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Hearing Impairment and Watching TV in Poor acoustic echoing rooms

Posted by Juan on 11 December 2017

Problem#1: Poor dialogue intelligibility

The sad fact is that todays televisions have very poor quality internal speakers, resulting in awful dialogue intelligibility. Poor dialogue intelligibility inevitably results in you diving for the TVs remote and turning up the volume. Now you have a situation where the TV volume is too loud, which annoys your partner, but the dialogue is still unintelligible, just louder.
Solution: SR175 Sennheiser Wireless Headphone and happy life

Problem#2: Late night Bedtime TV viewing

Watching TV late at night at reasonable volume levels could disrupt your partners sleep:
Solution: SR175 Sennheiser Wireless Headphone and continue your happy life.

Happy wife, Happy life

I have been testing the SR175 headphones, from German Headphone manufacturer Sennhieser, at home for some time. I have never seen my wife happier, I am watching the news on TV at 6 am in total silence while not disturbing her, and with the THE LOUDNESS level I want. Now I am able to wear the SR175s while preparing my morning cupper, or late-night movie watching in bed and it is the same result: no disturbing others.

Room's acoustic nightmare

The SR175 has been also a great acoustic nightmare solver for my entertainment area. Our living/kitchen open floor design is typical of today's modern living areas -hard surfaces all around with tiled floor, glass sliding doors, clean uncluttered walls and large flat ceiling, creating such echo that speech intelligibility become hard to comprehend.

Room acoustic TV watching solution

When watching TV, the room's echo makes following the plot extremely difficult. So  I connected the SR175 Base/chargers optical input to the TV's optical digital out, (which most of today TVs come with, however if your TV is an old unit that does have only analogue audio out, the SR175 also has an analogue input). The moment I heard the movie with the SR175s I was able to hear every little detail in the voices, the dialogue became clearer and I could also turn up the volume as much I liked without altering the TV speakers volume level, which was set at my wife's preferred listening level.

RS175 Sennheiser Headphones- RRP $499  + $50 Bonus Voucher

Features:

  • Closed-backed headphones with 'Kleer' digital wireless technology
  • Exceptional digital audio clarity and transmission range of up to 328ft/100m (line of sight)
  • Enables switching between dynamic bass and virtual surround sound listening modes for situational sound customization
  • Supports analogue and digital audio inputs and allows toggling between the inputs
  • Intelligently designed controls for maximum ease of use
  • Multi-purpose transmitter also functions as 'easy-charge' cradle and docking station
  • Multi-receiver transmission transmitter supports up to two pairs of headphones simultaneously
  • Ergonomic design for enhanced wearing comfort
  • 2-year warranty

Click here for more info: http://www.audiojunction.com.au/shop-product/cordless-headphones/sennheiser-rs-175-digital-wireless-headphones

Posted in: Headphones Sennheiser   0 Comments

Should I convert my CD collection to stored music?

Posted by Juan on 17 November 2017

After weighing up the pros and cons - I couldn't fault the idea.

Recently when visiting a good friend of mine, he insisted I take a listen to a particular track that he assured me would make his system sound even better than its remarkable looks. So off he disappeared into his CD library which covered the walls of an adjoining room like wallpaper. Upon his long awaited return and well after the last sip of my cupper and bite of Spanish torte, he victoriously waved his right hand clutching a CD jewel case. Swiftly he ejected the draw of his CD player and then. to my surprise he was nearby crying - the CD case was empty!!
After 25 years in the audio industry this is a situation I have heard many, many times.

If this has ever happened to you then I have good news - today you can convert all those bookshelves or boxes full of CDs to a Hard Disc Drive (HDD) for instant playback, all from the comfort of your listening chair and controlled from the convenience of your smart phone or tablet.

Comparing digital copies of my CD Library: do they sound better or worse?

With the right equipment, during the CD ripping process the server software has more time to read the data within than your CD player which is also tasked with simultaneously playing that data and trying to correct for any errors in real-time. Consequently, it has the luxury of being able to repeatedly re-read areas of the disc if errors are present until the data is totally accurate.

Robert Harley editor-in-Chief of the Absolute Sound magazine had this to say in his book The Complete Guide to High-End Audio;

"I've compared the sound of state-of-art CD transports to music servers playing the same music through the same digital-to-analogue converter and digital cable. I first ripped the CD to the server, put the CD in the transport, and compared the two. The sound from the server was smoother in the treble with a more delicate rendering of treble detail. The sound stage was improved when music was sourced from the server more spacious, greater image focus, increased depth, and an overall more convincing impression of instruments existing in space within the recorded acoustic. There was also a greater sense of ease and musical involvement. In short, transferring your CDs to server will improve the sound of your library."

How is it done?

There are a couple of ways to achieve this smart way of controlling and playing your music:

1. Using your home computer - Purchase a NAS (Network Attach Storage) with the capacity to hold your entire CD library. I would highly suggest a NAS with multiple mirror back-up storage, thus you will have multiple copies of your valuable music. Considering that ripping your whole CD music is going to take a great deal of time, its contents should be securely preserved - if performing just one copy it could be lost, damaged, stolen or develop a fault. Once this NAS is filled with music and connected to your home network, it can then 'serve' up your music to your (new) music streamer (see in-store for all the options). Lastly, download the appropriate app to the streaming device in question and enjoy!

2. Dedicated Music Ripper/Streamer -  Whilst utilising your computer to rip your CD collection can seem like a cost-effective solution at first, it's not without its potential downfalls. Firstly, at least an intermediate level of IT know-how is required to create your digital music collection it's a reasonably complex process. Not to mention the fact that ripping your CD collection is a deceptively time-consuming process. Secondly, the software required for the ripping process will have an impact on the quality of the end result and the accuracy of the metadata (artist/album info etc.). Lastly, computers aren't designed for quality audio data based CD drives and mechanical system noise can also affect performance.

Therefore, if you wish to ensure you do it once and do it right that's where a combined CD ripper/music streamer option is a perfect choice. Not only will you be assured of exceptional performance, but it will make creating your stored music collection much simpler and more enjoyable. Here are three highly recommended products available in-store;


BLUESOUND Vault 2 Streaming Player

The Vault 2's 2TB hard drive will let you rapidly rip all your CDs in lossless high-resolution as well as download and store high-resolution tracks. No computer necessary, just insert the CDs into the CD slot. Access and share your digital music library, and stream it in studio quality to multiple rooms in your home with additional Bluesound speakers. Its built-in digital-to-analogue converter allows the Vault to be connected directly to your hi-fi amplifier and can be set up to automatically backup to an external HDD.

Click here for more info.

 

NAIM Uniti Core Reference Hard-Disk Server

Uniti Core represents the essence of digital music. It is a seriously powerful machine that will allow you to rip your entire CD collection, store up to 100,000 tracks, serve files to Uniti all-in-one players or other Naim streamers and create a back-up for all of your music. You can also use Uniti Core as a standalone digital source simply connect it to a digital-to-analogue converter or an amplifier with digital inputs and control playback via the Naim app. Uniti Core is a fuss-free, no-compromise solution for ripping, storing, cataloguing and playing your entire music collection. Plus, simple in-app file editing means that any missing artwork or artist and track information can be easily user edited.

Click here for more info.


NAD Master Series M50.2 Digital Music Player

The M50.2 Digital Music Player offers everything you need to hear the music you love in the best quality possible. The M50.2 allows you to organize and store your music library, while making it easily accessible thanks to the BluOS app. A high-resolution network music player, the M50.2 was designed to house up to 24/192 files whether it be from a CD or music download site. The M50.2 CD transport can playback or rip to internal storage, and ripping is completely automatic. Plus, you can seamlessly connect to the M50.2 via Bluetooth®, opening the doors to virtually any music streaming service. Not only does the M50.2 bring you closer to your favourite music, it also makes it remarkably simpler to access it as well. A wondrous integration of hardware and software, the M50.2 has 2TB of storage, plus a mirrored backup, ensuring you'll never have to sacrifice any music or worry about losing it.

Click here for more info.

More even more info on taking the stored music collection plunge, simply talk to us in-store!

Posted in: NAD Naim Hifi hi-fi   0 Comments

AUDIO SCEPTICISM - ON TEST

Posted by Juan on 8 November 2017
AUDIO SCEPTICISM - ON TEST

LES DAVIS AUDIO 3D-2 Constrained Layer Dampers

Would you believe that a few discs, 50mm in diameter and each less than a millimetre thick can make a substantial audio improvement on any Turntable? And not just your turntable audible improvements can be heard on each component of your system thanks to the deceptively simple Len Davis Audio 3D(2) Discs.

Mechanical Resonance is a phenomenon in which an object or system is subjected to an oscillating force with a frequency close to its own natural resonant frequency. These added frequencies combined with the playback frequencies stored in the record groove then colour and add murkiness to the sound. Therefore, eliminating these resonances (or at least greatly diminishing them) can significantly improve the sonic performance of your audio system. Enter the 3D(2), a new product with advanced technology that promises to do exactly that.

The 3D(2) is designed and manufactured in Australia and has been developed by Les Davis over the last ten years. The 3D(2) discs are a composite layering of an industrial grade soft aluminium foil constraining layer and a pressure-sensitive viscoelastic polymer. This constrained layer damping (CLD) is what promises to suppress unwanted vibrations. It's worth pointing out that there are many products marketed for vibrational control in hi-fi. However, the 3D(2) is something quite different. Not least for their affordability. Each box contains 16 feet. To install them, they're simply placed in a stacked pair (for the optimum performance according to Les' highly-trained ears) under each foot of your CD player, amplifier, pre-amp, power supply, turntable, etc. So, typically, a box will treat an amp and a CD player for example. With speakers you can use it under the feet of a stand, but you need to be careful. It can be too much of a good thing, according to Les. Interestingly, there's even a new loudspeaker being developed by legendary Australian speaker designer Brad Serhan that utilises the same 3D(2) technology as a gasket to seal the drivers to the front fascia, resulting in dramatically reduced cabinet vibrations. Intrigued, I decided to put them to the test.

Sceptical at first thanks to the 3D(2)'s unassuming size and deceptive looks, I commenced the listening session with some vinyl curtesy of iconic Australian modern jazz artist Vince Jones, spinning via the Pro-Ject 2Xpression turntable (see below for full equipment list). For the control test, I started with opening track For All Colours from the album of the same name. Then, another pass through, this time with the 3D(2) dampers placed under the Pro-Ject 2Xpression. No sooner had the needle hit the groove when the immediate improvement hit my ears. Beautiful detail and clarity of instruments and voices, Improved imaging, cleaner soundstage - all culminating in an easier appreciation of the size of the musical presentation and allowing me to better envisage the instrumentalists and vocalists. Then, a moment of realisation; Listen to how much I've been missing before this test! Or to put it another way, so much of our music enjoyment has been taken away...

Conclusion: If you are (or even if you're not) an audio sceptic, I would highly recommend listening to the 3D(2) Discs. There's a very good chance you will become a true believer!  

This amazing product sells for only $99 and is available instore now!

For additional reading, also see:
http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/les_davis_dampers_e.html

https://www.lesdavisaudio.com.au/3d-2/

http://www.audiojunction.com.au/shop-product/av-furniture---accessories/les-davis-audio-3d-2-constrained-layer-dampers

Equipment used for the audio test:
Project 2 Xpression Turntable
NAD M12 Preamp
NAD M22 Power Amp
Focal Sopra No.2 Loudspeaker
Atacama Eris eco 5.0 Hi-Fi Rack
IsoTek Aquarius Power Conditioner & Premier Power Cables
Posted in: hi-fi   0 Comments

Our Three Part Guide to an Affordable, Future-Proof High Fidelity System - Part 3

Posted by Juan on 23 October 2017
Vinyl: the retro-cool factor
LP's deliver a true to life performance often unmatched by standard-resolution digital audio.
If you haven't had the opportunity to experience a good LP playback system, I'd encourage you to pay us a visit and ask our staff to playback a record for you. There's even a good chance that you'll find music you like within our LP collection.

How much should you spend in a turntable? You should dedicate a greater proportion of your budget on the components you spend more time listening to. If you're fortunate enough to have a large collection of vinyl that you play daily and consider them your primary source of music, you should consider as well that the turntable will be your system's front-end. No system can compensate for poor information acquired at the front-end, so, aim for the highest performance turntable you can by investing about 35-40% of your budget on it. Conversely, if most of your favourite music is on CD or your primarily streaming music in standard or hi-res music and your turntable is going to be more of a secondary source, that figure could be around 15% of your budget.

CD & Digital music: Kings of Convenience
Your system front-end, in this case, will be your CD player, or your Music Streamer. If you have a lifetime collection of CD music, same will apply as per the previous paragraph: you should dedicate a greater proportion of your budget, on the components, you spend more time listening to, but we may be more conservative in this case suggesting about 30 to 35% of your budget.
The Music Streamer solution can deliver digital music to your system in varying performance levels; from less than CD quality, to CD quality, all the way up to high-resolution 24bit depending on the capability of your music streamer, and the online music provider you select. Of course, your own CD collection can also be streamed. One such solution is to rip and store your CD collection a network storage device, making your collection available through your home network to be seen by a streaming device connected to your hi-fi system. We will explore in depth in the next article "Music Streamers: what they do, should you need one, and what is available".
Posted in: hi-fi   0 Comments

Our Three Part Guide to an Affordable, Future-Proof High Fidelity System - Part 2

Posted by Juan on 12 October 2017
Loudspeakers

Speaker designer Andrew Jones is the master of creating award-winning speakers with remarkable sound quality and on a small budget. Well known for his work with KEF, Infinity and Pioneer/TAD, he has most recently created a whole new range of amazingly affordable loudspeakers and electronics - this time under the umbrella of hi-end German speaker manufacturer ELAC. The aim; to bring audiophile quality to the masses.

Andrew caused a sensation at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2015 where people were delirious about his new ELAC Debut models - even Herb Reichert from Stereophile magazine was impressed.

Andrew's later creations - the ELAC Debut B5 and Debut B6 have been met with glowing praise from critical music listeners and reviewers alike - and I can understand why after a recent listening session pitting the Debut B6 up against several speakers, some of them with price tags more than double the price of the B6.   

Listening to Vince Jones's For All Colours (streamed via Tidal thanks to the BluOS MDC module fitted to the NAD C368) on the B6, I could recreate in part the spaciousness, resonances and liveliness I heard from experiencing Vince Jones and his bands live performance at Lizotte's theatre in Lambton, Newcastle last September, reminding me of how moved and privileged I felt listening live to one of the great legends of modern Jazz music. 

The B6 delivers the bass and punch required for conveying the high dynamic effect of the drums, trumpet, double bass, and piano typically found in such jazz recordings - performance qualities that can be extended to all music types. Therefore, after hours of audition and comparisons of speakers, the Debut B6 is truly deserving of a place in any "Affordable Audiophile quality" system.

TIP: As we go to press, those happy to spend a little more might also audition the floor standing Richter Jaguar. At a heavily reduced price limited to the last few pairs, you can add that extra level of bass impact that would suit larger size rooms.

Click here for more info on the ELAC B6

Click here for more info on the Richter Jaguar

Posted in: speakers hi-fi ELAC   0 Comments
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Hearing Impairment and Watching TV in Poor acoustic echoing rooms

Dec 11 2017
Problem#1: Poor dialogue intelligibility The sad fact is that todays televisions have very...

Should I convert my CD collection to stored music?

Nov 17 2017
After weighing up the pros and cons - I couldn't fault the idea. Recently when visiting a...

AUDIO SCEPTICISM - ON TEST

Nov 08 2017
LES DAVIS AUDIO 3D-2 Constrained Layer Dampers Would you believe that a few discs, 50mm in...

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