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Discussion: The Gents - Follow That Star

Posts: 8

Post by mekduk July 20, 2014 (1 of 8)
Christmas time is still a while to go but that should not thwart my enjoyment of listening to this disc. However, I would like to confirm a few specific tracks on this disc that have distortions on them (SACD Stereo Layer). They are namely track 6 Walking in the Air (about 1:30-1:56) that has audible crackling on the high frequency, track 12 about 2:50ish and towards the end of the track among others that I can't recall. I have tried with lower volume level as well as listening to the same materials on different system. Is this disc faulty? Does the master has this audible distortions too? My email to info@channelclassics went unanswered.

Post by tailspn July 20, 2014 (2 of 8)
mekduk said:
I would like to confirm a few specific tracks on this disc that have distortions on them (SACD Stereo Layer). They are namely track 6 Walking in the Air (about 1:30-1:56) that has audible crackling on the high frequency, track 12 about 2:50ish and towards the end of the track among others that I can't recall. I have tried with lower volume level as well as listening to the same materials on different system. Is this disc faulty? Does the master has this audible distortions too? My email to info@channelclassics went unanswered.

Hi Wenda,

I checked the edit master stereo tracks that you indicate, and they have no audible crackling when played out on a Pyramix Digital Audio Workstation. The highest peak of the tracks you mentioned is -2.7dB on the left channel of Track 6 at 00:01:55:170 seconds.

Audible crackling usually indicates either over modulation, or analog clipping. Lowering your volume control with the distortion remaining means the non linearity is occurring at a prior stage.

I don't have a copy of the SACD, but when Jared returns, he'll check it. He'll also know if Channel has received a similar comment(s) about that Gents album. It's pretty popular, and has been out since 2003.

I apologize for you not receiving a reply from info@channelclassics.com. If you would please resend it to tom@channel.nl I'll follow it up.

Thanks!

Post by mekduk July 20, 2014 (3 of 8)
Gidday, thank you so much for your prompt response on the weekend. I have purchased the track 6 via nativedsd site and now downloading. I can't seem to find the dsd files over channelclassics site (only the whole album and it's written as 0.0MB in size, the rest is studio master HD in PCM 24/192).

I will report back shortly.

Post by mekduk July 20, 2014 (4 of 8)
Playing back the dsf file as I typed this reply. I have discovered the problem. It lies on my own playback chain. It seems that the left tweeter on my speakers is damaged/dented (someone poked it). The downloaded track seems to have slightly longer duration (3:53 versus 3:49 on SACD). Peak value appears to be the same based on DR analysis of 176.4kHz. Gonna give it a go on the headphone rig.

UPDATE: It's still the same on my headphone rig. The distortion is still audible. It may not be because of dented tweeter afterall. Managed to swap speakers too.

Hardware use on speaker system:
Marantz NA11S1 as DAC, DSD Source from PC running foobar2000 + ASIO
Marantz PM11S3 Integrated
Esoteric MG-20 and Sonics Allegra
Chord Sarum I/C, power and speaker cables

Hardware use on headphone system:
Mytek 192DSD DAC (tried both USB and 1394), -6dB jumper enabled
TEAC HA-501
Audio Technica ATH-W3000ANV and ATH-W5000
Acrolink 7N-D5000 balanced interconnect

Post by tailspn July 20, 2014 (5 of 8)
mekduk said:
UPDATE: It's still the same on my headphone rig. The distortion is still audible. It may not be because of dented tweeter afterall. Managed to swap speakers too.

Just to be sure, I downloaded the .dsf tagged album from nativdsd, and compared it to the DSD .dff edit master from which it was derived. They sound identical, as they should. They are as clean as the A/D converters used at the time allowed.

If you'd like a comparison with the same group, but later recording hardware, try a track of George Gershwin 33312. This was recorded in 2012 using the Grimm A/D converter.

Post by mekduk July 20, 2014 (6 of 8)
Edited reply:
Food for thought -> Would you imply that distortion in analogue domain could be also faulty hearing?

I checked mine for this reason playing back test tone. Still OK up to 18kHz. Used to be able to hear till 20 kHz 5 years ago (well can't blame aging). I have downloaded the Gershwin dsf track and it's as clear as it can get/distortion free on current playback system.

Playing back on a laptop speaker, I still can hear the crackling (most prominent at 1:55ish mark) on track 6 Walking in the air.

Looking forward to hearing from other members as well.

I have to thank Tom personally for helping me out on this, what a great gentleman. He explained about modulation noise that occurs on these tracks and what a big difference it makes compared to the later The Gents (Gershwin) recording using Grimm converter.

PS: I still have to fix that expensive Esoteric MG-20 left channel tweeter (pure 96% magnesium). Waiting for a quote.

Post by bmoura July 21, 2014 (7 of 8)
mekduk said:

Christmas time is still a while to go but that should not thwart my enjoyment of listening to this disc. However, I would like to confirm a few specific tracks on this disc that have distortions on them (SACD Stereo Layer). They are namely track 6 Walking in the Air (about 1:30-1:56) that has audible crackling on the high frequency, track 12 about 2:50ish and towards the end of the track among others that I can't recall.

I have tried with lower volume level as well as listening to the same materials on different system. Is this disc faulty?

Does the master has this audible distortions too?

I have this one on Stereo DSD Download DSF files from NativeDSD.Com. Playing back tracks 6 and 12 on headphones via the iFi iDSD Nano DAC, both sound fine here. No distortion.

Don't own the SACD version. So I can't comment on the tracks on the Stereo SACD edition.

Post by mekduk July 21, 2014 (8 of 8)
Good day, it is modulation noise that I am hearing. Tom has explained about this and they are low in level. Indeed I am good at hearing it. I have tried this on my friends and colleagues who dropped by to give it a listen. Mostly can't tell that it is there. The timing on the track is pretty accurate, on track 6 it is about 1:30 onwards towards the end of 1:57. Track 12 is towards the end of the music.

Anyway, the Grimm converter solves this issue. It clearly has much lower modulation noise compared to dCS converter that Channel used at that time. I am still into this issue. I bought the Sehnsucht disc of the same artist. This is using the Meitner AD. I will report back.

UPDATE:
Commented on another thread /showthread/121077

The recording done with Meitner gear involved has much less modulation noise.

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