BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”

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Ilkatze

I thought I would share my experience with the BDP-3.  It was just over two weeks ago that I got my player in the early evening.  In preparation, I’d ripped all my music to FLAC (uncompressed) on solid state drives.  I’d also made two backups of the music on other drives.  The space where my BCD-1 had been was clear, and the AES/EBU cable was ready for its new connection.

I left the dealer with my new Bryston piece.  It was a slow drive home through snow- and ice-covered streets.  Once inside, I removed the player from its box, connected the antennas for the internal Wi-Fi (does anyone else have a BDP-3 with internal Wi-Fi?), connected the power cord, connected the drives to USB 3.0 ports, turned on the player, and fired up a laptop to access the player’s interface.

Nothing happened.  I wasn’t able to connect to the player.  I started a thread on the Bryston Circle, and on the next day, Chris (“unincognito”) resolved my problem–I wasn’t using the correct password.

With the password matter out of the way, everything was ready to go.  It had been around a month since I’d had listened to any music.   It was now time to listen.

The sound was terrible.

I checked settings and connections.  The sound was still terrible.  I listened to numerous pieces, and it was all terrible.  I couldn’t believe it.  What I was hearing was at odds with everything I’d read about the BDP-3.  My heart sank.

I wrote James to tell him about the bad sound I was hearing.  Everything with the digital player  was identical to what it had been with the BCD-1.  The equipment and cables, the furniture, the listening position . . . . it was all identical.  I didn’t suspect bad CD ripping.  I thought maybe James would have an idea of what could be going on.  He said he couldn’t think of anything, but suggested I try using the S/PDIF connection.

I ordered a new cable with BNC connectors.  It arrived a few days later.  With the new cable, everything was still bad.  In the meantime, I’d written James to say that one good thing I’d noticed was that the presentation of voices and instruments seemed more precise, as if I could point to where performers were seated or standing.  But the overall sound was awful.

I’d written James that it seemed as if there were tone controls on the preamp (BP-26) that someone had used to turn down the treble and  midrange.  I’d written also that the sound seemed to have collapsed, as if I’d gone from a concert hall to a room with sound padding all around–walls, ceiling, and floor.  I mentioned that I didn’t see myself keeping the digital player.

I have an old DVD player (Pioneer DV-410V-K) with a digital output.  I connected it to the DAC (BDA-1) with a short digital cable, and there it was:  the sound I knew and remembered from the BCD-1.  The three-dimensional sound had returned, the treble was back, and everything was good again.  I ordered a longer cable to reach to where I normally keep the DVD player.  After the new cable arrived, I’d confirm the superiority of the sound from the DVD player through the DAC to that of the digital player.  I’d also rip a CD from a FLAC file to confirm that the sound from the newly created CD was also superior to that of the file as played through the digital player.  After that, I’d write James to ask that my digital player be tested for malfunction.  I was absolutely convinced that something was wrong with the BDP-3.

The new cable arrived.  I had the digital player and DVD player ready to play the same music (I still had CDs I’d ripped).  I hit play to listen to music from a CD sent from the DVD player, then I switched to the digital player to listen to the same piece (both units were playing simultaneously), *knowing* that the sound would suddenly be radically different and bad.

But it wasn’t.

I couldn’t believe it.  I was hearing the same thing from the player that I was hearing from CDs.  I played multiple pieces from multiple CDs.  I took breaks and repeated the exercise.  Still no difference–aside from the more precise imaging from the digital player (mentioned earlier).  I was completely relieved, but also surprised.

The “bad sound” had all been in my head.  It was unsettling.  I’d been certain that the sound was different, and I would have sworn to it in a court of law.  Really, I would have.  I continued my listening for a few more hours.  Then I continued listening over subsequent days.  After that, I listened some more.

It was confirmed.  *I* had been the problem.  It wasn’t the cables, it wasn’t the digital player, it wasn’t the ripped files, nor was it anything else of a technical nature.  It was psychoacoustics.  I still find it curious how my memory of music heard over years could have been so awry.

I now hear everything as I’ve heard it before–even a little better in terms of  imaging.  I’m a happy owner of Bryston’s BDP-3, and I retract my “blasphemy”.  I’ll add that I’m impressed more than ever with James.  He was amazingly polite in his response to my message to him.  I’d have been thinking something like “Ugh, who is this clown writing me?  He’s off the rails.”

I’m not sure anyone will find my experience interesting, but I thought I’d share it nonetheless.  The factor one’s perception can have in music listening and sound judgement (pun intended) is not to be underestimated.

Happy listening, everyone, and as Laundrew says,

Be well . . .

neekomax

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #1 on: 20 Feb 2018, 02:25 pm »
Interesting post. I don't have any experience with the gear you're using, but I have had 'bad listening' days when music from my system just sounded off or unsatisfying. And it was just kinda... me.

The brain is a weird and wonderful thing.  :D

Mag

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #2 on: 20 Feb 2018, 03:21 pm »
IME it takes about 2 weeks of regular listening for your brain to adjust to new or different equipment or sound. Don't analyse your stereo when you are sick with cold or flu it usually sounds terrible. I believe your body rhythm plays a role, for most people it's in the evening when they are winding down after work that their stereo sounds better. Some attribute this to cleaner power at night, which I believe is also a factor.

Then there is equipment break-in, for example my Model T passive speakers, it happened somewhere between 50 to 100 hours of music playback. When they just opened up, out classing my Paradigm Studio 100 v2 (which I still use in surround duty) in every way, though the sound signature sounds the same to me. :smoke:

Ola_S

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Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #3 on: 20 Feb 2018, 03:22 pm »
It was psychoacoustics. 

Maybe you mean placebo? Psychoacoustics is the science that describes how we hear, perception of sound.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoacoustics

Ps I prefer to play CD's via my Sony CDP XA-5ES to my BDA-2 compared to playing the same ripped files via the BDP-2. I have done one blind test that I failed so it might be placebo here too  :oops:

Ilkatze

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #4 on: 20 Feb 2018, 03:40 pm »
Hello, Ola_S.

I'm thinking that in the case of my experience, psychoacoustics can apply, as one's "personal expectations, prejudices, and predispositions", for example, can play a role in what one hears (noted in the article you link--the reference there is in connection with cognitive psychology).  At the same time, my experience does lend itself to a placebo aspect.  In fact, I used--loosely and facetiously--the expressions "anti-placebo" and "reverse placebo" in a separate note to James.

What strikes me as unusual is that never before have I had this experience.  If anything, I would have expected (and did expect) an improvement, however subtle, in the sound.

I'm just glad to be listening to music again, and it's nice to know that you have had a similar experience with your Sony unit and BDA-2.  Good to know I'm not alone, so to speak :)

Elizabeth

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Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #5 on: 20 Feb 2018, 05:15 pm »
I find it interesting that the op here immediately put the 'fault' in his head.
Many folks would rather die than think anything was their own fault.

But here I have to add in the problem may have been 'breaking in'. That the equipment needed to settle in. and the final play with it sounding good was when the unit had broken in.


Ola_S

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Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #6 on: 20 Feb 2018, 05:21 pm »
I'm pretty sure that people that are conducting research in area of psychoacoustics would strongly disagree  :wink: (a friend of mine has been conducting research in psychoacoustic for more than 10 years). They want to find out how we actually hear, how do we decode sounds (in the real world) and that has nothing to do with things we think we hear (quite the opposite actually). How do we decode height, azimuth and distance to a sound source? can we here phase distorsion? etc are questions that the scientists in the field of psychoacoustics want to answer.

James Tanner

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Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #7 on: 20 Feb 2018, 07:32 pm »
I'm pretty sure that people that are conducting research in area of psychoacoustics would strongly disagree  :wink: (a friend of mine has been conducting research in psychoacoustic for more than 10 years). They want to find out how we actually hear, how do we decode sounds (in the real world) and that has nothing to do with things we think we hear (quite the opposite actually). How do we decode height, azimuth and distance to a sound source? can we here phase distorsion? etc are questions that the scientists in the field of psychoacoustics want to answer.

WOW that sounds really interesting - I know when we were doing the blind tests at the National Research Center in Ottawa back in the Floyd Toole days it was very surprising to me how my preconceptions of different speakers affected my opinion of them (will tell you the Timewindow speaker story some time).  Part of what I learned was that what we precondition ourselves to hear in many cases is what we actually hear until proven otherwise.

Ola has your friend given you any insights into what the research is showing?

james

CanadianMaestro

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #8 on: 20 Feb 2018, 07:58 pm »
It's climate change.

Bizarre.   :scratch:

Ilkatze

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #9 on: 20 Feb 2018, 08:50 pm »
Hello again, Ola_S.

I understand that psychoacoustics relates to the science of the physics of hearing (please forgive the characterization if it comes across as oversimplified).  I understand also that physiology/neurophysiology is encompassed within the field.  It is the case as well that psychoacoustics is interdisciplinary and includes aspects of psychology and psychological research (other related areas, too, as noted, for example, in the article you referenced).  I have no quarrel with what you mention--it's true, after all.  I merely expressed my experience from a different perspective (in this case, part of my non-Bryston Circle life connects with experimental social science).

It is more the cognitive aspects of psychoacoustics--one of numerous aspects/areas of study which can fall under psychoacoustics more generally--that I had in mind when I wrote my post.  Put another way, my attention was not centered around physical or neurological aspects specifically or exclusively of perception, but, rather, around cognitive aspects.  It might be a matter of definition as to whether certain approaches to something (sound perception as a construct generally, in this case) fall under a more general or global label (e.g., psychoacoustics), and I'll grant that there may be/can be/is disagreement on that matter.

The spirit of my post was merely to present an instance in which one's interpretation (i.e., perception along a more cognitive axis) of what one hears can influence one's affirmation or statement as to the character/nature/etc. of what is heard.  Perhaps it would have been preferable to write “It was just me” in place of my "It was psychoacoustics" sentence.

All that aside, I share James’s interest in any insights your friend has given you :)
« Last Edit: 21 Feb 2018, 04:19 am by Ilkatze »

Ilkatze

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #10 on: 20 Feb 2018, 09:20 pm »
To Elizabeth:

I like the line in your post about how “Many folks would rather die than think anything was their own fault.”

I guess I wanted be at fault and live to tell about instead of taking the route of the dirt nap.

James Tanner

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Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #11 on: 20 Feb 2018, 09:30 pm »
Humility is a wonderful trait. :thumb:

james

Bendingwave

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Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #12 on: 20 Feb 2018, 10:24 pm »
What one might believe it to be all in ones head, I believe its actually more of an ear issue then a psychological one....Many factors that can effect one ears from just the climate or temperature change.....A cold or flu can effect ones ears or even a ear infection or vertigo etc....Traveling from low to high altitude can also effect ones ears....Excessive ear wax build up can effect ones ears......AGING growing old can effect ones ears.

Couple years ago I thought one of my speakers was going bad, turns out it was one of my ears that was going bad and not the speakers. LOL

gene9p

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Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #13 on: 20 Feb 2018, 10:56 pm »
yeah..a sound meter and white noise disc proved it's my ears...dammit..and I changed so much gear to 'FIX' the problem..LOL

CanadianMaestro

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #14 on: 20 Feb 2018, 11:51 pm »
@bendingwave

Effect = a change that is a result or consequence of an action.
Affect = to have an effect on; make a difference to.

cheers

Bendingwave

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Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #15 on: 21 Feb 2018, 02:38 am »
Holy shit I didn't know there was a grammar moderator on the forums. SMDH LMAO

Calypte

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #16 on: 21 Feb 2018, 04:25 am »
@bendingwave

Effect = a change that is a result or consequence of an action.
Affect = to have an effect on; make a difference to.

cheers
I approve of the correction  :)

CanadianMaestro

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #17 on: 21 Feb 2018, 12:18 pm »
Holy shit I didn't know there was a grammar moderator on the forums. SMDH LMAO




mrhyfy

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #18 on: 21 Feb 2018, 03:05 pm »
this well written and thoughtful OP calls into question the pointlessness of our hobby.   IMHO :o

Mag

Re: BDP-3: My experience and a retraction of “blasphemy”
« Reply #19 on: 21 Feb 2018, 04:06 pm »
this well written and thoughtful OP calls into question the pointlessness of our hobby.   IMHO :o

I don't think our hobby is pointless.

It was around 2005 I attended a Blue Rodeo concert at our city's auditorium (good acoustics). I had a seat in first balcony to the right of the stage. The sound was awesome, well balanced sound spectrum between treble, mids and bass. I realized that my stereo set up then wasn't even in the ball park in replicating what I had heard.

So I continued my progressive upgrades as I could afford and believe that I have achieved that 'live' sound of Blue Rodeo I heard that night. My reference is the cd 'Blue Rodeo Greatest Hits', 5 Days in May, when I listen to that song, I say to myself "that's it, that what it sounded like."

One could say all things in life are vain so why do anything?
The goal for me was 'live like' and I achieved that except that a stereo recording is an artificially created soundstage, therefore not exactly as the real thing.

Take the original recordings of Deep Purple- Made in Japan. I can tell you that the 25th anniversary remastered sounds a heck of lot better than the originals. The mix is definitely artificial, compared to the original recordings, it sounds 'live like' but obviously not the Real Thing. :smoke: