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WIRED: Symphonie Digitique

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"Streaming Music Doesn't Flow, It Evaporates" written by Virginia Heffernan.

Listening to streamed tunes through a smart speaker squeezes the ecstasy out of the experience. There are ways to get it back. [Link to article below.]

Alexa has no knack for pianissimo. Here's how to tell. Set her to living-room volume and ask her to play Berlioz's rapturous epic of sex and opioids: Symphonie Fantastique. The opening passages should be erotic and feather-light, but on the Echo the massive orchestra comes through as smothered whooshes, the exhalations of a pint-sized table fan caked in dust.

This was practically the first thing I read this morning. I have an Echo, but I absolutely do not (and will not) use it to listen to orchestral works or big dynamic pieces. Geez. Even my Adelphos two-way speakers aren't quite up to the task without a subwoofer tucked into a WAF-acceptable corner.

What do you think?

S Clark:
I guess it comes down to your expectations.  Our kitchen Echo gets played a lot-- by my wife while baking (Phil Collins radio) or by me cooking dinner (Rossini Overtures, Light Crust Dough Boys, Andres Segovia, or whatever).  It's just background music and not actively listened to, but at least there's music playing.  If I want a submersive experience, I've got other systems for that purpose.

Nick B:
What S Clark said. I donít have an Alexa, but if I want background music, then I play one of the great fm radio stations that Roon has listed. Any serious listening is usually after 9:00 pm

All I kept saying to myself while reading this article was "Duh, what did you expect?"

The author complains about the lack of dynamic range and fidelity from the Echo device. Well it only has a 3" woofer. If you are looking for dynamic range and fidelity you had better look elsewhere. The Echo is all about convenience, not good sound. It is good enough for many consumer level listeners, it does not, nor did it ever claim to provide audiophile sound.

Let's be real the echo is a device that contains speakers an amp, a WiFi connection  streamer software and a DAC that all retails for less money than many audiophiles pay for a single fuse. How good did she think it was going to sound? This is like bringing a pocket knife to a gunfight and then complaining that the guy with the AR-15 has an unfair advantage.

Then she goes on to complain about the music sounding compressed when she chose a device that plays MP3 files, which is compressed music by definition.  :duh

But what took the cake was the statement that "Only if you change your streaming settings to high or very high can you begin to hear a song or piece at near CD quality." Really??? Has this guy ever heard of Tidal or Qobuz???

For somebody who is writing for a supposed high tech web site she is really pretty clueless.  :-k

But I don't know what I expected. Anyone who complains that they cannot reproduce the dynamics of a full symphony orchestra with a single 3 inch driver has pretty much lost any sense of credibility with that single statement alone.

You don't go out and buy a Mini Cooper if you need to haul 4x8 Sheetrock for a carpentry business and likewise you don't buy an Echo if you are looking for high fidelity sound.

  No Echo , no Alexa we do it the ole fashioned way. We stream the Radio for background music. "The Ranch" from Ft Worth Texas.



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