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Messages - mgriffin

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Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: January 07, 2014, 05:28:52 PM »
Here's a link to my 10 favorite books of 2013.

Audiophiles who use their iPods for portable playback use one of these:

As you say, it allows you to sidestep the crappy built-in headphone preamp, and output a digital signal via USB to an outboard DAC/amp.

Like I said, the biggest advantage of using a separate headphone amplifier is the hotter, louder signal. If you have a device with a good built-in headphone amp, so much the better.

To me, though, the test is not whether the headphone amp is "loud enough" -- just the ability to drive your headphones to the volume you want to listen to. If you're listening to an iPod with the volume turned all the way up to the max, it'll be pretty loud with most headphones... but it's still a cheap, 3-cent circuit, and you're straining it to the limit of its capabilities to create that volume.

A more powerful, more capable circuit will create the same volume with less strain and greater fidelity. My Yamaha mixer (and for that matter, my little old Mackie 1202) create good, loud volume through the headphone jack,  but still don't sound as good as one of my stand-alone headphone amps. With the Aune T1 for example, there's a lot more "punch" and generally a more vivid, lively and involving sound.

IE has always had non-standard handling of HTML. It's pretty annoying that this browser is still required by so many web sites, considering it's never been standard and it's no longer the most popular browser.

It's pretty easy to install something like Classic Shell (or one of the free equivalents) on Win 8 and in my experience (rolling out Win 8 Pro company-wide to almost 60 users) there have been almost zero complaints about Win 8 when Classic Shell is enabled. If you try to give somebody Win 8 without a start button, though, roughly 100% of people say "What the f*ck is this crap? I can't use this!"

Maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Music + Copyright
« on: January 06, 2014, 09:40:10 AM »
You arrived at an interesting time in Hypnos Forum history, Castleview! ;)

I think I will close this topic, just so it doesn't end up becoming an unfair piling-on of a person who can't post their side of the story.

The last thing I will add (to everyone, not to you, Castleview) is this: Forums like this one are only as healthy and vital as the posting and discussion that happens within. If you're a lurker, why not try posting? If you sometimes reply to  other people's topics, why not try posting a new topic of your own?

I don't mind that the forum is "slower" lately than in the past -- that's inevitable with the shift in people's focus to social networks -- but I was a little surprised to see other forums either disappear, or have no new posts in several months.

Thanks, everybody who contributes to the Hypnos Forum.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Music + Copyright
« on: January 06, 2014, 09:19:40 AM »
Good post Mike, filling in a bit more context to where things ended up.

A shame in a sense, considering his obvious interest in matters ambient and gear in particular

Yes - I think Immersion was given extra chances because he obviously did care about the music, and had a lot of technical knowledge, and participated in a lot of topics.

At a time when forums like this one are mostly dying off all over the internet (check the forum or the forum lately), active and enthusiastic members are valuable. Unfortunately that value can be offset (perhaps more than offset) by too vocally disrespecting the other hundreds of forum members, including moderators.

One thing a few people have mentioned in passing, but which hasn't been stated explicitly, is that some studio devices, such as mixing boards especially, but also some DA converters, often have very good headphone preamps built in.

My first experience with a good, strong headphone amp, which really "woke up" my high impedance Sennheiser HD580s, was a Yamaha mixer. A big part of the benefit of a headphone amp is simply the output of more power than a usual, cheap built-in headphone jack. That gets you most of the way toward the benefit of a stand-alone headphone amplifier. Generally the circuits in the headphone jack in a computer or iPod, for example, is just a few pennies worth of electronics.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Music + Copyright
« on: January 06, 2014, 08:47:28 AM »
Since there have been many posts since my explanation, I'll just add a couple comments.

First, banning a member is never done lightly. This has been building for a while, and I have been receiving complaints for several months. In fact, when I was travelling for Thanksgiving, I had to spend several hours on my laptop trying to put out fires of angry forum members demanding I do something then. At least one well-regarded, long-term forum member said he wouldn't be back.

Second, Immersion was warned several times behind the scenes. One thing he did improve was cutting down the direct personal insults, at least in terms of removing specific WORDS that can be considered insults... such as "stupid" or "idiotic." Having said that, it's certainly possible to insult a person without using any such words. Telling a musician or record label owner that if they want to charge people for their music, they're not better than a prostitute, is such an example.

Third, we are all human beings here. If you taunt and provoke people all around you, and constantly inflame everyone so they're all upset, sooner or later you'll fire up the emotions and the anger in a person who has the power to delete your posts or ban you. Doing this after you've been warned multiple times to cool it is simply playing with fire, and much as I hate to see someone banned, in this case it's nobody's fault but the member who was banned.

Fourth, as a general rule in life -- not just on internet forums, but in relationships, in family, and workplaces, if you are a member of a large group of people who are all getting along, and nobody has a problem with anybody else, nobody fights or argues... then you enter the group and suddenly provoke fights and disputes with otherwise peaceful people... sorry, but the problem is YOU, not everybody else. Acting innocent and proclaiming "it's just my opinion" after the fact, that's disingenuous. 

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Music + Copyright
« on: January 05, 2014, 05:08:43 PM »
I should add, because I do believe in rules and fairness -- even if this forum more semi-private community than an open public square -- that the banning was for reason of provocation and disruption. Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is trolling (intentionally trying to upset people) or just has controversial opinions and an "in your face" way of expressing them.

Either way, if the result is that everyone you communicate with ends up angry, upset or insulted, it's time for a break. Immersion had been warned more than once to cool it. Usually if someone stops short of outright insults, they'll be able to stick around. At some point, though, even if insulting words aren't used, the provocation is too much, and the community ends up disrupted. People end up staying away, or sending complaints. I try to make this forum a place where anyone can participate, but there are limits to how much disruption one member can cause.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Music + Copyright
« on: January 05, 2014, 04:58:05 PM »
Note to all: Immersion has been banned temporarily.

The forum moderators and I will review the term of the ban, if Immersion eventually wants to come back. We need a period of cooling off, at least. For now, I hope for a return to civility and mutual respect, even where disagreement exists.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Music + Copyright
« on: January 05, 2014, 04:12:45 PM »
Immersion, you show up on a forum where many of the members are ambient artists or record label owners, or both. You know most of them believe they should have the right to control their own work, to charge for it if they want, and to assert the right to control how other people use it.

If you want to disregard the rights all creative artists, at least be respectful enough not to rudely announce, "I don't respect your rights. Even if you don't want me to take your music, I will take it if I want to." To do otherwise is just being a jerk.

It's like showing up in a room full of married men and saying, "I dispute your right to protect your wives' bodies, and also dispute the right of your wives to control their own bodies, and I will touch them if I want. You can't stop me, because I disagree with your conservative beliefs."

It's just not cool at all.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Music + Copyright
« on: January 05, 2014, 03:56:42 PM »
Music should be a passion not a labour..if you do it for money you could aswell be a prostitute and sell yourself..

If this is your personal opinion, then you are free to make music or art and give it away for free. That does not mean that other people should not be able to charge something for their work. It certainly does not mean they are equivalent to prostitutes for doing so!

Nobody creates music JUST for the money, or JUST for the art with no regard for money. I mean, even people who don't make a penny for their work probably would accept payment if someone made them the right offer. Many of those who argue most vocally against copyright are people who make plenty of money for their work. They just believe they can make money while still letting people share it freely.

The very great majority of the music you listen to, very nearly 100% of it, simply would not exist if there were not a system of artist's rights that allowed the artist to be compensated for their work. Think of all the albums that required a lot of expense to create. Nobody would have paid the bill to create these things, except that a system existed whereby they might recoup their investment and possibly profit.

Would this be a better world if there were no Dark Side of the Moon, or no White Album, or no Exile on Main Street? Seriously?! If you argue that these things would exist without copyright, you have absolutely no credibility.

Thanks, Pete. I hadn't see the Neco V2/V3 before, so that's interesting.

I don't object to people saying that they find value in much higher-priced components, but I really have a problem with people trying to shut down or disparage discussion of cheaper options. Everyone's budget is different, and to my mind the most important segment in audiophile component recommendations is at the entry level. Audiophile die-hards with huge budgets don't need any convincing... but people who are curious about higher quality sound need good advice about things they can try that will help them without too much cost or risk.

Of course then, once the listener is educated and hooked, they might drift up toward the more costly options.

I should add, when I want to play back FLAC files, I usually use Vox. Sometimes VLC, if I'm just listening to short bits.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Music + Copyright
« on: January 05, 2014, 10:05:24 AM »
To me, it's one thing to sample from a completely different genre or style, and repurpose what you've sampled for a completely different kind of work. I mean, if I take a voice sample from Blade Runner and put it in a trance song, it's not so much about ripping off. It's just sampling... quoting, sort of. This seems like less of a problem to me.

If you're an ambient musician creating drone work, and you take a large section of another ambient artist's drone and make it the basis for your own track, that's entirely different. To me that's just laziness, a terrible, lame shortcut... and much more like stealing or at least dishonesty, even if you credit it. You're using the person's work for something very much like the original work, barely changing it, certainly not repurposing it or creating something very new/different from it.

And yes, loop libraries or commercial sample packs are totally different. Those are sold with the express purpose of being used in other people's work.

The headphone topic has been a popular one, and many times while reading it I've wanted to create a related topic to discuss headphone amplifiers.

I think in many cases, the audiophile community tells prospective enthusiasts that they have to spend huge amounts of money, or don't even bother. This probably leads many people to distrust the advice they receive. Well, in the case of headphone amplifiers, I hope people won't ignore the advice that headphone listening can be significantly enhanced with the use of a dedicated headphone amplifier, as well as the use of a decent DAC (digital audio converter) if you're listening to music output from a computer.

We can get into the discussion of some higher-end headphone amps, but for now I want to discuss the "entry level" headphone amplifiers, the kind that might be purchased by someone who is not completely convinced they will change the way a given set of headphones sound.

Lately, there are some good, high-output headphone amps for not too much money. My latest is the Aune T1, which is a USB DAC as well as an amp, and is really amazing quality for under $200.

Schiit (see ) makes some cheaper models which won't quite stack up to their Lyr or Mjolnir, but at least output sufficient power that even a high impedance headphone will perform pretty well. The new Magni model us just $99!

Also if you have any DIY abilities, you can build one of your own. I have a kit for an O2 (Objective2) headphone amp which has been sitting on my shelf... haven't found the time to build it yet. You can buy them pre-built for not much more than the price of the kit (see ) and the sound quality is supposed to be especially good for the money.

Kit version:


I'm certain some people will look down on the suggestion that headphone amps under $200 could be adequate, but my purpose is not to suggest these are all the amplifier a headphone listener would ever want. This is just to show a few ways it's possible to try outboard headphone amplification for $100-$200, and gain a noticeable improvement in sound quality. I think people are much more likely to try something if they can do it cheaply, with less risk. Personally, I think it's unlikely a serious headphone listener would try one of these amps and fail to agree the difference was a great improvement over using the headphone output of their computer or iPod or stereo receiver. Once the listener is convinced, maybe they will want to step up to a mid-level or high-level amplifier. There are certainly many of those to choose from.

In my own listening experience, you can get excellent sound quality from an amp in the $500-600 range, and unless you're using very exotic headphones indeed, you might not need (or notice improvement from) a headphone amp more expensive than that. I have yet to hear a headphone amp over $1000 that convinced me it was better, though there are plenty of high-end amps I've never heard. I do understand that many people listening to planar or electrostatic headphones especially emphasize the importance of the amplifier, even more than with normal high-impedence headphones.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: January 05, 2014, 09:45:43 AM »
The same thing is true of many good headphones in the $200 - $500 range. They tend to be higher impedance, so they need an amplifier to really perform. Maybe it doesn't seem so bad to pay extra for an amp for a really expensive headphone, but as you say, if you buy a $150 headphone, you might end up paying more than that for an amp.

The way I look at it, though, is the amp and the headphone are separate purchases. If someone is just getting into better-quality headphones, maybe something like this DT990 Pro 250 ohm is their "gateway" to higher-end headphones. Maybe they have to buy an outboard amp for $150 to $500 more, but then they can continue to use that amp if they move up to even better headphones later.

I didn't really appreciate my Sennheiser HD580s until I plugged them into studio gear that had strong output at the headphone preamp. They improved even more with a dedicated, standalone amplifier. 

Lately, there are some good, high-output headphone amps for not too much money. I've been meaning to create a new topic about headphone amps, and I guess this is a good time to do so. I'm off to do that now!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: January 05, 2014, 12:12:30 AM »
The Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro, 250 ohm version, is on sale right now at Amazon for $148, an excellent price for such a highly-regarded headphone.

Of course you'll probably want to use a headphone amp to get the best sound out of these, but if you're open to that (and not just plugging this directly into your iPod or something) this is quite a deal... which reminds me, I've been meaning to start a topic to discuss headphone amps.

What this points out is that, regardless of the platform, there don't seem to be that many good choices out there.

In any media segment where there are several good, free options, there won't be much drive for competitors to develop something new, since they know they probably won't be able to charge (at least not much) for it.

It's like what has happened with web browsers, anti-malware tools and fonts. People are now accustomed to getting these things for free, so most potential new developers don't want to bother... they just work on something else.

Well I tried to explain to you that your prognosis for the future is not "facts" either.

Yes, and in my prognosis for the future, I used the word "likely."  I did not state it like it was a fact.

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