Digital Audio Makes You Sick

I came across the following item as I was surfing Lynne Fuston’s site:

Mark Levinson astonished Forum attendees with the revelation that the PCM recording system that is currently used for our CDs, DVDs, television, and cell phones has a negative effect on the body-and that, in addition to the extraordinary improvement in high fidelity, one bit technology has a very positive physical effect. With a demonstration utilizing kinesiology techniques to identify factors which block the body’s natural healing processes and show weaknesses through pressure point testing of muscle strength, Levinson put forth a compelling case.

In a “blind” test on several audience members selected at random, PCM elicited an across-the-board negative response, indicating high stress levels, while response to Super DVD was overwhelmingly positive. Geoffrey Fushi commented: “When Mark did his tests, a shock wave went through the audience. I hope that the recording industry will make a decision to drop PCM and transition to one bit technology-both for the amazing high fidelity and postive phyical effect, and the potential boom in sales as public enthusiasm gains momentum.”

Mark Levinson is an interesting character and a legend in the high-end audiophile community. I find it very odd though that PCM would have a negative impact on the body. I rarely listen to PCM when I play CDs, DVDs, etc. More often than not I prefer to listen to speakers. Last time I checked my speakers were not pushing air one bit at a time. But why let such matters interfere with a good story.

I took a look at one of Mark Levinson’s products, a $6,700 USD CD processor, called the No. 390s. This modestly priced CD processor uses the Analog Devices AD1853 DAC which offers the following attributes:

The AD1853 is the first audio DAC to support the 192 kHz Sample Rate now included in the DVD-Audio specification. The AD1853 is fully compatible with sample rate from 32 kHz up to and including 192 kHz. It also achieves 120 dB Dynamic Range and Signal-to-Noise Ratio without muting and 107 dB THD+N.

The AD1853 also features a superior Digital Filter with 115 dB stop-band-attenuation. The AD1853 uses Analog Devices’ exclusive Multibit Sigma-Delta Modulator with “Perfect Differential Linearity” for reduced idle tones. It also features Analog’s patented Data Directed Scrambling to minimize sensitivity to jitter. The AD1853 also includes a click-less on-chip volume control.

Well, this is bad! The Mark Levinson CD Processor uses a multibit sigma-delta modulator. What’s worse is Mark’s perspective on CD players, even those he tries to sell at $6,700 USD:

We have learned that no matter how much money is spent on CD players and CD-based systems, the results are never truly satisfying.

I’m glad I didn’t buy this CD player after all. Not only does it sound bad but it would have made me sick. My iPod works fine though because I always feel great when I listen to it. MP3 files stream one bit at a time.

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