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Streaming music -Building a sound stage Part 1

Over the last three months I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in the following project :We no doubt live in a digital age .We ave access to products and services that those that came before us could have only dreamed about . Music up until the about last five years was encompassed by storage media , whether it be the CD , HDCD ,DVD, SACD BluRay or more recently a return by the purists to vinyl .

Now we have music streaming . I have used three streaming services , being Spotify , Tidal and Qubos .Spotify proved to be a disappointment as it promised high fidelity sampling at the start i.e 192Khz + but then reneged and has no plans to move up to hi fidelity streaming no doubt due to the demographics of its user base . Tidal offers Spotify quality but for a dearer monthly sub offers true hi fidelity sampled music . We use Tidal Hi Fidelity . Qubos is excellent but not available in Australia at the moment . I have an account with them and have listened to their music streams by “spoofing” a French IP address with my VPN . Much buffering but when available here will sub to Qubos .It just shades Tidal but not much in it .

My background is in music : My music interest started at five years old . I started school and took sick with scarlet fever with complications . Whilst recovering I sat with my mother every afternoon as she played piano . I could read music before I could read and spell the ABC . Restarted school at six . At nine went to see the music co coordinator at the school to learn to play trumpet in the school orchestra . He was in class at the time , made me stand with my back against the back wall of the class room and placed a candle at the very front of the room and told me to blow it out . An impossibility . His grade six class doubled up laughing as did he .I thank him for giving me the “Fire in the belly” to succeed by his ridicule of me. At 21 I played with the symphony orchestra the first time . At 23 a car accident ended my music playing , brass anyway , car pulled out in front of me I hit the brakes in my new car , inertia seat belt did not hold , face smashes through steering wheel hits dash board . I’m qualified to teach music but drifted into transport , long story , I play piano , keyboards , Mandolin and Bass guitar. I still teach occasionally but not much , no time .

Ok enough background . The ground Floor : That refers to the equipment we had to work with . The Hi fi gear belongs to my best friend Darren . A keen audiophile and not a bad musso either . The ground floor refers to the gear you use . Amps , pre amps , speakers etc . Our ground floor was clean as it stood . This is the hi fi system as it stood when we started . Our ground floor . Speakers = Infinity IRS Betas retail $50K+.Second hand can be obtained much cheaper than this. Darren obtained his second hand.They are now made by the speaker firm Genesis . The Audiophile forums seem to favour the original Infinity’s as the better sounding Not many sets in OZ .Darren is lucky to have them . Amps = Krell mono blocks x 2 retail not sure but expensive. .They are 350 watts RMS a side into 8 ohms .The Iris Betas are 4 ohm speakers so amps are pushing 700watts . The IRS beta speakers are a 4 cabinet set so we had the Krells driving the wings (mid range and tweeter and super tweeter cabinets ) A heavily modded Adcom amp , power 2 x 250 watts RMS a side for the other 2 cabinets . Those 2 cabinets contain 4 x 12 inch base speakers each . We had a IRS beta servo control unit to keep it all together and used a Rotel pre amp Mod 1580c price about $1600 . Cabling and interlinks . 4 Nordest ac cables at $2000 each , 3 Earscience filters at $1800 each . Other cables were custom made to suite the sound stage Darren was looking for at the time. Krell SACD player , I think they are about $9K not sure . When they work they have no peer for SACD reproduction .When they work being the operative words . Very expensive door stop :cry:

THE STREAMING EQUIPIMENT : First you need a DAC (Digital to analogue converter ) We chose a PS audio DirectStream Dac http://www.psaudio.com/products/directstream-dac/ When he purchased it I went to his home that night and installed the soft ware and all updates available on the DAC and subbed him to Spotify and Tidal and started streaming music . We A B ed quite a few songs and clearly Tidal was streets ahead of Spotify in fidelity .As previously mentioned Spotify has no intention , at the moment , of offering a high end streaming service . Now to find the “sound stage” we wanted . Part 2 . We experiment with cables and dispel some myths , especially USB and Ethernet cables . The following link shows the IRS betas .Naturally there is 2 of each cabinet .4 cabinets in total .

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