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Audio

Thoughts on Schiit Audio

We sure have a lot of Schiit Audio about Dismal Manor. How did it happen? More importantly, why did it happen? The Schiit Audio product line, especially the headphone amplifiers have a similar sound as co-founders Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat are largely responsible for the sound of a product. Although they like different sorts of music, both have a strong preference for a neutral voice, focused image, and a good bit of depth in their DACS, preamps, headphone amps, and speaker amps.

Jason has written extensively

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/schiit-happened-the-story-of-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.701900/

about his odyssey as a practicing audio design engineer, Schiit Audio’s design philosophy and business principles, and about the development of individual products. Schiit began business in the desktop audio space offering DACS and headphone amplifiers. Schiit then expanded into the main system market offering first an integrated amplifier, then preamps and, in 2017 or so, its first speaker amp. In 2019 and 2020 Schiit entered the vinyl space with a Mike Moffatt phono preamp that is wizard and a turntable for the ages.

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Audio

Freya+ A Week Later

Freya+ has been here a week, has shown a movie or two and played quite a few records. This post recounts our experiences to date. Associated equipment are Schiit Modius, Gumby Multibit, and Vidar. Most media was Qobuz or Roon disc library based. I also talk about the new speaker placement I settled on.

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Audio

Freya+ Comes to Camp

Freya’s portrait courtesy of Schiit Audio.

So now, the Dismal HiFi is a whole pile of Schiit with Vidar, Gumby multibit, Modius, and Freya+ in the system. It just sort of happened. Gumby on faith, then Magni and Modi in the study, Modius for TV audio in the lounge, Vidar for muscle when Ampzilla finally got toasty, and then Freya+ because Aunt Nancy Pelosi wanted me to stimulate the California economy. Purchases of Schiit gear help lots of ordinary people in addition to co-founders Jason and Mike.

Anyway, kudos to Jason for design and a terrier’s attention to detail, Mike and Dave and others who helped with design review and critical listening. And kudos to the counter-intelligence who put things together, pack and ship. It is always a pleasure to unpack a Schiit order because you know your it will be picked and packed correctly and the kit will work. Thanks folks.

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Audio Music Technology Video

A Little Raspberry Pi

I’ve been watching to Mandolin.Com live stream shows during the live music quarantine. My old practice was to AirPlay from an iPad to the lounge AppleTV. I got tired of this (WiFi stalls next to the airport) and decided to eliminate the stuff in the middle. Raspberry Pi Foundation came to the rescue.

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Audio

A Maggie Face Plants

When I was purchasing the LRS, I was fearful that bull in china shop Rocky would knock one over causing the diaphragm to rupture. Well, the right one has face panted twice with no ill effects.

Rocky has also baptized the right one twice. The grill cloth proved resistant to staining and cleaned up using a microfiber cloth moistened with Skout’s Honor dog urine cleaner.

After the break, read my observations about placing Maggies.

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Audio Greyhounds Holiday Letter

Adios, 2020

Ahoy, all. Its been a crazy year. So far, I’ve missed the plague but my list of pre-existing conditions is getting longer. I hope the year finds you healthy and looking forward to a better 2021.

Tleilaxu Eyes

The year started off with cataract surgery. I now have Tleilaxu eyes and Warby Parker readers. It is nice having good distant vision and not needing glasses for most tasks. I have aspheric prosthetic lenses that correct my astigmatism. So fancy lenses and laser surgery Medicare wouldn’t pay for. The interesting bit is that laser incisions heal more quickly and have lower complication rates. Should be the standard of care CMS.

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Audio

Hope for Home Pod?

Featured image courtesy of Apple.

Apple dropped Home Pod squarely atop the steaming mess that is Apple Music. Which is sad because Home Pod is a decent little portable speaker with HiFi ambition in the mid range. Home Pod has a sweet voice, that is to say a flattering way with human vocals. Bass is bloated and limp in the C-3 region where most bassists play and highs don’t go all the way to the top of the cymbal region but in between, the sound is marvelous. Just the thing for casual listening.

Apple’s audio engineers did a wonderful job. So what’s the issue? Apple’s Apple Music ambitions and new gadgets get squarely in the way of the user experience offered by this wonderful product.

HomePod Survey followed critical feedback

A couple of days ago, I filed a thoughtful but critical feedback regarding Apple HomePod issues with the UI and connections. On Tuesday, a lengthy survey showed up in my Email. I responded in detail. HomePod is more than a music playback device. It provides user interfaces for home entertainment, home control, speaker phone and calls, and handles Apple Secure Video, a well conceived and trouble free product.

I hope this response indicates that Apple is serious about getting HomePod’s music playback right. The sound is great, the user experience is horrid. I’ll explain…

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Audio

LRS Comes for Good

Dismal Wizard used Aunt Nancy Pelosi’s CARES Act stimulus payment to purchase the Magnepan Magneplanar Little Ribbon Speakers shown flanking Rocky and Missy (in red). The Maggies (audiophile speak for any Magneplanar speaker) are merciless. Things that sound ordinary on box speakers sound gorgeous and things that sound impressive on box speakers can fall flat on the Maggies. It’s all about the coherency and dipole radiation pattern of Maggies. They respond differently to finished records that do box speakers.

In short, the Maggies seem not to like records that are heavily processed in production. Compression and reverb are evil. The end result is a flat, lifeless mess. More simply mixed records like singer songwriter fare and jazz present well, sometimes brilliantly.

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Audio

Aunt Nancy’s Gift Arrives

The Dismal Wizard, being retired with adequate savings, was not concerned that the wolf would be at the door in a few months so he spent his CARES Act income support where it would benefit fellow Americans. He bought a pair of Magneplanar Little Ribbon Speakers made in a small town in Minnesota. The LRS is a planar magnetic speaker about a foot wide and 4 feet tall. After the break, read about this magical panel speaker.

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Audio

Study System!

There’s no end of Schiit showing up during the pandemic. Gas money is ending up in music and inexpensive yet magical audio equipment. This weeks change was to move all the study bits to the “study rack” and get it working. After the break, we’ll look at what is in the rack.