Author Archives: David Elias

About David Elias

Acoustic music, Ultra high quality hi-res audio recordings including DSD and MQA, nature, photos, poetry, video, the nature of art, the art of nature, the art of listening...more at www.davidelias.com

Shared Music – Free Download or Stream

david elias hawaii

SharedMusic-20200325-GDrive-2

We are all staying home for the most part these days. Here is some music of mine to listen to as a free download (any format you select) or streaming (web browser and free Bandcamp Music smartphone app).

Use Google Drive Worksheet here… to get a download redeem code

You can choose from any of the 4 titles in the shared Google Drive worksheet and then go to the redeem code page at:

https://davidelias.bandcamp.com/yum
Type in the code as-is including the hyphen! (XXXX-YYYY)

Once you have redeemed the code you have unlimited downloads in any format forever as well as streaming forever via web page or free Bandcamp Music iOS/Android app.

PLEASE – mark the code in the worksheet as used by typing ‘X‘ in the column by the code you used so that other people don’t try to use the same code, as it won’t work once…

View original post 29 more words

Free Album Download for Inside Times, Stay Healthy: Voice Memo ~ Songs From Hawai’i

See “Something He Already Knows” video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/nRiN2JP2ngw

LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD FREE HERESTAY HEALTHY

In these dangerous times all are encouraged to stay home when possible. I created the CD “Voice Memo: Songs From Hawai’i” from voice memos I had recorded on my iPhone in various cabins I lived in Hawai’i prior to the CD release year 2016. Writing and recording these tunes and songs, along with a couple of loud rainforest storms on tin roofs is very much a reflection of prior inside times for me. So I thought I could share this inside music with anyone interested in playing it at no cost.

It can be streamed directly from my website link here: STAY HEALTHY

From the same link you can download the MP3-320 version of the album tracks (all 30) as a single Zip file.

Overall I am home more, listening to music more, reading more, writing more, communicating online with others and praying for those who need it most on the planet.

Take Care to All, Sending Aloha…

David Elias

David Elias - Voice Memo - SongFromHawaii - 1600px-MQA-2


VOICE MEMO: Songs From Hawai’i – Album/CD Notes

These songs were all recorded as memos to myself on my iPhone while I was writing them. They are me writing music for myself. Voice memos to myself for myself.

People tell me my songs connect to them, usually they are complete strangers. But my songs are written by me, for me, but not about me. They have no objective or mission or point to make. They come out as music, words or both the way they come out. This album “Voice Memos” tries to show you that songwriting process for me.

Recorded directly to the iPhone using the standard iPhone mic (mono).

~~~~About My Songwriting~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Listening to this album is a way to listen to the way my songs get created. I get asked this often enough. Dave, do you write the words first, or the music, or do you look up random things on Google and get ideas… … … ??

I can tell you there is no research in my songwriting. No Google, no references. Not even an idea of what I am going to write about 99.99% of the time. I am a tune player and creator on guitar. That’s usually what I do when I pick up the guitar, play something new whatever comes out. It comes through me sitting there and I don’t think about it much except trying to hear what it’s saying. 99% of the time I play and play and play for awhile then forget it all.

But sometimes the tune is catchy to me and I work on it and keep trying to get it right and eventually it sounds like it has the right shape and notes and well, tune.

So I might start singing along with it at some point during that sitting and see if there’s a singing part to go with the guitar part. No real words but then usually there are real words coming out of me, I didn’t plan them.

So there’s the idea for the song and I just write down the words as I come upon them and turn them into the melody and the song. That’s how I remember the song – that and then I often turn on Voice Memo on the iPhone to record it at that point. Like I just discovered something I don’t want to forget. Which is what I did.

Voice memo….

Sometimes the tunes on guitar don’t have any words. They are enough they way they are. Or words could come later. Or words I’d written down (poetry ok) another time can be randomly matched to a tune. That happens too.

So tune first, words next, song maybe. Or tune first, no words, song maybe. Or tune not quite there, no song, maybe later. Or words sitting on a page to tune just written or written and remembered, song maybe. See what I mean? No plan :)

Just trying to get it right…

Voice memos can help. Decided to try to share some of those in the honest fashion they were created sitting at home just playing for me.

~~~~~ The iPhone part and tech mumbo jumbo ~~~~~

Every song in this collection was recorded on my iPhone using a 3GS, 4, and 5S. All used the phone’s mic (no external plugged in). I recorded the using the Voice Memo app that comes with the phone from iTunes.

These songs are then recorded in very low bit quality AAC by our friends at Apple who have a penchant for incredibly poor sound quality. They invented its use for retail in 2004 when iTunes came out. Before that MP3 downloads were free worldwide among millions of musicians and music lovers on forums and music sharing sites.

I’m all for putting music out there and Apple/iTunes has certainly done that in a digital way. But in the 21st century when technology spins over every 6 months and Apple themselves often at the head of that turnstile, don’t you think they might owe the public a little better sound?

Having said all that, I have found over and over again that the little AM-radio sounding like speakers that Steve Jobs put in the iPhone have a remarkably natural kind of old transistor radio sound I’ve liked since I bought my first iPhone in 2007 when they came out and people lined up on the sidewalk in Silicon Valley to buy one (I waited 2 weeks and walked right in the store).

That iPhone AM-radio sound is how I started recording my Voice Memos. Just ideas often. A handy memo tool so I wouldn’t forget some things I played for myself in a cabin here in Hawaii or maybe by the water or wherever. I learned how to sing and play “carefully” into the phone at good levels and good proximity for my ears. In the higher eschelons of audophiledom they call this approach to recording carefully for the highest sound quality “provenance” now. Ok Provenance. Just an iPhone though, nothing else.

I converted the AAC (m4a) files that are about 48kHz lossy in mono (like MP3’s lowest ranking) to a CD quality level (16/44.1 lossless FLAC) and “master them” as such. I don’t mess with them otherwise (i.e., adding compression, reverb, other effects or edits).

Then these voice memos were encoded with MQA by MQA Ltd., UK along with lots of other CD, HD and DXD quality masters I have as PCM. They sound better this way, even if you don’t have an MQA decoder DAC. Lots of MQA DAC models are for sale from various manufacturers at all price ranges up from there.

My song/voice memos are just that. Songs for myself to myself when I am writing them. I don’t always know how they go when I am recording the memo. I can’t always read the words I just wrote down perfectly or get the timing just right. They are rough and raw and new songs I just wrote. Before I even come to know them myself. I often want to record them and capture the original song for myself.

Now I want to share some of those with you. They are not the “best” ones per se. In fact they are just more of snapshots in time, where I was and what I was doing in Hawaii where I’ve lived since the beginning of 2008. But they are honest and they are all new songs for anyone who has listened to me recording since 1995. And I like how they sound.

Independent Acoustic has meaning to this end as it has for me since I started playing guitar at the ripe young age of 11.

Here’s to all the independent artists all over. Fer Fock’s Sake…

[Full Album/CD Lossless/MQA download is available at Bandcamp Catalog]

22c1e79e-6c2f-4618-adbb-0feb7a1462ea


PS — A BRAND NEW SONG (and a digital audio digression) – released March 2020, “The Data Tech Blues” written at the suggestion of my Hilo auto repair shop owner guitar buddy Jeff when I said I’d come help him sort out his credit card processing problems that were holding up his payment settlements (he wasn’t getting paid!). Jeff said maybe a song would come out of it all. And it did….

Listen/Download Free Here (use price $0.00 for free)

David Elias - The Data Tech Blues - Cover Art

While I recorded the original track on my iPhone, I moved that crappy iPhone AAC (m4a) audio file to PC and messed with it using the free Audacity editor/mastering tool on Windows. You will hear my synthesized version of what is called pre-echo ringing in the digital audio world. I added the effect more and more as the song progresses. A data tech nightmare for an audio engineer normally. What better place to put it than in a data tech blues song?

The pre-echo ringing means you are hearing my voice singing before it starts singing … What The…?  Yes pre-echo ringing is a reality since the earliest days of commercial digital audio which was the CD about 1981 or so. One or more echoes of the impulse (fancy word for a loud sound) arrives to the listener’s ears (that’s you) before impulse itself. Other echoes trail the impulse and are called post-echo ringing. This happens over and over again when you listen to typical CDs or even hi-res PCM (24/96, 24/192). It throws your ear-brain sync off. Our ears are very (VERY) sensitive to timing and location of sounds we hear.

Sony and Philips who invented the CD standard didn’t care about that. They thought frequency was more important (20 kHz limits for human ear). So they whacked sounds above 22.05 kHz) using what’s called a Brickwall filter. The mathematical result of using that radical filter is the creation of the echoes that ring and ring and ring when you listen to the music. Ouch.

That’s why digital audio typically comes off to many people’s ears as edgy, fatiguing, and even irritating, or it sounds cold, mechanical and without natural feeling. Things that correct this problem are MQA (for CD and higher res masters) and DSD which has very little to no noticeable ringing to begin with.

I like DSD for lots of things. I like MQA for lots of things. To me they don’t compete at all with each other. I wish the rest of the audio world was as forgiving that way. The absence of pre-echo ringing is something both technologies have in common. I like that!

(….. If you want to hear what the original song sounds like without the ringing and other effects send me a message and I’ll send you a copy…..)

The Data Tech Blues

On the less serious side I wrote this song immediately after talking to my local auto repair mechanic/owner guitar buddy in Hilo who called me to ask for help with the processing of credit cards at his shop. He’d been down for several days with an old dialup line that went off line and he couldn’t get telephone repair to come anytime soon.

I told him I’d come down and convert his dialup credit card processing to Internet data which would be better anyway. Then he told me maybe I’d write a song about it and I said maybe I would. Then I did before I drove down there on Saturday. So I recorded it to my iPhone then messed with it on the computer and am now releasing it. Comedies of Errors! We all live in the midst of a huge Chaos we cannot see.


The Data Tech Blues
– by David Elias

Come you ladies and you gentlemen listen to my song
You might think it’s right or you might think it’s wrong
Just a little bit of everybody’s story out today
The data tech blues gonna carry us away

I got the blues
I got the tech blues
Lord I got the data tech blues

I was born on analog both the vinyl and the tubes
Dialup was working on the phone lines that we used
Everything was slow but how were we to know
That the fax and the modem were the first that had to go

I really don’t know why but then I had to try
The cleaner sound of audio they wanted me to buy
It’s Compact Disc they said, your ears are not misled
By the hiss of tape and scratchy noise your albums always make

Then Ethernet caught up with me, an RJ45
But I’d rather hear a jukebox with a 45 archive
Now I have to plug it in with something called CAT5
And USB is using me it’s eating me alive
Every time I turn around I need another thumb drive

Now they put it in the air just to get it in my ear
It’s WiFi and it’s Bluetooth with a 5G nearly here
I can’t see or taste or smell it but I sometimes hear it clear
When I shout out to Alexa, “Would you play me something Dear?”

I got the blues
I got the tech blues
Lord I got the data tech blues
____________________________________________

credits

releases March 19, 2020
Words & Music by David Elias – all rights reserved worldwide
Performed by David Elias

Over 23,000 MQA Remastered Albums Streaming on TIDAL up to DXD

David Elias Streaming listeners in the last 28 days

Are you streaming audio?

Do you listen to hi-res?

If not, do you want to?

 

[Note Added by DE, 03/16/2020]:

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-resolution_audio)

High-resolution audio (High-definition audio or HD audio) is a technical and marketing term for audio with greater than 44.1 kHz sample rate or higher than 16-bit audio bit depth. It commonly refers to 96 or 192 kHz sample rates. However, there also exist 44.1 kHz/24-bit, 48 kHz/24-bit and 88.2 kHz/24-bit recordings that are labeled HD Audio. “

The above Wikipedia definition of hi-res includes 24/44.1k, which may also be referenced as HD. When what I refer to in this post as my DXD and other masters are played as TIDAL Masters (MQA) through a Mytek Brooklyn USB MQA/DSD DAC or an iFi Audio Pro iDSD USB/Wifi MQA/DSD DAC the bitstream is reported by the DAC (Mytek and iFi Audio) to be 24-bit 352.8k (or 24/384k) MQA.  This is, according to any definition in the so-called audio industry I am aware of, known as DXD.  I don’t make this up. I report it as it is presented by the industry authorities and experts of digital audio. If the source bitstream is not a folded MQA encoding, it will be reported by these same devices as either 24/44.1 or 24/48 — both of which according to Wikipedia above also qualify as hi-res.

In addition, there are a number of streaming services apart from TIDAL that deliver bit perfect, lossless streams of their source audio files. I have played my MQA 44.1k masters through the Qobuz iOS player at 24/44.1k (routed via WiFi to Pro iDSD DAC/preamp) and they are properly recognized as MQA 24/44.1k on the iFi Audio Pro iDSD USB/WiFi MQA DAC. As long as a bit perfect stream is delivered to the gear decoding MQA, the MQA authentication is preserved through streaming services such as TIDAL, Qobuz, Deezer, 7digital, and others.

Finally, in 2019 alone, a number of MQA equipment partners were recognized by the music industry at many levels with awards for their excellence in sound quality. These are not money hack grubbing shyster types of people and businesses. These are some of the more respected names in the beloved & sacred music industry. For those who choose to accuse others of nothing more than base and ill motives (ie, money) for their pursuit of better sound in a newly emerging hi-res, highly compact and deliverable/streamable, carefully researched and listened to listened to listened to new audio encoding that requires extensive listening and comparison rather than only spec reading to evaluate, let those accusers at least know the scope of the indictments they are passing without jury onto others characters, with or without snake oil expletives.

https://www.mqa.co.uk/news/post/mqa-partners-reap-rewards
(Pro-ject, Hegel, NAD, Mytek, Bluesound, iFi Audio, Astell&Kern, TIDAL, AudioQuest, HELM, LG, dCS Bartok, Aurender, Esoteric, FiiO, Wadax, Control4, Mark Levinson, Dali Callisto, Roon).

Other MQA Partners include:  nugs.net, Onkyo Music, Hi-Res Audio, e-onkyo (Japan), Sony, Pioneer, 2L, Xiami Music, Audirvana, Amarra, Essential, Cayin, HiBy, ibasso, Audiolab, Berkeley, Bel Canto, Brinkmann, Canever, Novatron, EmmLabs, exaSound, Jineung, Lumin, M2Tech, Matrix Audio, Meridian, Moon, MSB, NuPrime, PS-Audio, PureAudio, S.M.S.L., Teac, Atoll, Cary, Esoteric, Citech, Technics, Krell, Rotel.

“MQA is quite an emotional experience. One of the great pleasures of MQA, beyond its ability to give the listener high resolution sound, is having a true center come out of two loudspeakers or earphones.” – Bruce Botnik, longtime The Doors engineer

Let it be. – DE


TIDAL streams hi-res as MQA Remasters. Their iOS/Android/Windows player decodes to 24/96 without buying any new hardware. Right now there are over 23,000 albums and singles in the TIDAL “Masters” catalog. These usually appear with the letter “M” on the thumbnail.

There is a list online that gets updated twice a week with the current MQA Masters album list on TIDAL. You can download it as a CSV file and open it in Excel anytime.

Here is the Forum that created and manages the list. The link to the list is in the first post you see “MQA_List.csv”:

https://www.meridianunplugged.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php

Most remasters are 24/96 or 24/192k but some are CD (44k) remasters (where MQA sound quality improvements are most noticeable to my ears) and some are up to DXD rates (352.8k and 384k). My albums are in this list:



There are some of my all time favorite albums in this list including (random picks) Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Todd Rundgren’s Faithful, Talking Heads 77, The Stones Let It Bleed, Yes Fragile, Steve Earle Copperhead Road, Tom Petty (they have just about all of them). Create your own playlists and have at it.

Yeah But Does It Really Sound Better?

Yeah, it does. PCM never sounded so good to my ears after about 35 years of trying, until I heard MQA encoded masters. I’m talking about CDs (PCM) and other hi-res up to 24/192k. I hated CD sound then I found DSD and never looked back for what sounded good digitally for audio. But everyone was still listened to CD and PCM streaming….Then I found MQA for all of those people hearing CD quality and worse (MP3, AAC) all the time. I had a lot of music recorded for CD since the mid 90’s. It needed help. MQA helped it a lot. It could also make my DSD available for listening to people not setup to hear DSD. And it still sounded darn (damn) good.

MQA is good for CD, it doesn’t have to be hi-res. I don’t notice the press talking/writing/blogging much about this but I hear the most improvement on regular CD masters at 16 or 24/44.1k. I have my work to compare first and foremost to my ears here. That’s why I had my whole CD collection reencoded as MQA. They all sounded much better that way, more like what I heard when I was recording and mixing them. The MQA “math” also points to its biggest improvements at the lower resolution masters like CD where brickwall filters typically used for studio recording/mastering induce the highest incidence of pre-echo ringing on the results. MQA removes this unnatural edgy artifact from the master so it sounds more like analog when you listen to it, especially if it’s acoustic and vocal and not compressed to start with.

DE on BC

The hi-res 24/96 and above streams at the lower bitrates from TIDAL. That means you won’t use lots of data (around 1 to 1.5mbps) to listen to the music coming in at 24/96, 192 and higher. MQA has a “folding” technology that saves data space which means small files for downloading and low bitrates for streaming.

You can try TIDAL free for 30 days from their web site at TIDAL.com

 


Thank You NativeDSD & Listeners in Lots of Countries

 

DE ON NATIVEDSD

Huge thank you’s for all who took advantage of the COMBI-1 discount new downloads for Higher Rates Program (HRP) up to DSD512.

In February 90% of those buying my DSD downloads at NativeDSD.com were selecting remaster rates above the original DSD64.  These higher rates are another evolved technology that brings huge smiles to listeners ears, mine included. Thank you NativeDSD!

Thank you to all February listeners from Germany, US, Spain, Canada, Italy, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Hungary, Belgium — Many thanks! – DE



MESSAGE FROM DE: When a message is better than a mission. Why DSD Why MQA Why Hi-Res Why Art Of Listening

On Mar 4, 2020, at 12:01 PM, music at davidelias.com wrote:

Aloha & Welcome to the hi-res world with DSD and MQA as well as PCM above 16/44.1. I was introduced to DSD long ago and still work quite a bit at what I came to call the art of listening, a lot of which has to do with retraining my ears not to listen to music the way compressed CD was first presented in the early 80’s. In 1999 I heard DSD64 from a Sony prototype 2-track (Stereo) archive machine on some of the Sony analog masters converted to DSD and captured in the new PDM (not PCM) approach to digital audio. I finally had some relief in listening to digital audio and could relax with what I was hearing as a counterpart to the original analog recording. I’ve been working at those listening skills ever since and there are many dimensions to them.

To answer some of your questions about free DSD demos, the first page I can send you to is here:

https://www.oppodigital.com/hra/dsd-by-davidelias.aspx

I worked with OPPO for many years before they shut their doors in the US. Great company and products for value and quality. I still use the 103 here for SACD and CD mostly. My samples on this OPPO page can get you into comparing some of the basic variations in digital audio from straight PCM, to hi-res PCM, to DSD and then MQA.

In prior years I have tried to upsample my own DSD masters to DSD128 and DSD256 and never had a conclusive result as far as listening and comparing to the original DSD64. So I left that aside until NativeDSD did their conversions using more modern tools and gear. Things improved dramatically for my ears under their process of the DSD resample. In addition, I use a fantastic product from iFi Audio that has the ability to upsample/resample everything it receives streaming from MP3 (any bitrate) to CD (ie, TIDAL) to higher res (Qobuz 24/96) and first filter then resample as DSD1024 before converting to analog and preamplification through their analog tube component.

This is the iFi Audio Pro iDSD Preamp/DAC — I wrote about it on my blog (https://art-of-listening.com) and it was published at Positive Feedback Online (https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/ifi-audio-pro-idsd-dac/).

If you take the time to download and compare some of the samples on the OPPO page, let me know if there’s a particular song that works best for you as far as comparative listening and I can send you a DSD128 of that for you to play in your OPPO.  The 205 by the way can be used as a DAC connected via to the PC and support DSD rates higher than 128.  Mac has problem going above DSD128. I use JRiver as my main computer audio player setup. The iFi Pro iDSD by the way can act as a regular USB DAC as well up to DSD512 playing downloaded audio.

The MQA approach (PCM not PDM) to higher sample rates makes the headache of the large DSD files go away for downloading as well as storage. You will see from my samples that the MQA remaster is not much larger than any 24/44.1k download (slightly larger than a CD ripped to FLAC). I measure the streaming bitrate of my MQA which unfolds to 24/352.8k at well under 1mbps. This is incredibly useful for anyone streaming, especially in places like here in East Hawaii where cell service and internet service are not fat pipes like in the big cities.

As I’ve written on my blog, MQA does an incredibly good job correcting the pre- (most important) and post-echo ringing in PCM masters. This is most effective on the Red Book CD Masters at 16/44.1k but adds sonic improvements at the higher rates as well like the popular 24/96 (ringing is not as severe on higher bitrate recorded/mastered work, nor does it exist for sonic detriment in DSD).

As you know already, hi-res is a big subject with lots of diversions to follow and things to try to get your best sound to your ears from your equipment in your rooms for listening and headphones. I’m happy to send you these samples and hope you take some time to compare them. The DSD128, DSD256 and DSD512 from NativeDSD are further improvements on what I get from my DSD masters. I wrote about this on my blog as well.

https://art-of-listening.com/2019/11/23/the-single-bit-in-dsd-goes-further-than-the-us-dollar/

Here is some summary of things I’ve been addressing in hi-res lately:
https://art-of-listening.com/2020/01/24/3-things-nothing-related-to-anything-except-everything/

If you search the web for OPPO 205 and DSD256 you can find more info on how the OPPO can play higher res DSD as a DAC from players like JRiver or Foobar2000 on the PC/Windows.

Hope all this helps.
Best Regards,

David Elias
https://davidelias.com
https://davidelias.bandcamp.com (PCM and MQA catalog)
https://youtube.com/davideliasvideo
https://art-of-listening.com

The Best Simple Mobile Audio Configuration

A friend recently wrote me to help another friend who is interested in getting a mobile music setup. Quality is important meaning “Sound Quality” or SQ… Price is important, meaning “Cost”… Mobility is important meaning “Something that travels with good sound but also sounds good in a room when you get there”…

Here is what I am mostly using lately and can go anywhere with full utility… I have been at this Mobile HRA (High Resolution Audio) as I came to call it, since 2014 when the first DSD USB DACs started pouring out of many manufacturers doors making it easier and cheaper and better sounding to find something that traveled well as both a DAC and a Headphone Amplifier.

These products still are everywhere from DragonFly (AudioQuest) to iFi Audio to Chord to Audiolab to OPPO to FiiO to….m-a-n-y-o-t-h-e-r-s.

I have carried OPPO, iFi Audio, Geek Out, DragonFly and other DACs to different continents on airplanes, so I know how to travel with a battery backed USB DSD/MQA/PCM DAC that can work with both a Windows laptop and an iPhone with the powered camera attachment.

BUT… I’m bucking my own personal trend this past year! For the most part I have heard very good sound but it is not even CD lossless delivery of the audio data. This is something I never thought I’d like! My ears didn’t get worse, just my expectations relaxed enough to try things I never had before. If anything, my ears got a bit better doing these comparisons (sound to sound, not spec to spec).

I don’t need to travel with a DAC at all right now, or even a laptop computer for music. I just need an iPhone, some killer Noise Cancelling Bluetooth (or wired) headphones and a very good portable Bluetooth (or wired) speaker for when I get there…

For these reasons I am still going to call the music covered in this blog post Mobile HRA. It is not hi-res digital audio being delivered, but it is still in my Mobile HRA category for very good sound and very good mobility.

The simplest and best portable stereo I can name straight off is this:

#1 THE MUSIC PLAYER
Any smartphone (iPhone or Android with Spotify app added see next item). You don’t need more than the smartphone because the storage for all the sound is going to come from the cloud…read on…

#2 THE MUSIC SOURCE – AN INFINITE LIBRARY
Spotify 3-month Premium trial. Now you are subscribed to a music library of everything you ever had plus a few million songs you never had. Search by Artist, Songs, Podcasts, Playlists, Albums (limited only by your imagination — I hate when I hear that).

For Spotify, sign up with Visa/MC/PayPal then immediately cancel to avoid $9.99 in 3 months unless you want to continue. Best delivery of CD quality music. MP3-320 is indistinguishable from Red Book CD and even better in some cases depending on the CD master quality, an old experiment from late 90’s verified by me and others with even better ears… same true for MP3-256. While many things in life are not black and white, this one is: Any sample rate below MP3-256 sounds sketchy bad to awful (192, 128 and 64). If you are listening to a service with any of these MP3 sample rates you should really try something different or change the configuration you are using to a higher rate.

Spotify actually uses the Ogg Vorbis codec, not MP3 so it compresses a bit better (streams quicker) without losing quality. Spotify lets you save albums, songs, and playlists in your library for full access anywhere. If/when you start paying $9.99 again (just turn it back on in your account) you resume from where you were. It never goes away unless you Delete your Account.

There is a Download option on any of these 3 categories lets you hear what you save anytime later without cell or WiFi service, like on the airplane. Playlists are easily shared and posted (a huge plus!). Spotify’s Genius/Genome suggestions to me are by far and away the best I’ve ever seen from any service since Pandora in the late 90’s started that idea. Through Spotify’s suggestions I have discovered many artists and playlists that I add to my library and listen to regularly. most of these are in different genres of music that I always have liked but never had much time to explore. Now they come to me with a lot of “Yes” from my ears.

Here’s Why Spotify (lossy $9.99/mo.) and Not TIDAL (lossless and MQA, $19.99/mo.)…

I have subscribed to TIDAL and I love MQA for PCM remasters. The TIDAL catalog with hi-res up to MQA decoded 24/384 (but typically 24/96 or 192) is amazing and continues to grow. So I love the TIDAL MQA sound (the CD sound is a different comparison with Spotify as I mentioned earlier) and now the TIDAL software player makes MQA come alive with no other hardware (MQA DAC) attached up to 24/96. I mostly hate wires, but battery is an issue with the USB DACs as is just carrying it in your jeans jacket pocket or …. ??? along with all the rest.

But TIDAL can’t stay connected… I mean it’s really bad. East Hawaii is a bad place to test connectivity of cell data services (4G, LTE, 5G) if you want to succeed in not being disconnected. So TIDAL fails over and over and over and then I quit trying and use something else. But don’t hold East Hawaii totally responsible because I had similar problems in the East Bay in San Francisco Bay Area (population 10+ million last I knew) where an AT&T DSL connection couldn’t hack TIDAL either but was fine with Spotify and even Qobuz (CD and Hi-Res now in the US). Heck I even have TIDAL Masters of some of my own albums (Crossing (Remastered), The Window (Remastered), others…) online there that decode up to 24/352.8.  It sounds great but if you can’t play the song all the way through…..

On the other hand, Spotify can’t be defeated by poor connections as long as you have any cell data or WiFi connection of any kind. It even buffers the song somehow without the long delays up front like other services to play through short lapses in service that occur like when I’m driving. (My guess is that TIDAL’s server buffering and response to latency is either too server/bandwidth over-tasked or poor algorithms or both.)

No kidding it’s very hard for Spotify to stutter, dropout, pause or just quit playing and need app restarts (like TIDAL). So I have MP3 (they actually use Ogg Vorbis!) streaming with the same sound quality as CD and zero headaches and zero limits on the catalog I can choose from. Not bad and I’m into my 2nd year of digging it at this point. Just one more arrow of proof in the quiver of “don’t buy based on specs, just use your ears.

#3 – THE WIRELESS HEADPHONES
Bose QC35 II – best over-ear Noise Cancelling headphone value I’ve heard in the <$500 range and I shopped it with my ears in the SF Bay Area. Found it today still online at Rakuten for $257 (list as $349) — I’ve had mine over 6 months they are outrageous for travel as well as quiet home time (the coquis in East Hawaii are deafening all night in most elevations, not to mention dogs, leaf blowers, mowers, weed whackers, chain saws, Excavator hammers busting rock, bulldozers, occasional guns fired). These have a very good battery (8-10hrs), hugely comfortable over ear and over head fit, and sound much better than they should for that price. None of the in-ear monitor products I use compare and the quiet they provide as background is just that within reasonable expectations (you might not hear a pin drop).

https://www.rakuten.com/shop/techgeeks/product/789564-0010/?ref=ccbe01e924cdec4454f547c77c2f718e

#4 – THE SPEAKER FOR THE ROOM
KEF MUO Bluetooth or Wired – best value for BT with 3-Unidriver speakers, line/wire-in option, 6-8 hrs battery, also discounted on Rakuten from $349 to $257. Not the lightest speaker for travel (aluminum casing, 3 speaker drivers) but small and tough enough to pack without cracking, and dead on with the sound it delivers. Easy to carry in a day pack with the Bose and maybe a small tablet/laptop (not for music) — my typical rig.

The KEF MUO is a full sounding speaker that plays very well at low volumes as well as turns up (caution it can be overdriven).  It has limits but a nice wide range of sweet sounds with lows and highs well represented. I like to put it near a corner of the room to take advantage of the even better bottom that comes into the room.

I even use this speaker inside when I am outside with some windows slightly open and still hear the music fine. Of course I could take it outside with me, but no need to usually. The only thing irritating about the MUO is that it powers down automatically after it detects a not-so-long absence of music, even when it is plugged into AC. There may be a KEF control for this that I didn’t bother to look for yet but I end up having to turn it back on a lot.

https://www.rakuten.com/shop/beach-camera/product/KEFMUOGLD/?ref=85af8757714761a0036a6d46b7fb0245

THE WHOLE PACKAGE MOBILE HRA IS NOW EASY PEASY

For me the Mobile HRA got simpler without carrying the DAC, also no computer required (I always have 1TB SSD but don’t need it for my daily listening now), just travel with my iPhone. Spotify can find Bluetooth and WiFi speakers (through Apple Talk on the iPhone, Chromecast on Android) and the sound quality (MP3-320 == “Very High” or “Extreme”) is perfectly fine trade off for the lightness of travel and completeness of library. The Bose Noise Cancelling is something I had no idea that I would instantly come to rely on in an airplane or other noisy places including even home sometimes, just to be able to hear only the music and no other sounds. Bose gets high marks from others on their superior NC technology as I and others have compared. (I always thought NC was just kind of as sell-job…it’s NOT). I have used Bose for PA and other speaker gear for a long time so I know how well they do their research but in the end it just sounds great. I preferred the QC35 II sound to their next model the 700 ($399).

Mobile HRA got better since 2014 and barely existed for my ears before that. Well, it just didn’t really exist as a mobile solution. Now I use it for huge amounts of hours every day into the night as well as when I travel.

Aloha!

~ DE
______________________________________________________
Here are some of my Spotify playlists…
https://davidelias.com/spotify-playlists-by-the-artist

Here’s my artist page…


My Ace in the Hole for all the lossy business…

One last mention of my home setup these past months has to do with what I feed the Spotify Ogg Voris lossy stream to that changes everything: The iFi Audio Pro iDSD PCM/MQA & DSD DAC + GTO Filter + DSD1024 Upsample +  analog preamp out to any speaker or stereo setup. I wrote about this recently in a post here and called this miracle box The ultimate media refactoring vending machine.  It takes the stream from Spotify and delivers it ultimately as 1-bit 45 – 49mHz DSD1024 that gets converted to analog and warmed by the tube preamp. You wouldn’t believe how good that sounds until you’ve heard it.

https://art-of-listening.com/2020/01/05/the-ultimate-media-refactoring-vending-machine/

A Coffee Offer – About $5 For This 10-Song Cup

UPDATE OFFER – January, 2020 – Some of the best-known songs by David Elias are now available at a 50% Discount for the MQA Studio Masters on his Bandcamp catalog.  Coffeehouse MQA Playlist #1 (Remastered) contains 10 MQA tracks some of which decode up to 24/352.8k.

Use check out code TRYCOFFEE50 and pay about $5.

Some of David Elias’s best known music played at audiophile trade show demos, on Spotify  and TIDAL, and as mobile HRA OTG go to’s on Smartphones including “Morning Light/Western Town” and “The Old King” are in this collection.

Preview and Buy Coffeehouse Playlist #1 (Remastered) as MQA. It plays on any media player (hardware or software). It can also be decoded as MQA up to 24/352.8k with compatible gear.

Hear Acoustic like you never have before.

No DRM. Full Previews. With purchase you have unlimited downloads forever. All popular audio formats supported (suggested: FLAC, ALAC). Also unlimited streaming from Bandcamp’s free Bandcamp Music iOs/Android app.

Get 50% off – Use check code: TRYCOFFEE50 and pay about $5 for the entire playlist.

coffehouseplaylist-50%-screenshot


 

3 Things – Nothing Related To Anything Except Everything

It’s 2020. I have been recalling the beginning of the 21st Century which was 2000 – 2001, and that would be 20 years ago. At that time I was able to do lots of projects that just kind of presto happened. For NYE on 12/31/2000 I had a large version of the band called “David Elias & The Great Unknown” perform for our openly invited friends in a theater on the Hwy 1 coast in Half Moon Bay, California. I know some of the email addresses on my list here were there in the HMB Mel Mello Theater which is now called something else maybe twice or thrice over, who knows.

We had SF and Coast and East Bay and even Humboldt people on stage helping me with lots of songs played. Different nice & kind people from all over including La Honda and Pescadero brought perfect food including hand-dipped chocolate covered nasturtiums, and we (let us remain anonymous) brought kegs of beer inside and then there was other things to not notice too closely…

21st Century started a long time ago folks. I have to think about that when I wake up at 2:30 am or 4:00 am or 6:21 am if I slept in. Is it now the XO10014xo910#9999 Century???? No one knows. It could be any century forecast by Asimov or so many who came before him as well as later to write about the impossible. But that’s today. Impossible. Who can deny it.


The 3 Things Revisited

I still love music and I know you do too. Sanity and Balance through music comes in a language we can all understand perfectly but only few can read. No matter. How does it get better than that? So I don’t just write music, I write about music. But not just always about music but sometimes about things that make music more enjoyable, if you are needing to find that improvement in your life through your ears and deep down in your knowing know-dom.

So here are 2 articles I wrote just this month (I started working on the first one in December) and were published in A Creative Forum For The Audio Arts which is Positive-Feedback.com — I know my friend Chief Editor Dr. David W. Robinson through music for more years than we remember unless we count. PF as it’s called is a lightning rod for finding out about how to enjoy music in improved ways for your knowing know-dom if you need it. No kidding. Go there and see all the things they write about since 2002 or so. You can’t stop reading once you start, that’s all I’ll say at this point.

PF….

First I wrote an article and review about why it is no longer necessary to be called an audiophile who has a designated sweet spot to sit to hear the best sound in a perfectly acoustically correct room as incredibly good sounding studio quality, reference quality, perfect bit perfect quality, and any term you’ve heard to describe da kine! music. There is so absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things and I have been there myself in my way many times over many years. Audiophiles pay lots of attention to music, What’s not to like about that.

It’s that Audiophile Armchair Perfect Seat that I think is fading now as a type of requirement, and that is a huge freedom release for everyone who likes to listen to music.

These days, and really more like only in this past year or two, you can finally hear your music as really really good sound, in many different ways from many different sources including your TV, your phone, your CD player (I hate CD, but bear with me and read the post), DVD player, the Internet, a NAS drive or USB thumbdrive, anything Airplay or Google Play can reach….all of it.  No Bluetooth needs to be involved. I can repeat that because Bluetooth is probably sorely and mistakenly missing from the AMA’s Top 5 List of Frustrations That Lead To A Personal Breakdown Of At Least One Type If Not More. 

What I’ve realized working with new audio products and just paying attention to my now dated total affinity for Wireless WiFi Networking For Audio is the dawn of what I felt I should call “the transparent network” evolving that lets anyone play anything they ever heard or can imagine hearing (the global music library), and hear it with not just good but very excellent sound quality.

None of this existed even a couple years ago. This is not yet in many or most products, but the beginning of this transparency is in progress with more to come no doubt.

I’ll go out on the limb here and say that even if you don’t think sound quality matters all that much, you would think that it matters if you really heard the difference. It could take as little as 15 seconds. I’ve seen this happen more than once. You just have to use your ears, not your eyes reading a spec or brochure or YouTube video training. Just by listening.

A lot of people have said “David writes a lot of interesting stuff and it is about music which I care about but a lot of times I don’t know what he’s talking about.”

All I’m Talking About Here Is Really Good Sounding Music You Like To Listen To Online Or From Your Phone Or Computer or CD/SACD/DVD/Blu-Ray Player…


You don’t have to be an IT System Admin to hear really good sounding music today. In 1995 that was so not true for just about everyone online. Dialup internet and online music (downloads only, no streaming the network was too darn slow) was too new and too fun to worry about how inferior it sounded compared to vinyl or even the dreaded CD in most cases. By 2003 when I released an SACD, some really excellent digital sound was only possible for people who could speak Audiophile and who knew where to buy what gear for the best price which was usually a lot even in 2003 US Dollars today.

So… It’s a good thing we can now hear some very very good sounding ANYTHING we want, streaming or downloaded or otherwise for not hardly any new money spent and it’s another very good thing that our music library just got UNIVERSAL and ever expanded, never stagnant, like Asimov’s entropy, for  as little as say $120/year if not free. That’s a lot to think about but fortunately for us all, all we want to do is hear music.

So now you don’t have to read what I wrote in my blog and for PF, but if you want to read it anyway, it’s here:

https://positive-feedback.com/audio-discourse/the-fading-audiophile-armchair/

THE SECOND THING is another piece I wrote during the past 4 weeks that was mostly about reviewing an exceptional piece of innovative and comprehensive audio gear created by iFi Audio (iFi-Audio.com)

The product which is over 1 year out in the market is called the Pro iDSD. It breaks the doors down on most of the preconceived notions of DAC and even preamp or network audio or computer audio. The one reason for breaking the mold is that the Pro iDSD is a the ultimate refactoring audio vending machine. I made up that term for my blog review of the Pro iDSD, but that’s what it is. You can read about it here.

And THE THIRD thing is that I have a brand new web site as of today. It too started being written in December and now my past 20+ years of online hosting with Hostbaby is dust in the ether as a new host (Bandzoogle, yes, Bandzoogle) takes over. I’ll say now that not having heard their name before, I went to the sidecar to see what might happen. But it turns out they have tons of music and musician and ecommerce experience and dang, they made it easy to get going.

I believe that all is well on my new website at the moment so please stop by and take a look or a few listens to some of the song/album players or videos embedded there.The same “Contact” menu choice gets your private message to me (or just reply to this message). In fact, nothing about my web stuff or email or anything should have changed at this point except the content. Amen. Thank you Bandzoogle. If something does go wrong for you there, please let me know.

https://davidelias.com

FINALLY AS A 3b ITEM….On the new website you’ll see and can hear my latest album “Nighttime Music” that was released on Bandcamp about a week ago and will be on Spotify, TIDAL, Qobuz and all their cousins in about another week or less.

Nighttime Music” is a collection of songs (19 tracks) spanning a full 35 year horizon of original music by me with songs dating as far back as the mid-80’s when I was using a Porta One 4-track cassette recorder in Palo Alto to put down things I was writing with various instruments I played and voices I sang in. Talk about the good old days. (That’s one thing that can be so good about the good old days James.)

Thanks to all who take a listen to this album. There are songs as newly written and released as 2019 as well as old songs from back as far as 1985 which you can’t have heard before. There are also some bootleg versions of songs you might know but these are previously unreleased even though I always liked how they sounded. And there’s some tried and true older released tracks as well because they just fit right in the mix. These are probably not the songs you might guess. Well, you might. I don’t know.

Wishing you all much good fortune as 2020 rolls on, it’s a new decade, so the adventure is there for sure. I hope the music stays with all of us.

Aloha Nui and Take Care,

– DE
https://davidelias.bandcamp.com
https://youtube.com/davideliasvideo
https://davidelias.com
https://art-of-listening.com