Playground for practical listening exercises

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

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ThomasOK
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by ThomasOK »

David Neel wrote: 2018-12-12 22:24 I suspected you might have switched the order! So I've re-listened and I vote for 2/A. Am I allowed a second guess?
No, because you had it better the first time around! As I point out in the next post, amusingly enough.
Last edited by ThomasOK on 2018-12-12 22:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by Paaf »

I voted on the second one when it was audio. Later I tried to watch the videos but my laptop kept dying so I gave up.

Now I saw your long post ThomasOK thinking you would reveal what it was, so to test more blindly I quickly listened to the videos first. After a few seconds Track A gave me nice tingles. Turn off and switch to B. No tingles. Track A again, and nice tingles. I interpret that as A being more musical! It was a rather quick decision but I'm really in the "zone" these days with the tune method.

So anyway, I voted on the second audio clip and rather confused I now vote A on the videos without going back to the audio clips.

Now I have read your post and I realize that no one will believe me. :)
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by ThomasOK »

A tale of two clips! Part 2.

One thing I couldn’t have foreseen is that file size was totally unrelated to musical quality. The iPhoto to Dropbox files were actually the largest at 607 and 608MB, the direct to Dropbox files are 276MB and the Telegram files transferred at 42.2 and 42.1MB! (I would normally assume that is because they stripped out the video, except that a 59 second video I sent to Fredrik shows as 8.5MB with the video intact – one fifth of 42.5MB which is almost exactly the size of the 4:57 files we are discussing.) So the largest files sounded the worst and the smallest ones were the most musical. (Not including the original files which I haven’t been able to determine the sizes of.)

So much for the inviolability of 1s and 0s. Somehow lossless audio seems to loose a lot, even when it seems it shouldn’t have. Ah, I am getting so tired of digital files. Setting a stylus in a groove is so much easier!

I was indeed setting the stylus in the groove for these two clips. Although I am not usually not big on audiophile records, nor on 45RPM ones, this record is both. Yet it is one of the best sounding I have ever heard, and mightily impressed Fredrik when he was at my house. It is St. James Infirmary by Louis Armstrong, originally from the Satchmo Plays King Oliver album. This one was cut by the now defunct Classic Records at 45RPM on their 200 gram Clarity vinyl. As has been commented on it is really very, very good, musically and sonically.

I do note that a couple of comments fell in line with what I have heard. One being David Neel:

“I'm finding this quite difficult. The first clip sounded good, and I was interested in the music all the way through. The second clip found more in the music, and initially felt slightly slower compared to the first. But I never lost interest in what was happening, it kept me engaged. So I prefer the second.

Great track!”

Another being Spannko:

I prefer clip 1. Clip 2 doesn’t quite hit the notes or have the same dynamic expression.

But a lot of others either struggled with the differences or preferred the clip(s) I felt were the lesser. You can’t win them all. Admittedly, as I think everyone noticed, they were both quite good sounding and they were indeed done using my Quads, but this time with the Tundra 2.5 which I was using in the system to hear what it sounded like and also due to circumstances that are too complex and painful to go into here. I find it very musical sounding system and am glad others like it too.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by beck »

No need to be sorry Thomas. Very small differences between your clips makes it difficult and most of us mentioned it to start with.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by andy2 »

Hi Guys,

First post on Lejonklou Forum, old fogey on Linn Forum, and I'm going in with a different view.
I actually think clip 2 is quite a bit better. It's conveying the lament and feeling of the song quite a lot better. It's tonally and modally superior. It is also capturing the dynamics, the expression the musicians if you will, in a way that keeps me interested in the song. This is important since it's such a theatrical and well structured piece with a clear dramatic progression.
The first clip is bland and does not capture my interest as well, in the second clip I sense the arc of the song and the drama MUCH better.
Sorry to dissent, have no idea what A and B are just my point of view.
Best
-a
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by ThomasOK »

A tale of two clips! Part 3. The REVEAL!

Which brings me to…

The Reveal.

These clips were comparing the quite excellent Urika with the prototype of Fredrik’s new, exceptional sounding, very expensive, copper-housed, monoblock, MC phono stage (yes, that is copper you saw back there). To get this off my chest right away the Urika is Clip 2 and Clip A. The tell is that on the Urika clip a shadow comes onto the floor at 1:06 to 1:08 into the clip. It is not there on the other clip.

So that I don’t keep having to call it “Fredrik’s new, exceptional sounding, very expensive, copper-housed, monoblock, MC phono stage” I will give its proper name (with Fredrik’s permission). It is called the SINGularity and should be available to order in January. Since each one is individually hand soldered by Fredrik I don’t know what the normal delivery time will be. I don’t believe the price has been finalized yet, but the hand soldering, the incredibly precise parts tolerances and the pure copper casework, with the machined from solid billet pure copper base you have seen teased in Instagram, means that a price not far south of 5 Tundras, each, will not be far off!

Is it worth somewhere in the middle $40,000US range? Construction wise, clearly. Musicality wise you would have to decide and really the only way will be to hear it, and apparently not through clips. It seems Tokenbrit was right when he said you all need to just come over to my house to hear it for yourself. I’m sure Fredrik will be arranging demos closer to home for many of you as well. Expect a surprise!

I have a pair on order, and even at my price I really can’t afford it. But I have never heard music in my room like this before. To me the additional music I hear is reminiscent of what I heard when I first got a Radikal. There are several things I find the SINGularity does that I don’t hear in other systems. First off, I notice that I can hear more clearly how an instrument is being played. The touch on the strings, where the stick hits the cymbal and precisely how hard, the skin on a drum and the breath across the reed of a sax or clarinet, all of these become more clear and nuanced without shouting at you like some “detailed” systems do. Indeed, the SINGularity sounds very balanced and homogenous, not only evenly balanced across the audio spectrum but also across the loudness dimension. Quiet and loud music has the same kind of quality and coexist with total ease. This evenness and depth of texture allows me to follow an instrument no matter how far back in the mix and hear just how it is being played to a degree I haven’t found possible before. When multiple horns and woodwinds are playing together I can hear what each one is contributing. When I was listening to the closing section of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony I noticed that the cymbals being played way at the back of the stage were easily heard, not just that they were there but how hard each strike was and the change in the sound of the cymbals as they decayed. On all instruments the decay is just amazing. Things seem to fade out forever and the change in harmonics as they fade are clearly heard. The texture of every instrument are at a higher level. Another example is the bass played by Steve Swallow on “The New Standard” album I have mentioned here before. On the Urika the bass playing is powerful and well-timed. On the SINGularity I was sure that the bass was being miked through a bass amp/speaker. Not only could I hear that the sound was coming off a large paper cone, but I’d swear it was being driven by a tube amp. I am not a bass player so I could be wrong, but those were the textures I was hearing. Everything I played through the SINGularity was that way, beautiful music was more beautiful, mellow music was more mellow, powerful music was more powerful (the dynamics are at a new level). Angry music was angrier – there were synthesizer textures on NIN “Pretty Hate Machine” that I had never noticed before. It made me think “Oh, that’s why he did that!” Complex music was, however, not more complex but easier to follow and understand how everything fit together.

Through it all I would hear a piano on the Urika and think “That is a really good recording of a piano.” On the SINGularity I would instead think “That is a really good piano!” It brings the instruments to you palpably. I have never heard “In the Court of the Crimson King” so thoroughly sorted out and engaging. I played the entire album last night before boxing them up so that I could impress the quality of my favorite album played that well into my mind before I hade to give them up.

Others heard the same kinds of things. Debbie said she had never heard some of the tiny finger percussion sounds in her favorite Loreena McKennitt album and literally got goosebumps hearing “St. James Infirmary”. She told me I had to play the other side as well, which ended with one of those cymbal crashes that faded out forever. Her comment: “Tell Fredrik he really has something special here.” Simon is the one who pointed out that cymbal in Beethoven’s 9th. He had always felt that the Kandid sounded a little hard on symphonic music. He was OK with it on jazz, pop, etc. but it didn’t quite do it for him on classical which is why he owns the warmer Koetsu. He feels SINGularity transforms the Kandid and he finds it quite a beautiful pairing. He also noticed he was hearing more information on various records than he had heard before. He told me I needed to buy a set so he could come over and listen to them!

So that’s the story. SINGularity looks like nothing else and sounds like nothing else I have heard. It is really just quite sublime. It gives me a heightened sense of the beauty of every piece of music I have played on it, not by using euphonic colorations that make all music sound smooth or warm, or forward mids to make things more artificially detailed, but by letting you to hear what is really on the record and allowing more of the true musicianship to come through. A stunning new piece by Fredrik, and the finished version will even have a couple small improvements over the pair I just enjoyed. I can’t wait!
Last edited by ThomasOK on 2018-12-13 07:21, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by ThomasOK »

andy2 wrote: 2018-12-12 23:03 Hi Guys,

First post on Lejonklou Forum, old fogey on Linn Forum, and I'm going in with a different view.
I actually think clip 2 is quite a bit better. It's conveying the lament and feeling of the song quite a lot better. It's tonally and modally superior. It is also capturing the dynamics, the expression the musicians if you will, in a way that keeps me interested in the song. This is important since it's such a theatrical and well structured piece with a clear dramatic progression.
The first clip is bland and does not capture my interest as well, in the second clip I sense the arc of the song and the drama MUCH better.
Sorry to dissent, have no idea what A and B are just my point of view.
Best
-a
Hi Andy! Welcome to the forum. By clip 2 I assume from your last line you are talking about the one labeled Clip B (I did post a Clip 1 and 2 earlier). Your description of what you hear is very consistent with what I hear in the original clips and in the room. Thanks for your comment.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by David Neel »

ThomasOK wrote: 2018-12-12 22:30
David Neel wrote: 2018-12-12 22:24 I suspected you might have switched the order! So I've re-listened and I vote for 2/A. Am I allowed a second guess?
No, because you had it better the first time around! As I point out in the next post, amusingly enough.
And for my next upgrade I'm considering a Dansette....

Or maybe getting my ears tested....
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by beck »

Nothing is wrong with your ears. When the fundamentals of music are in place (and with these two mc phono stages they are) clips are less useful.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by Charlie1 »

Best wishes to Fredrik with this new product. I know it's been a long time in the making. I hope it's a great success.

Look forward to seeing some pics.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by Spannko »

Wow! That’s quite an achievement! Well done Mr L!
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by andy2 »

ThomasOK wrote: 2018-12-13 00:35
andy2 wrote: 2018-12-12 23:03 Hi Guys,

First post on Lejonklou Forum, old fogey on Linn Forum, and I'm going in with a different view.
I actually think clip 2 is quite a bit better. It's conveying the lament and feeling of the song quite a lot better. It's tonally and modally superior. It is also capturing the dynamics, the expression the musicians if you will, in a way that keeps me interested in the song. This is important since it's such a theatrical and well structured piece with a clear dramatic progression.
The first clip is bland and does not capture my interest as well, in the second clip I sense the arc of the song and the drama MUCH better.
Sorry to dissent, have no idea what A and B are just my point of view.
Best
-a
Hi Andy! Welcome to the forum. By clip 2 I assume from your last line you are talking about the one labeled Clip B (I did post a Clip 1 and 2 earlier). Your description of what you hear is very consistent with what I hear in the original clips and in the room. Thanks for your comment.


Sorry to add to the confusion!
What I meant to say is that clip 'B' is quite a lot better, it's obvious after the first tone.
Thank you for your writeup Thomas it captures a lot more eloquently my attempts at explaining the diffrences.
Another funny thing I notice is that the song's almost rubbery shifting tempo is more lucid when played through Fredriks device, the music sort of stops and starts on the Urika.
Weird; who whould'a thunk?
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by teatime »

ThomasOK wrote: 2018-12-12 22:33 One thing I couldn’t have foreseen is that file size was totally unrelated to musical quality. The iPhoto to Dropbox files were actually the largest at 607 and 608MB, the direct to Dropbox files are 276MB and the Telegram files transferred at 42.2 and 42.1MB! (I would normally assume that is because they stripped out the video, except that a 59 second video I sent to Fredrik shows as 8.5MB with the video intact – one fifth of 42.5MB which is almost exactly the size of the 4:57 files we are discussing.) So the largest files sounded the worst and the smallest ones were the most musical. (Not including the original files which I haven’t been able to determine the sizes of.)
It might be interesting to know that the audio part of the "iphoto to dropbox" and "direct to dropbox" files are exactly the same. Whatever happened to them either didn't affect the audio at all, or affected it in the same way in both cases.

Extracted, the audio alone is only ~3.5MB. It appears to be a 44.1kHz mono recording:
mplayer wrote: com.apple.quicktime.creationdate: 2018-12-06T23:07:20-0500
com.apple.quicktime.make: Apple
com.apple.quicktime.model: iPhone 8 Plus
com.apple.quicktime.software: 12.1
encoder : Lavf57.83.100
Stream #0:0(und): Audio: aac (LC) (mp4a / 0x6134706D), 44100 Hz, mono, fltp, 98 kb/s (default)
Any difference found between them I could only imagine coming from the different load the differently sized videos put on the replay device. Which also seems to fit some comments here about finding different results on different replay devices.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by tokenbrit »

I am surprised how much better these sound - thanks teatime. Knowing which is which makes it easier, of course, but the differences do seem much more obvious now too.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by teatime »

I just thought of something. It is important for video and audio to be in sync. In case the player cannot keep a steady video pace it is possible that it reclocks the audio to compensate. How this is implemented and when it would happen is specific to the specific player, I guess. Anyway, it could possibly help explain why audio-only sounds better.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by beck »

Not surpricing that the K9 is a good match. :-)
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by tokenbrit »

beck wrote: 2018-12-17 15:55 Not surpricing that the K9 is a good match. :-)
Yep - K9 stylus may not have the most detail / clearest sound, but seemed the best balanced & most musical...
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by Lego »

K9 all the way, especially on the last clips.. Others sounded flat or boring
I know that tune
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by Charlie1 »

I think you're both right. I wasn't sure in the room and it was a bit of a rush. I thought the K9 sounded a bit tired at the time, but you're right, it still holds a tune better. I will not worry for now though - the 95E is still enjoyable and seems to have more vitality. I didn't much like the 95P - what do you guys think?
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by beck »

Remember that if unused the K9 will get better (at least that is how I remember it from way back).

I prefer the 95e to the 95p.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by David Neel »

Love the K9! 95P next....
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by tokenbrit »

Charlie1 wrote: 2018-12-17 16:59 .. - the 95E is still enjoyable and seems to have more vitality. I didn't much like the 95P - what do you guys think?
The 95E had a bit more Energy, but seemed Echoey and Euphonic. The 95P was Perspicuous, but Projected.
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Re: Playground for practical listening exercices

Post by Tendaberry »

David Neel wrote: 2018-12-17 17:35 Love the K9! 95P next....
I agree
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