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robert_kc

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  1. If anyone wants examples of modern music performances (last dozen years or so) that were captured and mastered in hi-res surround-sound and delivered via Blu-ray's DTS-HD MA 5.0 (or 5.1) audio track, please see my posts here: As I said earlier, the relevance of Blu-ray and SACD depends on genre of music. For the classical music I love, there are many modern music performances that were captured and mastered in hi-res surround-sound and delivered via Blu-ray's DTS-HD MA 5.0 (or 5.1) audio track, or SACD. IMO such modern hi-res surround-sound recordings deliver audio quality that exceeds any CD or streaming service I've heard. For those touting streaming, I'd be interested in learning about a service provider who streams the classical recordings listed in my post linked above, with no compromise in the quality of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio or high-definition video.
  2. Several manufacturers offer 2.1 HDMI receivers (e.g., Marantz, Onkyo, Denon), so maybe some manufacturer will see the market potential of a 3.1 HDMI receiver. I think that a 3.1 HDMI receiver would make sense for a lot of people – however, I’m not sure how difficult it would be to downmix 5.1 to 3.1 in the receiver. In the meantime, I’m aware of a few options. A quick google search found several 3-channel power amps. (I have no experience with any of these.) Anthem MCA 325 Gen 2 Emotiva XPA-3 Gen3, XPA-DR3 McIntosh MC303 Parasound A31 Et al. The Oppo UDP-205, BDP-105, and BDP-95 that I own have variable output (i.e., volume button on remote control) and 7.1 analog audio outputs. One of my systems is a 3.1 system that I use for multi-channel classical recordings (i.e., SACD and Blu-ray). IME, there is little content in the rear channels of classical music (mostly audience applause), so not much is lost by forgoing the rear channels. (Hollywood movies would be a different case.) On occasion I directly drive power amps from my Oppo units. (The Oppo’s set-up allows you to adjust the relative volume level of each channel.) The only downside to directly driving power amps from an Oppo is the lack of tone controls. (BTW, the newer Oppos have a parameter that can activate DTS Neo:6 pseudo-surround sound for stereo recordings, but I don’t use it.) Or, you could use a multi-channel pre-processor to drive a 3-channel power amp. I have no experience with multi-channel pre-processors. I don’t know if a pre-pro can mix a 5.1 audio track down to 3.1, so that the rear channel content isn’t lost. If not, you could just forgo the rear content. Reportedly you could drive a 3-channel amp from pre-amp (i.e., line-level) audio outputs from some AVRs. I have no experience with this configuration. FWIW, two of my hi-fi systems are 4.1, and one system is 4.2. I combine the Oppo’s surround-left and surround-right analog RCA connections via a Y-cable. (Oppo confirmed that this use of a Y-cable is OK.) One vintage stereo tube amp plays the main L&R channels. A second vintage stereo tube amp plays the center-channel and single rear-channel. The powered subwoofer(s) connect to the Oppo, and Oppo’s bass management (e.g., configurable crossover) is employed. I’m very satisfied with this configuration. Multi-channel classical recordings sound great, and Hollywood movies sound great. (And, of course these systems can play CDs in addition to Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, and hi-res downloads.) I imagine that many AK’ers own more than one amp and pair of speakers, and therefore could experiment with 3.0, 3.1, 4.0 or 4.1 surround-sound fairly easily. This would require SACDs or Blu-rays featuring 5.1, and a multi-channel pre-processor or a universal player with multi-channel analog outputs such as one of numerous Oppo models, or the currently manufactured Reavon UBR-X200 (which appears to be based on the Oppo UDP-205, but different DACs, and fewer connections). If someone wants to play multi-channel SACDs and DVDs, but doesn’t care about Blu-ray, an Oppo DV-980H (SACD/CD/DVD) can be bought used fairly cheap. For Blu-ray, a newer Oppo model would be needed. For Ultra HD Blu-ray, the Oppo UDP-205 (I own 2), and Reavon UBR-X200 are two universal players that I know about that feature 7.1 analog audio outputs and remote volume control.
  3. There are countless modern recordings (i.e., performed/recorded in the last dozen years or so) of classical compositions that were recorded and mastered in modern “hi-res” multi-channel formats, and delivered on multi-channel Blu-ray or SACD. For classical music, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, and 5.2 hi-fi configurations are relevant. (For classical music, the rear channels contain mostly audience applause, so eliminating them has no material impact on the music. IOW, 3.1 works well for classical music.) OTOH, if you listen only to vintage recordings, YMMV. If you only listen to music that was recorded several decades ago, you are stuck with decades-old technology, and stereo (vs. multi-channel) might be as good as it gets. IMO, equating music with stereo (i.e., 2 channel vs. multi-channel) represents being stuck in a decades-old perspective of technology (e.g., the 40-year-old-CD format, or the older-still LP). As I said in an earlier post, IME/IMO hi-res multi-channel (e.g., Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1) is superior to stereo for the large-scale classical music that I love. Depending on music genre, YMMV …
  4. I agree that identical L, C, R is ideal, so that all 3 speakers across the front have same the same tonal balance, and the center isn't drawing attention to itself. If you can't accommodate another Heresy IV, then consider an RC-64III. (I own two.) I suggest that you contact Cory Harrison at Metropolis Lake Outfitters, LLC. (aka Paducah Home Theater). metropolislakeoutfitters@gmail.com.
  5. Whether multi-channel is worthwhile for music depends on the genre. I listen to classical music and opera. My preferences for recording technologies: My favorite is modern performances/recordings (last dozen years or so) that were captured and mastered in hi-res (e.g., 24bit/192kHZ) multi-channel, and delivered on a Blu-ray audio/video disc featuring DTS-HD MA 5.0 (or 5.1) surround-sound. (A few Ultra HD Blu-ray opera recordings are starting to become available.) My second choice in formats are SACD and Pure Audio Blu-ray that feature surround-sound. (No video.) In all cases provenance of the recording is critical – i.e., modern recordings that were captured and mastered as hi-res multi-channel – NOT DSP-generated gimmickry applied to vintage recordings. IME/IMO, hi-res multi-channel (e.g., Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1) is VASTLY superior to stereo for the large-scale classical music that I love. There are countless modern (last dozen years or so) recordings of classical compositions that were recorded and mastered in modern “hi-res” formats, and delivered on multi-channel Blu-ray or SACD – and IME/IMO these hi-res multi-channel recordings “blow the socks off” stereo (particularly the 40-year-old Redbook CD format). If you’d like to read about a few examples: https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/202102-classical-recordings/&do=findComment&comment=2658804
  6. I can play “all-analog” - e.g., 1950s era classical LP pressings (i.e., no digitization), via 1950s era tube amps (e.g., McIntosh MC30s). I can play modern digital recordings via modern class D amps (stereo or multi-channel). I can play any combination of analog and digital, solid-state and tube, and modern and vintage. My first choice for classical music is modern Blu-ray audio/video recordings featuring DTS-HD MA 5.1, played via my choice of vintage tube amps. For those who tout vinyl, I ask: Have you heard top-quality modern hi-res multi-channel classical recordings played via your choice of tube amps? (I.e., no AVR involved.) Or, are you comparing your favorite LP system to an AVR (or home-theater-in-a-box)? Are you comparing your favorite LPs to DSP-generated pseudo-surround-sound applied to vintage recordings, or are you comparing LPs to state-of-the-art modern recordings that are natively hi-res multi-channel?
  7. I listen to classical music and opera. My preferences for recording technologies: My favorite is modern performances/recordings (last dozen years or so) that were captured and mastered in hi-res (e.g., 24bit/192kHZ) multi-channel, and delivered on a Blu-ray audio/video disc featuring DTS-HD MA 5.0 (or 5.1) surround-sound. (A few Ultra HD Blu-ray opera recordings are starting to become available.) My second choice in formats are SACD and Pure Audio Blu-ray that feature surround-sound. (No video.) In all cases provenance of the recording is critical – i.e., modern recordings that were captured and mastered as hi-res multi-channel – NOT DSP-generated gimmickry applied to vintage recordings. IME/IMO, hi-res multi-channel (e.g., DTS-HD MA 5.1) is VASTLY superior to stereo for the large-scale classical music that I love. There are countless modern (last dozen years or so) recordings of classical compositions that were recorded and mastered in modern “hi-res” formats, and delivered on multi-channel Blu-ray or SACD – and IME/IMO these hi-res multi-channel recordings “blow the socks off” stereo (particularly the 40-year-old Redbook CD format). If you’d like to read about a few examples: https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/202102-classical-recordings/&do=findComment&comment=2658804 I don’t know if hi-res multi-channel is relevant to the OP’s preferred music.
  8. Yes, I own many RCA Living Stereo (and Mercury Living Presence) recordings of classical music that were performed and recorded during the late 1950s and early 1960s. I own numerous such recordings that have been remastered from the original analog tapes (or 35mm film), and delivered on SACD. (In some cases, involving 3 channels.) And, I own numerous 1950s and early 1960s era LP pressings of such performances. IME, vintage recordings (whether delivered via LP, CD, or SACD) can sound surprising good - for 60+-year-old recordings. However, they pale in comparison to modern hi-res recordings. Have you listened to top-quality modern performances/recordings that were: Captured and mastered in hi-res, multi-channel. Meaning 24bit/192kHz multi-channel PCM, or DSD multi-channel. (This means performances/recordings from the last dozen years or so.) And, Made available to the consumer as a Blu-ray featuring DTS-HD MA 5.0 or 5.1, and/or SACD featuring multi-channel. And, Played by the consumer in the format that the recording was originally recorded/mastered in (e.g., 24bit/192kHz) - i.e., not down-sampled to the 40-year-old Redbook CD format (or other relatively-speaking compressed digital format)? And, Played on a top-quality multi-channel (e.g., 5.1) hi-fi system. Classical music lovers sometimes must decide which is more important: performance quality, or audio quality of a recording. I’m not a music scholar, and I’m not hyper-critical of a performance. Very often I enjoy modern performances of classical music. However, I have no tolerance for poor audio quality. I therefore choose modern performances (i.e., last dozen years or so) of classical music that were recorded in hi-res (e.g., 24bit/192kHz PCM), and delivered in a hi-res format. IME/IMO, vintage CDs pale in comparison to the sound quality of top-quality modern Blu-ray (and SACD) recordings. As a classical music lover, the good news is that there are MANY modern hi-res multi-channel recordings of classical music compositions. (And, there are many vintage recordings available on the 40-year-old-Redbook-CD, and the older-still LP format.) My point is that the classical music lover isn’t stuck with one recording technology, i.e., vintage vs. modern. The good news is that the classical music lover has a wide breadth of choices in recordings of the music that they love.
  9. I suggest that you investigate whether the Blu-ray player's Toslink interface has the bandwidth to output all hi-res audio formats without down-sampling to a lower resolution. With an outboard DAC, would you be able to play the SACD layer of a hybrid SACD, or the CD layer? Can all hi-res Blu-ray audio formats be supported via an outboard DAC that is connected via Toslink? I'm not a technical expert. With that said, my understanding is that the best options are an HDMI interface to a DAC (or AVR), or DACs that are internal to the universal player. Perhaps someone who is more knowledgeable can explain this.
  10. You're welcome. If you like Beethoven, a great way to get started is the box set that I referenced above. It's a great value. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Danish NSO Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1–9 Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64, TrV 233 I have 3 other Blu-ray box sets of Beethoven symphonies. If you're interested I can provide some information about them.
  11. Thanks for making me aware of IDAGIO. Do their classical videos feature hi-res surround-sound? Are you interested in a Blu-ray player that supports multi-channel (i.e., 5.1), or 2-channel (i.e., stereo) only? Will you be using an amp with an HMDI input (e.g., AVR), or an amp with traditional RCA line-level analog inputs? Budget? FWIW, I recommend getting a "universal player" that will play: • CD, • DVD, • DVD-Audio, • SACD, • Blu-ray, • Pure Audio Blu-ray, • Ultra HD Blu-ray, and • Hi-res downloads (e.g., 24bit/192kHz FLAC, and DSD). Following are some quick thoughts. If your amp supports an HDMI input, then consider the Sony UBP-X800M2. It’s cheap, and supports almost every format However, the UBP-X800M2 does not provide analog audio outputs (i.e., it’s HDMI only). If you are adamant that you only want 2-channel analog audio outputs from a disc player, but want the flexibility to support most modern digital audio and video formats, then consider the Sony UBP-X1100ES. Or, to save a few bucks, consider the earlier Sony UBP-X1000ES. For a multi-channel “universal player” with analog audio outputs, consider a used Oppo player: • Oppo UDP-205 (I own 2 of these.) • Oppo BDP-105 (I own 1 of these.) • Oppo BDP-95 (I own 1 of these.) There is a relatively new product on the market, but I have no experience with it: https://www.reavon.com/reavon-ubr-x200
  12. I’m also a fan of Yuga Wang, and I own the Blu-ray you’ve referenced. For those who aren’t familiar with Yuga, I’ll share 2 YouTube videos that I think showcase her talent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVpnr8dI_50 I love Yuga Wang’s performance of Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1, particularly the Andante. The following DVD has excellent audio quality (Dolby Digital 5.1 | DTS 5.1). When played on my Oppo UDP-205, the video quality of this DVD looks almost as good as Blu-ray. I’m also a fan of Khatia Buniatishvili. (I’ve seen Khatia perform live.) I enjoy this Blu-ray disc of Khatia performing: Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2 Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 I particularly enjoyed the Liszt. Excellent audio quality (Dolby Digital 5.1 | Dolby Atmos compatible Dolby True HD 7.1) and HD video. Here's one of my favorite YouTube clips of Khatia (unfortunately not available on Blu-ray): o Here’s Khatia and her sister Gvantsa performing together: Here’s Khatia and Yuga performing together: Full disclosure, I’m “kinda sweet on” Khatia. And, I’m “kinda sweet on” Anna Netrebko, Elīna Garanča, Nadine Sierra, and several other beautiful ladies of classical music. All good reasons for Blu-ray’s high-definition video, IMO.
  13. OP: I’m late in joining. (I haven’t had much time for forum activity in recent months due to being occupied with projects.) I’ll offer a short answer, and a long-winded one. Short Answer I’ll offer two quick examples that come to mind that are excellent state-of-the-art recordings of music that has significant dynamic range. (Perhaps I should say they are “near” state-of-the-art because they are Blu-ray vs. Ultra HD Blu-ray.) If you want to experience what a modern recording can deliver for large-scale orchestral music that has significant dynamic range, then play this Blu-ray of Mahler Symphony 2 on a high-quality surround-sound system equipped with large front, center, and right speakers, and large subwoofers. (And, of course, an HDTV to see the concert.) The following Blu-ray disc includes 2008 performances by Valery Gergiev, featuring the Mariinsky Orchestra and Ballet, in the Ballets Russes’ production of: The Firebird The Rite of Spring This Blu-ray features excellent quality 1080 high-definition video, and DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio (plus, of course, a hi-res stereo track). If you want to experience the full dynamic impact of The Rite of Spring, listen to the DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround-sound audio track, employing a surround-sound hi-fi system that features large speakers and subwoofers. (I listened on a system with a 15” powered subwoofer, plus a 16” powered sub, and front (L&R), center, and rear speakers that each have two 10” woofers - i.e., a total of eight 10” woofers plus two relatively large subwoofers. I say “relatively large” because some subwoofer aficionados would describe a 16” subwoofer as “mid-size”.) The timpani and bass drum that my hi-fi system delivered from this recording were articulate, had natural timber, and – at times – were EXPLOSIVE. I think that it’s interesting that in this performance of The Rite of Spring, the dancers sometimes clapped their hands, stomped their feet, and pounded the floor – which apparently is true to the original performance. (Based on what I understand from the included documentary.) The Rite of Spring isn’t quite my cup of tea, but I’m glad to have this modern audio/video recording of the music and ballet. I very much enjoyed The Firebird – including the costumes, dancing, and music. Ekaterina Kondaurova looks beautiful dancing the role of the firebird. (IMO.) The high-definition video delivers a stunning visual presentation of the dancers, costumes, and scenery. Long Answer I hope that members will pardon the fact that I’ve hurriedly cobbled together content from some of my previous posts. (I’m afraid that I don’t have much time today to edit for conciseness.) I enjoy classical music and opera, which (in my city) are performed live in a world-class purpose-built symphony hall (and opera house) where music is performed with no use of a sound reinforcement system, and there are no electronically produced sounds. (In other words, the music involves 100% natural sound produced by orchestral instruments.) My benchmark for the sound quality from my hi-fi systems is classical music performed live in its intended venue. Before coronavirus caused all concerts to be canceled, I attended more than 30 classical concerts each year, including season tickets to the symphony, and opera, plus several chamber concerts. Recognizing some variance in instruments and halls, I have a pretty good idea (technical term) for how orchestral instruments (e.g., violin, clarinet, trumpet, timpani, etc.) sound. My goal for the sound quality of recorded classical music played via my home hi-fi systems is to create the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall or opera house where classical music was performed live, and for inevitable deviations to sound pleasant vs. unpleasant – to my ears. One of my priorities is for the timbre of the orchestra instruments to sound natural. And I want my hi-fi systems to achieve dynamic range that approaches the live concert experience. Classical music lovers know that large-scale orchestral music can have significant dynamic range. I often cite Mahler Symphony 2 as an example. That's why I recommended the Blu-ray recording above. Certainly, recorded music can be enjoyed with less than state-of-the-art recordings and hi-fi systems. Classical music lovers sometimes must decide which is more important: performance quality, or audio quality of a recording. I’m not a music scholar, and I’m not hyper-critical of a performance. Very often I enjoy modern performances of classical music. However, I have no tolerance for poor audio quality. I therefore choose modern performances (i.e., last dozen years or so) of classical music that were recorded in hi-res (e.g., 24bit/192kHz PCM), and delivered in a hi-res format. My preferences for recording technologies: My favorite is modern performances/recordings (last dozen years or so) that were captured and mastered in hi-res (e.g., 24bit/192kHZ) multi-channel, and delivered on a Blu-ray audio/video disc featuring DTS-HD MA 5.0 (or 5.1) surround-sound. (A few Ultra HD Blu-ray opera recordings are starting to become available.) My second choice in formats are SACD and Pure Audio Blu-ray that feature surround-sound. (No video.) My third choice are 24bit/96kHz or 24bit/192kHz FLAC stereo downloads (e.g., HDTracks). In all cases provenance of the recording is critical – i.e., modern recordings that were captured and mastered as hi-res. (In a few cases high quality analog master tapes have been digitized at hi-res with fairly good results - e.g., some RCA Living Stereo, and Mercury Living Presence. However, IME these vintage recordings pale in comparison to modern state-of-the-art hi-res multi-channel recordings.) I understand that some people prefer to ignore the visual component of music. For example, some people prefer to listen to an audio-only recording of opera (perhaps because they are primarily aficionados of operatic singing). OTOH, others (including me) feel that the acting and scenery are an important part of an opera’s storytelling, and therefore prefer a Blu-ray audio/video recording. Blu-ray offers another significant benefit for opera: displaying the libretto (in one of several languages) on the HDTV screen. IMO the visual component of ballet is even more important. However, some people just listen to the ballet’s music. IMO, Blu-ray’s high-resolution video is also very enjoyable for classical orchestral concerts - i.e., seeing the conductor, musicians, and venue. Blu-ray has enabled me to see many symphony halls and opera houses around the world that I otherwise would have never seen. And some of the conductors and musicians are enjoyable to watch. Hi-fi sound reproduction is not limited to 2-channel audio-only recordings. There are countless modern multi-channel recordings, and IMO/IME these can far surpass the enjoyment delivered by 2 channel play-back. IME, one of the benefits of Blu-ray DTS-HD 5.1 is the potentially greater dynamic range compared with stereo. IME/IMO, the biggest advance in recorded music in recent years has been the availability of hi-res recordings of modern performances (last dozen years or so) of classical music, opera, and ballet delivered on Blu-ray audio/video discs featuring DTS-HD MA multi-channel audio, and high-definition video. Ultra HD Blu-ray recordings are slowly becoming available. When I connect my Oppo UDP-205 to vintage tube amps to drive high-end Klipsch speakers in a surround-sound configuration (including subwoofers), this configuration delivers a near-symphony-concert-hall experience. For classical music, Blu-ray audio/video, Ultra HD Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, and hi-res (e.g., 24bit/192kHz, or DSD) downloads are indispensable. IME/IMO, multichannel is FAR superior to stereo for classical music. And, hi-res audio is superior to Redbook CD. In my basement system (average size room), I have no problems with dynamics or deep bass, for any music. Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II. A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7. Subwoofers: SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW. Source: Oppo UDP-205 universal player, playing hi-res recordings of large-scale classical music. (The Oppo provides the bass management function, meaning that the power-hungry bass is off-loaded from the main amp and speakers.) I have multiple tube amps in this system. If I use, for example, a Scott 296 to drive the left and right channels, and a Fisher KX-200 (or Scott 272) to drive the center and (single) rear channel, there is dynamic range and frequency range approaching a live concert in a symphony hall. (These tube amps each produce approximately 30 - 40 wpc. If I want more muscle, I’ll use my LK150 which produces about 58wpc.) No problems with dynamics, or deep bass, for any genre of music. (For big-band music or folk music, my 8wpc single-ended pentode amp is adequate) I’ve converted 4 of my 5 hi-fi systems to multi-channel, because IMO – when playing modern classical recordings – the experience is far superior to listening to stereo. There are countless modern (last dozen years or so) recordings of classical compositions that were recorded and mastered in modern “hi-res” formats, and delivered on Blu-ray or SACD. IME, you can’t make a silk purse from a SOW’s ear. Garbage-in / garbage-out. Provenance of a recording is extremely important. Delivering a vintage recording in a “hi-res” wrapper doesn’t magically improve its quality. If you pour 5 gallons of milk into a 55-gallon drum, it’s still 5 gallons. (Recorded music can be enjoyed with less than state-of-the-art recordings and hi-fi systems. With that said, my point is that historic performances are limited to technology available at the time of the recording.) I’ll post just a few examples of modern recordings here. I you’d like I can post more recommendations in later posts, or you may wish to join this discussion on talkclassical.com: https://www.talkclassical.com/54011-blu-ray-videos-classical.html Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Danish NSO Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1–9 Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64, TrV 233 (I own 3 other Blu-ray audio/video box sets of modern performances of all Beethoven symphonies.) Jean Sibelius: Complete Symphonies "Tchaikovsky, The Complete Symphonies". Brahms symphonies by Paavo Järvi conducting the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Schumann Symphonies The latest concert series on Blu-ray that I’m enjoying: Bruckner Symphonies 1-9. Christian Thielemann conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden in 2012 – 2019 performances at several different venues. I have this Blu-ray box set of Mahler symphonies on order: I own two different Blu-ray recordings of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. My favorite is Franz Welser-Möst leading the Cleveland Orchestra in a 2016 performance at the Stiftsbasilika St. Florian in Austria. IMO this is an excellent example of what Blu-ray can offer – i.e., outstanding audio and video quality. Beautiful venue. I loved the performance. I also have several other Blu-ray audio/video box sets of symphonies. Plus several other classical concerts on Blu-ray. Plus numerous modern opera and ballet audio/video recordings on Blu-ray. (And a few in Ultra HD Blu-ray.) (Plus, many classical recordings on SACD.) After experiencing modern audio/video concert videos featuring high-def video, and hi-res audio featuring surround-sound, I greatly prefer this to listening to CDs (or streaming). As I mentioned earlier, you may wish to join this discussion on talkclassical.com: https://www.talkclassical.com/54011-blu-ray-videos-classical.html
  14. As with many things in the hobby of hi-fi, whether radio is “dead” depends on the genre(s) of music you listen to. The only time I listen to the radio is for background listening at dinnertime, and in the car. I love kusc.org: 100% classical 24x365, no commercials, human announcer. EXCELLENT. (For those who complain that “all good DJs are gone” … IMO this is an indictment against the genre of music you listen to, not radio stations in general.) kusc.com is available to me via Tune-In streaming radio service. (I think that my Google Home accesses kusc via iHeartRadio.) Four of my hi-fi systems are equipped with Chromecast Audio. (My fifth system is in my office, and I can play internet radio via my PC and a USB DAC.) I have a Chromecast Audio connected to the “Tuner” input of my pre-amp in my living room system My living room system can drive an amp and speakers for my dining room and kitchen/breakfast-room. When in my kitchen and breakfast room, I simply say: “Hey google. Play radio station Classical KUSC on Chromecast living room.” Separately, about a year ago we got a local classical radio station that is commercial free. At home, I can listen via FM broadcast (i.e., over-the-air). However, it’s easier to listen via streaming. (For example, while in the kitchen I can change the radio station via voice command.) IMO, the audio quality of streaming radio is good enough for background music when listening in my home. (Of course, my local classical FM station is a blessing in the car.) For serious listening, I enjoy Blu-ray and SACD discs that feature hi-res, and multi-channel. IMO/IME, FM and streaming are suitable for “listening in the background” while focused on something else.
  15. OP: Welcome I listen almost exclusively to classical music and opera. I’m happy with RF-7II driven by the right tube amps for large-scale classical music and opera. Synergy between speakers and amp is important. For my RF-7II, IME/IMO tubes such as 6L6GC are better with string instruments, however solid state is sometimes better with a piano’s sharp attack. If you can accommodate the width of Cornwall IV, I’d seriously consider them, based on reviews I’ve read. (I’ve never heard them, but I’m intrigued.) I’m not knowledgeable about playing music that is stored on a phone. (My favorite format is Blu-ray, following by SACD. I enjoy multi-channel surround-sound.) What bit depth and sampling rate are your files? Do you have any “hi-res” files? Have you considered hi-res recordings? How will you get the audio from your phone to the amp? What amp do you have, or are you considering? Are you aware that some vintage recordings have been digitized and remastered from the analog master tapes, and delivered in a hi-res format such as SACD or hi-res download or Pure Audio Blu-ray? You’ll find remastered recordings for all of the pianists you listed on hdtracks.com. You can find SACDs and Blu-rays on amazon.com. Provenance of the recording is extremely important. For decades-old recordings, the quality of the original recording is the ultimate limiting factor. A decades-old recording will not have state-of-the-art audio quality – even if it has been remastered. Classical music lovers sometimes must decide which is more important: performance quality, or audio quality of a recording. I’m not a music scholar, and I’m not hyper-critical of a performance. Very often I enjoy modern performances of classical music. However, I have no tolerance for poor audio quality. I therefore often choose modern performances of classical music that were recorded in hi-res. Do you listen to any pianists who have recorded in the last dozen years or so? There is a wealth of modern classical performances that were recorded and mastered in hi-res (i.e., 24bit/192kHz PCM, or DSD), and delivered in a hi-res format (e.g., Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, hi-res download). Blu-ray delivers high-definition video, in addition to hi-res audio. (Usually – but not always – Blu-ray discs include both DTS-HD MA 5.1 and stereo tracks.) Here’s a few Blu-rays that might interest you. (I don’t own any of these, so I can’t comment on their quality.) The audio quality of your hi-fi will never be better than the audio quality of the recording. Garbage-in/garbage-out. High-end Klipsch will reveal any harshness in the recording, and any harshness in the DAC and amp. I suggest that you consider all factors that affect audio quality – not just the speakers. Good luck, and please let us know your results. P.S. You asked about the hi-fi systems that classical music lovers use. Following are my current configurations. TV room: Main front left & right speakers are Klipsch Palladium P-37F. Center: Klipsch RC-64III. Single rear: Klipsch RP-502S. Subwoofer: Klipsch P-312W. The source is an Oppo UDP-205 for playing Blu-ray and SACD, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. I generally use vintage tube amps for music: Scott 399, McIntosh MC225, Fisher X-1000, Scott 299C, McIntosh MX110Z / McIntosh MC240. I use solid-state amps for movies (and summertime): NAD C375BEE, and an NAD D 3045. A patch panel (banana plugs) allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and Niles AXP-1 RCA selector switches connect the Oppo to the amp. HDTV is connected via TOSLINK to the UDP-205 to play audio from broadcast TV via the hi-fi. Chromecast Audio is connected via analog audio to the NAD C375BEE for internet radio. Basement: Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II. A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7. Subwoofers: SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW. Source: Oppo UDP-205 for playing Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. Amps: Scott 272, Inspire “Fire Bottle” SE Stereo Tube Amplifier HO, Scott 222C, Fisher KX-200, Scott 296, Pilot SA-260, Scott LK150, Altec 353A, Kenwood KR-9050. (This system also has a Schiit Loki tone-control. I can connect the power amps direct to the Oppo, or insert the Loki.) A patch panel allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and F/F RCA cables enable me to connect an amp to the Oppo, and a power amp to the Loki if I choose to do so. Chromecast Audio is connected via TOSLINK to the UDP-205 for internet radio. Living room: Stereo speakers are Snell Type CV. Center: Klipsch RC-64III. Single rear: RP-502S. Subwoofer: Klipsch P-312W. The source components are Oppo BDP-95 for playing Blu-ray, SACDs, and CDs (and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings), and Dual 1249 with Stanton 681EE equipped with a new Shibata stylus. Amps include a pair of McIntosh MC30s, Scott 296, McIntosh MX110Z / McIntosh MC275, a pair of Pilot HF-56 mono receivers, an NAD pre-amp and Acurus A250 power-amp for movies, and a McIntosh 2155 driving JBL L830s in the kitchen / dining room. A patch panel (banana plugs) allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and a F/F RCA cables enable me to connect an amp to the Oppo. Chromecast Audio is connected via analog audio to the NAD pre-amp for internet radio. Bedroom: Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch WF-35. SVS SB-2000 Pro subwoofer. Source is an Oppo BDP-105 for playing Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. Fisher 500C drives the left & right speakers. Fisher TA 500 (AM/FM mono receiver) drives the center speaker. Chromecast Audio is connected via TOSLINK to the BDP-105 for internet radio. Office: Stereo speakers are JBL L880. Sources: Oppo DV-980H SACD/CD/DVD, and my Windows 10 laptop with Music Streamer II DAC. Amps: Fisher 800B, Scott 299B, and an NAD D 3020 for general internet use (and summertime).
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