Snake oil: balanced headphones

Do balanced headphones provide an improvement in sound quality over conventional, single-ended designs? Unlikely. In fact, the increased complexity of these designs may actually reduce the accuracy of sound reproduction.

Categories: hifi, snake oil

Do different CD transports sound different?

Bits are bits, right? If a CD transport just sends digital data to a DAC, is it even possible that different transports sound different?

Categories: hifi, snake oil

Is dithering necessary when reducing the number of bits per sample in an audio waveform?

The use of dithering when mastering a CD is well-established, and its effectiveness is rarely challenged. But is it beneficial in other circumstances when we need to reduce the bit depth of an audio stream?

Categories: hifi, electronics

A skeptic's guide to headphones

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of headphone that are currently available, without all the audiophile silliness.

Categories: hifi

Why you can't improve your hi-fi system by upgrading the mains cable

You really can't improve your hi-fi system with a fancy mains cable. But why? And why do people think you can?

Categories: hifi, snake oil

Is high resolution audio really worth the effort?

The availability of better than CD audio recordings is driving, and being driven by, more expensive and elaborate audio hardware, even in the consumer market. Is this a good thing?

Categories: hifi, snake oil

A review of the Leak Stereo 130 and CDT

A number of reviews of the Leak Stereo 130 and CDT can be found online, but they are short on practical details. I've been using mine eight hours a day for several months; this is what I think of them.

Categories: hifi

Yet another desktop Raspberry Pi media player

Using a Raspberry Pi as a media player is by no means a new idea. However, using one as a self-contained hifi component is not common, and requires a bit of work.

Categories: Raspberry Pi, hifi

Does it matter how we rip audio CDs?

Copying an audio CD -- perhaps to a portable music player -- is a common enough operation. There are strong opinions on how to do this, and what software to use. But does it really make any difference? Or is one bit the same as any other?

Categories: hifi, snake oil

Why RMS watts is a useless measure of power

It's common for hifi amplifiers and speakers to have a power rating expressed in terms of RMS watts. Although RMS amplitude is an important concept in electronic engineering, it's meaningless here, and should be avoided.

Categories: hifi, electronics

Sorting files and directories on a FAT-formatted USB memory stick

Many portable and automotive media players accept USB memory sticks or SD cards containing audio files. Very often, these players have no sorting logic, and display files and directories in the arbitrary order they appear in the filesystem. This article describes how to sort a FAT filesystem using Linux utilities, to make playback more convenient.

Categories: hifi, Linux

Why your vintage turntable could kill you

Vintage vinyl records ought, perhaps, to be played on a vintage turntable. Although such appliances are still widely available, and can work well, they fall short of contemporary electrical safety standards.

Categories: electronics, hifi

Why is there a vinyl revival?

Why are sales of vinyl records increasing, when digital streaming services provide access to almost any recording ever made, in superior technical quality?

Categories: hifi, TDMTLTAM