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Letters to the editor – Weeks #10 & #11, 2021

  • Matt writes…

    Hi John,

    I have taken the plunge and now have a rpi4 & Allo DigiOne + Volumio serving Spotify Connect + web radio + FLACs from my NAS, …. It sounds very, very good – better than the Sonos I have been running. I would have never gone down this route without your enthusiasm for the solution and the guidance videos that you generously post – as the yoof say, ‘props’ to you.

    Paul writes…

    You are responsible for bringing the excitement of listening to music back to me …..all it took was a Dragonfly and a subscription to Tidal. That’s it! So I am really really grateful to you. Just in time too i”m just about to depart for my seven months in the Arctic. It has been so long since I had listened to anything other than mp3 ……..I had just forgotten. The joy of just listening to sound has returned to me.

    Holger writes…

    Hi John,

    I got a bit lost on all the options to stream Tidal hi res. Is there a cheaper option to stream Tidal hi-res MQA wireless to an amp than the Bluesound Node 2i e.g.? Perhaps a clever Raspberry Pi plus dongle DAC combination? In the best case, I would like to use the Tidal app and also UPnP to do so.

    Do you know perhaps such a solution?

    Very best rgds, Holger

    Me: UPnP you can already do with Volumio and I believe Tidal Connect for Raspberry Pi is already in the works.

    Jimmie writes…

    Hi,

    Just saw your latest Future-Fi vid with the Moon 280D.

    You, and preferably all other reviewers, should start including screenshots and ratings of the controller/streaming app. I bet 3.8% of their users will use 32bit/384kHz and/or DSD256, but 100% will use their app. They have to get their priorities straight. Does this look like an app for a £3000 product?

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simaudio.mind.android&hl=sv&gl=US
    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/moon-mind-controller/id1003781169#?platform=iphone

    The average rating of Android and iOS apps are 2.95/5.

    Regards.

    Scott writes…

    I was inspired by you to pick these up some years back. After adding an LPS to the Audiophilleo 2, I assumed that’s what this DAC sound was. And enjoyed it as such!

    Now I have tossed in the original iFi iSilencer off a 2019 iMac running Amarra Luxe in bypass mode, and whammo, so much more clarity, bass presence, tonal body… the Metrum really shines now… I wrote the iSilencer off from trying it with an AQ dragonfly red. Jitterbug worked better for me there in combo.

    Just a friendly note, and thanks for all you do!

    Tom writes…

    John,

    Your old website was pretty good. When you said in your recent news summary that you were spending a lot of time redesigning it I wondered what improvements could be made to an already useful design. Now I know.

    Whenever I open YouTube I hope I will see a new post from you. You are one of three I follow religiously. FYI, the other two are related to astronomy (Astrobackyard) and watches (Watchfinder). You share a skill in making complicated systems more relatable, and more interesting, with a bit of flare for good measure. You also appear to put passion before business…. that’s an art.

    Stay safe.

    Andrew writes…

    Hi John,

    I came across an article you wrote … years ago, about entry-level hifi, and specifically where you called out the hundred-dollar system of the Lepai LP2020 amplifier and the Dayton Audio B652-Air speakers. I agree with you about having more options at the start of the audiophile ladder.

    With that in mind, I have a recommendation for a system that I think would be worth reviewing as a new $100 benchmark: the IKEA Symfonisk speaker. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s basically a Sonos One SL in different packaging, at $99, from IKEA. I had the Lepai LP2020 connected to a pair of the Andrew Jones Pioneer bookshelves, and the IKEA Symfonisk trades blows with that setup. The amp+Pioneers might have had more bass, but the Symfonisk comes surprisingly close, and it’s better looking and *vastly* more convenient for the streaming life than the amp+speakers rig.

    Just a thought – use it, don’t use it, I look forward to future reviews anyway.

    John writes…

    Could you review 360 Real Audio as Sony currently is promoting? How does it compare to plain stereo etc? Is it a hoax or will it be ‘next level audio’? How should it be seen from an audiophile perspective?

    Me: How much music is available in this format right now? I’m not keen to invest time/money in a video that only relates to a few hundred albums.

    Vadym writes…

    Hello from San Antonio Texas! Thank you guys for the amazing YouTube channel and web content you put out. Your help has been immeasurable for someone like me who’s just been getting into the Hifi and audiophile world. Absolutely love all the reviews and guides on setting up your system, choosing components and just showing us the soul of music is in our ears, not the bank accounts or loads of pages with graphs on them. Love you guys, and hope you keep bringing us your amazing content, knowledge and love for music! Best wishes!

    David writes…

    Hey John, love everything you guys do over there.

    I have a question. Where do the streaming platforms get their music? How do we know that they are getting the best possible source?

    As a 53-year-old male, I can’t tell much difference between 320 kilobits per second and CDs

    Me: The short answer is ‘the record labels’ on whom they (and we) rely to supply the ‘best’ version.

    Kishore writes…

    Hi there. An antique but still a beast that is Logitech Transporter. Can you please review it. Don’t know why Logitech did not get into the DAC streamer race in spite of being the pioneers. Thanks. Good stuff from you. Please keep it up.

    Me: This is one ‘vintage’ product that I would LOVE to review. But I don’t have one.

    Mike writes…

    Hello John, I really enjoy your show. Do your viewers a favor and please review the KZ ZS10 Pro, 4BA+1DD 5 Driver in-Ear HiFi Metal Earphones with Stainless Steel Faceplate, 2 Pin Detachable Cable on Amazon. I think these are the most amazing IEMs. The best sounding IEM and the most comfortable. I would love to hear what you think. Around $50 USD. I have also purchased the upgraded cable for them and they are truly amazing. I am not affiliated with the company in any way and I am sorry to sound like a commercial but It will be worth your time to check these out.

    Dan writes…

    Hi John, The Loudness Wars keeps coming up in your podcasts. This mastering engineer, Ian Shepherd, goes into great detail about this stuff. I think he’d be a good dude to discuss LUFS, normalisation and similar.

    Ian’s website: https://productionadvice.co.uk/about/ .

    Rajan writes…

    Darko, I love your website. Just noticed a small error in your film on Apple’s devices. They can indeed be put in a mode where they don’t sleep, and thereby, don’t disrupt downloads. Settings — Display and Brightness — Autolock Never. You might want to keep the device plugged in when you do that, as autolock drains battery life as a similar feature on Android does.

    Me: It’s not an error. And you have already explained precisely why: ‘Autolock Never’ keeps the screen alive on iOS but drains the battery. ‘Autolock Never’ isn’t required on Android devices.

    Rupert writes…

    Hi John, I just wanted to say what an absolute joy it is to watch your youtube videos. Your advice is always practical and I respect the unbiased approach that you have. One of the major wins for me is that you have opened up a whole new series of artists and sub-genres to me through your recent publications which have been much welcomed. I hope that you continue to produce these with your very specific and (thankfully) non-generic approach to your reviews. I wish I could afford most of the equipment on here! All the best for the future and hope life in Germany can return to normal soon once the pandemic eases.

    Jackson writes…

    John, Wanted to drop a note that I’ve discovered you and your content in the last year and have thoroughly enjoyed all of it. I’m in my 20s and new to the world of hifi, so I appreciate your desire to present material in a way that brings newcomers into the hobby. Your videos are always so well made, props to the whole team. (As a side note, your production quality reminds me a lot of the way James Hoffmann presents content, if you’ve not discovered his Youtube channel, it’s one you might want to check out.)

    I’ve recently been listening through some of your past podcasts and wanted to let you know I dig your willingness to interview engineers and get into the technical details with them. It’s incredibly interesting to hear someone talk in-depth about the design decisions they made when developing their product and what impact those decisions had. Hoping you continue this trend and interview more experts in various areas throughout the audio world in the future! Looking forward as always to more of your content.

    Me: What a compliment to be compared to James Hoffmann – thank you. I watch his channel and he’s the reason I bought a Flair Pro 2 manual espresso machine.

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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