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Hi-res

Hi-res digital recording of vinyl: Is it needed?

Having purchased a Thunderbolt ‘sound card’, the Zoom TAC-2,  to make life easier when measuring loudspeakers it was too much of a temptation not to try recording some records.

Previous posts have talked about Record Cleaning and Do turntable belts sound different. Both posts have included downloadable samples of music to illustrate the differences.

This post is even simpler, linked below are four recordings of an excerpt from the same Nat King Cole track. The only change between recordings was the sampling rate.  All are 24Bit Aiff files, one is 44.1, one. 88.2, one is 176.4 and the largest is 192kHz sampling.

The differences are not massive, don’t expect night and day differences. But there are differences and the better the system on which these are played, the easier they are to hear. The record is another charity shop purchase, so it’s not perfect but in some ways the clicks help to show the changes.

Nat King Cole 44.1kHz

Nat King Cole 88.2kHz

Nat King Cole 176.4kHz

Nat King Cole 192kHz

Nat-King-Cole-Let-There-Be-Love-523022

 

Naim updates award-winning NaimUniti to Hi-res

Naim Audio today confirmed that they have released a significant update for the award-winning NaimUniti. The key upgrade is the support for 24Bit/96kHz (and 24/88.2) playback of .wav and .flac files including fixed point 24 and 32bit files as well as 32bit floating point variants.

The update will be distributed to Naim retailers by a download this week. All the NaimUniti units shipped in February have included the latest code. This shows as Version 2.00.00 when checking the NaimUniti status screen.

More information and images

Naim HDX gets major software update

Naim Audio today confirmed that the new update — Version 1.5 — for the Naim HDX Hard Disk Player is available for retailers to download. In addition, thousands of CDs are in the post to Naim retailers to enable them to update their customers’ HDXs.

Version 1.5 brings a major improvement in convenience with rip to NAS and far more flexible networking. Shares are scanned or ignored by selection thus reducing scanning time and improving speed of music availability. This part of the update alone will bring massive benefits to many Naim customers who have large collections of music waiting further ripping.

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Another DacMagic power supply trial

Decided to use Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, but slightly more unusually, the DVD-A rip so the source is 24/96. Unlike quite a few DVD-As, this one appears to have some content above 22k. Amazing though, that given the total available dynamic range they still needed to ‘clip’ the recording.  Still sounds rather good though.
To start I compared the standard power supply with the Maplin L54BR.  Pleasant surprise, the Maplin delivers a subtlety of delivery that doesn’t emphasise any particular instruments. The original PS, in comparison, seems to make the bass line and the hi-hat a little more obvious in the mix of Dreams and decreases the importance of Stevie Nick’s voice.

Using track 7 , The Chain, showed the original as having a slightly ‘sharper’ delivery, more detail perhaps but certainly less music. The main difference was in the low end but this changed the overall presentation. The Maplin just delivered more music but in a controlled and balanced manner.

I then dug out the 500VA transformer I’d tried before – now in an aluminium box and with a ferrite on the output – in common with the original Dacmagic’s supply.  This PS delivered more power to the presentation, more extension apparently  but was slightly slower. It had better separation of instruments, but not really more music.

The more comparisons of power supplies I do with the Dacmagic the more impressed I am of the overall balance of the design.

I will carry on using the Maplin PS.  It is easier to hide away, as it isn’t a walwart, and more importantly it improves the performance making it just that little more balanced and even handed.

The music playback system was a HP2133 netbook running Foobar and ASIO drivers connected by USB2 to a M-Audio Transit sound card which was connected with a  Chord Optichord to the Cambridge.

Hot Tuna Hi-res audio download

This could be the start of an expensive time.

Having found and downloaded FestivaLink presents Hot Tuna at MerleFest 4/28/06 and Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss both in 24/96 from www.hdtracks.com I started to look around for more Hot Tuna live material. I found www.hottunatunes.com. While the downloads on hotunatunes are only available as mp3 or CD res Flacs there are hundreds to choose from. This could get very expensive.

The Hot Tuna hi-res download Hot Tuna at Merlefest is hi-res of sorts. Looking at its frequency content it looks suspiciously like an upsampled 44.1 or at best 48k DAT recording. Sounds rather good though. My first download from the HT site doesn’t sound as good but the music is just wonderful.  Jefferson Airplane was (is) one of my favourite bands and HT may be currently running close behind.  These guys may not be the springiest of chickens but they can sure play.  My first paid for download also came with a free older gig recording in 128MP3.  Sounds rather inadequate in comparison but totally worth a listen they are obviously on a roll that night.

The hi-res Raising Sand is quite different from the CD rip.  It definitely sounds as if it has a higher bandwidth: it sounds smoother, more detailed and just more classy but it doesn’t have the punch or the impact of the lower res CD rip.

Naim Classical adds Hi-res recordings

The Naim Classical label, a division of The Naim Label has just launched two CD/Data DVD Multipacks including 24 Bit 88.2kHz copies of the original masters.

More info and images

www.thenaimlabel.com