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.... I don't know what I like - I haven't done it yet, Tim.


While I agree in principle about noise reduction being bad in general, SOMEhow dbx (and I know how...) always seemed able to work a magic that no one else could though - in a way that was quite obvious to my ears under the right circumstances.


It was like this: Back then, we made cassettes (or reels) to preserve our vinyl and later to have something of our own programming to play on 'the road'. Those would be the cassettes, but I did know a guy that put a reel to reel in his van. Turntables didn't really work well in the car though........ unless you were parked. LearJet (I think it was) did make an automotive turntable early on. ....getting the picture? There were no mobile CD players or iPods in 'them daze'...... It was pretty much radio/vinyl ---->magtape for moving music around. I suppose that I could have learned guitar though.....


Dolby pretty much always sucked except in the earliest days of 'hi-fi' cassettes, and then later in automobile cassette audio - I found dolby valuable in those instances for increasing dynamic range that was limited by the format. Dbx sounded much better - however it was almost totally unavailable built-in to cassette machines (especially the mobile variety) unless you recorded it yourself (Thank you TASCAM - .....I've been recording for a long time). Everyone knew that the best tape collection was self-recorded in that day and age. The commercially released titles were almost always on inferior grade media. To use dolby (or even dbx) on reel to reel was just....... well you just should have bought a better reel to reel tape recorder...... People did it though.


In addition, the audio chain for most popular music in those days was somewhat noisier from the microphones on up the chain than now. This didn't 'trickle-up' very well to cassettes in particular. There were however, releases even back then that sounded worse with NR when recorded to your cassette. Those were the more well-thought-out recordings IMO ....... I have more of the former material in my vinyl catalogue that the latter though. I have a feeling that dbx just might be a good thing in my case.



If it sounds good, it IS good!


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I hadn't thought about Sheffield in a -l-o-n-g- time!


You just got me to thinking too.... When I actually heard CD's for the first time ( and not the pre-hype) - I heard them on good equipment in professional spaces - , I expected a 'resurgance' of Disco to be the next step in the plot to--- F*** UP the music AGAIN!!!--- (my apologies to disco lovers....)



Have I mentioned here that I LIKE R&B, but disco is just TOO much? heheheh





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have I mentioned....OH never mind... When I looked at my virgin vinyl copy of the first album (I have other copies of it) and got the fever to hear it, I decided to look to see what was available on CD, saw "24bit remastered" and bought what was on Amazon - the 30th Anniversary Releases ( Columbia Legacy ) of Santana (the first) through Caravanserrai. All four. All but the Caravanserai say that they are 24 bit remasters - the latter just says 'digitally remastered'. They all say that they are from the "Legacy" series however. The first 3 also mention Sony's super bit mapping (SBM) being used. Caravanserai doesn't. The catalog numbers sequentially: CK65489, CK65490, CK65491, CK63595 (I guess Caravanserai was released first?)


To my ear the four CDs aren't much different in sonic quality from the vinyl - in GENERAL now... I know the material and recording techniques are different but Carlos always did bring a 'certain level' of audio quality of his releases and shows. I love these versions (maybe because I don't have to wear my vinyl out now.....?). I haven't thought to check for a "24 bit" version of Caravanserai.


I saw Santana their first time through San Antonio (amazing live sound!!!!) and again on the tour for III. All of the music from I-III was played and some of Caravanserai as well. I'm happy with the sound on the 30 yr. Legacy releases. Don't know if there are better releases out there that would force me to buy another box with pretty lights on it in order to be able play them......



"The only thing that you ever know, is that you never know....." me. just now.

edit: Oops! Just saw that you had already made your buying decisions Steven


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According to the Whitburn book, the first Santana album (with the black and white cover) entered the Billboard charts in September, 1969. As I recall, I first heard this album at a party right after it came out. My roommate had a Columbia Record Club membership, and received Abraxas as his October, 1970 monthly automatic selection. While attending college, I managed a record store run by that big distributor up in Minneapolis (but I forget its name), and I recall seeing it (Abraxas) about the same time. Santana III came out in the Fall of 1971 (until Caravanserai came out the following year, I thought this was Carlos' best record). Caravanserai (Fall, 1972), Welcome (December, 1973) and Borboletta (October, 1974) were a major departure from the hard/Latino rock of the first 3 albums. They showed the jazz influences of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chick Corea on his appreciation of music, and they also showed his spiritual enlightenment that culminated in his recording with John McLaughlin that was called, Love, Devotion and Surrender. Borboletta remains my favorite Santana LP to this day, although I can understand why it was not a big seller.


Steve Miller was one of my favorite rock artists UP TO Number 5, with my all-time favorite, Recall the Beginning; A Journey From Eden never even making the charts. I lost interest in his music as soon as he went commercial with several of the things that followed —The Joker, Fly Like an Eagle and other such pabulum. Things started taking a turn for the worse when Boz Scaggs split from the group after Sailor; Miller started to abandon his blues roots, although much of the stuff on Brave New World & Your Saving Grace ranks among his best written tunes.


I would recommend, the hits compilation called Anthology as an easy way to get an intro into early Miller because most of the tunes on it come from the pre-Joker era;

it even has the best tune off Recall The Beginning (which has never been released on CD). One caveat, though: The selections from Sailor don't sound nearly as good as those on the actual album.


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In my personal transcendental dictionary, there is a picture of Carlos right next to the word "Tone." I confess. I even like the recent pop stuff. For the most part he picks his duet partners well, and besides. I'd probably wade through Britney Spears if Carlos was playing the fills between her toneless blabber. The sound he makes soothes my soul.


I've never listened to Steve Miller; I've only heard the hits. Nothing against him, just something I've missed along the way. I'll watch for Anthology.




I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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...you weren't impressed with the Steve Miller "hits" Tim. I wasn't, and apparently Steven agrees with me as well. His best work is before the "Joker" period IMO. Compared to his early work, this was just to us, 'selling out'. It could be however that the later music is what soothes *his* soul. I hope so, because he certainly helped bring wonderful music to us in the early albums.


I'd disagree with Steven ONLY in that I would include "5" in the early pantheon of greatness, but I might just have been a bit different style of umm ........ partyer than Steven was at that point..... ahem.... The album, and Steve's guitar sound, takes a decidedly more psychedelic bent. I have to admit though, that it is at around that point in the SMB's development that my interest in them began to wane. Boz's leaving was probably the biggest factor. SM's desire to continue to eat and still not get at day job probably was 'in there' too.


I'd agree with you that Carlos does not seem to have a true peer in his command of the 'tone' of the guitar. He also seems to have been able to transcend the hits and blows that a musician takes on their psyche in the course of doing the business that is necessary to survive in the music business world. His music and the music he participates in still ring clear as a bell to my heart.


This makes me wonder what Steve Miller has been up to of late.... I noticed yesterday that he is soon to come to Austin at our infamous outdoor 'Backyard' venue that is stuck out in the hills west of town ( it is surrounded by development now though.... sigh.... ). Joe Cocker (?!?!?) is listed as a special guest. Maybe .... baby it' high time we went!.....




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Zee Mad Dogs, Zee Englishmen, and Joe Cocker'!!! I loved that album and that period for Cocker as well. On one of Clapton's Crossroads festivals I was surprised to see Chris Stainton on keyboards with Clapton. He looks exactly like he did on the Mad Dogs tour except he looks, umm, old. My mother used to buy Cocker's LP's when I was about 16 and tell people they were for me. She also took me to this country music Sunday afternoon matinee/concert once. Some of the scenes in "I Walk the Line" remind me of that afternoon. There were maybe 200 people there. The guy she wanted to see was not well known at all but he had just released an LP called "And Then I Wrote" and she loved both his writing and voice. We met him after the show. I remember he was wearing a suit and no cowboy hat unlike the others on the venue. Very personable, pleasant man. He was, of course, Willie Nelson. I was about 12. Mid sixties, I think.


Sorry, that was about as far off topic as you can get but pleasant memories.


Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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.... except maybe for MontyW. He hasn't said a word (unless I missed it...) since 3/15/08: "Do you have a link to the Cosecant?" - I hope Gordon over at Empirical helped him to quench his upgrade fever!


Meanwhile, the name of this topic should probably now be: "OFF" - the 'Off Topic". I love it! Chris has already said that he does too. You guys are really "Letting it all Hang Out" - just like the "Little Ole Man" in Bill Cosby's old single. I think that is pretty awesome! I'm a 'stream of consciousness' sort of person myself and this certainly is......


I enjoy reading about pleasant memories and great music - and people's opinions on those! Willie has both written (and 'stolen') and played some of the best of that music over the years. I sort of like his acting too. Probably not his best example of acting nor the best production, but one movie that always makes me both laugh and cry is one called "Songwriter". Maybe I'm prejudiced because the movie was dedicated to the memory of a long-gone-missing friend of mine. A real life gambler/player/and more..... That dedication was what informed me of that friends passing on. Be sure to see it if you can miss it (sic).



Thank you for reminding me of that Rick!




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  • 1 month later...

Hi guys,


Thank you for all the replies... and recommendations. My apologies for taking so long to reply, but work commitments along with my search for the ultimate DAC (at least as far as my ears are concerned) has been a long and bumpy road.


I decided not to go the Steve Nugent Emperical way as I did not wish to gamble on sending my DAC overseas and I was unable to hear one in the UK. I also looked into a Dutch company who modifies the DAC1 :




These guys are supposed to be great at modding the DAC1, but again I couldn't get a demo, so I had no idea on how well it sounded or otherwise.


Then I came across someone who had a Lavry Engineering Black DA10 hooked up to a Squeeze Box 3 and I really loved the sound of the DA10 in his system. We set up the DA10 in my system using the SQ3 and not direct from my Mac using USB as the DA10 does not support USB. We used the spdif connect and again I liked what the DA10 did.


I then looked into Lavry and did some reading on the Blue DAC, but again I was unable to find anyone who was using one or would let me demo one at home. I then came across a guy who lives not to far away that is using the DA2002 which unlike the Blue is designed for the home rather than the studio.


We hooked this up via my recently bought Duet and wow was I amazed at the sound coming from my speakers. Clear, refined resolution, a greater depth to the bass coming from speakers and a lack of dryness that I was experiencing from my Benchmark DAC1.


So I still have the Benchmark DAC1 and like what it does for the money, but I'm saving hard for a DA2002.


All the best,




Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Hi Monty - Thanks for the update on your little project. I've heard wonderful things about the Lavry products but never experienced them first hand. I hope you'll get one sometime soon and tell us all about it.


Have you looked at Weiss products? Here is a link http://www.weiss-highend.ch/products.html


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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Hi Chris,


I did get to listen to on Weiss DAC but it was DAC1 - MK2 hooked direct to my Mac via optical Toslink. It was very, very good, but in my humble opinion was bettered by the DA 924 and my fav the DA2002.


I would love to hear the Weiss high-end Firewire DAC, but they are very rare here in the UK.


I do like what my Benchmark USB DAC does for the price. In my view it is bettered by the Lavry Blue which is only marginally more expensive, but is a pure studio DAC and some would find it difficult to live with its looks, especially sitting on a rack in a living room!


Probably just a minor point, but when using some of studio DACs, I did find the best sonic performance was in the main via Firewire (when this was an option), not USB, optical or coaxial.


All the best,







Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Hey guys,


Any idea why I found Firewire sounded better than USB on some recordings? Technically shouldn't there be no audible difference?






Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Ideally both would sound the same. But, not every engineer or manufacturer has the same skill level or the same likes and dislikes when it comes to designing a product. Neither one of these, USB or FW, are intrinsically better then the other. It all depends on the implementation of the technology. Just like some Redbook CDs sound better than their SACD counterparts.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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