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Letters to the editor – Weeks #49-51, 2021

  • Matt writes…

    re. Rega Planar 8

    Merry Christmas. I hope you’re keeping well and are planning a bit of a break over the festive period.

    I saw in your gift guide you had acquired a Rega P8. Do you have any plans to put a review together for the turntable, or is this purely for personal enjoyment? I’ve owned a VPI Scout 1.1 for about 5 years (since you sold it to me, actually, back in Camperdown. Small world). It’s been a fantastic table but I’ve been thinking of trying something different, like the P8. The Scout’s unipivot, for all its advantages, is quite a faf. I’d be interested to hear how you settled on the P8, if a review isn’t in the works.

    FWIW, I really appreciate what you do here man. It’s fantastic work.

    Me: Hi Matt. No plans at this stage to review the Rega but I settled on the Planar 8 because a) it’s a Rega b) with speed control in an outboard power supply and c) looks great. Merry Christmas to you! And no, no break for me over Christmas. We’ll be shooting and editing videos throughout the Christmas period so that I can get away to warmer climes in January. Olaf is planning a holiday break at the same time.

    Jose writes…

    re. What happens with high res when using Sony WF1000-XM4?

    Some time ago you made an in-depth analysis of how to stream high-res audio from Apple Music high-res lossless. You arrived to the conclusion that an iPad (or an iPhone) with a USB DAC was the best choice. And later you wrote about the bit-perfect Tidal app for Android.

    Now, do you know what happens when you use a Sony WF 1000xm4 with LDAC? According to Sony, it should handle high-res up to 24/96kHz. I cannot find a way to verify it (for example with Tidal there is no “recognition” as when you connect an external DAC). But playing my own high res files from my Samsung S21 with Onkyo HF player I see that it only sends a non-high-res stream, LDAC enabled from Sony Headphone app.

    I purchased the Sony IEMs based on your review and am very satisfied with its sound and features.

    Keep up the good work.

    Best wishes from Buenos Aires.

    Me: The Sony will play hi-res files (like 24/96 or 24/192) but the smartphone handling the LDAC encoding will throw away some data in order to fit it down a 990kbps data pipe. If the connection between the earphones and the smartphone is weak, that pipe is automatically narrowed by LDAC to 660kbps where even more data from the source file will be discarded. In a worst-case scenario, LDAC will drop to 330kbps. The bottom line is this: at the time of writing, no Bluetooth headphone connection can parse hi-res or CD-quality files without first discarding some data. No ifs, no buts. That doesn’t mean Bluetooth can’t sound good – it can – but it is not lossless in the way network streaming is.

    Osman writes…

    re. How to get updates when you guys publish new articles?

    Hope you guys are doing amazing. I really love the content that you are publishing on here and on YouTube. They are always a great watch/read.

    However, I have one issue. By clicking the bell button on Youtube, I can be notified when you upload something. But for the articles and news that you are publishing here, I could not find such a utility. Other websites solve this issue by providing RSS feeds and/or newsletters. I would like to see some sort of notification system for the Darko.Audio website, that would be my feedback.

    Kind Regards,
    Happy Holidays and New Year,

    Me: Hi Osman. The RSS feed for the Darko.Audio website can be found at https://darko.audio/feed/.

    Anonymous writes…

    re. review video idea

    If you aren’t aware Qobuz is now available for the Vox app (https://vox.rocks/ ) yet there is no reviews about it on the web either in written or video form which is odd. You make such great and detailed videos like the ones for beginners to streaming where you showed how both Spotify’s connect and Apple Music’s airplay work. Now that Vox supports Qobuz and allows you to upload your own files in high resolution I think you would be a great person to explain how they work together as we all know there are many missing titles in all music streaming services and being able to fill in the holes with one’s files and even preferred versions of the missing titles would be very helpful for people who want full catalogs of music in high fidelity. It would also be a good time to show people how Apple Music and Spotify and any other service that allows a user to upload personal files and the differences between all to see which services provide the best experience. Probably be a multiple-part video but at least a proper review from a professional like yourself for the Vox app is in order for a 2022 update. Hope to be able to view it soon. Thank you.

    Yeshpaul writes…

    re. Podcast #29

    As always, I enjoy your podcasts and this morning I was listening to number 29 whilst walking through Epping Forest.

    I thought I’d send you this because you were talking about reviewers, like Ken Kessler’s lack of structure and how you really wanted to write engaging reviews. Full disclosure; I think you should read some reviews by Chris Thomas – full disclosure because he’s been a dear friend for many decades. Below are some links in case you’re interested. A common thing with Chris is many manufacturers, after reading his reviews go back to him and say yes you get it, and he expresses that better than they could.

    I’m clearly biased, but what I love about Chris’s reviews is that from the very start, I’m hooked and there’s a story – it’s all linked to how I might feel, emotionally, about the music that bit of equipment could reproduce. He’s the opposite of reviewers who focus on “bass, mids, highs” and then talk about irrelevant meaningless measurements. Examples are here, here, here, here, here and here.

    Finally, interestingly Chris is very clear with all manufacturers that he wants the equipment delivered to his house and he’s going to live with it for at least three months.

    Hope you have a great Christmas.

    Paul

    PS: Chris has no idea I’ve sent this to you because he’s a very modest person. Just thought I’d mention that.

    Eran writes…

    Been loving your vids for ages and wondered if you’d be open to the idea of checking out a music and memory game I invented called Song Saga – I feel like you would really dig it. Take a minute and if you like what you see hit me back and I’ll send you a copy – no expectations. Just sharing the love.

    – E.T.

    https://song-saga.com

    Bernard writes…

    re. Podcast #29 – “TV-whine”

    Thank you for your very compelling content, podcast and YouTube!

    In podcast #29 you’re talking about the typical TV-whine you can hear entering a room without even hearing the soundtrack of the said TV.

    This is due to the line refresh frequency of CRT TVs (cathode ray tubes), which is sat at about 16KHz (15.625Hz if my memory is correct).

    The cathode ray tube is basically beaming electrons in a vacuum tube to the screen at a 16KHz frequency. These electrons will activate the Red, Green or Blue color with the variable desired intensity. Sit close to a CRT and you will also see these image blocks, not pixels, as this is an analogue signal, not a digital one…

    You should not be hearing this anymore with modern LCD or TVs.

    Keep up the good work!

    Christmas greetings from Oostduinkerke, Belgium!

    Robert writes…

    re. your contributions to the world of music reproduction

    First & foremost we wish you & your loved ones a very merry Christmas & a happy new year. We live in the city of Bodrum in The Republic of Turkey, on a daily basis I follow your website and very much enjoy reading your posts, albeit I sometimes have to read your sentences for the “coin to drop”. Your writing skills together with your immense knowledge of the world of HiFi is simply a joy to experience. Many many thanks for your contributions dear sir, be safe, happy and above all else keep up your wonderful work, Sir.

    Written by John Darko

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

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    Podcast #29: Touchscreens & End-of-year lists