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Steve, besides the $1000 price difference what are the component and audible differences between:

 

1. Hand-built Signature Overdrive with premium parts - $3699.00

 

2. Machine-built standard Overdrive - $2699.00 (estimate - available summer 2009)

 

I assume both come with the Substation.

 

To what end would one still add a Empirical Audio Pace-Car 2 reclocker to the Overdrive DAC?

 

Also, the sample rate options are not clear?

 

Sample-rates supported in synchronous modes: 44.1 and 96. Optional 88.2, 176.4, 192

Sample-rates supported in asynchronous mode: 44.1 and 96. Optional 88.2

 

Is this a mod, an option, can the unit have all of the above and what is the cost?

 

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"Steve, besides the $1000 price difference what are the component and audible differences between:

 

1. Hand-built Signature Overdrive with premium parts - $3699.00

 

2. Machine-built standard Overdrive - $2699.00 (estimate - available summer 2009)

 

I assume both come with the Substation. "

 

The differences are stated on the website:

 

- A large number of Black-Gate electrolytic capacitors

- Point-to-point perfect-crystal™ silver wiring for the analog output stages

- Upgraded output coupling caps — V-Caps and Sonicap Platinums

- Hand-assembly with silver-loaded solder

 

Audible differences are:

 

Signature has more dynamics and better clarity due to the black gates and the better coupling caps.

 

"To what end would one still add a Empirical Audio Pace-Car 2 reclocker to the Overdrive DAC?"

 

If you wanted to use one of these with it:

 

Apple-TV, Transporter, Duet, Squeezebox, AirPort Express, Fireface400, Fireface800, Lynx AES16, Lynx AES22, Wadia 170 iPod Dock, Sonos, Tascam US-144, EMU 0404 and lots of other devices.

 

"Also, the sample rate options are not clear?

Sample-rates supported in synchronous modes: 44.1 and 96. Optional 88.2, 176.4, 192

Sample-rates supported in asynchronous mode: 44.1 and 96. Optional 88.2

Is this a mod, an option, can the unit have all of the above and what is the cost?"

 

44.1 and 96 are standard. 192, 88.2, 176.4 are optional and may have limited combinations. I need to know exactly what you are trying to do to and what devices it is working with to quote the custom configuration.

 

Steve N.

 

 

 

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Steve N was asked and answered ...

"To what end would one still add a Empirical Audio Pace-Car 2 reclocker to the Overdrive DAC?"

If you wanted to use one of these with it:

Apple-TV, Transporter, Duet, Squeezebox, AirPort Express, Fireface400, Fireface800, Lynx AES16, Lynx AES22, Wadia 170 iPod Dock, Sonos, Tascam US-144, EMU 0404 and lots of other devices.

 

Sorry if I sounding cynical here Steve ... but are there any digital "transports" (computer or otherwise) that you feel are adequate/worthy to use with your Overdrive DAC without needing the Pace-Car reclocker??

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...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.

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Steve,

 

I must mirror Eloise's comments above. And I'm sorry, but I just don't get the extreme pricing of your products.

 

I mean - there are other audio cards and DACs out there virtually eliminating jitter for far less than your prices.

 

It's your hobby, they're hand built, great ... but larger production runs are cheaper and producing the same results ...(100% sure of that given research elsewhere)

 

Matt.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Not sure if you were addressing that to me or to Matt ... but I was genuinely asking if there are any devices that Steve does feel have adequately low jitter output. His list included pretty much every device that people here mention on the forum as good devices into other DACs of a similar cost (yes and some that there are doubts about - i.e. Apple Airport Express)

 

I'm not trying to be clever, or cause trouble ... but some posts on this (and every other forum) seem to be so biased towards one product. Steve is of course a manufacturer and so obviously he is biased towards his own products ... but how about a little impartiality ... I also know he was answering a direct question so he wasn't just randomly advertising his product.

 

It just seems to me a little suspicious that his $3700 DAC needs another $1250 (or even more depending on the spec) spent on it ... I'm not saying it's not good ... but if his list is to be believed for MOST computer audio sources you'll need to spend significant additional money.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...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.

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The Overdrive has a usb interface built in (the off-ramp 3) which is (apparently) as good as the pace car when using a good usb cable. Therefore, one only needs a computer with usb. The other devices are just options in answer to the question "when would one benefit from using the pace car with the overdrive". At least, that's my take on the matter.

 

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Hey Eloise, I was half jokingly half seriously talking to Matt, hehe. Have you visited the Empirical Audio section on the Audio Circle forums? There is a good bit of information there; it certainly cleared a few things up for me concerning Steve's products. Steve and others had a listening session in April and briefly compared his Overdrive to the Berkeley too. Apparently the Overdrive itself with a straight USB connection is excellent, but the Off-Ramp 3 or Pace Car which provides an option for the native I2S connection directly to the DAC takes it to another level. As you might be aware, this connection is available on a handful of DACs currently available and is being offered on the new PS Audio PerfectWave DAC. It's the lowest jitter connection available (much better than SPDIF) and avoids Sample Rate Conversion period.

 

david is hear[br]http://www.tuniverse.tv

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So to stem my curiosity is of a case of (just within the range)

 

Computer --USB--> Overdrive ... Good

Computer --SPDIF--> PaceCar --I2S--> OverDrive ... better

Computer --USB--> Offramp --SPDIF--> PaceCar --I2S--> Overdrive ... best

 

Is that a fair summary of Steve's products? And using 2 the source of the SPDIF doesn't make much difference?

 

Just getting itsorted in my head

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...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.

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"Sorry if I sounding cynical here Steve ... but are there any digital "transports" (computer or otherwise) that you feel are adequate/worthy to use with your Overdrive DAC without needing the Pace-Car reclocker??"

 

Sure, my Off-Ramp 3 USB to S/PDIF converter.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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"I mean - there are other audio cards and DACs out there virtually eliminating jitter for far less than your prices."

 

In your dreams my friend. The Pace-Car is the BOMB. There is nothing on the market that touches it. Why do you suppose I have customers using it with all of the devices that I listed? Because it looks pretty? I think not. Go look at some of the feedbacks from my customers.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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"Steve and others had a listening session in April and briefly compared his Overdrive to the Berkeley too."

 

Yes, and that was a $7K modded Berkeley. The Overdrive was still better. With it's volume control, its a giant-killer, definitely not overpriced.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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"Computer --USB--> Overdrive ... Good

Computer --SPDIF--> PaceCar --I2S--> OverDrive ... better

Computer --USB--> Offramp --SPDIF--> PaceCar --I2S--> Overdrive ... best

 

Is that a fair summary of Steve's products? And using 2 the source of the SPDIF doesn't make much difference?"

 

Its more like:

 

1) Computer -- high-quality USB--> Overdrive ... outstanding

2) Computer --cheap SPDIF or other device --> PaceCar --I2S--> OverDrive ... even better

3) Computer --Offramp --SPDIF--> PaceCar --I2S--> You would not do this, you would do this instead:

 

Computer -> cheap USB cable -> Tascam US-144 -> cheap S/PDIF cable -> Pace-Car -> good S/PDIF or I2S cable -> Overdrive DAC

 

This will be equivalent to (2), but using USB.

 

All things driving the Pace-Car will sound identical, whether its AppleTV or Lynx AES16.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

 

 

 

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"Steve, so would the absolute best scenario be Computer > High quality SPDIF > Pacecar via Revelation I2S > Overdrive? "

 

Yes, but a high-quality S/PDIF going into the Pace-Car is not necessary, just a good cable coming out. A Radio Shack $10 S/PDIF cable will sound identical.

 

"Would there be any advantage / disadvantage in using a high quality AES interconnect instead of the SPDIF?"

 

Depends on the DAC. The Overdrive has S/PDIF, I2S and USB inputs.

 

Some DACs will sound better driven with AES from the Pace-Car 2. For most, S/PDIF is fine. The cable also plays into it. If the AES cable you have is better than your S/PDIF cable, then AES may sound better. The answer is "it depends".

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

 

 

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Steve, so your claiming that nothing touches the Pace-Car.?

Okay. I'll do my usual - disappear, go off and research.

 

M.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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This is where I have a problem with statements from Steve. He wrote

[...] outstanding [...] even better

And somewhere else wrote (paraphrased) "the best you can buy".

 

MOST manufacturers have the humility to recognize the don't know EVERYTHING and make statements like "one of the best at any price" or "the best that we've made". And these statements are made on marketing material, not in a forum where they are presented as facts not opinions.

 

Anyway I shall just keep doing what I always do, wear my skeptics hat and take everything with 2 pinches of salt and a pinch of cayenne.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...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.

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Eloise...(and others)...

 

With all due respect, you shouldn't try and "compare" audio products online...you need to go take a listen! I actually travelled half way around the world to take a listen to SN's gear....yeh..call me crazy! So I suggest you do same, or call in to EA at the next Rocky Mountain AF....

 

Sure EA's stuff might be a bit "out there", might seem a bit "weird", hell I can't follow half the stuff SN is on about sometimes! : but this is the nature of the computer-hifi interface. It's cutting edge. There are no boundaries. There is no "one" solution. And it's forever changing. This hobby sometimes seems such a darn silly mad, waste of time. Drives my family to distraction, and wallet buried 10 feet under. Other times you really do stumble on and listen to something "magical". What other hobby out there mixes science/pleasure/computers/music/networking/audiology/etc etc..

 

 

 

New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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With all due respect if you read what I say I'm not trying to compare products. The Empirical Audio stuff MAY be the best thing in the world. However my personal opinion is that it's not right for a manuacturer to state that AS FACT on an independant forum. All that the manufacturer should say is that the product is the best HE HAS BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE. If reviewer or end users want to say it, then fine.

 

Maybe I'm splitting hairs and being pedantic. But I'm sure you'll agree there is a difference. Personally I'm not able to buy anything such high end, but I do have an interest. Without visiting this forum I'd have never have even heard of Empiricle Audio or Wavelength or many others.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...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.

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As someone who has purchased a lot of gear from Steve over the years, I am admittedly a bit biased ...

 

But I've also spent a LOT more money on gear from other vendors, and have owned quite a bit of what is considered state of the art gear (or was at the time, such as a complete dCS stack) ...

 

Steve's products have, across the board, performed at a level well above their price points, and in the case of the PaceCar well above any commercially available product.

 

Plus, he gives answers to questions that are fact and science based.

 

Roon + HQ Player front end; Bricasti M3 with Ethernet and headphone amp; Pro Audio Technology 2115sm active speakers and amps plus four 15" subs; Lumagen Radiance video processor; Wolf Ref 700 projector; Kii3 + Control in another room; Accourate, Trinnov, and Dirac bass management and room correction; extensive RPG room treatment; HifiMan and Focal cans; Decware Taboo Mk3; 20 amp hospital grade UPS; EtherRegen, Sonore Empirical Audio and SOTM, all on LPS, feeding DACs

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Plus, he gives answers to questions that are fact and science based.

 

In your dreams my friend. The Pace-Car is the BOMB. There is nothing on the market that touches it. Why do you suppose I have customers using it with all of the devices that I listed? Because it looks pretty? I think not. Go look at some of the feedbacks from my customers.

 

Yes, and that was a $7K modded Berkeley. The Overdrive was still better. With it's volume control, its a giant-killer, definitely not overpriced.

 

Pace-Car is/was the digital reference for the editors of Positive-Feedback and Stereo Times. Dave Clark has now changed from the original Pace-Car to the new Off-Ramp 3.

 

 

Not much of either 'fact' or 'science' there, I'm afraid. Looks very much like a salesman in full flow, to me. Nothing wrong with that of course, in its proper place. As far as the readers here at CA are concerned though, I'd second the requirement for a large pinch of jitter-free salt.

 

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I fall inline with Audio_ELF's comments but am pleased to read something backing up Steve's claims - well, at least saying they're good products.

 

Maybe the manufacturers just need to write a little more carefully - "the Bomb" for example is a silly statement.

 

I'm not enjoying work today. .. I wish I was home, listening to something sad like Vide Cor Meum...

 

M.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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You won't find a much more intelligent discussion of the sources and nature of jitter than this public domain article by Steve:

 

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/manufacture/0509/

 

 

Roon + HQ Player front end; Bricasti M3 with Ethernet and headphone amp; Pro Audio Technology 2115sm active speakers and amps plus four 15" subs; Lumagen Radiance video processor; Wolf Ref 700 projector; Kii3 + Control in another room; Accourate, Trinnov, and Dirac bass management and room correction; extensive RPG room treatment; HifiMan and Focal cans; Decware Taboo Mk3; 20 amp hospital grade UPS; EtherRegen, Sonore Empirical Audio and SOTM, all on LPS, feeding DACs

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