You come here because you want to get the best out of digital sound and avoid spending your money wrong.
Here is the blog post number two in a series of five. This time it's all about the source. The place we get the music from.
The quality of the data we collect is of great importance to the experience we get in the end.
There has been a sensational development and streaming services today deliver the music in a higher quality than we have ever been able to buy on a physical medium. But there is also a lot of poor quality out there.
That's why there's a good reason to keep track of what to do when you love music and want to get the best sound.
But let us first get this in place.
Since the 80s, music has been recorded digitally in all-world studios and concert halls.
The music that the artist and producer creates for all of us music lovers are created and processed in a digital format.
This is true regardless of whether the music is published on an analog LP, a digital CD or a streaming service.
The vinyl plate is reputed to be an alternative to digital sound, but it is other factors than just the sound that make people hold of vinyl records. This is, for example, a The social and cozy in putting a plate on and not least, that (so far) more music has been released on vinyl than on any other medium.
Vinyl records have its full entitlement for all of us music lovers, but come to cards when it comes to sound quality.
The thing is, all music is recorded digitally. Even the sound on a vinyl plate comes from a digital recording.
There is a treasure trove of unrivalled sound in the digital formats. Many have unfortunately not discovered it yet, but phantom music experiences are only a few clicks away.
If we are to be a little technical, it can be said that the music contains up to 96,000 data information per second in the best formats.
We'll get back to that.
It's the music lover's ultimate dream. To experience the music that the artist wanted us to hear it.
We want to feel the music. Atmosphere. The talent of the artisans. We will enjoy the energy and the fine shades.
Unfortunately, few of us have experienced the music of the quality.
There are various reasons for this and today we are talking about the first one: the source.
The technologies have never been able to transport all the massive data information all the way from the studio and home in our living rooms.
Not until now – and we're going to talk about that shortly.
Since the 80s, music has been recorded in a digital quality that has subsequently been scaled down so that our players at home can better follow along.
For example, the dynamic range of the studio sound of 144 dB becomes Limited to 50-60 dB when the music is placed on a vinyl record. The pickups would jump out of the groove if it were to reproduce the dynamics of the studio. Therefore, you limit the sound by removing some of it.
The LPE is also not good at storing data in the innermost grooves. That's why you change the sound when you make an LP, so the inner grooves get a slightly darker sound than the outer ones.
The instruments thus sound a little bit different at the beginning of a vinyl record than at the end, and the audio quality of the LP is overall not near the original sound from the studio.
Here, Compact Disc is an improvement compared to LP. For example, the dynamic range is of 96 dB and the instruments have the same sound throughout the CDen.
The technologies of the appliances at home in the living room have (in other words) not been able to convey the entire music experience from the studio because one has had to transform the original digital format into another.
You can use different concepts to describe sound quality, and here I will use kilobits per second ( Kbps ), which is an expression of where, many data information flows through the format per second. It is also called bitrate.
It is true for bitrate that the higher the number, the better the sound quality. It is similar to the resolution of an image where low resolution makes the image grained and unclear, while high resolution makes it clear with clear colors. Within digital images, we talk about pixels, where we talk about bits in sound.
Let's get started.
In a recording studio, the best quality is called 24 bit/192 kHz (or 24/192). This corresponds to 9,216 kbps.
Another and widely used quality is called 24 bit/96 kHz (24/96), which is equivalent to 4,608 kbps.
These figures are not particularly informative if you do not compare them with anything.
Therefore, a CD has a bitrate of 1,411 kbpsin comparison.
You can therefore safely say that digital sound quality is incredibly many things.
There is a big difference in the quality of the sound of the 9,216 Kbps in the studio and 256 kbps on Youtube Music.
Youtube Music is shockingly 36 times worse than the original sound.
We have wondered about this very much with System Audio.
And the first news is really good.
Now we can experience the music at home, just as it was created in the studio. It's a real sensation.
Subscribe to, for example, Tidal Hifi and set your phone, tablet, etc. to stream in Master quality. This way you'll experience music at 4,608 Kbps and a resolution of 24/96.
It is a sound quality that is more than 3 times better than CD.
Digital Audio has moved much more than most people realise.
To experience the high quality, it requires the many data to arrive at your speakers. It is not enough just to download the good sound down from the Internet.
The sound must be sent all the time and we will return to it in the later sections.
Yes, it must! The music becomes so much more gripping, magnificent and entertaining when you experience it as it really sounds.
It is great to experience.
But there are also times in everyday life where the entertainment just runs in the background.
How good should the sound be?
The short answer: as good as possible.
The slightly longer answer: we have experimored part with System Audio. We have tested many sound qualities in everyday situations, such as: work, family life, on the go, etc.
In short, situations where music is not in the center, but still important to have in the background. How good sound do we need?
Here we recommend Spotify Premium or a similar quality (320 kbps).
Spotify wins in particular on the functionality of the free Spotify Connect app, which is easy to use.
The audio quality of Spotify Premium is OK if you just don't combine it with bad speakers or a bad music system. Not to say: Bluetooth or cable connection from the phone to the music system.
Because then it goes wrong and the sound gets flat.
However, streaming Spotify over Wi-fi to a good sound system with good speakers is both good and easy in everyday life.
That's why you'll find Spotify Connect built in for example.
Spotify, on the other hand, does not offer what we call light quality. So the quality where you really hear the music.
Here is Tidal Hifi, Deezer Hifi and CD equal competitors, which you should clearly prefer when listening actively and enjoying the music.
For Tidal Master, HDTracks, Pro Studio Masters and others offer you to stream in studio quality 4,608 Kbps (24/96, Hi-Res, High Definition etc) and this is the first time ever we can experience music in such a high quality.
At System Audio We have therefore worked with the new opportunities and created SA legend Silverback: A family of active speakers that leads digital audio all the way from the studio to the speaker units without the sound being converted or machined at any stage of the process.
The clean sound from the studio comes untouched to the speaker units.
The solution constitutes in every way the music lover's desire dream since the start of digitised the music.
It's a very overwhelming way to experience the music. A lot of people are amazed at how much it means for the music experience that the sound is not going through long copper wires, conversions and analog electronics, but is disseminated digitally and completely without loss from the audio studio and into the speaker.
It is a technological breakthrough that cannot be ignored when you love good sound, and it even entails a great simplification of the music system.
Here are our recommendations:
Brief summary of today's blog post
You follow This blog about digital audioBecause you want to know more and want to avoid mistakes.
I opted to divide digital audio into 4 areas.
Through four blog posts, we need to follow the music path from the studio and all the way via the Internet and out of your speakers.
We must identify the places where the quality of the digital sound can stumble and how we solve it.
This section was about the source. Follow the next time we talk about transmission.
There are 4 areas of digital audio that you need to know before you can experience your favorite music in a new and better quality.
Therefore, I will now introduce you to:
I do this because digital audio often appears as just one single thing.
The impression is almost that if only the word DIGITAL is included in a product name, it is also a question of digital quality.
It's just not like that.
You follow this blog because you want to know more about digital audio and want to avoid costly error purchases.
Therefore, I have chosen to divide digital audio into 4 areas.
Through four blog posts, we need to follow the music path from the studio and all the way via the Internet and out of your speakers.
We must identify the places where the quality of the digital sound risks stumbling and how we avoid it.
I will write in a clear and untechnical language, but finally send an email if you have any questions or comments. Then I will answer for the best of my ability.
We are in the midst of a digital revolution.
The revolution has happened relatively quietly, but everyone has of course discovered the internet, smartphones, GPS, social media etc. Far fewer, however, have noticed how digital audio now surpasses its analog ancestor.
Digital technologies have made more progress in sound for the past 10 years than analogue technologies have done in the past 30.
Today we can stream music through the Internet at a much higher quality than we have ever experienced with a physical medium. All we have to talk about here on the blog.
The progress of digital audio takes place in several areas, and if you want to experience your favorite music in an unprecedented (high) quality, you need one thing:
With overview, I mean the 4 areas:
Source. This is the first area we need to talk about. From here the music is delivered (yes, or the film). The supplier can be Spotify, Tidal, Itunes, Netflix, Google Music, CD, etc. The quality of the data we collect from the sources is of great importance to the experience we get in the end. That's why we start here.
Transmission. That is the second area we need to talk about. Transmission is about the way we move sound data. It can be done through a cable, via Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular data, etc. We risk losing precious data that can never be recreated if we do not have control over the transmission. On the other hand, there are good, reliable solutions. Therefore, this is an important field.
Control. Want to have music in multiple rooms? Do you prefer to press a button or do you want to control the music with your voice? Do you know the audio difference between CD, Chromecast, and Airplay? And do you want to control the light and sound throughout your home? There are many possibilities and, therefore, control has its very own section.
Playback. The last stop of music before it hits your ears. In the playback section, we have amplifier, speaker, D/A Converter and the acoustics in your living room. Here the digital signal is transformed into sound that we can hear. Playback is the area where the digital sound really risks losing quality if we are not awake. This is the last of the 4 areas of digital audio.
Welcome to a small gradient where you get to meet the 4 symbols again.
We must follow the music all the way from the studio and into your own living room, to get the best sound experiences and avoid wasting money.
We'll see the next time we talk about the SOURCE and the incredible difference that's on the quality of sound through different providers and formats.
On Facebook, there are groups of vinyl fans that talk about the war between digital and analog audio. They are examples of how misinformation can turn into truths, no one dares to stand up against.
I love vinyl. I have two turntables and I arrange vinyl fairs, which means a lot to me.
But listen: there is no war between analog and digital.
Digital won a long time ago and changed our world.
Email won over the letter. Online banking won over the physical bank. GPS won over paper maps. The cell phone beat the phone. Online newspapers beat over the paper edition, etc., etc.
Wait, says vinyl enthusiasts…. music experiences are not the same as online banking.
I just want to know if you own a DVD-player, a Blu-ray or maybe you are streaming Netflix on the TV at home. Do you?
Do you ever sit back and enjoy these forms of digital media?
Because then I want to know what you think about the experience?
What exactly happened to the picture when the analog VHS was replaced with DVD?
Did the same thing happen when you decided to go for analog audio, instead of digital?
Let me guess. You think digitalization is a fantastic step forward. The picture is clearer and the sound cleaner.
Can't we then also agree that another (but really good) reason for preferring vinyl is that a staggering 500 million songs have been released on LP, while only 180 million are available on streaming?
Exciting music for small audiences rarely appears on a streaming service. By the way, it is not as nice to meet over an app on the phone than meeting over a box of vinyls.
Because vinyl, it's not about the sound. After all, if it was, people would compare the sound differences from different turntables, cartridges and tone arms before deciding what to buy.
But they don't, do they? People buy turntables as standard solutions. Packages, all adjusted from the factory, in order to call themselves vinyl freaks.
But buying a ready-made turntable is not particularly freaky, I think.
It is against the whole nature of the media, to deal uncritically with what you buy. There is an audible difference depending on how you put your turntable together. A big difference.
Just for fun, I created a poll in one of these vinyl groups.
I asked: How many have heard the difference between streaming and vinyl with their own ears?
I repeat: 25% heard the difference before deciding which technology to choose. Put another way: People are more than willing to join any trend as long as they can talk about the war between almost anything.
Nobody asks: What the hell are we doing in our bubble?
Sound expert and reviewer from the test magazine L&B, John Alex Hvidlykke, says: “Even with a good turntable, you can't compare vinyl and digital at all, as it is almost never the same master they are made from. Since you can’t make an LP with the frequency range and dynamics that’s possible on digital media, a new master is made prior to the vinyl cutting. So, to compare "identical" recordings is to compare apples to bananas.
The fact is that a really good vinyl record has a dynamic range of maximum 70 dB, while modern streaming with 24/96 resolution has a dynamic range of up to 144 dB.
Attempting to increase the dynamics of vinyl records means that bad record players are unable to play the records, as some enthusiasts have discovered.
A vinyl record sounds different in the outer grooves compared to the inner grooves. It simply sounds worse, the closer you get to the middle. That's because of the technology. That is why you often place the quiet songs in the end, to make the poor sound quality less audible.
The order of the songs is therefore not an expression of the artist's work, but a matter of the limitation of technology.
Can't we stop calling vinyl the best music media?
Visit the HiFi stores and hear the products yourself. Step out of the digital media and into the analog world. Drag yourself into a physical store and experience the differences with your own ears. Don't naively believe in recommendations from the talking heads on Facebook. They have no idea what they are talking about.
There are huge differences between different products and you might lose money if you do not insist on comparing them.
People are confused about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of consumer electronics and many of us are easy victims of fake stories.
We add motives and ideals to the products that they never had. The vinyl record is not a noble or a more musical format just because it is made before the internet and the hole in the ozone layer.
Vinyl, on the other hand, is a source of incredible amounts of music. Much more music than streaming. It's nice to put on a record, and there are great communities around vinyl that we can’ t find in streaming.
But digital sounds far, far better when we talk about services like Tidal and Deezer.
One of the challenges is that there is no way to label sound quality. There is nothing to comply with as a consumer, and therefore there is free access to all kinds of stories, such as the vinyl record's alleged amazing sound.
We need to be critical of who we listen to and not just believe anything we hear on the web.
Let's start a wave.
Forget about on-wall speakers solely as a design solution where sound is not a priority. We have created four elegant speakers to satisfy those who also love great sound.
For decades, on-wall speakers have been a solution for those who are not particularly enthusiastic about sound, but just want to listen to background music.
This is why they have been built as secondary products where only little attention has been paid to the sound quality.
We have created 4 on-wall speaker models in four price ranges. They are made for music and movie lovers who don’t want to compromise on sound.
We achieve incredible sound quality because we integrate acoustic thinking into the speaker's design.
One of the technical challenges of on-wall speakers is that all of the sound appears in front of the speaker.
In normal speakers, part of the sound is radiated around the speaker, but in an on-wall speaker the acoustics work differently because there is a wall, just behind the speaker.
We have worked with the acoustics of the speakers and adapted it to the special conditions that apply to wall placement.
This means that we have gained an important advantage.
Our on-wall speakers sounds like they are almost twice the size than they are because we have worked with the acoustics and adapted the speaker to operate on a wall.
Send a mail if you want to know where to buy these speakers. We reply quickly.
The smallest SA saxo 6 has dimensions like a sheet of A4 paper, but it sounds like a much bigger speaker.
The SA saxo 16 sounds like a bigger floor speaker, although it is an elegant and slim speaker that does not take up much space on the wall.
SA legend 7 moves the boundaries of on-wall speakers with its large, effortless and natural sound.
It is at the same time the foundation of SA legend 7 silverback, which is a 3-way active and fully digital speaker with a sound quality in the absolute High End category.
SA legend 7 silverback can even be transformed into a complete wireless music system together with Stereo Hub, our wireless digital control unit.
The speakers do away with the traditional notion that wall on-wall speakers are just made for people who don't love great sound.
And there's more.
All of the 4 speakers can be used in music systems or home theaters in combination with other speakers in the saxo, legend and legend silverback families.
And they can even stand alone.
All of the 4 wall speakers may operate as a center speaker, front speaker, rear speaker and even as ceiling speakers in a Dolby Atmos system.
They can be used anywhere in a home theater.
You can even build a complete home theater using just on-wall speakers, if you want.
They are prepared to hang both horizontally and vertically on the wall. There are wall brackets integrated on the back of each speaker.
The speakers all come in an exclusive white or black finish and the front grilles are available in both black and white.
Welcome to a world where amazing music experiences come from discreet speakers hanging on the wall.
The most asked question about wireless audio is about the quality of the wireless signal.
Most people know Bluetooth and Wifi and they like to know how good our technology is compared to them.
The short answer is: We use WiSA.
It is a High End solution in wireless technology that is 29 times better than Bluetooth (!). WiSA is a format that delivers High Definition sound and it’s as robust as a physical connection.
The technology delivers (in other words) a much higher quality than the solutions most people know.
Think of WiSA as a really good cable, but without the hassle of having it in your room.
Before this gets too technical, I’d like to invite you to look at the photo below.
It shows an analysis of a wireless network.
On the left side you see normal Wifi.
It shows a lot of mobile devices, tablets and computers competing with each other to get enough bandwidth for themselves. Users will have to expect limited speed and a lack of stability because of this.
On the right side you see a red peak. It is the WiSA signal for our wireless speakers.
This is interesting because:
• WiSA works far away from the hectic trafic of Wifi. Silverback speakers don’t compete with smartphones, computers etc. about the capacity of the network. WiSA is an exclusive communication channel
• There is (virtually) no other data traffic in the area where WiSA operates. This means that the connection is as robust as a physical cable, but without the hassle of having it in the living room
Silverback speakers don’t use your wireless network.
They create their own direct connection from the Stereo Hub (or a similar WiSA transmitter) directly to the Silverback speakers.
You can actually use wireless Silverback speakers, without having Wifi in your home. This is because the WiSA components create a direct connection between each other that does’nt involve Wifi.
For example, you can use your TV, turntable, radio or CD with our wireless speakers, without having Wifi in the house.
WiSA is an industry standard.
It means that you may connect WiSA devices wirelessly to each other even if they don’t come from the same brand.
For example, a flat screen from LG connects to your Silverback speakers via a simple USB Transmitter or AVR because they all support WiSA. The same goes for your Xbox. Primare works with SA because both have WiSA.
The technology connects the speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater and the sound is sparkling clear with uncompressed, 24-bit, 96 kHz audio - all without the use of a single speaker cable.
The list of benefits goes on and on.
Today, 60 brands support WiSA and the number is constantly increasing.
There are good reasons to look for the WiSA brand, the WiSA Ready and the WiSA Certified logos when you're looking for top class wireless audio products.
SA legend 40 silverback is Wireless Loudspeaker of the Year in Germany.
Here you see me proudly receiving the award in Munich on behalf of the System Audio team. What a wonderful day!
SA legend silverback speakers are certified by WiSA.
System Audio A/S
Klosterengen 137 L
4000 Roskilde. Denmark
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