DSD256 upsampling for silky smooth tango nirvana

One of the persistent issues with tango music is the edginess. This is the most obvious with Pugliese. These are surely amazing recordings by great artists. They’re into the 40’s and the transfers are all very good. A lot of the harshness of earlier transfers has been solved by the more recent “Golden Ear” transfers by TangoTunes. And yet. These are not easy to listen to. There’s a brightness and edginess that makes them shouty and brittle. A sure recipe for listening fatigue. This is actually an issue with a lot of the 40’s recordings. I love D’Agostino’s Adios Arabal precisely because of the punchiness and dynamism. It’s really the epitome of danceable tango. And yet, it can be a bit in your face. There’s almost too much information coming at you if you’re just listening in your room. Or something.

In my journey as a musician and an audiophile, as I’ve been moving to ever greater heights of music production and reproduction, I find myself leaving a lot behind. I left behind the mp3 for CD quality FLAC only to abandon that for HiRes 24/96 files thinking that I’ve reached audiophile nirvana, alas only to then arrive at the holy grail of DSD. It was really an accident. I got a DSD256 quality recording by the Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio Misty for Direct Cutting. I tried to listen to this but my fairly high powered Mac was nonetheless struggling. I had to quit apps and avoid using the machine otherwise it was skipping. So I wasn’t really spending much time on this. But then I gave it another go. I found my room turning into a jazz club. I was hooked.

I got a bunch of other DSD transfers of music I already had in 24/96. My eyes glazed over. 24/96 receded into the distance as I bathed in the warmth and silkiness of DSD. I had no idea that it’s possible to improve so much from 24/96. I’m in audiophile heaven. But then I thought, darn, those tango transfers are in the 24/96. How can I endure going down to such an inferior format. My tango experience will never come anywhere close to the heights of the DSD.

Then an idea popped into my head. I’ve been using x2 upsampling on Audirvana, so that a 96kHz would be doubled to 192kHz, which I found was a noticeable improvement. I remember that Rob Watts of Chord Electronics (or maybe it was the Dutch audiophile guy on Youtube) said that actually upsampling works well because the whole idea is to smooth out the curve, which has been chopped up by digitisation, as you turn it back into an analogue form. The upsampling function guesses which information, which parts of the curve, are missing. This is actually better done by the computer software because computers have more processing power than DACs. You just need a DAC that’s capable of taking that upsampled information and my Chord Qutest can take up to DSD256.

So I had a look at the upsampling function on Audirvana and found that it can upsample to DSD256. I gave it a go, and lo and behold, what a difference! I tried it on D’Agostino Adios Arabal, D’Arienzo El Flete, and Pugliese Amurado. Everything sounds way better, but the most obvious difference so far I’m finding is with the 40’s recordings. When I switch back and forth, with the upsampling turned off, Adios Arabal sounds in your face and shouty. Upsampling smooths it out but without losing any resolution, and it actually it adds resolution. And what a difference with Pugliese. All the edginess is gone, and there’s loads more resolution and depth. Twenty seconds into the tune there’s a line of 16ths with the piano in the background. All harshness is gone and the piano is much clearer in the space behind the other instruments. Emotional impact and listenability in bucketloads. No listening fatigue, you just want more. I think this is it, I’ve arrived. That is, until I get into tube amps or something.

Post Scriptum

In a recent video Steve Guttenberg of the Audiophiliac Youtube channel touches on two topics pertinent to this blog post: the history of the Super Audio Compact Disk (SADC), and what different people look for in high fidelity sound.

Also, the Cambridge Audio website have an article which explains why DSD/SACD, while it failed to take off as a replacement for the CD, has remained as a specialist format into the era of computer audiophile:

DSD also came into being for slightly different reasons to most other formats. In the 1990s Sony and Philips worked together to develop the replacement for the CD. The result was Super Audio CD, a format supported by our CXU Universal Blu-Ray Player. The high resolution content on SACD discs is encoded as DSD. SACD didn’t go on to replace CD and remains a specialist format, but the world of digital audio has moved into places beyond physical discs.

This left DSD a format without a medium, but the ‘character’ many people feel that DSD brings to music has meant that it has returned as a downloadable format that can be used via UPnP Streaming or USB. So what is this character? Many fans of the format say that there is a naturalness and tonal sweetness to DSD that’s not found in more conventional formats and that it’s easier and more forgiving to listen to. This is hard to prove outright but our view has always been to try and let people decide for themselves

https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/usa/en/blog/what-dsd

Indeed, this is my experience, the music sounds smoother, more natural and easier to listen to without losing resolution or dynamic range. Perhaps this can be characterised as “euphonic sound” as opposed to detail, and many audiophiles look for that, and perhaps that’s what you want in listening to tango music.

Why the libertarian right is changing the rules of the cultural game

The current status quo has been established by the left and their set of rules. If you want to teach tango or play music you have to follow the rules of this leftist power elite. Whatever space they control you must submit to their ideas. They are the gatekeepers. They particularly have focused on controlling all spheres of cultural production. Join some sort of forum dealing with art, architecture or music and if you show a negative attitude to modernism and a preference to traditionalism in the sphere of cultural production you will quickly be mobbed and anyone there who might want to support you express themselves in a weak way thereby only to reinforce the power of those who tolerate no criticism. Because of their numbers for the most parts it’s going to be aggressive feminists. The modern liberated woman gains so many social and economic advantages in the current social order that it’s fair to say that women have long become a new privileged aristocratic class that’s parasitic on men and their labour in the developed world.

Given that the conservative libertarian right has developed an analysis of this situation over the last couple of decades, and in some cases even longer, we are now in the process of developing strategies to circumvent and undermine this oppressive system. There’s a quiet revolution underway where spaces that are controlled and dominated by the left are essentially being abandoned and alternative spaces are being developed that are explicitly exclusive of the left and resistant to their encroachment. The left is identified and excluded and abandoned. It’s basically down to being a power game and the objective is to convince those who are still on the left-dominated spaces on and offline—Facebook groups, forums, music and dancing events, art galleries, etc.—to abandon those spaces as alternative right libertarian spaces are demonstrably viable and liberating.

The rules used to be that if you want to play music or organise tango you had to get a space and do marketing on social media. Both in terms of the physical space for the event and the online social media you’re required to pander to the whims of the leftist aristocracy comprised predominantly of entitled feminist women who positioned themselves as forum moderators, as well as their beta-male, white knight minions. The fundamental weakness they suffer is that the leftist project depends entirely on destroying the old and building a “brave new world”. It’s not that difficult to destroy, the problem is to build something that’s of any value in it’s place. What they’re trying to do is to destroy a culture that has evolved over centuries and has stood the test of time in the belief that what they can build will be vastly superior. However, they only succeed in degrading all of culture and produce a culture of transient, fake, kitsch experiences that leaves everyone hungry for substance. They can destroy but they can’t build. They devalue the old but the new that they present fails to prove of even equal worth.

So they control the rules but they can’t then substantiate their position of power by way of a product of any value. By stark contrast, the conservative libertarian, while excluded from the dominant sphere of cultural production, has now complete monopoly on the vast resources of traditional Western culture. All of the great works of Western art are accessible to us and now we are in full possession of it. As they have been busy dispensing with this stuff and attempting to reinvent the wheel, we have been acquiring and curating the old that actually provides real spiritual liberation. As they waste countless words on forums and FB pages trying to justify getting rid of the old and doing everything “nuevo”, we’ve been busy acquiring antique knowledge and skills that we can provide to the spiritually starved masses. The masses will resist but ultimately will have to yield because their spiritual starvation is unbearable.

The consequence of this is that the libertarian right actually has the real “soft power” which the left claimed for themselves on the grounds that left liberal culture protects the rights of women and minorities, and is thereby “virtuous”. Our soft power is based on our a monopoly on spiritual fulfilment in the form of Western culture. Our art, music and architecture is the real thing that provides real fulfilment, and all we have to do is to convince those who are as yet undecided of the value of that. And to do that the libertarian right is changing the rules, abandoning the so-called mainstream channels, rendering them an echo-chamber of vapid gesturing with nothing of substance to offer. They still do their progressive dancing events and flash mobs but there’s no energy in any of this. It’s falling flat and people are leaving. The whole things has descended into kitsch consumerism. All the energy is with the libertarian right who have the cultural goods and all new technological advances are actually liberating us from the confines of progressivist Facebook gulags and wall-to-wall mirror dancing studios filled with brain-dead narcissists.

Jolly Scholar: gender fluidity ideology is part of a university mediated eugenics program to break down social cohesion

I think it’s very interesting how the whole transgender ideology is moving unabated, and is taking over Argentine tango along with everything else. I predicted this because I saw how it was clearly a program being developed in the universities. What is less clear is why. Standard progressive ideas can’t explain it because it’s so clearly contradicts the basic tenets of feminism and undermines women’s rights. If you told me twenty years ago that women would have to compete with men in sports, including sports in which they basically beaten up by these men, that they would have to share their showers with these men, who still have male genitalia, and that basically being a women is a matter of dress and preference, I’d have thought that the feminists wouldn’t allow it.

However, I did see homosexuals et al in the universities becoming even more aggressive than the feminists and it eventually became clear that feminism would be left behind as part of the old world, to the point where feminists are viewed as conservative bigots. So clearly the standard explanation that this is “progress” can’t stand up to scrutiny. The universities are part of a wider agenda to abolish society as a whole, ie., to abolish any social structure that might stand in the way of total power of those at the top, by abolishing all meaningful distinctions.

The Jolly Scholar thinks that religious experience is central in human life, which I totally agree with, and his analysis of what the agenda is and how it’s being carried out by the university system seems very illuminating. One of it’s consequences seems to be that anyone who’s a product of the Western university system needs to be treated with suspicion, and probably needs to undergo deprogramming, perhaps by way of reading my blog daily for an extended period of time.