back to article Audiophiles: These Wi-Fi speakers have a stereo drift of less than 25μs – good enough for you?

Although this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was chockablock with Bluetooth-connected wireless speakers, the UK's Imagination Technologies bucked the trend: it demoed its own wireless-speaker tech, the Wi-Fi–enabled Caskeid system. Caskeid – pronounced "cascade" – was announced last September, but CES 2014 was the …

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Anonymous Coward

If you're going to transmit sound over the air then you need to have a clean house, low dust and the right temperature.

You need Monster polish and cloths for your furniture, proven to offer much better sound quality when using Wifi sound.

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Anonymous Coward

That or gold plated antenna.

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Monster polish is indeed good but did you buy the AK407 OxyUnit dish to hold it in? Since getting mine I have a much more crisp and faithful reproduction in fact it might now sound better than the live recording. The AK407 OxyUnit Dish has made an incredible difference. It vibrates the polish to keep it at optimum gloopyness. They told me the dish has added carbo nano oxy molecules added in at creation as it's being hand woven. It was a real bargain at £3,000 as well. I'm tempted to buy more so I can leave the Monster polish in different parts of the house. I think having more of them might even have a cumulative effect and so it might sound even better!

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Anonymous Coward

"That or gold plated antenna."

And the gold plated Monster branded mains cable is able to filter out all that dirty electricity so the speakers don't pick it up, you don't want added harmonics in your sound? do you?

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Don't forget the Denon interconnect cable for your router.

http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AKDL1-Dedicated-Cable-Version/dp/B000I1X6PM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389734781&sr=8-1&keywords=denon+cable+cat

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More Monstrous

Better than Monster Polish, I find, is Swizöl International’s Divine car wax. The Monster cloths work well with it though, so I agree there.

Although ostensibly a car wax I find it equally efficacious for furniture and at only $2,800 surely a bargain basement option.

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Go

Don't forget the acoustic cloth

As room layout and hard furniture causes standing waves.

Available for a very reasonable £1/cm2 from all branches of "I'm Rich Sounds".

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Anonymous Coward

Don't forget to put your MP3 drive on a 500kg granite block to cut down on vibrations. And make sure you use a gold-plated USB cable for a warmer sound.

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> Don't forget the Denon interconnect cable for your router.

[amazon link]

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed:

Uranium ore, "Fresh Whole Rabbit", "The Best of David Hasselhoff", and the "JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser / Tank"

Really? I think "Tom 35" has some 'splainin to do...

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Bronze badge

You're wasting your money. I read somewhere in a magazine once that the best way to improve sound quality is simply to adjust all the screw heads in your house so that their slots are aligned vertically. You might need to replace a few Philips screws, of course, but that's a small price to pay for audio bliss.

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Lie Lanes

" adjust all the screw heads in your house so that their slots are aligned vertically."

But you will need the £5000 ley-line detector to endure perfect alignment of all the screw head slots.

(the £5k is for an app -- the stand-alone model is based on the 'explosives detector' like wot was sold to the Middle East and goes for £20k)

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WTF?

RE: "If you're going to transmit sound over the air "

Well how else unless you live under water or press your ear to the ground to pick up vibrations via the mastoid bone?

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"put your MP3 drive on a 500kg granite block to cut down on vibrations......"

Jest ye not !

The Marantz Special Edition version of their CD63 CD player has a metal bracket within as, apparently, one of the first steps designer Ken Ishiwata took to upgrade the design was to stiffen the case.

Personally, I suspect that the bracket was added to boost the weight by about a kilo so buyers felt that the extra cash they paid for the SE version bought something more substantial than the less tangible changes to circuitry.

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TRT
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Re: "put your MP3 drive on a 500kg granite block to cut down on vibrations......"

Temperature stabilised interconnects anyone?

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Bronze badge

For hifi wifi transmission the best air is no air

The second best is air that is completely unreactive to those wifi signals

My living room atmosphere is now 99.999% helium-4

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Re: For hifi wifi transmission the best air is no air

Excellent advice on all the Monster polish and cloths etc. I think I'm going to get out some of my old C90 compilations and see how good they sound now!

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Facepalm

Not forgetting to ensure that you have gold plated connectors on your TOS link cable.

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I've got an idea - Fibre optic cables directly to ones earlugs.... Hardly any delay then ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More Monstrous

The real problem is the air. It's basic science, the radio waves generate minute ionic imbalances in the air molecules which effectively scramble the individual bits in the data steam, that's why all blue-tooth and wi-fi sound is fuzzy and unclear. The only solution is to pump all of the air molecules out of the house and fill it with inert Argon or preferable an Argon/Xenon mix (73.2% 26.8% has been found to be the optimal ratio) this will provide the perfect medium for the radio waves to full synergies and reach optimal coherence and allow them to interact with the antennae with enhanced magnetic flux and much smoother field lines. Your simply will not believe the difference in tonal balance and purity in the final audio.

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Also, one requires a gold-plated vice...

A vice to clamp one's vacuum-bearing skull in position, positioned *precisely* equidistant between the two time-aligned speakers.

How far does sound move in 25us?

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Coat

Why would I want that cheap tat, when there's this:

http://www.futureshop.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=5848#.UtaQQJ5_vVE

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Mushroom

I was interested to see on the page you link to.. in the people also viewed category this item ->

http://www.amazon.com/Images-SI-Inc-Uranium-Ore/dp/B000796XXM/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_2

:/

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Anonymous Coward

Don't forget the Denon interconnect cable

I'm sure that cable could be plugged in the wrong way round. It also appears to be coiled so the electrons on the outside of the coil have further to travel. That means either a mushy signal or possibly a differential L/R delay.

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The "The Best of David Hasselhoff" was not me!...

Actually all of them are items that have loads of "funny reviews" on Amazon.com.

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Anonymous Coward

No, it is not

"Good enough for you?"

No. Simply because it it more time coherent does NOT mean that it actually sounds good. Time will tell that judgment.

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JDX
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Re: No, it is not

Hearing it go wrong as you move rooms is far more noticeable than a minute difference in the 120-125Hz range.

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Re: No, it is not

Never ceases to amaze me what people will pay and do to avoid using a piece of wire. (Failing which, an analogue RF transmitter/receiver which will maintain coherence of 1us per quarter-kilometer, or thereabouts).

Of course if you are turning a typical MP3 file into sound, it's FUBAR whatever you do with it. The only decent audio file is one that's compressed losslessly, if at all.

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Thumb Down

Caskeid – pronounced "cascade"

Seriously - who are the fscking idiots who come up with these names?

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Coat

Re: Caskeid – pronounced "cascade"

Some pretentious kuntt(TM), that's for sure.

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Re: Caskeid – pronounced "cascade"

Google, the trademark office registry, and focus groups :P

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TRT
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Re: Caskeid – pronounced "cascade"

You mean a cunch of bunts?

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Re: Caskeid – pronounced "cascade"

Stupid spellings are so you can trademark them. You can trademark 'Caskeid', but not 'Cascade'.

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Re: Caskeid – pronounced "cascade"

You can trademark "Cascade" for audio products, if no-one else is already using that name in connection with audio or digital networking. The latter has a problem: www.cni.net Maybe they decided the phonemes first and the lawyers decided they had to change the spelling?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Caskeid – pronounced "cascade"

> Stupid spellings are so you can trademark them. You can trademark 'Caskeid', but not 'Cascade'.

That's so leim...

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Facepalm

Less than 25us? Why?

Ok. 400ms is an utter disaster. That is worse than the sort of delay you get an outdoor concert.

But *microseconds* between separate speakers? It's pointless in even a professional scenario (unless they're in a mathematical array, like a line array). Sound travels just over half a centimetre in 25us! No one sets their speaker positions, (and I won't even mention the LISTENING position) to that level of accuracy. And he's talking about multiroom accuracy: you could have 10ms+ delays for that and it wouldn't be audible.

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Re: Less than 25us? Why?

because audiophools will believe anything.

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Meh

Re: Less than 25us? Why?

They never cease to amaze me with their awe-inspiring lack of critical thinking.

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Re: Less than 25us? Why?

"Ok. 400ms is an utter disaster."

Nope, he said "300, 400 microsecond", not milliseconds. That's (at worst) 0.0004s drift.

I agree, 0.4s would be bad, but to answer his question:

"they're sending the exact same audio information to each speaker and just kind of hoping that their 300, 400 microsecond drift is not that noticeable to you"

They're getting away with it then, as no, it's not f**king noticeable! It's the difference between 12cm, which frankly I could generate by accident simply by turning my head.

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Re: Less than 25us? Why?

"Ok. 400ms is an utter disaster."

It actually isn't. By my calculations, it's a little over 5 inches, which is about what would be the least if you leaned over on the couch. As it turns out, the volume difference in that instance would ruin the stereo positioning before any delays are noticed.

A concert hall is an utter disaster, depending on where you are, the distances are a short stroll. But that's the LEAST of your worries, the echos around the location will by far drown out any stereo positioning you may have hoped for.

As you've said, delays are but one of many issues to contend with, that turn out to have the least effect compared to other sound quality issues that would be more apparent.

Like a Marantz sales rep said to me when I questioned their use of 256 times oversampling on their CD players (verses 8 times that everyone else uses) - "I know it doesn't make a difference, you know it doesn't make a difference, but people don't buy CD players, they buy numbers."

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Stereo sound

If you have Stereo sound it's important that the sound arrives on time. Just think of your own ears, they direct sound by the time differences between the signals. So a millisecond delay difference would already be rather noticable. (=> roughly 30cm at the speed of sound) I don't know if 25us (roughly 7.5 mm) is relevant, but it's likely that if you employ any kind of technology which gives you sub ms accuracy, 25us is a low hanging fruit.

Then there's another problem. What if you have people putting multiple speakers on top of each other? In this case you will get your original signal added with the delayed signal. You will get something called a Finite Response Filter. In this case it most likely acts as a low pass filter, and the delay specifies it's cut-off frequency. (actually it's a comb filter with evenly spaced nulls in it's frequency response, and the delay gives you the spacing. higher delay => lower spacing, you want to make sure that no spacing is within your audible range) 25us is 40 kHz, considering that you want 15 kHz still to be transmitted perfectly and the filter probably isn't to steep, it's not unreasonably to go that far.

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Re: Stereo sound

"If you have Stereo sound it's important that the sound arrives on time"

And it seldom does. You'd have to be rigidly fixed between your two speakers and never move.

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Boffin

Re: Stereo sound

Stereo sound still arrives on time even as you move your head. The stereo image that your brain builds becomes less precise and moves somewhat with you, but I think phase is not the only thing informing you of position.

However, the problem here is, I assume, nothing to do with stereo phase and everything to do with the delay between different rooms. 400ms is a serious echochochochocho... you can quite easily hear a 25ms delay as a discrete echo, but at a millisecond or less then you're more likely to hear the effect as colouration in the frequency response.

So it's *nice* to have the sound coming out of the speakers synchronously. How often anyone stands in the doorway listening to two rooms at once I have no data on - although the issue may be leakage from adjacent rooms. It can be achieved far more cheaply and simply by using either signal level cabling with local amplifiers, or speaker level (15A mains cable works well) for a single amplifier.

But I suppose actually using wire is just so last century, darlings.

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Re: Less than 25us? Why?

Easy one -- he pretty much stated that he can go sub 25us as soon as his 'competitors' get close.

To me, that means he has a 'Pro' version already to market.

'Pro' meaning the usual for tech kit -- anything but.

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Re: Stereo sound

Plus, if the time delay varies, it will have the effect of sweeping the filter - much more noticeable than a fixed filter,

Anyway, what audiophile is going to listen to Pure Jongo's? Is a true audiophile even going to be interested in multi-room? They've spent ages positioning the chair in the sweet spot between their Klangfilms, single-ended triode amp and Garrard 401.

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Re: by turning my head.

I read that last bit as "tuning my head"

And then thought that you had come up with another audiophile application which no-one needs.

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Re: Less than 25us? Why?

"Nope, he said "300, 400 microsecond", not milliseconds. That's (at worst) 0.0004s drift."

Ah. I wonder was the article edited? I would have sworn it said ms there when I replied.

But yes, 400us is absolutely nothing in this context!

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Re: Less than 25us? Why?

""Ok. 400ms is an utter disaster."

It actually isn't. By my calculations, it's a little over 5 inches, which is about what would"

To clarify, I used 400**ms** deliberately, as I thought that was what the article said.

400ms is nigh on 400feet. My experience with Apple's Airplay encoding has been delays in this sort of region.

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Re: Stereo sound

"What if you have people putting multiple speakers on top of each other?" Well yes, this is a scenario I hadn't considered.

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Re: Stereo sound

@Neil - he doesn't say 400ms (milliseconds, or thousandths of a second) though, he says 300 or 400 microseconds. 400 millionths of a second - 0.0004 seconds.

While head movement won't make that much of a difference, I've just done the maths on a set of speakers 1m apart, listening position about 2m. The distance to the left and right channel, if you're directly in the centre, is 2.062m. If you move even 20cm to the left, the left channel is 2.022m away, the right channel is 2.119m away - a difference of 9.7cm. Or, in other words, a ~300 microsecond delay. Just by moving 9.7cm off-centre.

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