I'm listening a lot of music from Play Music All Access lately, at the maximum bitrate which is 320kbit/s LAME mp3

And when I stumble upon a song or an album I've been used to listen to in lossless/FLAC, I'm like hmm no that's not quite it.

I wonder if I would be able to discern random samples using the same codec & bitrate and lossless in ABX test.
Maybe it makes a difference when you know a song very well in it's original lossless format already.

I would describe the main difference being in:
– impact of drums, typically snare drums and cymbals
– some flanger effect and loss of temporal resolution in vocals
– loss of resolution in synthetic instruments like those found in electronic music like trance or dubstep, or practically everything shaped like a square or triangle wave.

I still think All Access is probably the best sounding streaming service, and content discovery is great but boy I would like to be able to stream lossless instead. It's not the same experience.

Also I don't recommend to spend days listening to samples of every available audio compression codecs at various bitrates in order to find the transparency sweet spot for them.
Because you can't un-train your ear after that, too late ^^

#supercurioBlog #audio #streaming #compression #codec

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Eddie Sinnott from Wolfson MicroElectronics just announced Wolfson Pi Audio Card, a little board that gets me excited about its capabilities:


DIY and other audio enthusiasts might also like to build build stuff and play with it.

Why is this audio extension to the Raspberry Pi special?
As stated by Eddie, the main codec powering this board is WM own WM5102 Audio Hub.
http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/products/audio_hubs/WM5102/ plus what's necessary for SPDIF intput and output and more

WM5102 key features for me:
– 113dB SNR to Headphone out (DAC+amp)
– Headphone driver evolved from WM8994/WM1811 codecs as used in Voodoo Sound but with much lower hiss levels

The addition of SPDIF input means you can use it as standalone DAC.

But as it will be plugged on the Pi, it transforms it in a high quality 192kHz/24bit capable player on analog output with a lovely sounding headphone amp, gives it a standard SPDIF output without relying on HDMI, and also recorder for SPDIF and analog inputs.

I already have a head full of network audio rendering capabilities ^^
My first goal with this would probably be to:
– install pulseaudio on the Pi
– output everything from my computers here
– then plug my headphones here to finally have a DAC+Amp that sound good to drive my various headphones (especially the HD650) when I'm not using speakers.

Among other things ­čÖé

I'll see how it fares with some simple measurements and listening tests but I already expect higher sound quality than the typical over-hyped DACs+HP amp promising so much, being praised to no end and delivering so little in reality.
Also this WM5102 is present in Galaxy S4 I9500 but Samsung made several implementation errors preventing the phone to reach quality levels WolfosonMicro audio hub is capable of.
So this would also be a bit like a dev board to play with to no end and with very little limitations. Lovely!


I guess we'll need to wait a little bit to know more about price.

#supercurioBlog #audio

Community: Wolfson Pi Audio Card | element14
The Wolfson Pi Audio Card produced in partnership with Wolfson, the premier audio solutions chip company, offers Raspberry Pi users similar flexibility to a PC soundcard to capture audio alongside their camera, and experiment with stereo digital capture and playback.

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