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So MUCH "STUFF" Available these days....Who thinks they have tried everything and has the best answer....


beerandmusic
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There seems to be SO MANY options these days and so much new equipment available to source and play music...but what's REALLY good??

 

Besides AMP/PREAMP and speakers and cables...who has tried MANY options and believe they have the best source available to include (DAC, SOFTWARE, SERVER, RENDERER or whatever) to play digital files....please no options that don't support native dsd.

 

With so many USB toys, optimizing os software, music servers etc out there...what really sounds the best from people that have tried many options.

 

Would the best include the microrendu that chris recommends, hqplayer, or highly praised auralic, or roon, os optimizers or something else?

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There seems to be SO MANY options these days and so much new equipment available to source and play music...but what's REALLY good??

 

Besides AMP/PREAMP and speakers and cables...who has tried MANY options and believe they have the best source available to include (DAC, SOFTWARE, SERVER, RENDERER or whatever) to play digital files....please no options that don't support native dsd.

 

With so many USB toys, optimizing os software, music servers etc out there...what really sounds the best from people that have tried many options.

 

Would the best include the microrendu that chris recommends, hqplayer, or highly praised auralic, or roon, os optimizers or something else?

 

Define "best". Often it is a combination of value for money, sound quality and convenience. And also about what one believes in.

 

Rest assured in the knowledge that what is considered "best" today will be superseded by something else tomorrow.

Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu / SOtM SMS-200 --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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In my view it would be more productive if we were define which performance aspects are important in every step of the chain, as well as which topologies are most effective and provide the largest performance potential.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I do not think that questions is answerable. The ripped CDs sitting on my storage devices are certainly the best available - from that particular CD of course. There may or may not be "better" versions available in high res, but that is a very subjective evaluation that will vary from person to person. Wildly vary in fact.

 

Then of course, a RedBook version of an album from a CD, when played back transcoded to DSD may sound better. Again, subjective.

 

Basically I am saying that the answers to that question are only valid for a single person - the person making the evaluation. Perhaps you an restate what you are thinking in a different way that is more answerable?

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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The ripped CDs sitting on my storage devices are certainly the best available - from that particular CD of course.

 

Hi Paul,

 

How did you perform the search and selection of the best editions?

Do you have a large collection?

 

Thanks,

Ricardo

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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Hi Paul,

 

How did you perform the search and selection of the best editions?

Do you have a large collection?

 

Thanks,

Ricardo

 

Pretty much I bought more than one version of many different albums and performances. My collection is modestly sized compared to some around here, with about 6K disks or downloaded albums, including a whole bunch of needle drops.

 

The problem with all this is that reviewer "A" might pan a recording complaining of inferior quality on one or more aspects. Reviewer "B" might claim just the opposite. And I might happen to like a particular version because it is what I grew up listening to. Huh - go figure.

 

Agonizing about the "best" is a no-win situation in this hobby. Far better to go with "what I like" rather than what someone else says is "the best." Use reviews to get an idea of what the reviewer and you have in common, and then take the advice in the reviews with a grain of salt till you can listen on your own. For example, I find if Art Dudley likes a recoding, I am quite likely to like it as well. Not so much on playback equipment though, as I am not much of an analog guy myself. Along similar lines, if Chris reviews a hunk of gear, I know I will not hear some of the things that are important to him in terms of players or computers, but his taste in DACs is utterly impeccable by my standards.

 

Do remember it is all supposed to be fun, and there is no "you failed the test" things going on in any way or shape. What you like is what you like, and the only person you can trust to tell you that is yourself. ;)

 

Yours,

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I've only bought remastered versions of some of my classical CD recordings, mostly DG The Originals, Philips 24/96, Sony Classical Masters, EMI Great Recordings, and most of them were part of a cheap large box sets whilst with a small selection I intentionally looked for better sound.

I was positively surprised in most cases.

 

I haven't done that for other genres, although some of my jazz recordings have me wishing for better sound quality.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I've only bought remastered versions of some of my classical CD recordings, mostly DG The Originals, Philips 24/96, Sony Classical Masters, EMI Great Recordings, and most of them were part of a cheap large box sets whilst with a small selection I intentionally looked for better sound.

I was positively surprised in most cases.

 

I haven't done that for other genres, although some of my jazz recordings have me wishing for better sound quality.

 

R

 

I get that. :(

 

Have you tried DSP to see if that gives you a worthwhile improvement? Even something as simple as transcoding to DSD can make an astonishing difference.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I am at the verge of ordering a NOS filterless DAC from a friend for ages because I can't decide whether to go for the BB PCM-only model or the more expensive ESS DSD-able one...

I also need to get a USB mic or mic + USB mic-pre.

 

But I find that more often than not the problem is tonal balance more than anything else.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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when you have a qualifier like "please no options that don't support native dsd" it should eliminate a significant portion of your available options.

 

I agree, it would eliminate the schiit supporters for one. It also would eliminate any view that is not consistent with my own....like it or not, my opinion is that DSD is best available format and one i don't care to debate which is why if you don't believe DSD is best, then i really don't care to hear your opinion....sorry if it's not what you want to hear, but it is jmo.

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Define "best". Often it is a combination of value for money, sound quality and convenience. And also about what one believes in.

 

Rest assured in the knowledge that what is considered "best" today will be superseded by something else tomorrow.

 

Best in your opinion for SQ at any price.

I believe i have found the best i can for the amp and speaker chain within my current budget, but am in the market for the source method hence the title of the post. Imho dacs are old news and media servers and players are where the news should be today...or even a media server with embedded dac, or possibly even media server with dac and amp (e.g. the aurender). I am willing to hear from anyone that has tried many options and made a recent purchase based on their trials.

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In my view it would be more productive if we were define which performance aspects are important in every step of the chain, as well as which topologies are most effective and provide the largest performance potential.

 

R

 

That can be a different thread. I am looking for best for source.

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Best in your opinion for SQ at any price.

I believe i have found the best i can for the amp and speaker chain within my current budget, but am in the market for the source method hence the title of the post. Imho dacs are old news and media servers and players are where the news should be today...or even a media server with embedded dac, or possibly even media server with dac and amp (e.g. the aurender). I am willing to hear from anyone that has tried many options and made a recent purchase based on their trials.

 

Best sound quality refers to measured performance (accuracy / fidelity) and is universal (with the exception of speakers where designers don't agree in a few aspects of performance).

 

But perhaps you mean "most pleasant sounding" in which case the opinion is personal and no one can provide / share any relevant or meaningful input (unless they have similar taste).

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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Basically I am saying that the answers to that question are only valid for a single person - the person making the evaluation. Perhaps you an restate what you are thinking in a different way that is more answerable?

I usually agree with you Paul, but not on this one....i think there is usually a concensus...maybe not everyone agrees, but many will agree too...

 

JMO, i believe that MOST people that have listened to DSD on many different players that many will agree that HQPLAYER does the "best" job in their opinion. Of course it is subjective, and that is what i am loooking for. Subjective opinions on what people believe is the best method for sourcing after trying many different things....on this board, i believe many people believe that ROON w/HQPLAYER can't be beat. I would likely agree with them, but haven't tried, but do want to hear other alternatives before i bite the bullet.

 

JMO

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I usually agree with you Paul, but not on this one....i think there is usually a concensus...maybe not everyone agrees, but many will agree too...

 

JMO, i believe that MOST people that have listened to DSD on many different players that many will agree that HQPLAYER does the "best" job in their opinion. Of course it is subjective, and that is what i am loooking for. Subjective opinions on what people believe is the best method for sourcing after trying many different things....on this board, i believe many people believe that ROON w/HQPLAYER can't be beat. I would likely agree with them, but haven't tried, but do want to hear other alternatives before i bite the bullet.

 

JMO

 

I challenge the idea that consensus or a large base of supporters for a given product or manufacturer can be used to attest performance (or betterness) in the subjective, tasted riven, guru-manipulated mess that audiophilia has become.

 

And you can test HQPlayer for free, before you bite any bullets.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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To clarify, "BEST" will always be subjective, but anyone can certainly say it.

 

I can say the "BEST" hamburger is a homemade burger, and someone else can contend that the "BEST" hamburger is in-n-out, which i think is very plain and ordinary and not worthy of any praise.

 

Of course, when I say "who thinks they have found the best" is subjective.

 

If 10 people respond and i hear 10 people say that the best hamburger is "smashburger", i will likely try it, regardless if in the end i don't agree. On the other hand if 10 people say wendy's burger suck and is outrageously price, i will likely not waste my time.

 

So yes, I am looking for "subjective" opinions on what you have tried and think is best from your efforts.

 

For the record, i think a used pair of B&W speakers is the "BEST" bang for the buck....regardless if you agree or not...and that will remain my contention until i experience differently.

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I challenge the idea that consensus or a large base of supporters for a given product or manufacturer can be used to attest performance (or betterness) in the subjective, tasted riven, guru-manipulated mess that audiophilia has become.

 

And you can test HQPlayer for free, before you bite any bullets.

 

R

 

I have tested and will attest to the fact that it is the best that i have heard. Does that meet your challenge? You may not agree with me or others, but imho, it is the best, and all that i am asking for. I am asking for who thinks they have tried the best....i am saying that i believe hqplayer is the best...subjective of course...but it is still the best...just as nothing betters a home-made hamburger.

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To clarify, "BEST" will always be subjective, but anyone can certainly say it.

 

I can say the "BEST" hamburger is a homemade burger, and someone else can contend that the "BEST" hamburger is in-n-out, which i think is very plain and ordinary and not worthy of any praise.

 

Of course, when I say "who thinks they have found the best" is subjective.

 

If 10 people respond and i hear 10 people say that the best hamburger is "smashburger", i will likely try it, regardless if in the end i don't agree. On the other hand if 10 people say wendy's burger suck and is outrageously price, i will likely not waste my time.

 

So yes, I am looking for "subjective" opinions on what you have tried and think is best from your efforts.

 

For the record, i think a used pair of B&W speakers is the "BEST" bang for the buck.

 

I'm sorry but comparing an equipment designed to reproduce recordings as accurately (as possible as part of a system) with food is a huge mistake.

 

And even if I tell you my favourite pieces of equipment what good is this to you if you don't know my objectives and my requirements and my references/culture of live and reproduced sound.

 

I find it more useful to discuss advantages and shortcomings in certain aspects of performance of equipment, to discuss measurements, to discuss qualities instead of how much better I can hear Jarrett's moaning in that rubbish recording of a Great performance that was the Koln Concert...

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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For the record, i think a used pair of B&W speakers is the "BEST" bang for the buck....regardless if you agree or not...and that will remain my contention until i experience differently.

 

If you are telling me that any used pair of BnW speakers is the best bang for the buck then I can't agree with you because the company has produced hundreds of models, some of them quite bad...

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I'm sorry but comparing an equipment designed to reproduce recordings as accurately (as possible as part of a system) with food is a huge mistake.

 

And even if I tell you my favourite pieces of equipment what good is this to you if you don't know my objectives and my requirements and my references/culture of live and reproduced sound.

 

I find it more useful to discuss advantages and shortcomings in certain aspects of performance of equipment, to discuss measurements, to discuss qualities instead of how much better I can hear Jarrett's moaning in that rubbish recording of a Great performance that was the Koln Concert...

 

R

 

you can discuss whatever you want in your thread..i am looking to discuss subjective opinions on what anyone is bold enough to claim is best in their opinion inre sound...and as far as the comparison to food goes, i am merely attempting to state that i know it is subjective...no one can prove or disprove what is best for SQ, i simply want to hear what others believe they have heard that is best that have tried different things....

 

Can you not tell me what has sounded best to you? And if not, i don't care to hear from you...

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If you are telling me that any used pair of BnW speakers is the best bang for the buck then I can't agree with you because the company has produced hundreds of models, some of them quite bad...

 

The models i am referring to is not important...i don't even want to discuss speakers..i am simply trying to clarify that i know the word "best" is subjective.

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I didn't interject my opinion on the format. I simply stated that there is far less equipment that supports native DSD than otherwise which should make it easier for you to find your personal best setup as it means less stuff you have to try.

If I am anything, I am a music lover and a pragmatist.

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Best in your opinion for SQ at any price.

I believe i have found the best i can for the amp and speaker chain within my current budget, but am in the market for the source method hence the title of the post. Imho dacs are old news and media servers and players are where the news should be today...or even a media server with embedded dac, or possibly even media server with dac and amp (e.g. the aurender). I am willing to hear from anyone that has tried many options and made a recent purchase based on their trials.

 

I recently completed my stuff. I went with what is in my signature. But there were compelling alternatives from Naim (ND5 SX with Nait2, SuperUniti), Cyrus (streamers and amps) and Creed. In the end I went with this because it gave me flexibility as each separate component can be changed.

Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu / SOtM SMS-200 --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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I'm sorry but comparing an equipment designed to reproduce recordings as accurately (as possible as part of a system) with food is a huge mistake.

 

And even if I tell you my favourite pieces of equipment what good is this to you if you don't know my objectives and my requirements and my references/culture of live and reproduced sound.

 

I find it more useful to discuss advantages and shortcomings in certain aspects of performance of equipment, to discuss measurements, to discuss qualities instead of how much better I can hear Jarrett's moaning in that rubbish recording of a Great performance that was the Koln Concert...

 

R

 

Interesting - I like the SQ on the HDTracks download of Koln. Illustrates the point about differing opinions well, I think.

 

I'll provide my "best" list here momentarily....

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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