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Q&A with Thorsten Loesch of AMR/iFi


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Good read. I like ifi and their effort to make truly innovative stuff at an entry level price. I would love to hear a full AMR system, they are one of the few designers I can think of that make everything from source to amps to speakers.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yep, interesting interview.

 

I thought the Addendum was particularly interesting: Q&A with Thorsten Loesch of AMR/iFi Addendum: PCM vs DSD | AudioStream. I totally agree with Thorsten's views here on 'pure PCM', and how very few people have actually heard it.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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To be fair to Thorsten, he clearly states that he thinks both PCM and DSD have their merits. Here's part of the article:

 

Do you see any benefits to native DSD over PCM?

This question needs to be considered in the context of the whole recording/playback chain. Rather than just the playback chain which is often the case.

I view DSD (and sadly native PCM) as a historical format, much like LP or CD... Either native PCM recording/playback or native DSD recording/playback will deliver the maximum quality of each format. But in the real world, this is seldom the case.

As in our modern times native DSD ADC/DAC’s are rare and native PCM ADC/DAC’s are even rarer, comparisons become pointless, especially if the ADC/DAC’s used are “hybrid” types.

We are not even comparing apples to oranges any longer, but rather apples and oranges processed to freeze-dried juice powder and mixed with water and sugar and the precise processes used at each step. Freshly-squeezed orange juice compared to orange juice from concentrate – there is no comparison.

 

I love the analogy at the end.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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To be fair to Thorsten, he clearly states that he thinks both PCM and DSD have their merits. Here's part of the article:

 

 

I love the analogy at the end.

 

Mani.

 

Hi Mani,

 

I'm still waiting (after a year) a Paul Hynes LPSU and some other modifications to listen in "Pure PCM" with an R2R DAC, a modest but good one. I couldn't go your way since I still refuse the Windows PC environment.

 

BTW, last night I was listening Mika Takehara's "Thirteen Drums", a BIS 16/44 recording and DL from Qobuz, and was (I'm) very, very impressed because the silent background being a Redbook format, great stable (controlled) deep bass and a lot of air. Almost like "Pure DSD", but still lacking hi frequency extension and some sweeter midrange. The listening was through an exaSound e20 Mark II DAC, very, very good on PCM & DSD, outstanding on PCM, but I don't know if it is thoroughbred PCM.

 

Regarding "Freshly-squeezed orange juice compared to orange juice from concentrate – there is no comparison.", I don't know (pardon my poor English) if the freshly-squeezed orange juice means real life music listening I agree, but we are closer on DSD, just my opinion.

 

I respect Mr. Thorsten opinions, but they are another music listener opinion, but committed by the two worlds in 'competition' today: PCM vs DSD followers, they should not be...

 

Best,

 

Roch

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Hi Roch,

 

No, for me the analogy works like this:

 

- native (or 'pure', or 'true') PCM is freshly squeezed orange juice

- native DSD is freshly squeezed apple juice

 

(Both can taste gorgeous, depending on your preference.)

 

- multi-bit Delta Sigma (the majority of what people listen to) is orange/apple juice in concentrate form (the majority of what people drink (this doesn't sound grammatically correct, but you know what I mean))

 

Personally, I've gone the 'true PCM' route, mainly because I already had the ADC hardware to hand. But I still have a 'true DSD' ADC and do intend to get a decent 'true DSD' DAC at some point.

 

Hang in there with the Paul Hynes PS. I actually have three of them - one inside my Weiss AFI1, one powering my 'recording' PC and the one powering my Korg MR1000. They are superb and I'm sure you be pleased with yours... once you finally get it.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Hi Manis,

 

I have spoken extensively with TL and he has much of value to offer. I am glad he moderated on pure DSD, as with my chip-less lampi, i can tell you that the pure DSD chain is OFF THE CHAIN good. TL did tell me that pure PCM from say a PM2 ADC with say a great R2R Dac like your Phasure should be something as well.

 

My point though is that its faaar easier to get the pure DSD chain in the real world that it is to get pure PCM.

 

So, let us agree to drink on this with freshly squeezed whatever...LoL

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Wisnon,

 

I totally agree - the only real option for freshly squeezed juice going forward is pure DSD, as there are simply no modern 'pure PCM' ADC or DAC chips. But Thorsten does mention that even if the PCM/DSD ADC wasn't pure (99.9% are not), it's still worthwhile playing the PCM/DSD file back on a pure DAC.

 

Seeing as we're agreeing, I'll take grape juice (fermented, of course).

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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LoL

 

You hadda go adulterate the purity with fungal (yeast) fermentation!

 

That is like an equalizer on your Phasure system, no?

 

Yes, we do agree. Some of TL's and PS brainwashing did work on me....but I am still a DSD128 adherent!

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Lovely interview and exceeding rare to get so much readable technical information.

 

Also really liked the bit on how he got into audio as a kid.

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

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