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Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in (Read 8546 times)
Fireblade
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Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
01/12/12 at 02:27:01
 
Hi all!  This is directed to owners of Minis and/or DM945's.  I've read info on the expected initial break-in shortcomings and (in the case of the Mini) how to approach this (5 hrs On / 5 hrs Off).

I guess my question has to do with how limited will the initial stage be in terms of sound quality.  Will it sound so bad I will feel disappointed?  What about the compounded effect of having both the amp and speakers go through the break-in at the same time?

Will the loudspeakers take longer than the amp to start showing its real potential?  How could I tell whether there's also a room conditioning issue, or the new power cord and so on, as all would be running together for the first time?

I would appreciate your kind inputs.  

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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #1 - 01/12/12 at 02:36:40
 
I'm sorry, I meant DM945's.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #2 - 01/12/12 at 04:02:50
 
You just can't wait. But that is a good thing. The best I could describe would be that the sound will start out good, with slow, steady improvement as break in time unfolds.
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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #3 - 01/13/12 at 00:56:22
 
Well, I think it is the most important and relevant topic not yet covered in my learning curve so far.  It is amazing the little attention this topic has in this forum, considering.

Thanks for your input.
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Lon
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #4 - 01/13/12 at 01:24:57
 
Amigo, you haven't been here that long. Break-in has been talked about here, quite a bit. Cheesy The manufacturer even has a recommended method for beaking in the amps.

I can't comment specifically on these components here as I have never experienced break-in on either of these speakers or amps, nor heard them, nor actually have I broken in an amp and a pair of speakers at the same time that I can remember. Also, I think it's possible you would not receive them both at the same time.

My experience would lead me to echo what Riviera Ranch has said: it will sound good from the start and steadily improve (with some hazy and even possibly bad moments thrown in). It's been my experience that though the break-in sounds from amps and speakers aren't going to be synchronized in similarity if you do have both at the same time, they both take about the same amount of time before they can be considered seasoned. It may be best to go through the break-in and have stable components and then consider power cord changes or room treatments.
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« Last Edit: 01/13/12 at 01:26:39 by Lon »  

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Rivieraranch
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #5 - 01/13/12 at 02:29:43
 
I understand that the amps are subjected to a quality control test prior to being shipped. This would probably include running each one for a while. The tubes are tested and packaged.

As far as the DM945's go I believe they have the same ribbon tweeter as my MG944's do. On the speakers, the tweeter might sound a little stiff at first, but they will wear in quickly and gradually smooth out over the first few sessions. I do recall my speakers improving steadily during the first couple of weeks.

From a prior post somebody else wrote on the MG944's

Shit, no bass, I mean nothing. I thought to myself "these high end guys don't like anything under 100hz." I then remembered that it takes a while for speakers to warm up, so I went and made supper.
When I came back, wow, what a difference. They sound great. It just took a little while to find the little monkeys that are in charge of pounding out the bass.

So I think that there is nothing to be concerned with about break-in.
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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #6 - 01/13/12 at 03:09:52
 
Thanks, Rivieraranch: As always, good advice and information on your part.  

I had used the search engine (using 'break-in' and 'break in') as leads, and you'd be surprised at how limited info is actually available on this topic, except maybe for some specific tube-rolling discussions.

I have to admit I'm anxious to get these pieces, although that won't be for a long time (i.e., up to 4 weeks for the Decware shipment and another 6 or more for the surface shipping down here).

Nevertheless, thanks to yours and others' inputs I'm feeling familiar with the new equipment already, knowing how to hook it up and what to expect.

Take care ...



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Fireblade
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Adding a Z-Stage to the Mini Torii?
Reply #7 - 01/13/12 at 14:07:37
 
In the near future, I'm also considering the possibility of further upgrading the system by adding a Z-Stage.  Reason being, my current DAC is pure SS, and although it sounds good, I'm interested in the triode signature that may be imparted to the analog signal before going to the M Torii.  

As you know, SS DACs tend to be on the analytical side, very clear but not too musical.  I'm also interested in improving system dynamics via the extra gain, as described in the Z-Stage brochure.

The combination of Music Streamer II + Z-Stage should be the best, as it will keep the accurate asynchronous sampling from the MSII but with the tube character of the Z-DAC, for example.

What do you think?  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #8 - 01/13/12 at 14:24:42
 
Hey Fire:

If the input voltage is anywhere near 2 volts I cannot say if a ZSTAGE would help or get in the way.

With my 2.5 volt CD source, my CSP2+ got in the way of my MINI. It was difficult to work with and in the end thoroughly unnecessary.  

The only exception to this is when I play my records through the Marantz 2226b receiver, sometimes I put the signal through the CSP2+. Without that, in the MINI the signal gets loud but it lacks the final headroom. It must be that the input from the phono preamp in the Marantz, as delivered through its tape output is a lot less than the output of the radio signal delivered through that same output.

If you need something to smooth out the solid state "edge" then look at a ZBOX, not a 'STAGE.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #9 - 01/13/12 at 14:55:13
 
Personally I'd wait until I had the speakers and amp and they're broken in before considering a ZStage or CSP2+ (I've had a different experience than Jim with my CSP2, but the truth is that you may not need any further components when you get the Mini-Torii and the speakers).

Don't overlook the magic that the tubed input stage of the Mini-Torii will deliver. And it may just highlight the strengths that your DAC has and make everything "just right."

I've encountered a very musical solid state DAC in the ZDAC-1 that unfortunately is not in production any longer. I have a great solid state DAC right now that doesn't need a tubed component between it and the amp. They're out there, yours may be one. I have a DAC and I had a ZBOX in use, and a CSP2 in use, and both at times in front of the Torii Mk III and finally decided they slow things down just a tad and I prefer the DAC straight into the Torii Mk III. So I suggest just keeping the idea of adding one of these way onto the back burner as you may be better served with better ICs, speaker cable, a power conditioner, etc. You'll be astonished at the sound you get when these are finally seasoned and may not need to make further moves for quite some time. Relax and wait for the adventure to begin.
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« Last Edit: 01/13/12 at 14:58:22 by Lon »  

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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #10 - 01/13/12 at 17:12:28
 
As a matter of fact, I just remembered that the gain in the Mini was purposely designed at a double-sensitive 1 V input signal per 100% amp power (to assist iPods etc., w/o a preamp), so definitely I had it backwards: Too much gain in my case (2.25 V DAC output), as you put it, would get in the way.

Just hope the SS-DAC/Mini combination works as expected, giving the DAC analogue processed signal all the tube magic going to the speakers.  Can't wait  :-X
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will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #11 - 01/14/12 at 00:14:20
 
I agree breakin on your speakers and amp will be a while, and they will change for the better in terms of warmth, texture, micro detail, punch etc. For me it is months, but you will likely get the main part out of the way with five to seven  5 hour on/5hr off  amp cycles with music, and I think the Esoteric breakin CD helps. Nice that it can be played when gone too. My MG944 and HR-1s got quite good in several days, notably better in several weeks, sounded pretty "right" in 2-3 months, and continue to improve over time.

Many tube amp folks like solid state DACs without tube stages, the amp literally being a tube stage. And adding a stage or pre depends a lot on your input stage, objectives and synergy. I have a ZSTAGE and agree, if your DAC is 2 volts or more, it may be good to get Steve to mod the ZSTAGE especially if you want to push it with higher output tubes since it is voiced for a 12AU7 and for 2 Volts or less input.

I don't quite get 2 or more volts output messing things up by a Zstage. I would think it would depend pretty much on how the DAC is voiced, and how your stage is tuned, cable etc...but I may be missing something. I like what the ZSTAGE does with my 2.2v-out Tranquility with  12AU7s, but I get distortion with my favorite 12AT7 tubes if I don't lower the software output which has its own sound that I do not prefer. My tastes anyway.

Also I use the ZSTAGE all the time with my Oppo and don't like having to change the cables. So I think I will get Steve to mod it for me when he and I get a chance...another input and switch, and raise the volts-in threshold. The Tranquility sounds great without it too so it is not that important to me, but I miss the tuning to the record thing from riding the gains...a very refined tool indeed. With my ZDAC running my computer and Oppo, I really felt like the ZSTAGE was a big upgrade.

Also, I don't think the ZSTAGE is the same as a CSP....more a tube stage with a little gain tweaking ability (5v), not a full blown pre. Very small and simple, very much a single tube stage with a very useful bias adjustment, and gain adjustment as icing on the tube stage cake. And you can really hear the tube you use like with a ZBOX, but riding the gain with the amp gain....the stage up, and amp down or visa versa, can be very useful for refining your sound experience overall and as compensation for recording quality irregularity....from your optimal settings, up the ZSTAGE for more tube sound, weight, punch, density, and down for more open lighter sound. Tuning recordings on the fly is very easy. The gain boost is a big plus too for DVD playback where the DVDs are mixed quiet.

And of course it will depend on everything in and out of the ZSTAGE, but once I got tubes and cables I liked, my ZSTAGE only helped, adding definitive breadth and flexibility to the quality of my inputs. The ZDAC and Tranquility sound great without the stage too though. So it makes sense to me to wait and see after you get used to your new gear too.

Edit: It is likely too that the qualities of a DAC's makeup and output sound characters may make the ZSTAGE a problem or benefit. A really good sounding DAC may or may not be best left to its own devices. I was hobbled with my exploration with the ZSTAGE/Tranquility do to the fact that most of my tubes are 12AT7s and they distorted with it. And it is possible that the refinement of the Tranquility's output is so refined in its focus on the many expressions of micro detail and how this plays into the ultimate presentation of an instrument, that a Stage could get in the way. After I get mine modded, I will know for my tastes anyway. I know it took some exploration for me to max out the refinement of sound on the ZSTAGE/ZDAC for my tastes, but it was worth it!
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« Last Edit: 01/14/12 at 01:37:32 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #12 - 01/14/12 at 13:53:34
 
Just a note to mention that the CSP2+ can also be used to "ride the gain" with individual adjustments per channel which can be very useful.

But I'd wait some time for complete breakin of your new components before thinking of any line stage or preamp.
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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #13 - 01/14/12 at 22:32:27
 
Thank you will, for a very informative analysis. You sure know your stuff.  I'm very new at this, but the topic fascinates me.

My point was (thinking ahead, as a future possible upgrade, not now), that if justified (depending on how my system performs after break-in), I wanted to consider the possibility of adding a ZStage to 'ride the gain' and improve dynamics, as well as neutralizing (tube-izing?) the existing, somewhat analytical, SS USB/DAC's output.  Best of both worlds.

But when I see that the Mini Torii has double sensitivity, vis á vis the majority of amps (1 V input for 100% power, instead of 2 Vs), and when considering the max output on my USB/DAC is 2.25 Vs, I envision ending up not being able to ride much before the volume becomes too loud. So, very little room for 'riding.'

IMHO this scenario is the opposite to what the Mini Torii and ZStage 'gain riding' combination work best at: Very low source/DAC output voltages, which allows the possibility of boosting the gain at input stages while controlling the overal volume through the amp, therefore creating headroom/dynamics potential.

It can still be done, though, it's just that it would probably require some mods to the ZStage to reduce the voltage range.  A compounding problem in my case is the USB/DAC has no volume control.  If I'm not mistaken, most of the time (depending on the source music dynamics), it will be running at 2 Vs +.  At this level, without a ZStage, the Mini runs 100% power at the mid volume point already.

Adding the ZStage at this point to 'ride the gain' would only allow adjusting it between zero and 2. As anything else above (3, 4 or 5) would force the Mini's volume to be at or near zero, not to clipp (100% power).

It would be different if I could control the USB/DAC's volume (i.e., output Vs). This way I could enact the typical iPod scenario of low input, allowing full 'riding the gain' manipulation for better headroom and sonics.

I'm probably all wrong at this, but so far is what I'm getting from this concept, that really intrigues me. I'm not familiar with the equipment (Tranquility, Oppo, etc.) you mention, so I'm not sure I get 100% what you are saying, although I get your general viewpoint.

IMHO, the Mini does not require any preamps,  I would like to exploit what theoretically the 'riding the gain' through a ZStage would do for it though.  If I'm way off here please help me learn.  Thanks for your assistance.
















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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #14 - 01/14/12 at 22:50:49
 
Just a clarification: The USB/DAC output level can be volume-adjusted through the streaming music player volume setting, but I'm not certain this equates to a gain adjustment.  My previous argument assumes gain control through the volume adjustments in a theoretical output gain-controllable USB/DAC (unlike mine).
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #15 - 01/15/12 at 04:58:36
 
Hey Fireblade,

Man, I bet you will have fun getting to know your new gear. It seems to me the Mini Torri or any of the Decware amps could work well with or without a Zstage. But with the Mini Torris internal pre gain, it sounds like additional gain may not be necessary. But this might not rule out the riding the gain with a Zstage as a refinement tool.

If your tube choice and source cause the Mini to max out in the 12-2 o'clock zone, in terms of riding the gains, I would think it would be the similar to my setup. With music, I rarely turn my Torii up over 1 o'clock...it gets too loud!

If you go there, you could start with the Mini Torii gain point wherever the volume sounds right, and with a 12AU7 in the Zstage, I think neutral gain is about 12 o'clock. Say the Torii volume sounds good at 10 o'clock, and your optimal baseline for the Zstage is 12 o'clock. To add weight and punch you could ride the Stage to 1 or so while riding the Mini Torii to 9 o'clock or so, keeping the volume relatively the same, but tuning the sound values with the gain riding. Or the opposite to lean/open the sound. Not having a Mini Torii, I can't talk from experience, but unless there is some odd incompatibility with the internal Mini Torii gain setup, I would think it would work if you decided later that you could benefit from the Zstage. Ask Steve though.

But you have loads of flexibility in what you will have without a Zstage. With your treble cut, tube choices, cables and so on, your thought to hang with exploring the amp and new speakers with the front end you have until you get a handle on them should be plenty involving.

I think you will be amazed what the Decware gear will do for your front end. And with the Mini's built in pre, various voltage sources sound easy.

You will be covered by a world class amp and speakers. And maybe your room is treated, but if not, it is said that something like 40% of your sound quality is room. Then there is the adage ....."the source is the most important component in good sounding systems." After your AC, this includes, source files, their delivery system (source gear), and interconnects. For example, a CD quality music file played through a great transport, or that is ripped without compression and with error correction software, then delivered through a transparent server with good software.... with good cabling...this can sound as good as it gets source-wise. The music is delivered as it was mastered. Anything that gets in the way of the above will be perceivable if you are able to do direct comparisons.

And what feeds and conveys it all.....AC power, then IC, power, and speaker cables can really make differences too. Then there is vibration control! It all matters with this highly revealing gear.

Luckily though, by comparison to a lot of gear, it will sound really great without all this seeming peripheral stuff. But then if you want to go deeper, it is fun to explore.  I look forward to your sense of it once you amp and speakers are broken in and arranged to your satisfaction!
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« Last Edit: 01/15/12 at 05:03:21 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #16 - 01/15/12 at 14:52:39
 
Thanks again. will.  You sure made it clear for me.

Too thin/lean music from source: Down with the Mini's volume setting and up with the ZStage volume setting, to get punch and dynamics (gain reserve build-up).  If the source music is too boomy/heavy, go the other way around, always from the original neutral settings, on both components.  That's clear enough and I understand why it works now.

I had replaced my Hi-Fi DVD player in my current SS setup with the USB/DAC some time ago, streaming music from my laptop (Windows-optimized for music streaming), and Man, the difference is about 20% improvement!  My files now are all FLAC or APE, as I'm converting all my  CD collection to FLAC files (EAC-FLAC). I'm already hearing things that weren't there before!

This, with a not so Hi-Fi SS setup.  That's why I'm investing in the Decware gear.  Great expectations! It's going to be a thrilling break-in period for me with these toys to play with.  Only when I'm sure it w'ont get any better, I'll try to incorporate the ZStage.  I think after listening room resonance control, this is the next best improvement step.

Evidently, I lack familiarity with tube rolling, so there's also a big opportunity there, to create different flavors and find my own ideal combination.  What a hobbie!

Hey will, thanks again for your input.  Take care ...

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #17 - 01/15/12 at 15:44:08
 
Yes, great music production is a great and fun passion! Have you compared FLAC to uncompressed error corrected WAV files. Though FLAC is theoretically lossless, and if one can't hear the the difference, why change. But if you can, with drives as cheap as they are now, I use uncompressed, error corrected AIFF (Mac) files, the exact files from the CD master. Also, I have found that, as my gear and cables have improved, the differences in everything show up more, and since even subtle refinements are important to me, I am glad to start with the pure file.
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« Last Edit: 01/15/12 at 15:45:19 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #18 - 01/15/12 at 16:30:32
 
I was under the impression FLAC-compressed files were indeed lossless.  I know EAC creates the intermediate uncompressed WAV files before requesting final compression by FLAC.  I also know the relative disk space utilization is very high with uncompressed, so I assumed there was no point in getting them uncompressed and save some hard memory.

If it's true there's a noticeable difference, I would pay the hard memory price also, but it's the first time I learn about this.  

Now, I'm not sure I follow the 'error correction' part of your argument on uncompressed.  Presumably, EAC by default compares contents and reports accuracy levels at several std. deviations.  If it has info on it's database to correct errors, it will automatically.

If I just skip the last FLAC compression step, the uncompressed would be already corrected and accurate (unless reported with errors).  Am I right?  In this case I would submit the EAC process for only uncompressed (no FLAC).

I'm wondering if my music player (KMP) handles those ...
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #19 - 01/15/12 at 17:08:06
 
If you look around there is question about even "lossless" compression. But let your ears be your guide. When I first started with computer serving, I could hear it comparing Apple Lossless to AIFF. I don't know why, it may just be the extra processing to put the compressed file into playback with subtle effects from realtime processing and/or on noise in the computer that carries into the signal out. I have not really looked into the details of the "controversy" simply because I heard it, and subtle though it may be, with the minimal cost of drives, I never looked back wanting as little compromise as I could get.

Since I use Mac, I am not familiar with EAC software, but it does sound like it does error correction, so presumably you are good there.

It could be fun to run a few really good recordings using FLAC "lossless" compression, and the same tunes without, and just see what you think. There are a lot of folks using Apple Lossless or FLAC, and lot who use the original file format uncompressed.

Might be interesting to check it with your present system, and then check it with your new Decware stuff. I think a lot of times when we can't hear stuff, it is because of some truncation of the music files as they go through whatever gear we use.

If it is from a standard redbook CD, the pre-Flac file would be 44.1K/16 bit and called WAV (the Windows protocol for files that have not been compressed). I would be surprised if your player would not play WAV files, but you could check.
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« Last Edit: 01/15/12 at 17:10:39 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #20 - 01/15/12 at 19:01:24
 
Like Will, I am a Mac guy. But I have used EAC and it is quite good. When ripping files, I store everything as uncompressed AIFF. I am not a FLAC fan, so I use Max to convert those files to AIFF, making sure to preserve bit depth. I usually use Rip or Max to rip. Both can use the CD Paranoia engine, but Rip can check its rips against the AccurateRip database and it compensates well for optical drive inconsistencies. I like AIFF as a file format because it lets me use iTunes for my manager and for tagging. I stopped using iTunes for ripping when many rips failed AccurateRip checking. And with today's cheap storage, I don't see ALAC as offering any advantage. Using truly uncompressed files avoids the processor issues Will notes. And while there are a few players or renderers that don't play AIFF (I am looking at you Oppo and MSB), if need be, they can be transcoded (but I don't like that solution; some servers transcode poorly). Overall, the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages on the Mac platform.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #21 - 01/15/12 at 19:15:13
 
In general, it makes all the sense in the world to try and limit any compression whatsoever (as it is to avoid additional processing of the original source material).  The point is, I thought everybody agreed that FLAC (or lossless equivalents like Ape) had been tested in a bit-by-bit basis, with the conclusion that there were no differences (arrays of 0's & 1's don't lie, nor are subject to 'interpretation.')  So, theoretically at least, FLAC (equivalents) would be the minimum memory-using format still being 'lossless.'

Regarding testing your hypothesis, I've already begun re-copying some of my best sounding files to WAV, from the original discs.  I'll see if I find differences with their counterparts in FLAC (maybe my ears are not that sensitive anymore, maybe they are, who knows?)  I'll let you know.  If you are right, the main drawback would not be precisely the hard disk memory costs, but having to re-do all my collection again into WAV!

Checked Wikipedia for WAV compatibility/support by KMP, and yes it handles them also (great little tool this player, BTW).  I definitely understand/share the motives for your precautionary strategy, and I will try to see if I detect differences.  Later ...









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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #22 - 01/15/12 at 21:27:40
 
Quote:
The point is, I thought everybody agreed that FLAC (or lossless equivalents like Ape) had been tested in a bit-by-bit basis, with the conclusion that there were no differences (arrays of 0's & 1's don't lie, nor are subject to 'interpretation.')  So, theoretically at least, FLAC (equivalents) would be the minimum memory-using format still being 'lossless.'


Well, I am not sure everybody agrees (this is audio, after all), but I do think the objective tests show that FLAC and ALAC files reproduce the same sound files as their uncompressed WAV, AIFF, and .cdr counterparts. That doesn't mean the process of playback doesn't impart colorations, jitter, etc. It just means the potential outcome can be the same. From my point of view, the ripping process is critical. Once the "not-quite-1s-and-0s-pits" on the CD are accurately ripped, then I think you're in pretty good shape. Once the file is truly digital, then moving the file, backing it up, and checking its integrity is much easier.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #23 - 01/15/12 at 21:43:30
 
The sound that comes from your computer is not all 1's and 0's. If it were, all servers, async transmission versus non-async, and all cables would sound alike, and they don't. If I get it correctly, one issue is the processors ability to process from compressed to non-compressed, and then convey those "exactly the same" 1's and 0's in exactly the correct time with the DAC. Another is noise. There are analog aspects of the computer to DAC conveyance in which noise can be a big deal. This is why all the tweaked out servers use the computer processor for as little as possible, focussing only on the music....to help it to come out quiet and pure as they can get it.

But I am no expert on this...I am satisfied with what I hear and care little about the naysayers who try to use limited scientific information and knowledge to tell us the sound differences that we can hear are not real because "they are all 1's and 0's." I get the idea, but if it doesn't play out with sound, it just isn't real...There are a lot developers out there that have theories on why it is not all 1's and 0's and if I were one of them, I would take the discussion more seriously.

I imagine FLAC uses similar computer memory to uncompressed files since the processor has to make the compressed file back to the original as it plays it???? But compressed files definitely use less hard disk storage space.

I am not all that concerned about being right, I know what I hear and how my reasoning works, and am good with that. But if you or anyone else can hear a difference and it is worth it to you, then my experience will have helped you get better sound. If one can't hear the difference, or the difference is not worth the hard drive space, that is fine with me too. But if for one of many possible reasons, one can't hear the difference and uses incomplete information to explain why what I hear is not real, this is where I get pissy. Less because it hurts my feelings, but because this kind of attitude holds back creative process and new growth in knowledge. I prefer "science' that says, hmmm, there is something here I can't explain, I would be fun to find out what it is!

I look forward to your listening tests!

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #24 - 01/15/12 at 21:49:09
 
Sorry for the redundancy with your post Greg...I just write and post, and I am a slow typer and not too efficient with words! Jeez there could be ten posts by the time I get a response out!
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #25 - 01/15/12 at 22:34:46
 
will, I can't vouch for your typing speed, but you seriously under-represent your way with words. Smiley You have a very SOLID way of expressing yourself understandably.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #26 - 01/15/12 at 22:40:11
 
Fireblade....I wonder. If you find you are interested in converting your FLACs to uncompressed WAV or AIFF, it seems to me that I have tried programs that can batch process files. My current ripper, XLD, does not, but I wonder if EAC could do this?
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #27 - 01/15/12 at 22:42:08
 
Thank you Lon. I am glad to hear that! I just get frustrated that my posts end up so long a lot of times.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #28 - 01/15/12 at 23:06:57
 
Well, there's little fat to trim. They're "healthy" reading. Wink
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #29 - 01/15/12 at 23:27:00
 
Hmmm...... "healthy" fat!
Roll Eyes
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #30 - 01/16/12 at 01:06:10
 
Well guys, this is getting interesting.  Let me address one point at a time, if you please (I apologise in advance for a possible lengthy reply):

Pale Rider and will, I did not imply anything related to the streaming process (check it out), I was merely stating presumed facts about the nature of the files themselves (FLAC vs WAV), 'before' being streamed.

I don't quite understand your points on the digital nature of the files.  They are digital because they are 0's and 1's in a certain array.  How we compress, copy or de-compress these, without affecting the original array, is another matter.  

On streaming, I prefer Asynchronous sampling because the clock is under the control of the DAC (and not the CPU), in defining the time ditribution function of the stream of music.  The design of these algorithms is essential in avoiding further jitter creation. That's just my opinion, but is independent of the point I make above.

Pale Rider, evidently the ripping process is essential, but since we are discussing a bit-by-bit comparison and against a database of the same files owned by lots of people, if the result is 100% or even 99.9% accurate, there's implication that the ripping process has been able to preserve the array of 0's and 1's enough to conform to the original file.

will, of course a lot of jitter (noise) is produced by the computer, that's why the PC has to be optimized for music streaming (OS), avoid the use of sound cards, limit the background activity of the CPU, etc. to deter possible noise induction into the stream.

And that's why we deal with asynchronous and other similarly effective sampling methods to deter jitter and distortion 'creation' that may also contaminate the music stream.  Although nothing is perfect, these little DACs do one hell of a job, IMHO.

From a theoretical point of view, at least, if all these things are done right, the WAV and the FLAC files are, at best, as bad as the original CD source material.  That source material cannot be improved.  So IMHO, jitter or coloration or distortion, mostly will come from the original recording setup.

Before you guys jump all over me, this is correct 'before' going to the amp and speakers, or whatever other components are in the pipeline. More jitter, noise, distortion can be induced in the final product that we end up hearing from the speakers (or headphones), as the streamed music goes through RFI from power cords, interconnects, speaker wires, etc.

will, the original point is I will test (with my ears) the difference between WAV and FLAC if there's any.  And for a batch process to create WAV files out of CD's, the last I heard there are agencies around charging you to do that job (expensive) so I don't think we can do this automatically, but I honestly don't know.  Sorry again for the lengthy message...






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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #31 - 01/16/12 at 08:22:37
 
Fireblade,

Sorry for the misunderstanding. It seems you were referring only to files and I was referring to how the files play. I have no issue with the 1s and 0s from FLAC files, but when I first checked it out, I did notice "lossless" file playback losing something in the audio, and I suspect the computer and computer/DAC interaction as the probable culprits. But also....noise, not from timing issues, but from electronics...the analog part that can go to the DAC along with the digital material. Computer noise that increases with more electronic activity (like processing FLAC files) especially if the computer is prone to heat issues and noise based upon its components and design.

Then there is the further possibility of truncation from inefficiency once the chips and circuits in the computer heat up, potentially limiting the resolution of the many micro detail shades inherent to music. So I would say a whole lot that is not music's friend can enter the stream, optimized or not, async or not, depending on the level of design, build and optimization. Music is so vastly complex, how can its conveyance from digits to sound be any less so.

Also, my suggestion was to look for batch FLAC to WAV conversion, not CD to WAV. Only if you need it of course....I feel sure I had some ripping program that would do this.

In the context of my pet theme.... popular ideas versus experience.....this may be of some interest. I have a NOS Tranquility DAC (no async or upsampling), and an upsampling ZDAC with a V-Link async unit. They both sound great, designed by folks with great ears, and with much trial and error.

Many say Async is necessary to temper jitter from the computer, while incidentally making USB cables unimportant. And many will say good upsampling makes for smoother, more detailed sound. And these can be true.

Interestingly, I get more apparent inner and micro detail from the non-async, NOS DAC than from the Music Fidelity V-Llink/ZDAC. The V-Link increases the inner detail of the ZDAC some, but by my ear, the Tranquility is notably better at smooth micro detail with no async or upsampling.

Also, I have two good USB cables, one from DbAudioLabs, the Tranquility folks, and a Wireworld Startlight. Both are designed to separate the power and ground (potential noise) from the audio, and both sound good, but they sound notably different. It is more apparent direct into the DACs, but also in front of the async/ZDAC.

These examples support my need to ultimately resolve what is real by listening.

In the case of the NOS nonasync Tranquility, to many it is simply unbelievable how good it is because it is soooo not the current thought. In fact, it soundly disproves many popular beliefs. At the same time it is a glowing example of the creative process, realizing that thinking inside the box can be self-limiting, and thinking outside the box can be a vehicle for exploration and meaningful discovery. They used all the info in the box, but didn't get stuck by it, making sure to follow even seemingly illogical tracks with double blind listening tests being the determinant.

I hope this explains the basis of my comments, and sorry for any misunderstandings.

Wink

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« Last Edit: 01/16/12 at 08:27:54 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #32 - 01/16/12 at 11:30:31
 
Hey will, good points you made there.  I agree with almost everything you said, and I'm taking notes.  ;)

The only thing I disagree with, is on converting FLAC into WAV for this particular test (and for re-converting my collection to WAV, if you are proven right), as by the time you have the FLAC, the hypothetical 'damage' has been done already and WAV files restored from this material could not warrant the original data array (as it has already been compressed).

Therefore, unfortunately, going from CD to WAV is the only viable means to ensure original data integrity, assuming there are indeed differences as you tend to believe.

After learning from your positive experience with it, I will also check on the NOS Tranquility DAC, as I'm curious about their proposed sampling procedure.  

With respect to the additional sources of jitter inherent to the PC/CPU/inner heat dissipation processes, etc., although certainly true, I can personally attest to the evident improvement of this setup compared to a Hi-Fi DVD/CD player like mine (all other things being equal in the system).  So, apparently those CPU/OS sources of jitter are maybe at a lower order of magnitude compared to the inexact transport reading process of NOT high-end players like mine.

As a consequence, IMHO, best bang for the buck is USB streaming, as a comparable transport would be very expensive (and you'll keep tied-up to physical CD's).  This money ought to be better spent in the DAC, in my opinion.

Interesting topic, indeed ...

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #33 - 01/16/12 at 15:45:00
 
It has been years since I looked at lossless, but if memory serves, the theory is that FLAC compression removes only non-music data. Therefore there is no "damage" to the music part of the file and it can be decompressed exactly to the original sound file. Other data may be lost, but the sound file is supposed to be completely retrievable. This is why it is called lossless. So there may be some compromise to converting to WAV, but I gather not to the music.

You might check out FLAC conversion to WAV on Google and see what you find.

I agree, I like the computer platform too for many reasons. But as with it all, the quest for getting the feeling of the music as refined as it can be, I look at the small details since a lot of small details add up to big stuff. No use hobbling the sound in any way if we can help it!

But man, we are way off topic!
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #34 - 01/16/12 at 17:01:17
 
Yes will, but your hypothesis is there may be a difference between the two formats.  Now you are applying the definition of FLAC, as lossless, which was my first argument, remember?  If it is lossless in music data, then WAV and FLAC are indeed equivalent!

Therefore, I propose the only way to prove if your hypothesis is right is to compare both formats coming from the original source material (and not risking FLAC compression-related potential elimination of those presumed music data differences.)

At least for this test, I would do it this way, just to make sure.

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #35 - 01/16/12 at 18:58:20
 
Fireblade,

I guess I am not communicating well. I never said FLAC did not have all the basic sound data.

I said that I heard a difference between playback of ALAC (also proven lossless) and uncompressed AIFF files. I ripped from CD to error corrected AIFF files, and then ripped from CD to error corrected ALAC files. Then listened. I said that I suspected this minor loss of audio fidelity was from the computer decompression costs, and associated playback issues, and followed this with ideas about why. My current system may or may not reveal the difference in sound. But I am good with being on the safe side.

That FLAC data (after reassembly) are the same as WAV music data does not make them equivalent. They are equivalent only after reassembly, and functionally, reassembly while playing the tune has its potential costs and degradation.

The bottom line for me is the music experience, and since I heard fidelity loss playing a lossless file, it is not functionally the same to me no matter the reason.

And this is not a hypothesis, it is listening experience with the gear at the time of my tests. You may or may not hear it in your tests, and having to have 30-50% more hard drive to run uncompressed files may or may not be worth it to you if you do hear it.

A different point altogether was over your concern over having all your files FLAC and having to re-rip to WAV if you like WAV better. And if my memory of lossless technology is correct, I believe the FLAC compression method likely allows for the music to be uncompressed to be equivalent to WAV music data....the same thing your computer does now, but it could get done without potential costs to playback fidelity. And I bet you could batch process.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #36 - 01/16/12 at 21:33:00
 
Got it, sorry I misunderstood you there.  So, when the FLAC or WAV is processed into analogue signal, that's where you assume the sound differences appear.  I guess there's some logic to that too.  Going from uncompressed (i.e., WAV) to analogue requires less 'treatments' than from compressed (i.e., FLAC) to analogue.  Good point!

Being so, I could definitely try to swap the FLAC files into WAV, using EAC (have to check if that's possible), and A/B listen.  Thanks will, I'll let you know of my findings.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #37 - 01/16/12 at 22:26:04
 
These are just very preliminary results.  On the A/B listening tests, playing the Mozart Aria 'E Susanna non vien!' (Kiri Te Kanawa/Solti) from Nozze di Figaro, I seem to note a little less white noise in the background, on specific passages ... The noise is present in both files, but with a lkittle less emphasis in the WAV reproduction (ceteris paribus).

This is by no means easy.  I have to struggle to hear that difference.  I'm using headphones which are not high-end by any measure, but one step above the commercially available headsets.  The important issue here is that me are comparing apples to apples having all other variables controlled.

My ears may not be what they used to, so if I hear a difference, other people will definitely notice them too.  I'm not sure if these tiny differences are going to make it through the real setup (with amp and speakers ,I mean).

I'll keep reporting.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #38 - 01/16/12 at 22:41:12
 
Definitely there are small differences in the white noise I hear at the edge of the voice's highs, for example.  These distortions are present in both files, but more accentuated in the flac files.

I've been trying to play a game where I really d'ont know what file format I'm listening at some point, and at the first indication of jitter I repass the passage on both formats to assesss the difference.

I'm very sceptical, so I'm trying to be the devil's advocate, but so far it seems there's some substance to it ... Later
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #39 - 01/17/12 at 00:14:53
 
Quote:
So, when the FLAC or WAV is processed into analogue signal, that's where you assume the sound differences appear.  I guess there's some logic to that too.  Going from uncompressed (i.e., WAV) to analogue requires less 'treatments' than from compressed (i.e., FLAC) to analogue.


Yes, I think this is true...the audible result of the digital activity "appears" at the DAC output since this is our analog result of all previous activity. But the file restoration from compression occurs well before this in the computer, right?  

So yes, the extra "treatment" from having to decompress Lossless files could compound the problems innate to a given computer and USB cable. This could possibly increase truncation of the digital data. ALSO, analog noise generated in the computer could be conveyed through the USB cable ALONG WITH the digital stream. Of course there is the possibility of collecting noise from the environment by the cable too, contributing further to noise, but this is after the compression has been resolved.

An indication of the potential analog component may be expressed in how "digital cables" sound different. How could this be if the cable only carried the exact same digital information as the original recording?

And this is aside from jitter and it's distortions.

So yes, the possibilities of this all working optimally seem higher with less digital "treatment" at the computer...just like your points about the reasons for optimizing the computer for audio.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #40 - 01/17/12 at 00:22:22
 
Quote:
My ears may not be what they used to, so if I hear a difference, other people will definitely notice them too.  I'm not sure if these tiny differences are going to make it through the real setup (with amp and speakers ,I mean).


Listen also for the details of the edges of the notes, especially in the upper mids and highs. Is there more than just white noise. Any thinning or brittle sound due to missing harmonic textures?

It will be interesting to compare with your Decware gear. I don't know what you are using now, but the Decware stuff is very revealing, and could potentially be as, or more revealing through your speakers than your current headphones.
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« Last Edit: 01/17/12 at 00:27:46 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #41 - 01/17/12 at 00:27:14
 
Quote:
I've been trying to play a game where I really d'ont know what file format I'm listening at some point, and at the first indication of jitter I repass the passage on both formats to assesss the difference.

I'm very sceptical, so I'm trying to be the devil's advocate, but so far it seems there's some substance to it ... Later


This is part of the fun and what the naysayers don't seem to get. Why would a sane, intelligent person questing for a truly refined musical experience try to fool themselves into delusion perspectives? This is certainly possible, but just doesn't make a lot of sense in a solution oriented creative exploration.

Wink
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #42 - 01/17/12 at 00:55:23
 
Ok, here's what I'm doing.  I already identified several passages with white noise and edginess jitter/brittleness on high frequency voice notes, which show potential differences between those two file formats via laptop headphones.  

Now I'm going to process the signal through the whole setup (DAC/Amp/Speakers), and concentrate in those passages.  There are two possibilities:

1. Differences would be unnoticed (I'll keep using FLAC files).

2. Differences would be enhanced (I'll swap my collection to WAV and buy a remote hard disk.)

I will be testing this for the next day or so, so I'll keep you posted.  My current SS setup is a JVC Hi-Fi mini component with a bi-amping/bi-wiring design. My DAC is a Music Streamer II and the speakers are two-way small bookshelf type with birch wood baffles on both transducers.  I'm also using a 160 Watt active Velodyne subwoofer.

I agree with your comments.  Probably the Decware gear will really separate both performances and make it easier to detect.  The headphones helped in isolating the sound from the environment so I could more easily identify those crucial passages for the test.

I w'ont be convinced until I hear differences from my speakers though.  Funny, I would have never thought I would be doing this either ... Later








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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #43 - 01/17/12 at 01:25:43
 
Double blind listening tests by the dbAudioLabs Tranquility team confirmed that using an external hard drive on the Firewire buss (so it is not the same circuit as USB avoiding noise introduction there) made audible improvements. Also the internal drive is part of your computer electronics, so limiting its activity to the bare essentials is logical within our theme of reducing noise and processing truncation.

I heard this difference with my very quiet mac Mini. Subtle but I heard it.
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« Last Edit: 01/17/12 at 01:26:53 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #44 - 01/17/12 at 02:51:42
 
Interesting to learn about additional advantages of an external HD (makes sense): I'd be killing two birds with one stone, then.  

Something that called my attention from the Tranquility team: They incorporate the power unit inside the same DAC box.  The norm is to use a separate box to avoid noisy RFI induction to the signal (or use the USB power from the PC).  

The other thing that surprised me (I guess is pure marketing), they have this speech about not making compromises, but right there they offer you an upgraded (Signature) model for an extra $500.  If they don't make compromises how come they offer you the lower cost unit to start with?

You know, I still don't understand what they do for sampling.  They talk about high-end components and listening feedback and all, but that's not it.  Maybe there's more literature on their site I did not get.

Later ...
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #45 - 01/17/12 at 05:08:27
 
Yes the Tranquility website is a bit vague, and seemingly fluffy, but all true. Part is due to the proprietary technology they use that they have chosen to keep to themselves.

I would not say it is the norm at all to use outside power in a DAC, but a choice, especially for compact DACs with noisier, less expensive power supplies, or for purists setups where even battery power is sometimes employed. Most midrange DACs I have looked at have internal power supplies. Then it is a matter of how good it is and how well implemented.

You can make a less expensive DAC without compromise within economic limitations.

I got a pristine "open box" Tranquility when someone upgraded to a Signature. I think it ended up being about a grand, but no power or USB cable with it. With the cables I got it was about 1400.

If you are really interested after your initial negative responses, read through this: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=74816.0

And after that, if you are still interested, contact dbAudioLabs for very useful and intelligent information. They are a small company and like Decware, very serious audio heads themselves and very serious about what they do.
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« Last Edit: 01/17/12 at 05:11:00 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #46 - 01/17/12 at 14:58:58
 
Hi will.  I'm sure you meant my initial negative impressions?

If you are really interested after your initial negative responses

I'll tell you what.  I have a USB/DAC that's exactly 10 times less expensive, and as we all know the end product w'ont be 10 times better (diminishing returns).  Having said that, I know my DAC will be my weakest link (except maybe for room conditioning), so that's why I thought of the ZStage (not the same thing, but useful to balance some of my DAC's weaknesses and being able to 'ride the gain).´

I w'ont argue if the diminishing returns are worth it, because I know the answer: Yes!  So let me ask you, having had both (Tranquility & ZStage) in your setup, what proved to be the best investment in your case?

Assume my setup context (as you know it more or less by now), and decide which one will improve things the most for me.  In your judgment, which I'm learning to respect by now, is the 'riding the gain' more or less important than the improved clarity/definition you get from the Tranquility?

BTW, after reading that thread you suggested, I'm not surprised to be on the majority side regarding the negative impressions projected by the site's approach, though.  

Let me know your opinion.  Thanks!


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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #47 - 01/17/12 at 15:39:54
 
Sorry, not having heard your DAC, I can't possibly answer that. The Zstage can do good things with many sources, but it can't bring out what is not there to begin with...the point being, the DAC you start with is critical. I used the ZSTAGE with a ZDAC, which is a very good sounding DAC and with the Zstage....extra good.

It is all a taste thing, but when you get this good, the differences are subtle. I would say both are a good deal for the sound. And as you have read, if you made it though that Tranquility thread, it is common for those given the opportunity to compare, to prefer the Tranquility over many popular DACs, many costing more. For me frankly, what decided my trying one, was that I persoally agreed with how Eric Hider (the Tranquility guy) looked at things and how they went about getting there. Same reason I went with Decware, I agree with Steve and Bob's way of looking at things...the way their minds and passions work.

If I had to give up either the Zstage/ZDAC combo or the Tranquility, I would have to stick with the Tranquility. My Tranquility is different than the one talked about on the AudioCircle though. I have an upgraded output stage that is now standard I believe, and it is amazing. But I also have a 2010 mac Mini which works very well as a server....this too makes a difference!

A potential disadvantage about the Tranquility is that it is strictly USB, one cable in and RCAs out, where many of the DACS in the same price range have some flexibility for inputs. I love the Tranquility though. The smooth inner detail thing brings an authenticity that is exciting for me.

There are so many DACs out there, it might be good to check out some reviews. This guy I don't always agree with, but I like his perspectives and the seeming underlying quest of seeking out the best stuff for the money. http://www.digitalaudioreview.net.au/
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« Last Edit: 01/17/12 at 15:42:26 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #48 - 01/17/12 at 15:44:56
 
Also, if you are not aware of this http://www.computeraudiophile.com/, it is worth some looking for computer playback info. The FAQ section is a good start.
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #49 - 01/17/12 at 22:00:43
 
Thanks for the feedback, will.  I'm sorry I asked for a suggestion within such a limited context description.  Here are links to reviews on my DAC:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/hrt3/streamer2.html

http://trustedexpertsreviews.com/hrt-music-streamer-ii-review

http://www.headfonia.com/the-hrt-music-streamer-ii-asynchronous-2496-for-149-95/...

I know it's not the same as listening to it, but at least you'll know where I come from.  I find it quite impressive myself, but find it also a little edgy on the high extremes, and a little (not too much) analytical.

Given my setup, it's hard to absolutely judge it's performance, but I'm sure with the Decware gear any shortcomings will be easily displayed.  I would not make any decisions until that new setup is broken-in either.

Regarding the AK forum, I've been a member there even before joining Decware, so that's where I picked-up this whole USB/DAC notion to start with.

I'm glad you like the Mac Mini - Tranquility combo, and can see why people have good things to say about Eric's gear.

My original idea was to half the initial cost of the Tranquility with the Stream II/ZStage combo.  Probably a good idea even though it may not be the top performer the Tranquility is, but enough for me maybe?

Another option is to go for the upgraded Streamer II + ($350)

The problem is, I haven't listened to de ZDac either, so I can't envision the ZStage role with either DAC (mine and ZDac).  I just love the idea of riding the gain, as a concept which may be very useful in a more modest setup.

Will, this is not homework.  Feel free to reply or not at your convenience.  I thank you very much for all your support.  Take care ...












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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #50 - 01/17/12 at 22:02:56
 
Sorry I meant Computer Audiofile (forum member of).  I also belong to AK though.  Cheers,
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #51 - 01/19/12 at 02:21:58
 
Yes I agree with critical listening with the Streamer after the Decware gear is broken in. It is possible that some of the analytical edginess could be from your current gear, and/or possibly the USB cable you use.... It will be cool to see what you hear with the Decware. I think it will up your audio pleasure immensely. The 6moons review DAC comparisons to yours are impressive indeed!

So I would say wait and see. The Zstage can definitely smooth edges, assist in nice harmonics, and modify the sound signature, the one tube being a very powerful voicing tool. And you can change the sound with power and IC cables too. But it is absolutely impossible for me to know how to compare your DAC to the ZDAC and Tranquility. I can say that neither have a brittle edge to me, and both do a very good job of the maker's interpretation of analog sound. They sound natural in my system, the Tranquility having an edge in inner and micro detail that offers an amazing ability to feel all the textures and nuance of the sounds of an instrument, and how the instrument sits in space. But the ZDAC has its pluses as well, being very defined in the midrange and bass, and carrying the emotion of the playing in a very good, and for me indescribable way.

If you get after the Zstage, I would be sure to call Steve before you order to be sure there are no issues similar to what Rivieraranch experienced  with the CSP and the Mini Torii.

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« Last Edit: 01/19/12 at 02:25:21 by will »  

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #52 - 01/19/12 at 02:49:29
 
Loud and clear will, agreed.  Btw, the USB cable I'm using is an Audioquest  Forest (Green.)  

Yes, the Mini Torii with it's sensitive input gain stage may require a different approach if used with the ZStage.  Only Steve may provide a clue here, but I believe it is an important option nevertheless.

I'm still working on the comparo between FLAC and WAV using my system.  As differences were not that evident using laptop headphones, I'm waiting for the opportunity of listening late at night, so I can concentrate more.

I'll keep you posted, although we already agreed the real test will be with the Decware setup in place.  Thanks so much for your valuable comments.

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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #53 - 06/25/13 at 04:35:05
 
I believe Cool Edit Pro v2.0 which is now called Adobe Audition will batch process WAV files from a CD at 44100 at 16 or 32 bit depth. It's been awhile since I've used it so I could be wrong...It'll also batch process WAV files into MP3 as well with several different levels of quality using the Fraunhofer codec.
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