all works together and I know this is what I need but don't understand. In the end, it must make my music sound the way I want, that is all. And it does, boy it does. Story over. Thank you for this forum to once allow me to talk Kak and in the process let those who know lead me to the light. And for those who armchaired along..... well Hi.
I just want to say that reading your rambling stories very often makes my day a little bit better by putting a smile on my face.
 
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Agaton Sax

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Thank you. I sometimes think I am rambling too much,people get irritated. And they do. There are always those that drop in for a quick answer,buy a quick bargain . Not that it is wrong,it is just that the last thing those want is a bore rambling on and on.Then I realise: you do not have to read everything,you can even ignore someone. I did that myself but realised everyone has something valuable to ad, no matter how rude ,how solipsoid, how long winded.

Everyone is different and in a small community you have to accept that. There are those who DIY because they like doing things, those that DIY to save money and those that DIY because there is nothing that does what they want. That is only one aspect. There are those that love music above all else and will listen on any playback device for 24 hours a day. Then there are those that love music but it must sound as good as humanly possible. They only listen for a limited time and only as good as they can make it sound. That does not mean B loves music any less than A or vice versa.

Then there are the gearheads that love gear that makes sound above all else. You have to love music too, otherwise you are fecked because you can only listen to so many sine and square waves.

Then there are the sad sacks (like me) who mistakenly believe you can take an event,a moment in time,freeze it and recreate it in another place in another time. You cannot ever do that with visuals but maybe, just maybe, you can do that with sound. The other senses are too limited in development to go that way.

All these types have to have one thing in common- a painfull and all enveloping love of music. A love that permeates every second of every day and intermingles with life. It is that feelling I try and capture with my rambles, that looking up from a grey computer monitor and seeing life.
 

adie

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"It is that feelling I try and capture with my rambles..."
And you do!
And the many armchair observers that don't comment, still enjoy I'm sure. You do inhabit a rarified audio environment compared to others (me at least).
 

johanhp

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Thank you. I sometimes think I am rambling too much,people get irritated. And they do. There are always those that drop in for a quick answer,buy a quick bargain . Not that it is wrong,it is just that the last thing those want is a bore rambling on and on.Then I realise: you do not have to read everything,you can even ignore someone. I did that myself but realised everyone has something valuable to ad, no matter how rude ,how solipsoid, how long winded.

Everyone is different and in a small community you have to accept that. There are those who DIY because they like doing things, those that DIY to save money and those that DIY because there is nothing that does what they want. That is only one aspect. There are those that love music above all else and will listen on any playback device for 24 hours a day. Then there are those that love music but it must sound as good as humanly possible. They only listen for a limited time and only as good as they can make it sound. That does not mean B loves music any less than A or vice versa.

Then there are the gearheads that love gear that makes sound above all else. You have to love music too, otherwise you are fecked because you can only listen to so many sine and square waves.

Then there are the sad sacks (like me) who mistakenly believe you can take an event,a moment in time,freeze it and recreate it in another place in another time. You cannot ever do that with visuals but maybe, just maybe, you can do that with sound. The other senses are too limited in development to go that way.

All these types have to have one thing in common- a painfull and all enveloping love of music. A love that permeates every second of every day and intermingles with life. It is that feelling I try and capture with my rambles, that looking up from a grey computer monitor and seeing life.
There are all kinds indeed. Keep up the stories there are some that appreciate it. Wanted to PM you but see that I cannot.
 
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