Jump to content

2 Possibilities - what are your thoughts

Recommended Posts

Although my first venture into computer audio (mini->toslink->digital in on Levinson 390S) resulted in excellent usability, but inferior sound (to the CDP). I'm committed to continue and make it work. Problem is that I can't try the alternatives, but here is what I'm thinking, let me know your thoughts. The underlying constraint is that I don't want a full size PC/Powermac in my listening area/living room - so mini/macbook is my source.


1. Mini->Weiss Vesta via firewire->Berkeley Alpha DAC (via aes/ebu)->preamp


2. Mini->Weiss Minerva/DAC2 via firewire -> preamp


What do you think? Cost is always a consideration, but both options can work (I'd love 2. to be as good as 1. and save some dough, but have an open mind).


Many thanks



Link to comment


I have the No,2. Still smiling. Still trying to get better sound by room conditioning, equipment placement and software upgrade. I went with the DAC2 with my eyes wide open; in spite of the nagging thought behind me that there may be something better out there. (No question mark....)


IMHO No. 1 somehow does not go with a Mc Mini. The setup seems to be crying for a Mac Pro, Lynx card and the Alpha DAC. This way you have no avenue to say you dont have the best possible system in the world. Nevertheless your setup could be an intresting/expensive excercise.


Elsewhere in the forum, Vortecjr has started a strange thread that sounds interesting. A note book via a Magma Box. This could be one helleva Audiophile rack solution, if it sound as good as it sounds.





Best of Luck. Either way audiophile happiness is a fleeting mirage.


Qnap NAS (LPS) >UA ETHER REGEN (BG7TBL Master Clock) > Grimm MU1 > Mola Mola Tambaqui /Meridian 808.3> Wavac EC300B >Tannoy Canterbury SE


HP Rig ++ >Woo WES/ > Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD2

Link to comment

hatari, I'm curious in how the mini->toslink->390S fell short compared to the CDP. Just worse all around?


FWIW, are you using a glass toslink cable or one of the cheaper and rather common plastic ones? For example, http://www.parts-express.com//pe/showdetl.cfm?&Partnumber=180-951


Also -- you're probably way past this -- are you confident you have your computer configuration (in iTunes and Audio Midi) set up right?


2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

Link to comment

Flatmap: yes, glass cable. The sound just flat compared to the CD, but not unbearable in any way. Just goes to show (me) that the Levinson is a very good CDP. iTunes setup all good, but thanks for the check.


Zerung: sounds like an external solution is possible. My view is that the Weiss Vesta is essentially an external PC soundcard-equivalent in No 2. It's stupid expensive compared to getting a PC together, agreed. Given the quick pace of change, I want to focus on the software and the DAC - the rest will certainly be outdated in months (hence sticking with the cheap mac mini).




Link to comment

Have you considered tryig alternate interfaces to your existing DAC if your happy with the sound you get via CD transport?


fireFace 400 is often meantioned and about $700 iirc. There are other interfaces that connect f irewire (or USB) to a DAc and support 24/96 or in many cases 24/192.






...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

Just goes to show (me) that the Levinson is a very good CDP.


Ah, I remember hearing a Levinson CDP (combined with preamp) back in the 90s. Boy, did that sound wonderful. Pure, quiet, involving... I can see how this might be hard to beat.


iTunes setup all good, but thanks for the check.

Ah, darn. Are you ripping to AIFF or ALAC? If ALAC, then try AIFF.




2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

Link to comment

If I remember this right, there where problems reported (wasn`t it in "Stereophile"?) that the digital inputs of the ML 390 S aren`t as good as they should be (as of the specs).


It may depend on the soft- and hardware revision you own (there was a hardware change of the digital and DA - boards about three years ago - know that for sure because I was strugged with a little prob then, and have sold the 390S because of this ... o_O ).


You might check for this before you consider to buy an external (and expensive) DAC like the Weiss Minerva (DAC"). Maybe you could get a USB/Firewire audiointerface with rca and/or AES/EBU digital output which might provide be a better connection to the 390S.





Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Last Wed. I heard a Mac Mini into the new Ayre USB DAC via USB cable then into their top Preamp, then mono's into B&W 802 Diamonds. The sound was supreme!


Keep in mind if you go the Mac Pro > Lynx > Berkley Alpha, that the Berkley functions as a preamp as well as a DAC, sell your preamp and shorten the signal path.....


\"It would be a mistake to demonize any particular philosophy. To do so forces people into entrenched positions and encourages the adoption of unhelpful defensive reactions, thus missing the opportunity for constructive dialog\"[br] - Martin Colloms - stereophile.com

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...