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Mark Levinson and Premium Audio - Notes from an Audiophile

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Old 03-11-14, 10:06 PM   #61
OzzyOzz
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i just read a whole page of people going on about mp3s on an extra premium sound systems?!?! 10 grand more on top of the Lexus and then try to figure out which mp3 file is best? you all should have stacks of cds by now if you have a Lexus and be using them. this thing has a 6-disk changer. right? EVERY TIME you "convert" a file it is losing integrity, especially if you convert it back a second time or different file types. (if you take a WAV file and convert it to 256k MP3 and then back to WAV (say to put it onto a CD) - this will be even more diluted and weaker than the 256k file was. --- i implore you people to use cds or burn your own cds FROM _wav TO _wav (UN-compressed). or make a "music dvd" with _wav files.

no self respecting "audiophile" should be using mp3s but for the rarest of tracks. this is like people buying a bluray player and then primarily using it to stream movies.

can people talk about audio settings, the music type(s) you listen to, your ML system compared to stock from different model years? (you have owned or been in for a descent amount of time) ya know..... some apples to apples comparisons so us people looking to buy know which direction to go for option packages.

(not trying to be preachy, just hate to see society's embrace and acceptance for lower quality.) "ML" and "mp3" (and the like) should not be used in the same sentence. -- thanks, OZZY.
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Old 03-12-14, 11:42 AM   #62
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"this thing has a 6-disk changer. right?"

Actually, no. The ML in the 2013 GS350 is a single-disc player.

The trend for auto manufacturers over the past few years has been to shift music storage to items you link to your car's infotainment system - USB sticks, iPods, iPhones, etc..

The less space taken up in the dash by players, HDDs, etc., the more room there is for other items - Like the HDD navigation unit.
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Old 03-12-14, 11:08 PM   #63
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thanks for replying 'harleymark' and for the 2013 info, good to know. i get why manufacturers are "trending" in that way, which is fine for a stock system, i just cant see why one would have a ML system or better and not use cds? i guess its good if one really needs to go that route to use a high bit rate or lossless as was mentioned.... but still.
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Old 03-13-14, 12:49 AM   #64
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The reason I want FLAC support in Lexus is that even if you already have CDs, it'd be nice to carry your entire music collection rather than just a few discs and not have to run it through your smartphone.
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Old 03-13-14, 01:25 PM   #65
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I wish the ML system would learn to love my DVD Audio discs. Forget CD's, audiophile quality with true surround sound is only obtained with DVD-A discs. I contacted Lexus about my car liking some DVD-A's and stopping others when I put it into drive, and they said, "officially, DVD's aren't supported". So, the obvious question then, why have a 17 speaker, 825 watt, 7.1 surround system and no supported format you can feed it?

"Well, it plays WMA's.". Great. So I can convert my DVD-A discs to 5.1 or 7.1 WMA's just for the car.

If anyone else has this problem and a more elegant solution (multi-channel AAC format, etc.) please educate me.
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Old 03-13-14, 01:55 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Afrosheen View Post
I wish the ML system would learn to love my DVD Audio discs. Forget CD's, audiophile quality with true surround sound is only obtained with DVD-A discs. I contacted Lexus about my car liking some DVD-A's and stopping others when I put it into drive, and they said, "officially, DVD's aren't supported". So, the obvious question then, why have a 17 speaker, 825 watt, 7.1 surround system and no supported format you can feed it?

"Well, it plays WMA's.". Great. So I can convert my DVD-A discs to 5.1 or 7.1 WMA's just for the car.

If anyone else has this problem and a more elegant solution (multi-channel AAC format, etc.) please educate me.
personally, if we are going to advocate for something the answer is FLAC support and Blu-ray support.

FLAC is open source so there is no licensing fee (unlike DTS) and is a format that allows metadata and is a format that you can purchase music from (Linn, Hdtracks, B&W SoS). They don't sell multichannel FLACs yet but the format supports multichannel. These are lossless compression. it will help Lexus demonstrate the car audio by having dealers with a demo flash drive with a wide range of music to have something that the customer is familiar with or wants to listen. the examples I gave earlier would really showcase premium car audio.

DVD Audio is a dead format along with SACD. it is not cost effective to support those formats and painfully, just as Laserdisc owners bought DVDs and DVD owners bought Bluray, many are rebuying FLACs.

Blu ray makes sense because Lexus already had Bluray support in the LS460 rear entertainment and because companies are beginning to release high res audio in Bluray.

my two cents.
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Old 03-13-14, 05:19 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by OzzyOzz View Post
thanks for replying 'harleymark' and for the 2013 info, good to know. i get why manufacturers are "trending" in that way, which is fine for a stock system, i just cant see why one would have a ML system or better and not use cds? i guess its good if one really needs to go that route to use a high bit rate or lossless as was mentioned.... but still.
Agreed, CD's are higher quality and a closer representation of the original source (although I have some audiophile friends who will swear that their vinyl LP's are a "truer" representation!). I try to use lossless formats where I can, and avoid MP3 as much as possible. I do use my iPhone as a source in the car, and I have most of the music on there as apple lossless, which I realize is not as lossless as others, but for my purposes it is sufficient. The fidelity of the ML system in the car does, in my opinion, offset some of the loss of quality in the apple format.

As far as wishes go, I would like Lexus to incorporate some form of listening room correction software like Audyssey (which I have on my home theater system) to compensate for the car's acoustics. I know some manufacturers have done so.
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Old 03-13-14, 10:37 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GXAlan View Post
personally, if we are going to advocate for something the answer is FLAC support and Blu-ray support.

FLAC is open source so there is no licensing fee (unlike DTS) and is a format that allows metadata and is a format that you can purchase music from (Linn, Hdtracks, B&W SoS). They don't sell multichannel FLACs yet but the format supports multichannel. These are lossless compression. it will help Lexus demonstrate the car audio by having dealers with a demo flash drive with a wide range of music to have something that the customer is familiar with or wants to listen. the examples I gave earlier would really showcase premium car audio.

DVD Audio is a dead format along with SACD. it is not cost effective to support those formats and painfully, just as Laserdisc owners bought DVDs and DVD owners bought Bluray, many are rebuying FLACs.

Blu ray makes sense because Lexus already had Bluray support in the LS460 rear entertainment and because companies are beginning to release high res audio in Bluray.

my two cents.
Still doesn't address the obvious problem of having a high tech hifi system in the car designed for surround decoding and no supported format to decode. I have been using FLAC, OGG, etc. for years and like them but I want to take full advantage of the bits in the dash that make the surround happen.
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Old 03-17-14, 07:36 AM   #69
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I'd like to see you guys who are against MP3s to take a pair of "audiophile" headphones and do a BLIND listening test comparing a 320kbps MP3 file and FLAC. I'll bet you couldn't tell which is which 9/10 times.
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Old 03-17-14, 02:03 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by harleymark View Post

...I have most of the music on there as apple lossless, which I realize is not as lossless as others...
Could you please explain this? I thought Apple lossless produces bit-perfect original which is then fed into CD circuitry for playback.
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Old 03-17-14, 02:06 PM   #71
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I'd like to see you guys who are against MP3s to take a pair of "audiophile" headphones and do a BLIND listening test comparing a 320kbps MP3 file and FLAC. I'll bet you couldn't tell which is which 9/10 times.
You have a valid argument, especially if you factor in the equipment and environment. In-car listening is probably just as good with 320 kbit/s MP3s. BUT - do not think that there is no difference between MPS / FLAC / CD / DVD-A / etc. It's important to understand what the differences are and how the effect the sound.

Using high-end hi-fi equipment it is easy to hear the difference between MP3 and FLAC. I've been known to quickly run back to my computer to skip an MP3 if it is randomly selected.

Here's some information to digest:

MP3
8-bit / 44.1 kHz
320 kbit/s

CD quality is
16-bit / 44.1 khz
1,411.2 kbit/s

DVD-A
24-bit / 192 khz
4,608.0 kbit/s

The biggest difference between "high-quality" MP3s and FLAC / CD is the bit depth. This directly effects two things. 1. the noise, there will be a higher chance and higher level of background noise. 2. the dynamic range - this quality is greatly overlooked, but when a drum kicks or cymbal crashes I want it to be LOUD! It also 'blends' the range between instruments (there are only so many 'levels' to specify). Unfortunately most recording do not utilize the available range or bit depth and some are 'over' engineered to comply with general use requirements.

All of that being said. I exclusively use my Blackberry to steam FLAC files to my GS, but only 'cause I already have them loaded as such. I would not hold it against anyone to use high-quality MP3s in their car (my home system is another matter).

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Old 03-17-14, 02:19 PM   #72
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Could you please explain this? I thought Apple lossless produces bit-perfect original which is then fed into CD circuitry for playback.
I understand that apple lossless is bit perfect as well. It is considered equal to CD / FLAC. Usually it's reasonable to assume apple products will produce high quality audio (even AirPlay is bit-perfect)

The default setting in iTunes to rip CDs is lower than CD quality, which is where some confusion may be coming from.

I don't know what you mean by "CD circuity" - do you mean the DAC? If so, then yes, but so do all other formats.

ALAC
up to:
32-bit / 384 khz

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Old 03-17-14, 03:10 PM   #73
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I don't know what you mean by "CD circuity" - do you mean the DAC?
I'm sorry I wasn't clear (it's ALL circuitry, isn't it?) What I meant was that CD content stored in Apple Lossless compressed format on an iPod is FIRST fed digitally into the ML system via USB or Bluetooth, THEN uncompressed back to bit-perfect CD format. This CD bitstream is then fed into the same read buffer that the CD player fills when you spin a disk. This is what I meant by "CD circuitry." Further processing (DSP, DAC, and amp) from this point on is the same for either (or really any) source (iPod ALAC or CD player). I'm surmising this architecture as I believe it is the most efficient (cheapest) and I've seen it used in other applications.

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Old 03-17-14, 03:48 PM   #74
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You are correct. Apple lossless should be bit-perfect. My fault for not double-checking my source on formats before posting.

Makes me feel better about what I have ripped!
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Old 03-17-14, 10:40 PM   #75
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I do use my iPhone as a source in the car, and I have most of the music on there as apple lossless, which I realize is not as lossless as others, but for my purposes it is sufficient.
Not as lossless as others? All lossless are equally lossless. Ape, FLAC, ALAC etc. You will not hear any difference is sound quality between any of them. They're all lossless, meaning ALL of the original information is there.
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Old 03-17-14, 10:40 PM
 
 
 
 
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