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43 minutes ago, M_audio said:


EC Designs say the optical they ship is enough to hear sonic advantages of their NOS DACs, but if you ask them for something better, they actually recommend Lifatec.
I have Lifatec and it's much better than standard plastic cable. Certain grayness i can hear with plastic is gone with Lifatec, and sound is more natural. It all depends on the resolution of your system and your hearing sense.

 

This seems to be dated - they no longer ship, to my knowledge, cables with their new dac, and I think they no longer recommend a specific cable. Best to confirm with them. 

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A week ago, I asked EC Designs if they had a Toslink cable they recommended.   Gordon Brown's response:

 

Quote
For the Toslink cable we would recommend a cable not longer than 1 mtr.
It does not need to be an expensive cable, normal cable should be fine.

 

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I'm using Lifatec toslink cables with the EC designs products, heard the difference between plastic and these glas strand cables from Liftec, It's a huge difference and worth the price of these cables.

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https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/ec-designs-multi-bit-dac.7170/page-2#post-245291

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OK. I can say that I really do like this DAC. Very UltraAnalog sound per early 90s. Attacks are just slightly rounded, but good bass textures and definition. None of that one note PCM1704 bass. As I indicated before, resolution exceeded expectations. Better than Airist RDAC and possibly Modi MB.

 

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Seems they are having issues with the battery. No problem on my side. 

 

On the thread about SD card players SLC memory was mentionned. I purchased a 64gb USB SLC. It is quite expensive, but it is much faster than the standard USB keys i was using, which were quite slow on my computer. The SLC last longer, and seem to be more reliable. Anyway, it works well. I have given up on the idea of storing all my music collection on multiple keys, and just copy files on that one key as needed.

 

Here is the key:  https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00K3XHF66/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_c_D5YzCb50NVGX6

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3 hours ago, hopkins said:

The UPL is a "reference" digital source. I use it on a daily basis

 

+1 on both counts.  The  UPL/MOS has been my only digital source for a few weeks now.  I know there’s a danger of throwing  hyperbole around in audiophile circles, but for me (used to £5k+ sources in the past 4 years)  these are truly disruptive products and a genuine reference in the sense that, providing the limitations of format and convenience can be lived with (or maybe even if you think you can’t),  it would be wise to hear them before investing in anything else, regardless of budget. YMMV of course.

 

I have no connection with EC Designs other than as a  v.satisfied customer, but  interesting to speculate where they  go from here.

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Just one caveat I’ve found with the UPL - to avoid occasional “white noise”  best not to use .wav files that may  have been tagged previously in your library. In my case,  I either convert from Flac, using JRiver and  unticking  the option to preserve tags or else just do a new rip of the CD. 

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I also remove tags systematically from wav files - embedded images are problematic as well. I have basically duplicated my entire library on a seperate disk, and batch converted everything to wav. When I add an album to my library, I tag it in Flac, then copy it to another disk, and convert it to wav. A little tedious, but I want to keep a compressed (flac) copy as I also save my files on a cloud storage, and sometimes download them to my phone as well. I use dbPowerAmp music computer to convert files. It also does downsampling if needed, with very good quality (in case you have 24bit files, for example). Here is a link to a site that has evaluated many downsampling software: http://src.infinitewave.ca/

 

I  found a small "glitch" with the UPL. On Windows computers (I have windows 10 on my desktop PC),  if the folder is flagged as "ready for archiving" (under the advance file properties), then it does not show up on the UPL. I reported that to ECDesigns, but do not know if they will fix it in a feature release. It is simple to select all folders once they are copied to the USB key, right-click on the properties, and reset that flag if needed. But sometimes I forget. That flag is not well documented and it is a little mysterious as to when it is set or not.

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I am  fairly new to digital audio. I am also Linux user and for future reference it may be helpful to write about what software I am using to rip and manage files.

 

There are a lot of open source software for ripping and manage music. I thought it would be good to write a few posts about which software that is available in the FOSS (Free and Open Source) world.

 

I am very keen on the UNIX philosophy that a program should do only thing and do it well. I may well contradict myself in the listed software below but it is also about the UX-experience. Complexity is ok if the software is intuitively to use.

 

Using UPL 16 as a player I probably will use a couple of USB pendrives and copy directories from my main production machine. I am using vanilla Ubuntu on my main production machine software should be easily available.

 

The problems that needs to be solved are:

  1. Ripping  CD or converting existing files to .wav
  2.  Tagging and handling files
  3. Get a good overview of my digital music collection (This is the one for me. I have used Volumio and a RasberryPi as a streaming solution before, but I swtiched back to playing discs quite fast. I never understood if Volumio added new directories or not. In my view it was a little bit of hit or miss all the time. I was weary of lack of overview in Volumio. Although I liked the RaspberriPi and the Digi+ hat as a unit very much.)
  4. Copying directories to a pendrive or making a playlist directory and copy  it to a pendrive.
  5. Add 00-99 to the directories in the pendrive. (Could probably be solved with a bash-script)

 

Software that I have started to use or intend to use in the near future:

  • ripperX, a basic and simple CD-ripper. Uses CDDB for metadata. Put the CD in the tray and a few clicks your are on your way.
  • abcde Command Line Music CD Ripping for Linux. Highly configurable.  I have yet to try it out. Author offers ready made config-files for different use cases.
  • puddletag (MP3tag for Linux) Seems like a good Tagging editor and more. 
  • Beets a open source and multi platform software for manage a music collection. Beets seems to be very powerful with many add-ons and the ability to write your own using python. Manipulating metadata, transcoding and manage replay gain to name a few functions.  Uses the CLI and GUI.  Beets could be usefor for copying directories hopefully overwiev my music collection via CLI

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I recently purchased the UPL16, to use with my own DACs.  Please be aware that I could not get it to sync with my Naim V1 or Mirus Pro.  With Naim nDAC, it stops playing after every 90 seconds, evidently due to a RAM buffer overload.  On the other hand, it works fine with my Naim Muso Qb.  I have been in touch with John at EC, and he has been very helpful with technical explanations.  However, the bottom line is that they primarily test the UPL16 with their own DACs, and don't guarantee it to work with other brands.  Bummer.

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These are both good questions.  I will be contacting EC Designs again today, and will report back my findings.

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A little update in the Linux land of ripping Cd:s and transcoding flac files to .wav.  I have already mentioned ripperX for ripping Cd:s. The application works perfect and gets the job done. Soundconverter has a similiar approach (it is a GUI on top of Gstreamer) a few straightforward settings and press the "Convert button" and off you go transcoding flac-files. Brilliant!

 

Next I will try some music management software to get an overview of my music collection. I think I will try Data Crow and GCstar in order to see what they have to offer. Ease of of use and a export to HTML (PDF would work too) is what I am looking for.

 

I am doing all the conversion on my desktop computer and my audio gear is placed in another room. The easy and boring way of keeping track of the metadata is to export a file (HTML /PDF) to the USB-pendrive and then  copy it to my laptop. A more fun solution would involve a RaspberriPi.

 

 I have RaspberriPi somewhere, and there must be a easy way to convert it to a some kind of webserver over  WiFi to present HTML-pages with metadata of the albums stored in the USB pendrive.  Any suggestions or pointers on this matter (or any matter) is highly welcome! Preferably with a permissive license such as GPL, MIT or similar.

 

Cheers!

 

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I wrote a little application which copies the data (folders, tracks, images) from my USB keys to a github repository, which can then be viewed using their free hosting service (they are static webpages using Jekyll). So you do not need a Raspberry pi to host a site. 

Here is the repository: 

https://github.com/paulstephane/UPL2

And the correspomding website:

https://paulstephane.github.io/UPL2/

 

I am sure the are many other better ways of doing this, but it could give you some ideas... 

 

I also have worked on getting my full library on a website, this time using Hugo, another static website generator. I used MP3Tag to generate an export file with the tags of all my music files. I also added text files (with markdown to add information on albums: reviews, credits, etc...). That worked fine, and Hugo can automatically scan all your folders and generate webpages. The issue is that MP3Tag cannot be used to generate automatically one export file per folder. There is to my knowledge no static website generator that can read tags from music files, which is too bad because that would make things super simple to write a website to display one's music collection. The site i used in Hugo was basically two pages of instructions to display an album grid, and display an album. Very easy to do once you have figured out how these static site generators work. 

 

Hugo is very easy to install, and you can use it on your desktop (and probably on your Pi) as a local webserver. 

 

You could also simply use an existing free application, like LMS, or JRiver, or any other, on your computer (the Pi is a little underpowered for those). 

 

 

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Hi, 

I am looking to buy these in US. Has anyone in US got these.

How much duty and tax we have to pay since they will be imported from outside US.

Thanks...

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On 2/2/2019 at 11:03 AM, hopkins said:

I think they no longer recommend a specific cable. Best to confirm with them.

 

I tried a (well thought of) glass toslink cable between UPL and MOS.  I was surprised to hear an immediate difference compared with the plastic cable I had been using (it’s just 1s & 0’s right?), but even more surprised that this was  not to the advantage of the more expensive glass cable.

 

With the glass cable it seemed to me as if the magic of this combo was diminished, the  sound to me was brighter and harsher, just like I’d expect with increased jitter.  Just my subjective opinion, YMMV etc.

 

However, I did  check with EC Designs.  Seems that their measurements have indicated increased  jitter  at the optical receiver when using a glass cable and put this down to timing effects resulting from the multitude of individual fibres, compared to single fibre plastic cables.  Seems that they recommend basic plastic cables with the UPL/MOS for +ve SQ, not just economy.

 

 

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14 hours ago, Norton said:

 

I tried a (well thought of) glass toslink cable between UPL and MOS.  I was surprised to hear an immediate difference compared with the plastic cable I had been using (it’s just 1s & 0’s right?), but even more surprised that this was  not to the advantage of the more expensive glass cable.

 

With the glass cable it seemed to me as if the magic of this combo was diminished, the  sound to me was brighter and harsher, just like I’d expect with increased jitter.  Just my subjective opinion, YMMV etc.

 

However, I did  check with EC Designs.  Seems that their measurements have indicated increased  jitter  at the optical receiver when using a glass cable and put this down to timing effects resulting from the multitude of individual fibres, compared to single fibre plastic cables.  Seems that they recommend basic plastic cables with the UPL/MOS for +ve SQ, not just economy.

 

 


Now that's interesting!

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Small update to my setup: I have purchased the SVC (volume control) and MBL monoblocks (power amplifiers) from ECDesigns, so I now have a full ECDesigns "stack". I was previously using a Nuprime ST-10 power amplifier, and the MBL is a clear upgrade, as the low level detail is superior, and the music really does flow "effortlessly".  My music has never sounded as good!

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Well that is good to hear about MBL-Monoblocks. 
ST-10 is known for its livelieness but also it is known that it lacks low level detail. ST-10M should be better tin this aspect but cost the double.

In my case MBL monoblocks would probably be too weak.

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Yes, I was also concerned about the power - but it works fine with my Harbeth P3ESR Anniversay (not that demanding - 15W min). 

 

The MBL has a number of features/innovations, which I am not sufficiently knowledgable to describe or comment on, but the result is very satisfying.

 

One of the "technical" aspects that interested me is what ECDesigns describes as the "thermal distortion effect" of using low power transistors, resulting in a "grainy" fatiguing sound. The MBL really offers a very relaxed and detailed sound, so whatever has been done has been done well.

 

Interestingly, what some have described as a lesser "dynamic" sound using only the MOS Dac, or using the UPL with other DACs, is completely absent now - the sound is detailed, dynamic - basically close to perfect (yes, I do sound like a "fan boy"...). I believe there is a benefit in using all these components together.

 

I have been listening over again to a lot of my albums, and even lesser quality recordings sound much better, which is very rewarding.

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